Category Archives: Left politics

Asoka Bandarage’s Study of The Separatist Conflict in Sri Lanka appeared in 2009

Assoke Bandarage BANDARAGE COVER

The Routledge Flier: Using careful historical research and analysis of policy documents, this book explains the origin and evolution of the political conflict in Sri Lanka over the struggle to establish a separate state in its Northern and Eastern Provinces. The conflict between the Sri Lankan government and the secessionist LTTE (Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam) is one of the world’s most intractable contemporary armed struggles. The internationally banned LTTE is considered the prototype of modern terrorism. It is known to have introduced suicide bombing to the world, and recently became the first terrorist organization ever to acquire an air force. The book argues that the Sri Lankan conflict cannot be adequately understood from the dominant bipolar analysis that sees it as a primordial ethnic conflict between the Sinhala majority and the Tamil minority. The book broadens the discourse providing a multipolar analysis of the complex interplay of political-economic and cultural forces at the local, regional and international levels including the roles of India and the international community. Overall, the book presents a conceptual framework useful for comparative global conflict analysis and resolution, shedding light on a host of complex issues such as terrorism, civil society, diasporas, international intervention and secessionism.

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A Historical ‘Cuppa’ of Ceylon Tea

Ceylon Tea: The Trade That Made a Nation

The Colombo Tea Traders’ Association will celebrate the 150th anniversary of Ceylon tea on July 20th with the launch of an illustrated history entitled Ceylon Tea: The Trade That Made a Nation. This art-quality large-format illustrated book has been authored by Richard Simon with Dominic Sansoni as Illustrations Editor, while the design has been fashioned by Sebastian Posingis. Continue reading

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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.

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Revisiting the Sins of Leslie Gunawardana (Part lll)

 

 Darshanie Ratnawalli. Q & A from  Saturday, 21 March 2015 … with emphasis by highlighting being  impositions by the Editor, Thuppahi

Professor KNO Dharmadasa, the present Editor in Chief of the Sinhala Encyclopedia goes down in history as mounting to date, the only direct, authoritative academic challenge to Professor Leslie Gunawardana, an ancient period historian of Sri Lanka who became a darling of certain social anthropological circuits through his “The People of the Lion: The Sinhala Identity and Ideology in History and Historiography”– (1979) and “Historiography In a Time of Ethnic Conflict, Construction of the Past in Contemporary Sri Lanka”– (1995). This is the third and last installment of Prof. K.N.O’s conversation with Darshanie Ratnawalli continued from 08 March, 2015.    

 

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Vijaya Vidyasagara, An Ecumenical Christian Socialist in Bygone Times

Devanesan Nesiah,  reviewing Memoirs of a Christian and a Socialist 

 This fascinating autobiography of Vijaya Vidyasagara edited by Skantha Kumar and Marshal Fernando and published by the Ecumenical Institute for Study and Dialogue is excellent reading. Priced at Rs. 500/- and covering 300 pages this book is a very good buy for any reader interested in Sri Lankan society and politics. Having known Vijaya and associated with him and the Christian Workers Fellowship (CWF) for over half a century, I found the book difficult to put down. I read it from cover to cover within a few days. Vijaya was also the founder editor of the Christian Worker, an excellent quarterly, now defunct.

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The Games that the Almighty Play: Syria Now, Sri Lanka Then

Sanja De Silva Jayatilleka, from The Island, 10 April 2017, where the title is “Watching Syria, seeing Sri Lanka” … highlighting in this presentation being my workas Editor …. and with further Commentary and Bibliographic References at the end

It was not easy to watch the proceedings on Friday April 7 that the UN Security Council’s emergency ‘open session’ on Syria without thinking of Sri Lanka, although the actual circumstances of the UN’s engagement with the two countries are very different. Only one thing seemed alarmingly similar. It seemed like a set up. US Ambassador Nikki Haley’s dramatic gesture of holding up photographs of chemical-gassed children only served to bring to mind the now famous theatrical display of a vial of anthrax by US Secretary of State Colin Powell at the same venue to warn the Council of the imminent danger that lay before the world from WMDs in Iraq.

Image #: 24024242 Pigeons lie on the ground after dying from what activists say is the use of chemical weapons by forces loyal to President Bashar Al-Assad in the Damascus suburbs of Arbeen August 24, 2013. Picture taken August 24, 2013. REUTERS/Ammar Dar (SYRIA – Tags: POLITICS CIVIL UNREST CONFLICT ANIMALS TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY) REUTERS /STRINGER /LANDOV

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Exploring Leslie Gunawardana’s Erroneous Pathways with KNO Dharmadasa — Part Two

Darshanie Ratnawalli, courtesy of  The Nation (print edition here) on Sunday, 08 March 2015. Here the title was “Revisiting the sins of – Leslie Gunawardana (Part 2)”

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Professor KNO Dharmadasa, the present Editor in Chief of the Sinhala Encyclopedia, goes down in history as mounting, up to this point, the only direct and authoritative academic challenge to Professor Leslie Gunawardana, an ancient period historian of Sri Lanka who became a darling of certain social anthropological circuits through his “The People of the Lion: The Sinhala Identity and Ideology in History and Historiography”– (1979) and “Historiography In a Time of Ethnic Conflict, Construction of the Past in Contemporary Sri Lanka”– (1995). This is the second instalment of Prof. K.N.O’s conversation with Darshanie Ratnawalli continued from 15 February, 2015.

DR– Here’s something serious. In page 14 of “Historiography in a Time of Ethnic Conflict” Professor Gunawardana implies not only that Prof. Paranavitana’s identification of the language of the Vallipuram inscription as Sinhala is wrong but that Paranavitana realized several decades later that it was wrong and instead of admitting to the error openly, tried to cover it up by quietly dropping that identification in his second edition of the Vallipuram inscription.

KNO– (Laughs aloud)

Senarath_Paranavitana -- en.wikipedia.org Senarat Paranavitana –Pic from en.wikipedia.org LESLIE Gunawardana-www.pdn.ac.lkeslie Gunawardana-www.pdn.ac.lk

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