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
Sumanasiri Liyanage, in The Island, 3 August 2017, which has the title Reflections on four decades of neo-liberalism: 1977- 2017″”
Senani and Kalpa, two of my former students, gave me a wonderful gift when they returned to Sri Lanka for a summer vacation from the New School of Social Research in New York. The gift that is a copy of Arundhati Roy’s second novel, The Ministry of Utmost Happiness, provided me loads of thought on the subject that I intend to deal with in this essay. Of course her narrative is about India. The following quotation appears to be equally applicable to Sri Lanka’s journey in the last four decades through neoliberalism. On page 105, she writes: “The summer of the city’s resurrection had also been the summer of scams-coal scams, iron-ore scams, housing scams, insurance scams, stamp-paper scams, phone-licence scams, land scams, dam scams, irrigation scams, arms and ammunition scams, petrol-pump scams, polio-vaccine scams, electricity-bill scams, school-book scams, God Men scams, drought-relief scams, car-number plate scams, voter-list scams, identity-card scams- in which politicians, businessmen, businessmen-politicians and politician-businessmen had made off with unimaginable quantities of public money.” If one wants to Sri Lankanize the list she may do some additions and subtractions like karunka scams, pepper scams and of course bond scams. Continue reading
Filed under accountability, american imperialism, cultural transmission, disparagement, economic processes, export issues, foreign policy, governance, heritage, island economy, landscape wondrous, life stories, politIcal discourse, power politics, self-reflexivity, sri lankan society, world events & processes
Neville Ladduwahetty, in The Island, 2 August 2017, an essay entitled “Ä Special Rapporteur’s visit”
The visit of Ben Emmerson Q.C., aUN Special Rapporteur on human rights and counter-terrorism, to Sri Lanka from July 10 to 14 was concluded with a statement to the media in which he warned Sri Lanka of “dire consequences” unless the Government fully implemented the Geneva Resolution 30/1. An Associated Press report in The Washington Post of July 15 states: “…that even those as recently as late last year have been subjected to torture…”. Continuing he had stated: “In Sri Lanka however, such practices are very deeply ingrained in the security sector, and all of the evidence points to the conclusion that the use of torture has been and remains today endemic and routine”. His report adds that torture is routine, “for those arrested and detained on national security grounds.”
Filed under accountability, British imperialism, disparagement, foreign policy, growth pole, historical interpretation, human rights, Indian Ocean politics, legal issues, modernity & modernization, politIcal discourse, power politics, security, Sinhala-Tamil Relations, slanted reportage, sri lankan society, UN reports, vengeance, world events & processes
PTI Item: “Sri Lanka, China sign USD 1.1 bn Hambantota port deal” Jul 29, 2017
Sri Lanka today signed a USD 1.1 billion deal with China to sell a 70-per cent stake in the strategic Hambantota port to a state-run Chinese firm, a move that could raise security concerns in India. The deal had been delayed by several months over concerns that the deep-sea port could be used by the Chinese Navy.
Cash-rich China has invested millions of dollars in Sri Lanka’s infrastructure since the end of a brutal civil war in 2009. As part of the deal, the stake in the loss-making port has been sold to China’s state-run conglomerate China Merchant Port Holdings (CMPort).
Filed under China and Chinese influences, commoditification, disparagement, economic processes, foreign policy, governance, Indian Ocean politics, island economy, life stories, modernity & modernization, politIcal discourse, power politics, Rajapaksa regime, slanted reportage, sri lankan society, the imaginary and the real, transport and communications, world events & processes