Category Archives: education

The Arya and Hela Schools of Sinhala Song

Garrett Field, abstract of   article entitled “Music for Inner Domains: Sinhala Song and the Arya and Hela Schools of Cultural Nationalism in Colonial Sri Lanka”inThe Journal of Asian Studies November 2014, vol. 73(4):1043-1058 ·

In this article, I juxtapose the ways the “father of modern Sinhala drama”, John De Silva, and the Sinhala language reformer, Munidasa Cumaratunga, utilized music for different nationalist projects. First, I explore how De Silva created musicals that articulated Arya-Sinhala nationalism to support the Buddhist Revival. Second, I investigate how Cumaratunga, who spearheaded the Hela-Sinhala movement, asserted that genuine Sinhala song…

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Honouring Sarath Amunugama through Essays in Home and The World”

Dhammika Amarasinghe, in The Island,  5 February 2011

The book mirrors the man. The man is Dr. Sarath Amunugama, eminent public servant of yester year, sociologist, scholar, writer, orator, poet, dramatist, connoisseur (of many things – including the fine arts) and at the end of his career, perhaps unfortunately – politician. The volume has been brought out by his ever-loyal daughters Ramanika and Varuni to celebrate their hero’s 70 years of ‘a full life’ (the title of another of their filial tributes in a different genre). The book is a festschrift in honour of Sarath Amunugama. The list of contributors reads almost like a Roll of Honour of contemporary Sri Lankan intellectual life, ranging as it does from Gananath Obeyesekere and Stanley J Tambiah through Siri Gunasinghe, J. B. Dissanayake and Carlo Fonseka to Jayantha Dhanapala, H. L. Seneviratne and Saman Kelegama (and many more of the same vintage). The standing of the contributors, almost all of whom are incidentally long-time friends and associates of Amunugama, and the wealth of high quality material encapsulated in this volume of 400 pages, makes the writing of a ‘review’ almost a daunting task. Therefore, what can be done is only to give some flavour of a selection of the contributions. The range of contributors mirrors not only the standing of the man being honoured but also the wide spectrum of his interests and accomplishments. Continue reading

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Barron’s Mss History of British Planters via Three Case Studies

Tom J. Barron … a typed Manuscript I discovered in my study; …. an article drafted in 1972/73 [see below]; …..an essay that does not seem to have appeared in print [see elaboration at the end] …Highlighting emphasis is the work of The Editor, Thuppahi

The history of British plantation enterprise in Ceylon is a relatively neglected topic. Most historical works on 19th and 20th century Ceylon mention the estates, but few have troubled to give them any special attention. In some ways the neglect is rather surprising for by the 1870’s. if not earlier, Ceylon was celebrated throughout the world as one of the most progressive and enterprising centres of tropical agriculture. The reputation of the Peradeniya Botanical Gardens and of its most distinguished director, Dr. G. H. K. Thwaites, extended far beyond Ceylon, and Ceylon’s contribution to the science of botany and to the study of agricultural economics was widely regarded as second to none. But, for reasons that are not difficult to detect, the planters have never greatly appealed as heroic figures to the historians of independent Ceylon. For the most part the estates were situated in the hills of the central highlands, remote from the affairs of the mass of her people; the capital and business organization which supported these enterprises were largely imported from Europe; the proprietors, superintendents and assistants who ran the estates were mostly British by birth; and the labour force was recruited principally from South India. There is another difficulty, too; considered from the standpoint of independent, nationalist Ceylon, the planters, who relied upon and openly supported the imperial political and economic systems, are not very sympathetic individuals. Dr. Bastiampillai speaks for many people in Ceylon when he refers to the planters, in his book on Sir William Gregory’s administration, as ‘petulant and peevish,’ ‘self—interested’ and ‘unreasonable.’ It is interesting to note, however, that recently some local historians (of when Dr. Lal Jayawardena and Dr. Michael Roberts are principal) have begun to challenge the notion of the ‘dual economy,‘ to question the theory that most Ceylonese were unaffected by the changes introduced by large-scale plantation agriculture, and to re-examine the achievements which the planters made. Continue reading

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Wilfrid Jayasuriya and Sri Lankan Literature

VISIT http://www.srilankaliterature.com/

Sri Lankan Literature = Fiction, literary and historical studies, contemporary interactions. by Wilfrid Jayasuriya
Time Traveller
Sri Lanka’s Modern English Literature. A case Study in Literary Theory
The Libyan Episode
Christine’s Story (A Novel)
The British Diarie

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Rethinking CP Snow’s Debate on THE TWO CULTURES

S. N  “Chubby” Arseculeratne whose choice of title was  The stuff of history and the stuff of science; a re-consideration of C. P. Snow’s debate on The Two Cultures”

I am basing my comments on the topic of the ongoing debate – Did Jesus live in India ? There were earlier books on this topic by Holger Kersten (Jesus lived in India, The original Jesus,  books by Fida Hassnain (A search for the Historical Jesus) and Elizabeth Clare Prophet (The lost years of Jesus). Commentaries by Bhante Dhammika (Australia), Kamal Wickremasinghe (KW), and V. J. M. de Silva were published in The Island. Tissa Devendra (10 January 2016, The Island) made legitimate comments on the proper styles of academic debate, commenting on KW’s tirade. The Jesus Conspiracy, also by Holger Kersten, dealt with the provenance of The Turin Shroud that is claimed to have covered the body of Jesus when it was taken down after his Crucifixion.

The points that I deal with are not the validity or historicity of the claims on either side of this debate, but firstly the differences in approach between writers in the Humanities, and those in the hard sciences, in their respective tasks. I then consider some reasons for the persistence of this debate on The Two Cultures. Continue reading

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The Ancient Rock at Kurullangala and Its Mystery

Stefan D’Silva,  courtesy of Asian Art, 29 March 2017 …. http://asianartnewspaper.com/?p=2226 .http://asianartnewspaper.com/?p=2226 ..where the title runs thus “The Mysterious Rock Art of Kurullangala”

Located in Uva Province of Sri Lanka, at an elevation of just over 1,200 metres, the Kurullangala rock art stands unique in Sri Lanka. Access to the site is via an extremely dangerous, steep climb or ‘rock hop’ where one has to literally walk on tree branches near the top to gain access to the site and the area is certainly not accessible in wet weather. There is a small rock ‘viewing platform’ approximately 5 metres long and 2-3 metres wide where one can stand to view the art work at eye level and above.

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Rakhita and Senel: Transforming Lives

A SUNDAY TIMES Feature, 23 July 2017 entitled “Young and Unafraid,”… http://www.sundaytimes.lk/170723/plus/young-and-unafraid-251199.html

A month ago two young Sri Lankans were in London to receive the Queen’s Young Leaders Award. Established in 2014, the programme is aimed at discovering, supporting and encouraging exceptional young people between the ages of 18-29 across the Comonwealth for their contribution to their communities. This year, 21-year-old Rakitha Malewana and 26-year-old Senel Wanniarachchi were honoured for their work with HIV/AIDS and social activism respectively.

   Rakitha Malewana, raising awareness about HIV/AIDs. Pix by Indika handuwala

  Social activist Senel Wanniarachchi. Pic by Sameera Weerasekera

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