Category Archives: unusual people

Here, There and Almost Everywhere! Jaraa in Sri Lanka

frances-fFrances Ferdinands, in Sunday Island, 19 February 2017, where the authors’s chosen title is “Becuase I Care”

As a Sri-Lankan born Canadian Artist, I have had the privilege of spending time here in Sri Lanka within the last two years. From January – March 2015 I was here on a Canadian Government sponsored project geared towards exploring my artistic heritage and incorporating this experience into my own art practice. I was mentored in the traditional arts and crafts of Temple painting, and Beeralu Lacemaking. I recently returned in early January of this year to study the traditional craft of mask making. Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under accountability, cultural transmission, economic processes, governance, life stories, meditations, patriotism, self-reflexivity, sri lankan society, transport and communications, travelogue, unusual people

James Taylor and the Ceylon Tea Industry

Ceylon Tea Board on the occasion when the James Taylor Monument wa sunveiled n 29th January 2017

The commercial cultivation of tea in Ceylon, as Sri Lanka was then known, is acknowledged to have commenced in 1867 at Loolecondera Estate, Hewaheta, in the Kandy District, by an enterprising young agriculturalist, James Taylor, a redoubtable Scotsman, of which extraction were most of the  pioneers of the Industry.

james-taylor Taylor in the 1870s

james-taylor-11

Taylor, the son of Michael Taylor and Margaret Moir, was born on March 29, 1835, in a cottage called “Moss Park” on the Monbodde Estate, near Laurencekirk in Kincardineshire. On being recruited as a Coffee Planter on Narenghena Estate, he arrived in Ceylon on February 20, 1852. Following a brief posting there, he was transferred to Loolecondera Estate, where he spent the rest of his life and eventually expired on May 2, 1892, at the age of 57 years, of dysentery, while still in service. Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under commoditification, historical interpretation, island economy, life stories, modernity & modernization, performance, sri lankan society, unusual people, world events & processes

Bridging Lanka I: Sustaining Mannar’s Kulams

BRIDGING LANKA is a multi-faceted programme initiated by the Sri Lankan Austrailan Jeremy Liyanage and friends from circa 2009(?) to assist the social welfare of all the peoples in Mannar island and its adjoining hinterland. I was an observer at a town planning jam-session way back around 2011(?) and have been in touch with Liyanage ver since. Thuppahi is delighted to feature the several social service paths that BRIDGING LANKA is pursuing in the locality.

Protecting and Rehabilitating Mannar’s Kulams (ponds)

aa-a-kulam-in-mannar

Our aim: This project aims to rehabilitate Periyakamam Kulam as a ‘demonstration kulam’ so that authorities and residents alike will be inspired to value, protect and rehabilitate other kulams in Mannar. The sharp decrease in the number of kulams caused by severe encroachment has led to worsening annual flooding in the urban area, resulting in much human displacement and misery.

Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under heritage, legal issues, life stories, modernity & modernization, patriotism, performance, plural society, reconciliation, rehabilitation, security, self-reflexivity, Sinhala-Tamil Relations, social justice, sri lankan society, Tamil civilians, unusual people, voluntary workers, welfare & philanthophy, world affairs

Talaivar Pirapāharan embodied in Notebooks: One Mark of the LTTE’s Remarkable Propaganda Machinery

Michael Roberts

prabha-22 prabha-33 prabha-11

These three images adorn the cover of little notebooks, each 4 inches in height and 2.7 inches breadth, in my possession. They were purchased by me at Kilinochchi on 27th November 2004 when I visited the administrative capital of the state of Thamilīlam[1] during the ceasefire. The tale is recounted below as entry-point to a portrait of the LTTE’s remarkable innovations.

Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under art & allure bewitching, authoritarian regimes, centre-periphery relations, cultural transmission, governance, heritage, Hinduism, historical interpretation, landscape wondrous, life stories, LTTE, martyrdom, military strategy, patriotism, politIcal discourse, power politics, propaganda, religiosity, security, self-reflexivity, Sinhala-Tamil Relations, sri lankan society, suicide bombing, Tamil civilians, Tamil Tiger fighters, the imaginary and the real, travelogue, unusual people, war reportage, women in ethnic conflcits, world events & processes

Caste, Democracy and Social Justice: ICES Conference in Late November 2016

atudor Tudor  a-obey Gananath

Tudor Kalinga Silva

This conference was held at the International Centre for Ethnic Studies, Colombo on the 19/20th November 2016 with the participation of over 60 researchers from Sri Lanka and abroad. The objective of the conference was to review recent research on caste in Sri Lanka from the angle of democracy and social justice in line with the broader ICES interest in identity politics in Sri Lanka. The specific issues discussed included possible theoretical, conceptual and methodological issues relating to understanding caste and caste-like phenomenon in Sri Lanka, caste dynamics in Sinhala society, caste in historical context, caste issues in Northeast Sri Lanka, post-war transformation of caste, migration, caste and ethnicity, caste and religion and policy framework for addressing horizontal inequality and promoting social justice. The keynote speakers in the conference were Prof. Gananath Obeyesekere, Dr. Kumari Jayawardena, Dr. John Rogers (from the American Institute of Sri Lanka Studies) and Prof. K. Tudor Silva who also convened the conference on behalf of ICES. Continue reading

1 Comment

Filed under caste issues, cultural transmission, economic processes, governance, heritage, historical interpretation, island economy, landscape wondrous, Left politics, legal issues, life stories, modernity & modernization, politIcal discourse, self-reflexivity, social justice, sri lankan society, Tamil civilians, unusual people, welfare & philanthophy

A Requiem for Stanley J. Tambiah

Sachi Sri Kanthain Ilankai Tamil Sangam, 9 February 2014, … http://sangam.org/stanley-jeyaraja-tambiah-1929-2014/

tambiah-pic-11 “In 1958, while I was leading a research team composed of university undergraduates, all of whom were Sinhalese, that were engaged in a sociological study of peasant colonization in Gal Oya, ethnic riots unexpectedly broke out in our midst, and at Amparai, Sinhalese public workers went on the rampage in hijacked trucks, attacking Tamil shopkeepers and Tamil peasant colonists. My students, very solicitous for my safety, insisted that I stay behind closed doors while they stood guard. And I was later hidden in a truck, and spirited out of the valley to Batticaloa, a safe Tamil area. That experience was traumatic: it was the first time the ethnic divide was so forcibly thrust into my existence. And intuitively reading the signs, I wished to get away from the island, for I experienced a mounting alienation and a sense of being homeless in one’s own home.” …… Tambiah SJ (1997) a rejoinder to ‘Buddhism Betrayed’ book review by Sasanka Perera

Tambiah SJ (1997) on 1983 ethnic riots in Sri Lanka

Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under accountability, colonisation schemes, constitutional amendments, cultural transmission, discrimination, economic processes, ethnicity, historical interpretation, Indian Ocean politics, landscape wondrous, Left politics, life stories, modernity & modernization, politIcal discourse, power politics, racist thinking, Sinhala-Tamil Relations, social justice, sri lankan society, Tamil civilians, Tamil migration, unusual people, world events & processes, zealotry

The Anti-Tamil Gal Oya Riots of 1956

 tambiah-pic-22Stanley J. Tambiah[1]

My own first hand and indelible experience of ethnic riots happened in June 1956, when as a twenty-seven-year-old social scientist, recently returned from graduate studies in the United States, I took a team of thirty three students (twenty-six Sinhalese and seven Tamils) to conduct a survey of some newly settled peasant colonies in Gal Oya Valley.+ The Gal Oya Multipurpose Scheme was Sri Lanka’s first and largest post-independence development project, whose tasks were flood control, provision of irrigation for cultivating the “maximum acreage of land possible,” and generation of electricity for domestic and industrial use. The Gal Oya Development Board, appointed by the Sri Lankan government in 1949, was modeled on the Tennessee Valley Authority and the Damodar Valley Corporation, but was actually more circumscribed in its structure and powers than these two giant corporations. The largest component of the board’s agricultural plan was the settlement of landless peasants from depressed villages with families and some agricultural experience on small paddy and highland allotments. (Provision was also made for larger-scale cultivation, marketing, and processing of cash crops by cooperative agricultural and industrial undertakings.) gal-oya-44

Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under accountability, centre-periphery relations, communal relations, economic processes, energy resources, governance, historical interpretation, language policies, life stories, modernity & modernization, politIcal discourse, power politics, Sinhala-Tamil Relations, social justice, sri lankan society, trauma, unusual people, working class conditions

%d bloggers like this: