Category Archives: Indian traditions

When Radio Ceylon swayed India

Anand Sethi,  whose original title is “The Dial of Serendipity,” ….

Anand Sethi takes a stroll down memory lane while tracking down the building which once housed Sri Lanka’s iconic Radio Ceylon

 Image courtesy: Anand Sethi

Bauddhaloka Mawatha is a wide, tree-lined avenue in Colombo in Sri Lanka. It runs from Galle Road in the west towards Sri Jayawardenepura Kotte, the administrative capital of Sri Lanka, in the east. The avenue runs past a few university playgrounds and several colonial-era buildings, now occupied by embassies and ministries in a leafy part of Colombo 7, as the locals call it.

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Filed under British colonialism, centre-periphery relations, cultural transmission, education, heritage, historical interpretation, Indian traditions, landscape wondrous, life stories, performance, politIcal discourse, self-reflexivity, Sinhala-Tamil Relations, sri lankan society, world events & processes

Struggling for Sinhala at US University: Anne Blackburn et al

Namini Wijedasa, in Sunday Times, 29 October 2017, where the title “The battle to keep Sinhala alive in an American University” ….Academics running the programme seek financial assistance from Sri Lankan Govt. and expat

Scholars at the Cornell University, USA, are fighting to keep alive a decades-old Sinhala language programme that is facing closure owing to funding cuts  Cornell, a renowned private Ivy League institution, is the only university outside Sri Lanka to offer a full curriculum of study in Sinhala. About half of the funding for the course is external, primarily from the US Government’s Department of Education. The rest is from the university.

Anne Blackburn

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In Search of Sunil Santha

Tony Donaldson, courtesy of THE CEYLANKAN, Vol  XX, November 2017, … with highlighting emphasis being an imposition by The Editor, Thuppahi

In November 2016, I travelled to Sri Lanka at the invitation of the Sunil Santha Society to deliver the inaugural Guru Devi Sunil Santha Memorial Lecture in Colombo. I wrote the lecture in September and titled it Sunil Santha: The Man who Invented Sinhala Music for a Modern Age. The cardiologist Dr. Ruvan Ekanayake, a great fan of Sunil Santha’s music, translated the lecture into Sinhala. I spent 25 days in Sri Lanka. What follows is an account of the trip with a few critical reflections. I will not expand on the lecture as it exists as a published book and it need not be repeated here.

  With the Sunil Santha Samajaya. l-r. Upali Ariyasiri, Lanka Santha, Tony Donaldson, Vijith Kumar Senaratne, Lloyd Fernando, and Pushkara Wanniarachchi.

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Religious Dispensations and the Subordination of Women

Upul Wijayawardhana, courtesy of Daily News

The systematic suppression of women, persisting over centuries, has been legitimised, largely by religions and is an art-form mastered by ‘Men in Robes’. At the dawn of civilisation, women were considered superior for the simple reason that only they could produce an offspring for the continuation of the species. There is evidence to show that in Mesopotamia, one of the cradles of civilisation, if not ‘The Cradle of Civilisation’, there was equality. In the early Sumerian period, “a council of elders”, represented equally by men and women, ruled the population but gradually a patriarchal society emerged.

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Filed under accountability, Buddhism, cultural transmission, discrimination, education policy, female empowerment, fundamentalism, gender norms, heritage, Hinduism, historical interpretation, Indian religions, Indian traditions, legal issues, life stories, welfare & philanthophy, world events & processes

Knowledge in the Sinhala World. Yesterday and Today

Sajeeva Samaranayake presents his considered thoughts on the discussions associated with Geedreck Usvatte-Aratchi’s National Trust talk on “Sinhala Attitudes to Knowledge” – which appeared in the Island as well as Thuppahi in August 2017. Emphasis in blue is that of The Editor, Thuppahi; but the black highlights are the author’s.

In the following note I am setting out the findings of Dr. Usvatte Arachchi, my comments thereon and some questions that arise. This is to help move this discussion forward as it appears to be a very critical inquiry into our collective capacity as a Sinhalese speech community.

 Samaranayake    Usvatte-Aratchci

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Steven Kemper on Anagarika Dharmapala: A New Study

Steven Kemper: Rescued from the Nation: Anagarika Dharmapala and the Buddhist World, University of Chicago Press,  2015

Anagarika Dharmapala is one of the most galvanizing figures in Sri Lanka’s recent turbulent history. He is widely regarded as the nationalist hero who saved the Sinhala people from cultural collapse and whose “protestant” reformation of Buddhism drove monks toward increased political involvement and ethnic confrontation. Yet as tied to Sri Lankan nationalism as Dharmapala is in popular memory, he spent the vast majority of his life abroad, engaging other concerns. In Rescued from the Nation, Steven Kemper reevaluates this important figure in the light of an unprecedented number of his writings, ones that paint a picture not of a nationalist zealot but of a spiritual seeker earnest in his pursuit of salvation.

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One Pillar vs Ethnic Chauvinism: Global Cross-Cultural Families

Swaminathan S. Ankleswaria Aiyar, courtesy of The Times of India, 2 April 2005, “My family and other globalisers”

In 1992, I wrote a book titled Towards Globalisation. I did not realise at the time that this was going to be the history of my family.  Last week, we celebrated the wedding of my daughter, Pallavi. A brilliant student, she had won scholarships to Oxford  University and the London School of Economics. In London, she met Julio, a young man from Spain. The two decided to take up jobs in Beijing, China. Last week, they came over from Beijing to Delhi to get married. The wedding guests included 70 friends from North America, Europe and China.

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