Category Archives: riots and pogroms

Anguish as Empowerment … and A Path to Retribution

Michael Roberts, courtesy of Colombo Telegraph where it is presented with a different title ….  https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/histrionic-voice-as-spark-for-ethnic-violence-political-extremism/

Anguish and grief are powerful emotions that can contort and wrack a body. While ‘suggesting’ helplessness, the anguish that engulfs a person can also empower that person … and others connected to that person by commonalities of interest/emotion. In this manner anguish can transcend obstacles, generate waves of bitterness and swell into paths of retributory hate and punishment. The ‘little’ drops of tears can swell metaphorically into ‘waves’ – and even inspire enraged mobs (mostly male) bent on punishing the purported root of the tears, a recalcitrant Other, an enemy family or “community” deemed to be the cause of that expressive anguish or deemed to have transcended local norms. In southern Lanka that community can be a neighbouring caste grouping or ethnic group or religious group (Muslim Moor,[1] Hindu, Buddhist, Christian).

Let me highlight the argument by presenting an unusual juxtaposition.

  1. Expressive Grief displayed by a Sri Lankan Tamil woman at a protest demonstration before David Cameron by persons whose kin have been missing in the course of Eelam War IV

Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under authoritarian regimes, Buddhism, communal relations, cultural transmission, disparagement, economic processes, governance, historical interpretation, human rights, Indian religions, Indian traditions, legal issues, life stories, modernity & modernization, nationalism, political demonstrations, politIcal discourse, power politics, reconciliation, religiosity, religious nationalism, riots and pogroms, self-reflexivity, Sinhala-Tamil Relations, sri lankan society, the imaginary and the real, vengeance, violence of language, women in ethnic conflcits, world events & processes

Looking Back at DS Senanayake and the Gal Oya Project

Ajit Kanagasundram, courtesy Sunday Island 18th & 25th September 2016, where the title is “The Gal Oya Project 60 years on” … an essay supported by personal experiences and his father’s key role in this pathfinding development project. ALSO  go to http://www.lankaweb.com/news/items/2016/10/10/the-gal-oya-project-60-years-on/ for the same essay and significant blog comments therein. … Emphasis by highlights is my imprint Editor, Thuppahi

Not many people today remember the Gal Oya Project but for 20 years it was the showpiece of modern independent Ceylon. It was later overshadowed by more grand (grandiose?) projects like Mahaveli where billions more were spent but the Gal Oya Project remains the standard by which all other projects should be judged. The Gal Oya Project, moreover, stands as an exemplar as to how things should be done under ideal circumstances. The project was done and paid for within our own resources, managed by local administrators and completed on time and all major objectives relating to the clearing of forest, settlement of colonists and irrigation of land were accomplished.

kanagasundramK. Kanagasundram Continue reading

3 Comments

Filed under accountability, British colonialism, economic processes, energy resources, historical interpretation, island economy, life stories, political demonstrations, politIcal discourse, riots and pogroms, Sinhala-Tamil Relations, sri lankan society, Tamil civilians, unusual people, welfare & philanthophy, working class conditions, world events & processes

Anthropology and History in the Mix in Political Analysis

Muralidhar Reddy, in Frontline, Vol 26/20, Sep. 26-Oct. 09, 2009, a review article

Michael Roberts’ collection of essays on Sri Lankan identity is a breath of fresh air in an atmosphere polluted by callous accounts.

aa-reddy-33

SRI LANKA, a country of 20 million-odd people of distinct identities, is witnessing a series of momentous events in the post-Prabakaran period. Michael Roberts’ latest book is a collection of 13 analytical essays, most of them written by him an d others edited by him, on the much-debated issues of collective “Sri Lankan identity” and the cultural roots and ideology of the majority Sinhala and minority Tamil nationalisms, and a detailed study of the projects of Anagarika Dharmapala (1864-1933), a staunch Sinhala Buddhist who made a conscious effort to swim against the tide and launched a full-throated campaign against British rule and Christian missionaries.
Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under British colonialism, communal relations, economic processes, electoral structures, ethnicity, historical interpretation, language policies, life stories, LTTE, Muslims in Lanka, nationalism, politIcal discourse, power politics, prabhakaran, riots and pogroms, Sinhala-Tamil Relations, sri lankan society, Tamil Tiger fighters, the imaginary and the real, truth as casualty of war, world events & processes, zealotry

The Muslims in Sri Lanka: Trends, Dangers, Failures

ameer_ali-140x150ACL Ameer Ali,  courtesy of Colombo Telegraph where the title is Paranoia & Paralysis: The Buddhist-Muslim Tragicomedy” …  Note that the highlighting emphasis below is that of the Edito , Thuppahi

The military victory led by an overwhelmingly Sinhala-Buddhist army over the tyrannous LTTE in 2009 has, among other things, injected in the minds of certain sections of the Buddhist community that Sri Lanka belongs only to the Sinhala Buddhists and others are permitted to live here only at the behest of the Buddhists. This twisted ideology which is now developing into an anti-Muslim, anti-Christian and anti-Tamil paranoia is totally contradictory not only to the noble teachings of the Enlightened Buddha but also and more significantly to the millennial historical tradition of ethnic and religious tolerance indelibly engraved in the long legacy of the island’s Buddhist monarchs. To deny this historical truth is to court intellectual dishonesty.

sinha-le-15-feb-ss maha-jaatiya-image

Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under historical interpretation, Islamic fundamentalism, life stories, Muslims in Lanka, plural society, politIcal discourse, power politics, reconciliation, religiosity, riots and pogroms, security, self-reflexivity, Sinhala-Tamil Relations, sri lankan society, the imaginary and the real, tolerance, violence of language, women in ethnic conflcits, world events & processes, zealotry

Some Political Explorations of the Lankan Scene in the 1970s: Jupp and Perinbanayagam & Chadda

JAMES JUPP JuppSID PERINPerinbanayagam CHADDA Chadda

ONE: James Jupp’s Sri Lanka: Third World Democracy (1978, London, Frank Cass) reviewed by Michael Roberts at http://www.ozlanka.com/reviews/3rdWorld.htm

This book eschews grand political theory and concentrates upon solid descriptive analysis. In presenting an ordered summary of the recent political history of Sri Lanka from the 1930’s to the 1970’s, the author is not forgetful of the social and economic background and is not afraid to lace the description with his own interpretations. He highlights several trends: an erosion of the influence of the Anglicised elite which did not, however, extend to their displacement; the movement “from the British notion of ‘good government’ … to a notion of popular government” catering more to mass prejudices (p.349); a rhetorical and ideological emphasis on indigenisation and cultural and economic decolonisation which obscures the fact that the opposed political persuasions have been of Western, if not British inspiration; and the gradual concentration of political opinion in the Sinhalese dominated districts around Bandaranaike’s Middle Way, which was democratic, socialist, and Sinhala Buddhist. Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under communal relations, constitutional amendments, devolution, historical interpretation, language policies, Left politics, modernity & modernization, plural society, politIcal discourse, power politics, power sharing, riots and pogroms, Sinhala-Tamil Relations, sri lankan society, Tamil civilians, teaching profession, world affairs

Was the “Federal” Party a separatist party from the outset, or NOT?

Chandre Dharmawardana

 “Those in the forefront of the Tamils’ agitation for devolution of power have always been  vague, deliberately or unconsciously, in the terminology used in their arguments, and the distinction between provincial autonomy, states’ rights in a federal union, and a separate state have been blurred by a fog of verbiage, and obfuscation K. M. de Silva [1]”

ITAKfront page

In this essay I will try to give an account of how the “Federalist” politics of the Ilankai Thamil Arasu Kadchi is seen by me, an outsider who had no real access to the main players, except indirectly. In my reading, it  is incorrect to claim that Federalism or  Eelam was the clear aim of the 1949 Maradana resolution. Both tendencies existed. The Ilankai Thamil Arasu Kadchi (ITAK) name was deliberate, and satisfied the separatist ginger group of the ITAK, while the “Federal” name in English satisfied the moderate politicians from Colombo-7.  Mr. V. Navaratnam is representative of the important separatist  group inside the ITAK as he was the early theoretician of the ITAK.  He wrote the then well-known book  “Ceylon Faces Crisis”, with an Eelam Map distributed in 1957 [2].  A Separatist Postage stamp was designed by Navaratnam in 1956, and issued in 1961 [3]. Continue reading

2 Comments

Filed under communal relations, constitutional amendments, historical interpretation, language policies, Left politics, life stories, parliamentary elections, politIcal discourse, power politics, riots and pogroms, self-reflexivity, Sinhala-Tamil Relations, sri lankan society, Tamil civilians, truth as casualty of war, world events & processes

Lanka’s Pluralist Society faces Sinhala Chauvinist Threat

Sudha Ramachandran, 20 January 2016, courtesy of Asia Times News & Features, where the title reads Sri Lanka’s pluralist ethnic fabric under threat as anti-Muslim drive gains pace”

An intimidating slogan ‘Sinha le,’ literally lion’s blood in Sinhala, the language of the majority of Sri Lankans, has triggered fear among the island’s Muslims.

Muslims in Sri Lanka are on edge as the ‘Sinha le’ campaign is gathering momentum

The slogan was first seen spray-painted on the gates of Muslim homes in Nugegoda, a suburb of the capital, Colombo. Since then it has appeared as wall graffiti in other parts of the city as well as on stickers and posters on private and public vehicles. The ‘Sinha le’ campaign is gathering momentum in social media too. Continue reading

2 Comments

Filed under cultural transmission, discrimination, ethnicity, fundamentalism, historical interpretation, Muslims in Lanka, plural society, politIcal discourse, power politics, Rajapaksa regime, religiosity, riots and pogroms, self-reflexivity, Sinhala-Tamil Relations, slanted reportage, sri lankan society, the imaginary and the real, truth as casualty of war, vengeance, world affairs, zealotry