The Hegemony of Colombo from Way Back

Michael Roberts

After discovering the Lorenz letters in the library of the Royal Asiatic Society in the 1980s I worked on the history of the island in the ninetenth cenury-and-thereafter with aid from Percy Colin-Thome and Ismeth Raheem in a book which apeared as People Inbetween under the imprint of Sarvodaya Book Publishing Services in 1989. One of its central themes is embodied in a chapter entitled “Colonial Transitions: The Development of Colombo’s Hegemonic Power.”

As central supports in favour of this thesis, I drew on the knowledge and skills of personnel from the old Department of Geography at Peradeniya in the 1960s who were teaching then in the 1980s in Colombo: namely, Kusuma Gunawardena and Percy Silva.

Their graphic work in four maps composed in pursuit of my suggestion captures the lineaments of my thesis in eye-catching and graphic form. Do please take them in.

Volume of Net Migration from Distrcit of birth to District of Enumeration by more than 10,000 migrants 

This is not merely a picture of the yesterday. It is my conviction that our island political order today has to take note of the weightages illustrated by these ‘pictures’ and to re-work the system of electoral representation so that the money-bags in Colombo are given greater representation upfront in ways that place them in responsible positions with their faces clearly marked — rather than hidden away in murky patronage cellars or skyscaper niches.The Coastal Waters of Sri Lanka and Southeastern India   

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