Category Archives: centre-periphery relations

The Plantation Economy in British Ceylon: The Downtrodden Indian Tamil Labour and the Dispossessed Kandyan Peasantry

Uditha Devapriya, in SAT MAG” of The Island on September 19 and September 26, 2020.

PREFACE: This essay does not present a complete history of plantation slavery, which anyway has been covered many times before by scholars of repute, including Professor Asoka Bandarage, whose Colonialism in Sri Lanka went through a second edition recently. Rather, it counters Sinhala nationalists and those opposed to Sinhala nationalists who equate the position of African-Americans with that of Tamils and Muslims, indicating a failure to distinguish between minority communities which thrived under conditions of colonialism (and neocolonialism) and those which suffered under those conditions. It also counters certain “Marxist” and rightwing academics who see the plantation system as capitalist, and who, while either sympathising with the plight of Estate Tamils or ignoring them outright, single out Kandyan Sinhalese peasants for what they allege to have been their innate laziness under British colonialism, a myth demolished by S. B. D. de Silva in his underrated and unread magnum opusThe Political Economy of Underdevelopment.

Tea Plantation labour in Ceylon – circa 1890s

Continue reading

1 Comment

Filed under British colonialism, British imperialism, caste issues, centre-periphery relations, commoditification, economic processes, ethnicity, governance, historical interpretation, island economy, land policies, landscape wondrous, Left politics, legal issues, life stories, modernity & modernization, politIcal discourse, power politics, Sinhala-Tamil Relations, social justice, sri lankan society, the imaginary and the real, transport and communications, unusual people, welfare & philanthophy, working class conditions, world events & processes

From Galle Across Oceans: The Talented Joseph Family

An Introductory Note from Michael Roberts, 30 September 2020

This ramified tale begins with the wedding photograph sent to me my old playmate Adrienne Ranasinghe nee Conderlag displaying the elegant couple and entourage in front of the All Saints Church in the fort of Galle. This spark has set Joe Simpson, a Galle lover who taught at Richmond College for a while and is back in Canada now, off-and-running. He saw that the best man at the wedding was Louis Joseph and sent me an old article he had composed on the Joseph family. This essay is now adorning the Thuppahi web site as well.

Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under architects & architecture, British colonialism, centre-periphery relations, charitable outreach, citizen journalism, communal relations, cultural transmission, economic processes, education, ethnicity, heritage, historical interpretation, island economy, landscape wondrous, life stories, literary achievements, patriotism, photography, pilgrimages, self-reflexivity, sri lankan society, the imaginary and the real, travelogue, unusual people, world events & processes

The Joseph Family of British Ceylon: Service to Mankind across the Oceans

Joe Simpson. reproducing his article in http://www.worldgenweb.org/lkawgw/sid.html

This dashing military-style portrait is of Sidney Percival Joseph (1873- 934) who was one of 15 children of Arthur Francis Joseph’s younger brother Eugene (1839-1915) and his wife, Georgiana Jemima (nee Ohlmus) (1848-1906). Sidney would thus have been a nephew of Arthur Francis Joseph (“AFJ”) and Eugenia, and a first cousin of Lawrence Joseph and his brothers. As the two cousins were almost exactly the same age, Sidney and Lawrence were probably childhood friends and remained so after Lawrence Joseph (later Joseph Lawrence) moved permanently to Scotland in the early 1890s.

Continue reading

1 Comment

Filed under accountability, British imperialism, centre-periphery relations, charitable outreach, communal relations, cultural transmission, economic processes, education, ethnicity, governance, heritage, historical interpretation, landscape wondrous, life stories, literary achievements, photography, self-reflexivity, sri lankan society, transport and communications, travelogue, unusual people, world events & processes

How Robert Knox’s Opus took shape in 1681

Anna Winterbottom, in The British Journal for the History of Science, Volume 42Issue 4., December 2009 , pp. 515-538 where the title is Producing and using the Historical Relation of Ceylon: Robert Knox, the East India Company and the Royal Society”

Abstract: Robert Knox’s An Historical Relation of the Island of Ceylon was produced, published and enlarged through the collaboration of the author with scholars including Robert Hooke and financial support from members of the East India Company. The Relation should be seen in the context of a number of texts collected, translated or commissioned by the East India Company in cooperation with the Royal Society during the late seventeenth century that informed and shaped both European expansion and natural philosophy. As well as circulating between European intellectual centres, often reorientated in the process of translation, these texts served as practical guides across settlements and trading posts abroad. Comparing written accounts with experience led to annotations and borrowings that served as the basis for further writings. Company records and Knox’s own unpublished works reveal how the Relation was used as the basis for bio-prospecting for naturally occurring drugs and food sources and in efforts at agricultural transplantation spanning the Indian and Atlantic Oceans. Through the reports of seamen like Knox, such experiments contributed to contemporary theories concerning the effects of latitude on plant life.

Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under art & allure bewitching, authoritarian regimes, British imperialism, centre-periphery relations, commoditification, cultural transmission, education, ethnicity, European history, heritage, historical interpretation, island economy, Kandyan kingdom, land policies, landscape wondrous, life stories, literary achievements, modernity & modernization, politIcal discourse, power politics, self-reflexivity, sri lankan society, the imaginary and the real, transport and communications, travelogue, unusual people, wild life, world events & processes

Felicitations: Fr. SG Perera and His Work

Chryshane Mendis, in Sri Lanka archaeolgy.lk, 26 July 2017 …. and due ultimately to an article in The ALOYSIAN

The student of the colonial history of Sri Lanka has undoubtedly come upon the name of S. G. Perera in their studies. Fr. S. G. Perera, a Catholic Priest of the Society of Jesus, was an exemplary scholar of the last century and whose parallels are unheard of. Publishing over a dozen books and over 300 articles in journals, his contributions to the history of the Catholic Church in Sri Lanka and the history of the Portuguese, Dutch and British periods of the island have aided the development of historical knowledge to a great extent in Sri Lanka; what could be called his magnum opus, the translation of the ‘Conquista’ of the 17th century Portuguese historian Fr. Queyroz, is the single most important Portuguese literary work which is the basis for any historical study on the Portuguese period. His proficiency of the Portuguese language gave him access to numerous original sources which he has translated and made available to the public is part of the wonderful legacy of this great historian of Lanka.

Fr. S. G. Perera (image from The Aloysian 1946-1950, Volume 06, No. 03 )

Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under ancient civilisations, British colonialism, centre-periphery relations, communal relations, cultural transmission, education, ethnicity, heritage, historical interpretation, Indian Ocean politics, island economy, land policies, landscape wondrous, life stories, Portuguese in Indian Ocean, self-reflexivity, sri lankan society, teaching profession, unusual people, world events & processes

Dr RL Spittel: A Learned Man for the Väddās and the Wild

Richard Boyle. in Serendib, October 2013 where the title runs thus “Dr. R. L. Spittel: City Surgeon, Jungle Doctor, Wildlife Crusader”

In the late 1880s, a boy with the ambition to become a leading physician stood in a jungle clearing watching his surgeon-father perform an autopsy. From the undergrowth a member of the aboriginal people, the Veddahs, suddenly appeared. Their eyes met for one brief moment before the shy Veddah hastily withdrew. It was Richard Lionel Spittel’s first experience of a Veddah; an encounter that profoundly affected his life.

Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under accountability, ancient civilisations, art & allure bewitching, centre-periphery relations, charitable outreach, communal relations, cultural transmission, education, ethnicity, heritage, historical interpretation, landscape wondrous, life stories, literary achievements, medical puzzles, self-reflexivity, sri lankan society, the imaginary and the real, transport and communications, travelogue, unusual people, welfare & philanthophy, world events & processes

The Eastern Regions of Sri Lanka in British Times

Michael Roberts

My D. Phil dissertation at Oxford in the early 1960s centred on British agrarian policy in the mid-nineteenth century and therefore included the British efforts to revive the tank irrigation systems of the Sinhala past. Several British colonial personnel as well as visiting dignitaries were captivated by the ruins of the Anuradhapura/Polonnaruwa periods which they observed during adventure trips. A few saw it as a challenge for their imperial capacity. Some British governors, notably Ward, Gregory and Gordon, took up the prospect.

 Sir Henry Ward and SJV Chelvanyakam

Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under ancient civilisations, British colonialism, caste issues, centre-periphery relations, commoditification, communal relations, cultural transmission, disparagement, economic processes, ethnicity, heritage, historical interpretation, immigration, Islamic fundamentalism, island economy, land policies, landscape wondrous, life stories, LTTE, Muslims in Lanka, politIcal discourse, population, power politics, religiosity, self-reflexivity, Sinhala-Tamil Relations, sri lankan society, Tamil civilians, Tamil Tiger fighters, the imaginary and the real, trauma, truth as casualty of war, unusual people, women in ethnic conflcits, working class conditions, world events & processes

Democracy under the Gun in Sri Lanka

Jayadeva Uyangoda, in Sri Lanka Guardian 24 September 2020, where the title is “The End of Sri Lanka’s Democracy”

The debate on the proposed 20th Amendment to Sri Lanka’s 1978 Constitution is gathering momentum. The proposal, which has been published in the Government Gazette, is indeed a constitutional bombshell, literally. Its provisions are very destructive in their objectives as well as consequences. 

Continue reading

3 Comments

Filed under accountability, authoritarian regimes, Buddhism, centre-periphery relations, communal relations, constitutional amendments, disparagement, economic processes, electoral structures, historical interpretation, Indian Ocean politics, legal issues, life stories, parliamentary elections, patriotism, politIcal discourse, power politics, power sharing, Rajapaksa regime, security, self-reflexivity, Sinhala-Tamil Relations, slanted reportage, sri lankan society, the imaginary and the real, truth as casualty of war, unusual people, world events & processes

Lanka’s Measured Diplomatic Appointments in Key Capitals

Daya Gamage, in Asian Tribune US Bureau Diplomatic Note, Septmber 2020, with this title “Sri Lanka enters into rational foreign policy with key dip. appointments”

  Sri Lanka administration under the Rajapaksa brothers has given a strong indication that it is moving toward formulating a rational foreign policy taking serious note of the emerged international order in the past three years that brought Washington and New Delhi into an unprecedented military bond,  on-going military thrust toward Indo-Pacific region, the relevance of the Quad – US-India-Australia-Japan – India’s Modi administration’s special emphasis that Sri Lanka maintain closer working rapport with it, the acceleration of political-military and economic rivalry between US-India combination and China in announcing key diplomatic appointments to New Delhi, Washington and Beijing.

Moragoda and Modi in 2008 –“Minister of Tourism Milinda Moragoda in President MahindaRajapaksa administration met with India’s Gujarat Chief MinisterNarendra Modi in Capital City Gandhinagar 08 October, 2008”

Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under accountability, authoritarian regimes, centre-periphery relations, communal relations, economic processes, foreign policy, governance, historical interpretation, Indian Ocean politics, island economy, landscape wondrous, life stories, military strategy, modernity & modernization, politIcal discourse, power politics, security, self-reflexivity, sri lankan society, unusual people, world events & processes

Confronting Tamil Distortions: Webinar in Their Face Sunday 27th September

Global Webinar to Combat Baseless Propaganda of Tamil Tiger Agents

A group of Sri Lankan professionals have teamed-up for a two-hour Webinar on Sunday, 27 September at Sri Lanka time 7:30 in the evening which will go globally live for a presentation of cogent facts and data to combat the still-prevailing misinformation campaign undertaken by the former Tamil Tiger agents now operating within the Tamil Diaspora worldwide.

Continue reading

2 Comments

Filed under accountability, asylum-seekers, atrocities, centre-periphery relations, communal relations, disparagement, doctoring evidence, ethnicity, historical interpretation, Indian Ocean politics, landscape wondrous, life stories, LTTE, nationalism, performance, politIcal discourse, power politics, prabhakaran, propaganda, security, self-reflexivity, Sinhala-Tamil Relations, slanted reportage, sri lankan society, Tamil migration, tamil refugees, truth as casualty of war, unusual people, vengeance, war crimes, war reportage, world events & processes, zealotry

%d bloggers like this: