Michael Roberts: with original title being “From Empiricist Conflation to Distortion: Caste in South Asia” – reproduced from Modern Asian Studies, 1983, vol 17/3, pp. 519 -27.**
Susan Bayly has done me the honour of reviewing the book on Caste Conflict and Elite Formation: The Rise of a Karava Elite in Sri Lanka, 1500-1931 at considerable length. Her essay is appropriately entitled ‘The History of Caste in South Asia’. This title provides a clue to the interpretative pathways which have led her systematically to misunderstand the arguments within the book. No less problematical is her implicit belief in the possibility of constructing a composite picture of the caste system qua system on the basis of empirical data drawn from different regions, regions as widely different as Sri Lanka, southern India and western India. Let me elaborate this charge, and in doing so reiterate the arguments which I presented.
Contemporary migration patterns of fishermen derived from Fritz Bartz: “Fischer auf Ceylon,” Bonner Geographisische Abhnadlungen Heft 27 (1959)
Susan Bayly in 1983, reviewing Caste Conflict and Elite Formation: The Rise of a Karava Elite in Sri Lanka, 1500-1931 by Michael Roberts Cambridge University Press: Cambridge, 1982.
The literature on the south Asian caste system is vast and contentious and the current war of words shows no sign of abating. This book conforms to current trends both in focusing on the experience of a single caste group under colonial rule, and also in adopting a polemical tone towards other historians. Roberts’ subject is the Karava population of Sri Lanka and his first aim is to explain why this group of poor fishermen and artisans managed to throw up a disproportionately large elite of businessmen, lawyers and other western-educated professional men by the end of the nineteenth-century. The discussion is set against the background of works on comparable Asian business communities such as the Marwaris and Parsis. An important theme, then, is the relationship between individual enterprise and the corporate structure of caste: did the Karava magnate class emerge because of, or in spite of, their roots in a hierarchical caste order? Continue reading
Filed under British colonialism, Buddhism, caste issues, communal relations, cultural transmission, discrimination, disparagement, economic processes, education, historical interpretation, immigration, Indian religions, Indian traditions, island economy, landscape wondrous, life stories, politIcal discourse, power politics, sri lankan society, transport and communications, world events & processes
Michael Safi in Hambantota and Amantha Perera, in The Guardian, 26 March 2018, with this title “The biggest game changer in 100 years’: Chinese money gushes into Sri Lanka,” … with highlights being the imposition of The Editor, Thuppahi
Little disturbs the serenity of Guan Yin, the bodhisattva of compassion, as her statue sits in contemplation at the centre of Mattala Rajapaksa international airport. The last flight from the airport departed at 7.50am. The next is scheduled for 7.50am tomorrow. In the meantime, check-in counters are empty, car rental desks deserted, and the only sign of life a handful of staff laughing around an information desk who disperse when a visitor arrives.
Mattala Rakapaksa airport, built with Chinese loans, handles 50,000 passengers a year, a fraction of its capacity of 1 million. Photograph: Michael Safi
Filed under accountability, China and Chinese influences, disparagement, foreign policy, governance, growth pole, Indian Ocean politics, island economy, landscape wondrous, modernity & modernization, politIcal discourse, power politics, Rajapaksa regime, slanted reportage, sri lankan society, transport and communications, world events & processes
Peter Lalor in The Australian, 28 March 2019, where the title runs “Fourth Test in doubt amid claims players want to abandon tour”
Australia’s cricket team is in upheaval and players want to quit the tour of South Africa and abandon the fourth and final Test, a former player says. Gavin Robertson told Fox Sports News on Tuesday night that morale within the dressing room is so bad that players don’t want to play in the next Test, which begins on Friday. “They are going to break apart in the next couple days,” he told Fox Sports’ Bill and Boz. “I spoke to people this morning, the players don’t want to play the test. Generally, they don’t feel like playing because they are absolutely gutted.”
The team has cancelled Wednesday night’s training session as players and officials reel from the banishment of Steve Smith, David Warner and Cameron Bancroft over the ball tempering scandal.
Filed under accountability, Australian culture, australian media, cricket for amity, cultural transmission, disparagement, governance, historical interpretation, landscape wondrous, life stories, politIcal discourse, power politics, self-reflexivity, trauma, world affairs
Australian cricket mirrors Australian sporting culture in that it is marked by a relentless will to win. At the highest level of Australian cricket in recent years it has generated several outcomes. I summarize these consequences in haphazard order.
- As revealed recently in South Africa, it has led to ball-tampering – probably acts that have been quite systematic in the recent past.
- This has been accompanied by pugnacious mourning – exemplified over recent years by the on-field face and verbals of Stephen Smith.
- It has heightened the age-old Australian cricketing philosophy of verbal intimidation within the cricket field directed towards unsettling the opposing batsmen and securing wickets …. and a WIN.
- Verbal assaults have on occasions been supported by intimidating bouncer-barrages that exceed the limits set bythe ICC … a practice that led to the unintentional killing of Phil Hughes in a Sheffield Shield match (see Roberts 2016)
Filed under accountability, atrocities, Australian culture, australian media, conspiracies, cultural transmission, disparagement, historical interpretation, life stories, performance, politIcal discourse, power politics, self-reflexivity, vengeance, violence of language