Category Archives: pilgrimages

Walter Keller’s Striking Images of People and Places in Lanka

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Filed under art & allure bewitching, citizen journalism, cultural transmission, heritage, landscape wondrous, life stories, photography, pilgrimages, self-reflexivity, Sinhala-Tamil Relations, sri lankan society, Tamil civilians, travelogue, unusual people, world affairs

Cricketing Amity, September 2002: Janashakthi XI vs Jaffna District Cricket XI

During the ceasefire period after Eelam War III some leading members of the cricketing world in Colombo reached out in reconciliatory mood to Jaffna by organising a high-profile cricket match.[i]

Enthusiastic Jaffna Fans mob Murali

Chandra Schaffter: The Jaffna Match, 1 September 2002

With Ranil Wickremesinghe becoming Prime Minister in 2001, a ceasefire agreement was negotiated with the LTTE and the A9 was opened after many years. Janashakthi took the opportunity to open its Jaffna branch in August Because of our association with cricket, we felt that the best way would be to stage a cricket match which would bring the enthusiastic cricket fans in Jaffna out of their homes.  It was a major rush but my son Ramesh,who was adept at such events, began organizing the match as well as the  opening of the branch.  I had just returned to Sri Lanka after managing the cricket team in the UK and I had agreed with a team of about 15 of the cricketers to go up to Jaffna in a special bus and play a match – not so much for cricket per se but in order to create an impression in Jaffna.

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Filed under cricket for amity, cultural transmission, ethnicity, historical interpretation, landscape wondrous, life stories, LTTE, performance, pilgrimages, politIcal discourse, prabhakaran, reconciliation, self-reflexivity, sri lankan society, Tamil Tiger fighters, the imaginary and the real, Uncategorized, unusual people, welfare & philanthophy, world events & processes

Steven Kemper on Anagarika Dharmapala: A New Study

Steven Kemper: Rescued from the Nation: Anagarika Dharmapala and the Buddhist World, University of Chicago Press,  2015

Anagarika Dharmapala is one of the most galvanizing figures in Sri Lanka’s recent turbulent history. He is widely regarded as the nationalist hero who saved the Sinhala people from cultural collapse and whose “protestant” reformation of Buddhism drove monks toward increased political involvement and ethnic confrontation. Yet as tied to Sri Lankan nationalism as Dharmapala is in popular memory, he spent the vast majority of his life abroad, engaging other concerns. In Rescued from the Nation, Steven Kemper reevaluates this important figure in the light of an unprecedented number of his writings, ones that paint a picture not of a nationalist zealot but of a spiritual seeker earnest in his pursuit of salvation.

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Filed under British colonialism, Buddhism, cultural transmission, education, fundamentalism, heritage, historical interpretation, Indian religions, Indian traditions, landscape wondrous, language policies, life stories, literary achievements, meditations, nationalism, pilgrimages, politIcal discourse, power politics, religiosity, religious nationalism, self-reflexivity, sri lankan society, unusual people, world events & processes

The Galle Fort One Grey Evening: An Amateur Cameraman’s Wanderings

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Filed under cultural transmission, heritage, island economy, landscape wondrous, life stories, pilgrimages, sri lankan society, the imaginary and the real

Remembering Sir Christopher Bayly, Historian and Scholar for All Times

Richard Drayton, In search of Christopher Bayly,” keynote, for the Memorial Symposium for Sir Christopher Alan Bayly St Catharine’s College, Cambridge May 21, 2016 

‘Va, pensiero, su alli’ dorate’ Fly thought on wings of gold’, spread from a small choir to a crowd of thousands in Paris on the night of April 30, the 30th night of the “Nuit Debout” occupation of the Place de La Republique.1 The “Song of the Hebrew slaves” from Verdi’s Nabucco, once the anthem through which Garibaldi and Mazzini’s followers had lamented Austria’s Babylonian tyranny, became a symbol in 2016 of a month’s defiance of the French state’s proscription of public protest. Continue reading

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Filed under British colonialism, centre-periphery relations, communal relations, cultural transmission, economic processes, governance, heritage, Hinduism, historical interpretation, Indian religions, Indian traditions, life stories, meditations, modernity & modernization, pilgrimages, politIcal discourse, power politics, the imaginary and the real, unusual people, world events & processes

From Mountain Village to Neurologist in Melbourne

Tissa Wijeratne, … … 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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Filed under accountability, cultural transmission, economic processes, education, heritage, landscape wondrous, life stories, medical marvels, meditations, modernity & modernization, performance, pilgrimages, self-reflexivity, social justice, sri lankan society, the imaginary and the real, travelogue, unusual people, working class conditions, world affairs

Galle Face Hotel in Australian Frontlines after Facelift

Phil Hawkes, in The Australian, 19 April 2017,  with the titleGalle Face Hotel gracious reminder of foregone era”

It’s 1982 and I’m in Colombo, Sri Lanka, at a travel conference. We rock up at the portico of the legendary Galle Face Hotel in a decrepit 10-seat minibus that the organisers managed to provide for 12 delegates. Hardly the coolest of ways to arrive at this heritage-listed reminder of British colonial days. Where’s the fleet of vintage Rollers? But there’s Kuttan the doorman, splendid in his unique white uniform and sporting his trademark handlebar moustache, welcoming us as if we’re royalty. He is used to greeting guests such as Lord Louis Mountbatten, Princess Elizabeth, Jawaharlal Nehru and other famous people, but his welcome to us is just the same. Feeling like celebrities, we forget about the minibus. Kuttan was a recognisable character at the Galle Face Hotel for 72 years, surely a world record. He died in 2014 at age 94, much honoured by colleagues and those guests whose lives he touched. Now his tradition is carried on by PB Rathnayaka, whose tenure is a mere 51 years with another “rich and famous” list to recall, including Fidel Castro and Indira Gandhi, and more than a few Australian cricketers.

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Filed under art & allure bewitching, australian media, landscape wondrous, life stories, modernity & modernization, pilgrimages, slanted reportage, sri lankan society, the imaginary and the real, world affairs