Category Archives: female empowerment

Sovereignty, Space and Civil War in Sri Lanka: Porous Nation

Anoma Pieris has produced yet another book, this time with the prestigious Taylor & Francis imprint. In hardback it runs to 236 pages and has line drawings, tables and 35 illustrations — so it is expensive: Aus $ 216.88

 

Analyses of the Sri Lankan civil war (1983-2009) overwhelmingly represent it as an ethnonationalist contest, prolonging postcolonial arguments on the creation and dissolution of the incipient nation-state since independence in 1948. While colonial divide-and-rule policies, the rise of ethnonationalist lobbies, structural discrimination and majoritarian democracy have been established as grounds for inter-ethnic hostility, there are other significant transformative forces that remain largely unacknowledged in postcolonial analyses.

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Economising via Gleaning. Ancient Practices for Today’s World

Item in THE ECONOMIST,  Christmas Special, entitled Gleaning. The return of gleaning in the modern world. How much can an ancient practice do to alleviate hunger?”

AT THE SALON in Paris in 1857, Jean-François Millet exhibited a painting called “Des glaneuses” (“Gleaners”). It caused a scandal. Millet had long made a point of painting peasants at their labours, but this big canvas was his strongest provocation. Into a decorous world of silks and parasols it introduced rough women, plump in their homespun skirts, rumps in the air, grubbing for ears of grain dropped after the harvest. One critic complained of “ugliness and…grossness unrelieved”. Another said it made him think of the scaffolds and pikes of the Terror of 1793.

Millet had seen the women differently. He found them dignified, doing their work in a sanctifying late-summer light, companions to his peasant “Angelus”. In this, as well as their humble roughness, he caught the essence of gleaning.

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Galle Fort and Its Literary and Pictorial Fare: A Partial Bibliography

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Anne Abayasekara’s Sturdy Witness to Our Troubled Times

Suvendrini Kanagasabai Perera, in Island, 26 December 2018, where the title reads In the thick of it: Anne Abayasekara, Unfaltering Witness. Review of book – ‘Telling It Like It Is’emphasis via highlights below being the work of The Editor, Thuppahi

Reflecting on her life at an address to the Rotary Club in 2012, Anne Abayasekara made a telling comparison between the life of the creative writer and what she described as her own “enduring love affair with journalism”: “The distinctive feature about journalism … is that in writing for newspapers, you don’t sit in solitude, but have to be out on the street, in the thick of people and events.”

Anne Abayasekara spent over 65 years in the thick of it, thoroughly enmeshed in a world she relished and clearly loved, but nonetheless viewed with great clarity. Her extraordinary career spans Independence in 1948 (she attended the festivities as a young reporter for the fashion pages), the three grim decades of the war and the unpromising peace that has succeeded it. Through it all, she held up a mirror to the society she loved, bearing witness to its atrocities and most egregious failures, as to its small acts of grace and moments of beauty. This carefully distilled selection of her writings provides an important snapshot of this period. At the same time, emerging from its pages is a picture of the writer herself: a spirited, large-hearted, deeply humane woman, characterised, above all, by a rare, sustained courage. Continue reading

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Mouth-Watering Christmas Cake from Sri Lanka

Rachel Bartholomeusz,** in sbs.com, 2 November 2018, where the title isThe best Christmas cake you’ll ever eat comes from Sri Lanka”

The Romans might have invented the fruitcake, but Sri Lanka, a tiny island in the Indian Ocean, perfected it. It might strike you as odd that a Buddhist-majority country is home to the best Christmas cake in the world, but it shouldn’t. This cake tells the story of the cultures that have passed through Sri Lanka, of a former Portuguese, then Dutch, then British colony that still loves Christmas.

Mouth-Watering Christmas cake from Sri Lanka

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Vibrant Lifeways in Sri Lanka via Its Literary Figures and Places

Uma Mahadevan Dasgupta  in The Hindu, 8 December 2018,  where the title is “In Sri Lanka, Life imitates Art”

As we travel through Sri Lanka, its strong literary voices come crashing in like waves, and life seems to imitate art

I sit in the huge living room of the old governor’s home in Jaffna. The walls, painted… a warm rose-red, stretch awesome distances away to my left, to my right and up towards a white ceiling. When the Dutch first built this house egg white was used to paint the walls. The doors are twenty feet high, as if awaiting the day when a family of acrobats will walk from room to room, sideways, without dismantling themselves from each other’s shoulders. —Running in the Family, Michael Ondaatje

 Hectic colours: Second Cross Street Pettah 

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Our Murali: An Ecumenical Man for All Peoples and Ethnicities

Pushpendra Albe, in Cricket Age, 10 November 2018 where the title is Murali Helps All Communities Alike, So Who Can Complain?”

As a cricketer, Muttiah Muralitharan has been regarded as the greatest spinnerof all time. As a cricketer, his journey to become the living legend of the game by overcoming all the hurdles and controversies, was nothing sort of a spectacular fairy tale.

However, there is another side of Murali, which has turned out equally admirable. As a philanthropist, through his NGO Foundation Of Goodness (FOG), Murali have brought change in the millions of the Sri Lankans, irrespective of their caste, background or religion. Murali’s journey as a philanthropist in last one decade has transformed Sri Lanka’s poor communities and has opened the whole new world for the younger generations. With his manager and founder trustee of FOG Kushil Gunasekera, Murali has become a symbol of peace, harmony and has uplifted millions of lives. Those Tamil leaders, who are questioning Murali’s contribution to the community, must see the ground reality of bowling legend philanthropic achievements, before pointing fingers towards him!

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