Category Archives: ethnicity

Collective Selves and the Promise of Buddhaland in Nationalism

Brian Victoria, in Buddhistdoor.net  … where the title reads as “Nationalism: Collective Selves and the Promise of Buddhaland”

Introduction

In a recent lecture on the war in the Ukraine, John Mearsheimer, a political scientist at the University of Chicago, noted that nationalism is the strongest ideology in the world today. I was somewhat surprised by his comment because, having lived through the Cold War era, anything having to do with Russia was framed in the ideological context of “the struggle of the Free World or democracies against Communist dictatorship,” and so on. Yet, on reflection, I realized that with the collapse of the Soviet Union in December 1991, Russia had reverted to a capitalist state, even if now authoritarian or autocratic. Thus, Mearsheimer’s identification of nationalism as a key factor behind Russia’s invasion of Ukraine was not as surprising as it initially seemed.

Buddhist monks protest against aid for Rakhine’s Rohingya Muslims. Photo by Soe Zeya Tun. From reuters.com

Mearsheimer’s insight led to a new line of enquiry on my part. As a Buddhist, I had long asked myself, without finding a satisfactory answer, what is the relationship, if any, of the Buddhadharma with nationalism?

Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under accountability, architects & architecture, authoritarian regimes, Bodu Bala Sena, Buddhism, centre-periphery relations, cultural transmission, ethnicity, foreign policy, fundamentalism, governance, heritage, historical interpretation, Indian religions, Indian traditions, landscape wondrous, life stories, literary achievements, martyrdom, meditations, nationalism, patriotism, pilgrimages, politIcal discourse, self-reflexivity, the imaginary and the real, world events & processes

Sustaining Cultural Performance Practices across the Indian Ocean

Shihan De Silva Jayasuriya et al

PREFACE to her new book entitled “Sustaining Support for Intangible Cultural Heritage” (ICH)

Sustaining Support for Intangible Cultural Heritage (ICH) continues the conversations on cultural heritage which commenced at a virtual conference held on August 3, 2020, at the Institute of Commonwealth Studies. The conference was spurred by the screening of my film – “Indian Ocean Memories and African Migrants” – at the Social Scientists Association, Colombo. The interest shown by UNESCO Global Network Facilitators, Dr Bilinda Nandadeva and Dr Gamini Wijesuriya, who attended the screening, was a catalyst to convening the conference. The Covid-19 pandemic further exposed the significance of heritage and the vulnerability of intangible culture. The book is a call to value ICH and an inspiration for academics, researchers, stakeholders, civil society, cultural practitioners and policymakers to understand the threats to sustaining heritage.

Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under Aboriginality, Africans in Asia, ancient civilisations, art & allure bewitching, centre-periphery relations, cultural transmission, demography, economic processes, ethnicity, female empowerment, heritage, historical interpretation, Indian traditions, landscape wondrous, life stories, literary achievements, performance, population, religiosity, self-reflexivity, sri lankan society, the imaginary and the real, transport and communications, travelogue, unusual people, working class conditions, world events & processes

Religion within Tamil Militancy and the LTTE

  Iselin Frydenlund, presenting her article in Oxford Encyclopedia of Religion, May 2018, …. one entitledTamil Militancy in Sri Lanka and the Role of Religion” …. https://sangam.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/04/Tamil-Militancy-in-Sri-Lanka-and-the-Role-of-Religion.pdf  … OR … https://www.semanticscholar.org/paper/Tamil-Militancy-in-Sri-Lanka-and-the-Role-of-Frydenlund/4cbf5235611dd3407dfa3a2962e6ea635ac50674 … with highlights and pictures being impositions by the Editor, Thuppahi

Induction of Tiger recruits into fighter ranks with receipt of the kuppi containing cyanide

Tiger soldiers relaxing in camp with cyanide kuppi around their necks Pix by Shyam Tekwani

 

Historical Background

Understanding the role of religion in the Tamil insurgency requires an understanding of Sri Lanka’s cultural mosaic and of the development of modern nationalism before and after independence from British colonial power. Sri Lanka is a geographically small yet culturally rich and complex island, with numerous ethnic, linguistic, religious, and caste subgroups. The majority of the population identify as ethnically Sinhala, and they speak Sinhala, an Indo-European language. The great majority of the Sinhalese are Theravada Buddhists who live mostly in the south and central regions of the island. A small minority of Sinhalese are Catholics, and some also belong to evangelical Christian churches. The largest minority group in Sri Lanka is the Tamils, who speak Tamil (a South Indian Dravidian language) and comprise several subgroups. The largest of these are the so-called Sri Lankan Tamils, who traditionally have lived in the north and east. The so-called Indian Tamils are labor immigrants from India who were brought in by the British to work in the plantation sector in the highlands. The majority of Tamils are Hindus of the Śaiva Siddhanta tradition, but there are also a significant number who are Catholics and a few to smaller Evangelical denominations. The Tamil Muslims identify based on religious belonging, not on a common ethnic identity, and they speak Tamil. Historically, the Muslim communities are scattered throughout the island; they form a stronghold in urban trading centers in the south but are also farmers in the Tamil-majority Eastern Province. Social stratification based on caste and regional identities was strong in precolonial Lanka, and then the colonial classifications of the island’s inhabitants produced new identities with intensified religious and racial signifiers. These were reproduced in the emerging Tamil and Sinhala nationalisms of the late 19th century.

Continue reading

2 Comments

Filed under accountability, art & allure bewitching, atrocities, authoritarian regimes, caste issues, centre-periphery relations, communal relations, cultural transmission, demography, devolution, discrimination, economic processes, Eelam, electoral structures, ethnicity, female empowerment, fundamentalism, governance, heritage, historical interpretation, Indian religions, insurrections, island economy, landscape wondrous, language policies, law of armed conflict, life stories, LTTE, martyrdom, mass conscription, military strategy, nationalism, patriotism, politIcal discourse, power politics, prabhakaran, riots and pogroms, self-reflexivity, Sinhala-Tamil Relations, sri lankan society, suicide bombing, Tamil civilians, Tamil migration, tamil refugees, Tamil Tiger fighters, terrorism, trauma, truth as casualty of war, unusual people, vengeance, world events & processes

Sri Lankans in Australia: 2016 Census Data …… The Demographic Profile

Item sent to Thuppahi by Victor Melder ….  at https://www.abs.gov.au/census/find-census-data/quickstats/2016/7107_0 …. presented here with some selective highlights from the Thuppahi pen

People 109,853
Male 57,280
Female 52,573
Australian citizen 60.3%
Not an Australian citizen 38.3%

Families 43,816
Couples with children 26,914
Couples without children 13,326
One parent families 2,972
Other families 592

All private dwellings 52,548
Median monthly mortgage repayment $2,100
Median weekly rent paid $351

 

Continue reading

1 Comment

Filed under accountability, Australian culture, australian media, communal relations, demography, economic processes, education, ethnicity, governance, heritage, historical interpretation, immigration, island economy, legal issues, life stories, literary achievements, performance, population, self-reflexivity, sri lankan society, travelogue, unusual people, working class conditions, world events & processes

Frank Rees George: Intrepid Cameleer & Pioneer in Outback Australia

Rob George to Anne Scherer, 25 September 2022

Hi Anne, Michael has passed on your request to me and I am delighted to respond!  George was the camel driver on a geological expedition in 1905/6 led by my great uncle Frank Rees George that led ultimately to Frank’s death in Alice Springs in early 1906.  George wrote a letter to Frank’s mother, Ediva, (known as Nora) and my great grandmother, explaining to her the details of Frank’s incredible journey and his final hours.  It’s a wonderful letter made even more poignant by the fact that it was penned by a man who cannot have had a lot of education.  Please find a copy of the letter attached together with a photo that I think is George with the camels on the expedition.  The letter was originally in a box of family memorabilia that we carted around rural South Australia (my father was a bank manager so we moved frequently) and which he donated to the State Archives in the mid 60’s.  The letter is available at the archives.

Continue reading

1 Comment

Filed under Aboriginality, ancient civilisations, centre-periphery relations, communal relations, cultural transmission, demography, economic processes, ethnicity, heritage, historical interpretation, landscape wondrous, life stories, nature's wonders, self-reflexivity, travelogue, unusual people, world events & processes

Schoolmates in Mourning Haka for the Christchurch Muslim Dead, April 2019

Michael Roberts

My attentiveness to the poignant power of the funeral march for Queen Elizabeth on Monday September the 19th for those attuned to the cultural modalities embodied therein that was presented in an article  immediately afterwards[1] referred to the New Zealand Maori mourning ceremonies involving specific haka performance.[2] Let me illustrate this point by a summary account of one such moment – a poignant moment when New Zealanders assembled to remember the 51 Muslim personnel[3] who had been killed by a White Australian racist as they worshipped at two mosques in Christchurch in South Island on Friday 15th March 2019.[4]

Continue reading

1 Comment

Filed under anti-racism, art & allure bewitching, communal relations, cultural transmission, ethnicity, heritage, landscape wondrous, life stories, patriotism, performance, politIcal discourse, racism, self-reflexivity, trauma, unusual people, vengeance, world events & processes

Thoughts on Planter Lifeways in Ceylon evoked by the Braine Biography

Joe Paiva[1]

Camellia sinensis is a species of evergreen shrubs or small trees in the flowering plant family Theaceae. Its leaves and leaf buds are used to produce tea. Common names include tea plant, tea shrub, and tea tree. Wikipedia. If allowed to grow freely can reach up to 6 ft or more. For commercial agronomic purposes they are maintained as a compact shrub at approximately 4 ft, to increase productivity. And to suit the stature of female tea pickers.

Tea plants grow at the tea plantation in Trabzon, Turkey on June 27, 2022. (Photo by Resul Kaboglu/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

Ratnapura, Sri Lanka – April 23: R. Chitrakumari (left) and K. A. Punchimeneke pick tea leaves in a tea garden on April 23, 2022 in Eheliyagoda, Sri Lanka. 2022

BOP = Broken Orange Pekoe, the very best grade of marketed tea. Flavour. Aroma, Colour. A very refreshing brew.

 

Continue reading

3 Comments

Filed under British colonialism, centre-periphery relations, communal relations, cultural transmission, economic processes, Empire loyalism, ethnicity, heritage, landscape wondrous, life stories, plantations, self-reflexivity, sri lankan society, travelogue, working class conditions

Queen Elizabeth and the Sri Lankan Cricketers, June 1975

Mevan Pieris

I thought it would be interesting for people to see a photograph taken at Buckingham Palace just before the Prudential World Cup matches began in June 1975. Her Majesty the Queen Elizabeth II, hosted for tea all eight teams which participated. This photograph, which is only the right section of the full photograph (selected as all the Sri Lankans are in it), was taken on the flight of steps of the rear of the palace, overlooking a garden.

Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under accountability, art & allure bewitching, centre-periphery relations, cricket for amity, cricket selections, cultural transmission, Empire loyalism, ethnicity, governance, heritage, historical interpretation, landscape wondrous, life stories, nationalism, performance, photography, pilgrimages, politIcal discourse, self-reflexivity, Sinhala-Tamil Relations, sri lankan society, Tamil civilians, tamil refugees, unusual people, world events & processes

Charles S. Braine: A Rajah of a Planter in British Ceylon

One of the Braine Progeny presenting an Item in the History of Ceylon Tea website, entitled “Charles Stanley Braine (1874-1944) – The Rajah of Mawatte”…. https://www.historyofceylontea.com/ceylon-publications/feature-

Charles Stanley was born in Ceylon on 25 December 1874. He was the eldest son of Charles Frederick Braine and Adeline Mary Becher, who had married in London earlier that year.

   

  Charles Stanley Braine: rajah-of-mawatte.html

Continue reading

2 Comments

Filed under anti-racism, British colonialism, centre-periphery relations, communal relations, cultural transmission, economic processes, education, ethnicity, gender norms, heritage, historical interpretation, island economy, landscape wondrous, life stories, patriotism, plantations, plural society, religiosity, self-reflexivity, sri lankan society, tolerance, transport and communications, travelogue, unusual people, world events & processes

Escalation! On the Cusp of World War III?

Fair Dinkum

Putin announces partial mobilisation to boost the forces in Ukraine, as the two Donbass republics and two regions of Ukraine go to a referendum to join the Russian Federation.  If the referendums support joining Russia, then the four areas must formally apply to join Russia. It then goes to the Duma for approval, and if they do, it goes to Putin to sign into law. Perhaps the mobilisation is timed to coincide with these 4 areas joining Russia which would mean Ukraine is at war with Russia, no longer against the two republics in the Donbass. 

Continue reading

1 Comment

Filed under accountability, authoritarian regimes, centre-periphery relations, citizen journalism, demography, ethnicity, foreign policy, governance, historical interpretation, law of armed conflict, life stories, military strategy, politIcal discourse, power politics, truth as casualty of war, Ukraine & Its Ramifications, war reportage, world events & processes