Category Archives: Indian Ocean politics

Decolonization in the Rubber Trade, 1946-54

Rohan de Soysa

Tony Donaldson’s essay in valedictory recognition of Tony Peries generated a short memorandum[1] from one of my friends in Colombo, namely Rohan de Soysa, son of Terence de Soysa.[2] This note adds significant information on early steps in the process of decolonization and the breaking away from Britain’s stranglehold over the commodity trade. It is therefore presented as an essay in its own right –a move welcomed by Tony Donaldson. I have taken the liberty of imposing highlights by way of emphasis. Michael Roberts as Editor Thuppahi.

sl-china-stamps Picture shows the Commemorative Stamp issued to mark the 50 years of signing the Rubber Rice Pact.
The Terence de Soysa referred to [in Tony Donaldson’s article] as a ‘very clever rubber trader’ by Tony Peiris, was my father. He had organised a consortium and bought CWM {CW Mackie & Co] in 1946 or so, before Independence, the first major British company to be Ceylonised. Continue reading

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Filed under British colonialism, commoditification, economic processes, foreign policy, governance, historical interpretation, Indian Ocean politics, life stories, modernity & modernization, politIcal discourse, sri lankan society, unusual people, world events & processes

Thomas Meaney, A Review Article, courtesy of the Author and the London Review of Books,… with emphasis by highlights added by The Editor, Thuppahi … SEE www.lrb.co.uk

prabha-with-pistol-2   prabha-tiger

Rescued from the Nation: Anagarika Dharmapala and the Buddhist World by Steven Kemper, Chicago, 480 pp, £31.50, January 2015, ISBN 978 0 226 19907

Tamil: A Biography by David Shulman, Harvard, 416 pp, £25.00, September 2016, ISBN 978 0 674 05992 4

The Seasons of Trouble: Life amid the Ruins of Sri Lanka’s Civil War by Rohini Mohan, Verso, 368 pp, £16.99, October 2015, ISBN 978 1 78168 883 0

Independence was handed to Ceylon’s elite on a platter. ‘Think of Ceylon as a little bit of England,’ Oliver Ernest Goonetilleke, the first native governor-general, said. This was a point of pride. Don Stephen Senanayake, the country’s first prime minister, remarked: ‘There has been no rebellion in Ceylon, no non-cooperation movement and no fifth column. We were among the peoples who gave full collaboration while Britain was hard-pressed.’ After independence in 1948, Ceylon alone among the former colonies not only retained but promoted the monarchy: the Union Jack flew alongside the Ceylon flag; a new constitution was drafted by a former LSE professor, Ivor Jennings; Colombo debutantes were presented at Buckingham Palace; and, thanks to some genealogical ingenuity, George VI was recognised as the latest monarch in the ancient line of Kandyan kings. While the rest of the empire in Asia smouldered – in India there was Partition, in Malaya the Emergency, in Burma the civil war – Ceylon became Whitehall’s model for the transfer of colonial power. ‘There was no fight for that freedom which involved a fight for principles, policies and programmes,’ Solomon Ridgeway Bandaranaike, the anti-colonial head of state who took power in 1956, said when he reviewed the transition a decade later. ‘It just came overnight. We just woke up one day and were told: “You are a dominion now.”[1] Continue reading

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February 10, 2017 · 1:03 pm

A Requiem for Stanley J. Tambiah

Sachi Sri Kanthain Ilankai Tamil Sangam, 9 February 2014, … http://sangam.org/stanley-jeyaraja-tambiah-1929-2014/

tambiah-pic-11 “In 1958, while I was leading a research team composed of university undergraduates, all of whom were Sinhalese, that were engaged in a sociological study of peasant colonization in Gal Oya, ethnic riots unexpectedly broke out in our midst, and at Amparai, Sinhalese public workers went on the rampage in hijacked trucks, attacking Tamil shopkeepers and Tamil peasant colonists. My students, very solicitous for my safety, insisted that I stay behind closed doors while they stood guard. And I was later hidden in a truck, and spirited out of the valley to Batticaloa, a safe Tamil area. That experience was traumatic: it was the first time the ethnic divide was so forcibly thrust into my existence. And intuitively reading the signs, I wished to get away from the island, for I experienced a mounting alienation and a sense of being homeless in one’s own home.” …… Tambiah SJ (1997) a rejoinder to ‘Buddhism Betrayed’ book review by Sasanka Perera

Tambiah SJ (1997) on 1983 ethnic riots in Sri Lanka

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The Limits of State Sovereignty and R2P: Gareth Evans in Colombo, Mid-2007

Gareth Evans: “The Limits of Sovereignty: The Responsibility to Protect in the 21st Century,”  being the Neelan Memorial Lecture of 2007 …. see vital NOTE at the end clarifying the context and inviting responses.

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Today more than ever, on this eighth anniversary of his assassination, Sri Lankans and those in the wider international community need to remember and be re-inspired by Neelan Tiruchelvam’s life and achievements. While we can no longer benefit directly from his remarkable intelligence and learning, his boundless energy, his political commitment, and his optimism, we do still have his spirit living among us in the ideas and institutions he gave us, and in the example he set for us of an engaged intellectual and a principled politician.

ge-mani

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Twilight of the Tigers printed in 2009: A Staunch Anti-Federalist Treatise

Michael Roberts, reviewing Gerald H. Peiris: Twilight of the Tigers. Peace Efforts and Power Struggles in Sri Lanka, Delhi, Oxford University Press & Colombo, Vijitha Yapa Publications, 2009,  pb, 297 pages…. reprinted from TRANSCURRENTS, with the % comments  therein [all from 2010] also presented at the end — after the Footnotes, …. with highlighted colours are my subsequent editorial impositions

.aa-twilight

Twilight of the Tigers is essential reading for any person interested in the political history of Sri Lanka during the first decade of this century. With measured argument and in lucid prose Gerald Peiris challenges the belief that territorial devolution is a viable means of resolving Sri Lanka’s political problems and questions the thinking that launched the peace process in 2000-01.

The short title may mislead people into thinking that this is a book about the recent demise of the LTTE as a de facto state in Sri Lanka. In fact the book was in press by late 2008. But Peiris had correctly anticipated the direction of the war because he also has expertise in this arena, having contributed to Jane’s Intelligence Review. Moreover, for years he has adhered to a hardline patriotic position seeking to protect the island’s sovereignty. Thus, he has stood alongside such individuals as HL de Silva in objecting to federalism on the grounds that the devolutionary measures under consideration, including the North-East merged sub-state, would imperil political stability. Continue reading

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Lacking Pragmatism and Oozing Mediocrity –That is US Secretary-of-State Kerry

Greg Sheridan , in The Australian, 30 December 2016, where the title reads”Undergraduate ramble lacking context, reality” … see http://www.theaustralian.com.au/opinion/columnists/greg-sheridan/undergraduate-ramble-lacking-context-reality/news-story/a4af14f12e1f30a35c0e800a28d77f37 for BLOG Comments

John Kerry’s imitation of Fidel Castro, with a speech as long and as mournful and as useless as those the Cuban dictator frequently delivered, helps explain why he was such a dismal failure as US Secretary of State. Kerry’s meandering speech blamed Israel for the failure so far to achieve a peace deal between Israel and the Palestinians. The problem is, it read like the speech of an earnest undergraduate who has just come to the issue through the reporting of al-Jazeera and CNN and has no background in historic reality.  The Kerry speech lacked all context, proportion, balance, history and any sense of reality. kerry-planet-ark Pic from Planet Ark

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How USA got into bed with the LTTE

aadaya-gAbout Daya Gamage”s Book “Tamil Tigers’ Debt to America”

aa-ltte-and-usa   ISBN: 1537053485 …

ISBN 13: 9781537053486…..Library of Congress Control Number: 2016913508 … Copyright © 2016 Daya Gamage

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Filed under american imperialism, centre-periphery relations, foreign policy, historical interpretation, human rights, Indian Ocean politics, landscape wondrous, military strategy, politIcal discourse, power politics, prabhakaran, propaganda, Responsibility to Protect or R2P, Sinhala-Tamil Relations, sri lankan society, Tamil migration, tamil refugees, the imaginary and the real, truth as casualty of war, UN reports, world events & processes

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