Category Archives: British colonialism

DS Senanayake’s Endeavours in Peasant Agriculture

From KM. De Silva:  DS. The Life of DS Senanayake, (1884-1952)

A NOTE from Thuppahi: printed in 2016  this book of 135 pages is clearly meant to provide a distilled assessment of DS Senanayake’s career.  Our readings of this work by Kingsley De Silva must take note of this precising intent on the author’s part — though we must also be aware of Professor De Silva”s conservative UNP affiliations….. and be grateful to Iranga Silva of the ICES in Kandy for making the text of the whole book available to us in a convenient form.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

DS Senanayake on a field trip … at Gal Oya

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Sinhala Nationalism

Rajesh Venugopal, … presenting here the second chapter in his book Nationalism, Development  and the Ethnic Conflict in Sri Lanka, Cambridge University Press, 2018,…. 78-1-108-42879 8 hdback

Sinhala nationalism is the dominant form of political consciousness in contemporary Sri Lanka. As what might easily be characterised as an illiberal ‘ethnic’ nationalism of the east rather than the western ‘civic’ ideal[1], it is also widely identified as a serious challenge to the functioning of liberal democratic institutions, and to multi-ethnic coexistence. Sinhala nationalism features as a central element in the literature on contemporary Sri Lankan politics, and in particular, on the ethnic conflict. Understanding Sinhala nationalism is thus of critical significance and this imperative has inspired an extensive and sophisticated literature.

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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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Kumari Jayawardena’s Study of the Bourgeoise in British Ceylon

Kumari Jayawardena:Nobodies to Somebodies: The Rise of the Colonial Bourgeoisie in Sri Lanka” ….. Paperback, 412 pages …………Published February 1st 2003 by Zed Books (first published February

Synopsis: The origins and growth of the bourgeoisie in Sri Lanka during British rule are important aspects of the country’s modern history. Here, Kumari Jayawardena traces the evolution of the bourgeoisie from a feudal society and mercantilist economy, to the age of plantations. She assigns primacy to class over caste, and details the rise of the new-rich Nobodies of many castes, ethnicities and religions into the ranks of the Somebodies. She discusses the links between capital accumulation, religious revivalism, ethnic identity and political movements, and highlights the obsession of the bourgeoisie with land acquisition and social status.

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Reviewing Educational Reform and the Study of History in British Ceylon

Uditha Devapriya with Uthpala Wijesuriya, in The Island, 15 January 2022, where the title reads Cultural revival, education reform, and the study of history”

Most accounts of education reform in British Ceylon focus on officials and administrators, rather than the people on the ground and the historical forces they had to contend with. Very little effort, indeed next to no effort, is made to situate reforms in a broader historical context. Works like Ranjit Ruberu’s Education in Colonial Ceylon (1962) and the Education and Cultural Affairs Ministry’s Education in Ceylon: A Centenary Volume (1969) do explore these areas, but these remain more the exception than the norm..

  G. C. Mendis, 

Red A. G Fraser

 

 

 

 

Hartley

 

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Warden Stone’s School-leaving Endorsement of Young DS Senanayake

Michael Roberts

Chandra Schaffter discovered a short note of commendation provided as a school leaving certificate in 1902 by Warden Stone[i] of S. Thomas College at Mutwal to young DS Senanayake. Apparently, DS had been “irreproachable” in his schooldays and had even been a dormitory prefect. Such a school-leaving certificate[ii] would not have been unique; but it is one of those historical artefacts that is so common that they merge into the wastelands of mundane taken-for-granted facts ………….. and then disappear from sight.

 

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Cricketing Stars who stimulated Ceylon Cricket


A. C. de S., in Sunday Observer, 30 May 2004, where the tiltle is “Ceylon privileged to be coached by cricketing knights”

Sri Lanka has had the good fortune of witnessing six great cricketing knights play in the country and indulge in coaching for the Sri Lanka benefit of the younger generation. The six cricketers all knighted for their splendid deeds for their country of birth, had a liking to Sri Lanka (Ceylon as we were then known) and besides playing in matches, have also indulged in coaching in Colombo and in the outstation towns as well.

The cricketing knights – Sir Donald Bradman, Sir Learie Constantine, Sir Jack Hobbs, Sir Frank Worrell, Sir Len Hutton and Sir Garfield Sobers were a big draw for the young cricketers then and the enthusiasm to forge ahead in cricket seemed to be uppermost in the minds of the local cricketers and the administrators as well.

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Kingship in the Midst of European Imperialism in South Asia

Ananda Abeysekera’s essay entitled “The Loss of Kingship and Colonial and Other Uses of the “People” in South Asia,” will appear soon in Academia Letters

Synopsis: In this essay, I briefly take up the question of loss by way of the question of the loss of kingship in the aftermath of colonialism in two instances of South Asia. Given the word limit, I do so with a brief reading of Gananath Obeyesekere’s The Doomed King (2017) followed by some comments on Anastasia Piliavsky’s Nobody’s People (2020). Even though these two texts are by anthropologists, given the subject matter, they are very much interested in the question of history and power. In reading these two texts, I attempt to note briefly how the modern category of the “people” begins to raise its head in colonialism, if you will, in the wake of the destruction and loss of kingship. My remarks are hardly exhaustive on the concept of the people, but its specter—in terms of the continuing reproductions of the colonial and postcolonial relation between people’s “agency” and “responsibility”—is pervasive in both the humanities and a multitude of political discourses about law, foreign policy conduct, etc.

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Penetrating White Australia, 1948-to-1970s: Burghers and Amahs

Earl Forbes,  whose preferred title is  “Burghers and Amahs.  First to enter White Australia from Independent Ceylon, ,”.… Note that the highlights are impositions by The Editor, Thuppahi

The diplomatic relationship between Ceylon and Australia commenced even before the formal declaration of Ceylon’s Independence. Australia established a Representative Office in Colombo, on the 29th April 1947. On Independence Day, (4th February 1948) this representation was upgraded to High Commission status. As further indication of the importance placed on the relationship between the two countries, the Australian High Commission Office was moved from its temporary location at the Galle Face Hotel, to more permanent premises at Gafoor Building, in the Fort, Colombo.

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Defining Ethnicity in Sri Lanka and the United States: David Graham’s Story

David Graham

I only refer to myself as a Burgher or lansi with people who are likely to know who Burghers or lansis are–or rather, were. It wasn’t until 1986 that I was required to classify myself racially. This was in Grand Junction, Colorado. I needed a social security number to open a bank account, and back in those days the application form said nothing about Eurasians. Since Asian was the closest it came to describing what I was, that was the racial classification I was obliged to choose. Pursuant to U.S. law, my race isn’t mentioned anywhere on my passport or driver’s license.

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