Category Archives: Indian traditions

Vale Jim Gair, Sinhala Enthusiast, Linguist Extraordinary

A Valedictory in American Academia

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James Wells Gair, Ph.D. ’63, professor emeritus of linguistics who throughout a long and distinguished career produced groundbreaking work on South Asian languages and their relation to other languages, died Dec. 10 in Ithaca. He was 88.“Jim Gair was in many ways the paradigmatic Cornell linguist,” said John Whitman, chair and professor of linguistics. “He had a language passion for Sinhala, the language of Sri Lanka, and he threw himself entirely into it, teaching the language, writing textbooks for its learners, and analyzing both the colloquial language and its classical texts.

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The Indus Civilisation: A Great Civilisation, Yet Forgotten?

Andrew Robinson, courtesy of History Today Volume 65 Issue 12 December 2015…. http://www.historytoday.com/andrew-robinson/greatest-civilisation-ever-forgotten

Perhaps the most famous statement about the Indus civilisation is the opening paragraph of an article in the Illustrated London News published in 1924 by John Marshall, Director General of the Archaeological Survey of India: “Not often has it been given to archaeologists, as it was given to [Heinrich] Schliemann at Tiryns and Mycenae, or to [Aurel] Stein in the deserts of Turkestan, to light upon the remains of a long-forgotten civilisation. It looks, however, at this moment, as if we are on the threshold of such a discovery in the plains of the Indus.”

aa-indus-1 Steatite seal from the Indus valley, c.2500 BC. The script is still undeciphered

Subsequent Indus excavations certainly made an impression on the young Kenneth Clark. In Civilisation, Clark, while pondering the non-western beginnings of civilisation two-and-a-half millennia before the classical Greeks, observed in 1969:“Three or four times in history man has made a leap forward that would have been unthinkable under ordinary evolutionary conditions. One such time was about the year 3000 BC, when quite suddenly civilisation appeared, not only in Egypt and Mesopotamia but also in the Indus Valley; another was in the sixth century BC, when there was not only the miracle of Ionia and Greece … but also in India a spiritual enlightenment that has perhaps never been equalled.” Continue reading

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Tony Donaldson to introduce Sunil Santha and His Sinhala Music to Contemporary Lankans

Tony Donaldson will be presenting the inaugural Guru Devi Sunil Santha Memorial Lecture  at the Sri Lanka Foundation Institute, Colombo, Sri Lanka, on 14 December 2016. The talk is entitled “Sunil Santha: The Man who invented Sinhala Music for a Modern Age” …  Dr Ruvan Ekanayake will give a Sinhala translation of the lecture.

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ABSTRACT OF TALK: Since the arrival of Sunil Santha on the music world in 1946, there has been a great deal written and talked about his music. People have listened to his songs. His songs have been sung in films, on the concert stage and television, or at parties, picnics and weddings. His music has been played by military bands, at state occasions or cricket matches. I too have listened to his music but somehow I have never penetrated to his core to really understand him, and I dare say that except for his close supporters and those who care about his music, nor has anyone else. I say this advisedly because much of what has been said and written about Sunil Santha and his music by academics and critics has been wrong, and so this gives me the chance to get it right this time. It is time to crack his DNA.

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Anagārika Dharmapāla on the World Stage: Pictorial

15 Dharmapāla at the World Parliament of Religions in Chicago, 1893, with Swami Vivekānanda on his left

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Reading Amunugama’s Study of Anagārika Dharmapala in LION’S ROAR

Tissa Devendra in The Island, 31 August 2016, where the title reads “

I quailed when asked to review Sarath Amunugama’s 700-odd page work on Anagarika Dharmapala’s life and times. I wondered what else was there to write about this colossus who strode across the Buddhist scene in the ‘Ceylon’ of little more than a century ago. So many of his statues adorn our towns and so numerous are the books, pamphlets, learned articles, both in English and Sinhala, published in Sri Lanka, India, Britain and America that there seemed little new to say. But Sarath Amunugama — administrator, politician, art lover and, above all, a meticulous scholar — has overcome my reluctance with his comprehensive, yet eminently readable, study of the Anagarika’s life and times, aptly titled The Lion’s Roar- a singularly apt description of the reverberations that the Anagarika caused in Colonial Ceylon and India.

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The Seductiveness of Indian Women: Cricketing Stars in Love

Sudatta Mukherjee, writing about “SEVEN  foreign cricketers who married Indian women” …http://www.cricketcountry.com/articles/7-foreign-cricketers-who-married-indian-women-149507

ckting stars

tait plusAustralian speedster Shaun Tait tied the knot to Indian model Mashoom Singha on June 12, after a four-year courtship.  Continue reading

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Eureka!! Ancient 7th Century BC Buddhist Monastery in Afghanistan

In Daily Mail,

A Chinese company digging an unexploited copper mine in Afghanistan has unearthed ancient statues of Buddha in a sprawling 2,600-year-old Buddhist monastery. Archaeologists are rushing to salvage what they can from a major 7th century B.C. religious site along the famed Silk Road connecting Asia and the Middle East. The ruins, including the monastery and domed shrines known as ‘stupas,’ will likely be largely destroyed once work at the mine begins.

The ruins were discovered as labourers excavated the site on behalf of the Chinese government-backed China Metallurgical Group Corp, which wants to develop the world’s second largest copper mine, lying beneath the ruins.
Afghan 11Historic find: Mes Aynak’s religious sites and copper deposits have been bound together for centuries – ‘mes’ means ‘copper’ in the local Dari language

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