Category Archives: Indian Ocean politics

François Valentijn’s Description of Ceylon

Thiru Arumugam in The Ceylankan Vol 26/3, August 2023, where  the title reads “François Valentijn wrote a 462 page ‘Description of Ceylon’ 300 years ago … Part 2” ……… Part 1 having appeared in The Ceylankan J 102 Vol 26(2) May 2023, pp 24-25. …..  also by Thiru Arumugam

First and Second Chapters [Geography] For his sources of information about the geography and history of Ceylon up to the Portugueseperiod, Valentijn relies on the Portuguese writer Diogo do Couto’s Ceylon section of his books Decadas da Asia (Decades of Asia)5. Couto was Chief Keeper of the Records in Goa from 1595 to 1616. Goa was the Asian headquarters of the Portuguese. Valentijn also took information from the Dutch writer Father Philippus Baldeus6, who lived in Jaffna from about 1656 to 1665. For the description of the interior of Ceylon he relies on Robert Knox7, as the Portuguese and Dutch had limited access to these areas. There was a pirated Dutch translation of Knox’s book by S de Vries published in Utrecht in 1692 and Valentijn would have used this translation. Valentijn plagiarised freely, sometimes copying entire sections from these books. In those halcyon pre-copyright days, the printed word was considered public property!

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Central SL Navy Role in the Defeat of the LTTE, 2007-09

Michael Roberts

In responding to an email note from the Trinitian MOHAN SAHAYAM re another Trinitian TRAVIS SINNIAH, I proceeded to search for my articles on the role of Commodores Wasantha Karannagoda and Travis Sinniah in identifying and sinking the LTTE’s (illegal?) merchant navy supply ships way out in the Indian Ocean and sinking them in 2007 (a central element in defeating the LTTE).

These are some of my chance FINDS.

 

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Remembering Lakshman Kadirgamar: Sri Lanka First

DBS Jeyaraj, inDaily Telegraph,16 August 2023 .. where the title reads Lakshman Kadirgamar’s Jaffna Tamil Christian heritage”

Lakshman Kadirgamar’s 18th death anniversary was observed last Saturday. The former foreign minister fell victim to a Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) sniper in Colombo on 12 August 2005. Kadirgamar was one who defined himself first and foremost as a Sri Lankan. This endeared Kadirgamar to a very large number of Sri Lankans. However the fact remains that he was by ethnicity a Tamil and a Christian by religion. His parents hailed from Jaffna. This article focuses on Lakshman Kadirgamar’s Jaffna Tamil Christian heritage.

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Canadian Double Standards ….. Both At Home & In Lanka

Professor Chandre Dharmawardena

According to The Island newspaper, 25 of July 2023 [1], the Canadian High Commissioner Eric Walsh in Colombo has barged into the controversy on the Kurundi archeological site. The Canadian HC had met T. Raviharan, a politician who spearheads the protests at the Kurundi site. HC Walsh’s explanation is that “Meeting people in different parts of the country, to better understand their priorities and perspectives, is a normal part of a High Commissioner’s role.”  These words ring hollow if he does NOT meet anyone from the “other side”, or the Archaeological Commissioner and other technical people.

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Hindu Zealots of the RSS target Sri Lanka

PK Balachandran in Email Note to Roberts, late July 2023, with highlighting being my imposition

The RSS  has begun exploiting the Tamil issue to spread its Hindutwa ideology. The idea is to win over the Lankan Tamils to its side by discrediting the secular Tamil identity in SL. None of the speakers listed has any knowledge of the Lankan Tamil issue. Tamil Nadu BJP leader K.Annamalai has already visited Sri Lanka and is trying to put up an RSS-BJP unit here. Very dangerous development. The Sri Lankan government should make certain that Sarath Weerasekara and the monks don’t do anything anti-Hindu. It is sad that this ís happening when India-Lankan relations are improving thanks to the correct policies of Modi and Ranil. Continue reading

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A “Fernandopulle” from Sri Lanka brightens Aussie Headlines

Frontpage Headline in THE AUSTRALIAN, 17 July 2023 = “Students take housing shortage to next level”

“Internaional students Isi Larraguibel, Rowen Fernandopulle, Jaden Amba and Rois Maullers in Brisbane on Sunday”

 

…. visit … https://www.theaustralian.com.au/subscribe/news/1/?sourceCode=TAWEB_WRE …. AND TRY TO  negotiate their money-seeking hoops if you wish to read the whole article

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 François Valentijn’s Book on Ceylon in 1724-26

Thiru Arumugam, in The CEYLANKAN, 2023, where the heading runs thus: “François Valentijn wrote a 462 page ‘Description of Ceylon’ 300 years ago” 

Part 1: Francois Valentijn (1666–1727), Fig. 1, was a Dutch Calvinist Minister employed by the Dutch East India Company (Vereenigde Oost Indische Compagnie or VOC) which established its Asian base in Batavia, which is present day Jakarta in Indonesia. Between 1724 and 1726 he published a book in Dutch titled Oud en Nieuw Oost-Indien1 (Old and New East Indies) which was in five volumes and eight books in all. The book describes various countries including Ceylon. His description of Ceylon is in Volume 5 and is 462 pages long. The interesting point is that he never set foot in Ceylon!

D98PE4 Ds. Francois Valentijn, famous for his voluminous work on the Dutch East India Company, a clever compilation from essays or studies, written by others. His book contains a lengthy chapter under the heading ‘Descriptions of the Cape of Good Hope’, 1726.

 

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Kochi: A Jewish Town without Jews

Christabel Lobo, in  Times of Israel,  20 December 2020 ,where the title reads thus: “India’s Jew Town only has a few Jews left, but traditions and landmarks remain”A sign denotes Kochi's 'Jew street,' as it is known locally, which once was a hub of Indian Jewish life. (Christabel Lobo/ via JTA)

  • A sign denotes Kochi’s ‘Jew street,’ as it is known locally, which once was a hub of Indian Jewish life. (Christabel Lobo/ via JTA)

KOCHI, India (JTA) …………Take a walk down this coastal city’s “Jew street” today and you’ll find bustling Kasmiri storefronts selling Persian antiques, pashmina shawls and traditional Islamic handicrafts — a stark contrast to the neighborhood’s heyday when every household was Jewish.

“There are only two people left in Jew Town. One very old, who spends most of her time in Los Angeles, and one other,” said Shalva Weil, a senior researcher at the Seymour Fox School of Education at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and a leading figure on the Jewish communities of India.

Once a vibrant community of approximately 3,000 at its peak in the 1950s, only a handful of elderly Jews now remain in a city of some 677,000. According to Weil, there really is no community in Kochi anymore

“You won’t find more than five or 10 Jews,” she said.

Unlike other dwindling Jewish communities around the world, the Jews of Kochi did not leave their country due to persecution or hardship. Rather, it was the creation of the State of Israel in 1948 that attracted many from the mostly Orthodox community to emigrate and start a new life in the Jewish homeland.

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Amitav Ghosh: Straddling the Mediterranean & Indian Worlds

Dr. Shalva Weil, in https://ejewishphilanthropy.com/in-an-ancient-land-trade-and-synagogues-in-south-india/

The Calcutta-born novelist Amitav Ghosh tells the tale, in his novel In an Ancient Land, of a medieval traveler by the name of Abraham Ben Yiju who conducted an import/export business from Cairo through Aden to India. Ben Yiju was a member of the Synagogue of Ben Ezra, or the”Synagogue of the Palestinians”, as it used to be known while it was still standing, in Cairo, at the end of the nineteenth century. It was in that synagogue that congregation members used to accumulate and store their papers and manuscripts. The last In an Ancient Land Revisited Trade and Synagogues in South India document that is known to have been deposited in this Genizah was a get, a divorce settlement, authorized in Bombay (today Mumbai).

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Two Sinhala Bowlers win Tamil Indian Hearts via Chennai Super Kings

Venkat B Krishna in The Indian Express, 24 May 2023…. where the title reads “How CSK’s Tamil fans fell in love with two Sinhalese players Pathirana and Theekshana””

Things have changed after years of strained relationship when CSK were forced not to play Sri Lankan players at home, and a famous actor had to pull out of a Muralitharan biopic.

There is something special brewing in Chennai this season apart from their obsession with MS Dhoni. Two Sri Lankan cricketers – Matheesha Pathirana and Maheesh Theekshana – have become the fans favourite at the MA Chidambaram Stadium, where not so long ago players from the Island nation couldn’t take the field because political tensions in the aftermath of the Eelam war that ended in 2009.

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