African sisters in Sri Lanka
On the road to Sirambiyadi
In every culture family is an important element of human life. For centuries Ceylon had been a maritime domain for foreign traders, defiant conquerors and zealous missionaries. All these foreigners left behind their ancestors, who with time, integrated into our society. There were many nationalities who lived here in those ancient times – Arabs, Europeans, Indians and Africans. Much focus has been given to the various ethnic clans, but, people of African origin domiciled here were marginalised. Once in a while, these African-Sri Lankans would capture our attention via a youtube song video. One of the last such families of direct African origin live in Puttalam. The name Puttalam, is believed to be derived from the Tamil word “upputhalam” – uppu meaning salt and thalam meaning area of production, thus Puttalam is still famous for salt.
Filed under British imperialism, cultural transmission, economic processes, ethnicity, gender norms, heritage, landscape wondrous, life stories, Portuguese in Indian Ocean, religiosity, self-reflexivity, sri lankan society, welfare & philanthophy, world events & processes
Writer S Karunakaran reflects on Black July from the perspective of a marginalised and often forgotten community – the Malaiyagha Tamils – and specifically those who tried to resettle in the North…
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Sasanka Perera, in The Island, 8 August 2018, where the title is “Rescuing Dharmapala from the ‘Nation’,” …. with emphasis via highlighting in this version being an imposition by The Editor, Thuppahi
I was intrigued to see the worlds of knowledge of the past that were opened up when reading Steven Kemper’s 2015 book, ‘Rescued from the Nation: Anagarika Dharmapala and the Buddhist World’ published by the University of Chicago Press. Growing up Sinhala Buddhist in Sri Lanka, Anagarika Dharmapala (1864-1933) would easily be one of the most important historical characters from the recent past, we had become familiar with early in our lives. This was certainly so for my generation. As we know from that experience, Dharmapala was closely and intimately linked to the country’s Buddhist revivalism in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Precisely due to this reason, he was the most iconic culture hero of the Sinhala Buddhists in the modern period.
Filed under British colonialism, communal relations, cultural transmission, economic processes, ethnicity, heritage, historical interpretation, Indian religions, Indian traditions, landscape wondrous, life stories, nationalism, patriotism, pilgrimages, politIcal discourse, power sharing, religiosity, self-reflexivity, sri lankan society, the imaginary and the real, travelogue, unusual people, world events & processes
Jehan Perera in Island, 23 July 2018, where the title is “Coping With Nationalism In Jaffna Through Engagement”
Early in the morning as I walked down a street in Jaffna, I heard a cry “Annai, annai.” Initially, I took no notice and kept on walking, but the cry was persistent. So I looked back to see two small children behind the gate of their house. I smiled at them and recommenced my walk. But again the cry “Annai, annai” rent the air. This time I turned back and walked to the source of the sound. The elder one, a girl of about six years of age, ran away but the little one, a boy of no more than three stood his ground. Eyes gleaming and with a drippy nose he stood and smiled. I reached out through the chained gate and stroked the top of his head and he laughed happily and ran away.
Filed under accountability, citizen journalism, communal relations, economic processes, governance, historical interpretation, landscape wondrous, legal issues, life stories, nationalism, politIcal discourse, reconciliation, self-reflexivity, Sinhala-Tamil Relations, sri lankan society, Tamil civilians, trauma, truth as casualty of war, unusual people, vengeance, welfare & philanthophy, world events & processes, zealotry