Category Archives: Left politics

Sri Lanka’s Political Swamp, Gotabhaya and the Viyath Maga Tamasha: A Critical Evaluation

Rajan Philips, in The Island, 26 May 2018, where the title is  The Shangri La tamasha: Neither presidential nor parliamentary, it’s Port City politics now

After a week in Cuba, I am late in gate-crashing the Shangri La party, the onset of the newest political tamasha in town. Calling it a tamasha is not to belittle the political potency of the event, but to highlight its ideational bankruptcy. No one took Donald Trump seriously when he slid down his gilded Trump Tower escalator, in January 2016, and announced his candidacy to become President of the United States of America. Look where he landed before the year was over and where he is dragging by its nose the world’s so called sole superpower. The Sri Lankan contrast is glaring.

GR making Viyath Maga speech at Shangri La

Continue reading

1 Comment

May 28, 2018 · 2:38 pm

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

1 Comment

Filed under British colonialism, caste issues, constitutional amendments, cultural transmission, economic processes, education, electoral structures, ethnicity, governance, heritage, historical interpretation, Indian Ocean politics, island economy, land policies, landscape wondrous, language policies, Left politics, life stories, modernity & modernization, nationalism, politIcal discourse, power politics, Sinhala-Tamil Relations, sri lankan society, unusual people, welfare & philanthophy, world events & processes

Tisaranee dissects the Current Populist Currents and their Chauvinist Underpinnings

Tisaranee Gunasekara in The Sri Lanka Guardian where the title runs thus: “Blood-and-Faith Populism and Sri Lanka’s Future””

“As the great reformers of the 19th century well knew, the Social Question, if left unaddressed, does not just wither away. It goes instead in search of more radical answers.””……Tony Judt (Reappraisals)

This month, the populist wave suffered two critical defeats. In France outsider-candidate Emmanuel Macron beat Marine Le Pen. In Iran, reformist president Hassan Rouhani trounced Ebrahim Raisi, a religious hardliner backed by Supreme Leader Khameni and the Revolutionary Guard. These defeats come in the wake of other electoral setbacks for populists, especially in Austria and The Netherlands. Despite these welcome-defeats, the current wave of populism is far from spent – and would continue wreak havoc, until the forces of moderation manage to create a new synthesis between pluralist democracy and progressive economics.

Populism is hardly a new phenomenon. It flourishes best where there is economic loss and pain. Populist leaders succeed in their power-grabs by harnessing that economic pain to their political projects. Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under accountability, communal relations, cultural transmission, disparagement, doctoring evidence, economic processes, electoral structures, historical interpretation, Indian Ocean politics, Islamic fundamentalism, Left politics, legal issues, life stories, modernity & modernization, patriotism, performance, politIcal discourse, power sharing, Rajapaksa regime, religious nationalism, security, self-reflexivity, Sinhala-Tamil Relations, slanted reportage, sri lankan society, the imaginary and the real, truth as casualty of war, unusual people, world events & processes

GK Haththotuwagama and His Riveting Street Theatre

Extracts from the Dr. Gamini Haththotuwegama Memorial Lecture delivered by Nihal Rajapakse at OPA Auditorium on the invitation of Richmond 60-70 Group.

Wikipedia describes Dr. Gamini Haththotuwegama in the following manner. “He was a Sri Lankan playwright, director, actor, critic and educator. He is widely known as the father of modern street theatre. He is among the most influential directors of post independent Sri Lanka.”

 Dr. Gamini Haththotuwegama … GK to us Galileans and to the occupants of Ramanathan Hall at Peradeniya in the late 1950s

Continue reading

1 Comment

Filed under centre-periphery relations, cultural transmission, education, female empowerment, heritage, Indian traditions, landscape wondrous, Left politics, life stories, literary achievements, modernity & modernization, performance, politIcal discourse, self-reflexivity, social justice, sri lankan society, teaching profession, the imaginary and the real, unusual people, world affairs

Professor Laksiri Jayasuriya: A Far-Reaching life in Sri Lanka and Australia, 1931-2018

Siri Gamage, courtesy of Colombo Telegraph

Emeritus Professor Laksiri Jayasuriya (Laksiri) who was Professor of Social Work and Social administration at the University of Western Australia passed away on April 20th 2018 in Perth. He was the founder of the sociology department at the University of Colombo and led an illustrious career in the Australian academia while contributing to government policy making processes in areas such as multiculturalism, ethnic affairs,migration and citizenship. He nurtured cohorts of students under his care during his long career in Australia and continued to engage in scholarly activities and publishing after retirement. Professor Jayasuriya leaves behind bellowed wife Rohini and two loving sons Kanishka and Pradeep – both professionals – one in the academia and the other in medical field. His death comes as a great loss to his academic colleagues, particularly in Australia and Sri Lanka.

Prof Laksiri Jayasuriya

Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under Australian culture, australian media, charitable outreach, cultural transmission, education, education policy, heritage, historical interpretation, Left politics, life stories, modernity & modernization, nationalism, patriotism, performance, politIcal discourse, self-reflexivity, social justice, sri lankan society, unusual people, welfare & philanthophy, world events & processes

Introducing Prophetic Indictments by Mervyn De Silva

Noel Ranjith

Regular readers of “The Island” newspaper over the twenty year period from the 1980’s will remember the almost weekly columns written by Dr. Mervyn D. De Silva, who was in those years a Deputy Director of the Ministry of Planning and Economic Affairs, followed by being appointed as the Director of the Ministry of Plan Implementation, and later becoming a Member of Parliament through the National List. His most profuse and provocative period was during the tenures of four Presidents from Mr. J. R. Jayawardene to Mrs. Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga. His writings covered a wide range of public and national concerns and took their cue from what the controversial American journalist I.F. Stone believed was the purpose of good journalism  –to comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable”.

Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under accountability, charitable outreach, commoditification, education, governance, historical interpretation, Indian Ocean politics, island economy, land policies, Left politics, legal issues, life stories, modernity & modernization, sri lankan society, transport and communications, working class conditions, world affairs

The Molotov Cocktail generating Communal Violence in Sri Lanka and India: A Select Bibliography

Michael Roberts

One image of the sene outside the hospital where Indira Gandhi lay dying in 1984 after she was assassinated by some of her Sikh bodyruards as retribution for the Indian governments’s raid ona Sikh temple in the Ounjab

PRIMARY ESSAYS

Michael Roberts: Anguish as Empowerment … and A Path to Retribution,” 22 March 2017, https://thuppahi.wordpress.com/?p=24595&preview=true

Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under accountability, atrocities, communal relations, conspiracies, discrimination, disparagement, economic processes, ethnicity, fundamentalism, historical interpretation, Islamic fundamentalism, Left politics, legal issues, life stories, political demonstrations, politIcal discourse, power politics, psychological urges, riots and pogroms, self-reflexivity, Sinhala-Tamil Relations, slanted reportage, Sri Lankan cricket, terrorism, the imaginary and the real, trauma, truth as casualty of war, unusual people, vengeance, violence of language, women in ethnic conflcits, world events & processes