Category Archives: education policy

Narrating Tamil Nationalism: Subjectivities and Issues

 Michael Roberts,  being a reprint of a review article in South Asia: Journal of South Asian Studies, s., Vol. XXVII, no.1, April 2004 …… with a review of this essay by Bandu de Silva having appeared earlier Thuppahi. The version here has highlighted emphasis to aid the reader –clearly a ‘work ‘in 2017.

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Alfred Jeyaratnam Wilson, now regrettably with his maker, remains Sri Lanka’s leading political scientist, with numerous books associated with his name. He had secured eminence as early as the 1970s, when attached to Peradeniya University, and this reputation enabled him to move to a Professorship at the University of New Brunswick around 1972. It was his considerable scholarly reputation that encouraged the president of Sri Lanka and leader of the right-wing United National Party, J. R. Jayewardene, to utilise his consultative services in the political negotiations and constitutional engineering that occurred in the period 1978–83. His participation was facilitated by K. M. de Silva, a confidante of the president as well as Wilson’s long-time friend.

 Wilson     KM dde Silva Continue reading

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July 19, 2017 · 3:39 pm

Introducing FIRE AND STORM by Michael Roberts

Anonymous Reviewer in Sunday Times, 21 July 2013,  where the title runs “Important contribution towards a dialogue on Lankan polity. Book facts”

When Michael Roberts left Peradeniya in the late seventies, he was part of an exodus of intellectuals from the University of Ceylon, Peradeniya, arguably one of the best universities at that time. The exodus of academics at that time was compelled by the economic difficulties faced by university dons. It was the second wave of such emigration that diminished the intellectual life of the university and country.

  Pirapāharan and leading Tiger Commanders at the Indian sponsored training camp at Sirimalai in 1984

The Arts Faculty of the University of Peradeniya never regained its prestigious academic status after that. Today the University of Peradeniya cannot take pride in intellectuals of the eminence of E. F. C. Ludowyck, E. R Sarachchandra, H. A. de S. Gunasekera, Fr. Ignatius Pinto, Ian Van den Driesen and many others. Continue reading

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Dissecting Roberts’ Review of NARRATING TAMIL NATIONALISM

Bandu de Silva, in The Island, on 30 October 2006, reviewing Narrating Tamil Nationalism—Subjectivities and Issues by Michael Roberts

Michael Roberts’ slim book (52 pages) with pictures, published by Vijitha Yapa publications has already Attracted some public attention but I think it deserves a wider comment despite the shortness of the treatment because it is in itself a commentary on a more controversial work by A. J. Wilson on Sri Lankan Tamil Nationalism, its Orgin and Development in the 19th and 20 Centuries with a Chapter by Rev. A. J. V. Chandrakanthan. (London Hurst & Co., now published as a Penguin Book. A Jeyaratnam Wilson

     A Jeyaratnam Wilson Continue reading

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In Appreciation of Saman Kelegama

Shavindra Fernando. in Daily News, 29 June 2017. with the title reading as Last conversation with a beautiful mind”

My last conversation with Dr Saman Kelegama was about Oxford. It was a place that he was so fond of, and he always remembered his Oxford days with gratitude. He read Industrial Economics for his doctorate at St Catherine’s College. He was a St Cat’s man. Some of us Reuter Fellows, the first reporters to be sent to Oxford in the late 1980s got to know him at St Giles, where we were housed at Queen Elizabeth House.

The press was focused on Sri Lanka at that time, though the Sri Lanka fraternity was tiny as always. The Indian army had been asked to leave by the Sri Lanka government under siege by the JVP Marxist rebels. Kelegama’s views were of interest to us. He was a Sri Lankan who had studied Mathematics in India and was seen as someone who had insight into the psyche of both countries. Continue reading

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Asoka Bandarage’s Study of The Separatist Conflict in Sri Lanka appeared in 2009

Assoke Bandarage BANDARAGE COVER

The Routledge Flier: Using careful historical research and analysis of policy documents, this book explains the origin and evolution of the political conflict in Sri Lanka over the struggle to establish a separate state in its Northern and Eastern Provinces. The conflict between the Sri Lankan government and the secessionist LTTE (Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam) is one of the world’s most intractable contemporary armed struggles. The internationally banned LTTE is considered the prototype of modern terrorism. It is known to have introduced suicide bombing to the world, and recently became the first terrorist organization ever to acquire an air force. The book argues that the Sri Lankan conflict cannot be adequately understood from the dominant bipolar analysis that sees it as a primordial ethnic conflict between the Sinhala majority and the Tamil minority. The book broadens the discourse providing a multipolar analysis of the complex interplay of political-economic and cultural forces at the local, regional and international levels including the roles of India and the international community. Overall, the book presents a conceptual framework useful for comparative global conflict analysis and resolution, shedding light on a host of complex issues such as terrorism, civil society, diasporas, international intervention and secessionism.

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Jane Russell on Sri Lankan Political History in Debate with Kumarasingham’s Readings

From London the historian and scholar  Jane Russell has entered an extensive set of comments on Harshan Kumarasingham’s Heidelberg essay of 2013 –reprinted in Thuppahi in 2014. Given its length and Russell’s background (see below) it deserves wider exposure in the hope that debate will be promoted. I am therefore deleting its original location and posting it as a separate item.

 Russell  Kumarasingham

  1. HARSHAN KUMARASINGHAM”s “The Deceptive Tranquillity surrounding Sri Lankan Independence: ‘The Jewel of the East yet has its Flaws’,”  is an interesting paper with which I broadly agree, despite a tendency by the author to sacrifice judgement in favour of rhetoric. However, Dr. Harshan Kumarasingham has gone for the elegant historical narrative rather than seeking to explore and analyse some of the more nuanced, underlying factors that may help to understand the spiralling of Ceylon, cited by the British as ‘ the Premier Crown Colony” at independence in 1947, into Sri Lanka, characterised by the west at the turn of the 21st century as a terrorist-riven semi-failed state. I hope the following will help to redress this.

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Lanka’s Sovereignty as a Lilliput amidst Several Gullivers in the World Order

Rajiva Wijesinha,  in The Island, 9  November 2016, where the chosen title runsIgnoring the sovereignty of the Sri Lankan nation” … Highlights and colouring  have been added to aid the reader. Editor, Thuppahi

The contempt in leading elements of the current government for the interests of Sri Lanka as a sovereign nation had long puzzled and worried me. A clue to its possible origins emerged recently when I was looking at Michael Roberts’ collection of ‘Documents of the Ceylon National Congress and Nationalist Politics in Ceylon, 1929-1950’. Roberts has there, on p 2802 of Volume 4, an article by J R Jayewardene that recommends ‘An Indo-Lanka Federation’. He does say that ‘It is not possible here to define the status of Lanka in such a federation’, but he claims that amongst important conditions to be fulfilled are that ‘India and Lanka must be one unit for the purpose of defence’ and ‘In the Federal Legislature, Lanka must be accorded a status equivalent to the status of the Indian Provinces’.

jrj-cbo-tel young Jr Jayewardene rg-senanayake RG Senanayake

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