Category Archives: Indian traditions

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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The Coconut Palm in Sri Lanka: From Yesterday to Today

WTJS Kaviratne, in Daily News, ….http://www.dailynews.lk/2017/12/07/features/136574/origin-and-evolution-coconut-palm

Anthropologists, explorers, invaders and travellers had made numerous references on the evolution of this versatile palm grown in more than 90 countries across the world. Some of these were mere theories based on assumptions yet to be proved scientifically. Extensive research is still continuing on the origin of the coconut palm on the foundations provided  through gene analysis by scientists.

Since time immemorial, the coconut plant has been found growing luxuriantly along the beaches of tropical countries. And certain scientists argue that coconut palm is not indigenous to any of those countries even if they grow there. Fossil remains of coconut up to 35 to 55 million years old have been excavated in Australia and India proving that coconut palm belongs to the Kingdom of Plants in the Prehistoric era. Continue reading

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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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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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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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