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
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.
Presented here is the stone and concrete lighthouse constructed around 1851-52 at the south-western corner of Galle Fort ………. replacing the cast-iron structure that was specially fabricated in England and shipped to Ceylon. That cast-iron lighting ‘unit’ was burnt down by accident in 1849-50.
The rare image was recently made available to Thuppahi by Bunchy Rahuman — an old Aloysian mate of Michael Roberts and one time resident in the fort.
The image is one of the earliest datable calotype photographs the world has seen. Calotype photographs are partly hand-coloured. Calotype was concurrently invented not soon after the Daguerreotype.
The tale of the lifeworld of Charles Braine (1877-1944) in British Ceylon presented by one of his descendants https://thuppahis.com/2022/09/21/charles-s-braine-a-rajah-of-a-planter-in-british-ceylon/ generated a side-issue: sex and/or marriage between the British personnel managing the tea, rubber and coconut plantations in British Ceylon and the labour force they commanded. The inequalities in power placed unequal sexual advantages for the planter periya dorais …. and illicit children were one outcome in some instances – a process that probably continued into the second third of the 20th century when Sri Lankans of upper-crust status with an educational background in the best local schools began to gain entry to planter-jobs.
Unlike some of his compatriots, the Englishman Charles Braine kept house with his common-law Sinhalese wife, Engracia Nona: together they fostered and educated a lively family of nine children.
Interest in this tale and comments from Joe Paiva and Errol Fernando led me to two topics of some consequence: (A) the presence in the island of an ethnic category identified as “Eurasians” as distinct from the Burghers;** and (B) the endearing and enduring work of an orphanage known as the Evelyn Nursery that had been launched by a British lady with a large heart that was matched by her architectural and organisational skill: Ms Lena Chapman ( ….).
Thanks to his experience in the design of great works of iron, in 1889 Gustave Eiffel managed to erect a tower over 300 meters high for the Universal Exhibition in Paris.
Face of Gustave Eiffel at the base of the tower
Although he was an excellent engineer, Gustave Eiffel’s success rested even more on his skills as an entrepreneur. In 1887 he signed a contract by which the French State and the city of Paris would provide a subsidy of 1.5 million francs; 25 percent of the total construction cost. To obtain the remaining funds, Eiffel created a joint-stock company with a capital of five million francs, half of which was contributed by three banks and the other by Eiffel himself. Despite the fact that the expenses rose 2.5 million more, Eiffel managed to recover the entire investment in a few months thanks to the income from the sale of tickets, which he received by virtue of a 20-year operating license.
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.
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.