Category Archives: British colonialism

Leonard Woolf in Pictures: New Finds

Michael Roberts

I have chanced upon several ‘new’ photographs of Woolf –some on his own and a few with his wife Virginia. I present them here as another ‘chapter’ in the Leonard Woolf series in Thuppahi. They are placed in rough chronological order on the basis of my readings of his age in each picture.  Repetition has been avoided –so they make up a supplement to the previous items on Woolf placed in Thuppahi this year.

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Leonard Woolf’s Remarkable Novel

Nick Rankin, in BBCnews, 23 May 2014, where the title runs thus: “Leonard Woolf’s forgotten Sri Lankan novel” …… The Bloomsbury Group and Sri Lanka are rarely spoken of in the same breath, but that is partly because Leonard Woolf’s groundbreaking first novel, The Village in the Jungle, is unjustly ignored, argues writer and broadcaster Nick Rankin.

She was born Virginia Stephen, daughter of the Victorian bookman Sir Leslie Stephen, but when she married in 1912, her name changed to Virginia Woolf, and she went on to become the best-known woman writer of the 20th Century.

 

Her lesser-known husband, Leonard Woolf, however, wrote and published a novel first. That almost forgotten book, first published in 1913, is called The Village in the Jungle and it is a remarkable work because it is the first novel in English literature to be written from the indigenous point of view rather than the coloniser’s.

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Sumana Saparamadu: An Appreciative Vale from 2016

Lalitha Karalliadde Witanachchi, in the Sunday Observer, 8 May 2016, with this title “Epitome of Generosity, Kindness and Loyalty” **

The death occurred on April 15 [2016] of well-known journalist Sumana Saparamadu at the age of 92. She was born in Havelock Road, Wellawatte in the home of her parents Mr and Mrs. D.C. Saparamadu. Her father was a well-known apothecary who worked for several years in Kadugannawa, where Sumana spent her childhood “in the beautiful hill country with mist-laden hills and the train winding its way upcountry”, as she was wont to tell me when recalling her happy childhood.

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Roadside Scenery: British Ceylon in the Early 20th Century

Several of these old photographs cropped up in the course of my work on Leonard Woolf for presentation in Thuppahi. They give us some understanding of the contexts serving as backdrop to daily life in the daytime. …. since nightitme life is more veiled and obdurate in a world without mobile telephone cameras.

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Leonard Woolf’s Humanist Empathy & Discernment

The Sivasambu Colloquium on 29th April 2012 entitledWoolf the humanist who empathized with the vulnerable” …. with highlighting emphasis added by The Editor, Thuppahi

Jane Russell and Ruth Allaun continued their account of the Seminar on Leonard Woolf organised by Nathan Sivasambu, Coordinator of the Ceylon Bloomsbury Group, convenors of the seminar, with the assistance of Dr. Shamil Wanigasekera and Dulmini Wimalasekera at University of London Union, Malet St, Bloomsbury, London on May 24, 2011.

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Leonard Woolf in Ceylon: A Pictorial Excursion

A Collection derived from Digital internet sources  and with special thanks to Hugh Karunanayake in Melbourne for some great finds, including the shot of the New Oriental Hotel in Galle Fort in the 1910s, the dhony and the coastal steamers plying the island’s coasts.

Young Leonard Woolf    …. & then a mustachioed Woolf


 

 

 

 

 

Woolf and his dogs in Jaffna

 

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The Lonely Cadet and the Maiden: Leonard Woolf in Jaffna …..

Philip Sansoni
   In “Growing”, the second volume of his autobiography, Leonard Woolf tells us how he lost his virginity. According to him, he was riding down the main street of Jaffna, one evening in 1905, an apprentice representative of the British Empire, when he happened to look into a verandah and saw a burgher girl sitting there. It was a fleeting glance over some blinds but she smiled at him and he smiled at her. A short time later, with a “minute” boy who had chased after him acting as intermediary, she had arranged to sleep with him that night and she did. She is subsequently revealed to have been the mistress of a Jaffna lawyer and is convicted of using indecent and abusive language outside the lawyer’s house. As Woolf tells the story, Dutton, the police magistrate, naively took the young woman’s side and paid the fine, much to the amusement of the people of Jaffna.

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The Political Travails of the Indian Tamils in the State Council Era 1931-48

Uditha Devapriya, in  The Island, 21 May 2022,  where the title runs thus “DS Senanayake and the Indian Tamil Question”

In his recent work on D. S. Senanayake, K. M. de Silva explores certain controversial aspects of Ceylon’s lurch into independent statehood. Among these is the issue of the fate of the country’s Indian Tamils. Brought to the island from South India amidst conditions of famine and mass starvation in the early part of the 19th century, Indian Tamil workers replaced Sinhalese and resident Tamil labour in the island. Governed by a semifeudal set-up that shut them out from the world outside, Indian Tamil labour grew up in a world of their own. It was their tragic fate that while the colonial government feigned little interest in their welfare, their lives lay in the hands of that government.

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The Galoya Valley Scheme & the People who made it a Reality

KK De Silva, who was an employee of the RVDB from 1967-1979

 

 

 

 

 

Introduction

 Sir James Emerson Tennent, Colonial Secretary from 1845 to 1850, at page 432 of his book, Account of the Island of Ceylon ….. Vol. II says that on a visit to the Horra-bora Tank (Soraborawewa ), then in ruins, he was so impressed with its magnificense & potential for rice cultivation that after subsequent inspections of other ancient tanks in the Northern Division , he proposed in 1848 that measures be taken to restore important ancient reservoirs by legislative action; his proposal was approved, but action delayed due to unavoidable circumstances, possibly the 1848 uprising, & legislation was introduced later, when Sir Henry Ward was Governor, by way of the Irrigation Ordinance No. 9 of 1856 . Soraborawewa was restored in 1876. (Arumugam,1969).

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Marriage Prejudices in Ceylon in Decades Past

A Well-travelled Sinhala Octogenarian**

Hi Michael, I am not sure whether people despised persons of mixed race. I really don’t think so by my own experience. However, when it came to marriage, it was an entirely different matter.

In my growing years I have heard the term Thuppahi, but I thought it
referred to low caste people, not to persons of mixed race. But what was apparent to me is that they, the people in the 1940’s and 50s’and even 60’s, did not permit mixed marriages. This was taboo.

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