Colonising Knowledge in the Kingdom of Kandy — Sivasundaram on U Tube

Sujit Sivasundaram …. SEE

SUJIT SIVA 22Dr Sujit Sivasundaram shows how  local knowledge in Sri Lanka was used as a means of resistance against  the British in the 1800s, and subsequently absorbed and adopted by the
colonists as their own… In this short film Dr Sujit Sivasundaram, from the Department of International History, challenges  the idea that European colonists brought Modernity – in the form of  systematic knowledge – to countries such as Sri Lanka. He argues that it  is not just territory that is occupied by a colonising force, local  knowledge, too, is also absorbed and utilised by the colonisers.

Dr  Sivasundaram’s research looks at the Kingdom of Kandy, a state set deep  in the forested highlands of central Sri Lanka. Kandy was one of the  last outposts of native rule to fall to colonists, successfully  repelling the British in 1803, before finally succumbing in 1815. One reason for the Kandyans success was superior information: technical  knowledge useful to the military resistance could be passed between  Kandyans in the form of an oral tradition that is preserved in  “palm-leaf manuscripts.”

Ola & LionBy examining surviving palm-leaf  manuscripts, Dr Sivasundaram is able to reconstruct indigenous knowledge  from the 1800s, and show that what we think of “enlightenment  knowledge” is sometimes actually founded on indigenous knowledge   although the link has long since been obscured.

Uploaded on Apr 19, 2010


For the illustrations below and their specific details. see  Michael Roberts, Sinhala Consciousness in the Kingdom of Kandy, 1590s to 1815, Colombo,  Vijitha Yapa Publications, 2006.

       Pl 11 HULFT's  procession++ Pl 13--DAKUMA colour

Pl 24 Adigar procession

Pl 23 D'Oyly plusJohn D’Oyly and Kandyan  chiefs

Pl 24 Adigar processionAdigars in procession


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