Category Archives: Portuguese in Indian Ocean

Understanding Military Organisation via the Sinhala War Poems – the Hatana Kaavya

Cenan Pirani: Widening the study of military organization in the early modern South Asian context: an examination of the Sinhala Hatana Kavya”, in South Asian History & Culture, Vol9/2, April 2018, pp. 207-24.

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Filed under art & allure bewitching, centre-periphery relations, cultural transmission, economic processes, ethnicity, heritage, historical interpretation, Indian Ocean politics, Indian traditions, landscape wondrous, life stories, military strategy, patriotism, politIcal discourse, Portuguese in Indian Ocean, power politics, security, self-reflexivity, sri lankan society, the imaginary and the real, Uncategorized, war reportage

Hai Hoyi … Baila Natamu! Sri Lankan Baila

Shihan de Silva Jayasuriya, in The Island, 2 May 2014

The extraordinary love of the Portuguese for music is epitomised at El Ksar el Kabir in Morocco, 1578, where 10,000 guitars lay on the battlefield, near the dead Portuguese soldiers. The Portuguese took guns and guitars to battlefields! Is it surprising that the Portuguese presence is vibrant through Sri Lankan popular music – Baila?

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Baththalangunduwa: An Isle Intriguing

Maneshka Borham, in Sunday Island, 28 January 2018

Around 38 kilometers or 20 nautical miles from the town of Kalpitiya off the Dutch Bay lies the island of Baththalangunduwa. A thin strip of an island about a mere five square kilometers in size, it is one of the few inhabited ones off the coast of Kalpitiya. However, despite  being a thriving fishing village, the island in its recent times has also become a popular destination for travellers looking for adventure off the beaten track.

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Filed under centre-periphery relations, economic processes, heritage, island economy, landscape wondrous, life stories, Portuguese in Indian Ocean, religiosity, self-reflexivity, sri lankan society, the imaginary and the real, transport and communications, travelogue, unusual people

The Beira Lake in Colonial Times

Shannine Daniel, courtesy of The Roar, 14 December 2017  where the title runs “The Beira Lake and its colonial history”

The man-made lakes—or tanks—constructed in Sri Lanka were built with one purpose in mind: to hold the rainwater which would help with agricultural activities throughout the year. There are several stories related to the history of such tanks, many of which were made by the kings. The Beira Lake, however, located in the city of Colombo, was built for a completely different reason—and not by one of our ancient kings either.

Thr Lake today

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The Coconut Palm in Sri Lanka: From Yesterday to Today

WTJS Kaviratne, in Daily News, ….http://www.dailynews.lk/2017/12/07/features/136574/origin-and-evolution-coconut-palm

Anthropologists, explorers, invaders and travellers had made numerous references on the evolution of this versatile palm grown in more than 90 countries across the world. Some of these were mere theories based on assumptions yet to be proved scientifically. Extensive research is still continuing on the origin of the coconut palm on the foundations provided  through gene analysis by scientists.

Since time immemorial, the coconut plant has been found growing luxuriantly along the beaches of tropical countries. And certain scientists argue that coconut palm is not indigenous to any of those countries even if they grow there. Fossil remains of coconut up to 35 to 55 million years old have been excavated in Australia and India proving that coconut palm belongs to the Kingdom of Plants in the Prehistoric era. Continue reading

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Nath-thal in Ceylon in My Youthful Years

Alex Van Arkadie

Long before the legendary seafarer ‘Sinbad’ chanced to harbor in waters lapping the little isle of  ‘Serendip’, or European colonizers discovered Ptolemy’s ‘Ceylan’, pilgrims from the distant Orient have been visiting here. During the reign of the Indian Emperor Asoka (2nd Century BC), the island’s North Central Province was home to Sinhala Kings under whose patronage Buddhism spread. Following India’s gift of a sapling from the Bodhi Tree under which Sidharta Gautama Buddha attained ‘nirvana’, the ancient city of Anuradhapura draws pilgrims and curious visitors from everywhere. The tree is regarded as the oldest in the world (2,200 years). Similarly, a painting in the office of Sri Lanka’s Ambassador in Rome, depicts  “Emissaries of the Sinhala Royal Court presenting Credentials to Emperor Claudius” (according to Roman Historian Gaius Plinius Secundas, AD 23-79, pix. below).

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About the Portuguese Burghers and Kaffirs

Nan, in Island, 4 November 2017  where the title reads as “The Portuguese Burghers and Kaffirs”

Ethnic groups are disappearing and thus the research interest on these endangered human groups, their language and culture. One such research that is on-going is on the Portuguese Burghers by the Universidade de Lisboa with funding from the Endangered Languages Documentation Programme of SOAS, University of London. The International Centre for Ethnic Studies (ICES) which is collaborating with the research, facilitated a discussion on the Sri Lankan Portuguese Burghers and their heritage with those on the research project: Hugo Cordosa, Patricia Costa, Rui Pereira, Mahesha Radakrishna – all of the University of Lisbon; Dinali Fernando of the University of Kelaniya and Earle Barthelot, representative of the Portuguese Burgher Community and former secretary of the Burgher Union of Batticaloa.. This was on Tuesday 31 October.

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