Michael Roberts …. aided by varied cameramen mostly unnamed
The stark reality of near-death and its trauma are reflected in the aftermath by Eranga Jayawardena’s image of Mahela and his wife at Katunayake Airport when the team arrived safely on 3rd March 2009 ….. What follows below is a sequence of dramatic images depicting the scenario in Lahore that preceded and precipitated this moment (several courtesy of AFP in Hong Kong) Continue reading
Filed under accountability, cultural transmission, historical interpretation, Indian Ocean politics, Islamic fundamentalism, landscape wondrous, life stories, meditations, news fabrication, politIcal discourse, power politics, religiosity, security, self-reflexivity, slanted reportage, sri lankan society, the imaginary and the real, trauma, truth as casualty of war, war reportage, world events & processes
Ranga Kalugampitiya, courtesy of Colombo Telegraph, dated 20 July 2015, where the title runs ‘Rāvanā & Sinhala Buddhism: A Strained Relationship Ridden With Contradictions”…. The version here being embellished with Editorial highlighting.
Rāvanā, one of the principal characters in the Rāmāyana, emerges as a villain in the mainstream (Hindu) understandings of the text. Given the important position that Rāmā (Rāvanā’s opponent), who is believed to be a manifestation of Viśnu, occupies in the Hindu religious tradition, Rāvanā becomes a symbol of evil in those readings of the text.
Nevertheless, the conceptualizations of Rāvanā within the context of Sinhala Buddhist nationalism point to alternative perspectives on the character. One such perspective that has emerged in the post-2009 Sri Lankan context shows a tendency to idealize Rāvanā as a national hero. The present paper argues that the relationship between Rāvanā and Sinhala Buddhism that this conceptualization suggests is ridden with certain contradictions that Sinhala Buddhist nationalism fails to address successfully. Continue reading
Filed under art & allure bewitching, atrocities, cultural transmission, heritage, Hinduism, historical interpretation, Indian religions, landscape wondrous, life stories, politIcal discourse, Saivism, sri lankan society, the imaginary and the real
Garrett Field, abstract of article entitled “Music for Inner Domains: Sinhala Song and the Arya and Hela Schools of Cultural Nationalism in Colonial Sri Lanka”, in The Journal of Asian Studies November 2014, vol. 73(4):1043-1058 ·
In this article, I juxtapose the ways the “father of modern Sinhala drama”, John De Silva, and the Sinhala language reformer, Munidasa Cumaratunga, utilized music for different nationalist projects. First, I explore how De Silva created musicals that articulated Arya-Sinhala nationalism to support the Buddhist Revival. Second, I investigate how Cumaratunga, who spearheaded the Hela-Sinhala movement, asserted that genuine Sinhala song…
Filed under cultural transmission, education, ethnicity, heritage, historical interpretation, Indian traditions, landscape wondrous, language policies, life stories, modernity & modernization, patriotism, politIcal discourse, religiosity, self-reflexivity, sri lankan society, unusual people, world events & processes
Dhammika Amarasinghe, in The Island, 5 February 2011
The book mirrors the man. The man is Dr. Sarath Amunugama, eminent public servant of yester year, sociologist, scholar, writer, orator, poet, dramatist, connoisseur (of many things – including the fine arts) and at the end of his career, perhaps unfortunately – politician. The volume has been brought out by his ever-loyal daughters Ramanika and Varuni to celebrate their hero’s 70 years of ‘a full life’ (the title of another of their filial tributes in a different genre). The book is a festschrift in honour of Sarath Amunugama. The list of contributors reads almost like a Roll of Honour of contemporary Sri Lankan intellectual life, ranging as it does from Gananath Obeyesekere and Stanley J Tambiah through Siri Gunasinghe, J. B. Dissanayake and Carlo Fonseka to Jayantha Dhanapala, H. L. Seneviratne and Saman Kelegama (and many more of the same vintage). The standing of the contributors, almost all of whom are incidentally long-time friends and associates of Amunugama, and the wealth of high quality material encapsulated in this volume of 400 pages, makes the writing of a ‘review’ almost a daunting task. Therefore, what can be done is only to give some flavour of a selection of the contributions. The range of contributors mirrors not only the standing of the man being honoured but also the wide spectrum of his interests and accomplishments. Continue reading
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Michael Roberts, a reprint of an article published originally in Comparative Studies in Society and History 1985, vol. 27: 401-429. which is also available in in M. Roberts, Exploring Confrontation, (Harwood Academic Publishers, 1994). **
Some recent essays on the relationship between history on the one hand and anthropology and/or sociology on the other concentrate on the differences in the material with which the typical practitioner deals and the types of issues likely to be addressed (Thompson 1972, 1976, 1977; Davis 1981). They have tended to compare the perspectives that anthropologists and historians bring into their work. And both E. P. Thompson and Natalie Z. Davis advocate increasing mutual borrowing from each discipline: they wish the one discipline to deepen its sensitivity and to avoid the usual pitfalls by drawing on the strengths of the other. Thus, by way of illustration, one finds Thompson arguing that historians tend to be more attentive to the paradoxes and ambivalences of actual men, and that they are attuned to the discipline of context because of this attentiveness to heterogeneity, a strength which sociologists—who, he says, tend to overgeneralize and to swallow heterogeneity through the manufacture of neat typologies—would be well advised to draw upon (1976: 387,394). Continue reading
Filed under British colonialism, cultural transmission, disparagement, ethnicity, heritage, historical interpretation, landscape wondrous, language policies, life stories, Muslims in Lanka, patriotism, politIcal discourse, self-reflexivity, sri lankan society, world events & processes
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
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
Filed under accountability, atrocities, communal relations, cultural transmission, disparagement, economic processes, ethnicity, female empowerment, historical interpretation, landscape wondrous, life stories, nationalism, politIcal discourse, power sharing, religious nationalism, riots and pogroms, self-reflexivity, Sinhala-Tamil Relations, sri lankan society, the imaginary and the real, vengeance, women in ethnic conflcits