Category Archives: riots and pogroms

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 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


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.


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.
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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

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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

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

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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


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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


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Collective Memorials, Anniversaries and Reflection … at Sites & Endings of Violence

Tissa Jayatilaka, courtesy of Groundviews, 14 August 2015, anniversary marking Japan’ surrender in World War Two … and thus its end. See Editorial Note at end. In GV the title reads “Sights of violence, sites of memory: Reframing the past.”

The subject of war, memory, memorials, memorialization and the violence of the state has been rekindled both domestically and internationally in recent weeks. Sri Lanka’s ongoing general election campaign has focused on our long and brutal internecine war and the need for reconciliation. Internationally  the 70th anniversary of the awful events in Hiroshima and Nagasaki has been observed. The Hiroshima Peace Memorial commonly called the Atomic Bomb Dome in Hiroshima is part of the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park, designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1996. It serves as a memorial to the atomic bombing of Hiroshima on 6 August, 1945. Over 70, 000 is reported killed instantly and a similar number is said to have suffered fatal injuries from radiation. Bombs were dropped on Nagasaki on 9 August, 1945. Nagasaki’s Atomic Bomb Museum was  built in 2003 around the  only structure left standing near the bomb’s hypocenter. Some locals opposed the building of the Atomic Bomb Museum while some others were for it. It is now 70 years since the dropping of atomic bombs by the United States. Postwar Japan limited its military to self defence. Now Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’ plans to loosen the restrictions on what Japan’s military can do. Opinion is divided as most in Nagasaki and Hiroshima continue to be supportive of peace and disarmament. According to the Mayor of Nagasaki Tomihisha Taue , there is ‘widespread unease’ about Mr. Abe’ s legislation that will alter the constitutional requirement limiting Japan’s military to self defence.

Kanchanaburi_cemetery Kanchanaburi cemetery in Thailand

E-PASS MEMORIAL Dawn at SL Army Memorial Elephant Pass 

24Tamil maaveerar at Vadamaratchchi Tuyilam Illam, 2004

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