Category Archives: Buddhism

Buddhist Revitalization in Sri Lanka in the Early Twentieth Century: Some Thoughts

Uditha Devapriya, in The Island 12th & 19th August in two parts, with this title  “Early 20th Century Buddhist Revival”  …. https://ceylontoday.lk/news/a-short-note-part-1-early-20th-century-buddhist-revival AND https://ceylontoday.lk/news/a-short-note-part-2-early-20th-century-buddhist-revival

The colonial bourgeoisie in Sri Lanka did not form a monolithic class. They were divided horizontally as well as vertically: horizontally on the basis of income and inheritance, and vertically on the basis of primordial attachments such as caste ideology. Various factors, mainly economic conspired as much to unify the bourgeoisie as they did to divide them, distinguishing them by their homogeneity as well as by their heterogeneity.

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Kurunegala Then and Now

Uditha Devapriya,  in The Island, 31 July 2021, where the title reads “Round and About in Kurunegala”

Covering 65 kilometres, the road from Colombo to Ambepussa is fairly straight. From there it turns left and right, up and down. To get to Kurunegala via Ambepussa, you have to pass Alawwa and Polgahawela. Between these regions the terrain rises, offering you a glimpse of the hill country. Then the mountains recede from view, the mist settles, and the chaos of urban life returns. The shops teem with life, the clock-tower looms over you, and the heat rises. From afar, the faintest outline of Ethagala catches your eye. This is your first glimpse of Kurunegala.

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Sinhalaness in Pre-British Ceylon: Issues and Pathways

A Review Essay by Alan Strathern** dissecting a Book by Michael Roberts published in 2004

This item was located by Thuppahi in the web-site Colombo Telegraph on 26 December 2012 (see https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/the-royal-we-sinhala-identity-in-the-dynastic-state/). However, it appeared initially in 2005 in the prestigious journal Modern Asian Studies,  39: 1013–1026.

AN INTRODUCTORY NOTE by Michael Roberts, 7 August 2021

This item is a review essay not a standard review. Alan Strathern is an accomplished historian who happens to be the son of a leading social anthropologist, viz., Marilyn Strathern of ANU and Cambridge University. You will find that his prose is as refined and clear-cut as demanding. After some hesitation, I decided to adhere to my normal policy of highlighting some parts of the text with blue colourfor the benefit of readers facing the difficulties posed by complex issues in historical sociology. On occasions I have also imposed a break in extra-long paragraphs. The illustrations too are my impositions intended to promote reader interest.

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The Skeins of Class bearing on the Threads of Sinhala Cultural Revival under the British

Uditha Devapriya, in The Island, 24 July 2021, where the title reads “Colonial Bourgeoisie and Sinhala Cultural Revival”

The colonial bourgeoisie in Sri Lanka did not form a monolithic class. They were divided horizontally as well as vertically: horizontally on the basis of income and inheritance, and vertically on the basis of primordial attachments, such as caste ideology. Various factors, mainly economic, conspired as much to unify the bourgeoisie as they did to divide them, distinguishing them by their homogeneity as much as by their heterogeneity.

Panadura Vaadaya

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Ethnicity after Edward Said: Post-Orientalist Failures in Comprehending the Kandyan Period of Lankan history

Michael Roberts ... presenting a refereed journal article from the year 2001** as a foundation for reflection and fresh pursuits because it addresses the work of Edward Said, a renowned social theorist-cum-political scientist.

Edward Said  Leslie Gunawardena

Abstract: Disenchantment with the excesses of nationalist and ethnic claims in recent decades has directed the analysis of ethnicity presented in academic writings in recent decades.  Ethnicity is seen as pernicious, “primordialist” and “essentialist.”  Other scholars as well as nationalist spokespersons are castigated for reading the present into the past.  This line of criticism has entered the scholarship on the Indian subcontinent and been extended to surveys of the literature on the pre-British and British periods of Sri Lankan history.   Yet these critics themselves are governed by the either/or epistemology of 20th century rationalism.  They are unable to decipher the worldview and the political ideology that organised the socio-political order of the Kingdom of Sihale, better known as the Kingdom of Kandy.  Their bias is “presentist” and “modernist.”  With little patience for historical puzzles, their readings of the pre-British period are simple-mindedFor the most part they rely on the severely flawed interpretation presented in Leslie Gunawardana’s “People of the Lion.”  This dependence marks their ignorance.

** presented in Ethnic Studies Report, Vol XIX/1, 2001 … ICES and kindly supplied by Iranga Silva

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Lessons Derived from the Anti-Muslim Riots of 1915 …. For Today

Walter Wuthmann, in Daily News, 7 May 2018, where the title runs: “Revisiting 1915: Lessons from A Violent Past”

The recent mob attacks[ against Muslim families and property in Kandy is another sad chapter in Sri Lanka’s history of ethnic violence. Now, many are re-examining the past, looking for reasons for why this ugly strain of communalism will not subside, and for ways to fight it for the future. Because before Digana in March, and before Aluthgama in 2014, there was 1915.

  An old photo of the Mosqueat Castele Street inKandy where the initial spark for the “1915 riots”originated

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Confronting Ethnic Violence and Its Roots in Vengeance

Michael Roberts

In presenting Basil Fernando’s book to the public, I have been led back in time to critical data he presented to me in the early 1990s re the “riots of July 1983.” As an act of condemnation THEN, my essay on those events depicted the MOMENT as a “pogrom.”[1] This label was guided by my awareness that in Russian usage this label meant “destruction” and thus went beyond the English dictionary translations of that word. Though I have been rapped on the knuckles by Kingsley M. de Silva for this nomenclature,[2] I remain adamant. What occurred in late July 1983 was a horrific set of events that cannot be buried inside that relatively mundane label “riots.”

 

Jubilant {Sinhala) rioters celebrate their mayhem at Borella Junction in Colombo on the 24/25th July night 1983

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Vesak: The Emergence of Buddhism in the Indian Subcontinent

 Uditha Devapriya … an original essay with the title ppreferred by Uditha being “Some Reflections on Vesak”

 By the 6th century BC, the centre of Indian civilisation had shifted to the Ganges Valley. Social and economic conditions made possible the rise of several religions that posed as alternatives to the rigid orthodoxy of Brahmanism. By the end of the 5th century BC, the number of these sects had come down, and among those that survived were Jainism and Buddhism.

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Historical Revaluations: The Boundary Books of the Matale District

Gananath Obeyesekere: Historical Revaluations: the Boundary Books of the Matale district[1], being  Chapter 19 in Professor KD Paranavitana Felicitation Volume, edited by Vinie Vitharana & Prasad Fonseka, Colombo, Godage & Bros (pvt ltd) …. ISBN 978-955-30-9035-5

Professor K. D. Paranavitana has not only written important work on t, edit by Vinnie Vitharane Dutch Period in Sri Lanka that has influenced my own writing but he also has been also associated with the National Archives. These archives as well as those in Europe, such as the British Library are replete with popular Sinhala texts that constitute an enormous resource for understanding the pasts of our nation. The term vitti pot or “books of events” is a useful term to broadly characterize this genre of literature.  Among these vitti pot are various boundary books (kaḍaim pot), some dealing with the boundaries of the nation, some with specific regions and some on family genealogies (banḍāravaliya).

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The Marvellous Hydraulic Civilization of Ancient Lanka via You Tube and …. More

Sri Lanka’s hydraulic civilization spans over two Millenia and is integral part of our agricultural heritage. Watch the story of the origins, the rise, the golden age, the decline and the resurgence of this technology. Voice talent – Arun Dias-Bandaranaike And don’t forget to subscribe 🙂 for more content For more fascinating video’s on Sri Lanka check out channel Destination Sri Lanka https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCwRl​#destinationsrilanka​ #srilanka​ #beautysrilanka​ #srilankaculture​ #srilankasights​ #srilankalocation​ #irrigationsystems #irrigation #hydraulic #civilization

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