Category Archives: working class conditions

Ambedkar’s Criticism of Caste Divisions now available in Sinhala

Basil Fernando

 

A Sinhala Translation of Dr. B. R. Ambedkar’s book Annihilation of Caste is now available. It is entitled Kulaya Mulin Uputa Demeema” The book has been translated into an easy, readable language by Osadhi Nayantara Gunasekera and published by the Asian Human Rights Commission. The book is now available in bookshops in Sri Lanka. Annihilation of Caste is one of the finest political works produced in Indian political literature. This book was originally written as the text for a keynote address. It was for a gathering of a society called Enlightened Hindus and published as a book in 1936. Ever since, this book has been translated into almost all Indian languages and into many other international languages such as English, French and others.

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Manmade Garbage Landslide at Meethotamulla: A World First?

Iromi Perera and Vijay Nagaraj, in http://dbsjeyaraj.com/dbsj/archives/52489 where the title runs “Meethotamulla: The tragedy of the poor victimised in the name of development”

On the afternoon of 14 April tonnes of garbage at Meethotamulla, one of the biggest dumping sites just outside Colombo, came crashing down destroying scores of homes. At the time of writing, the death toll was reportedly 26 but was expected to rise. There have been serious allegations made by the affected community that rescue efforts did not even begin in earnest till very late into the night owing to a lack of direction and the failure of authorities. According to Nuwan Bopage, a lawyer representing residents of Meethotamulla, people were left using shovels to get to those buried. “During that whole time we could hear the dying breath of those buried under the garbage,” he said at a media conference the next day.

Meethotamulla Rahula Vidyalaya

Behind the tragedy is a litany of broken promises—including an assurance by the Prime Minister himself in 2015 of solving the problem within six months—and protests being met with tear gas or batons. A group of residents from Meethotamulla approached the Supreme Court in 2014 seeking to stop the dumping of garbage.
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Filed under economic processes, environmental degradation, landscape wondrous, life stories, power politics, self-reflexivity, social justice, sri lankan society, welfare & philanthophy, working class conditions, world events & processes

A New Study of the Portuguese in the East

Shihan de Silva Jayasuriya’s THE PORTUGUESE IN THE EAST: A CULTURAL HISTORY OF A MARITIME TRADING EMPIRE  is due in print soon, under the imprint of IB Tauris

:Vasco da Gama’s voyage to India in the late fifteenth century opened up new economic and cultural horizons for the Portuguese. Undertaken at the height of Portugal’s maritime influence, it helped to create an oceanic state ranging from the Cape of Good Hope to China. Shihan de Silva Jayasuriya charts the influences of the Portuguese in more than 50 Asian tongues. Luso-Asian influence became engrained in eastern cultures in subtle ways, such as the Portuguese oral traditions in folk literature, embedded in postcolonial Asian music and song. Portuguese cultural legacies are a lasting reminder of an unexpected outcome of seaborne commerce. “Jayasuriya’s use of music and linguistic innovations as a source for the history of the Portuguese presence in Asia opens new paths for other historians … an important contribution.” — João Vicente MeloJournal for Maritime Research

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Filed under cultural transmission, economic processes, heritage, historical interpretation, Indian Ocean politics, landscape wondrous, self-reflexivity, the imaginary and the real, unusual people, working class conditions, world events & processes

Afro-Asian Hybridity across the Indian Ocean

Shihan de Silva Jayasuriya

“Lost Narratives and Hybrid Identities in the Indian Ocean: Afro-Asians” has appeared in r print in Indi@logs Vol 4 2017, pp. 11-26, ISSN: 2339-8523

ABSTRACT of Article: The voluntary movement of Africans was concurrent with their involuntary uprooting, driven by the slave trade. Trade, colonisation and slavery have been drivers of migration, interconnecting people of diverse ethnicity globally. Afro-Asian communities are both historic and contemporary and, whilst Afro-diasporic communities in the Atlantic World are well recognised, the diasporas in Asia have only become visible in the last decade. Assimilation to the diversity of the Indian Ocean has contributed to this invisibility. With the loss of patronage due to changing political scenarios, African migrants have become disenfranchised. The dynamics of their identity, shaped by strong cultural memories bring out their African roots. This paper argues that diasporic consciousness of AfroAsians is expressed through their strong cultural memories. As people with dual belongings, identifying with both the homeland and the hostland, Afro-Asians are able to reconcile their hybrid identities. With the movement of Afro-Asians from the peripheries their subaltern voices are beginning to be heard. Their eclipsed histories and lost narratives are challenging the Atlantic model of African migration. Continue reading

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Caste in Sinhala Society

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Filed under British colonialism, caste issues, communal relations, cultural transmission, economic processes, gender norms, heritage, historical interpretation, life stories, politIcal discourse, sri lankan society, the imaginary and the real, working class conditions

The JVP and Rajapaksa in Vidyodaya Politics, 1970s: Recollections

Chandre Dharmawardana …. [1] … [2]

Some of what I remember from the period that Mahinda Rajapaksa was at Vidyodaya University as a library assistant is as follows.  S. B. Dissanayake[3] was the leader of the Communist Party in the Campus at Vidyodaya University, now known as Jayawardenapura University. He asserted his power as soon as he became the student leader by launching a strike at the Hostel on a food issue. It was just a show of power because in fact the food was quite up to par.  Mahinda Wijesekera,[4] his brother and a Buddhist Monk were JVP leaders who were trying to flex their muscles. Mahinda Wijesekera was in the science faculty while S. B. Dissanayake was a student in the Business Administration Department.

Mahinda in his Vidyodaya days with friend Anura Dias B  at a pirit ceremony Continue reading

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Captives!! Drama on the High Seas for Lankan Seamen

 

Manjula Fernando,  in the Sunday Observer, 18 March 2018

The Sri Lankan crew of the UAE-managed oil tanker, Aris 13, now in Somalia’s commercial capital Bosaso were still uncertain of their return to Sri Lanka, despite a dramatic rescue aided by Combined and EU maritime forces on Friday. The Chief Officer Ruwan Sampath of the Comoros-lagged bunkering tanker, seized by pirates off Somali coastal city Alula last Monday, said they were ready to sign off after a days of ordeal in mid sea with the ruthless pirates but the Shipping company, Aurora Shipping is yet to make a pledge.

The Sunday Observer received this exclusive picture of the Sri Lankan crew after their release by the Somali pirates (Pic courtesy ARIS -13 crew

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