Michael Roberts, … reproducing Chapter III in Volume I of Documents of the Ceylon National Congress and Nationalist Politics in Ceylon, 1929-1950, Vol I, 1977, Department of National Archives, 1977 , pp. lxviii–lxxviii **
While the political activists of the first half of the twentieth century were drawn from both the national and the local elites, the political leadership (at significant island-wide levels) was largely composed of individuals who could be ranked among the national elite. As indicated earlier, the national elite was a small segment of the Ceylonese population. Its levels of wealth, power and status, its lifestyle, and its value-system marked it off from the rest of the population.
Dr Nirmala Chandrahasan, in The Island, 11 February 2022 , with this title “13th Amendment and Tamil polity: A pragmatic approach” …… with highlighting imposed by The Editor, Thuppahi
There is much speculation in the Tamil political circles as to the usefulness or otherwise of the 13th Amendment to the Constitution and whether the Provincial Council system set up under its aegis gives a measure of power sharing or devolution of powers to the Tamil speaking provinces, or whether it is an ineffective institution which blocks out any greater devolution under the exercise of internal self- determination. This debate has been sparked by the decision of Tamil speaking parties including the TNA, to send a letter to the Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi, requesting him to use his good offices to induce the Government of Sri Lanka to implement the 13th Amendment fully, in the context that the 13th Amendment arose out of the provisions of the Indo -Sri Lanka Peace Accord of July 1987, to which treaty India and Sir Lanka are signatories.
Michael Roberts,reprinting here an article that appeared in FRONTLINE vol. 26/12, 19 June 2009 … with this title “Some Pillars for Lanka’s Future”
“One can win the War, but lose the Peace” — A cliche this may be, but it is also a hoary truism that looms over the post-war scenario in Sri Lanka. The triumphant Sri Lankan government now [must] address the human terrain rather than the fields of battle.
Kumari Jayawardena:“Nobodies to Somebodies: The Rise of the Colonial Bourgeoisie in Sri Lanka” ….. Paperback, 412 pages …………Published February 1st 2003 by Zed Books (first published February
Synopsis: The origins and growth of the bourgeoisie in Sri Lanka during British rule are important aspects of the country’s modern history. Here, Kumari Jayawardena traces the evolution of the bourgeoisie from a feudal society and mercantilist economy, to the age of plantations. She assigns primacy to class over caste, and details the rise of the new-rich Nobodies of many castes, ethnicities and religions into the ranks of the Somebodies. She discusses the links between capital accumulation, religious revivalism, ethnic identity and political movements, and highlights the obsession of the bourgeoisie with land acquisition and social status.
It has been over a decade since the end of Sri Lanka’s protracted conflict, but what we have today is ‘negative peace’ – which is the absence of overt violence. Limited understanding of Sri Lanka’s history, politics, democracy, ambition, intent, and the refusal to acknowledge acts of intolerance and discrimination that destroyed lives and led to bloodshed makes it increasingly difficult to avoid the recurrence of violence and we risk repeating the same mistakes. Today, we are confronted with choices that could lead to positive peace or a resumption of cycles of violence. Even now, the difficulties of dealing with COVID-19 and the resulting economic fallout could lead to social unrest that may morph into inter-communal violence if manipulated. Continue reading →
When I set up the THUPPAHI WEBSITE in late 2009 I imprinted two project statements: one entitled “WHY THUPPAHI”; the other bearing the heading ‘SINHALA MINDSET.” Readers can access these two items via the sub-headings within the website – so I will not reiterate the latter here.
This set of project statements was crafted after the LTTE-led drive to create an independent SL Tamil nation state had been defeated over the course of Eelam War IV. I had been in Colombo from April-mid-June 2009, so I had vivid experiences of the last stages of this ‘encounter’ and the triumphant sentiments expressed in the Colombo area when the war was won. More vitally, I had been commissioned by Muralidhar Reddy, the correspondent from the Hindu newspaper chain based in Colombo to present analytic essays for their magazine FRONTLINE.
Jehan Perera, in The Island, 3 August 2021, with this title“Restoring reconciliation process cannot be piecemeal”
The government is making a resolute effort to turn Sri Lanka around and put it in the direction of rapid economic development. The systematic manner in which it has been conducting the Covid vaccinations has earned recognition by WHO as well as the international community. The value of the military in getting things done on a large scale with minimum of delay has been manifested in the partnership that they have struck with the health authorities. The memory is fading of how some of the government leaders dabbled in alchemy and the spirit world to find an antidote to the COVID virus, despite being vested with the responsibility to strengthen the health of the country’s people. There is also increased space being given to civil society to engage in protests, such as the protracted teachers’ strike and the agitation against the expanding mandate of the Kotelawala Defence University.
I am greatly honoured to be asked by the Awarelogue Initiative to speak at their Lecture Forum in this year of 2021, celebrating the 90th anniversary of the advent of universal franchise in Sri Lanka. In my lecture, I shall touch on some of the complex problems of governance and policy faced by a small multi-ethnic island, flanked as it is and always has been, by economic and political superpowers.
Dr. Thomas Drummond-Shiels: Donoughmore Commissioner 1927/28: Labour MP for Edinburgh 1924 -31; Under Secretary of State for the Colonies 1929-31
Dr, D. Chandraratna in The Island, 11 June 2021, where the title reads “An Appreciation: Rajeewa Jayaweera: A Void Hard to fill” …. with highlighting imposed by The Editor, Thuppahi
On 11 June, 2020, when we heard the distressing news of Rajeewa Jayaweera’s untimely death, I wrote an appreciation from afar that he was a public intellectual who had contributed immensely to public debate, mostly on our relations with India and to a lesser extent with the Western countries. Coming from a fortunate background, and immersed in the diplomatic life of his father he took a scholarly interest in foreign affairs. Few in Sri Lanka has contributed so much to the subject recently as much as Rajeewa, to bring into public discussion our relations with the world community. His accounts were a ‘learned and incisive appraisal of events’ particularly during the turbulent times of the threat posed by separatism. In this article on the first death anniversary I wish to justify my assertion about Rajeewa by way of an appreciation with a difference.
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.