Category Archives: devolution

Rumpf’s Diary and Other Archival Treasures with KD Paranavitana’s Hand in Archival Acts

The Department of National Archives, in introducing the English translation of thevTravel Diary of Isaac Augustin Rumpf

The National Archives of Sri Lanka (SLNA) is in possession of 7,570 volumes of archives written in the Dutch language. These mainly consist of Dutch Political Council Minutes, land records, all types of correspondence, reports and instructions. One of the most valuable series of these records is known as Memoirs of the Governors, Memoirs of other high ranking officers in the Dutch Government and the Tombos, namely, Head, Land and School Tombos. These records provide a vast knowledge of the Dutch administration, cultural interactions, commercial aspects, political background and various social and environmental conditions pertaining to the 17th and 18th centuries.

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The Democratization Process in Ceylon, 1832-1948

Michael Roberts: “The Democratization Process in Sri Lanka,”  being the text of an Illustrated Lecture on Video presented to The May 18 Memorial Foundation in Korea in early September 2020 …. as part of a series encompassing several countries — organised by Professor Inrae You. The Lecture was, as I understood it, for highschool students.

The democratisation process began in the period of British rule in the 20th century. It would however be unwise to start with the early 20th century. One should look at the prehistory of the island of Ceylon before that. Ceylon, Ceilão, Sihalē had forms of autocratic kingship well before the European colonial powers came to Asia and set up their colonies.

Rajasinghe II of Sihale ruling from Mahanuvara and receiving homage (dakuma) from the Dutch

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The Insidious and False Dimensions of the “Traditional Homeland” Thesis

Gerald Peiris 

The concept of the ‘Traditional Tamil Homeland’ as promulgated by its exponents is based on the notion that, from the distant past, the island of Sri Lanka comprised the territories of two distinct nationalities that were arbitrarily unified in the formation of British Ceylon in the early 19th century.  My survey, which draws from several authoritative writings, some of which have been authored by reputed Tamil scholars, shows that such a notion does not conform to known facts and unbiased interpretations of the country’s history.

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The Rajapaksa Reshaping of the Sri Lankan Polity

Asanga Welikala and Roshan de Silva-Wijeyeratne, in Groundviews, 25 August 2020, with this title “The Past and the Present in the (Re)Constitution of the State”  … 

The election of President Gotabaya Rajapaksa in November 2019 marked the beginning of a new era of a Sinhala-Buddhist nationalist ascendancy in Sri Lanka. The Covid-19 pandemic provided an early opportunity for the government to establish an authoritarian governing style, helped by Parliament standing dissolved, and the Supreme Court’s refusal to subject the government to the constitution. In the delayed parliamentary election earlier in August, the government and its allies sought and obtained a two-thirds majority mandate.

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National Joint Committee warns Ali Sabry

The National Joint Committee (NJC) wishes to convey its best wishes to his Excellency the President, and his Government elected with an overwhelming majority, in Parliament. We have utmost confidence that the Government would fulfill its pledge to remove numerous constitutional provisions introduced to the Constitution through many amendments that has plagued the structure of this state. It was reported in a lead news report that the Minister of Justice Hon. Ali Sabry is drafting the amendment he intends tabling before Parliament in mid-September, the contents of which we are unaware.

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Canadian Tamil Agitation against Sri Lanka and Canadian Sinhalese

Chandre Dharmawardene, in Island, 26 July 2020, with this title “Ontario’s Bill on Alleged Genocide of Sri Lankan Tamils”

It was interesting to read Lynn Ockersz’ posting in The Island titled “UN Genocide Convention and Social Peace”. What should rise to the top of the minds of most Sri Lankan readers when the word “genocide” is mentioned, is the allegation against the Sri Lankan state. The columnist states that “As is known, some sections have been flinging the allegation of genocide against the Sri Lankan state in matters arising from its 30-year war against the LTTE, but it is clear that, going by the UN definition, the Lankan state has not committed genocide“.

C.V. Wigneswaran, Chief Minister of the Northern Provincial Council in Sri Lanka, addresses members of the Tamil community in Markham, Ontario, Canada, on January 15, 2017. During his trip to formalize a friendship agreement between the City of Markham and district of Mullaitivu, Northern Province in Sri Lanka Chief Minister C.V. Wigneswaran spoke about the importance of issues of transitional justice and post-war development to diaspora Tamils in Canada……..Photo by Creative Touch Imaging Ltd./NurPhoto via Getty Images

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Parliamentary Election Results: “Sam’s” Appraisal of Possibilities

‘Sam’ Samarasinghe aka “SWR deA” in USA in Island, 29 July 2020, where the title is  The Nation’s Choice”

In the August 5th parliamentary election, the voter has three choices. The first is to give the SLPP a two-thirds majority as the leadership of that party is urging the voter to do. The second is to give the SLPP a working majority in parliament – 113 seats or more – but not a two-thirds  majority. The third is to deny the SLPP 113 seats. This third possibility can lead to one of two outcomes. One outcome is for the SLPP to form a coalition government with one or more of the other parties. The other is for the opposition parties to form a coalition and govern with
Gotabaya Rajapaksa as president. This last option is in effect a “national” government. Its “national” flavour will be enhanced if minorities and at least some of the SLPP members also become a part of the government.

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Momentous Changes in Ceylon instituted by the Donoughmore Commisison

Leelananda de Silva, in Sunday Times, 5 July 2020

The Donoughmore Commission which came to Sri Lanka in the late 1920s made far reaching and far seeing recommendations, which changed the political, economic and social landscape of Ceylon. The present generation is largely unaware of its role and it is time that they refresh their understanding of the tremendous changes brought in by Donoughmore.

The Earl of Donoughmore

It was a commission consisting of three Britons — the Earl of Donoughmore, Drummond Shields and Burrows. They were political personalities well known in Britain at the time and were not colonial civil servants. They had the political and social vision to overcome the objections of both the colonial masters in Sri Lanka and the local dominant political personalities who were also not in favour of radical reforms.

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Achtung! Whiffs of Tiger Militarism and Tamil Federalism in Recent Talk and Action

ONE: Camelia Nathaniel, in Daily News, 9 July 2020, which carries this title Resurrection of LTTE’s Agenda of Violence”

The LTTE network overseas has been planning a series of attacks in Sri Lanka since the war ended in May 2009. The latest attempt to disrupt peace and stability in Sri Lanka was on July 4, 2020. A former member of the Tamil Tigers Thangarajah Thevathashan was preparing to conduct a bombing to mark the Black Tigers Day. The foreign handlers knew Thangarajah Thevathashan by his LTTE name Gangai Athman alias Kavinjan. He was serving in the LTTE Intelligence wing, notorious for the assassinations of several leaders including the former Indian Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi.

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Challenging Michael Roberts … with Straight Left and Right Hook

Gerald Peiris ... in the spirit of vigorous debate which we used to pursue in the Arts Faculty and the Ceylon Studies Seminar at Peradeniya University in the late 1960s and the 1970s, Gerry Peiris has responded with two sharply critical notes of some significance to my critical review of Sri Lankan society and politics, an essay that is directed by an optimistic eye …. Ha! Ha! … towards a major overhaul.

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