Richard Drayton, In search of Christopher Bayly,” keynote, for the Memorial Symposium for Sir Christopher Alan Bayly St Catharine’s College, Cambridge May 21, 2016
‘Va, pensiero, su alli’ dorate’ – ‘Fly thought on wings of gold’, spread from a small choir to a crowd of thousands in Paris on the night of April 30, the 30th night of the “Nuit Debout” occupation of the Place de La Republique.1 The “Song of the Hebrew slaves” from Verdi’s Nabucco, once the anthem through which Garibaldi and Mazzini’s followers had lamented Austria’s Babylonian tyranny, became a symbol in 2016 of a month’s defiance of the French state’s proscription of public protest. Continue reading
Filed under British colonialism, centre-periphery relations, communal relations, cultural transmission, economic processes, governance, heritage, Hinduism, historical interpretation, Indian religions, Indian traditions, life stories, meditations, modernity & modernization, pilgrimages, politIcal discourse, power politics, the imaginary and the real, unusual people, world events & processes
Ranga Kalugampitiya, courtesy of Colombo Telegraph, dated 20 July 2015, where the title runs ‘Rāvanā & Sinhala Buddhism: A Strained Relationship Ridden With Contradictions”…. The version here being embellished with Editorial highlighting.
Rāvanā, one of the principal characters in the Rāmāyana, emerges as a villain in the mainstream (Hindu) understandings of the text. Given the important position that Rāmā (Rāvanā’s opponent), who is believed to be a manifestation of Viśnu, occupies in the Hindu religious tradition, Rāvanā becomes a symbol of evil in those readings of the text.
Nevertheless, the conceptualizations of Rāvanā within the context of Sinhala Buddhist nationalism point to alternative perspectives on the character. One such perspective that has emerged in the post-2009 Sri Lankan context shows a tendency to idealize Rāvanā as a national hero. The present paper argues that the relationship between Rāvanā and Sinhala Buddhism that this conceptualization suggests is ridden with certain contradictions that Sinhala Buddhist nationalism fails to address successfully. Continue reading
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Ethnic Conflict in Buddhist Societies in South and Southeast Asia. The Politics behind Religious Rivalries, edited by K.M. de Silva, 2015 (pp. 270 +xvi)
The book aims to examine the role of Buddhism as a factor of conflict in the three main Theravada Buddhist societies of South and Southeast Asia—Sri Lanka, Thailand and Myanmar. The dispute in this island had engaged the attention of Sri Lanka’s political class for the two previous decades, while political analysts from Sri Lanka and others from various parts of the world examined the impact of Buddhism on the Sri Lanka polity and the prolonged ethnic conflict in Sri Lanka. The situation in Thailand and Myanmar provided a convenient comparative basis in the reviews and in the literature in these three Buddhist societies. Continue reading
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Sudharshan Seneviratne, reviewing Lakshman S. Perera: The Institutions of Ancient Ceylon from Inscriptions, (from 3rd Century BC to 830 AD) Volume I ….. with Introduction and supplementary notes by Sirima Kiribamunne and Piyatissa Senanayake, ICES, Kandy 2001, … 322 pages … reviewed in http://www.infolanka.com/org/srilanka/cult/45.htm
The Antecedents: My first encounter with the historian was in 1974 when I visited the University library at Peradeniya as a postgraduate student. It was never a formal introduction – not even a personal meeting. Yet, it was close enough for me to admire the man and his work. The silent space afforded by the Ceylon Room at Peradeniya was ideally suited for a dialogue with the past. I reached out to the past through the volumes of a doctoral thesis – so immaculately completed a year before I was born! Page after page three volumes of information unfolded a dimension hitherto less known in the history of Sri Lanka. This study I thought, will always remain as a testimony to the ‘historian’s craft’ (apologies to Marc Bloch) so purposefully executed by a scholar with a sober perception to the study of history. Continue reading
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1= agitated Indians try to scale gates of the All-India Medical Institute, 31 October 1984
Michael Roberts on Bhawan Singh’s Pictorial Images
The first two images reveal the agitation and anguish of Indian citizens in Delhi who had rushed to the entrance of the All India Institute of Medical Sciences on the 31st October where Indira Gandhi had been rushed to in hopes of her resuscitation after she was shot by her own Sikh bodyguards. Two more pictures below underline the emotions coursing through the minds and bodies of these patriot citizens of India who were so moved by the prospect of her death that they rushed to her side so to speak. Continue reading
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Michael Roberts, being a re-print of a review of Roshan De Silva-Wijeyreratne’s book in Groundviews in February 2015 entitled “Review of ‘Nation, Constitutionalism and Buddhism in Sri Lanka’,” … including here the comments in Groundviews from devoted critics of the reviewer Roberts.
This treatise encompasses a vast span of time and straddles both the pre-modern and modern periods of Sri Lanka’s history down to the present moment. It engages, deploys, transcends and weaves through a vast array of scholars: Berkwitz, Chakrabarty, Collins, Duncan, Greenwald, Kaviraj, Kemper, Obeyesekere, Rampton, Roberts, Smith and Tambiah among others, with Bruce Kapferer as the guiding inspiration. As such, it is an ambitious tour de force that seeks a synthesis. The book is heavy reading and not a task for those weak or impatient. They have to comprehend a battery of difficult concepts in noun and adjectival form: ontology, episteme, refraction, governmentality, hermeneutic, telos and cosmic sovereignty for instance.
Filed under Buddhism, constitutional amendments, cultural transmission, democratic measures, devolution, governance, heritage, Hinduism, historical interpretation, Indian religions, landscape wondrous, legal issues, life stories, modernity & modernization, nationalism, politIcal discourse, power politics, reconciliation, religiosity, self-reflexivity, Sinhala-Tamil Relations, sri lankan society, the imaginary and the real, violence of language, welfare & philanthophy, world events & processes