Category Archives: Left politics

Constitutional Issues in the Limelight … Liayanage and CBK

ONE:  Constitutional Reforms: Would it be a solution to the national question?” by Sumanasiri Liyanage, in The Island, 16 February 2016

A German friend of mine whom I met after 7 years in the middle of our conversation asked me about the state reforms project of the Yahapalana government. He said that many people he met had been sanguine about them in spite of some minor difficulties. Lankans have been talking about the state reforms since the second republican constitution was promulgated in 1978. Three main questions have been posed, namely, (1) The executive presidential system and the  over-centralized architecture of the constitution; (2) the constitutional relevance in ethnically divided society; and (3) the representational deficiency in the system of election. After a heated debate in the 1980s and 1990, the heat of the constitutional debate has now subsided as many seem to believe that the present system has reached some stability. This may be partly due to the rigid character of the constitutional design. However, it is not totally true as we have had Parliaments with the necessary 2/3 majority [to effect change if requisite].

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Thomas Meaney, A Review Article, courtesy of the Author and the London Review of Books,… with emphasis by highlights added by The Editor, Thuppahi … SEE www.lrb.co.uk

prabha-with-pistol-2   prabha-tiger

Rescued from the Nation: Anagarika Dharmapala and the Buddhist World by Steven Kemper, Chicago, 480 pp, £31.50, January 2015, ISBN 978 0 226 19907

Tamil: A Biography by David Shulman, Harvard, 416 pp, £25.00, September 2016, ISBN 978 0 674 05992 4

The Seasons of Trouble: Life amid the Ruins of Sri Lanka’s Civil War by Rohini Mohan, Verso, 368 pp, £16.99, October 2015, ISBN 978 1 78168 883 0

Independence was handed to Ceylon’s elite on a platter. ‘Think of Ceylon as a little bit of England,’ Oliver Ernest Goonetilleke, the first native governor-general, said. This was a point of pride. Don Stephen Senanayake, the country’s first prime minister, remarked: ‘There has been no rebellion in Ceylon, no non-cooperation movement and no fifth column. We were among the peoples who gave full collaboration while Britain was hard-pressed.’ After independence in 1948, Ceylon alone among the former colonies not only retained but promoted the monarchy: the Union Jack flew alongside the Ceylon flag; a new constitution was drafted by a former LSE professor, Ivor Jennings; Colombo debutantes were presented at Buckingham Palace; and, thanks to some genealogical ingenuity, George VI was recognised as the latest monarch in the ancient line of Kandyan kings. While the rest of the empire in Asia smouldered – in India there was Partition, in Malaya the Emergency, in Burma the civil war – Ceylon became Whitehall’s model for the transfer of colonial power. ‘There was no fight for that freedom which involved a fight for principles, policies and programmes,’ Solomon Ridgeway Bandaranaike, the anti-colonial head of state who took power in 1956, said when he reviewed the transition a decade later. ‘It just came overnight. We just woke up one day and were told: “You are a dominion now.”[1] Continue reading

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February 10, 2017 · 1:03 pm

Caste, Democracy and Social Justice: ICES Conference in Late November 2016

atudor Tudor  a-obey Gananath

Tudor Kalinga Silva

This conference was held at the International Centre for Ethnic Studies, Colombo on the 19/20th November 2016 with the participation of over 60 researchers from Sri Lanka and abroad. The objective of the conference was to review recent research on caste in Sri Lanka from the angle of democracy and social justice in line with the broader ICES interest in identity politics in Sri Lanka. The specific issues discussed included possible theoretical, conceptual and methodological issues relating to understanding caste and caste-like phenomenon in Sri Lanka, caste dynamics in Sinhala society, caste in historical context, caste issues in Northeast Sri Lanka, post-war transformation of caste, migration, caste and ethnicity, caste and religion and policy framework for addressing horizontal inequality and promoting social justice. The keynote speakers in the conference were Prof. Gananath Obeyesekere, Dr. Kumari Jayawardena, Dr. John Rogers (from the American Institute of Sri Lanka Studies) and Prof. K. Tudor Silva who also convened the conference on behalf of ICES. Continue reading

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Against Extremism: In Defence of 26th January Australia Day

Greg Sheridan, in The Australian, Thursday, 2 February 2017, where the title is “If Australia day is Illegitimate, so are We”and visit http://www.theaustralian.com.au/opinion/columnists/greg-sheridan/if-australia-day-is-illegitimate-so-are-we/news-story/eded818b24fa646b643829177fb1c6fa …..where there already are 155 comments

a-oz-day-22 a-oz-day-33Australia should celebrate Australia Day on January 26 because it is right to do so. It is the day modern institutions, in our case British institutions, entered Australian life. They have brought with them the entire institutional and indeed ethical framework of modern Australia. They brought the rule of law, individual human rights, independent courts, free media, multiple centres of power in government.

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Filed under accountability, Australian culture, australian media, British colonialism, cultural transmission, democratic measures, heritage, historical interpretation, Left politics, life stories, political demonstrations, politIcal discourse, psychological urges, self-reflexivity, the imaginary and the real, world events & processes, zealotry

A Requiem for Stanley J. Tambiah

Sachi Sri Kanthain Ilankai Tamil Sangam, 9 February 2014, … http://sangam.org/stanley-jeyaraja-tambiah-1929-2014/

tambiah-pic-11 “In 1958, while I was leading a research team composed of university undergraduates, all of whom were Sinhalese, that were engaged in a sociological study of peasant colonization in Gal Oya, ethnic riots unexpectedly broke out in our midst, and at Amparai, Sinhalese public workers went on the rampage in hijacked trucks, attacking Tamil shopkeepers and Tamil peasant colonists. My students, very solicitous for my safety, insisted that I stay behind closed doors while they stood guard. And I was later hidden in a truck, and spirited out of the valley to Batticaloa, a safe Tamil area. That experience was traumatic: it was the first time the ethnic divide was so forcibly thrust into my existence. And intuitively reading the signs, I wished to get away from the island, for I experienced a mounting alienation and a sense of being homeless in one’s own home.” …… Tambiah SJ (1997) a rejoinder to ‘Buddhism Betrayed’ book review by Sasanka Perera

Tambiah SJ (1997) on 1983 ethnic riots in Sri Lanka

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The LLRC Sittings in Pictures

The recent presentation in Thuppahi of a specific proposal from the LLRC on national anthems as well as the issues raised by Thuppahi on the topic of DISAPPEARANCES prompt me to present a number of images from the sittings conducted by this peripatic body of personnel together with a brief officla report. the images have been helpfully provided by Kithsiri De Silva an old Aloysian class-mate who was an officer servicing the work of this august body.  I am also tacking on an official report on the LLRC plus one dissenting note about its lopsided composition from Harshadeva Amarathunga. Michael Roberts

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The People’s War in Nepal and Martyrs, Living and Dead

marie-lecomte-tilouineMarie Lecomte-Tilouine, courtesy of http://samaj.revues.org/3018, where the title is “Martyrs and Living Martyrs of the People’s War in Nepal

Abstract: In Nepal, the Maoists’ armed wing (PLA) developed as a collective of martyrs-to-be, whose example was disseminated as soon as they fell through tributes, poems and ceremonies. Its dynamic relied on self-sacrifice rather than any heroic prowess, and acquired a strong power of attraction in that it fundamentally asserts that anyone, whether illiterate, poor or of the lowest status, is of ‘priceless’ value, and can contribute to the project to change the order of things by putting their lives at stake. The People’s War also brought about a wave of ‘Living Martyrs’, who survived the war and who are now busy recording their past experiences. They combine all the ingredients in terms of pathos and achievement to become historical figures and models for the future, while fallen immortals have already lost their individualities and play a collective and anonymous role.nepal-maoists-22-revo-in-asia  nepal-maoists-globalsecurity-org Pic from Global Security Org

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Filed under atrocities, governance, Left politics, life stories, military strategy, modernity & modernization, patriotism, political demonstrations, politIcal discourse, power politics, propaganda, security, self-reflexivity, suicide bombing, terrorism, the imaginary and the real, unusual people, war reportage, world events & processes

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