Category Archives: British colonialism

The Nomenclature and Lineaments of White-Brown Cohabitation in British Ceylon: A Puzzle

MEMO from Michael Roberts, October 16 October 2021

Moving from BRIDGE ON THE RIVER KWAI to the Greet and Paynter lineages in British Ceylon-and-thereafter has raised a query in my mind: how is it that the category “ANGLO-Ceylonese” did not take root in Ceylon and Lanka in contrast with British India where the label “Anglo-Indian” became well-entrenched[1] and therefore was carried over to the era after India secured Independence in 1947? As we know,[2] Revd Arthur Paynter was an Anglo-Indian missionary who established the Paynter Homes in the Himalayan region of India and then set up the Paynter Home in Nuwara Eliya. He had also married a fellow-missionary in the Salvation Army who was pursuing her commitment in India, one Miss Weerasooria from Dodanduwa … and together sired a talented lineage.

Photograph on display at the Paynter Home of the Paynter family. David Paynter stands at the centre, behind his mother Agnes

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Melathi Saldin’s Essay ….. and a Sharp Denunciation ….

A  NOTE: The engine ACADEMIA sends me copies of articles relating to my Sri Lankan interests. The item presented below is a new phenomenon seeking to stimulate discussion directed towards cross-ethnic harmony. Whether such objectives can be served in the midst of the cut-and-thrust and slashing of throats by dedicated advocates of THIS or THAT cause is a question one must address when reading the commentary that follows. The HIGHLIGHTED EMPHASIS is my imposition. 

Dear Michael,

Reminder: You’ve been invited to join the Discussion of Melathi Saldin‘s paper “Pushing Boundaries Heritage resilience of minority communities in post war Sri Lanka”.You have been invited either because you are following Melathi Saldin or because Academia thinks you’d be interested based on the overlap between this paper and what you read and write on Academia. Since the Discussion started 4 days ago, there have been 12 comments and 22 participants.

 Melathi

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Pablo Neruda in British Ceylon: Literary and Sexual Flowerings in Wellawatte and Beyond

  Jamie James, initially presented in Literary Hub, 3 June 2019, with this title “Pablo Neruda’s Life as a Struggling Poet in Sri Lanka: A Young Poet’s Adventures in the Foreign Service”

At 22, Pablo Neruda was an international literary celebrity—and desperately poor. His second book, Twenty Love Poems and a Song of Despair, had been a sensational success and would eventually become one of the bestselling books of poetry in the 20th century (more than 20 million copies to date), but he was paid almost nothing for it. He was a student at the Universidad de Santiago in Chile, and hunger was an issue; he wore a billowing cape to conceal his emaciated physique and a wide-brimmed hat that hoped for an air of mystery.

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Vale: Remembering Ananda Wickremeratne, A Versatile Scholar

Gerald Peiris, in The Island, 23 September 2021, where the title reads “Ananda Wickremaratne:  Homage to Scholarly Excellence”

Professor Ananda Wickremeratne ranked among our most brilliant scholars whose careers commenced in the Faculty of Arts of the University of Ceylon in the 1950s and the early ‘60s. From about the late 1960s, as our political turbulences and economic hardships intensified, many among them were induced to emigrate to countries where their qualifications and skills could be put into more rewarding use. When Ananda joined that exodus in 1979, belatedly and somewhat reluctantly, the prospects in the ‘West’ (especially the United States) for our graduates in Arts and Humanities were far more restricted than in earlier times.

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A Versatile Beauty, Yvonne Gulamhusein nee Toussaint

Information sent by Harry De Sayrah, September 2021 …. supplemented by Notes from David Sansoni and Others

El Patio Yveony, Bambalapitiya: The beautiful home and mansion, “El Patio Yveony”, owned and lived in by Onally Gulamhussein and his celebrity wife Yvonne Toussaint starts off the next block of land adjoining Station Road. Onally, nicknamed “Jutehessian” and his wife the socialite Yvonne Gulamhussian, nee Toussaint, was refereed to as Mrs. Ooh La Jute Hessian.

Yvonne weds Onally: Extracted from HI Magazine Online – http://www.hi.lk

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Map Illustrating the Hegemony secured by Colombo within Island Lanka in the Twentieth Century

Map composed by the geographers Percy Silva and Kusuma Gunawardena in consultation with Michael Roberts …. and presented on page 329 of the book People Inbetween. The Burghers and the Middle Class in the Transformatrions witihin Sri Lanka, 1790s-1960s, Ratmalana, Sarvodaya Publishers, 1989, p. 325. The Map depicts migration flows.

copy provided by Dushy Perera

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Jaffna Fort in Ruins: Evoking Its Chequered History

Dishan Joseph, in Daily News, 4 Septmber 2021, where the title is “Jaffna Fort: Reflections of Dutch History” … reproduced here with highlighting inserted by The Editor, Thuppahi

The Northern Province is embellished with history and culture. It is a land laced with mystic aura. Perhaps the most iconic landmark in the Jaffna town area is the massive Dutch Fort, which stands as a historic sentinel. This fortified superstructure is the second largest Dutch Fort in Sri Lanka.

For centuries this Fort has been associated with the strategic defence on the maritime boundary of our resplendent island. It is probably the most visited destination of the Northern Province by local and foreign visitors, the other being the Nallur Kandaswamy Kovil. From the 13th century to the 17th century, the Nallur Rajadani featured prominently in ancient Ceylon.

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Sri Lanka’s Tea Country Trail from Yesteryear with Julia Margaret Cameron

Juliet Coombe

Sri Lanka’s Tea Country Trail. 582 likes · 9 talking about this. The Tea Country Trail is a proposed 310 km long-distance hiking trail through the Sri Lankan Tea Country. The trail winds its way…

https://www.facebook.com/teacountrytrail/

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Ceylon’s Importance in Resisting the Japanese War Machine in the 1940s

Tony Donaldson has retrieved an old  war film which presents some aspects of these moments  …. and a nostaalgic visit to the island by retired British fighting personnel

 

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Force 136 in British Ceylon during World War II and the Film “Bridge on the River Kwai”

Tony Donaldson

I read the piece entitled “Travails in Filming “The Bridge on the River Kwai” … and The Locations” a few days ago and found it very interesting. I like this stuff about films in Ceylon in the 1950s and 60s so keep posting relevant material. It’s a topic worth exploring more.

William Holden & Chandran Rutnam during the shooting of the Film

Another location used in the Bridge on the River Kwai film was the Riverdale Bungalow. There is a scene in which “Shears” (played by William Holden) is walking through the Botanical Gardens during a Force 136 training operation and gets caught up in it when he is attacked and thrown to the ground. The training officer apologizes and leads him on to a path to meet his Force 136 contact, and this scene cuts to a path at the top of a ridge looking down to the Mahaweli River and we see Shears walking into the Riverdale Bungalow for a meeting, which of course is not in the Botanical Gardens. The bungalow is still there today in pretty much the same condition as it was in the film and when it was used by Force 136 during WW2. The scene in which Shears is with the girl on the beach was filmed at the Mt Lavinia Hotel which was also a Force 136 site in WW2.

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