Category Archives: Indian religions

Anagarika Dharmapala in Ceylon and the World: Missing Dimensions highlighted by Kemper

Sasanka Perera, in The Island, 8 August 2018, where the title is “Rescuing Dharmapala from the ‘Nation’,” …. with emphasis via highlighting in this version being an imposition by The Editor, Thuppahi

I was intrigued to see the worlds of knowledge of the past that were opened up when reading Steven Kemper’s 2015 book, ‘Rescued from the Nation: Anagarika Dharmapala and the Buddhist World’ published by the University of Chicago Press. Growing up Sinhala Buddhist in Sri Lanka, Anagarika Dharmapala (1864-1933) would easily be one of the most important historical characters from the recent past, we had become familiar with early in our lives. This was certainly so for my generation. As we know from that experience, Dharmapala was closely and intimately linked to the country’s Buddhist revivalism in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Precisely due to this reason, he was the most iconic culture hero of the Sinhala Buddhists in the modern period.

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Spiritual Amity and Reconciliation: The Way Forward

Courtesy of Mervyn de Silva

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The Roots of Kandyan Dancing

DBT Kappagoda, in Daily News, 4 April 2018, where the title reads thus How Kandyan dancing began”

Kandyan dancing is popularly known as Udarata Natum derived its name from the traditional dance forms peculiar to the central region of Sri Lanka. The origin of Kandyan dancing can be traced back to the time of the Nayakkar rulers who ascended the throne of the Kandyan Kingdom 300 years ago.

In Kandyan dancing Vannam forms as a special  feature. In Tamil and Telegu Vannam means a description. When the dancer performs he recites the Vannama and according to the description when he has recited and begins to dance displaying a Tandava style of dancing. The dancing is done in a rigorous way while describing the movement of the cobra (Naiyandi), elephant (Gajaga), peacock (Monera), eagle (Ukussa) showing the onlookers a description of the animal. In the course of the recitation, adoration to the Buddha and the great qualities he had possessed is highlighted.

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The History of Caste in South Asia via a Work on the Rise of the Karava in Ceylon

Susan Bayly  in 1983, reviewing  Caste Conflict and Elite Formation: The Rise of a Karava Elite in Sri Lanka, 1500-1931 by Michael Roberts Cambridge University Press: Cambridge, 1982.

The literature on the south Asian caste system is vast and contentious and the current war of words shows no sign of abating. This book conforms to current trends both in focusing on the experience of a single caste group under colonial rule, and also in adopting a polemical tone towards other historians. Roberts’ subject is the Karava population of Sri Lanka and his first aim is to explain why this group of poor fishermen and artisans managed to throw up a disproportionately large elite of businessmen, lawyers and other western-educated professional men by the end of the nineteenth-century. The discussion is set against the background of works on comparable Asian business communities such as the Marwaris and Parsis. An important theme, then, is the relationship between individual enterprise and the corporate structure of caste: did the Karava magnate class emerge because of, or in spite of, their roots in a hierarchical caste order? Continue reading

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Kemper in London on Anagarika Dharmapala and the Buddhist World

Listen to PODCAST by Steven E. Kemper introducing his book Rescued from the Nation: Anagarika Dharmapala and the Buddhist World (U of Chicago Press, 2015) from New Books in Buddhist Studies … in London ….. https://itunes.apple.com/gb/podcast/new-books-in-buddhist-studies/id458210899?mt=2&i=1000345817559

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Indian Aid is without Strings says Ambassador Sandhu

Editor, NewsInAsia, 4 January 2018, where the title runs  India’s only aim in Lanka is to cooperate and collaborate with it, says envoy Taranjit Singh Sandhu””

The Indian High Commissioner in Sri Lanka, Taranjit Singh Sandhu, has said that India’s only agenda in Sri Lanka is to “cooperate and collaborate” with it, and that Indo-Lankan bilateral cooperation is all about “sharing and caring” and devoid of “caveats and riders”. Speaking here on Wednesday following the signing of an agreement by which Sri Lanka will purchase 209 state of the art ambulances with an Indian grant of US$ 15.02 million, the Indian envoy quoted Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi  who said in July 2016 that India joins hands with its dear and near partner, Sri Lanka, to cooperate on projects, “based on Sri Lanka’s own choices and priorities for development.”

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The Guard Stones Of Ancient Sri Lanka

Shannine Daniel, courtesy of Roar Media, 6 December 2017, where the title is  “When Architecture and Buddhism Came Together. The Guard Stones Of Ancient Sri Lanka”

The ruins of Sri Lanka’s ancient kingdoms are a testament to the architectural skill of our ancestors. They have several unique architectural features including intricately carved stairs, the moonstones that lie at the foot of the stairs, and the guard stones that are placed on either side of the stairs at the entrances to these historic and religious sites. Among these, the guard stones, known as muragal in Sinhalese, are particularly fascinating. These features of Sinhalese architecture have both practical and decorative purposes.

 Some academics believe that the concept of guard stones found its way to Sri Lanka from India

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