Category Archives: Indian Ocean politics

Lamentations: Jeyaraj’s Black Review of Sri Lankan History

DBS Jeyaraj, in The Daily Mirror, 4 February 2023, where the title reads “75 Years of Independence and the Tamils of Sri Lanka

A SUMMARY: They invited Indian political leaders to the peninsula and held mass rallies and processions. Mahatma Gandhi, Jawaharlal Nehru, C. Rajagopalachariar, Sarojini Nayudu and Kamala Devi Chattopadhyay are some of these.

It was only in 1833 after the Colebrooke-Cameron Reforms of 1832 that predominantly Tamil territories were integrated into a unified Ceylon. Until then they were administered separately.

The rationale was that independence from the British had only resulted in being ruled by the Sinhalese. There was only a change of masters. So, Independence Day was nothing to celebrate, but only to be observed as a black day, it was argued.

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Australia’s Response to the Refugee Problems generated by Sri Lanka’s Civil War in the 2000s and 2010s

Betts & Higgins address the “Migration Policy” pursued by Australia in the context of the refugee problems arising in the context of Sri Lanka’s “Civil War.” [i.e. what most refer to as the “Eelam Wars.”]. The full title is noted below and their “Abstract” is presented.

The infamous Alex Kuhendarajah on the Sumatran(?) coast witha boatlad of Tamil refugees  …. and other pictorial illustrations of refugees and their boats

 

For the benefit of those not familiar with the scenario, the refugees were mostly SL Tamils, but there was a ‘supply chain’ of agents and smuggler boats from Sri Lanka, India and the Indonesian islands that also catered to Sinhala and Muslim personnel seeking “eldorado” in the West via Australia. See some bibliographical items listed at the end which will lead one to even more literature…. Michael Roberts with thanks to Johnny De Silva in Melbourne for converting the file containing the Betts & Higgins article.

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From The Eyes of a 103-Year Old Sri Lankan: 75th Year of Independence!

DL Sirimanne from Kohuwela has reached his century and proceeded another three years beyond. From the vantage of age, he is quite scathing in his concluding summary …. in the Sunday Observer 22 January 2023 … where the title is A bit of Ceylon History. Pass it on to you children”

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China Donates Diesel to Sri Lankan Farmers

News Item in Sri Lanka Mirror,  early January 2023

Arrangements have been made to distribute 6.98 million liters of diesel donated by the Chinese Government for agricultural activities in Sri Lanka to paddy farmers from today (09).

 

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Ranil’s Moves to Resolve Ethnic Issues in Rapid-Action Measures

DBS Jeyaraj, in Daily Mirror, 24 December 2022where the title runs thus: President Ranil’s initiative to resolve Tamil national question” …. & a kind-of sub-heading read  The All Party conference was a success of sorts with all participants agreeing on the need for a power-sharing solution”

The Tamil Progressive Alliance (TPA) leader and Colombo District MP, Mano Ganesan received a telephone call from Ranil Wickremesinghe on 19 July 2022

It was a day before the Presidential election where the MPs were scheduled to vote and elect a new executive President to fill the vacancy created by President Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s resignation. Ranil Wickremesinghe, who was the then Prime Minister and acting as the interim President, was a candidate for the Presidential election.

 

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Re-ordering Sri Lanka’s Debt: The China-Lanka Relations Now

Demystifying China’s Role in Sri Lanka’s Debt RestructuringChina’s President Xi Jinping, left, waves as he walks with then Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa upon arrival at the airport in Colombo, Sri Lanka, Sept. 16, 2014 ….. Credit: AP Photo/Eranga Jayawardena
Currently, Sri Lanka is in the process of restructuring its foreign debt after announcing the country’s first sovereign default on April 12. As the largest bilateral creditor, China is playing a key role in Sri Lanka’s debt restructuring process.

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A Different World Then? Visiting the Maldives in 1950 with Sir John Kotelawela

Government Film Unit Documentary presenting Sir John Koelawela’s Official Visit to the Maldives in 1950

… presented by Anusha Palpita

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The Hill-Country Tamils: Their Shitty-Situation Then … and NOW

Ahilan Kadirgamar, in Daily Mirror, 21 November 2022, where the title reads “Hill-country Tamils and Crisis Times” …. with highlighting imposed by The Editor, Thuppahi

When our country collapses before our own eyes with one of the deepest crises in historical memory, from what vantage point should we analyse our predicament? Sri Lanka’s political economy over the last two centuries is anchored in the travails and strivings of Hill Country Tamils. Their sweat and blood, that began with the horrifying journey from South India two centuries ago as indentured labour to work in the coffee and later tea plantations, were central to building the country’s modern economy under British colonialism. However, their position in society, and for that matter even the writing of their history, was marginalised. And despite the great democratic and social welfare advances in Sri Lanka with universal suffrage in 1931 and a powerful legacy of free healthcare and education, the social, economic and political life of the Hill Country Tamil community is characterised by struggle amidst persistent crisis times.

‘Ceylon tea’ gave Sri Lanka the recognition in the world map, but the plantation workers are still languishing in their ages-old abode, known as line rooms and continue to be marginalised in education, community wellbeing and healthcare.

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Punishing Rajiv Gandhi: Two Moments

Michael Roberts 

The Thuppahi items on the Assassination of Rajiv Gandhi have recently attracted a range of “Hits” …. that is, visitors/viewers. I am puzzled as to why; but list them below – with added reference to the first hit on Rajiv on 30th April 1987 when a Sinhala nationalist seaman from Ratgama attempted to assail him for imposing what is known as the “Indo-Lanka Pact” on Sri Lanka in a conscious move to assist the Tamil liberation movement. Wijemuni De Silva’s blow in fact hit Rajiv’s shoulder in a glancing blow because of the Prime Minister’s quick reaction. It could have been fatal (see “Clobbering …….…,” at https://thuppahis.com/2019/08/08/clobbering-rajiv-gandhi-as-chastisement-in-1987-a-guti-dheema/).

 

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Sikh Troops as British Punishing Rods during the 1915 Riots

Joe Simpson, in Email Note responding to the Thuppahi Item https://thuppahis.com/2021/05/23/percy-colin-thome-and-the-composition-of-the-book-people-inbetween/

Most interesting, Michael. I’ve had the privilege of periodic correspondence with the estimable Ismeth Raheem in the past, and thanks to the kindness of Vancouver, BC-resident Ranil Bibile who agreed to be courier, once sent Ismeth a Giclée reproduction of a previously-unknown 1840s painting by Andrew Nicholl from his outbound voyage to Colombo, the original of which has been purchased by a British Columbia collector with whom I’d been in touch.
In regards to your attached bibliography, specifically the scholarly article on the 1915 communal riots that particularly affected the Galle-Tangalle area, while I was on VSO teaching at Richmond College (1973-74) some RCG colleagues and I were in Matara on our way to visit a rural jungle primary school in the Moneragala area, when we fell into conversation with an elderly local, who had been a fisherman all his working life [photo taken then].

 

 

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