SWR de Samarasinghe
Thanks for sharing the very informative map — in your piece “Dark Nights in Sri Lanka: The Incidence and Spread of Electricity.” The relative deprivation of north outside the Jaffna Peninsula is striking but not surprising. Sparse population, poverty and the war are key explanatory factors. Economics plays a role to the extent that the overhead cost of supplying a single dwelling or a business in these areas will be higher than in more densely populated areas and the expected income for the CEB lower. The solution is a government subsidy for the CEB. My understanding is that such a subsidization has been government policy for a long time. The social benefits are substantial and in the long term it pays off economically as well.
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Vinod Moonesinghe, ….. responding to a passing ethnographic note by Chandra Fernando which ran thus “Unfortunately, Mr Bandaranaike, who had Oxford Education, was not intelligent enough to know the value of English to Ceylonese. When we received telegrams, the postman could not read them, so we had to go to Mabole 3 miles walk either way where Wattala Post Office was to get it read from Postmaster.”
In reply to Chandra Fernando’s statements about English, it is not SWRD Banadaranaike he should blame, but the British imperial power. The British created a tiny circle of elite schools, to create a stratum of English-speaking civil servants and compradores, to serve their needs. The vast bulk of the population were left uneducated. Vernacular schools did not teach above the 8th grade, and you needed to go to an English-language school to get your SSC. By 1956, only 5% of the population could speak English.
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Way back in the md-1990s when I was in Sri Lanka working on the Anti-Muslim “riots of 1915” and other such topics and driving up to Kandy, I gave a lift to a youngish man waiting for a bus at Nittambuwa. He was a SL Army soldier in civilian clothes heading home to his village off Matale and I dropped him off at Warakapola. He was now engaged in office work; but that was because he had been invalided out of fighting duties. In fact, he was the only survivor of a wire-guided landmine ambush on 30th July 1995 that killed Lt Genl Nalin Angammana and all the others in the vehicle. Suffering major injuries, his recovery had been aided by the generosity of Nalin Angammana’s widow, who financed his flights to USA for major operations – her act of dāna (almsgiving).
Lt Genl Nalin Angammana
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