Category Archives: ancient civilisations

KD Paranavitana’s Felicitation Volume: A Treasure Trove

 

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Charlie Chaplin in Bali

Tony Donaldson’s Treasure Trove

Here are two photos of Charlie Chaplin in Bali from my collection.

In one photograph, we see Chaplin in a comical moment as if he is conducting a gamelan orchestra in a Balinese village, possibly Ubud.  He could also be dancing in front of the gamelan — for the way his arms and hands are positioned suggest this  We can’t say for sure. The gamelan players are clearly enjoying this moment with Chaplin, with lots of fun and laughter. A gamelan orchestra is led by the kendang (drum) player – the nearest thing to a kind of conductor in a gamelan.

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African Diaspora across the Indian Ocean: The SIDI Project:

VISIT https://thesidiproject.com/

At Sidi men play drums at t heir communities’annual Urs celebration – Photo copyright by Luke Duggleby for Sidi Project

Few need introductions to the Western movement of slaves from Africa across the Atlantic Ocean. Much has been documented and studied about this horrific part of history. But this wasn’t the only slave route that existed; a far older eastern movement of slaves was forcibly taking people to the opposite side of the world. Between the first and 20th century, beginning with Arabs and the Ottomans, and later continued by the Portuguese, the Dutch, French and the British, an estimated 4 million Africans were taken from their homes, mostly in East Africa, and across the Indian Ocean.

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Addressing Diversity. Six Sri Lankan Scholars in ICES Webinair Lecture Series

A WEBINAR SERIES,  18 November to 9 December 2020
These six webinars explored the challenges that we face in learning about and engagingwith the past in multi-religious, multi-ethnic contexts. This webinar series was presented in collaboration with the Rosa Luxembourg Stiftung…….
…. Herstory-History-Ourstory  ….. Click here to watch all the webinars, or on each topic to watch the individual webinars.

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The Marvellous Hydraulic Civilization of Ancient Lanka via You Tube and …. More

Sri Lanka’s hydraulic civilization spans over two Millenia and is integral part of our agricultural heritage. Watch the story of the origins, the rise, the golden age, the decline and the resurgence of this technology. Voice talent – Arun Dias-Bandaranaike And don’t forget to subscribe 🙂 for more content For more fascinating video’s on Sri Lanka check out channel Destination Sri Lanka https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCwRl​#destinationsrilanka​ #srilanka​ #beautysrilanka​ #srilankaculture​ #srilankasights​ #srilankalocation​ #irrigationsystems #irrigation #hydraulic #civilization

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In Search of Archaic Practices & Features in Ancient and Medieval Lanka

Two foreign personnel, one a British man and the other a Taiwanese Chinese lady, have developed a deep interest in Sri Lanka and a considerable  äcquaintance”, so to speak. with the land and its peAnswer: perhaps Sigiriya?oples, and have recently sent me these fascinating inquiries on arcane topics. Michael Roberts

ONE:  A NOTE from Lewis Bower [i], late February 2021

 Have you heard the term “Argyra” before? It was mentioned in Stephanus of Byzantium’s contribution to the geographical dictionary Ethnica to describe a “thriving metropolis” that he came across on his travels of Sri Lanka… Typing that made me feel like I’m on “Who Wants to be a Millionaire”.

We’re talking 5th/6th Century AD so I’d be really interested to find out where he was talking about,”

… Answer: perhaps Sigiriya? … Michael Roberts

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About the Kāberi in Colonial Ceilao and the Fort of Galle

Michael Roberts

Writing in the Daily News in March 2019 and deploying the affirmation of a South African diplomat, Jeevan Thiagarajah has lamented the alleged fact that the VOC Black African used slave labour to build the imposing Fort of Galle – even asserting that “an estimated 15,000 Africans brought from Portuguese and Dutch colonies” worked on this project.[1] Thiagarajah is a political scientist and not a historian. His essay is clearly riding on the back of the movement “Black Lives Matter.” But in this populist move to earn kudos (as I speculate), he displays abysmal historical background and has failed to consult the many personnel next door to him in Colombo who would have served up solid data on the topic – notably Ashley De Vos (who has subsequently, albeit briefly, questioned Jeevan’s claim).

The Fort of Galle in the late 19th century

Storming of Galle fort in 1640

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Shihan De Silva Jayasuriya’s Wide-ranging Work on Portuguese Creole and the Kaffir

Shihan de Silva Jayasuriya of the University of London has been researching the Portuguese in the East for over twenty years and has generated a significant number of studies on Portuguese Creole peoples, their life-style ad  languages in Sri Lanka and elsewhere. Her output of work has been as varied as commendable and I begin with a summary of one article dealing with “a nineteenth-century manuscript in Sri Lankan Portuguese Creole” because i am presently fashioning an article that refers to the work of Hugh Nevill on the Kāberi Hatana in order to ‘educate’ those who have touched on African slave labour at Galle without possessing any background information on the topic. This essay is in process and will appear soon….. Michael Roberts

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Reverting to Ruhunu, Maya and Pihiti as a Rational Scheme for Sustainable Regional Governance?

 C.M. Madduma Bandara**

Some Past Attempts: Since [securing] National Independence in 1948, there [have been] three Constitutions (including the present) that governed this Country. The First was the Soulbury (/Jennings) Constitution that lasted for less than 15 years, and then the Republican Constitution of 1972 during the regime of Prime Minister Sirimao Bandaranaike that had a similar life span until it was superseded by the present Constitution enacted during the early regime of President JR JayEwardena. The last one, despite numerous amendments from time to time, [has been in force for] nearly 40 years, despite the fact that it was referred to as “Bahubhhootha Vyawasthawa” (nonsensical or mad constitution) by President Chandrika Bandaranaike. However, the number amendments effected over the years indicated that all was not well during its life span. It also perhaps reflects a general belief among the past politicians that the problem is with the dancing floor than with the dancer!.

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Snippets on the Fort of Galle … and Ashley’s Dire Warnings

A Question from one Sanjay Gunawardena, 12 February 2021:

“Thank you for this great article Dr Roberts.[i] Has anyone got a picture or a painting of the Old Windmill which has been in the Galle Fort. This has been mentioned E.F.C Ludowyk’s book Long Afternoons in Colonial Ceylon. If you can please share an image, it will be much appreciated. Thank you.

A Response from Hemantha Situge: “Lyn Ludo says the windmill was one of the five landmarks that crowned the Fort. It was erected during British times. I have seen two photographs which I have not copied.”[ii]

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