Category Archives: British colonialism

Prince Philip’s Indelible ‘Marks’ in Sri Lanka

Photo courtesy of my old student pal Piyasiri Wickramasekara ….more details below

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The Ethics of History: Discussion to be built upon Professor Marnie Hughes-Warrington’s Lecture

Professor Marnie Hughes-Warrington to speak on THE ETHICS of HISTORY and thus promote a Live Discussion, 14 April 2021, courtesy of Merton College, Oxford

Since the pandemic began, we have adapted our events programme to move online, and we are pleased to announce that our next 40 Years Series online lecture, a part of our Merton Women: 40 Years celebrations, will be airing live at a time more suitable for our alumni in Asia, Australasia and the Pacific.

Hughes-Warrington & Irene Tracey

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Ameer Ali’s Academic Works and Career

Recent Essays of Some Significance 

LIST OF PUBLICATIONS as set out in Wikipedia, …. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ameer_Ali_(academic)  …. clearly not updated

Ali, A. (2016) From Islamophobia to Westophobia: The long road to radical Islamism. Journal of Asian Security and International Affairs, 3 (1). pp. 1-19.

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A Critical American Reading of Lord Torrington’s Colonial Administration in 1851

Anonymous Author The English in Ceylon” … in The United States Magazine and Democratic Review, Vol. XXVIII, No. CLV,  1851 May, pp. 409-12.

From https://www.alamy.com/lord-torrington-british-colonial-administrator-and-courtier-1851-engraving-image60158321.html

BRITISH policy, or that system which the British Government has for ages systematically pursued, and by which it has acquired its vast colonial empire, is hut very imperfectly understood by the mass of the American people. Deriving our knowledge of English affairs, for the most part, from English sources, we are too apt to he dazzled by the contemplation of an empire upon which the sun never sets, and to ascribe to Divine destiny, that which, in reality, is the result of a system, more fiendish, and more detestable, because more extending and more extended in its operation, than that of Machiavelli. The conquests of old Rome were attended, at least, with glory; and, in modern times, those of our own country were laden with fruits, not alone of glory and renown to the conquerors, but better far, of freedom, of happiness, and of civilization to the conquered. England alone, of all the nations, ancient or modern, is the only one whose sword, while entwined with wreaths of cypress for the vanquished, has failed to reap one pure laurel to deck the victors brow. Survey her colonial empire; glance your eye athwart those boundless plains made fruitful by the young embraces of the god of day and point, if you can, to one rood of territory, whose acquisition was not conceived in selfishness and iniquity, and consummated in treachery, in perfidy and fraud. As the subject, however, of England’s colonial empire is one which could not properly be treated within the limits of a review article, we shall confine ourselves, for the present, to a condensed expose of certain occurrences of which the island of Ceylon has recently been the theatre and which have startled the propriety even of that most fastidious assembly, the British House of Commons.

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The Far Eastern Bureau and Its News Reels during World War II

Tony Donaldson

I enjoyed reading Michael Roberts’s short essay titled “Michael’s Testimony for VE Day in Britain, 8th May 1945,” published at Thuppahi on 10 May 2020. But I felt the story ended too quickly, leaving me to ponder where the story goes next. It would be good if Michael could continue this story. In the meantime, the following short note was triggered by Michael’s comment about the “insidious impact of Movietone News or Pathe News.”

After 3 September 1939, when Britain went to war with Germany, the British Ministry of Information (MOI) began arranging with numerous companies the release and distribution of their newsreels. One example was The Battle of Tobruk which was sent by plane to Colombo in March 1941. It was cleared through customs and distributed to cinemas in Colombo in time for screening at the evening shows on the same day the film arrived in Ceylon.

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In Search of Archaic Practices & Features in Ancient and Medieval Lanka

Two foreign personnel, one a British man and the other a Taiwanese Chinese lady, have developed a deep interest in Sri Lanka and a considerable  äcquaintance”, so to speak. with the land and its peAnswer: perhaps Sigiriya?oples, and have recently sent me these fascinating inquiries on arcane topics. Michael Roberts

ONE:  A NOTE from Lewis Bower [i], late February 2021

 Have you heard the term “Argyra” before? It was mentioned in Stephanus of Byzantium’s contribution to the geographical dictionary Ethnica to describe a “thriving metropolis” that he came across on his travels of Sri Lanka… Typing that made me feel like I’m on “Who Wants to be a Millionaire”.

We’re talking 5th/6th Century AD so I’d be really interested to find out where he was talking about,”

… Answer: perhaps Sigiriya? … Michael Roberts

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Shihan De Silva Jayasuriya’s Wide-ranging Work on Portuguese Creole and the Kaffir

Shihan de Silva Jayasuriya of the University of London has been researching the Portuguese in the East for over twenty years and has generated a significant number of studies on Portuguese Creole peoples, their life-style ad  languages in Sri Lanka and elsewhere. Her output of work has been as varied as commendable and I begin with a summary of one article dealing with “a nineteenth-century manuscript in Sri Lankan Portuguese Creole” because i am presently fashioning an article that refers to the work of Hugh Nevill on the Kāberi Hatana in order to ‘educate’ those who have touched on African slave labour at Galle without possessing any background information on the topic. This essay is in process and will appear soon….. Michael Roberts

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Snippets on the Fort of Galle … and Ashley’s Dire Warnings

A Question from one Sanjay Gunawardena, 12 February 2021:

“Thank you for this great article Dr Roberts.[i] Has anyone got a picture or a painting of the Old Windmill which has been in the Galle Fort. This has been mentioned E.F.C Ludowyk’s book Long Afternoons in Colonial Ceylon. If you can please share an image, it will be much appreciated. Thank you.

A Response from Hemantha Situge: “Lyn Ludo says the windmill was one of the five landmarks that crowned the Fort. It was erected during British times. I have seen two photographs which I have not copied.”[ii]

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The Old Lighthouse within the Fort of Galle … and More

Michael Roberts

My recent presentation of amateur photographs of the renovations that were being carried out on the Galle ramparts in July-August 2020 encouraged some comments from Bunchy Rahuman and Ashley de Vos amongst others, with the latter objecting strongly to what he terms “the gentrification” of the Galle Fort.[1] That important issue will be taken up soon in Thuppahi; but the exchange has generated a striking photograph of the “old light house” sited on the bastion.at the south-west corner of the Fort — courtesy of Bunchy.

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Joe Hoad’s Paintings in Celebration of Sri Lanka’s World Cup Triumph 1996

Michael Roberts

One day in 1996 our doorbell rang at Woodlark Grove in the suburb of Glenalta in Adelaide . …. And there was Joe Hoad with two paintings he had composed in celebration of Sri Lanka’s triumph at the World Cup earlier in the year. These products had not been commissioned. They were self-inspired and emanated from his profound joy at the manner in which a little island nation – one that was not unlike his own birthplace of Barbados – had tamed a powerful cricketing force that was a bullyboy in the cricketing politics of the 1990s.

This photograph taken there and then in our back garden marks the moment of the gifting ….. appropriately within an Australian backdrop of the bushfire danger kind. But, unlike that landscape, the paintings are unique. To my mind they are heirlooms. In conjunction with Verite Research and Shamara Wettimuny, I have approached the National Library Services Board in Colombo with the suggestion that they should be placed within its portals in public display with a suitable plaque.[1]

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