Michael Powell: article published in 2007 and entitled “Fragile Identities: The Colonial Consequences of CJR Le Mesurier in Ceylon”
ABSTRACT of Article: In the many layered life of CJR Le Mesurier in Ceylon are themes that repeat and recur throughout the British colonial world, touching on marriage and morals, religion and race, archival retention and colonial employment.
Cecil Le Mesurier in Western Australia c 1920s …. Courtesy of Rod Cantley
In particular, his strenuous litigious attack on assumptions of Crown title challenged the philosophic and legal framework of colonial land policy, revealing its ideological foundation, and illuminating the pattern and impulse of land policy throughout Empire.
The increasing effrontery of his actions induces an equally escalating reaction from colonial authority that pares away the preferred patina of civilizing mission to reveal a far more base intent – a colonial impulse more discernible and the actions of authority more disclosing – contributing to a much richer comparative understanding of the dynamics of colonial land dealings.
40 years have now elapsed since the launch of the accelerated Mahaweli project, so it is an opportune time to review what was done and the benefits and shortfalls of the project to the nation. This project was the culmination of a 50 yearlong process that started with the rehabilitate ancient irrigation works and settlement of the dry zone lands that was initiated by our first Prime Minister, DS Senanayake, when he was the Agriculture Minister in the State Council during the British Raj. After independence, this moved on to more ambitious projects building large multi-purpose schemes like Gal Oya and Uda Walawe culminating in the accelerated Mahaweli project.
Senanayake Foundation, Item in Daily Mirror, 4 Feb 2022
The first Prime Minister of Sri Lanka (Ceylon) D.S. Senanayake entered the National Legislature in 1924. He was relatively unknown in the country and was pushed into prominence by his elder brother F.R. Senanayake, who was a very popular and active figure in the social and political arena. Many were surprised and taken aback to see D.S. entering the political field, as they were expecting his brother F.R. to fit the role. Perhaps the only person who had faith in D.S’s capability at that time was none other but F.R. Senanayake himself.
An Editorial Note from Michael Roberts, 27 January 2022
Recent items on the Senanayake family and on DS Senanayake (Sri Lanka’s first Prime Minister) in Thuppahi touched on his work in promoting peasant agriculture . One of Sri Lanka’s foremost researchers in this field is my friend and colleague from undergraduate days in Ramanathan Hall and Peradeniya University in the late 1950s, namely, Gerald H Peiris. As it would be of wider benefit, I asked him to present Thuppahi with a list of his research work on agriculture and the island economy.
From KM. De Silva: DS. The Life of DS Senanayake, (1884-1952)
A NOTE from Thuppahi: printed in 2016 this book of 135 pages is clearly meant to provide a distilled assessment of DS Senanayake’s career. Our readings of this work by Kingsley De Silva must take note of this precising intent on the author’s part — though we must also be aware of Professor De Silva”s conservative UNP affiliations….. and be grateful to Iranga Silva of the ICES in Kandy for making the text of the whole book available to us in a convenient form.
At independence we had a stable democracy, a sound economy, and an effective public service and external assets equal to 100 percent of annual import value. We were second to Japan on almost all social indicators and above South Korea as late as in the mid-sixties. Singapore’s per capita income was just a little bit higher than Sri Lanka at that time. It is now over USD 64,000 whereas ours is USD 3852. The immediate looming question is why Sri Lanka with better physical resources failed to advance like Singapore.
Shihan de Silva Jayasuriyaof 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
“PUL ELIYA” QUOTATIONS AS PRESENTED to the CCS and other personnel
I quote some passages from a book by Dr. E. Leach entitled “Pul Eliya A Village in Ceylon” (Cambridge, 1961). He is a socia1anthropologist who lived for several months in Pul Eliya, a Dry Zone Anuradhapura area village, in the mid 1950’s. There are some interesting passages pertaining to Government regulations and their practical implementation. While these views pertain largely to the 1940’s and 1950’s they are, both implicitly and explicitly, held to apply to most of the 20th century for he has also delved into past records. I present some for your comments.
Thuppahi's Blog · This web site presents the interventions of MICHAEL ROBERTS in the public realm with reference to Sri Lankan political affairs. It will embrace the politics of cricket as well. ROBERTS was educated at St. Aloysius College in Galle and the universities of Peradeniya and Oxford. He taught History at Peradeniya University and Anthropology at Adelaide university. He is now retired and lives in Adelaide.