Category Archives: nationalism

SWRD Bandaranaike Images from the 1930s ……. and Further On

 Young SWRD  Bandaranaike and Sirima Ratwatte

 SWRD in Gandhian mode – cover of Charkaya and Goyam Keta Continue reading

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Christopher Hitchens in Perceptive Reading of the LTTE Defeat in May 2009

Christopher Hitchens,in Slate, 25 May 2009, where the title is “The End of the Tamil Tigers” … and where the chief by-line saysInsurgencies don’t always have history on their side” … See my brief NOTE at the end re the late Christopher Hitchens and note that the  highlights are my imposition

In the late fall of 1978, I was approached by a Sri Lankan Tamil rights group, which visited the office of the socialist weekly in London where I was then working and entreated me to pay a visit to their country. I say “their” country, though they actually referred to it as “Ceylon”: the British colonial name that continued to be the country’s name after independence in 1948. It was only changed in 1972. The word Lanka is simply the name for island in Sanskrit, and the prefix Sri has a connotation of holiness, and the alteration generally reflected the aspirations and preferences of the Sinhalese-speaking and Buddhist majority. So the difference in emphasis there was pretty large to begin with.

 Sri Lankan soldiers with the remains of what’s said to be Tamil Tiger leader Velupillai Prabhakaran = pic & caption as in SLATE

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Filed under accountability, authoritarian regimes, centre-periphery relations, China and Chinese influences, Eelam, foreign policy, historical interpretation, Indian Ocean politics, life stories, LTTE, military strategy, nationalism, politIcal discourse, prabhakaran, Rajapaksa regime, Sinhala-Tamil Relations, sri lankan society, truth as casualty of war, unusual people, war reportage, world events & processes

Face Our Future: Jihadist Offshoots and Continuing Maelstrom in Middle East

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Anguish as Empowerment … and A Path to Retribution

Michael Roberts, courtesy of Colombo Telegraph where it is presented with a different title ….  https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/histrionic-voice-as-spark-for-ethnic-violence-political-extremism/

Anguish and grief are powerful emotions that can contort and wrack a body. While ‘suggesting’ helplessness, the anguish that engulfs a person can also empower that person … and others connected to that person by commonalities of interest/emotion. In this manner anguish can transcend obstacles, generate waves of bitterness and swell into paths of retributory hate and punishment. The ‘little’ drops of tears can swell metaphorically into ‘waves’ – and even inspire enraged mobs (mostly male) bent on punishing the purported root of the tears, a recalcitrant Other, an enemy family or “community” deemed to be the cause of that expressive anguish or deemed to have transcended local norms. In southern Lanka that community can be a neighbouring caste grouping or ethnic group or religious group (Muslim Moor,[1] Hindu, Buddhist, Christian).

Let me highlight the argument by presenting an unusual juxtaposition.

  1. Expressive Grief displayed by a Sri Lankan Tamil woman at a protest demonstration before David Cameron by persons whose kin have been missing in the course of Eelam War IV

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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

The National Anthem as Spearhead in Steps towards Reconciliation

Michael Roberts

On the 24th July 2016 I sent a Memorandum to one of my friends who was located in the administrative heart of the present government’s programme directed towards conceiving schemes in support of ethnic reconciliation. I do not have any idea whether it reached pertinent quarters or if it lies buried in some desk. Note that this memorandum contained the bibliographical references that are attached at the end.  I now place it in the public realm for critical commentary. The version here is embellished with a few alterations [in brackets]as well as some hyperlinks and images. Footnotes 4 & 5 are also additions.

ethnic-amity  ethnic-unitytamils-and-i-day தமிழில் சிறிலங்காவின் தேசிய கீதம் பாடப்பட்டபோது சம்பந்தன் கண்களில் கண்ணீர் – ஊர்ப் புதினம் – க

It is a commonplace in reviews of the ethnic conflict at the popular level of web comment for the blame to be heaped on our politicians in the past, and particularly on SWRD Bandaranaike. This is over-simplistic. Such processes are complex and demand a multi-factorial analysis. Continue reading

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Anthropology and History in the Mix in Political Analysis

Muralidhar Reddy, in Frontline, Vol 26/20, Sep. 26-Oct. 09, 2009, a review article

Michael Roberts’ collection of essays on Sri Lankan identity is a breath of fresh air in an atmosphere polluted by callous accounts.

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SRI LANKA, a country of 20 million-odd people of distinct identities, is witnessing a series of momentous events in the post-Prabakaran period. Michael Roberts’ latest book is a collection of 13 analytical essays, most of them written by him an d others edited by him, on the much-debated issues of collective “Sri Lankan identity” and the cultural roots and ideology of the majority Sinhala and minority Tamil nationalisms, and a detailed study of the projects of Anagarika Dharmapala (1864-1933), a staunch Sinhala Buddhist who made a conscious effort to swim against the tide and launched a full-throated campaign against British rule and Christian missionaries.
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