Category Archives: plural society

The Building Boom that transformed Colombo over 100 Years Ago

Hugh Karunanayake,  courtesy of THE CEYLANKAN from Sydney, Journal 86, Vol XXII, May 2019

Ceylon, as Sri Lanka was then called, had hardly any commercial or mercantilism during the nineteenth century when it was gradually emerging from a peasant society into a plantation economy. There were two major factors which contributed towards the commercialization of Colombo as a city. The first was the opening of the Suez Canal in 1869 which made a tremendous impact on trade relations between the occident and the orient.

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The Saddened and Peaceful Muslims of Kattankudy express Sorrow in Peace

Item in Colombo Telegraph, 28 April 2019, entitled

At a time when our motherland, Sri Lanka, is grieving at the tragic deaths of our Christian brothers and sisters, and also other innocents from this country and abroad, who have fallen victims to the atrocities of terrorists in certain parts of this country, we release this communiqué with a heavy heart, while expressing our deepest and heartfelt condolences to the families of the deceased and those suffering at hospitals.

Zahran Hashim

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February 4th 1948: “We Are Independent and One”

Sajitha Prematunge, in Island. 4 February 2019, with Pics by Jude Denzil Pathiraja and title reading “Swarnamali recounts reading solidarity message at first Independence commemoration”

The day was February 4, 1949, the first commemoration of Independence at the Torrington Square. With synchronised grace, four athletes – Sinhala, Tamil, Muslim, Burgher – handed over scrolls of solidarity from the four corners of Ceylon to four charming and self-conscious young ladies. Swarnamali Amarasuriya, Sirimani Ramachandran, Ayesha Zally and Phyllis de Kretser read those messages in their respective languages and handed them over to Prime Minister D. S. Senanayake to be enshrined with the foundation stone.

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Pathos. Comedy. Revelation. President Sirisena’s Sermon to a ‘Captive’ Cabinet

Michael Roberts

Having been forced to accept an UNP government by a Supreme Court decision in December 2018 after he had attempted to ditch them in a coup from above in late October, President Maithripala Sirisena utilised the opportunity provided by the swearing in of a new UNP Cabinet under Ranil Wickremasinghe on 16th December 2018 to deliver a sermon to a captive audience of ‘enemies’ who were, ironically, about to enjoy the fruits of victory and destined to assume state power.[1] Sirisena’s Address was delivered in Sinhala and is marked by pathos, recrimination and selective biographical tales from the past that illuminate aspects of Sri Lankan politics.


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Vibrant Lifeways in Sri Lanka via Its Literary Figures and Places

Uma Mahadevan Dasgupta  in The Hindu, 8 December 2018,  where the title is “In Sri Lanka, Life imitates Art”

As we travel through Sri Lanka, its strong literary voices come crashing in like waves, and life seems to imitate art

I sit in the huge living room of the old governor’s home in Jaffna. The walls, painted… a warm rose-red, stretch awesome distances away to my left, to my right and up towards a white ceiling. When the Dutch first built this house egg white was used to paint the walls. The doors are twenty feet high, as if awaiting the day when a family of acrobats will walk from room to room, sideways, without dismantling themselves from each other’s shoulders. —Running in the Family, Michael Ondaatje

 Hectic colours: Second Cross Street Pettah 

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Two Reflections on the Galle Literary Fest of 2008

Michael Roberts, on 9th February 2008


As a moderator and panelist participating in the Galle Literary Festival held between the 15th and 20th January 2008, my commentary is biased. It is doubly biased. I was born and nourished within the walls of the Fort in Galle, a site that cast a magic spell on the literary fare all and sundry encountered during these heady days.

 with my sister at Girl’s Bathing Place … and as Little bum Mike on the way home

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New Multicultural Commissioners for Victoria, Australia

Item in the Indian Sun,

Victoria’s multicultural communities will have new voices advocating for their interests, with the Victorian Multicultural Commission (VMC) welcoming three new Commissioners, and the reappointment of three more. VMC Chairperson Helen Kapalos said each Commissioner brings a wealth of experience and insight to their role.“The role of a Commissioner requires compassion to listen to people and understand their challenges and aspirations; it requires innovative thinking to find lasting, meaningful solutions; and it requires the courage to provide frank and fearless advice to the Victorian Government,” said Ms Kapalos.

Sukhjit Kaur Khalsa

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