Category Archives: historical interpretation

Momentous Changes in Ceylon instituted by the Donoughmore Commisison

Leelananda de Silva, in Sunday Times, 5 July 2020

The Donoughmore Commission which came to Sri Lanka in the late 1920s made far reaching and far seeing recommendations, which changed the political, economic and social landscape of Ceylon. The present generation is largely unaware of its role and it is time that they refresh their understanding of the tremendous changes brought in by Donoughmore.

The Earl of Donoughmore

It was a commission consisting of three Britons — the Earl of Donoughmore, Drummond Shields and Burrows. They were political personalities well known in Britain at the time and were not colonial civil servants. They had the political and social vision to overcome the objections of both the colonial masters in Sri Lanka and the local dominant political personalities who were also not in favour of radical reforms.

Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under British colonialism, communal relations, constitutional amendments, democratic measures, devolution, education, electoral structures, governance, historical interpretation, Indian Ocean politics, island economy, landscape wondrous, language policies, life stories, modernity & modernization, parliamentary elections, politIcal discourse, power politics, self-reflexivity, social justice, sri lankan society, Uncategorized, unusual people, world events & processes

Free Education for Ceylon: Tales Missing

Prabhath de Silva, in Island, 11 July 2020, where the title is “Unsung And Forgotten Heroes of Free Education and Sri Lanka’s Missed Opportunities”

Much has been said and written about Dr. C.W.W. Kannangara for his role in the introduction of the Free Education Bill in the State Council (Sri Lanka’s legislature under the Donoughmore Constitution from 1931 to 1947) and implementation of the free education policy here. The nation owes a debt of gratitude to him but there are other unsung and forgotten heroes behind this story.

Continue reading

2 Comments

Filed under accountability, British colonialism, cultural transmission, democratic measures, education, education policy, governance, historical interpretation, language policies, life stories, politIcal discourse, social justice, sri lankan society, teaching profession, world events & processes

Achtung! Whiffs of Tiger Militarism and Tamil Federalism in Recent Talk and Action

ONE: Camelia Nathaniel, in Daily News, 9 July 2020, which carries this title Resurrection of LTTE’s Agenda of Violence”

The LTTE network overseas has been planning a series of attacks in Sri Lanka since the war ended in May 2009. The latest attempt to disrupt peace and stability in Sri Lanka was on July 4, 2020. A former member of the Tamil Tigers Thangarajah Thevathashan was preparing to conduct a bombing to mark the Black Tigers Day. The foreign handlers knew Thangarajah Thevathashan by his LTTE name Gangai Athman alias Kavinjan. He was serving in the LTTE Intelligence wing, notorious for the assassinations of several leaders including the former Indian Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi.

Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under accountability, authoritarian regimes, centre-periphery relations, chauvinism, communal relations, democratic measures, devolution, Eelam, ethnicity, governance, historical interpretation, language policies, life stories, LTTE, martyrdom, nationalism, parliamentary elections, politIcal discourse, power politics, power sharing, prabhakaran, religiosity, self-reflexivity, Sinhala-Tamil Relations, slanted reportage, sri lankan society, suicide bombing, Tamil civilians, Tamil migration, Tamil Tiger fighters, unusual people, vengeance, world events & processes, zealotry

The Threads of Intolerance within Contemporary Liberal/Radical Fervour

A Letter on Justice and Open Debate …. Harpers’ Magazine, July 7, 2020 ……………..
……… The letter below  will be appearing in the Letters section of the magazine’s October issue. We welcome responses at letters@harpers.org

Our cultural institutions are facing a moment of trial. Powerful protests for racial and social justice are leading to overdue demands for police reform, along with wider calls for greater equality and inclusion across our society, not least in higher education, journalism, philanthropy, and the arts. But this needed reckoning has also intensified a new set of moral attitudes and political commitments that tend to weaken our norms of open debate and toleration of differences in favor of ideological conformity. As we applaud the first development, we also raise our voices against the second. The forces of illiberalism are gaining strength throughout the world and have a powerful ally in Donald Trump, who represents a real threat to democracy. But resistance must not be allowed to harden into its own brand of dogma or coercion—which right-wing demagogues are already exploiting. The democratic inclusion we want can be achieved only if we speak out against the intolerant climate that has set in on all sides.

Continue reading

1 Comment

Filed under accountability, centre-periphery relations, communal relations, democratic measures, discrimination, disparagement, education, ethnicity, European history, fundamentalism, historical interpretation, human rights, landscape wondrous, life stories, martyrdom, meditations, performance, politIcal discourse, power politics, press freedom, racist thinking, self-reflexivity, slanted reportage, taking the piss, tolerance, truth as casualty of war, unusual people, world events & processes

Fresh Insights on the 4/21 Salafi Bombings in Sri Lanka

Samanth Subramanium, in New York Times, 2 July 2020, where the title reads “Two Wealthy Muslim Brothers became suicide Bombers, but Why?”

There’s a video of the exact moment Inshaf Ibrahim decided to abandon his life as a rich young man and turn into a mass murderer. In one sense, he had made up his mind weeks earlier, which was why he was loitering in the Cinnamon Grand hotel’s breakfast buffet on Easter Sunday last year in Colombo, strapped into a knapsack of explosives. Once he arrived, though, he appeared to dither. Later, investigators picked him out of CCTV footage, standing near a vacant table, wearing a baseball cap and a T-shirt, his back to the camera. In the footage, he moves like a perplexed penguin. Two steps forward, half a step back, a turn, another turn: a choreography of hesitation. Perhaps he is reconsidering? But no, the investigators concluded; he is waiting for more people to come in. Finally, a microsecond of stillness, arms heavy by his side; then his hands reach toward the front of his waist, and the film goes dark.

Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under accountability, arab regimes, atrocities, communal relations, conspiracies, cultural transmission, fundamentalism, historical interpretation, Islamic fundamentalism, jihad, landscape wondrous, legal issues, life stories, martyrdom, Middle Eastern Politics, Muslims in Lanka, politIcal discourse, power politics, religious nationalism, security, self-reflexivity, sri lankan society, suicide bombing, terrorism, the imaginary and the real, tourism, unusual people, violence of language, world events & processes, zealotry

Authoritarian Populism is the Danger Ahead

Ahilan Kadirgamar, in Daily Mirror, 6 July 2020, where the title runs “Regimes in Times of Crisis: Authoritarian Populism, Bonapartism and Fascism”

The crisis we face now is like a tectonic shift in the economy. Global production, the labour used for it, and the demand to realise it, are all in free fall. What will be the political consequences, and what kind of regimes will emerge out of such a deep crisis?
In Sri Lanka, as we approach a significant parliamentary election, my question is not about the character of the parties and the personalities of the candidates that may win or lose. The victory of the SLPP and its consolidation is a bygone fact; that battle was lost with the presidential election last November.

Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under accountability, centre-periphery relations, chauvinism, economic processes, electoral structures, European history, governance, heritage, historical interpretation, human rights, Indian Ocean politics, life stories, nationalism, politIcal discourse, power politics, Presidential elections, press freedom, Rajapaksa regime, sri lankan society, truth as casualty of war, unusual people, working class conditions, world events & processes, zealotry

Andrew Fernando’s ‘Innings’ runs away with the Gratiaen Prize for 2020

Dimitri Wijesinghe, in The Morning.lk, 5 July 2020, where the title reads “Andrew Fidel Fernando 2019 Gratiaen Prize Winner”

Andrew Fidel Fernando was awarded the 2019 Gratiaen Prize for literary excellence for his work, the travelogue titledUpon a Sleepless Isle’

The Gratiaen Trust went digital for the 2019 edition of the awards and things kicked off with the live stream at 6.30 PM on July 4, streamed on the official Facebook pages of the Gratiaen Trust, John Keells Foundation, and their media partner.

Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under art & allure bewitching, citizen journalism, commoditification, cultural transmission, heritage, historical interpretation, landscape wondrous, life stories, politIcal discourse, self-reflexivity, sri lankan society, the imaginary and the real, tolerance, tourism, trauma, travelogue, unusual people, world events & processes

The Exiled Malays, Javanese et al in Ceilao and Lanka Today and Yesterday

Greg Fealy reviewing Ronit Ricci, Banishment and Belonging: Exile and Diaspora in Sarandib, Lanka and Ceylon, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 2019, 282pp, ISBN 978-1-108-72724-2…… https://www.newmandala.org/book-review/banishment-and-belonging-exile-and-diaspora-in-sarandib-lanka-and-ceylon-2019/

For well over a century, Sri Lanka was the Dutch colonial administration’s main site of exile for troublesome Indonesians. From the late seventeenth century, hundreds of ‘natives’ from the Netherlands East Indies who were deemed rebellious were consigned to the island, many never to return. They were a diverse community, including members of royal families from across the archipelago and their retinues, as well as soldiers, convicts and slaves. Among the nobles were kings, sultans and princes from Java, Madura, the Moluccas and Timor. Revered Islamic leaders were also banished there. Conditions for the exiles ranged from tolerably comfortable to miserable, with often tight restrictions on their ability to socialize and travel within the island, and also limited communications with family and peers in the Indies. The psychological toll of separation from their homeland was immense. Many felt humiliated and personally diminished by the experience. Today, the descendants of this exilic community are known collectively as ‘Sri Lankan Malays’ and they have a distinctive culture and identity borne of their peculiar historical experience.

Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under accountability, ancient civilisations, authoritarian regimes, British colonialism, centre-periphery relations, communal relations, cultural transmission, discrimination, economic processes, ethnicity, heritage, historical interpretation, Indian Ocean politics, Indian traditions, island economy, landscape wondrous, life stories

Meeting Kasturi Chellaraja Wilson …. A Leader Firm and Clear

An You Tube Interview with Kasturi Chellaraja Wilson, the Managing Director of Hemas Pharmaceuticals/Logistics and Maritime Cluster …. in January 2018

58,067 views …..

Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under accountability, economic processes, education, female empowerment, historical interpretation, island economy, legal issues, life stories, performance, politIcal discourse, power politics, self-reflexivity, sri lankan society, the imaginary and the real, unusual people, women in ethnic conflcits, world events & processes

The Special Forces in War … and the Sri Lankan Tale

Dishan Joseph, in Daily News, 29 June 2020, where the title is A confluence of courage and stealth”

The Greek philosopher Aristotle has said, “You will never do anything in this world without courage.” Boldness is a vital attribute of a soldier. In the global military arena, most countries have an elite unit of Special Forces that represent the ultimate military warrior trained and forged with an indomitable will.

Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under accountability, cultural transmission, education, historical interpretation, landscape wondrous, life stories, LTTE, military strategy, performance, power politics, self-reflexivity, sri lankan society, the imaginary and the real, unusual people, world events & processes