Remembering the Unseen Hands Supporting One of My Books

Michael Roberts in the DEDICATION presented on the first page of the book Tamil Person and State: Essays,  Colombo, Vijitha Yapa Publications, 2014, … ISBN 978-955- 665-230-7 

The essays that make up this anthology would not have been possible without the assistance of numerous individuals who provided me with information during face-to-face conversations, Skype and telephone chats or through responses by email. This will be only too evident if readers take note of my citations and footnotes. For this reason, it is entirely appropriate that I dedicate this work to all those who have assisted me in my researches over the last few years. Not all of them will agree with my thrusts. Indeed, there are a few of them in Colombo, such as Ananda Chittambalam, who have disputed some of my arguments, while yet encouraging me in my researches and publication programmes.

Ana Chittambalam: ex-Royal College, raconteur, promoter of causes and a staunch ally and dangerous foe


 The cover design has been prepared by Professor Albert Dharmasiri to whom I am [also] indebted for the design of the cover of Fire and Storm (2010) as well. More to the point, Albert worked tirelessly and applied his visual aesthetics to the full in designing the composition of ALL the images in Essaying Cricket: Sri Lanka and Beyond (Vijitha Yapa Publications, 2006).








My books in recent years would not have been possible without the support of my wife Shona Roberts and my elder sister Estelle Fernando, whose home [in Wellawatte] has been my second hearth and a wonderful base during my working sojourns in Sri Lanka.

Shona at the Abhayagiri Vihara in 1969 …. Estelle on  the terrace ‘sleeve’ of her Hampden Lane house






 and waving to the world in her recreational element, namely, sand and sea …..

A NOTE: These essays were cast over the years 2010 and 2012 for the most part and bear the imprint of their moment of production. While some adjustments and the occasional “addendum” have been inserted in places, I trust readers will keep this facet firmly in mind when evaluating my arguments and my empirical material. Readers will also have to put up with some measure of repetition.


Filed under accountability, asylum-seekers, atrocities, centre-periphery relations, communal relations, demography, economic processes, Eelam, ethnicity, fundamentalism, governance, historical interpretation, human rights, Indian Ocean politics, insurrections, language policies, law of armed conflict, legal issues, life stories, LTTE, martyrdom, military strategy, nationalism, patriotism, performance, photography, politIcal discourse, power politics, prabhakaran, refugees, self-reflexivity, Sinhala-Tamil Relations, sri lankan society, Tamil civilians, Tamil migration, Tamil Tiger fighters, terrorism, transport and communications, truth as casualty of war, unusual people, war reportage, world events & processes, zealotry

2 responses to “Remembering the Unseen Hands Supporting One of My Books

  1. Oliver G. Guruge.

    Happy to note the tribute to Ana Chitts, though short. He was a ‘one of a kind- but mostly misunderstood ‘. Am glad I had the opportunity of associating him, having met him through Victor Ivan and AVM Harry Goonetileke.

  2. EMAIL COMMENT from Jayantha De Silva Samarasinghr, * June 2023:

    “The author of this story, Prof Michael Roberts, was a lecturer in History at Peradeniya University whom I had never seen on Campus during my B.Sc. (Hon) student, for 4 years (1967-1971). That gives some idea of the enormity of the Campus through which the enormous Mahaweli River flows. However, when I went to Adelaide for Ph. D. at Flinders University I met him at the cricket nets there, although he was a Professor of Sociology in the prestigious Adelaide University. (He practised in our nets
    because it was on the way from Adelaide Uni to his home in the beautiful Adelaide Hills).

    I was fortunate to play under his captaincy in some matches he captained for Flinders. Flinders huge playing fields included 3 big turf grounds which turned into Rugby fields in winter.

    Michael spoke to me in Sinhala whenever he set the field so the opposition batsmen could not understand his tactics.

    (This is a note by Jayantha De Silva Samarasinghe – Great memories of playing with you Michael).””

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