Category Archives: language policies

How It Became. Documenting the Ceylon National Congress

Michael Roberts

   BU4A8624 (1) Haris de Silva

The four volume Documents of the Ceylon National Congress produced by the Department of National Archives in 1977 runs into 3208 pages. In keeping with bureaucratic rigidity, the four volumes are still sold at some Rs 250. The give-away price has not enabled it to reach the public. The treasure trove of documentary data within these four volumes –  encompassing LSSP and Communist Party meetings in their early days — remain unknown and unseen. How many scholars, let alone armchair historians, know that FC “Derek” de Saram, Oxford Blue and Ceylonese cricketer of note, was among the ginger group (identified as “Young Turks” by me as the editor of the documents) who attempted to rejuvenate the CNC in 1938/39 by converting it into a party that could contest elections?[1] Continue reading

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EFC Ludowyk: For Peradeniya and Ceylon ….. His Lasting Legacies

Tissa Jayatilleka, being a Four Part Series in the Island, March 2018, conveying the
…. Text of the 18th Ludowyk Memorial Lecturer delivered by Tissa Jayatilaka, an alumnus of the University of Peradeniya and Executive Director of the US-Sri Lanka Fulbright Commission.

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Individual Subjectivity in the Appraisal of 70 Years of Independence: Explorations in Groundviews

What does it mean to be Sri Lankan?

70 years after independence, our identity is defined mostly along majoritarian lines, which can be traced back to the divisions created under British rule. These divisions have contributed to violence and war, in the years since 1948.

To this day, there are communities who feel that what is commonly projected and defined as the Sri Lankan identity does not reflect their reality, or themselves. Looking at this, Groundviews produced a series of videos exploring identity and belonging in a country emerging from war, but not yet out of conflict.

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Three Clowns at Election Corral! Sri Lankan Politics in a Nutshell

Rajan Philips, in Island, 3 February 2018, where the title runs thus “Lanka at 70: Political circus interrupts the country’s constitutional odyssey”…. with highlighting here being the work of The Editor, Thuppahi

As the country marks the seventieth anniversary of independence, its principal political leaders are out-clowning one another and turning the whole political system into a circus of clowns. There is no other charitable way to describe what the President, the Prime Minister and the former President are doing in a desperate three-way shootout – to either produce the best scorecard or avoid the worst scorecard for their respective parties and alliances in the local government elections next Saturday. The scorecard that will be used for political bragging and the commentaries that will go with it will have two lines: the national tally of votes and the number of local bodies won, with special mention for trophy municipalities – Colombo being the big one.

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The Early Phase of Sinhala-Tamil Rivalry in Ceylon, 1931-70s

Michael Roberts[1]

The factors promoting political agitation among the Sri Lankan Tamils since the 1920s, particularly the developments after Sri Lanka secured independence in 1948, have inspired a large literature.[2] Three turning points in the temporal progression of this agitation have often been marked: one in 1956 when an electoral transformation helped enshrine Sinhala as the language of administration and placed the majority Sinhalese peoples in a dominant position in the political dispensation; secondly, in the early 1970s when militant Tamils placed secession at the forefront of their demands; and, thirdly, in July 1983 when an anti-Tamil pogrom in the Sinhalese-majority regions that involved state functionaries as well as people from many walks of life alienated the mass of Tamils and sparked an expansion in the militant separatist struggle.[3]

  Bandaranaiake in rhetorical mode

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Catalan Today. ITAK Yesterday. A Call to Reflection

Carles Puigdemont Chelva & Amir

Michael Roberts

The demand for independence from a segment of the Catalan Spanish peoples has the potential for a domino effect not only within Spain but also in Europe where the EU already faces the complications arising from the Brexit vote. Apart from the potential inspiration to other provincial dialects within Spain, The French Republic may have to keep a weather eye on their Occitan-speakers in the south –with their well-developed sense of being Occitan  and a claim to the region known as Langue D’Oc.

Any such move could then spark the provinciality of the Breton peoples! That is just one potential instance of what is called “The Domino Effect.” Listen to Joseph Borell at http://edition.cnn.com/2017/10/31/europe/catalonia-independence-spain/index.html

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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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