SWRD in Gandhian mode – cover of Charkaya and Goyam Keta Continue reading
Matthew Stadlen, in The Telegraph, 11 November 2013, where the title is “Family history: retracing the steps of a romance disrupted by war”
In 1938 my grandfather, the pianist Peter Stadlen, was returning to his native Austria from a concert tour of Ireland when he happened to meet a girl on the ferry home. As a result he caught a cold from chatting to her on deck, and had to stop over in Amsterdam. The fates were with him, because the following day – 75 years ago – the Nazis marched into Austria; Peter was a secular Jew. He was able to communicate with his mother and sister, who were still in Vienna, and urge them to leave by the next train to Holland. From there, all three made it to London as refugees, and that is where my family has been based ever since. They were lucky.
My great-great-uncle, known as Onkl Friedl, did not escape. He was one of the very first to die at the hands of the Gestapo when they moved into Vienna. He had been chief economic adviser to pre-Nazi Chancellors of Austria, and was immediately put under house arrest. A paraplegic, he always kept cyanide in his ring in case he should ever be caught in a fire, unable to escape. He tricked the Nazi guards into leaving his room and took the poison. I have red hair but neither of my parents do: Onkl Friedl was a redhead and I’ve always believed it comes from him.
Tissa Devendra, in The Island, 29 November 2016
The only footprint, if any, left behind by the Jews of ancient times, is in the 11th century chronicle of the Arab geographer Idris. He writes that the king [probably Kasyapa IV] was advised by a Council of sixteen including four Jews – the rest being Buddhists, Muslims and Brahmins. A fascinating story from a compatriot of Sinbad the Sailor – but with no supporting evidence at all in our own chronicles.
The Portuguese: Assorted Jews came to Ceylon in the wake of the Portuguese invaders of the Maritime Provinces. In that era of the Spanish Inquisition, Jews from Spain and Portugal camouflaged their ethnic origins by adopting pseudo-Portuguese names such as Silva, Perera, Mendis [to name but a few] The plentiful harvest of such names, yet flaunted by Sinhalese families in our Maritime Provinces , establishes the depth of the footprint left behind by Portuguese “Jews”.** Continue reading
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 Melo, Journal for Maritime Research
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
Neil was born in Matara, Sri Lanka, the second child to Peter and Emelda Karunaratne. Neil grew up in Matara, a beachside city on the southern tip of Sri Lanka, in a large family with three brothers and three sisters. Neil was enrolled at SAC on 17 January 1950 and was admitted as a hosteller. It was during his time at St Aloysius that he developed a lifelong drive for academic achievement and excellence. He obtained a 1st division in the Junior exam in 1952 and a 1st division in the Senior exam in 1954. He was a bronze medalist of the Royal Life Saving Society and a Queens Scout and Troup Leader for a short spell. He passed his Voucher exam in the St John’s Ambulance brigade and was a member of the Under 16 athletics team. Neil was the holder of the Abeyesundere Memorial Scholarship. Continue reading