Category Archives: Uncategorized

How Sri Lanka missed the Chinese Path to the Cutting-Edge in Today’s World

G. Usvatte-aratchi, Sunday Island, 2 December 2018, where the title is “Sinhala and Tamil as languages of instruction and administration”

There have been several letters to the Editor in The Island, on these themes. I want to correct some mistakes that recurred in these interventions and present a perspective that has not been presented so far.

Solomon Bandaranaike had little to do with the language of instruction in school. The credit goes to J.R. Jayewardene and V. Nallliah who moved a resolution in the State Council in 1943 that the language of instruction in schools shall be Sinhala and Tamil. The resolution was carried. I read somewhere that the moving spirit for the initiative came from Jayantha Weerasekera, who was an official in the Sinhala Maha Sabha, of which at that time Jayewardene was a (the?) leader. Jayantha Weeraekere was a close friend and collaborator of Kumaratunga Munidasa, a powerful voice for Sinhala language. The Resolution was not acted upon until January in 1947.

  Jayantha Weerasekera  CWW Kannagara

Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under British colonialism, centre-periphery relations, China and Chinese influences, cultural transmission, democratic measures, education, education policy, heritage, historical interpretation, life stories, literary achievements, modernity & modernization, patriotism, politIcal discourse, power politics, self-reflexivity, social justice, Sri Lankan scoiety, Uncategorized, world events & processes

At Cricket in 1946: British India vs England

Anindya Dutta, in The Cricket Monthly, 25 June 2018, where the title reads “A dinner in 1946”

It was the last tour by undivided India to Britain. It was the summer of Merchant and Mankad, and independence was around the corner.The year was 1946. England was caught between the exhilaration of emerging victorious from the Second World War and the devastation the war had wrought upon the country, both in terms of people and resources. Rationing was still in place, and the economy was in tatters.For six long years, while war raged, cricket had taken a backseat. There had been little first-class cricket, and the battlefields claimed some of England’s most talented players, like the venerated Hedley Verity. There were only 11 first-class matches in the 1945 season. Nineteen forty-six was the first year when a normal county season was scheduled and Test cricket could again be played. Cricket was seen as a way to restore a feeling of normalcy to a country severely affected by war and its consequences.

Continue reading

1 Comment

Filed under British colonialism, centre-periphery relations, cricket for amity, cultural transmission, education, heritage, historical interpretation, Indian traditions, landscape wondrous, life stories, politIcal discourse, reconciliation, religiosity, self-reflexivity, tolerance, Uncategorized, unusual people, world events & processes

The Western World’s Cumulous Clouds of Deception: Blanketing the Sharp Realities of Eelam War IV

Michael Roberts, Courtesy of Colombo Telegraph , October 2018

 

This is a provocative piece on the last stages of Eelam War IV in 2008/09 and on its aftermath of Reports and You Tube cut-and-thrust. It makes specific claims in assertive style. These assertions are founded on lengthier articles with their supporting evidence. So, it is by assertion that I proceed. Continue reading

5 Comments

Filed under american imperialism, australian media, British imperialism, centre-periphery relations, disparagement, doctoring evidence, fundamentalism, historical interpretation, IDP camps, Indian Ocean politics, landscape wondrous, life stories, LTTE, military strategy, patriotism, photography, politIcal discourse, power politics, Rajapaksa regime, self-reflexivity, Sinhala-Tamil Relations, slanted reportage, sri lankan society, Tamil civilians, Tamil Tiger fighters, truth as casualty of war, Uncategorized, unusual people, war reportage, women in ethnic conflcits, world events & processes, zealotry

“Hitler had …. ball” by Holy Cross College Female Band wins Prize at Malaysian Competition

Holy Cross College, Sri Lanka,International Marching Band competition Malaysia 2018 Bronze Medalist

Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under charitable outreach, commoditification, cultural transmission, education, female empowerment, life stories, sri lankan society, travelogue, Uncategorized

Dharmapāla’s Seminal Moment at Buddha Gāya in 1891: An Anagārika for the Universe

 Michael Roberts, courtesy of  The Island and Sunday Times and with thanks to Sasanka Perera & Steve Kemper

Sasanka Perera has recently introduced readers to a new book by Steven Kemper entitled Rescuing Dharmapala from the Nation (University of Chicago Press, 2015) – a book which surveys the socio-political activities of the Anagarika Dharmapala in a refreshing manner. I have yet to get hold of the book, but Sasanka provides enough commentary to provoke a discussion.

 Dharmapala in USA –probably at the World Congress of Religions 1893

Within a context where Dharmapala aka Don David Hewavitarne is regarded as an influential Sinhala Buddhist chauvinist by many social scientists analysing Sri Lankan history and politics, Perera indicates that Kemper provides broader dimensions by re-situating Dharmapala “within the Buddhist world of his time by … focusing on his international activities in aid of Buddhist causes and cross-faith discussions.” Kemper’s new work, therefore, is a modification of the Protestant Buddhist thesis popularized in social science circles by Gananath Obeyesekere’s writings in particular. Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under British colonialism, charitable outreach, communal relations, cultural transmission, disparagement, economic processes, ethnicity, fundamentalism, historical interpretation, Indian religions, island economy, landscape wondrous, life stories, patriotism, politIcal discourse, power politics, religiosity, religious nationalism, sri lankan society, Uncategorized, unusual people, world events & processes

How Mahinda Rajapaksa rebuffed David Miliband

Michael Roberts

In 2008/09 Professor GL PEIRIS was Minister of International Trade in the Mahinda Rajapaksa government and I interviewed him on 2 July 2018 with the intention of securing more details re USA’s pressures on the government then in 2009.[1] GL Peiris did not have any details about one of my particular pursuits, namely, the PACOM’s recce visit to the island, but in response to my initial query he focused upon the pressures mounted by the EU team of David Miliband and Bernard Kouchner[2] [which was in late April 2009 after the SL Army had penetrated the LTTE’s Last Redoubt and released over 110,000 Tamil civilians and Tiger deserters].

   Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under american imperialism, authoritarian regimes, British imperialism, conspiracies, governance, law of armed conflict, legal issues, life stories, LTTE, military strategy, politIcal discourse, power politics, Rajapaksa regime, security, self-reflexivity, sri lankan society, Tamil civilians, Tamil Tiger fighters, the imaginary and the real, Uncategorized, unusual people, war reportage, world events & processes

Ernest Renan as Pathway to National Reconciliation in Australia

Stan Grant, ABC News, 31 May 2018, with title  Äboriginal reconciliation and what we can learn from a French philosopher”

What can a French historian and philosopher tell us about reconciliation between black and white in Australia? More than a century ago, when in Australia it was still widely presumed that Aboriginal people were a dying race, Ernest Renan was grappling with the question, what is a nation? It remains one of the most profound and powerful statements of identity, written in 1882 in the shadows of the French Revolution.

 

Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under Australian culture, australian media, British imperialism, cultural transmission, democratic measures, governance, heritage, historical interpretation, landscape wondrous, life stories, modernity & modernization, nationalism, politIcal discourse, reconciliation, self-reflexivity, slanted reportage, the imaginary and the real, Uncategorized, world events & processes