Category Archives: land policies

Gal Oya: Addressing Errors in Ajit Kanagasundram’s Recollections

Gerald H. Peiris



I knew Ajit at the time he was an undergraduate at Cambridge, and remember meeting him on and off at the ‘Arts Theatre Restaurant’ at lunch-time. The image that comes to mind is a mild-mannered and gentle youth  ̶-  younger than my circle of post-grad ‘Ceylonese’ pals  like Uswatte, Mahes, Shan, Gunda or Dharmawardena  by, say, 6 or 7 years. I haven’t met him since that time, but it seems from what he has written that he has not lost his gentleness, and has remained almost entirely free of “racial” (ethnic?) prejudices, probably impelled by personal experiences since that time.

While I particularly like the ‘autobiographical’ segment of his essay, I have to refer to several errors  ̶  some, important, others trivial  ̶  that could be attributed to excessive reliance on memory and ignoring what serious researchers have documented. These I specify below under sub-headings numbered 1 to 7, referring in red to highlighted extracts from his essay.

gal-oya-44 Pic from Sumal Fernando Blog wordpress


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Ceylon in the Rainer Schickele Papers

Rainer Schickele served with the Dept of Agricultural Economics  Peradeniya University in the 1960s and lived in Kandy. He was committed to the agricultural development of the island. On the 21st January 1969 he presented a paper on Land settlement Policy in Ceylon: A Tentative Proposal,” I note here that all the cyclostyled CSS papers are available at Peradeniya University >Librar and several university libraries in USA. 

Alas I do not have a photograph of Rainer (1905-1989). But it is with considerable pleasure that I note the availability of the SCHICKELE PAPERS at  NDSU, Institute for Regional Studies and University archives,  the North Dakota State University Libraries.  Note the followiing summary.”The Sri Lanka (Ceylon) Series consists of reports and papers Schickele wrote while helping the university and government build agricultural economic departments. The series consists of twelve progress reports that Schickele wrote in order for the ADC to monitor the progress of the program.The series also contains papers Schickele wrote regarding the current agricultural situation in Sri Lanka and how to rectify some of the problems.” Continue reading

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