Nationalist Studies and the Ceylon Studies Seminar at Peradeniya, 1968-1970s

Michael Roberts

The years 1966 to 1975 were heady days in Ceylon. Especially so for some of us in Peradeniya Univeristy where the CEYLON STUDIES SEMINAR was launched in November 1968 by a few members of the Arts Faculty assisted by the facilities provided by Professor Gananath Obeyesekera at the Sociology Department – located then on Lower Hantane Road away from the centre of teaching. Not least among these facilities was the service provided by the Sociology Department peon Sathiah[i] who cyclostyled the written seminar papers beforehand for circulation so that those who were keen could read any presentation beforehand if they so wished – a procedure that also maximized discussion time. This background service was seconded by the typing services of Mrs Hettiarachchi in the History Department and Mr Kumaraswamy in the Sociology Department.

A . Jeyaratnam Wilson  Gananath Obeyesekera

This momentous series the Ceylon Studies Seminar was launched on 20th November 1968 by Professor AJ Wilson’s presentation of a paper on Sinhalese-Tamil Relationships and the Problem of National Integration.”  In the course of 1968 and 1969 these were followed by papers presented by Gananath Obeyesekera (2), Kitsiri Malalgoda, Rainer Schickele, Michael Roberts (3), Shelton Kodikara and DM Kannangara.

At the same time in the late 1960s Gerald Peiris and Leslie Gunawardena kicked up a fuss at the Arts Faculty sessions about the moribund state of the University of Ceylon Review and the University’s publication record. They were able to activate the Faculty and the Senate to support the launching of a new journal called the Modern Ceylon Studies. Peiris and PTM “Tissa” Fernando were its first Editor and Managing Editor respectively… and had to labour intensely to overcome arcane printing processes that lacked word-processing.

Vijaya Samaraweera marshaled the CSS meeetings when I was away from Peradeniya on a Fulbright Fellowship from September 1970 till August 1971. The CSS activity seeded some of the articles that went into Modern Ceylon Studies. Ananda Wickremeratne (at Vidyodaya University) and I joined the Modern Ceylon Studies team in 1971/72 and my role increased when Tissa Fernando migrated to Vancouver.

At about the same time, in the early 1970s several of us were also marshaled and dragooned by Professor Kingsley de Silva in the Department of History at Peradeniya to write chapters for the History of Ceylon (Volume 3 on the British Period). This large tome appeared in 1973 – and involved research endeavours that stimulated thought and guided the direction of our scholarship.

As central to the lively intellectual activity of Peradeniya University Campus was the architecture of the place – not least the Staff Common Room servicing the lecturers in Arts with tea and providing a meeting point for teachers from different disciplines

Cross-disciplinary exchange was the nuts and bolts of the CSS exchanges – sometimes involving individuals from the Agriculture, Engineering and Science Faculties (especially when it involved “politics” or “Marxism”).

The political turmoil of the late 1960s and early 1970s, needless to say, was one grounding for the excitement and sharpness of debate. Further spice and variety were injected by the periodic visits (both brief and longer term) of such foreign scholars as Rainer Schickele, Robert Kearney, Patrick Peebles, Hans-Dieter Evers, Ronald Herring, Dennis McGilvray, RL Stirrat, Tom Barron, Bryce Ryan, James Jupp, etc, etc.

By the early 1970s, this climate of debate amidst sharp tensions fed into my developing interest in the study of nationalism in its worldwide context as background to my own researches on the subject within Sri Lanka over time. I had returned from a year at Chicago in late 1971 and launched a course on “Nationalism and Its Problems” in the Arts curriculum in 1972 with every encouragement from my head, Professor Karl W Goonewardena.

The ideological climate in Sri Lanka in the first half of the 20th century was such that any corpus of thought favouring the Sinhala collectivity or the Tamil collectivity or the Muslim Moor collectivity was deemed “communal” rather than “national/nationalist” – and thus denied legitimacy. However, the upsurge of the Sinhala Buddhist movement and its commanding electoral triumph in 1956 quickly provided a legitimacy to the Sinhala movement that converted that ‘formation’ into a corpus crowned with the cap of ”nationalism” – that is, gave it a legitimacy that was denied to the political claims of the other communities.

By way of illustration let me note that in 1970 Shelton Kodikara (a colleague in the Political Science section of the Economics Department at Peradeniya at one point) was able to present a sympathetic review of the grievances of the “Sinhala nation” at the same moment that he referred to the “Tamil communal programme.”[ii] Again, no less a person than A. Jeyaratnam Wilson, the son-in-law of SJV Chelvanayakam,[iii] referred to both the Sinhala and Tamil programmes of the mid-twentieth century as “sub-nationalisms.”[iv] These yardsticks signal issues of political legitimacy.

The point, here, is that we are considering sensibilities and ethics which attributed different values to collective subjectivity. In the Indian and Sri Lankan context of the first half of the 20th century “communalism” had been deemed bad and divisive; whereas the all-island Ceylonese loyalties or pan-Indian sentiments were a GOOD.

In contemplating this issue, and the different grades of legitimacy attached to group identities, I crafted the term “Collective Identity” during the 1970s  to embrace subjectivity attached to a body of people linked by kinship or caste or ethnicity or political affiliation. This was a catch-all omnibus term and thus not tarnished with value.

It was this all-embracing concept that I eventually used when the Marga Institute financed and produced a collection of essays on the ethnic politics of Sri Lanka in 1979 under my editorship. That book had a long gestation period and was but the stub of a much larger enterprise that I initiated in early 1973 in tandem with a bosom pal[v] and fellow historian, Ananda Wickremeratne (who was lecturing at Vidyodaya University then in 1973). This was entitled “Nationalisms and Nationalist Movements in Sri Lanka” and envisaged 32 articles as chapters (all listed below).

The list of potential authors and potential titles is highly significant and heightened further by the revised lists compiled by me (acting alone now[vi]) on the 25th June 1974 and then again in early 1975. They indicate the range of scholarship in History and Politics reposing in the four universities of Sri Lanka then. That several of these personnel have not produced any essays and others just one or two generates sadness: what a waste. Each of these intended chapters rested on dissertation work that is buried in university libraries or stores.

The project launched by Wickremeratne and Roberts was meant to promote the work of these individuals in ways that sharpened the debate around “collective identity” in Sri Lanka studied in the light of trends in the world at large. This issue, needless to say, is still with us: “Oh Yes! And How!” one might exclaim.

Political Division in the Peradeniya Fold in the 1970s

The campaigns leading up to the General Elections in Sri Lanka in May 1970 were marked by sharp rivalry and considerable hostility. Party loyalties had an impact on academic exchanges at Peradeniya campus though a few firm friendships cut across party lines. Several Peradeniya dons moved into high positions in the new United Front government, while several others were staunch supporters.

These UF activists in the 1970s (for example, Wishwa Warnapala, Ranjit Amerasinghe, WI Siriweera, PVY Jayasekera) looked upon the Ceylon Studies Seminar circle with some suspicion and most of them (but not Siriweera)  rarely attended seminars if my memory serves me right. At one point in 1973 their pressures were such that we permitted one or two of them to become part of the planning core. It was at one such planning session in 1973 that I suggested the organisation of a conference in Colombo on the “Sinhala-Tamil Problem” because relations were moving into a danger zone. At this point, Siriweera actually stood up and presented a conclusive diktat: “there is no Sinhala Tamil problem. Our problems are economic.”[vii]

Siriweera was not alone in misreading the swirling political currents in the country at large. A few years earlier, as Gerry Peiris recalls, “at the end of a highly successful CSS presentation and discussion AJ Wilson declared THAT ‘ethnic conflict in Ceylon could well become a thing of the past.’ This was in jubilant anticipation of a Leftist government following the union of the SLFP and the main Marxist parties. In hindsight now, Peiris adds: “So much for his ‘political science’.”

Siriweera’s assertion is but one example of the closed minds encouraged by the forms of Left thinking prevailing at Peradeniya then in the early 1970s (though that charge does not embrace all those on the Left). Another instance – an “ethnographic encounter – was more striking because quite unexpected and emanating from one of our brightest intellects and distinguished scholars: Ian Goonetileke, who had been one of the inspirations behind the launching of the journal known as the Ceylon Journal of Historical and Social Studies in 1958 and had encouraged and participated in the Ceylon Studies Seminar in its early years.[viii]

ian Goonetileke in his later years

Ian was one of the Assistant Librarians and a friend. As one of the principal hands in the CSS, I used to deliver the cyclostyled CSS papers to him from time to time. When I did this one day, placing the documents on his desk and sitting down to chat, he addressed me sternly and raised objections to the string of foreigners “invited” to present talks and/or papers at the CSS. I forget precisely when this was, but believe it was around 1972 or 1973 and one of the talks had been by Bryce Ryan.[ix]

I dissented immediately, though I cannot recall precisely what I said. I remember his reaction vividly. Ian stood up, grabbed the CSS papers and threw them into the corridor.

That was that.

It was Marxism and United Front loyalty in the early 1970s become xenophobia.

There is something about the phrase “frog in the well” that illuminates such actions as well as the astounding blindness displayed by Siriweera – who was unaware that we were sitting on an ethnic time-bomb ticking away among the Sri Lanka Tamils.[x] They were not alone. When around 1972, as an active worker for the journal Modern Ceylon Studies, I asked my colleague PVJ Jayasekera to convert one of his dissertation chapters, say on the temperance movement or the 1915 anti-Moor riots, into an article for consideration by the MCS referee process, he confessed to me: “I do not believe in that sort of thing.”

That was another stunning ethnographic moment: here was the rejection of earnest empirical research pursued in good faith in the archives in the United Kingdom by new-found political bondage.

The presentation of these details on the planning that went into the 1979 Marga book  has been facilitated by Iranga Silva’s (ICES, Kandy) ready cooperation in scanning and typing up the original plans as well as the final chapter list of Collective Identities, Nationalisms and Protest in Modern Sri Lanka, (Colombo, Marga, 1979) as well as the information provided by CR de Silva, Gerald Peiris and SWR de Samarasinghe.

CR and Sam took charge of the Ceylon Studies Seminar when I left the island in mid-1975 and sustained its operations till 1988 or so. All the CSS papers were deposited in the Department of National Archives by CR when he left the island for USA in 1989. A separate essay will be presented soon on the workings of the CSS enterprise from within Peradeniya Campus from 1975 till 1988 together with a complete bibliographical list of paper titles.

****  ***

INITIAL DRAFT PLAN, 20 APRIL 1973: “Nationalisms and Nationalist Movements in Lanka”

THE NUMBERING HAS GONE HAY WIRE   …. titles in Bold did not eventuate; whereas those in blue font did appear in the 1979 production

Kandyan Patriotism and British Policy …………………                                                               K.M. de Silva

Stimulants and Ingredients in the Awakenin of Nationalism ………………….                   Michael Rob

The Origins of Sinhala-Buddhist Revivalism    ……………                                     Kitsiri Malalgoda

Buddhist Revivalist Nationalism   …….  ………                                                         L. A. WickremeratnePressures on the White Bastions of the Administrative Service    …..            P. T. M. Fernando

Protest in the Legislative Council1890-1910   ………….                                       Nirmala Labrooy

The Burgher Elite, Burgher Identity and  the Nationalist Movement …                                                                                                             Donovan Moldrich   & WJF  Labrooy       

Radical Shades of Nationalist Activity: 1892-1931   …..    …….                         Kumari Jayawardena

Nationalist Associations and the Question of the Franchise  ……  ….           K. H. Jayasinghe           

 Sir Ponnambalam Arunachalam and the Nationalist Movement ….           K.M. de Silva

Problems of National Identity in a Plural Society: Sectional Nationalism vs Ceylonese Nationalism …  Michael Roberts

Social Segmentation and Political Protest in the Early 20th Century                        P.V.J. Jayasekera

Kandyan Sectionalism in the Twentieth Century …………………………………….     L.A. Wickremeratne

Conflicting Political Claims, 1918-1928 ……………………………..                                  L.A. Ariyaraatne

Ceylon Tamil Political Associations, 1906-1948………………..                                      C.R. de Silva

A Babble of Sectionalist Claims and …  the Donoughmore Commission                 Tilaka Mettananda

The Indian Immigrant Question and the Nationalist Movement                                  S.U. Kodikara

Revolutionary Socialist Nationalism, 1931-1948  ……………….                                      Kumari Jayawardena

Revolutionary Socialist Nationalism, 1931-1948   …………….                                               M.U. de Silva

Perspectives on the Movement towards Independence, 1931-48 ………….                            K. M. de Silva

Contrasting Political Styles: D. S. Senana­yake, S. W. R. D. Bandaranaike and G.G. Ponnarnbalam  ……………                                      K. M. de Silva

The Buddhist Resurgence and Sinhala Nationalism in Independent Ceylon          Tikiri Abeyasinghe

Sinhala Nationalism in Independent Ceylon …………………….                                      W. Warnapala

Tamil Nationalism in Independent Ceylon ………………………………………………….A. J. Wilson

Tamil Separatism and Ceylonese Nationalism ……………………………………………..S. Arasaratnam

Language Rights and Sectional Conflict………………………………………………            Robert  N.Kearney

The Search for Power & Nationalist Rhetoric ………………………………………..    W. H. Wriggins

Post 1948 Retrospect: Attitudes towards the British Raj …………………………………………………………….   no name

The Realities of’ Independence: A Shrinking Economy   ……………………………………………………………… no name

Nationalism vs Neo-Colonialism  ………………………………………………………………………………………John White

The Search for International Security: The Concept of an Indian Ocean Peace Zone  ….Vernon Mendis

The Search for International Security: The Concept  of an Indian Ocean Peace Zone: An Evaluation     …………………………………………………..   …………………………………………………                Michael Roberts

                  Signed: Michael Roberts Ananda Wickremeratne 20 April 1973.

This was the preliminary plan. On this foundation the individuals named were approached and the plans that followed were based on their responses and our own revisions.

      ******

REVISED DRAFT PLAN, 25 JUNE 1974 “The Origins and the Growth of Nationalism in Sri Lanka”

  1. Kandyan Patriotism and British Policy …………………………………………………………………………..K. M. de Silva
  2. Elite Formation and Elites in Ceylon c.1832-1931  ………………………………………………………….. Michael Roberts
  3. Stimulants and Ingredients in the Awakening of Nationalism …………………………………………Michael Roberts
  4. The Buddhist-Christian Confrontation in the Mid-Nineteenth Century: Its Implications for the Nationalist Awakening     …………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….. Kitsiri Malalgoda
  1. The Role of the Buddhist Theosophical Society in the  Buddhist Revival  …………………………   Sarath Amunugama
  1. Dharmapala, John de Silva, Piyadasa Sirisena and the Beginnings of Modern Sinhala Nationalism …..      Sarath Amunugama
  1. Social Segmentation and Political Protest, 1880s-1921 ……………………………………………….. P. V.J. Jayasekara
  2. Pressures on the White Bastions of the Administrative Service …………………………………….P. T. M. Fernando
  3. The Temperance Movement in the Early Twentieth Century ………………………………………P. V. J. Jayasekara
  4. The Emergence of Working Class Agitation ………………………………………………………….. Kumari Jayawardena
  5. Sir Ponnambalam Arunachalam and the  Nationalist Movement                                                K. M. de Silva
  1. Problems of National Identity in a Plural Society:  Sectional Nationalism vs Ceylonese Nationalism    Michael Roberts
  1. The Burgher Elite, Burgher Identity and the Nationalist Movement  …    Donavan Moldrich & WJF Labrooy
  2. Ceylon Tamil Political Associations, 1906-1948 ……………………………………………………………James T, Rutnam
  3. Ceylon Tamil Political Associations: Ideology   ………………………………………………………………Jane Russell
  4. Kandyan Sectionalism in the Twentieth Century ………………………………………………….Ananda Wickremeratne
  5. Conflicting Political Claims, 1918-1928  ………………………………………………………………….. R.A. Ariyaratne
  6. A Babble of Sectionalist Claims and the Response of the Donoughmore Commission ……….Tilaka Mettananda
  7. The Indian Immigrant Question and the Nationalist Movement  ……………………………………. S. U. Kodikara
  8. Sectional Interests and the Politics of Land Reform. …………………………………………………… Vijaya Samaraweera
  9. Missionary Organisations and the Nationalist Movement …………………………………………………….. K. M. de Silva
  10. European Mercantile Organisations and the Nationalist Movement  ………     Donaovan Moldrich & K. M. de Silva
  11. Radical Socialist Nationalism, 1931-1948      ………………………………………..,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,………       M. U. de Silva
  12. Radical Socialist Nationalism, 1931-1948                ………………………………………………………….. Kumari Jayawardena
  13. Perspectives on the Movement towards Inde­pendence and the Transfer of Power ………..         …………K. M. de Silva
  1. Buddhist Revivalist Nationalism  ……………………………………………………………………………       Ananda Wickremeratne
  2. Contrasting Political Styles: D. S. Senanayake, G. G. Ponnambalam and S. W. R. D.Bandaranaike  … K. M. de Silva
  3. Sinhala Nationalism in Independent Lanka ………………………………………………………………….W. A. Wiswa Warnapala
  4. Language Rights and Sectional Conflict Bishop ………………………………………..               Lakshman   Wickremesinghe
  5. Nationalism and Political Mobilisation in Sri Lanka …………………………….                                       Robert N. Kearney
  6. The Realities of Independence in Sri Lanka: A Shrinking Economy  ……………………………           Godfrey Gunatilleke
  7. Sectional Conflict and National Unity in Lanka: A Survey ………………..     …………………………….  S. Arasaratnam
  1. Problems of Nationalism in the New States with special reference to Sri Lanka     ………………            A. J. Wilson
  1. The Search for International Security: The Concept of an Indian Ocean Peace Zone ………………….   Vernon Mendis
  1. The Search for International Security: The Concept of an Indian Ocean Peace Zone: An Evaluation… Michael Roberts

The scheme remains tentative and should not, therefore, be circulated or canvassed. As the writing progresses and essays come in, it is likely that some titles will be changed and the order of chapters re-arranged. It is also possible that a few individuals listed in our initial plan who failed to respond, or could not commit themselves, may yet join us in this venture. Again, additional essays might be included…………………..                                                                                                           .Signed: Michael Roberts

   **** **

FINAL DRAFT PLAN, EARLY 1975 :“Collective Identities, Nationalisms and Protest in Sri Lanka during the Modern Era”  … … … with the items in bold marking those essays that DID NOT eventuate

I.   BACKGROUND AND ROOTS

  1. Identities and Ideologies in Sinhala Literature      Frank Perera
  2. Sinhala Patriotism in the Pre-British Era              C. R. de Silva
  3. The Sinhala Buddhist Identity and the Nayakkar Dynasty in the Politics of the Kandyan Kingdom, 1740-1815……………………………………………………………………………………………………………. K. N. O. Dharmadasa
  1. Resistance Movements and British Policy………………………………………………………                  K. M. de Silva
  2. Elite Formation and Elites, c. 1832-1931  ……………………………………………………………….                 Michael Roberts
  3. Stimulants and Ingredients in the Awakening of Latter-Day Nationalisms   ……………………….     Michael Roberts
  1. The Buddhist-Christian Confrontation in the Mid-Nineteenth Century: Its Implications for the Sinhala Nationalist Awakening  …………………………………………………………………………….  Kitsiri Malalgoda
  1. Buddhist Merchants, Olcott and the Buddhist Revival in the 1880’s    ……………… L. A. Wickremeratne
  1. Navalar, Ramanathan & the Hindu Revival   …………………………………………..       V. Ramakrishnan

II. CONFLICTING IDENTITIES IN MORE RECENT TIMES

  1. Some Leading Ideologues and the Beginnings of  Latter-Day Sinhala Nationalism  ………………….. Sarath Amunugama
  2. The Vicissitudes of the Buddhist Identity througNATKIONA;LISMS & PROTEST  h Time and Change      ………………………         Gananath Obeyesekere
  1. Problems of National Identity in a Multi-­Racial Society:Sectional Nationalism vs Ceylonese Nationalism    Michael Rober

III. SECTIONAL INTERESTS, NATIONALISMS & PROTEST  IN EVOLUTION & INTERACTION

  1. Social Segmentation and Political Protest, 1880’s-1921  ………………………..        P. V. J. Jayasekera
  2. Temperance and Nationalism………………………..                                                          P. V.J. Jayasekera
  3. Pressures on the White Bastions of the Administrative Service …………………  P. T. M. Fernando
  4. The Emergence of Working Class Agitation  ………………………………..            Kumari Jayawardena
  5. Arunachalam and the Nationalist Movement …………………………..            ……..         K. M. de Silva
  6. Conflicting Political Demands, 1917-1932   ……………………………………..                  R. A. Ariyaratne
  7. The Donoughmore Commission: A Babble of Sectionalist Claims   ………..         Tilaka Mettananda
  1. Ceylon Tamil Political Associations in the 1920’s and 1930’s   …….                                    Jane Russell
  2. Kandyan Sectionalism in the Twentieth Century  ………………………                   L. A. Wickremeratne

        **** **

A NOTE BY Michael Roberts:

The first article to reach me was that by Sinnappah Arasaratnam in 1974, In July 1975 I left Peradeniya for West Germany on a Humboldt Fellowship at the Sud Asien Institute, Heidelberg Univerisity, with a four month period learning German at the Goethe Institutte on Boppard-am-Rhein before my move to Heidelberg where my family joined me. My own researches were on themes encompassed within the design of the Humboldt Fellowship and I was fortunate to have Professor Dietmar Rothermund and several Indian history specialists as colleagues at the South Asia Institute. It was in this environment that I cast the first draft of an article that was presented at an European Conference in the Netherlands and then  at the SOAS in London  before eventually making the grade as an article entitled “Ethnic Conflict in Sri Lanka and Sinhalese Perspectives:: Barriers to Accommodation” within Modern Asian Studies in 1978 — embodying a pessimistic appraisal of the  situation in Sri Lanka and anticipating Sri Lankan Tamil challenges of a violent character.

While at Boppard and Heidelberg I continued to nag most of the participants who had been lined up for the edited book –depending here on slo-mo airmail. Some manuscripts trickled in. Shona and I had known when we left that we could not survive economically in Sri Lanka on my lecturer salary and I was fortunate in 1976 to secure a job in Anthropology at the University of Adelaide beginning in the academic year 1977. We sojourned in Colombo on the way to Australia in December 1976 and January 1977 — tidying up our affairs. It was probably then that I secured support for the enterprise from Godfrey Gunatilleka and the Marga Institute. The collection of essays — far fewer than originally hoped for — came out in print in 1979  with the title COLLECTIVE IDENTITIES, NATIONALISMS and PROTEST in SRI LANKA.

Keen eyes will take note of the plural “Nationalisms.”

Observant  purchasers of this book will also note the parlous state of the local newsprint industry and the variation in its paper colouring when they flip through the book. More significant, however, is the contrast between, say the design   envisaged  in early 1975 and the final lot of articles(chapters). They point to good intentions unfulfilled ….. and much research work that has died with their beaerers or remains unknown as dissertatkion work in dusty/musty university libraries. Schaade.

                                 TABLE OF CONTENT

 PREFACE                                                                                                                         v

LIST OF TABLES, FIGLRES, CHARTS                                                                     xi

LIST OF MAPS                                                                                                              xiii

LIST OF ABBREVIATIONS                                                                                        xv

CONTRIBUTORS                                                                                                   x vii

ERRATA                                                                                                                       xix

                                                        Introduction

Chapter 1:   Meanderings in the Pathways of Collective Identity and Nationalism        Michael Roberts                1-97

                                                       Section I          BACKGROUND AND ROOTS

Chapter 2:  The Sinhala-Buddhist Identity and the Nayakkar Dynasty in the Politics

of the Kandyan Kingdom, 1739-l815      K. N. O. Dharmadasa                                                       99

Chapter 3:   Resistance Movements in Nineteenth ­Century Sri Lanka        K. M. de Silva                                          129

Chapter 4:    Elite Formation and Elites, 1833-1931                               Michael Roberts                                              153

Chapter 5:    Stimulants and Ingredients in the Awaken­ing of  Latter-Day Nationalisms  Michael Roberts    214

Chapter 6:    The Muslim Revivalist Movement, 1880-1915                                    Vijaya Samaraweera              243

                                            Section II              COLLECTIVE IDENTITIES

Chapter 7:  Vicissitudes of the Sinhala-Buddhist Identity through Time and Change   Gananath Obeysekera      279

Chapter 8:   Ideology and Class Interest in One of Piyadasa Sirisena’s Novels:

The New Image of the ‘Sinhala-Buddhist Nationalist                                    Sarath Amunugama

Chapter 9:  Problems of Collective Identity in a Multi-­Ethnic Society: Sectional Nationalism vs

. Ceylonese Nationalism, 1900-1940                                                    Michael Roberts                                                   337

      Section III        THE BRITISH AND THE CEY­LONESE: POLICIES AND PERSPECTIVES

IN INTER­ACTION AND EVOLUTION

Chapter 10:         The Empire at Bay: British Attitudes and the Growth of Nationalism

in the Early Twentieth Century                                     Charles T. Blackton                                                                  363

Chapter 11:   Nationalism in Economic and Social Thought. 1915-1945 Michael Roberts                                  386

Chapter 12:  The Transfer of Power in Sri Lanka: A Review of BritisH Perspectives, 1938-1947  K. M.. de Silva  420

                                                     Section IV             TOWARDS THE CONTEM­PORARY SCENE

Chapter 13:      Nationalism, Modernisation and Political Mobilisation in a Plural Society

                                                                                                                            Robert N. Kearney                                           440

Chapter 14:  Race, Religion, Language and Caste in thea Subnationalisms of Sri Lanka A. Jeyaratnam Wilson       462

Chapter 15:      The Impact of Nationalism on Education: The Schools Takeover  (1961) and

the University Admissions Crisis 1970-1975                                                                                                 C. R. de Silva        474

Chapter 16:            Nationalism in Sri Lanka and the TamilS                                                              S. Arasaratnam          500

Amalgamated Select Bibliography                                                                                                                                                     535

Index of Names                                                                                                                                                                                     559

Subject Index

     *************************

END NOTES

[i] Sathiah was as genial as steady in his services. I recall that I dedicated my Congress documents book to him.  He hailed from the Indian Plantation Tamils in the Kandy-Peradeniya locality and I was subsequently informed that his younger brother entered the Engineering Faculty of Peradeniya. Such tales are elevating: amidst the various strands of pollical madness and economic chicanery that has been a part of Sri Lanka’s history, they evidence the opportunities of social mobility that are some recompense.

[ii] See Kodikara, “Communalism and Political Modernisation in Ceylon,” Modern Ceylon Studies, 1970, Vol !: 100-03.

[iii] The venerable founder and leader of the ITAK or “Federal Freedom Party.” (for the text of the p original ITAK founding statement, see Roberts, Tamil Person and State. Pictorial, Colombo, Vijitha Yapa Publications, 2014, pp. 271-92.

[iv] See Wilson, “Religion, Language and caste in the Subnationalisms of Sri Lanka,” in Roberts, Collective Identities, Nationalisms and Protest in Modern Sri Lanka, Colombo, Maga, 1979, p. 462.

[v] Ananda Wickremaratne was a batchmate at Ramanathan Hall in the late 1950s and I often stayed at his place in Kandy during my undergrad years because he was also an Honours course batchmate in History.

[vi] My memory on these events is blank and I was not even aware of Ananda Wickremeratne’s collaboration at the outset or the various details till I came across the chapter listings at the back of the 1979 Marga publication.

[vii] The key members of the CSS waited a while for Siriweera and Company to lose their vigour and organised such a conference in Colombo in October 1973 with aid from the Marga circle and Mark Cooray at Law College.

[viii] This line of information is largely from Gerald Peiris as my memory is blank (perhaps because one of the incidents took place when I was in USA. This tale is when Ian Goonetileke had raised a storm at a verbal CSS talk by the University of Sussex Professor, Michael Lipton, – challenging the latter’s stance and contending that Ceylon was no longer “Lipton’s tea garden”.

[ix] Bryce Ryan had authored the book Caste in Modern Ceylon. The Sinhalese System in Transition  in 1953 (Rutgers University Press) and was visiting the island after a long absence. His presentation at the CSS was verbal and not a written paper. Given the limited research in this field, it was a rare opportunity for us in Peradeniya.

[x] Several of us in Peradeniya University were alive to the undercurrents of ferment among the SL Tamils because of (a) the vibes in Peradeniya Campus circles; (B) the widely-displayed dissent among Tamils during the making of the 1972 constitution and, (c) in my case, information conveyed to em by the Bishop of Kurunegala, Lakshman Wickremasinghe who had many fingers on the political pulse. Moreover, a young historian working on her Ph.D in the archives at Jaffna, Jane Russell had told me that she had met some youth in the Peninsula who informed her that “as far as they were concerned, all the Tamils living in Colombo could die.” That piece of evidence was momentous: some Tamils had moved to the polar extreme and there was no limit on their course of action.

These readings on our part induced CR de Silva, myself and others at Peradeniya to combine with Godfrey and Chandra at Marga and Mark Cooray at the Law College and proceed with the organIsation of an all-day conference in Colombo on the 6th October 1973 focusing on THE SINHALA-TAMIL PROBLEM.

***  ***

AN EMAIL COMMENT from PROFESSOR JOHN RICHARDSON in USA, 1 October 2009

The Phrase “Halcyon Days”  came to mind when I read your message and viewed the picture, and  then (though I was not in attendance in 1975, a favorite A.E. Houseman Poem (which would apply to other days in Sri Lanka  came to mind)

Into my heart, an air that kills,
From yon far country blows,
What are those oft remembered hills,
What spires, what farms are those?
That is the land of lost content,
I see it shining plain.
The happy highways where I went,
and never can go again.
 ……………………………             With best wishes,  JR

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