Category Archives: language policies

UNP and Unity Government denounce Hate Speech

ONE: Island News Item with focus on Malik Samarawickrema’s Statement

The United National Party notes with deep concern the recent attempts by subversive elements to sabotage the reconciliation efforts of the national unity government led by President Maithripala Sirisena and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, UNP Chairman Malik Samarawickrema said in a statement. Since its founding, the UNP has remained a secular political party fostering unity while building a truly Sri Lankan identity.

The UNP welcomes the statement of the Cabinet of ministers, the Prime Minister and the President to use the full force of the law against those causing religious tensions, racial hatred and undermining the efforts at reconciliation since the new government came to power. Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under accountability, cultural transmission, democratic measures, disparagement, governance, heritage, Indian traditions, language policies, legal issues, life stories, politIcal discourse, religiosity, self-reflexivity, Sinhala-Tamil Relations, sri lankan society, tolerance, vengeance, violence of language, world affairs

Deciphering Religious Rivalries in South and Southeast Asia

K.M. de Silva …. introducing Ethnic Conflict in Buddhist Societies in South and Southeast Asia: The Politics behind Religious Rivalries  … with highlighted emphasis  added by The Editor, Thuppahi

Almost from the time of its establishment in 1982 as the International Centre for Ethnic Studies (ICES) its academic leadership felt compelled by the challenges of its location in one of the principal Theravada Buddhist societies of South and Southeast Asia, to take a hard and unsentimental look at religion, Buddhism in the Sri Lankan context, as a factor in the prolonged ethnic dispute here.  The dispute in this island had engaged the attention of Sri Lanka’s political class for the two previous decades, while political analysts from Sri Lanka and others from various parts of the world examined the impact of Buddhism on the Sri Lanka polity and the prolonged ethnic conflict in Sri Lanka, the situation in Thailand and Myanmar (Burma) provided a convenient comparative basis in the reviews and in the literature in these three Buddhist societies.

Continue reading

1 Comment

Filed under accountability, centre-periphery relations, communal relations, democratic measures, governance, heritage, historical interpretation, Indian Ocean politics, Indian religions, Indian traditions, Islamic fundamentalism, language policies, life stories, literary achievements, racist thinking, religiosity, religious nationalism, Sinhala-Tamil Relations, sri lankan society, the imaginary and the real, tolerance, welfare & philanthophy, world events & processes

Ethnic Conflict in Buddhist Societies in South and Southeast Asia

https://thuppahi.wordpress.com/2017/06/07/deciphering-religious-rivalries-in-south-and-southeast-asia/

 Ethnic Conflict in Buddhist Societies in South and Southeast Asia. The Politics behind Religious Rivalries, edited by K.M. de Silva, 2015 (pp. 270 +xvi) 

The book aims to examine the role of Buddhism as a factor of conflict in the three main Theravada Buddhist societies of South and Southeast Asia—Sri Lanka, Thailand and Myanmar.  The dispute in this island had engaged the attention of Sri Lanka’s political class for the two previous decades, while political analysts from Sri Lanka and others from various parts of the world examined the impact of Buddhism on the Sri Lanka polity and the prolonged ethnic conflict in Sri Lanka. The situation in Thailand and Myanmar provided a convenient comparative basis in the reviews and in the literature in these three Buddhist societies. Continue reading

1 Comment

Filed under centre-periphery relations, cultural transmission, economic processes, electoral structures, ethnicity, governance, heritage, Hinduism, historical interpretation, Indian Ocean politics, Indian religions, Indian traditions, Islamic fundamentalism, landscape wondrous, language policies, legal issues, life stories, literary achievements, modernity & modernization, Muslims in Lanka, nationalism, politIcal discourse, power politics, Rajapaksa regime, reconciliation, religious nationalism, self-reflexivity, Sinhala-Tamil Relations, slanted reportage, sri lankan society, Tamil civilians, the imaginary and the real, tolerance, truth as casualty of war, welfare & philanthophy, world events & processes

Jane Russell on Sri Lankan Political History in Debate with Kumarasingham’s Readings

From London the historian and scholar  Jane Russell has entered an extensive set of comments on Harshan Kumarasingham’s Heidelberg essay of 2013 –reprinted in Thuppahi in 2014. Given its length and Russell’s background (see below) it deserves wider exposure in the hope that debate will be promoted. I am therefore deleting its original location and posting it as a separate item.

 Russell  Kumarasingham

  1. HARSHAN KUMARASINGHAM”s “The Deceptive Tranquillity surrounding Sri Lankan Independence: ‘The Jewel of the East yet has its Flaws’,”  is an interesting paper with which I broadly agree, despite a tendency by the author to sacrifice judgement in favour of rhetoric. However, Dr. Harshan Kumarasingham has gone for the elegant historical narrative rather than seeking to explore and analyse some of the more nuanced, underlying factors that may help to understand the spiralling of Ceylon, cited by the British as ‘ the Premier Crown Colony” at independence in 1947, into Sri Lanka, characterised by the west at the turn of the 21st century as a terrorist-riven semi-failed state. I hope the following will help to redress this.

Continue reading

2 Comments

Filed under communal relations, economic processes, education policy, governance, historical interpretation, Indian Ocean politics, island economy, language policies, Left politics, life stories, LTTE, nationalism, politIcal discourse, power politics, power sharing, prabhakaran, reconciliation, self-reflexivity, Sinhala-Tamil Relations, social justice, sri lankan society, teaching profession, the imaginary and the real, world events & processes

The Forgotten People: Malaiyaha Tamils of the Plantations and Hill-Country

Meera Srinivasan, from The Hindu, 18 May 2017, where the title runs The long journey of a forgotten people”

“Sri Lanka’s hill-country Tamils want to be seen as rightful citizens, not passive beneficiaries”

 Estate workers in late 19th century

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s public rally on May 12 with Sri Lanka’s hill-country Tamils, on the second day of his two-day visit to the country, was a success, if you went by conventional markers such as the crowd he drew or the cheers that arose from it. But its real outcome is rather limited compared to the wide-ranging needs of the historically neglected community. That an estimated 35,000 people from in and around the central highlands converged on the small town of Norwood – many walking over 5 km since buses clogged the narrow roads — partly reflects the affinity the Tamils feel for India, from where their ancestors moved to Sri Lanka about 200 years ago. Moreover, hill-country politicians put in their might to mobilise workers, campaigning widely across the tea estates that employ a fourth of the over one million-strong community.

Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under centre-periphery relations, cultural transmission, discrimination, economic processes, electoral structures, governance, historical interpretation, Indian Ocean politics, island economy, language policies, legal issues, life stories, modernity & modernization, politIcal discourse, power politics, power sharing, self-reflexivity, Sinhala-Tamil Relations, social justice, sri lankan society, Tamil civilians, welfare & philanthophy, world events & processes

Sinhala at Cornell under Threat of Guillotine! A Protest

Malinda Seneviratne, in The Island, 7 May 2017, where the title reads Save the Sinhala Program at Cornell University”

Deepthi Kumara Gunaratne once alleged that I never studied at Harvard University.  He said that I might have been eating hoppers in some boutique somewhere near Harvard, at best.  He was essentially claiming that I had learned nothing at Harvard.  Someone else asked me once what I had brought back from Harvard and I said ‘Harvard was too big to carry back to Sri Lanka,’ and, after a pause, added, ‘Harvard was too small too.’  Not true, strictly speaking, but I was using a broad brush and alluding to alleged superiority of certain knowledge systems, just like Deepthi.  Big or small the institution, big or small the individual, we leave something behind and we take away something too.  True of Harvard and true of Cornell University.

 Jim Gair at work  Cornell Uni Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under economic processes, education, heritage, language policies, life stories, meditations, self-reflexivity, sri lankan society, unusual people, world affairs

SWRD Bandaranaike Images from the 1930s ……. and Further On

 Young SWRD  Bandaranaike and Sirima Ratwatte

 SWRD in Gandhian mode – cover of Charkaya and Goyam Keta Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under accountability, cultural transmission, discrimination, heritage, language policies, life stories, nationalism, patriotism, power politics, self-reflexivity, Sinhala-Tamil Relations, sri lankan society, the imaginary and the real, trauma, unusual people, world affairs