Category Archives: working class conditions

Bracegirdle and the Early LSSP in Anti-Colonial Thrusts

Vinod Moonesinghe, courtesy of Roar, 21 May 2017, where the title reads “Bracegirdle: The Young Anglo-Australian Behind Sri Lanka’s Independence Struggle”

After the Matale Revolt of 1848, the independence struggle in Sri Lanka was quiescent until the 1930s. Only in 1931 did the short-lived Jaffna Youth Congress call for total independence (poorana swaraj) and boycotted the general election.However, in far-away America, a young Sri Lankan student, Philip Gunawardena, had already joined the League Against Imperialism and For National Independence, an international organisation committed to the complete national independence of the colonial and semi-colonial peoples, including Sri Lankans. He later went to Britain and worked for the League. He belonged to a Sri Lankan group called the “Cosmopolitan Crew”, mainly students such as himself, including N. M. Perera, Colvin R. de Silva and Leslie Goonewardena.

Bracegirdle with L.S.S.P. leaders in Horana. Image courtesy Victor Ivan

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In Appreciation of Nandasena Ratnapala, A Professor who Begged in Anthropological Mode

Ned Dean and Ranat

“We meet and we part

In this journey through sansara

But the meeting or parting does not end with time or years

It is a long stretch of an eventful road

Where milestones matter more than rises or falls

We have travelled together on this hard, endless road

Where milestones matter more than rises or falls

The journey was neither smooth nor full of magical moments alone

But many achievements reached more worth than monuments in gold

Leaving a fragrance that would linger on and unfold

Gifting a memory of a life rich and rare

Now you are gone as you wished on a fateful morn

While family, friends and students remember and mourn

A warm tear drops that none would see or feel

As I ponder about you, while my memory unfolds your sight.”

Neetha S. Ratnapala

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The Decline of the LSSP in 20th Century Sri Lanka: Sivasambu’s Question

Fr l-to-r= Philip, Colvin R, NM and Reggie Perera

ABOUT Nathan Sivasambu: Nathan Sivasambu is an old-school Trotskyite and a Sri Lankan to the core. After his undergraduate degree from the University of Ceylon in the 1950s he migrated to England. He has sustained his interest in island politics as well as the literary world associated with the Bloomsbury Group and Leonard Woolf. His batchelor-flat near Russell Square placed him close to the Bloomsbury arena in London… and the British Museum as well as SOAS and its Sri Lankan stock of books.

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The Amazing Treasures of Leyn Baan Street in the Fort of Galle

Juliet Coombe, in Ceylon Digest,  19 December 2019,where the title is  “Galle Fort’s hidden treasure Leyn Baan”

  The Fort from the air showing the magnificence of the old city

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A Debate on the Implications of Jayaweera’s Statistical Tabulation of the Presidential Voting Patterns

THESE are Email Exchanges amongst Personnel in the Rajeewa Jayaweera Circle — mostly hostile to the messy politics of the Yahapaalana Era, 2015-19 …. with highlighting emphasis being the imprint of The Editor, Thuppahi

A = Prithi Perera to the Jayaweera Circle, 21 November 2019

Thank you Rajeewa for the most useful tabulation. Much pains taking and time would have gone into it.

The following are my observations;

  1. Nearly 60%-70% of the Sinhala Majority Votes in the South were with GR and 80% -90% of the Tamil/Muslim Minority Votes in the North East of SL were with Sajith. This shows an obvious polarization of society in Sri Lanka, between the south and the north/east, between the Sinhala majority in the South and the Tamil/Muslim minorities in the North/East. The 30 year war where the wounds seem not to have healed as yet and the 21 April 2019 Easter Bombings have also given added strength to the anti Tamil/Islam lobbies. This can be adduced to be the reasons for the further accentuation of the extremist lobbies supporting the Rajapaksa dynastic politics. They seem to be successfully fanning these extremist elements during given periods, particularly when issues in economy and governance appear to go against them if and when they are in power, or when elections are in sight, if they are out of power. Anyone studying these patterns will find them to be more factual than fiction. Unfortunately, we also have some of the clergy making remarks that seem to encourage extremism, like in the case of Gnanasara Thera who has openly said that the BBS movement will be disbanded after the upcoming Parliamentary Elections in 2020 once victory is assured for the Rajapaksa’s.

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Learning from Combatants Scarred by War

Kamanthi Wickramasinghe in Daily Mirror, 21 November 2019, where the title runs thus: “Ex-combatants under rehabilitation call for peace  A visit to Mihindu Seth Medura and Ranaviru Sevana”

The bloodied past of the thirty-year long conflict keeps reflecting in their memories. Having lived the greater part of their lives on battlefields, engaging in what were termed as ‘humanitarian operations’ against deafening noises emanating from blasting mortars, claymore bombs and the frequent gunshots, the physical and psychological trauma were part and parcel of their lives. While many of them succumbed to injuries, another section of this generation who require special assistance to do their day-to-day work are being well looked after. Although many of them initially sought treatment at Ranaviru Sevana based in Ragama, at present those who require further rehabilitative care are stationed at Mihindu Seth Medura in Attidiya.

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Violence in Sri Lanka: Slipshod Scholarship

Michael Roberts

I recently circulated a whole set of articles by some Muslim scholars (located in the Eastern Province and abroad) as well as a few others in Western universities — mostly written in the 2011-19 period. I am beginning to go through them slowly when I can carve out time for this set of tasks. A few have focused on the incidence of crime and communal violence in the post 2009 period.

What strikes me on reading these ventures is the limited degree of reading of past works that has been pursued and the appalling gaps in their background – lapses which also impinge on their comments on the death toll in the last stages of Eelam War IV.

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