Category Archives: Indian traditions

Sihalē’s Goddess Tara in British Hands

Senei Wanniarchchi, in Adahas, 2 February 2019, where the title is “Finders Keepers: On Sex, Tara the Buddhist Deity at the British Museum and Brownness in the Colonies”

I am at the entrance to the British Museum and the path separates into two. I take the path which appears to be less crowded and a guard interrupts me saying this entrance is for ‘members only’. I apologize, take the other and stand in a queue for several minutes. I pass through barricades that separate the members from ‘the other’ which leads me to a checkpoint. It’s my turn to have my bag checked and suddenly I’m conscious of my brownness. Soon, I find myself facing the British Museum. The building’s personality is intimidating and reeks of power. As I walk in, I am reminded that the history of this building and this city is intrinsically entrenched to my own and that of my ancestors and I am reminded of my place in the world and its hierarchies. As I walk in, I see a sign that reads ‘The British Museum —  collecting the world’.


Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under accountability, art & allure bewitching, British colonialism, British imperialism, Buddhism, cultural transmission, education, foreign policy, heritage, historical interpretation, Indian traditions, landscape wondrous, legal issues, patriotism, politIcal discourse, power politics, sri lankan society, world events & processes

Chettinad’s Palaces in View

T. S. Subramanium,in Frontline, 7 December 2018, with photos by Velankanni Raj …. where the title runs “The Palaces of Chettinad”

The palatial decorated homes of Chettiars in the Chettinad region of Tamil Nadu are symbols of a colonial-era architectural heritage marked by opulence. The stately mansions of Nattukottai Chettiars of the Chettinad region in Tamil Nadu are a statement of the affluence the mercantile community enjoyed at the height of its prosperity during the British Raj. The palatial houses, with the built-up area measuring anywhere between 20,000 square feet (1,858 sq. metres) and 70,000 sq. ft (6,503 sq. m), were mostly built in the period between the early 1800s and the 1940s. The Chettiars had set up flourishing trading and business enterprises in Burma (now Myanmar), Ceylon (now Sri Lanka), Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia (including Java and Sumatra), Vietnam, Mauritius and the Philippines.

       At the Chettinad palace, a large patio with “thinnais”

Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under architects & architecture, art & allure bewitching, cultural transmission, heritage, Hinduism, Indian religions, Indian traditions, landscape wondrous, self-reflexivity, the imaginary and the real, travelogue, unusual people, world affairs

Understanding Yes People: Ehemai Hamu!!

Michel Nugawela in Daily FT, 8 January 2019, where the title runs thus “Why followers follow bad leaders” … ….. with highlighting emphasis added by The Editor, Thuppahi — who has also deployed images at the end in step with Nugawela’s argument

Maithripala Sirisena. Mahinda Rajapaksa. Ranil Wickremesinghe. We’ve had different leaders with the same unhappy results for decades. At the core of this country’s political gridlock and dysfunction is a failed leadership culture and not a few men jockeying for power. Our existing model of representative leadership and behavioural conduct urgently needs fixing, as does fast tracking the empowerment of a new generation of leaders in the UNP. And yet we often forget that leadership is also a two-part equation. Followers have their own identity, just as leaders have theirs. In fact, Michael Maccoby, a leadership expert who has advised, taught, and studied the leaders of companies and governments in 36 countries, says: “Followers are as powerfully driven to follow as leaders are to lead.”

Continue reading

1 Comment

Filed under accountability, Australian culture, centre-periphery relations, citizen journalism, cultural transmission, democratic measures, education, education policy, ethnicity, gender norms, heritage, historical interpretation, Indian traditions, life stories, modernity & modernization, politIcal discourse, power politics, self-reflexivity, sri lankan society, teaching profession, welfare & philanthophy, world events & processes

Mouth-Watering Christmas Cake from Sri Lanka

Rachel Bartholomeusz,** in, 2 November 2018, where the title isThe best Christmas cake you’ll ever eat comes from Sri Lanka”

The Romans might have invented the fruitcake, but Sri Lanka, a tiny island in the Indian Ocean, perfected it. It might strike you as odd that a Buddhist-majority country is home to the best Christmas cake in the world, but it shouldn’t. This cake tells the story of the cultures that have passed through Sri Lanka, of a former Portuguese, then Dutch, then British colony that still loves Christmas.

Mouth-Watering Christmas cake from Sri Lanka

Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under charitable outreach, cultural transmission, education, female empowerment, Indian traditions, landscape wondrous, life stories, performance, sri lankan society, the imaginary and the real, travelogue, world events & processes

Vibrant Lifeways in Sri Lanka via Its Literary Figures and Places

Uma Mahadevan Dasgupta  in The Hindu, 8 December 2018,  where the title is “In Sri Lanka, Life imitates Art”

As we travel through Sri Lanka, its strong literary voices come crashing in like waves, and life seems to imitate art

I sit in the huge living room of the old governor’s home in Jaffna. The walls, painted… a warm rose-red, stretch awesome distances away to my left, to my right and up towards a white ceiling. When the Dutch first built this house egg white was used to paint the walls. The doors are twenty feet high, as if awaiting the day when a family of acrobats will walk from room to room, sideways, without dismantling themselves from each other’s shoulders. —Running in the Family, Michael Ondaatje

 Hectic colours: Second Cross Street Pettah 

Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under architects & architecture, citizen journalism, cultural transmission, ethnicity, female empowerment, heritage, historical interpretation, Indian traditions, landscape wondrous, life stories, literary achievements, meditations, modernity & modernization, plural society, self-reflexivity, sri lankan society, the imaginary and the real, travelogue, unusual people

Donald Trump receives Award from the American Indian Nations


Donald Trump was invited to address a major gathering of the American Indian Nation two weeks ago in upstate New York.  He spoke for almost an hour about his plans for increasing every Native American’s present standard of living. He referred to how he had supported every Native American issue that came to the news media.  Although Mr Trump was vague about the details of his plans, he seemed most enthusiastic and spoke ‘eloquently’ about his ideas for helping his “red sisters and brothers.”  At the conclusion of his speech, the Tribes presented him with a plaque inscribed with his new Indian name, “Walking Eagle.”  The proud Mr Trump accepted the plaque and then departed in his motorcade to a fundraiser, waving to the crowds. 

A news reporter later asked the group of chiefs how they came to select the new name they had given to the Presidential Candidate. 

They explained that “Walking Eagle” is the name given to a bird so full of shit it can no longer fly.

Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under accountability, american imperialism, governance, heritage, historical interpretation, Indian traditions, insurrections, the imaginary and the real, unusual people, world events & processes

Tamil Tigers: Dead Body Politics and Sacrificial Devotion

Michael Roberts, reproducing here an article  entitled “Tamil Tigers:  Sacrificial symbolism and ‘dead body politics’,” that was first presented in  Anthropology Today, June 2008,  vol.  24/3: 22-23. The re-working of this article was seen to by Ms Nadeeka Paththuwaarachchi of Battaramulla.

Scholars and journalists often mistakenly treat the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE, or Tamil Tigers) as a ‘secular organization’ at a time when stereotypes of the Islamic ‘terrorist’ or ‘Hindu fundamentalist’ dominate popular thinking about political extremism. Political scientists devote space to the Tamil Tigers in their global surveys of what they term ‘suicide terrorism’.[1] Recently, Roland Buerk of the BBC presented a similar view: ‘They are not religious and believe that there is nothing after death. Their fanaticism is born of indoctrination from childhood.[2]

Tiger fighters relax in camp but retain their kuppi with cyanide in chainsaround neck-Pic by Shyam Tekwani c.1989 whne embedded among the LTTE

Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under Al Qaeda, atrocities, authoritarian regimes, cultural transmission, Eelam, heritage, Hinduism, historical interpretation, Indian Ocean politics, Indian religions, Indian traditions, landscape wondrous, life stories, LTTE, nationalism, politIcal discourse, power politics, religiosity, Saivism, Sinhala-Tamil Relations, Sri Lankan scoiety, suicide bombing, Tamil Tiger fighters, terrorism, the imaginary and the real, truth as casualty of war, unusual people, war reportage, world events & processes