A recent article by Dishan Joseph (see below) has marked the role of a commando outfit known as the SBS, or Special Boat Service, that was developed within the Sri Lankan Navy (SLN) during the Eelam Wars. The story is complex and demands an elaborate ‘companion piece’ that is attentive to time, combat locations, initiatives and the lessons derived from a remarkable and formidable enemy, namely, the Sea Tigers. In war one becomes like one’s opponent in order to survive. The innovativeness of the LTTE was monumental and its sea-faring capacities were one reason why it outdid-and-outbid the other Tamil militant organisations in the fight to lead the claim for independence for Thamililam during the 1980s/1990s.
Professor Marnie Hughes-Warrington to speak on THE ETHICS of HISTORY and thus promote a Live Discussion, 14 April 2021, courtesy of Merton College, Oxford
Since the pandemic began, we have adapted our events programme to move online, and we are pleased to announce that our next 40 Years Series online lecture, a part of our Merton Women: 40 Years celebrations, will be airing live at a time more suitable for our alumni in Asia, Australasia and the Pacific.
Shihan de Silva Jayasuriya, providing an Abstract of her article “Africa in South Asia: Hybridity in Sri Lankan Kaffrinha”
As public spaces become arenas to display cultural memories, Afro-descendants in South Asia become more visible. Emerging local histories further complement the trajectories of Africans and facilitate recognition of Afro-descendants. In my paper “Africa in South Asia: hybridity in Sri Lankan Kaffrinha” published in South Asian History and Culture (2020). I explore connections between Africa and Asia through a genre of music and dance called kaffrinha which enriched the colonial Sri Lankan culturescape and, continues in the postcolonial. In the absence of historical records of kaffrinha for centuries, I have explored alternative narratives – song texts, music scores, dance movements, paintings and frescoes in order to map the dynamics of kaffrinha.
Whilst the transatlantic slave trade has overwhelmed the historiography of Africa, the forced easterly movement of Africans is only receiving scholarly attention in the twenty first century. Movement of Africans from the Continent is not characterised by the slave trade alone. Not surprisingly, free Africans moved eastwards as missionaries, soldiers, sailors and traders. Forced migration was concurrent with free migration.
Tamara Kunanayakam, with black highlights being her para headlines and the others my imposition as Editor, Thuppahi
This is in response to Hiran Cooray and extracts he posted about me from Wiki[eaks]. I would like to make the following corrections and clarifications.
On my family: I was born in Nuwara Eliya (not Colombo), where my father, as a government servant, had been posted. As an active member of the GCSU, he spent his working life as a government servant being transferred from one ‘punishment station’ to another for his trade union activities. In 1947, as Colombo leader of the GCSU (with TB Illangaratne as its President then), he led the Colombo walk-out that led to Sri Lanka’s first General Strike, (Sri Lanka was(then “Ceylon” and still under British colonial rule). Because of his eternal transfers (Polonnaruwa, Matale, Anuradhapura, Badulla, Nuwara Eliya …), until he took early retirement and began working full time training trade unionists, we all lived literally out of our suitcases with my brother and I in boarding school in Colombo. Continue reading →
ONE — A Letter in Sadness from Professor Veena Das to Pradeep Jeganathan, January 2021
First of all, I want to convey my sadness and my gratefulness and to some extent my rage that this has happened and that I will never see that radiant smile and that integrity and brilliance anymore. Any such death at my stage of life makes me angry and sorrowful as to why the young are being taken. The war undid so many of us in so many ways and why would it not do that? So what kind of miracle is it that Malathi let herself be deeply affected by the war but not be undone by it? You must know that I loved her work and her personality just as I love your work and know what struggles you have been through.
Our whole nation has been enchanted by the mesmerizing performance of a young girl from Galle hitting the jackpot at the Sirasa Lakshapathi quiz programme. No doubt Shukra is a very gifted and intelligent girl with a superb photographic memory, who has made the best use of the very limited resources available to her. Her all-encompassing knowledge of Sri Lankan history, literature and Buddhism as well as in international affairs, world history and matters of science was really amazing. She has been reading books of every kind and could remember many facts in those books. What impressed me most was her determination, keeping her cool at times of much stress while answering difficult questions, characteristics rarely seen in a 17-year old schoolgirl.
Australia’s Claire Polosak will make history on Saturday as she becomes the first female umpire to stand in a men’s ODI when she officiates in the final of the World Cricket League Division 2 between Namibia and Oman.
PLUS: For the first time in 144 years of Test-match cricket, a woman – Australia’s Claire Polosak– has officiated in the longest format of the game, as the fourth or reserve umpire, in the third Test between Australia and India, which started at the SCG on Thursday.
R.T. conveying a Vale from “City Dweller” …. [it is now revealed that “R.T.” is Roger Thiedeman of Melbourne
In July this year , Aimée Jonklaas Williams, a woman of Ceylonese birth, died in Spain, just short of her 81st birthday. Her ashes were interred in an English village on July 20. Early in August, in another Sri Lankan newspaper, a close friend using the pseudonym “City Dweller” wrote a moving tribute in celebration of the life of this remarkable woman.
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.