African sisters in Sri Lanka
On the road to Sirambiyadi
In every culture family is an important element of human life. For centuries Ceylon had been a maritime domain for foreign traders, defiant conquerors and zealous missionaries. All these foreigners left behind their ancestors, who with time, integrated into our society. There were many nationalities who lived here in those ancient times – Arabs, Europeans, Indians and Africans. Much focus has been given to the various ethnic clans, but, people of African origin domiciled here were marginalised. Once in a while, these African-Sri Lankans would capture our attention via a youtube song video. One of the last such families of direct African origin live in Puttalam. The name Puttalam, is believed to be derived from the Tamil word “upputhalam” – uppu meaning salt and thalam meaning area of production, thus Puttalam is still famous for salt.
Filed under British imperialism, cultural transmission, economic processes, ethnicity, gender norms, heritage, landscape wondrous, life stories, Portuguese in Indian Ocean, religiosity, self-reflexivity, sri lankan society, welfare & philanthophy, world events & processes
The student of the colonial history of Sri Lanka has undoubtedly come upon the name of S. G. Perera in their studies. Fr. S. G. Perera, a Catholic Priest of the Society of Jesus was an exemplary scholar of the last century and whose parallels are unheard of. Publishing over a dozen books and over 300 articles in journals, his contributions to the history of the Catholic Church in Sri Lanka and the history of the Portuguese, Dutch and British periods of the island have aided the development of historical knowledge to a great extent in Sri Lanka; what could be called his magnum opus, the translation of the ‘Conquista’ of the 17th century Portuguese historian Fr. Queyroz, is the single most important Portuguese literary work which is the basis for any historical study on the Portuguese period. His proficiency of the Portuguese language gave him access to numerous original sources which he has translated and made available to the public is part of the wonderful legacy of this great historian of Lanka.
Fr. S. G. Perera (image from The Aloysian 1946-1950, Volume 06, No. 03)
Filed under British colonialism, cultural transmission, economic processes, education, ethnicity, heritage, historical interpretation, Indian Ocean politics, island economy, landscape wondrous, life stories, literary achievements, modernity & modernization, nationalism, patriotism, politIcal discourse, Portuguese in Indian Ocean, power politics, religiosity, self-reflexivity, sri lankan society, teaching profession, world events & processes
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.
ABSTRACT: This essay highlights the under-represented subject of military organization in the context of early modern Sri Lanka. Military organization is a topic well covered in North Indian studies of the Mughal State, and this essay borrows certain thematic concepts from that historiography to examine the Sri Lankan context. Specifically, it considers the existence of a ‘military labour market’ from which both European and Asian kings and generals recruited base soldiery between the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. Such an economic market can be found through a reading of Sinhala sources known as the Hatana Kavya (‘war poems’), which document warfare and conflicts between the Portuguese and Sinhalese kings in this period. Information in these poems also notes the clear connection between territorial authority and efficient military organization, where authority was dependent on the loyalty of one’s military force. The essay attempts break from previous scholarship, which usually assumes military conflict in the period is the result of ideological conflicts (i.e. religion and ethnicity) between foreign, European, and native island elements. It does this by showing how military leaders of both groups were essentially required to gain the services of the same base soldiery through material incentives.
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
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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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.
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
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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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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