Category Archives: power sharing

Reconciliation via Cricket and Charity? The Political Ground is a Waterlogged Minefield

Michael Roberts

It is possible that Velupillai Pirapaharan remains a revered leader and symbol of the nationalist drive for Thamililam among some Tamils residing within the island f Sri Lanka today – even though they are circumspect in expressing such thoughts in public. Indeed, it is possible that some Tamils in the island worship him as a deity in the manner espoused in some quarters abroad by Tamils of the diaspora (see image below).

So, how does one measure the political reverberations of the well-meaning efforts towards reconciliation and the bridging of the Tamil-Sinhala divide delineated in several essays presented recently[1] in THUPPAHI?

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Streamline and Avoid Labyrinths in Making the SL Consitution

Chandre Dharmawardana, in The Island, September 2017, with title “Unit of Devolution – look in cyberspace!

It is interesting to read the debate about what the unit of devolution should be. Recent articles, by Dayan Jayatilleke (Island, Sep. 20, 2017) and Neville Ladduwahetty (Sep. 23, 2017) argue for the Province (DJ), and for the District (NL). Interestingly, both the TNA, and their counter organizations pay homage to “the indivisible nature of Sri Lanka”, the “Orumiththa Nadu” and the “aekeeya Rajya”, while also supporting “maximum devolution”, i.e., the opposite objective! In our view, the issue of power devolution to units of government is an obsolete question. However, we discuss them as usual and lastly look at the enormous technological possibilities that exist to leap frog into a system compatible with the 21st century.

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An Indivisible Nation in the New Constitution says Sambanthan

Sandasan Marasinghe & Camelia Nathaniel,  in The Daily News, 22 September 2017, where the title is  “Constitution formulated within a united, undivided, indivisible Sri Lanka: Sampanthan”

The process of formulating a Constitution for the country is being done within the firm framework of a united, undivided and indivisible Sri Lanka, said Opposition Leader R. Sampanthan yesterday.He also said that the successful conclusion of this Constitution making process on the basis of an acceptable reasonable and substantial national consensus would bring about a firm finality to this issue and Sri Lanka would perpetually be a united, undivided and indivisible country in keeping with the basic and Supreme Law of the country, and on the basis of the free will and consent of all its people. Continue reading

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Australia has No Place in Asia — In Cricket!

Andrew Faulkner, in The Australian, 29 August 2017, where the heading reads ” 

Black clouds are billowing over Australian cricket but the Test team would prefer clouds of a more literal kind to intervene at Dhaka’s Sher-e-Bangla National Cricket Stadium. With Bangladesh 1-45, and leading by 88 runs, the monsoon looms as the most likely saviour in the first Test after the Australian batsmen played true to form by not playing very well in Asia. Actually, no one bats as badly in Asia as the ugly Australians. Even Zimbabweans — who haven’t won a Test since 2013 — bat better in Asia than Australians.

 Mehidy Hasan Miraz roars after pinning David Warner lbw Getty Images

As the tourists succumbed for 217 all out yesterday, with Ashton Agar making an unconquered 41 to show up the batsmen, Fox Sports posted numbers that told a chilling story. Australia are ranked last among the Test playing nations for scoring runs in Asia. Certainly no one would describe the Fox stats as a beautiful set of numbers. At 26.69 per innings, Australian batsmen average the lowest in Asia across the past 10 years. Continue reading

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The Traumatic and Devastating Partition of Indian and Pakistan, 1947

Yasmin Khan,  courtesy of  The Guardian, 6 August 2017, where the title is “Why Pakistan and India remain in denial 70 years on from partition” 

On 3 June 1947, only six weeks before British India was carved up, a group of eight men sat around a table in New Delhi and agreed to partition the south Asian subcontinent. Photographs taken at that moment reveal the haunted and nervous faces of Jawaharlal Nehru, the Indian National Congress leader soon to become independent India’s first prime minister, Mohammad Ali Jinnah, head of the Muslim League and Pakistan’s first governor-general and Louis Mountbatten,the last British viceroy

  A convoy of Sikhs travels to Punjab after the partition of India in August 1947. Photograph: Margaret Bourke-White/The Life Picture Collection/Getty

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Threads of Moral Puritanism in Sinhala Nationalist Practice

 Michael Roberts ** … a reprint of an article published in South Asia, Vol. XIX, Special Issue, (1996), pp. 205-220. with the title “Teaching Lessons, Re mo ving Evil: Strands of Moral Puritanism in Sinhala Nationalist Practice


Expressions of Sinhala nationalism since the mid-nineteenth century, as one might expect, have been varied and multi-faceted. In this essay, I highlight a thread of moral puritanism which has not only been powerfully inscribed into the pogroms espoused in the period 1880s to 1910s, but also within the altered context of the 1950s-1980s.

 Borella Junction, Colombo, 24.25 July 1983

   A Hindu mob waiting to defend their own from Muslims in Bhagalpur –before becoming a marauding band seeking retribution — in a pattern also seen in 1915 in Sri Lanka during the anti-Moor pogrom

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Narrating Tamil Nationalism: Subjectivities and Issues

 Michael Roberts,  being a reprint of a review article in South Asia: Journal of South Asian Studies, s., Vol. XXVII, no.1, April 2004 …… with a review of this essay by Bandu de Silva having appeared earlier Thuppahi. The version here has highlighted emphasis to aid the reader –clearly a ‘work ‘in 2017.


Alfred Jeyaratnam Wilson, now regrettably with his maker, remains Sri Lanka’s leading political scientist, with numerous books associated with his name. He had secured eminence as early as the 1970s, when attached to Peradeniya University, and this reputation enabled him to move to a Professorship at the University of New Brunswick around 1972. It was his considerable scholarly reputation that encouraged the president of Sri Lanka and leader of the right-wing United National Party, J. R. Jayewardene, to utilise his consultative services in the political negotiations and constitutional engineering that occurred in the period 1978–83. His participation was facilitated by K. M. de Silva, a confidante of the president as well as Wilson’s long-time friend.

 Wilson     KM dde Silva Continue reading

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July 19, 2017 · 3:39 pm