Category Archives: Indian religions

Revisiting the Sins of Leslie Gunawardana (Part lll)

 

 Darshanie Ratnawalli. Q & A from  Saturday, 21 March 2015 … with emphasis by highlighting being  impositions by the Editor, Thuppahi

Professor KNO Dharmadasa, the present Editor in Chief of the Sinhala Encyclopedia goes down in history as mounting to date, the only direct, authoritative academic challenge to Professor Leslie Gunawardana, an ancient period historian of Sri Lanka who became a darling of certain social anthropological circuits through his “The People of the Lion: The Sinhala Identity and Ideology in History and Historiography”– (1979) and “Historiography In a Time of Ethnic Conflict, Construction of the Past in Contemporary Sri Lanka”– (1995). This is the third and last installment of Prof. K.N.O’s conversation with Darshanie Ratnawalli continued from 08 March, 2015.    

 

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Nuvara Yugayē Sinhala Bava reaches the Bookshelves

  bearing ISBN 978-955-665-161-4 in the year 2016 … with the translation being the result of the labours of Anura Hettiarachchi and Ananda Wakkumbura. The original work is entitled Sinhala Consciousness in Kandyan Period, 1590s-1815, Colombo: Vijitha Yapa Publications, 2004

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Malaravan’s War Journey for Tiger Tamils, 1990s

War Journey, being translation of  Por Ulaa reviewed  here by three Indian intellectuals

ONE > R.K. Radhakrishnan: “A Heroic Life after Death,” 8 July 2013, The Hindu

Just as political parties in India used music, theatre and cinema with stunning results, the LTTE relied on the written word, and folklore, with the help of platform speakers in Tamil. Heroes are created long after their death. The embellished folklores, the sexed-up citations, even made-up stories of courage, valour and sacrifice — all contribute to the creation of a hero from an ordinary human being, who is often left without a choice of how, why and if he/she will be remembered or celebrated. Institutions and movements seek to capitalise on the emotional appeal of the ‘supreme sacrifice’ to further ‘The Cause.’ Continue reading

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The Historian’s Craft via Lakshman Perera’s Deciphering of Lanka’s Ancient Inscriptions

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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Anguish as Empowerment … and A Path to Retribution

Michael Roberts, courtesy of Colombo Telegraph where it is presented with a different title ….  https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/histrionic-voice-as-spark-for-ethnic-violence-political-extremism/

Anguish and grief are powerful emotions that can contort and wrack a body. While ‘suggesting’ helplessness, the anguish that engulfs a person can also empower that person … and others connected to that person by commonalities of interest/emotion. In this manner anguish can transcend obstacles, generate waves of bitterness and swell into paths of retributory hate and punishment. The ‘little’ drops of tears can swell metaphorically into ‘waves’ – and even inspire enraged mobs (mostly male) bent on punishing the purported root of the tears, a recalcitrant Other, an enemy family or “community” deemed to be the cause of that expressive anguish or deemed to have transcended local norms. In southern Lanka that community can be a neighbouring caste grouping or ethnic group or religious group (Muslim Moor,[1] Hindu, Buddhist, Christian).

Let me highlight the argument by presenting an unusual juxtaposition.

  1. Expressive Grief displayed by a Sri Lankan Tamil woman at a protest demonstration before David Cameron by persons whose kin have been missing in the course of Eelam War IV

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Revelations of Afghanistan as A War Zone: Andrew Quilty’s Photo-Journalism

A series of striking images for the Year 2016 in the local Advertiser newspaper include one by Andrew Quilty which had the caption, ”Shock: a dead patient on an operating table at Afghanistan’s MSF Trauma Center after an attack by an American gunship on the hospital.” I am still searching for this particular image but found a veritable treasure trove in the Andrew Quilty site. I present selections for the benefit of those readers who bask in the comforts of relatively peaceful sites and landscapes. For many Sri Lankans of all ethnicities, of course, these pictures will evoke memories of traumatic times, albeit within landscapes that differ from the mountains and valleys of Afghanistan. For bio-data on Quilty, see http://andrewquilty.com/about/

quilty-33 DAY 17: Sunday 21 August 2016: “I was up early this morning to meet the friend and fixer that Sune, Danielle and I often work with in Helmand, on the outskirts of Kabul. Although Helmand is his home, Rauf is in self-imposed exile at the moment. As an Afghan that worked for several years as an interpreter for the British army (not to mention foreign journalists), had the province fallen to the Taliban as was recently feared, he’d have been a marked man. (Rauf has been waiting more than 18 months for his UK visa to be finalised.)We were waiting to speak with the local commander at a police checkpoint toward the southern outskirts of Kabul when a taxi pulled to a stop. Its boot was open and a pair of bloodied, lifeless feet hung over the tailgate. Inside, a middle-aged man lay on a stretcher. Several bandages barely hid stab wounds – inflicted during what we were told was a family dispute. A younger man held a clear bag of IV fluid to the roof. His hand was rusty with dried blood.” Continue reading

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Asian English Cricketers undermine Farage and UKIP

Andy Bull, 1 November 2016, in The Spin,where the title runs “Farage’s canvassing shows English cricket must embrace other cultures” … and where the subtitle says “Canvassing counties and alienating communities” … . and the first lines stresses that “When Nigel Farage leafleted Yorkshire fans he tried to tap into outdated notions at odds with the example being set by England’s four Muslim players”

ansri-moeen  Ansari and Moeen for Blighty in Cricket …. “Zafar Ansari, left, does not practise Islam but identifies as one of four British Muslims in England’s Test side: ‘That’s really exciting and something we’re proud of.’ Photograph: Philip Brown/Getty Images

Back in June, a little less than half a year and a little more than half a lifetime ago, Nigel Farage visited Headingley. It was the fourth day of Yorkshire’s match against Lancashire, but he had not come for the cricket so much as the opportunity to pose for a photos and press some flesh. He stopped off in the Long Room, where his assistants started handing around Ukip leaflets. Farage often talks about what a keen fan he is of the game. But here, perhaps, was a first clue that this may not be entirely true. Because anyone who understood the sport would surely know better than to try to proselytise Yorkshire fans while they were attending to the serious business of watching the Roses match. Farage was, apparently, told to either leave off or leave altogether. One of Yorkshire’s members wrote a fine follow-up letter to the club. “You only have to look at the newspapers which people read at Headingley to see that Yorkshire cricket supporters hold diverse political views,” he wrote, “but we are all united by a love of cricket in general and Yorkshire cricket in particular.” Headingley wasn’t the only cricket ground Farage campaigned at in the summer. He also held a rally at New Road in Worcester, stopped in at Lord’s, and had lunch at the Nevill Ground in Tunbridge Wells, where he spoke about how much he enjoyed the “very English scene”. Continue reading

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