Category Archives: modernity & modernization

Alleged ‘Land Grabbing’ by the Security Forces in Sri Lanka

Gerald Peiris, … an essay that is part of  Chapter 11 in a forthcoming monograph titled Sri Lanka: Land Policy for Sustainable Development, by G. H. Peiris, currently in the press (as a Visidunu Publication, 471 Lake Road, Boralesgamuwa, Sri Lanka) [1]

In view of the significance accorded in recent public debate and discussion on the subject of ‘land grabbing’ in several conflict-ridden countries of the Third World it is necessary to devote attention to a series of facts that are of crucial relevance to a balanced understanding of the related  situation in Sri Lanka.

Gerald Peiris Bhavani Fonseka  Mirak Raheem

Land Grabbing: Concept and Empirical Application  

The phenomenon referred to as ‘land grabbing’ lacks definitional clarity. In many writings of recent times (Keely, 2009; Borras, et.al., 2011; Deininger & Byerlee 2011; Rulli, et. al., 2013; Brimayer & Moon, 2014; to name only a few), especially those sponsored by civil society organisations, this phrase has been used exclusively in the specific connotation of large-scale acquisition of land in the poorer countries by foreign governments and private firms that are based in the politically and economically powerful countries. Estimates of the extent of grabbed land worldwide vary. The prestigious journal, The Economist (21 May 2009) placed it at 15-20 million ha. According to the World Bank, it is as high as 45 million ha, with an overwhelmingly large proportion of it in the less densely populated areas of Sub-Saharan Africa, South and Central America and Southeast Asia. In a major World Bank sponsored study (Deininger & Byerlee, op. cit.) ‘land grabbing’ has been portrayed as a phenomenon of both positive as well as negative impacts which nevertheless requires effective regulation. But more generally, this process is perceived as an exemplification of neo-colonial economic exploitation that has adverse consequences on the local people in the form of violation of fundamental rights, incitement of inter-group conflict, mass impoverishment and environmental degradation. What should be noted here is that in none of the research writings on the subject of ‘land grabbing’ as a global phenomenon do we come across a specific reference to Sri Lanka as a country that has been seriously affected by this phenomenon.[2] Continue reading

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The Ambalama: Blending Serenity and Beauty … amidst Poson Activities

Danya Udukumbure, in The Island, 23 June 2017, where the title runs 

It was the Poson weekend, actually a long one if one skipped work on Friday. Just perfect for an impromptu adventure! A quick call to my friends in Wariyapola and I was behind the wheel. It was still dark outside, but the road was dotted with white clad folk hurrying to the temples to observe sil. I revelled in the peaceful Poson spirit in the air. It seemed that the spirituality was weighing heavy as we were dealing with the aftermath of the catastrophic monsoon floods which left death and destruction in its wake in several districts. ‘Anichchai, Dukkai, Anaththai’. The whole country was in a lacklustre mood, or so I thought.

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In Appreciation of Ivan Samarawickrama as Administrator

Rama Somasundarem

I first came to know Ivan Samarawickrama when he was Government Agent of Polonnarawa in the mid-1960s. I was then attached to the Land Development Department. I van had already earned a name as a good administrator when he was appointed Assistant Government Agent of the Jaffna District at a time when there were civil disturbances and an army officer (for the first time I believe), was appointed to function as the Government Agent. The government of the day understood the importance of having an officer acquainted with District Administration in order to control and administer a district. Ivan Samarawickrama performed his duties with great acceptance to the people of Jaffna and greatly contributed to the district’s peace and development.

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Dr. Anupa Herath and his Breakthrough Invention in Intubation

Kumudini Hettiarachchi, in Sunday Times, 18 June 2017, an article entitled “Lankan doctor’s life-saving intubation invention wins gold”

It is not an easy task — and as he assisted many an anaesthetist to ‘intubate’ numerous people, lying on the operating table before an operation or in emergencies, he wondered why it could not be made less challenging. As they wielded the laryngoscope, a metallic gadget with a handle and a blade, to carry out endotracheal intubation, the Peradeniya Teaching Hospital’s Senior Registrar in Anaesthesia, Dr. Anupa Herath, allowed his inventive mind to dwell on it.

Dr. Anupa Herath performing intubation with his invention – the Video-Laryngoscope with Extended Functions. Pix by Anurada Bandara

Going beyond the call of duty which is to assist in intubation and keep the vitals of the patient under general anaesthesia at the required levels, Dr. Herath has now come up with a ‘Video-Laryngoscope with Extended Functions’ which can be handled easily, to international and local commendation. Continue reading

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For Sri Lanka: Rajendra Theagarajah’s Exhortations to Canadian Tamils

Item in Lankareporter.com… https://lankareporter.com/blog/need-access-markets-not-handouts-expatriates-rajendra-theagarajahs-canada-speech/

Partner with us in Sri Lanka, not to build a social welfare state, but to build an entrepreneurially focused new Sri Lanka, was the message of Rajendra Theagarajah, Vice Chairman of Cargills Bank who was the guest of honour at the Canadian Tamils’ Chamber of Commerce gala and awards ceremony in Toronto. “No handouts, why not engage?” he said. He urged innovative Sri Lankan Tamil entrepreneurs in Canada to utilize hundreds of graduates each year produced by the University of Jaffna’s IT computing program and the new engineering institute of the North in Ariviyal Nagar, Killinochi.

Rajendra Theagarajah, Vice Chairman of Cargills Bank who was the guest of honour at the Canadian Tamils’ Chamber of Commerce gala and awards ceremony. (Picture by Gnane Gananedran)

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Volatile and Grim Economic Prospects for Sri Lanka: Three Voices

Sam Bresnick, in Daily News, 19 June 2017, with title “Economic Endeavour : Uncertain Road to Recovery” … with highlighting being the work of The Editor Thuppahi

It is no secret that Sri Lanka is currently navigating choppy economic waters as it shifts strategies in an uncertain moment in the world economy. The move towards private sector-led growth and away from public sector-sponsored development is, according to several economists, necessary given the government’s debt situation. But that does not mean that the transition has been seamless or easy. On the contrary, Sri Lanka is going through growing pains as it tries to jump start its export industry and attract foreign-direct investment (FDI).

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From Mountain Village to Neurologist in Melbourne

Tissa Wijeratne, … https://worldneurologyonline.com/article/the-journey-of-one-neurologist-from-sri-lanka-to-melbourne/#disqus_thread … where the title is “The Journey of One Neurologist from Sri Lanka to Melbourne”

Born and raised in what I describe as “the jungle,” my life started in one of the remotest parts of Sri Lanka: a village called Kirioruwa-Bandarawela in the central mountainous area. Electricity, hot water, television, and telephone were all miles away from us at the time. I fondly recall days spent reading in the shade of a tree in the rice fields that surrounded my family home — the place where sky and earth met, almost kissing each other daily. The mountains were covered with a layer of lush tea bushes. Our home sat on the top of one of these mountains.

 Tissa Wijeratne, MD (right), with one of his mentors from his time as a student in Sri Lanka. Continue reading

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