Category Archives: working class conditions

Diego Garcia and the Fate of Its Its Indigenized Chagossian People


ONE = A Summary Report

Diego Garcia is part of the Chagos Atoll, a “group of seven atolls comprising more than 60 individual tropical islands in the Indian Ocean” (Jayaweera 2018). Though discovered in 1512 by the Portuguese explorer Pedro Mascarenhas, it was uninhabited till the French moved in and took over in 1783. The atoll passed to the British after the Napoleonic wars in 1814/15. Thereafter the atoll was administered from Mauritius and was considered part of its domain. Over the years the overseers and workers imported to work the plantations and settlements on the islands became indigenized as “Chagossians” and by the 1960s are said to have been around 1500 in number (note the imprecision).

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The Kandy Äsala Perahära by Lorna Dewaraja

Tissa Devendra, in The Island, 3 October 2018, with this title “Mirror of Civilisation” being a book review of  The Kandy Asala Maha Perahera – by Dr.Lorna Dewaraja (Vijitha Yapa Publications 2018)


In publishing this fine book, Vijitha Yapa has faithfully fulfilled the last wish that Dr. Dewaraja expressed to her family – to hand over to Vijitha Yapa the manuscript of her book on the Kandy Perahera. I now have the privilege of reviewing this publication.

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Filed under art & allure bewitching, British colonialism, cultural transmission, education, elephant tales, heritage, historical interpretation, landscape wondrous, life stories, religiosity, self-reflexivity, sri lankan society, the imaginary and the real, travelogue, unusual people, working class conditions, World War II

Jayasekera’s Study of British Colonialism in Ceylon reviewed

Chandra R De Silva, in Sri Lanka Journal of Social Sciences 41(1) 2018, pp 65-68, with highlighting emphasis being the Work of The Editor, Thuppahi

reviewing Confrontations with Colonialism: Resistance, Revivalism and Reform under British Rule in Sri Lanka 1796- 1920, Vol. I, by P. V. J. Jayasekera (Colombo: Vijitha Yapa, 2017), Rs. 1500.

In one of the most challenging and thought-provoking history books published in Sri Lanka in the last decade, P. V. J. Jayasekera has used a wide variety of sources to challenge a number of existing interpretations relating to Sri Lanka under British colonial rule in the nineteenth century. While the book is based partly on his own doctoral dissertation completed in 1970, in Jayasekera’s own words “The scope and the foci of the original study have been substantially changed (p. ix)” in view of new theoretical approaches in the study of colonial history and the debates on history arising out of the recent ethnic conflict. Jayasekera has also carefully taken into account historical research on Sri Lanka published in the long period since he completed his dissertation. Readers should note that despite the title, Jayasekera has consciously avoided any attempt “to cover the confrontations of the Sri Lankan Tamil society with colonialism (p. xxvii)” and that, with the exception of brief references in the concluding section, information on Muslim-Buddhist relations will come to us only in the forthcoming second volume.

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Filed under British colonialism, Buddhism, commoditification, cultural transmission, economic processes, governance, insurrections, island economy, language policies, law of armed conflict, legal issues, life stories, military strategy, modernity & modernization, politIcal discourse, power politics, self-reflexivity, Sinhala-Tamil Relations, sri lankan society, transport and communications, welfare & philanthophy, working class conditions, world events & processes

Anagārika Dharmapāla: In Search of a Rounded Evaluation

Michael Roberts, courtesy of The Sunday Island 16 September 2018

Recently an anonymous hand writing as “A Dharmapala Devotee” presented a sarcastic opinion piece in the Island of the 5th September targeting myself, Gananath Obeyesekere and HL Seneviratne. My immediate response was short and rushed. This essay is a more considered set of comments.

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Tourism in East to receive A Boost

Item in Daily  News. 3 September 2018

Batticaloa and the adjoining areas which were devastated by war and the tsunami will gain a major economic transformation when internal air flights are started soon linking Colombo Batticaloa, Trincomalee, Sigiriya and Palali. “This will be a major boost to the tourist industry in particular, which will provide ample job opportunities and income avenues to the people,” Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe said.

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Filed under economic processes, governance, island economy, modernity & modernization, politIcal discourse, sri lankan society, Tamil civilians, the imaginary and the real, tourism, transport and communications, travelogue, unusual people, welfare & philanthophy, working class conditions, world events & processes

Nillanthan Maha steps out: Essays in Sinhala on the Sinhala-Tamil Interface

Nillanthan Maha, translated by Jivendran Nadarajah & Athula Vithanage… and courtesy of IDSLANKA.ORG

ONE =නිලාන්දන්: තිස් පස් වසක් රක්නා කළු ජූලියේ උරුමය කුමක්ද?

TWO =නිලාන්දන්: නයාරු ධීවර ගැටුම පිටුපස විජයෝන්මාදයේ සෙවණැලි

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Potency, Power and People in Groups– British Ceylon to Modern Times via Pictures

  Penance on road, Sri Maurpthy Pathirikaali Temple, 2009

This book is both a display and a reflective exercise on the power of imagery, whether from camera or painting or etching. Images can be as captivating as seductive as misleading.  They can serve as raw data that provides glimpses of facets of life lost to the modern generations. They must, of course, be deployed by social scientists with attention to context and in association with other forms of data.

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