Category Archives: centre-periphery relations

Sri Lankan Navy’s “Salute” on February 4th: Thereby A Tale

Somasiri Devendra’s NOTE in The Ceylankan, 25/4, November 2022

On Independence Day, February 4th, this year 2022, , the Sri Lanka Navy fired its traditional “Salute to the Nation” from aboard ship, “Gajabahu”, anchored off Galle Face. In 1951, “Vijaya” had saluted the then Head of State of a self-governing Dominion, (King George VI) while “Gajabahu” saluted the elected Head of State of a Republic.

 

 

 

 

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EM Karunaratne: Doyen of Cricket in Galle

Michael Roberts

EM Karunaratne was a doyen among cricket adminsitrators in Galle and his work is quite appropraitely marked in the Janashakthi Book of Sri Lanka Cricket, 1832-1996 edited by SS Perera in 1999 (sse pp.11-12) …where he is placed among an illustrious list: viz, George Vanderspar, Dr John Rockwood, SP Foenander, P. Saravanamuttu, Robert Senanayake and Gamini Dissanayake.

 

 

 

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The Cricketer Athletes of Ceylon: 1940 and Thereabouts

Michael Roberts

The Janashakthi Book of Sri Lanka Cricket 1832-1996, edited by SS Perera for the Janashakthi organisation of the Schaffter family (Colombo, 1999) has an invaluable photograph within page 206 of the Athletes who represented Ceylon in “what was then an annual contest” (p. 205). This shot has been ‘rekindled’ for digital presentation by David Sansoni of Sydney.

 

 

 

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Working on the Book PEOPLE INBETWEEN

Michael Roberts

The ‘discovery’ of the Lorenz Cabinet in the Royal Asiatic Society in the 1980s led me to combine with Percy Colin-Thome[1] and Ismeth Raheem in working up this material into a plan envisaging a  set of books (four volumes).[2] The first in this projected series was drafted by me and came out in 1989 courtesy of Sarvodaya Publishing Services (within the limitations of book production in that period).[3] This book, People Inbetween,  has been out of print for quite a while.

 

 

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The Boers in Ceylon

A NOTE from Wikipedia:  “The Second Boer War (AfrikaansTweede Vryheidsoorloglit. ’Second Freedom War’, 11 October 1899–31 May 1902), also known as the Boer War, the Anglo–Boer War, or the South African War, was a conflict fought between the British Empire and the two Boer Republics (the South African Republic and the Orange Free State) over the Empire’s influence in Southern Africa from 1899 to 1902″ … with the collage below.

 

 

 

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Early Academic Endeavours: Michael Roberts & His D. Phil. Dissertation

Michael Roberts

Rather out of the blue, Avishka Mario Seneviratne approached me seeking access to my first academic work , viz., the D. Phil. dissertation in History that I had secured in Oxford in mid-1965. I have a copy and it is possible there is one at Peradeniya University Library, but it is not widely available.

Mario   

 Milos

 

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The Hill-Country Tamils: Their Shitty-Situation Then … and NOW

Ahilan Kadirgamar, in Daily Mirror, 21 November 2022, where the title reads “Hill-country Tamils and Crisis Times” …. with highlighting imposed by The Editor, Thuppahi

When our country collapses before our own eyes with one of the deepest crises in historical memory, from what vantage point should we analyse our predicament? Sri Lanka’s political economy over the last two centuries is anchored in the travails and strivings of Hill Country Tamils. Their sweat and blood, that began with the horrifying journey from South India two centuries ago as indentured labour to work in the coffee and later tea plantations, were central to building the country’s modern economy under British colonialism. However, their position in society, and for that matter even the writing of their history, was marginalised. And despite the great democratic and social welfare advances in Sri Lanka with universal suffrage in 1931 and a powerful legacy of free healthcare and education, the social, economic and political life of the Hill Country Tamil community is characterised by struggle amidst persistent crisis times.

‘Ceylon tea’ gave Sri Lanka the recognition in the world map, but the plantation workers are still languishing in their ages-old abode, known as line rooms and continue to be marginalised in education, community wellbeing and healthcare.

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Leslie de Saram and Aubrey Martensz: Straddling Ceylon & the British Empir

Hugh Karunanayake, in The Ceylankan, Journal of the Ceylon Society of Australia, No 100, vol 25/4, November 2022, where the title reads “Two Acclaimed Lawyers who migrated from Ceylon During the Days of the ‘White Australia’ Immigration Policies” … with the highlighting here being an imposition by The Editor, Thuppahi

The names Leslie de Saram and Aubrey Martensz are not likely to evoke sentiment of any kind from contemporary Sri Lankans. They were two outstanding lawyers who not only dominated legal practice and legal education, but also were very influential members of the profession and of Colombo’s social scene. Both de Saram and Martensz were at various times partners of the well-known legal firm FJ and G De Saram, founded by Leslie de Saram’s grandfather, FJ de Saram Senior, in 1841.

FJ De Saram (Snr) was the grandson of Maha Mudaliyar Christtofel de Saram the son of Johan Henriques de Saram who was only 14 years old when taken to England by Governor Maitland, handpicked from among the leading “native” families as suitable for higher studies. That headstart created a dynasty of lawyers.

Leslie De Saram 

JA Martensz

 

 

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Eureka! The Film Clip of the 1949 Independence Day Festivities Secured

The heroes of this enterprise in retrieving the film clip produced by the Government Film Unit (aka GFU) are James Blake Jnr of Germany and Anusha Palpita & Arun Dias Bandaranaike of Lanka. The relevant details are indicated in a Memo from James emailed to me recently…..  Michael Roberts in Australia, 20 November 2022

A NOTE from James Blake sent from Colombo in late October 2022:

Hi Michael: Please see below for the two links to the FILM CLIP produced by the Government Film Unit.

Note: the Source-1 clip was from an OLD post on your Thuppahis blog: dated 30 July 2020.

Note: the Source-2 clip surfaced when I did an additional YouTube ‘search’.

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Viva! The CEYLANKAN reaches Twenty-Five

The Ceylon Society of Australia was launched in Sydney in the late 1990s and established branches in Melbourne and Colombo. They also launched a journal entitled THE CEYLANKAN twenty-five years back and the 100th number of this wide-ranging publication hit the posts, desks and couches of its subscribers this week. Hurrah! 

These publications have sustained the critical patriotic commitments of Sri Lankans in Australia and abroad in numerous ways; while also stimulating cross-ethnic interaction among some of the Sri Lankan migrants in Australia.

 

Hugh Karunanayake: Founder President, 1998-2004

 

 

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