Category Archives: modernity & modernization

Momentous Changes in Ceylon instituted by the Donoughmore Commisison

Leelananda de Silva, in Sunday Times, 5 July 2020

The Donoughmore Commission which came to Sri Lanka in the late 1920s made far reaching and far seeing recommendations, which changed the political, economic and social landscape of Ceylon. The present generation is largely unaware of its role and it is time that they refresh their understanding of the tremendous changes brought in by Donoughmore.

The Earl of Donoughmore

It was a commission consisting of three Britons — the Earl of Donoughmore, Drummond Shields and Burrows. They were political personalities well known in Britain at the time and were not colonial civil servants. They had the political and social vision to overcome the objections of both the colonial masters in Sri Lanka and the local dominant political personalities who were also not in favour of radical reforms.

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A Voyage into the National Archives via Experienced Hands Speaking on You Tube

ABSORB THIS https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qz6zMy9Hf1U&t=924s​

ජාතික ලේඛනාගාරයේ විකාශය හා වටිනාකම 22 June 2020

වර්ෂ 2017 දෙසැම්බර් මස ජාතික ලේඛනාගාරයේ වාචික ඉතිහාසය සුරැකීමේ වැඩසටහන යටතේ, පර්යේෂකයන් සහ ජාතික ලේඛනාරක්ෂක දෙපාර්තමේන්තුවේ විශ්‍රාමික නිලධාරීන් පිරිසකගේ අත්දැකීම්, පටිගත කරන ලදී. ඒ ඇසුරින් ජාතික ලේඛනාගාරයේ විකාශය සහ එහි වැදගත්කම, ලන්දේසි, බ්‍රිතාන්‍ය සහ නිදහසින් පසු කාල වකවානුවල රාජ්‍ය ලේඛන සහ වෙනත් ලේඛන එකතූන් එනම්, පුවත්පත් එකතූව හා ශ්‍රව්‍ය දෘශ්‍ය ලේඛන, අධිලේඛන පරිශීලනය කළ යුතු ආකාරය, අනාගතයේ දී නව තාක්ෂණය තුළින් ලේඛනාගාරය වෙනස් විය යුතු ආකාරය පිළිබඳ ඔබට ඉතා වැදගත් අදහස් ඇතුළත් සංක්ෂිප්ත වාර්තා වැඩසටහනක් ඉදිරිපත් කරන ලදී….. VIZ  = The Development and Worth of the Department of National Archives

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Smashing Statues: Issues of Sense and Sensibility … and Nonsence

Rihaab Mowlana, in Lifelk, 19 June 2020, where the title runs thus “Are We Erasing History?”

The statue of Thomas Jefferson, the founding father who also enslaved more than 600 people, was toppled in Oregon, while the statue of navigator and coloniser Christopher Columbus was ‘spray-painted, set on fire and thrown into a lake’. In England, the Statue of Edward Colston suffered a similar fate, resulting in ‘the boarding up of the Cenotaph in Whitehall and Winston Churchill’s statue in Parliament Square’. In many parts of the world, the predicament will befall many such monuments.

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Remembering Neville Jayaweera, Administrator Extraordinary

Ananda Wijesuriya, in Island, 12 June 2020, carrying this title “An administrator of skill, competence and understanding”

I had the occasion to read a full middle page article published in the Sunday Observer, I think in the late 60s, about the transport of a high-powered antenna brought to enhance the broadcasting capacity of SLBC. I was fascinated by the attention to details, explaining how the antenna, shipped as fabricated, transported from Colombo harbour all the way to Pidurutalagala mountain. I cannot remember whether the author was a journalist but it did identify who was the brains behind the meticulous planning, the then Chairman of newly incorporated SLBC – Neville Jayaweera. Later I again read about his exploits, with the change of the Government in 1970. He was removed from SLBC and being a CCS officer was posted to Anuradhapura, where during the 1971 JVP insurgency he rallied the police and a depleted army post and held the town against the attacks by the JVP.

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Battling the West. For Sri Lanka. Naseby at his Best

Professor Rajiva Wijesinha, in Island, 16 June 2020 where the title is “Lord Naseby’s Paradise”

It is a great joy to come across someone who loves this country passionately. In the case of Lord Naseby the joy is enhanced by the practical aspects of his devotion, his unceasing efforts to promote Sri Lanka’s interests and to combat what he sees as unremitting and vicious hostility to Sri Lanka on the part of successive governments.

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Honeycombed with Societal and Political Fissures: Sri Lanka Now & Ever Before

Michael Roberts, reiterating the original draft sent to a few on 10 June 2020

Recent forum discussions on the topic of “Reconciliation” and correspondence with concerned friends have prompted me to essay an analysis of Sri Lanka’s societal problems over the last 150 years. This is a tendentious quest.

This Map showing districts served by Regional Malaria Officers happens to suit the metaphor “Riddled” and/or “Honeycombed” in my title

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Ceylon’s First General Election in 1947: Reflections … with An Eye on Today’s Situation

Gerald. H. Peiris, presenting here a more complete article than that featured in The Island of 16th June 2020 under the title A National Election in a ‘Time of Troubles’. ”

The phrase ‘Time of Troubles’ is borrowed from the title of a classic sociological study of 19th century ‘Ceylon’ by Professor Ralph Pieris (1952). Here it is intended to highlight the fact that, although the imperial sunset over our island has often been described as a “peaceful transfer of power”, it occurred at an extraordinarily stormy time – politically, economically and environmentally. The calamities that had plagued the country in the ‘Donoughmore era’ ̶  the pauperising impact of the ‘Great Depression’, Malaria Epidemic of the mid-1930s with about a million people (one-fifth of the population in 1931) infected and 60,000 deaths from November 1934 to April 1935 (Briercliffe & Dalrymple-Champneys, 1937), the acute food-scarcity during the Second World War  ̶  seemed to climax in the months leading up to the elections of 1947.

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Professor KM de Silva’s Publications

Born in 1931 — on 31st December no less — Kingsley Muthumuni de Silva, is still batting … with a pen. This compilation has been assembled by Iranga de Silva of ICES Kandy…. and is arranged in reverse chronological sequence.

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USA as World’s Policeman 1945-2020

An Incidental Point from Dr Cornel West’s Indictment of the US Administrations’ Internal Policing Programs

KEY Detail within Transcript: USA has 800 military bases worldwide; and has has carried out 211 interventions since 1945.

SEE video and transcript of yesterday’s interview with Dr Cornel West on the 7.30 Report on ABC in Australia = https://www.abc.net.au/7.30/dr-cornel-west-looks-at-the-unrest-in-the-united/12318386

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A Sino-Tibetan Folded Book from 1410 predates the Gutenberg Bible

Colin Marshall in Open Culture, 15 May 2020, where the title is  “Breathtakingly-Detailed Tibetan Book Printed 40 Years Before the Gutenberg Bible”

The Gutenberg Bible went to press in the year 1454. We now see it as the first piece of mass media, printed as it was with the then-cutting-edge technology of metal movable type. But in the history of aesthetic achievements in book-printing, the Gutenberg Bible wasn’t without its precedents. To find truly impressive examples requires looking in lands far from Europe: take, for instance, this “Sino-Tibetan concertina-folded book, printed in Beijing in 1410, containing Sanskrit dhāranīs and illustrations of protective mantra-diagrams and deities, woodblock-printed in bright red ink on heavy white paper,” whose “breathtakingly detailed printing” predates Gutenberg by 40 years.

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