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.
Filed under accountability, British colonialism, Buddhism, caste issues, centre-periphery relations, communal relations, democratic measures, devolution, disparagement, economic processes, education, electoral structures, ethnicity, governance, heritage, historical interpretation, Indian General Elections, Indian traditions, island economy, land policies, language policies, Left politics, life stories, literary achievements, modernity & modernization, nationalism, parliamentary elections, patriotism, plantations, politIcal discourse, power politics, self-reflexivity, Sinhala-Tamil Relations, sri lankan society, transport and communications, unusual people, working class conditions, world events & processes
I have met PK Balachandran on a couple of occasions in Sri Lanka in connection with its political developments at specific points of time. I have always found him a straightforward and earnest person. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science and a Masters in Sociology, both from the University of Delhi. He has resided in Sri Lanka since 1997, working initially for The Hindustan Times before moving to the Indo-Asian News Service for a short while and then joining The New Indian Express. He therefore brings a depth of local experience that few foreign reporters will match. When I came across US Ambassador Robert Blake’s Address in Chennai in late October 2008 and decided to present a critical essay on its implications as one facet of a critique of Blake’s readings of the ongoing war in early 2009 that was already in the public realm (with a caustic title “Blake in Never-Neverland”), I sent that article as well as Blake’s Address to Bala. Typically and efficiently, Bala replied at once. The outcome has been a series of short and long ‘notes’ of immense value.
I reproduce them in full in temporal order, with my inquiries included where requisite, because of the empirical data in the form of Bala’s recollection of events and, last but not least, Bala’s assessment of the overarching political and foreign policy scenario. Indeed, they bring into question some facets of my own interpretation I conveyed in an article that appeared yesterday. Continue reading
Filed under accountability, american imperialism, devolution, gordon weiss, governance, historical interpretation, human rights, Indian General Elections, Indian Ocean politics, LTTE, military strategy, politIcal discourse, power politics, power sharing, prabhakaran, Sinhala-Tamil Relations, sri lankan society, Tamil civilians, Tamil Tiger fighters, the imaginary and the real, truth as casualty of war, war reportage, world events & processes
The title for this item is inspired by that riveting film from 1998 entitled Saving Private Ryan with Tom Hanks in the lead role.
KEY QUOTATION: “It is said that the LTTE was agreeable to USA’s direct involvement, but they were not agreeable to locking the weapons. The USA had also started preparing for the Mullivaikal operation. Accordingly, PACOM’s Naval unit, Marine Expediency Brigade, will land at the Mullaithivu shores; and the Navy and the Air Force of PACOM will also join in this operation” … being just one stick of dynamite in “Mullivaikal Last Stages: Facts Unknown to the Tamil-Speaking World,” by Fr. Gaspar Raj, an essay in Tamil translated by one “ M N” for Nakeeran and then presented to the world by Sri Lanka Guardian on 23rd June 2010.
Fr. Gaspar Raj Talaivar Pirapāharan in his guerrilla days
This essay was re-discovered by accident when I went through my computer files recently and becomes extremely important in the light of (A) the recent review article by Daya Gamage; (B) the startling facts and manoeuvres that are displayed in the raw within the US Embassy despatches of 2009 made available by Wikileaks; and (C) by the veteran journalist PK Balachandran’s information on Revd. Fr. Jegath Gaspar Raj’s role in 2009 and his endorsement of key facts in the Gaspar Raj essay…….inserted here at the end of the article by Gaspar Raj. Michael Roberts.
Filed under american imperialism, atrocities, Eelam, historical interpretation, Indian General Elections, Indian Ocean politics, landscape wondrous, life stories, LTTE, military strategy, politIcal discourse, power sharing, prabhakaran, Rajapaksa regime, Sinhala-Tamil Relations, sri lankan society, Tamil migration, truth as casualty of war, wikileaks, world events & processes
Sanjay Subramanian, courtesy of the New York Review of Books, where the title reads “India after English?”
A scene at Calcutta in mid-May 2014 —Pic by Piyal Adhikary/epa/Corbis
In the days since the decisive victory of Narendra Modi and his conservative Bharatiya Janata Party in India’s national election, many Indian commentators have perceived a turning point in Indian politics. Modi’s critics sense, in his sweeping mandate, an ominous revival of Hindu nationalism; his supporters maintain that he won because of his robust economic record in Gujarat, where he was Chief Minister from 2001 to 2014. Few on either side, though, dispute that Modi’s political rise signals, in part, a rejection by voters of India’s traditional political elite. Continue reading
Filed under accountability, British colonialism, cultural transmission, economic processes, education, governance, heritage, Hinduism, historical interpretation, Indian General Elections, Indian traditions, life stories, politIcal discourse, Rajiv Gandhi, unusual people, world events & processes
A SELECT BIBLIOGRAPHY from May 2014
Sunday Leader: “Mixed Reactions To Modi,” in May
Sunday Leader Editorial: “Modi’s First Hurdle Over Sri Lanka,” Sunday Leader, 25 May 2014.
Malinda Seneviratne: “Modi as gonibilla and maverick’s plaything,” Nation, 25 May 2014.
Shenali D Waduge: “Modi’s balancing act: Hindu Nationalism vs. neo-colonial corporate agenda,” Daily News, 31 May 2014.
Lucien Rajakarunanayake: “Modi and the Aspirations of the Tamils,” Sunday Island, 1 June 2014,
Lucien Rajakarunanayake: “Modi’s comprehensive victory,” http://thuppahis.com/2014/05/17/modis-comprehensive-triumph-lucien-rajakarunayakes-review/ Continue reading
Filed under accountability, cultural transmission, economic processes, governance, Hinduism, historical interpretation, Indian General Elections, Indian Ocean politics, landscape wondrous, patriotism, politIcal discourse, Sinhala-Tamil Relations, the imaginary and the real, world affairs
Rajesh Venugopal, courtesy of http://groundviews.org/2014/05/23/brassed-off/ where the title is “Brassed Off. and where comments will be found.
In 2014, the year when Bollywood’s most popular ‘item’ song featured an Indo-Canadian porn star lip-syncing a song called ‘Baby Doll’, India elected a conservative Hindu chauvinist as its prime minister. Narendra Modi’s extraordinary ascent to power from humble party worker to a national icon of communal violence to hyper-efficient developmentalist leader is intriguing and revealing in itself, but let’s leave that aside for now.
The poll surveys and election data shows that the demographic most responsible for placing him in harm’s way came largely from young upper caste North Indian Hindus. Draw a line from Mangalore in the south-west to Darjeeling in the north-east – and with the exception of tiny pockets in Punjab and Kashmir, the saffron wave swept the vast majority of parliamentary seats to the north and west of that line. Continue reading