Category Archives: cultural transmission

The Deep Imprint of Prabhakaran’s Thamililam: Kilinochchi in May 2009

Sinharaja Tammita-Delgoda, being an article published in The Island on 17 May 2009 and thereafter in 2010 by the Centre for Land Warfare Studies –with the title “Letters on a Blackboard – A Lost Generation” … being a review is based on the author’s personal impressions and experience of the last Eelam War. Much of the material was gathered during the course of the author’s visits to the war zone between 19 March and 27 April 2009,

The entrance to Kilinochchi Maha Vidyalayam (Kilinochchi High School) is dominated by a large map. Although it is actually a map of Sri Lanka, most of it is blank. One section however, is clear and sharply defined in bright red. Stretching all the way down from the top, it occupies the entire north of the island, snaking down on either side. On the west coast it touches the outskirts of the capital Colombo; on the east, it reaches right down to the deep south. All in all, the red areas encompass more than one third of the entire landmass and almost two thirds of the coastline.

The rest of the country however, does not exist. An empty space in washed out blue, it is barely distinct from the surrounding ocean. The map is entitled “Our Country. Tamil Eelam.” Every day, every student entering and leaving the school would have to file past this map. This was all they knew of Sri Lanka. Recently however, the map has been slighted amended. At the very heart of the blank space, daubed in big letters, are the words “SL ARMY.” Continue reading

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Filed under authoritarian regimes, cultural transmission, education, historical interpretation, landscape wondrous, life stories, LTTE, politIcal discourse, power politics, rehabilitation, Sinhala-Tamil Relations, sri lankan society, zealotry

Ambedkar’s Criticism of Caste Divisions now available in Sinhala

Basil Fernando

 

A Sinhala Translation of Dr. B. R. Ambedkar’s book Annihilation of Caste is now available. It is entitled Kulaya Mulin Uputa Demeema” The book has been translated into an easy, readable language by Osadhi Nayantara Gunasekera and published by the Asian Human Rights Commission. The book is now available in bookshops in Sri Lanka. Annihilation of Caste is one of the finest political works produced in Indian political literature. This book was originally written as the text for a keynote address. It was for a gathering of a society called Enlightened Hindus and published as a book in 1936. Ever since, this book has been translated into almost all Indian languages and into many other international languages such as English, French and others.

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Filed under accountability, cultural transmission, democratic measures, discrimination, economic processes, female empowerment, heritage, historical interpretation, human rights, landscape wondrous, legal issues, life stories, modernity & modernization, politIcal discourse, self-reflexivity, sri lankan society, the imaginary and the real, welfare & philanthophy, working class conditions, world events & processes

Vijaya Vidyasagara, An Ecumenical Christian Socialist in Bygone Times

Devnesan Nesiah,  reviewing Memoirs of a Christian and a Socialist 

 This fascinating autobiography of Vijaya Vidyasagara edited by Skantha Kumar and Marshal Fernando and published by the Ecumenical Institute for Study and Dialogue is excellent reading. Priced at Rs. 500/- and covering 300 pages this book is a very good buy for any reader interested in Sri Lankan society and politics. Having known Vijaya and associated with him and the Christian Workers Fellowship (CWF) for over half a century, I found the book difficult to put down. I read it from cover to cover within a few days. Vijaya was also the founder editor of the Christian Worker, an excellent quarterly, now defunct.

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Filed under cultural transmission, democratic measures, economic processes, historical interpretation, Left politics, life stories, literary achievements, patriotism, politIcal discourse, self-reflexivity, social justice, sri lankan society, world affairs

SWRD Bandaranaike Images from the 1930s ……. and Further On

 Young SWRD  Bandaranaike and Sirima Ratwatte

 SWRD in Gandhian mode – cover of Charkaya and Goyam Keta Continue reading

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Filed under accountability, cultural transmission, discrimination, heritage, language policies, life stories, nationalism, patriotism, power politics, self-reflexivity, Sinhala-Tamil Relations, sri lankan society, the imaginary and the real, trauma, unusual people, world affairs

Footsteps across Continents: Hedi Simon and the Stadlens of Austria and Britain

Matthew Stadlen, in The Telegraph, 11 November 2013, where the title is “Family history: retracing the steps of a romance disrupted by war”

In 1938 my grandfather, the pianist Peter Stadlen, was returning to his native Austria from a concert tour of Ireland when he happened to meet a girl on the ferry home. As a result he caught a cold from chatting to her on deck, and had to stop over in Amsterdam. The fates were with him, because the following day – 75 years ago – the Nazis marched into Austria; Peter was a secular Jew. He was able to communicate with his mother and sister, who were still in Vienna, and urge them to leave by the next train to Holland. From there, all three made it to London as refugees, and that is where my family has been based ever since. They were lucky.

 Hedi Simon … also known as Heidi Keuneman before her second marriage to Peter Stadlen

My great-great-uncle, known as Onkl Friedl, did not escape. He was one of the very first to die at the hands of the Gestapo when they moved into Vienna. He had been chief economic adviser to pre-Nazi Chancellors of Austria, and was immediately put under house arrest. A paraplegic, he always kept cyanide in his ring in case he should ever be caught in a fire, unable to escape. He tricked the Nazi guards into leaving his room and took the poison. I have red hair but neither of my parents do: Onkl Friedl was a redhead and I’ve always believed it comes from him.

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Filed under asylum-seekers, British colonialism, cultural transmission, economic processes, heritage, human rights, immigration, landscape wondrous, life stories, meditations, performance, politIcal discourse, power politics, self-reflexivity, the imaginary and the real, unusual people, women in ethnic conflcits, world events & processes, World War II

A New Study of the Portuguese in the East

Shihan de Silva Jayasuriya’s THE PORTUGUESE IN THE EAST: A CULTURAL HISTORY OF A MARITIME TRADING EMPIRE  is due in print soon, under the imprint of IB Tauris

:Vasco da Gama’s voyage to India in the late fifteenth century opened up new economic and cultural horizons for the Portuguese. Undertaken at the height of Portugal’s maritime influence, it helped to create an oceanic state ranging from the Cape of Good Hope to China. Shihan de Silva Jayasuriya charts the influences of the Portuguese in more than 50 Asian tongues. Luso-Asian influence became engrained in eastern cultures in subtle ways, such as the Portuguese oral traditions in folk literature, embedded in postcolonial Asian music and song. Portuguese cultural legacies are a lasting reminder of an unexpected outcome of seaborne commerce. “Jayasuriya’s use of music and linguistic innovations as a source for the history of the Portuguese presence in Asia opens new paths for other historians … an important contribution.” — João Vicente MeloJournal for Maritime Research

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Filed under cultural transmission, economic processes, heritage, historical interpretation, Indian Ocean politics, landscape wondrous, self-reflexivity, the imaginary and the real, unusual people, working class conditions, world events & processes

Caste in Sinhala Society

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Filed under British colonialism, caste issues, communal relations, cultural transmission, economic processes, gender norms, heritage, historical interpretation, life stories, politIcal discourse, sri lankan society, the imaginary and the real, working class conditions