Category Archives: communal relations

High Noon in Mid-Air, August 2019: For the Murugappans of Biloela

ABC Account on 30 August 2019, with this title “Who are the Tamil family from Biloela and why are they being deported?” ……  https://www.abc.net.au/news/2019-08-30/who-are-tamil-family-from-biloela-why-are-they-being-deported/11463276

Last-minute injunctions have stalled the deportation of a Tamil family who have spent years fighting to stay in Australia. The plane carrying the Sri Lankan couple and their Australian-born daughters had already left the tarmac at Melbourne Airport when a judge granted a reprieve over the phone. Here’s what we know about the family’s case:

Dozens of people rushed to Melbourne Airport in a bid to stop the family being deported on Thursday night..   … Supplied: @HometoBilo)

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Debating Modern Ceylon History with Daggers Drawn: Roberts vs De Silva, 1986-91

Two Peradeniya colleagues from yesteryear, Professor Kingsley de Silva and Michael Roberts, took sharply different positions on facets of the island history in British colonial and post-1948 times in hardhitting essays in local journals and newspapers in the period 1986 to 1991. The series began with Michael Roberts’s article-length review of KM De Silva:  Managing Ethnic Tensions in Multi-Ethnic Societies: Sri Lanka, 1880-1985  (Lanham, University Press of America) ….. and continued with KM De Silva’s hard-hitting review of the book, People Inbetween (Colombo, Sarvodaya, 1989) where Roberts was the principal author in a triumvirate that included Percy-Colin-Thome and Ismeth Raheem.

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People In Between: The Splendid Contortions of DBU Diehards

Rajiva Wijesinha, reviewing the book People Inbetween in the Sunday Observer of 24 March 1991 **

“In this review of the book by three Sri Lankans – Michael Roberts, Percy Colin-Thome and Ismeth Raheem, Rajiva Wijesinha discusses some interesting aspects that go to make People In Between a ‘fascinating social history’.” — The Observer’s Introduction

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Admiral Zheng He’s Imprint in Galle: Its Implications

 Dr. Nirmala Chandrahasan, in The Island, 9 June 2021, where the title runs: “Mandarin and Tamil -A Historical Perspective.”

The recent discovery of name- boards in public institutions which have omitted one of the national languages, namely Tamil, only to replace it with Mandarin Chinese has caused a furor with Tamil members of Parliament and other politicians voicing their protests. Certainly, this is most unfortunate but rather than blame the Chinese it is the government Authorities in charge of the implementation of the Official Languages policy who should be blamed. That they have been remiss in this instance is only a small part of the general malaise in respect of the implementation of the official languages policy.

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Sri Lanka’s Course, 1948-2020: Missed Opportunities, ONE

Sugath Kulatunga

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.

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A Searing Wide-Ranging Critique from Qadri Ismail after 21/4 in 2019 ……. Now a Requiem

Qadri Ismail, in Groundviews, 5 May 2019 after the 21/4 Atrocities

Photo by Asanka Brendon Ratnayake for The Washington Post

We hadn’t seen him in years, ever since he left to work abroad. So, on the day of his return, his mother invited the extended family to lunch. As he walked through the door we reacted collectively, gasped audibly. He wore a sharp suit but sported one of those long, unkempt, rowdy beards. Perhaps, I thought, there are no barbers in Saudi Arabia. (You never know, it’s a weird place).

 

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A Diehard Empiricist Responds

KM De Silva, in Daily News, 8 April 1991

Michael Roberts’s response to my review of his book (the Daily News 19 and 20 September 1990) published in the Daly News of 27 March 1991 is at once characteristic and unusual. It is characteristic because my one-time student and erstwhile colleague at Peradeniya has never been known to do things by halves.

He writes two responses to the review in two separate newspapers (the Daily News of March 27 and the Sunday Observer of 31 March), only one of which, the Daily News, published the original review.

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Addressing A Criticism of DS Senanayake’s Dry Zone Colonization Schemes

Chandre Dharmawardana, 28 May 2021, with this title “Criticism of D.S. Senanayake’s Dry Zone colonization schemes”

Would Sri Lanka have been better off if not for the fetishization of rural peasant life and its connexion to the Sinhalese Buddhist nation-myth?

Why do people talk of “colonization schemes” when a government  facing bulging population growth, for one reason or another, opens up land for its people to settle?

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People Inbetween and Professor K. M. de Silva’s Diehard History

Michael Roberts, in Daily News, 27 March 1991 … reproduced here with highlighting emphasis added

Professor K. M. de Silva’s review of the book People Inbetween Volume I in the Daily News on the 19 and 20 September, 1990 has come to my notice. My response here to seeks to raise issues regarding the way in which history can be written.

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Percy Colin-Thomé and the Composition of the Book People Inbetween

Michael Roberts

Percy Colin-Thomé was born in Galle and his initial learning roots were at Richmond College. His genealogical roots derived from the Swiss personnel of the de Meuron Regiment in the service of the VOC in the 1790s who stayed on in Sri Lanka in British times when the colonial lands on the coast of Ceilao were taken over by the expanding imperial power known as Britain. These lineages became one strand in the mixed/race “Burgher” ethnic group in the island once the whole arena had been unified as colony by Britain between 1815 and 1818. Largely urban in background and increasingly English-speaking at home, these Burgher people became an influential segment of the local “middle-class” fulfilling intermediary roles in the British colonial service.[1]

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