In mid-year 1999 during the ongoing Eelam War III, Mark Corcoran of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) visited Sri Lanka and composed three film documentaries of fascinating breadth. They were
I have yet to see the first and third of these film documentaries, but find the topics chosen very much in my line of interest. It so happened that I watched TIGERS AT THE GATE in Adelaide then. I then had the temerity to send a Letter to the ABC and Corcoran with some criticisms of the coverage — deploying an University of Adelaide letterhead so as to secure attention. This exercise had completely slipped my mind till I came across my typescript and Mark Corcoran’s reply (dated 5th July) among my manuscripts when indulging in some archival sorting. In reproducing my Memo and placing this exchange within the inter-net ‘bar,’ I stress that my memories of the documentary NOW are zilch and that i have not been able to study it again. However, I suspect that it would be very useful for analysts to revisit this documentary. Continue reading →
Island Editorial,where the title is “Nightmares and flashbacks
What is unfolding on the political front reminds us of the J. R. Jayewardene era when trade union struggles, including the 1980 general strike, were brutally crushed and the Indo-Lanka Peace Accord and draconian laws foisted on the public while national assets were sold for a song. However, the present-day rulers have gone a step further; they have surpassed JRJ who could only toy with the idea of rolling back the electoral map. He held a referendum in lieu of a general election in 1982 however rigged it may have been. But, today, elections have been put off indefinitely on some flimsy pretext in blatant violation of people’s franchise. The Old Fox promised us a righteous society, of all things, and his followers in the present dispensation have pledged to usher in good governance (yahapalanaya).
A road junction memorial for Annai Poopathi in Batticaloa District, Annai Poopathi, a mother of ten children and aged 55, fasted unto death in protest against the IPKF presence in Sri Lanka, breathing her last on 19th April 1988. –thereby backing Thileepan’s fast-unto-death earlier in Jaffna in 1987. A permanent memorial in her homage was also constructed at Kiran … but the tsunami destroyed it. Her memory is evoked to this day. Her sacrifice is remembered and hallowed today among Tamils in many lands –Germany, Netherlands, UK et cetera –see http://www.tamilguardian.com/content/annai-poopathy-remembered?articleid=4700.
With the benefit of a Teen Murti Fellowship I was collecting data on communal violence in India in 1995 when my readings of news archives indicated that the death of Mrs Indira Gandhi by assassination in Delhi induced a handful of individuals in southern India to commit sympathetic suicide. Since news reports did not indicate similar reactions in other parts of India, I began to reflect on the cultural foundations that promoted such expressions – acting, of course, in contexts that also could provide political and economic inspirations. This eventually led to my first essay on this topic: “Filial Devotion and the Tiger Cult of Suicide,” Contributions to Indian Sociology, 1996, 30: 245-72.
Dhanu waits to kill Rajiv Gandhi in suicide attack
Jonathan Liew, in Daily Telegraph, 8 June 2017, with title “Sri Lanka upset the odds to defeat India in one of the finest one-day chases The Oval has seen”
To give you an idea of the magnitude of Sri Lanka’s achievement here, at the halfway stage, you could have got longer odds on them winning than on Jeremy Corbyn becoming the next prime minister. Yet on an overcast election day in south London, it was Sri Lanka who carved out the narrowest of majorities, even if in a packed crowd of over 22,000, their fans were very much the minority.It was one of the finest one-day chases The Oval has seen, and given this ground’s rich history of limited-overs batsmanship, that is not a statement you make lightly. Against one of the shrewdest attacks in the world game, Sri Lanka hunted down India’s total of 321 with guts and precision. Afterwards captain Angelo Mathews, who helmed the chase with a fine 52 not out, dedicated the win to a country ravaged by floods that have killed more than 200 people and left more than 600,000 homeless.
In less pressing matters, a damp fuse of a tournament has quite startlingly caught light. And after Pakistan’s surprise win against Sri Lanka on Wednesday, here was another reminder that at the game’s sharp end, the margins are deceptively narrow.
Thuppahi's Blog · This web site presents the interventions of MICHAEL ROBERTS in the public realm with reference to Sri Lankan political affairs. It will embrace the politics of cricket as well. ROBERTS was educated at St. Aloysius College in Galle and the universities of Peradeniya and Oxford. He taught History at Peradeniya University and Anthropology at Adelaide university. He is now retired and lives in Adelaide.