Category Archives: Indian religions

Tamils in Ancient and Medieval Sri Lanka: The Historical Roots of Ethnic Identity

Sirima Kiribamune, in Ethnic Studies Report, vol IV/1, January 1986, pp. 1-23 … article retrieved via meticulous work by Iranga Silva of the ICES, Kandy — in a committed labour of love

“The past is intelligible to us only in light of the present; and we can fully understand the present only in the light of the past.” E.H. Carr.[*]

Professor Kiribamune

The current ethnic problems of Sri Lanka form the backdrop to this paper. The present tension lies between the majority Sinhalese who speak an Indo-Aryan tongue and the Tamils who use a Dravidian language. The two groups claim distinct racial antecedents, the Sinhalese styling themselves Aryans from north India and the Tamils tracing their origins to the Dravidians of the south. (The use of the terms ‘Aryan’ and ‘Dravidian’ to denote racial groups is considered totally unscientific. This terminology can only be used in a linguistic context. Sinhalese is included in the Indo-European or Aryan group of languages and Tamil belongs to the Dravidian group. The division of people speaking these two groups of languages into distinct racial types is not valid even for India and less so for Sri Lanka.) This division is further marked by religious differences, the Sinhalese being largely Buddhist and the Tamils, Hindus. Interested parties on both sides of the conflict have tried to use the past to legitimise different standpoints. It is the responsibility of the historian to set the record straight and that is the aim of this paper, but one is all too aware of the fact that complete detachment in the writing of history is hardly ever achieved. It is an ideal towards which one strives and needs to strive.

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African Diaspora across the Indian Ocean: The SIDI Project:

VISIT https://thesidiproject.com/

At Sidi men play drums at t heir communities’annual Urs celebration – Photo copyright by Luke Duggleby for Sidi Project

Few need introductions to the Western movement of slaves from Africa across the Atlantic Ocean. Much has been documented and studied about this horrific part of history. But this wasn’t the only slave route that existed; a far older eastern movement of slaves was forcibly taking people to the opposite side of the world. Between the first and 20th century, beginning with Arabs and the Ottomans, and later continued by the Portuguese, the Dutch, French and the British, an estimated 4 million Africans were taken from their homes, mostly in East Africa, and across the Indian Ocean.

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St. Joseph’s in Colombo: Service till the Mountains Disappear

 Chryshane Mendis, reviewing Till the Mountains Disappear: The Story of St. Joseph’s College authored by Avishka Mario Senewiratne and late Fr. Dr. Stanley Abeysekera

 

It was well known back in the day that Fr. Stanley Abeysekera was writing a book on College history and through my Grade 09 exhibition project of 2008, I got to know the great man very closely. From then on till I left school in 2013 I constantly dropped by his room and viewed the rare Blue and White magazines  with him and earnestly listened to his stories of College. I was sad that his progress on the manuscript had slowed down due to his failing eyesight and when he was finally called to rest in 2015, I thought the book had died with him.

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The 43 Group in Ceylon: Their Story

Rohan de Soysa,  copy of a PowerPoint Presentation made to the National Trust of Sri Lanka on September 29, 2016 by Rohan de Soysa transcribed into text format …. with coloured underlining [as distinct from that in black] being emphasis imposed by The Editor, Thuppahi

The Origins: The `43 Group was the first modern art movement in Sri Lanka. It arose because a group of artists felt that the art being practiced and taught at the time was too academic and rigid; nor did it attempt to follow new developments in European art since the early 20th Century. They therefore decided to form a group more open to these new developments but with a distinct Ceylonese stamp and flavour.

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Charting Anagarika Dharmapala’s Many Pursuits

Nandasiri Jasentuliyana, reviewing  Bhadrajee S. Hewage’s book A NAME FOR EVERY CHAPTER: Anagarika Dharmapala and Ceylonese Buddhist Revivalism”

‘The unexamined life is not worth living.’ – Socrates.

Rarely has so much been written both in the West and in the East about the work of a ‘revivalist,’ that one would conclude there is nothing left to be revealed of the man or his work. That is until you read Bhadrajee Hewage’s “Anagarika Dharmapala and Ceylonese Buddhist Revivalism.”

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A Refreshing New Study of the Anagarika Dharmapala’s Endeavours

The unexamined life is not worth living.’ – Socrates.

Rarely has so much been written both in the West and in the East about the work of a ‘revivalist,’ that one would conclude there is nothing left to be revealed of the man or his work. That is until you read Bhadrajee Hewage’sAnagarika Dharmapala and Ceylonese Buddhist Revivalism.”

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Dhammika Thera’s History of Bodh Gaya

S. Dhammika

The town of Bodh Gaya in the north Indian state of Bihar is the site of the Buddha’s enlightenment and the most sacred place in the Buddhist world. For over 2000 years pilgrims have made their way to Bodh Gaya from every corner of Asia, often leaving records of their visit in inscriptions, memoirs, travelogues and even graffiti. Using these and other sources the book chronicles the place’s long and fascinating history. It recounts the magnificent ceremonies that once took place there, the saints and scholars associated with it and the various legends that grew up around it. Including previously overlooked information it also challenges the popular belief that Bodh Gaya was destroyed at the end on the 12th century and was forgotten and unvisited by Buddhist pilgrims for the next 700 years. This book should prove to be of interest to Indologists and social historians as well as to Buddhists.

Catalogue No.  BP630s  Language:  English
Publisher:  Buddhist Publication Society………

e-mail: bps@bps.lk.……….Tel:  .94 81 2237283 …. Fax: +94 81 2223679

Type: Book  Category:
ISBN:  978-955-24-0433-7  (2018)  (Paperback)
Pages:  146   Size: 145 x 226 mm

Price: $4.00     Rs. 225

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Brihadeeswarar Temple at Thanjavur: A Eleventh Century Marvel

Courtesy of Cyril Ernst in California and Buddy Reid in Melbourne who brought this marvellous architectural feat to Thuppahi’s attention

For DETAILS watch this Video:

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Tamil Tiger ‘Martyrs’: Regenerating Divine Potency?

This article from my pen was probably drafted in 2004. It appeared in Studies in Conflict  & Terrorism vol. 28 in 2005 after the usual refereeing process. Some of the details and arguments have, in fact, been obliterated within my fading memory. For this reason, it was a refreshing READ for me and brought up specific details that are pertinent to any debate surrounding the motivations that induce self-immolation, jihadist killings of a suicidal nature, et cetera… The Bibilography will also aid present investigations though, of course, other writings have appeared since then on Islamic jihadists and other martyrdom operations…. Michael Roberts, 8 November 2020 … The photographs are fresh additions … and so too the highlighting within the text.

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The Muslim Commitment to Allah: Desultory Thoughts

An Invitation. Your Thoughts from Michael Roberts  …. sent to SELECT PALS on 31 October 2020

I just caught parts of  THE HARD TALK grilling of a French lady politician [by Stephen Sackur]. One problem with journalism is its wholly presentist focus//limits. In my view the recent jihadist attacks in France cannot be comprehended without looking at the motivations and goals of, say

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