Daya ….. Rohan…. Shyam…. Riaz ….. what a South Asian spread! …………………. a dinkie-die curry’
I = Michael Roberts: An Explanatory Preamble Cast in May 2020
By 2004 I had retired from teaching in the Anthropology Department at Adelaide University and was proceeding with the pursuit of my research interests at my own pace within my limited resources. Sri Lanka and my connections therein was one such resource. When researching in Colombo in late November 2004 I flew to Jaffna on a wing and a prayer with the intention of exploring the Tamil Tiger “cult of suicide.” Previous contacts with two Tamil Canadians and a visit to the University of Jaffna as soon as I landed assisted me no end: partly via the invaluable support provided by the Krishnaswamy family and the readiness of their medical student son Chenthan to become my aide and guide during peregrinations within the Peninsula.
Filed under atrocities, Australian culture, chauvinism, communal relations, cultural transmission, economic processes, education, ethnicity, fundamentalism, heritage, Hinduism, historical interpretation, immolation, Indian religions, Indian traditions, Islamic fundamentalism, jihad, landscape wondrous, life stories, literary achievements, LTTE, martyrdom, nationalism, performance, politIcal discourse, power politics, religiosity, religious nationalism, security, self-reflexivity, Sinhala-Tamil Relations, sri lankan society, suicide bombing, Tamil Tiger fighters, terrorism, the imaginary and the real, trauma, truth as casualty of war, unusual people, vengeance, war reportage, world events & processes
T. S. Subramanium,in Frontline, 7 December 2018, with photos by Velankanni Raj …. where the title runs “The Palaces of Chettinad”
The palatial decorated homes of Chettiars in the Chettinad region of Tamil Nadu are symbols of a colonial-era architectural heritage marked by opulence. The stately mansions of Nattukottai Chettiars of the Chettinad region in Tamil Nadu are a statement of the affluence the mercantile community enjoyed at the height of its prosperity during the British Raj. The palatial houses, with the built-up area measuring anywhere between 20,000 square feet (1,858 sq. metres) and 70,000 sq. ft (6,503 sq. m), were mostly built in the period between the early 1800s and the 1940s. The Chettiars had set up flourishing trading and business enterprises in Burma (now Myanmar), Ceylon (now Sri Lanka), Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia (including Java and Sumatra), Vietnam, Mauritius and the Philippines.
At the Chettinad palace, a large patio with “thinnais”
Filed under architects & architecture, art & allure bewitching, cultural transmission, heritage, Hinduism, Indian religions, Indian traditions, landscape wondrous, self-reflexivity, the imaginary and the real, travelogue, unusual people, world affairs
Lopamudra Maitra Bajpai, in newsin.asia, 17 September 2018, where the title reads “Vishwakarma, the celestial architect who built Sri Lanka”
The Vishwakarma puja, which was observed on September 17, is not restricted to India but is observed in Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Nepal and Bhutan. The puja closely follows the celebration of the Ganapati festival. In some places, it is performed the day after Diwali in October or November.
Vishwakarma puja or Kanya Sankranti is celebrated in the Indian states of Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and Jharkhand in North India; Karnataka in the south; and Assam, West Bengal Odisha and Tripura in the east, in honour of Vishwakarma – the celestial architect.
Vishwakarma idols of Bengal made of clay
Filed under art & allure bewitching, cultural transmission, elephant tales, female empowerment, heritage, Hinduism, historical interpretation, Indian traditions, landscape wondrous, life stories, pilgrimages, psychological urges, Saivism, sri lankan society, the imaginary and the real, world events & processes
Shannine Daniel, courtesy of Roar Media, 6 December 2017, where the title is “When Architecture and Buddhism Came Together. The Guard Stones Of Ancient Sri Lanka”
The ruins of Sri Lanka’s ancient kingdoms are a testament to the architectural skill of our ancestors. They have several unique architectural features including intricately carved stairs, the moonstones that lie at the foot of the stairs, and the guard stones that are placed on either side of the stairs at the entrances to these historic and religious sites. Among these, the guard stones, known as muragal in Sinhalese, are particularly fascinating. These features of Sinhalese architecture have both practical and decorative purposes.
Some academics believe that the concept of guard stones found its way to Sri Lanka from India
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Upul Wijayawardhana, courtesy of Daily News
The systematic suppression of women, persisting over centuries, has been legitimised, largely by religions and is an art-form mastered by ‘Men in Robes’. At the dawn of civilisation, women were considered superior for the simple reason that only they could produce an offspring for the continuation of the species. There is evidence to show that in Mesopotamia, one of the cradles of civilisation, if not ‘The Cradle of Civilisation’, there was equality. In the early Sumerian period, “a council of elders”, represented equally by men and women, ruled the population but gradually a patriarchal society emerged.
Filed under accountability, Buddhism, cultural transmission, discrimination, education policy, female empowerment, fundamentalism, gender norms, heritage, Hinduism, historical interpretation, Indian religions, Indian traditions, legal issues, life stories, welfare & philanthophy, world events & processes
Richard Drayton, In search of Christopher Bayly,” keynote, for the Memorial Symposium for Sir Christopher Alan Bayly St Catharine’s College, Cambridge May 21, 2016
‘Va, pensiero, su alli’ dorate’ – ‘Fly thought on wings of gold’, spread from a small choir to a crowd of thousands in Paris on the night of April 30, the 30th night of the “Nuit Debout” occupation of the Place de La Republique.1 The “Song of the Hebrew slaves” from Verdi’s Nabucco, once the anthem through which Garibaldi and Mazzini’s followers had lamented Austria’s Babylonian tyranny, became a symbol in 2016 of a month’s defiance of the French state’s proscription of public protest. Continue reading
Filed under British colonialism, centre-periphery relations, communal relations, cultural transmission, economic processes, governance, heritage, Hinduism, historical interpretation, Indian religions, Indian traditions, life stories, meditations, modernity & modernization, pilgrimages, politIcal discourse, power politics, the imaginary and the real, unusual people, world events & processes
Ranga Kalugampitiya, courtesy of Colombo Telegraph, dated 20 July 2015, where the title runs ‘Rāvanā & Sinhala Buddhism: A Strained Relationship Ridden With Contradictions”…. The version here being embellished with Editorial highlighting.
Rāvanā, one of the principal characters in the Rāmāyana, emerges as a villain in the mainstream (Hindu) understandings of the text. Given the important position that Rāmā (Rāvanā’s opponent), who is believed to be a manifestation of Viśnu, occupies in the Hindu religious tradition, Rāvanā becomes a symbol of evil in those readings of the text.
Nevertheless, the conceptualizations of Rāvanā within the context of Sinhala Buddhist nationalism point to alternative perspectives on the character. One such perspective that has emerged in the post-2009 Sri Lankan context shows a tendency to idealize Rāvanā as a national hero. The present paper argues that the relationship between Rāvanā and Sinhala Buddhism that this conceptualization suggests is ridden with certain contradictions that Sinhala Buddhist nationalism fails to address successfully. Continue reading
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Deciphering Religious Rivalries in South and Southeast Asia
Ethnic Conflict in Buddhist Societies in South and Southeast Asia. The Politics behind Religious Rivalries, edited by K.M. de Silva, 2015 (pp. 270 +xvi)
The book aims to examine the role of Buddhism as a factor of conflict in the three main Theravada Buddhist societies of South and Southeast Asia—Sri Lanka, Thailand and Myanmar. The dispute in this island had engaged the attention of Sri Lanka’s political class for the two previous decades, while political analysts from Sri Lanka and others from various parts of the world examined the impact of Buddhism on the Sri Lanka polity and the prolonged ethnic conflict in Sri Lanka. The situation in Thailand and Myanmar provided a convenient comparative basis in the reviews and in the literature in these three Buddhist societies. Continue reading
Filed under centre-periphery relations, cultural transmission, economic processes, electoral structures, ethnicity, governance, heritage, Hinduism, historical interpretation, Indian Ocean politics, Indian religions, Indian traditions, Islamic fundamentalism, landscape wondrous, language policies, legal issues, life stories, literary achievements, modernity & modernization, Muslims in Lanka, nationalism, politIcal discourse, power politics, Rajapaksa regime, reconciliation, religious nationalism, self-reflexivity, Sinhala-Tamil Relations, slanted reportage, sri lankan society, Tamil civilians, the imaginary and the real, tolerance, truth as casualty of war, welfare & philanthophy, world events & processes