Category Archives: authoritarian regimes

How Robert Knox’s Opus took shape in 1681

Anna Winterbottom, in The British Journal for the History of Science, Volume 42Issue 4., December 2009 , pp. 515-538 where the title is Producing and using the Historical Relation of Ceylon: Robert Knox, the East India Company and the Royal Society”

Abstract: Robert Knox’s An Historical Relation of the Island of Ceylon was produced, published and enlarged through the collaboration of the author with scholars including Robert Hooke and financial support from members of the East India Company. The Relation should be seen in the context of a number of texts collected, translated or commissioned by the East India Company in cooperation with the Royal Society during the late seventeenth century that informed and shaped both European expansion and natural philosophy. As well as circulating between European intellectual centres, often reorientated in the process of translation, these texts served as practical guides across settlements and trading posts abroad. Comparing written accounts with experience led to annotations and borrowings that served as the basis for further writings. Company records and Knox’s own unpublished works reveal how the Relation was used as the basis for bio-prospecting for naturally occurring drugs and food sources and in efforts at agricultural transplantation spanning the Indian and Atlantic Oceans. Through the reports of seamen like Knox, such experiments contributed to contemporary theories concerning the effects of latitude on plant life.

Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under art & allure bewitching, authoritarian regimes, British imperialism, centre-periphery relations, commoditification, cultural transmission, education, ethnicity, European history, heritage, historical interpretation, island economy, Kandyan kingdom, land policies, landscape wondrous, life stories, literary achievements, modernity & modernization, politIcal discourse, power politics, self-reflexivity, sri lankan society, the imaginary and the real, transport and communications, travelogue, unusual people, wild life, world events & processes

Democracy under the Gun in Sri Lanka

Jayadeva Uyangoda, in Sri Lanka Guardian 24 September 2020, where the title is “The End of Sri Lanka’s Democracy”

The debate on the proposed 20th Amendment to Sri Lanka’s 1978 Constitution is gathering momentum. The proposal, which has been published in the Government Gazette, is indeed a constitutional bombshell, literally. Its provisions are very destructive in their objectives as well as consequences. 

Continue reading

3 Comments

Filed under accountability, authoritarian regimes, Buddhism, centre-periphery relations, communal relations, constitutional amendments, disparagement, economic processes, electoral structures, historical interpretation, Indian Ocean politics, legal issues, life stories, parliamentary elections, patriotism, politIcal discourse, power politics, power sharing, Rajapaksa regime, security, self-reflexivity, Sinhala-Tamil Relations, slanted reportage, sri lankan society, the imaginary and the real, truth as casualty of war, unusual people, world events & processes

Lanka’s Measured Diplomatic Appointments in Key Capitals

Daya Gamage, in Asian Tribune US Bureau Diplomatic Note, Septmber 2020, with this title “Sri Lanka enters into rational foreign policy with key dip. appointments”

  Sri Lanka administration under the Rajapaksa brothers has given a strong indication that it is moving toward formulating a rational foreign policy taking serious note of the emerged international order in the past three years that brought Washington and New Delhi into an unprecedented military bond,  on-going military thrust toward Indo-Pacific region, the relevance of the Quad – US-India-Australia-Japan – India’s Modi administration’s special emphasis that Sri Lanka maintain closer working rapport with it, the acceleration of political-military and economic rivalry between US-India combination and China in announcing key diplomatic appointments to New Delhi, Washington and Beijing.

Moragoda and Modi in 2008 –“Minister of Tourism Milinda Moragoda in President MahindaRajapaksa administration met with India’s Gujarat Chief MinisterNarendra Modi in Capital City Gandhinagar 08 October, 2008”

Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under accountability, authoritarian regimes, centre-periphery relations, communal relations, economic processes, foreign policy, governance, historical interpretation, Indian Ocean politics, island economy, landscape wondrous, life stories, military strategy, modernity & modernization, politIcal discourse, power politics, security, self-reflexivity, sri lankan society, unusual people, world events & processes

Epitaphs in Memory of Elmo de Alwis of Kalahe

Nihal De Alwis

Elmo was born on the 29th Of November 1935 in Galle to my loving parents FELIX DE ALWIS and ENID BERYL DE ALWIS. He was the seventh in our family of eleven He was my closest brother and friend throughout my schooling career until he left Sri Lanka with his family to Germany. But he never distanced himself from me and my family though he did not come very often to Sri Lanka having ensured that he was in Sri Lanka at least once a year especially in February. He was the most intelligent out of our family except for Fidelia our eldest sister, who had passed the senior matriculation in the early forties and my other eldest brother Chandra, who excelled as an entrepreneur being the managing Director of Lankem and Lanka wall tiles and becoming Founder Chairman of Royal Ceramics.

Continue reading

2 Comments

Filed under accountability, authoritarian regimes, British colonialism, chauvinism, communal relations, cultural transmission, education, ethnicity, heritage, historical interpretation, landscape wondrous, life stories, meditations, performance, politIcal discourse, self-reflexivity, sri lankan society, tolerance, transport and communications, travelogue, unusual people, welfare & philanthophy, world events & processes

Milinda Moragoda’s Heavy Burden in Delhi and the World-Around

Shenali Waduge, in her Facebook Page, 11 September 2020, https://www.shenaliwaduge.com/can-moragoda-deliver-a-sri-lanka-first/ fbclid=IwAR0ENoSao7UVsWL5vdkIb0fLN61HCL_Sn49DJldGZ8MgQqI5gfaXj5UCnm8 .… where the title is “Will Moragoda deliver a ‘Sri Lanka First’?”

With much thought and strategy Sri Lanka has appointed Moragoda as Sri Lanka’s High Commissioner to Delhi iced with cabinet ranking, the first such fringe benefit afforded to a high commissioner. No doubt, Sri Lanka is thinking the Moragoda magic will provide much relief to Sri Lanka, given the appointment is being made against tremendous objections.

Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under accountability, american imperialism, authoritarian regimes, centre-periphery relations, China and Chinese influences, communal relations, economic processes, export issues, governance, historical interpretation, Indian Ocean politics, island economy, legal issues, life stories, LTTE, military strategy, modernity & modernization, politIcal discourse, power politics, Rajapaksa regime, security, self-reflexivity, Sinhala-Tamil Relations, slanted reportage, sri lankan society, taking the piss, truth as casualty of war, unusual people, world events & processes

Rumpf’s Diary and Other Archival Treasures with KD Paranavitana’s Hand in Archival Acts

The Department of National Archives, in introducing the English translation of thevTravel Diary of Isaac Augustin Rumpf

The National Archives of Sri Lanka (SLNA) is in possession of 7,570 volumes of archives written in the Dutch language. These mainly consist of Dutch Political Council Minutes, land records, all types of correspondence, reports and instructions. One of the most valuable series of these records is known as Memoirs of the Governors, Memoirs of other high ranking officers in the Dutch Government and the Tombos, namely, Head, Land and School Tombos. These records provide a vast knowledge of the Dutch administration, cultural interactions, commercial aspects, political background and various social and environmental conditions pertaining to the 17th and 18th centuries.

Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under accountability, ancient civilisations, authoritarian regimes, cultural transmission, devolution, discrimination, education, governance, heritage, historical interpretation, legal issues, life stories, security, self-reflexivity, sri lankan society, the imaginary and the real, travelogue, unusual people, world events & processes

Ameer Ali draws the Battlelines for the Muslims of Sri Lanka

     in DailyFT, 11 September 2020, with this title “Muslim prime movers in Parliament”

Muslims of Sri Lanka, after more than a millennium of integrated and peaceful coexistence, have become a hated, or to put it mildly, highly-suspected minority at least in the perception of ultra-Sinhala Buddhist supremacists, led by Bodu Bala Sena and a coterie such movements supported by influential political monks.

“It is a strange irony that it is from the hated Muslim community that a Minister of Justice has been picked before the election, brought to the Parliament through the back door and entrusted amidst opposition with the task of amending the Constitution to empower and disempower the President and Prime Minister respectively and simultaneously, all in the name of easing the path for developmen.” Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under accountability, authoritarian regimes, centre-periphery relations, communal relations, coronavirus, cultural transmission, economic processes, fundamentalism, heritage, historical interpretation, Islamic fundamentalism, landscape wondrous, legal issues, life stories, politIcal discourse, power politics, Presidential elections, Rajapaksa regime, religiosity, self-reflexivity, slanted reportage, sri lankan society, truth as casualty of war, unusual people, world events & processes, zealotry

The Democratization Process in Ceylon, 1832-1948

Michael Roberts: “The Democratization Process in Sri Lanka,”  being the text of an Illustrated Lecture on Video presented to The May 18 Memorial Foundation in Korea in early September 2020 …. as part of a series encompassing several countries — organised by Professor Inrae You. The Lecture was, as I understood it, for highschool students.

The democratisation process began in the period of British rule in the 20th century. It would however be unwise to start with the early 20th century. One should look at the prehistory of the island of Ceylon before that. Ceylon, Ceilão, Sihalē had forms of autocratic kingship well before the European colonial powers came to Asia and set up their colonies.

Rajasinghe II of Sihale ruling from Mahanuvara and receiving homage (dakuma) from the Dutch

Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under accountability, authoritarian regimes, British colonialism, British imperialism, centre-periphery relations, communal relations, constitutional amendments, democratic measures, devolution, economic processes, electoral structures, female empowerment, governance, historical interpretation, Indian Ocean politics, island economy, Left politics, legal issues, life stories, modernity & modernization, nationalism, parliamentary elections, politIcal discourse, power politics, power sharing, self-reflexivity, Sinhala-Tamil Relations, sri lankan society, unusual people, welfare & philanthophy, world events & processes

Hong Kong Activists’ Boat Flight Foiled by China

Glen Owen, in Mail Online, 29 August 2020, with a different title

A British democracy activist has been captured by the Chinese after trying to make a dramatic seaborne escape from Hong Kong to Taiwan. Andy Li, 30, who has worked with former Tory leader Iain Duncan Smith and other politicians on pro-democracy campaigns, was intercepted in international waters, along with 11 other activists, as they tried to navigate the perilous South China Sea in a small boat.

British democracy activist Andy Li (pictured) has been captured by the Chinese after trying to make a dramatic seaborne escape from Hong Kong to Taiwan

Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under accountability, authoritarian regimes, China and Chinese influences, governance, human rights, legal issues, life stories, politIcal discourse, power politics, security, self-reflexivity, unusual people, world events & processes

Modernist Fundamentalism: Missing the Force of Walk, Talk and Majesty in Sinhaladom

Michael Roberts

Asanga Welikala edited an important book entitled The Republic at Forty in 2012 in which I participated (CPA, 2012). Both Welikala and Roshan de Silva-Wijeyeratne have formidable curriculum-vitae behind them. Their recent intervention in criticism of the Rajapaksa state today[1] also happens to rely heavily on SJ Tambiah’s work on the mandala state,[2] a topic which also informed my concept of the “Asokan Persona,” which is developed within four chapters in my book Exploring Confrontation (1994).

Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under accountability, authoritarian regimes, British imperialism, centre-periphery relations, chauvinism, communal relations, cultural transmission, fundamentalism, governance, heritage, historical interpretation, Indian traditions, island economy, Kandyan kingdom, landscape wondrous, life stories, parliamentary elections, performance, politIcal discourse, power politics, Rajapaksa regime, self-reflexivity, sri lankan society, the imaginary and the real, world events & processes

%d bloggers like this: