Category Archives: communal relations

Threads of Moral Puritanism in Sinhala Nationalist Practice

 Michael Roberts ** … a reprint of an article published in South Asia, Vol. XIX, Special Issue, (1996), pp. 205-220. with the title “Teaching Lessons, Re mo ving Evil: Strands of Moral Puritanism in Sinhala Nationalist Practice

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Expressions of Sinhala nationalism since the mid-nineteenth century, as one might expect, have been varied and multi-faceted. In this essay, I highlight a thread of moral puritanism which has not only been powerfully inscribed into the pogroms espoused in the period 1880s to 1910s, but also within the altered context of the 1950s-1980s.

 Borella Junction, Colombo, 24.25 July 1983

   A Hindu mob waiting to defend their own from Muslims in Bhagalpur –before becoming a marauding band seeking retribution — in a pattern also seen in 1915 in Sri Lanka during the anti-Moor pogrom

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James Taylor, Tea and Empire in Victorian Ceylon

“Tea and empire. James Taylor in Victorian Ceylon ” by Angela McCarthy and Tom Devine … is now in print,  July 2017, Manchester University Press, 272 pp, ISBN: 978-1-5261-1905, Price: £25.00

 

This book brings to life for the first time the remarkable story of James Taylor, ‘father of the Ceylon tea enterprise’ in the nineteenth century. Publicly celebrated in Sri Lanka for his efforts in transforming the country’s economy and shaping the world’s drinking habits, Taylor died in disgrace and remains unknown to the present day in his native Scotland. Using a unique archive of Taylor’s letters written over a forty-year period, Angela McCarthy and Tom Devine provide an unusually detailed reconstruction of a British planter’s life in Asia at the high noon of empire. Continue reading

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Fire-Storm Images, I: The Sinhala Tamil Gulf Emerges

SWRD Bandaranaike woos a crowd on Sinhala language enthusiasts 

Bandaranaike was an eloquent speaker in both English and Sinhala. This image captures his rhetorical vigour while on the stage… Continue reading

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Introducing FIRE AND STORM by Michael Roberts

Anonymous Reviewer in Sunday Times, 21 July 2013,  where the title runs “Important contribution towards a dialogue on Lankan polity. Book facts”

When Michael Roberts left Peradeniya in the late seventies, he was part of an exodus of intellectuals from the University of Ceylon, Peradeniya, arguably one of the best universities at that time. The exodus of academics at that time was compelled by the economic difficulties faced by university dons. It was the second wave of such emigration that diminished the intellectual life of the university and country.

  Pirapāharan and leading Tiger Commanders at the Indian sponsored training camp at Sirimalai in 1984

The Arts Faculty of the University of Peradeniya never regained its prestigious academic status after that. Today the University of Peradeniya cannot take pride in intellectuals of the eminence of E. F. C. Ludowyck, E. R Sarachchandra, H. A. de S. Gunasekera, Fr. Ignatius Pinto, Ian Van den Driesen and many others. Continue reading

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Asela from Adelaide explores Sri Lankan Affairs in Chats with Six Committed Lankans

Courtesy of Asela aAtukorala and his blog site …. http://aselaatukorala.blogspot.com.au/2017/07/six-sri-lankan-specialists-discuss-sri.html … where the title reads: “Six Sri Lankan Specialists Discuss Sri Lankan Issues”

I travelled to Sri Lanka in May this year and had the opportunity to meet several specialists to discuss Sri Lankan issues that were mostly related to politics and economics. In this article, I’ll be sharing the highlights of my meetings with the 6 people I had the privilege of talking to.    

Monday 8th May 2017 ….This was the first meeting which was at Verité Research. Their workplace was an old house re-done as an office and it had great architecture.

Janeen Fernando

That afternoon, I met Janeen Fernando who’s the Head of Politics at Verité Research. As part of his role, he’s in charge of the Sri Lankan trilingual political tracking site Manthri.lk. I’ll now list some highlights from our discussion.   Continue reading

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Under One Umbrella … Popsicles across Faiths

The annual feast of St. Sebastian’s was celebrated by the parishioners of Nayakakanda, Wattala on Sunday. During the procession, Chief Incumbent of Hendala Temple Ven. Saddananda Thera distributed popsicles to devotees. Parish Priest of Nayakakanda Rev. Fr. Ranjan Silva, too, received a popsicle from the Thera ….. Picture Courtesy St. Mary’s Church, Nayakakanda, published in The Island 28/6/17

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Alleged ‘Land Grabbing’ by the Security Forces in Sri Lanka

Gerald Peiris, … an essay that is part of  Chapter 11 in a forthcoming monograph titled Sri Lanka: Land Policy for Sustainable Development, by G. H. Peiris, currently in the press (as a Visidunu Publication, 471 Lake Road, Boralesgamuwa, Sri Lanka) [1]

In view of the significance accorded in recent public debate and discussion on the subject of ‘land grabbing’ in several conflict-ridden countries of the Third World it is necessary to devote attention to a series of facts that are of crucial relevance to a balanced understanding of the related  situation in Sri Lanka.

Gerald Peiris Bhavani Fonseka  Mirak Raheem

Land Grabbing: Concept and Empirical Application  

The phenomenon referred to as ‘land grabbing’ lacks definitional clarity. In many writings of recent times (Keely, 2009; Borras, et.al., 2011; Deininger & Byerlee 2011; Rulli, et. al., 2013; Brimayer & Moon, 2014; to name only a few), especially those sponsored by civil society organisations, this phrase has been used exclusively in the specific connotation of large-scale acquisition of land in the poorer countries by foreign governments and private firms that are based in the politically and economically powerful countries. Estimates of the extent of grabbed land worldwide vary. The prestigious journal, The Economist (21 May 2009) placed it at 15-20 million ha. According to the World Bank, it is as high as 45 million ha, with an overwhelmingly large proportion of it in the less densely populated areas of Sub-Saharan Africa, South and Central America and Southeast Asia. In a major World Bank sponsored study (Deininger & Byerlee, op. cit.) ‘land grabbing’ has been portrayed as a phenomenon of both positive as well as negative impacts which nevertheless requires effective regulation. But more generally, this process is perceived as an exemplification of neo-colonial economic exploitation that has adverse consequences on the local people in the form of violation of fundamental rights, incitement of inter-group conflict, mass impoverishment and environmental degradation. What should be noted here is that in none of the research writings on the subject of ‘land grabbing’ as a global phenomenon do we come across a specific reference to Sri Lanka as a country that has been seriously affected by this phenomenon.[2] Continue reading

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