Ajit Jayasekera — Email Memo to Michael Roberts, 15 February 2021
A COMMENT from Michael Roberts
I got to meet Ajit during the team’s stay in Adelaide in Dec/January 2002/03 as one member of the Adelaide Friends of SL Cricket and may well have introduced Joe Hoad to him and the team. Ajit told me then about the abusive phone calls he received and I recall that at least one of these calls had been made by a Burgher Lankan in Melbourne.
Here, therefore, we have witness to the vicious strands of behaviour reposing within Sri Lankan society. Speculating somewhat, I suggest here that some of the individuals who verbally assaulted Ajit and some of the team members on this occasion would be among those who expressed effusive praise when the Sri Lankan team performed well. If this suggestion is valid, this means that the same persons had veered from one extreme to another – a momentous phenomenon IF a SUBSTANTIAL body of people in A NATION are prone to take political action in this manner.
Be that as it may, it is a socio-political truth that over the last two hundred or so years the extremist outbursts of the Fascist Right in some countries have bounced off the extremisms of the Left (or vice versa). In Sri Lanka, moreover, the chauvinisms that emerged within the Sinhala political order from the 1940s stimulated the extremism of Tamil nationalists –some of whom became Tiger zealots; while both these currents provided unwitting stimulation for Islamic strands of extremism within the island from about the 1990s — strands which, in turn, made some Muslim young men and women open to the Wahabi zealotry that promoted the Easter Sunday atrocities of April 2019.
Ameer Ali, ACL 2009a “The Transformation of Muslim Politics in Sri Lanka and the Growth of Wahhabism from the 1980s,” 5 May 2009, https://thuppahi.wordpress.com/2019/05/05/the-transformation-of-muslim-politics-in-sri-lanka-and-the-growth-of-wahhabism-from-the-1980s/
Ameer Ali, ACL 2019b “How Extremisms have fed off Each Other in Sri Lanka, 1950s-to-2019 … and still proceeding,” 6 May 2019, https://thuppahi.wordpress.com/2019/05/06/how-extremisms-have-fed-off-each-other-in-sri-lanka-1950s-to-2019-and-still-proceeding/
- Kanapathypillai 1990 “July 1983: The survivor’s experience,” in Veena Das (ed.) Mirrors of violence. Communities, riots and survivors in South Asia, New Delhi: Oxford University Press, pp. 221-44.
Obeyesekere, Gananath 1975 “Sorcery and Premeditated Murder: The Canalization of Aggression” Ethnology, XIV:1, 1-23.
Peiris, Gerald 2009 Twilight of the Tigers, Oxford University Press.
Peiris, Gerald H. 2017 “A Study of Contemporary Buddhist-Muslim Relations in Sri Lanka,” 14 September 2017, https://thuppahi.wordpress.com/2017/09/14/a-study-of-contemporary-buddhist-muslim-relations-in-sri-lanka/
Roberts, Michael 2007 “Suicide Missions as Witnessing: Expansions, Contrasts,” Studies in Conflict and Terrorism, vol 30: 857-88.
Roberts, Michael 2019 “Slippages: Where ‘Muslim’ is An Ethnic Label as well as a Religious Typification,” 3 May 2018, https://thuppahi.wordpress.com/2019/05/03/slippages-where-muslim-is-an-ethnic-label-as-well-as-a-religious-typification/
Roberts, Michael 2019 “The Clash of Civilisations and Hate at the Heart of 21/4 in Sri Lanka,” 14 My 2019, https://thuppahi.wordpress.com/2019/05/14/the-clash-of-civilisations-and-hate-at-the-heart-of-21-4-in-sri-lanka/#more-35621
Roberts, Michael 2021 “Joe Hoad’s Paintings in Celebration of Sri Lanka’s World Cup Triumph 1996,” 5 February 2018 ,https://thuppahis.com/2021/02/05/joe-hoads-paintings-in-celebration-of-sri-lankas-world-cup-triumph-1996/
Roberts Michael 2014 Tamil Person & State, Essays, Colombo, Vijitha Yapa Publications,
Roberts Michael 2014 Tamil Person & State, Pictorial, Colombo, Vijitha Yapa Publications.
Roberts, Michael 1996a “Filial devotion and the Tiger cult of suicide,” Contributions to Indian Sociology 30: 245-72.
Roberts, Michael 1996b “Teaching lessons, removing evil: strands of moral Puritanism in Sinhala nationalist practice,” special issue, South Asia 19: 205-20.
Roberts, Michael 1997 “For Humanity. For the Sinhalese. Dharmapala as crusading bosat,” Journal of Asian Studies 56: 1006-32.
Roberts, Michael 1998/99 “Emotion and the person in nationalist studies,” Sri Lanka Journal of the Humanities 24/25: 65-86.
Tambiah, S. J. 1992 Buddhism Betrayed? Religion, Politics and Violence in Sri Lanka, Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
 See Roberts, “Hoad’s Paintings,” 2021.
 And I add probably within most societies in the modern era. For Sri Lanka readers should make it a point to read Obeyesekera’s article on the resort to powerful gods/goddesses in order to dispose of enemies or those deemed to have wronged one by a wide range of personnel in Sri Lanka (Ethnology, 1975).
 See Roberts 1996a and 1996 as well as Peiris, Twilight, 2009.