Category Archives: Indian religions

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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Past in the Present: Deciphering the Cosmological Threads in Sri Lankan Politics

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.

bu-p-_sri_lanka_buddha aa-roshan-pic

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Sinhala Buddhist Cosmology and Its Politics via Roshan de Silva Wijeyeratne

Kalana Senaratne. being a review article, entitled “The Politics of Sinhala-Buddhist Cosmology” from Polity Volume 7, Issue 1, pp.54-58 sent to Thuppahi by Senaratne and reproduced her with emphases (via highlighting) imposed by The Editor

Although Buddhism does not believe in a Creator-God, many Buddhists believe in a cosmology, made up of myriad realms of existence and world systems, a large number of heavenly beings, deities, and demonic spirits, and even a heaven and a hell.[1] In Theravada Buddhist countries, different gods – some local, some imported – play important roles in various rituals and practices: such as in the popular practice of transferring merit to good gods in exchange of protection.[2] These practices have been part of the life of the majority Sinhala-Buddhists too, with the origins of such practices being traceable to pre-Buddhist Sri Lanka.[3]

aa-roshan-pic Roshan aa-roshanbook aaa-kalana Kalana Continue reading

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Rathika Pathmanathan Face-to-Face and Woman-to-Woman

Frances Bulathsinghala, courtesy of Daily FT, 5 October 2016, where the title reads Facing the past, bridging the divide” ... with emphasis inblue highlghts added by the Editor, Thuppahi.

The life of 25-year-old Rathika Pathmanathan is a testimony of a post-war nation at the crossroads. She has lived the hideous gore of war, bloodied trenches and is now living the possibilities of peace. She has dared to trust and she has dared to forgive.  In her book ‘There is a Darkness Called Light and I Grope for Myself in the Thick of It,’ published in English, Sinhala and Tamil, recounts her days as a teenaged fighter in the LTTE frontlines of the last phase of the war; the nights and days of starvation in the trenches, the excruciating combat training, the loss of family and the new world of Colombo where she arrived for medical treatment for the leg she almost lost. Seated in the small, sparsely-furnished room she occupies on rent in a remote Sinhala majority suburb in the outer periphery of Colombo, Rathika speaks of wanting to rebuild her life, to study and most of all to actively work towards reconciliation in Sri Lanka, a task she is engaged in at present through her book and as an activist.

rathika

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Extremisms in Lanka and Worldwide

Rajan Philips,  courtesy of The Island, 1 October 2016, where the title is With the West sneezing extremism, can Sri Lanka and others avoid catching cold?” .… Emphasis vvia highlighting is from The Editor,Thuppahi.

FILE - In this Sept. 16, 2013 file photo, Donald Trump appears on the "Fox & friends" television program in New York. Trump on Wednesday, Feb. 26, 2014 told a group of New Jersey Republicans he expects New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie to make it through the scandals that are plaguing his administration. (AP Photo/Richard Drew, File)

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One would have thought that the old wisecrack needs to be reversed. The West may not be just sneezing, but has already got the cold, even worse, a bad fever of extremism. And that the worry would be if others can avoid the infection. Not so fast, says the wag, as there is quite a bit of Sri Lankan and South Asian sneezing and coughing going around, and we don’t need infection from the West to make matters worse. Jaffna’s Chief Protestor has signalled his periodical awakening from his chronic administrative sleep with the new “EzhugaThamizh” (linguists use ‘zh’ instead of ‘l’ for a unique Dravidian letter and sound) slogan. “Pongu” relates to the liquid state of matter, Ezhuga could be Freudian. Southern Chief Ministers are weighing in, or rising up, and the SLFP’s two-timing (between Mahinda and Maithri) Nimal Siripala seized on the sneeze from Jaffna to bark out a cough of his own on the inviolability of being unitary. Continue reading

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