Category Archives: language policies

History of Royal College in 1932 is ‘born again’

Yomal Senerath-Yapa, in Sunday Times, 11 August 2019

A reprint of “The History of Royal College”, a 1932 biography of the school authored by students, was launched at the BMICH yesterday in an event organised by the Royal College 1960 Group, in association with the Royal College Union.

Head of the Project Team Senaka Weeraratna hands over a copy of the second edition of the 1932 publication to Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe. Royal College Principal B.A. Abeyratna stands by. Former Royal rugby football captain and coach U.L. Kaluarachchi made the keynote address at yesterday’s launch. Dr. Ajit Wijesundera and Mr. Vajira Gunawardene were the other members of the Project Team.

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Lakshman Kadirgamar’s Legacy

H.M.G.S. Palihakkara, in Sunday Times, 11 August 2019, where the title is “Lakshman Kadirgamar: The Legacy of an Icon”

Fourteen years ago this month, a suspected LTTE assassin snuffed out the life of Sri Lanka’s best known and widely admired Foreign Minister — Lakshman Kadirgamar. The media reported recently that authorities in Germany had arrested a suspect connected to this crime. This news brings into sharp relief the sorry state of accountability in our country. Even after fourteen long years, we have not yet been able to conclusively investigate and prosecute a single offender involved in this ghastly act of terror. Much else has happened though.

Mr. Kadirgamar’s diplomacy, while advocating human rights, prevented human rights issues from becoming foreign policy problems

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From SILENCE to MADNESS …… Pauline Schokman

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A Review of the Book BUDDHISM TRANSFORMED

Premkumara De Silva,** in The Midweek Review of The Island, 17 May 2005, where the title runs ” Anthropology of ‘Sinhala Buddhism’ “

The disciplinary identification of “Buddhism” in Sri Lanka as an anthropological object began in the late 1950s as part of a growing field of “peasant” or village studies in South and Southeast Asian societies. In Sri Lanka, the work of Gananath Obeyesekere, Edmond Leach, Michael Ames, and Nur Yalman is central to this inaugural moment. These anthropologists have identified the integration of the diverse beliefs and practices of Sinhala Buddhists within a religious worldview that is in accordance with fundamental Theravada Buddhist teachings. Within this academic exercise Obeyesekere insisted on the term “Sinhalese Buddhism” to convey the idea of full variety of religious practice, popular and esoteric, in Sri Lankan Buddhism. He argues that Sinhala Buddhism should be seen as “a single religious tradition”, and not as composed of separate “layers” to be analysed in isolation from each other.

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Buddhism over Time in Colonial and Independent Sri Lanka

Abstract of Article by Ananda Abeysekara entitledBuddhism and ‘Influence’: The Temporality of a Concept” Qui Parle, 2019, Vol. 28, no. 1, pp. 1-75.

For almost three decades the concept of “Protestant Buddhism” has been the object of critique by numerous scholars such as John Holt, Charles Hallisey, Anne Blackburn, Erik Braun, Alicia Turner, Steven Kemper, and others. They claim to tell a different story about the relation between religion and modernity (“Protestantism”) in South Asia. By extension, these scholars seek to reconstruct the temporal relation between the past and the present, questioning postcolonial conceptions of history, time, and religious practice. But this story of temporality is staked on the question of “influence,” which has a genealogy that includes not just colonial, missionary, liberal politics but also contemporary legal-political questions about foreign influence on democracy and sovereignty. This article contests the ways in which the critiques of Protestant Buddhism conceptualize colonial and postcolonial forms of time, translated into universal forms of self, agency, responsibility, etc. The article argues that the question of influence, which animates parts of the story of secular ways of inhabiting time, obscures not just how the encounter with the temporality of a tradition is an encounter with power. It obscures how even modern sensibilities of inhabiting time, ironically, require coherence even as they are repeatedly said to be constituted by “heterogeneous” forms of everyday life.

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Fighting LTTE Women …. Looking Back from 2016

Kim Wall and Mansi Choksi, in Longreads, May 2018 where the title is “A Chance to Rewrite History: The Women Fighters of the Tamil Tigers” …… How during a brutal, 25-year civil war in Sri Lanka, the Tamil Tigers failed the women soldiers who sacrificed everything to fight for a sovereign state for the Tamil minority [with a NOTE from the Editor, Thuppahi at the end]

“We went on our first reporting trip together to write about an emerging Chinatown in Kampala in 2015,” says Mansi. “And then the next year, I moved to New York, where she was living, so we would spend our afternoons working together.” Mansi and Kim traveled to Sri Lanka in 2016. Mansi recalls Kim’s dedication to telling the story of the women who fought with the Tamil Tigers during Sri Lanka’s brutal, 25-year civil war. “Kim genuinely fell in love with the women we were writing about,” says Mansi. “You can hear it in her voice, in the tapes of our interviews.”

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Missing the Boat. How Religio-Political Divisions have Deepened

A Letter from Rohan De Soysa in Colombo to Michael Roberts in Adelaide, 9th May 2019

I’d like to suggest a different angle. We have a Minister for Buddhist religious affairs, another for Hindu religious affairs, yet another for Muslim religious affairs and still another for Christian religious affairs.  Then there are Governors for the various provinces: Eastern Province, Western Province, Northern Province, Southern Province etc.  They have been provided deputy ministers, offices, staff, bodyguards, cell phones and vehicles, etc.

Should they not monitor and observe any untoward teachings and undesirable tendencies in what comes under their purview, namely places of worship and education, catering to their specialized religions? Why did they not do so? Isn’t it about time they did?

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