Category Archives: art & allure bewitching

Romila Thapar & Sri Lanka’s Heritage in Today’s Dismal Context

Uditha Devapriya

On Thursday, the 27th of January, Professor Romila Thapar will deliver the Dr Roland Silva Memorial Lecture to the National Trust of Sri Lanka. Professor Thapar will be speaking about the museum in India, charting its evolution from private collections to public displays and placing it in the context of similar institutions from other colonial societies.

 

 

 

 

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Britishness in Ceylon and Outmigration

Michael Roberts

As a result of the prolonged processes of Western colonisation in Sri Lanka aka Ceilao, one witnessed processes of acculturation that one can designate as “Westernisation” (including, here, the adoption of Christianity in its differentiated forms). One consequence of this process was the admiration and loyalty towards Britain displayed by some Ceylonese when that imperial country became embroiled in threatening world wars.

Thus, during World War One a handful of Ceylonese rushed to UK to enlist in the British fighting units. A high proportion of this lot may have been Burghers, but there certainly were some Sinhalese among this stream of Empire loyalty.

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Buddhism among Tamils in the Past … and Present-Day Squabbles

PK Balachandran, in The Citizen, 8 August 2021, where the title is In Sri Lanka, the Tamil Link with Buddhism is Brushed Under the Carpet”

Unsustainable claims put forward by the Sinhalese and the Tamils on language, religion and ethnicity, have muddied Sri Lankan politics in the post-independence era. The Sinhalese loudly proclaim that Buddhism is quintessentially and exclusively, a “Sinhala” religion. The Tamils, on the other hand, claim with equal vehemence, that they have always been unalloyed Hindus, who had never ever had anything to do with Buddhism, which they identify with “Sinhala hegemony.”

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Richard Gabriel’s Life and Work

Nilantha Perera Palihawadana

Beginnings and Family: Payagala Baduge Richard Mausuetus Don Gabriel was born on February 19, 1924, to Payagala Baduge Don Gabriel and Cyriline de Costa. He was the youngest of a family of three boys. His eldest brother was Edmund Don Gabriel, who became an accountant and was the bursar of Aquinas College. He also served as the secretary and treasurer of the Sapumal Foundation. The brother just senior to him was Edward Don Gabriel, who later became a businessman. Richard also had four half-sisters from his father’s first marriage.

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Romila Thapar’s ZOOM Lecture on The Museum in India

Professor ROMILA THAPAR to deliver the Dr. ROLAND SILVA MEMORIAL LECTURE for the National Trust on 27th January 2022 at 6.00 pm on Zoom….

yes  ZOOM

Prof. Romila Thapar  who is a Professor of Ancient History, Emerita, at the Jawaharlal Nehru University in New Delhi. The notice of the Lecture is appended (or attached) and we welcome you all to participate.

Roland Silva

 

 

 

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Behind the Scenes: Radio-Plays in Sri Lanka in the 1970s and 1980s

David Graham

I’m still getting used to thinking of Chris Greet as an Anglo-Indian.** I’d always assumed he’d been born in Ceylon and was a Burgher. Christopher Arthur Greet was my boss at Intasel Advertising from April 10, 1978 to September 30, 1978. He was the account director at Intasel, the startup founded by Mil Sansoni and Gareth Jayawardena after they left Grant Advertising.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Djokovic and the “Secretary-Bird”

Michael Roberts

When my wife and I went on a Safari tour in Zimbabwe in the 1990s I was fascinated by sightings of a “Secretary Bird” through my binoculars. The official identity of this strange figure  was Sagittarius serpentarius.”   But, in my reading and juxtaposition, its upright walking stance simply indicated a prim and proper secretary persona.           

When I first saw Novak Djokovic on the tennis court, I immediately associated the two figures.  Maybe a strange leap; but it is a fixed asociation im my mind –one which did not, and does not, degrade my admiration for Djokovic’s tennis. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Constantine’s Coaching Spell in Ceylon in 1953: Assorted Notes

Michael Roberts

 Following my decision to present the accounts of the Australian cricket team’s whistle-stop match in Ceylon in March 1953 as presented in Crosscurrents,[1] I ventured on a search for more data on Learie Constantine’s stint as a coach in the island. Several friends and acquaintances have responded in fruitful ways. So, what you will see here is a compendium that is the product of several hands: titbits that are as enticing as revealing.

 

In the manner typical to him, my Aloysian schoolmate KK De Silva receives pride of place because he has pointed to an entry in Ferguson’s Directory which pinpoints Learie Constantine’s arrival in Ceylon on the 4thJanuary 1953 to assume his tasks as cricket coach. KK’s data, as well as titbits from many others, indicate that his tasks were not confined to the leading club cricketers, but extended to some schools and included visits to Galle and Kandy. It is these reports that are assembled here. The picture, nevertheless,is incomplete. Continue reading

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Australia vs Ceylon, Colombo Oval, 29 March 1953

Hassett and Others at Cricket in Colombo, 29 March 1953 ………………Michael Roberts (compiler) …. with the presentation here being facilitated by the technical wizardry of Johnny De Silva (a fellow-Aloysian) and Victor Melder (Master Lexigrapher & Recordkeeper) who both reside in Melbourne

 

 

Bill O’Reilly’s Report on the Match:

……………………….Ceylon Does Well against Hassett’s Team

………………………………………..C. H Gunasekara’s Batting Impresses

From Ceylon’s point of view by far the most interesting angle of their short-time match against the Australians was the outstanding batting performance of C. H. Gunasekara, who faced up to the full strength of Australia’s Test attack so confidently that it seemed he would have preferred the match to last long enough to do his undoubted batting talent full justice.

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Mahathma Gandhi at Mahinda College in 1927

Ruhunu Puthra

In November 1927, Mahatma Gandhi and Kasturbai Gandhi arrived in Galle. They were the chief guests at the prize-giving of Mahinda College, on the 24th. The Olcott Memorial Assembly Hall of the College was filled to capacity. Never was there such a large gathering of Buddhists, Hindus and Christians. The speech given by Gandhi is excerpted from the Mahinda College Magazine of 2002:

“It has given me the greatest pleasure to be able to be present at this very pleasant function. You have paid me, indeed, a very great compliment and conferred on me a great honour by allowing me to witness your proceedings and making the acquaintance of so many boys.

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