Category Archives: Indian religions

Religion within Tamil Militancy and the LTTE

  Iselin Frydenlund, presenting her article in Oxford Encyclopedia of Religion, May 2018, …. one entitledTamil Militancy in Sri Lanka and the Role of Religion” …. https://sangam.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/04/Tamil-Militancy-in-Sri-Lanka-and-the-Role-of-Religion.pdf  … OR … https://www.semanticscholar.org/paper/Tamil-Militancy-in-Sri-Lanka-and-the-Role-of-Frydenlund/4cbf5235611dd3407dfa3a2962e6ea635ac50674 … with highlights and pictures being impositions by the Editor, Thuppahi

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

 

Historical Background

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.

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In Appreciation of Professor Riaz Hassan: Two Accolades as Vale

 

 

 

 

 

 

ONE …. Joanne Barker: A Memory about RIAZ HASSAN

From 1992-2006 I worked at Flinders University in various positions, finally leaving in 2006 as the faculty general manager of one of the four faculties. In around 1993-4 when I was still in my early 30s and quite new at the university, I came to know Riaz Hassan as one of the professors. He probably didn’t know my name, but he was always kind and smiled and said hello if we passed on campus.

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A Tamil Saivite Temple in Australia: Sustaining Community Amidst Linguistic Diversity

A Notice re a NEW BOOK on the negotiation of language and identity in a Tamil Saivite Temple in Australia by NILRUKSHI PERERA

Diversity is a buzzword of our times and yet the extent of religious diversity in Western societies is generally misconceived. This ground-breaking research draws attention to the journey of one migrant religious institution in an era of religious superdiversity.

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Analysing the Many Threads of Religiosity in Sri Lanka

Lynn Ockersz, in The Island, 19 August 2022, where the title reads An incisive exploration of Sri Lanka’s religiosity” with highlighting imposed by The Editor, Thuppahi

This timely publication could be described as a revelation of the fascinating nature of Sri Lanka’s religiosity. It is almost customary to refer to Sri Lanka as a ‘religious country,’ but it is not often that one comes across scholarly discussions on the subject locally. ‘Multi-Religiosity in Contemporary Sri Lanka..’, a collection of research papers put together in book form, fills this void most adequately.

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Buddhist Temples in Lanka: Evocative Thoughts

Uditha Devapriya, in The Island, 9 April 2022, … With input from and photographs by Manusha Lakshan … & bearing this title  “Some reflections on the temples of the South”

The social and cultural history of Buddhist temples in Sri Lanka has been the object of study for well over a century. Far from receding into a world of their own, these temples occupied a prominent place in the world around them. Buddhist monks lived under a code of piety and self-denial, and they operated under their own rules and customs. Yet despite being cut off from mundane concerns, they were very much linked to the society they hailed from. Granted entire villages for their upkeep, the clergy made use of the social institutions of their time, most prominently caste, to maintain their hold.

 

 Ceityagiri, 

Dharmasalava, Pushparama Continue reading

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Obeyesekere’s New Book on the Kandyan Kingdom

Uditha Devapriya, reviewing Gananath Obeyesekere’s new book The Many Faces of the Kandyan Kingdom (1591-1765) Colombo, Perera-Hussein, 2020, 200 pp., Rs. 1,200 ... with ‘arbitrary’ highlighting imposed by the Editor, Thuppahi

In 1602, the year of the Dutch East India Company’s founding, Joris van Spilbergen reached the shores of Sri Lanka after setting sail from the seaport of Veere in Holland a year earlier. Tasked with opening up trade negotiations with the King of Kandy, Vimaladharmasuriya, Spilbergen bore with him a letter from the Prince of Orange, acknowledging their willingness to counter the Portuguese. Not for one moment underestimating the Portuguese presence in the island, though, they disembarked at Batticaloa, which fell under the jurisdiction of the Kandyan Court. They anchored off the coast on May 31.

 

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Robert Knox’s Journeys: Producing His Book …. Two

Thiru Arumugam, in The Ceylankan, Vol 25/1, Feb. 2022, where the title reads “A Three Hundred and Forty-Year Book-about-Ceylon”

Captain Robert Knox (1642-1720) of the East India Company
*oil on canvas
*126 x 102.8 cm
*1711
*inscribed b.l.: AEtat: 66
*inscribed b.l.: P: Trampon : Pinx (on the chair)
*inscribed c.r.: R: Knox: (on the quadrant)
*inscribed c.r.: Memoires of my owne Life: 1708 (on the notebook)

 

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Romila Thapar’s ZOOM Lecture on The Museum in India

Professor ROMILA THAPAR to deliver the Dr. ROLAND SILVA MEMORIAL LECTURE for the National Trust on 27th January 2022 at 6.00 pm on Zoom….

yes  ZOOM

Prof. Romila Thapar  who is a Professor of Ancient History, Emerita, at the Jawaharlal Nehru University in New Delhi. The notice of the Lecture is appended (or attached) and we welcome you all to participate.

Roland Silva

 

 

 

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Yogini. Stolen Artefacts and Sotheby’s Shame

Dalya Alberge, in The Guardian  5 December 2021, https://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/2021/dec/04/looted-and-left-in-an-english-garden-the-goat-goddess-can-return-to-india

Looted and left in an English garden, the goat goddess can return to India. The statue, once on sale at Sotheby’s, was recovered amid claims it was part of a precious trove of stolen.

 

For more than 20 years, those who lived in and around the village of Lokhari in Uttar Pradesh, India, have prayed for the return of an important statue of a goddess that was stolen from a local temple. Now those prayers have been answered. The 8th-century goat-headed deity has been discovered thousands of miles away – in an English country garden, covered in moss.

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Self-Immolation in Protest: Reflections

Michael Roberts, reproducing here an expanded version of article printed in Lanka Monthly Digest, September 1999, Vol 6:2, pp. 56-57…. with citations added.

 

 

 

 

 

A Kurd in Germany immolates self in protest vs Ocalan’s fate

 ONE : In February 1999 a Kurdish nationalist leader, Ocalan, was caught by the Turkish authorities. Kurdish refugees in the Western world erupted in protest. In London a young girl Neila Kanteper set herself alight. In Sydney a young lad was caught on camera with petrol can and cigarette lighter as he threatened similar action. As I walked into the local news-agency in Adelaide that week the proprietor[1] waved the picture of Kanteper in flames in front of me and in considerable alarm inquired how anyone could take such an extreme measure. He could not ever take such a step, he said. His remarks gain in significance from the fact that they were unsolicited and had not been preceded by prior conversation. I was in a hurry and did not explore matters further, but I conjecture that his bewilderment stemmed not only from the method of death by fire, but also from such terminal commitment to a collective cause. The question, therefore, is whether in similar circumstances an act of martyrdom involving death by hand-gun would produce the same level of astonishment. Relatively speaking, death by gun seems to be so much more acceptable to the Western world than death by flame.

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