Category Archives: Indian religions

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, 

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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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Vale Dr. Siran Deraniyagala: Assiduous Archaelogist & A Savant Servant for Lanka

Chryshane Mendis

It is no easy task to pen down few words on the life history of a colossus like Dr. Siran Deraniyagala, but nevertheless I will try. Life has its ways, its own twists and turns at times one would not expect; such was the shocking yet inevitable demise of Dr. Deraniyagala. The mystery of life will take us on many paths, and in the case of Dr. Deraniyagala, it took him to explore the mystery of life itself! While digging the earth to unravel humanity’s origins, perhaps he too realized where his journey would end, in the earth; and it eventually did come to pass on the 5th of October 2021. The Man who studied the past, of the lifeways of past peoples, now himself joined them; Siran Upendra Deraniyagala is now a person of the past! But what of his legacy? Will he be only a person of the past or will he be remembered in the present? Unlike the mystery of life, this is an easy question with a simple answer. Yes. Siran Deraniyagala will live on! Decades later even after fading from living memory, his name will be remembered even centuries on. Such is his legacy. Therefore let us briefly marvel at the amazing life of of Dr. Siran Deraniyagala.

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Prejudice & Patriotism: Cricket in This Space

Roshan Kishore, in Hindustan Times, 29 October 2021, with this title “Cricket and patriotism: What links them in India”

Pakistan’s victory over India in the ongoing T20 cricket World Cup match on October 24 has kicked up a political storm in India. First there was uproar over online trolling which targeted India’s pace bowler Mohammad Shami along religious lines. Many Opposition leaders came out in Shami’s support, and several cricketers and the Board of Control for Cricket in India also spoke up for him. Meanwhile, reports of Muslims celebrating Pakistan’s victory started doing the rounds. Those who did so will be booked under sedition charges, Uttar Pradesh chief minister Yogi Adityanath said in a tweet on October 28.

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Revd Ernest Poruthota in Q and A on His Life’s Work

Avishka Mario Senewiratne in Q and A with Fr Poruthota (1931-2020) ………… Interview in  May 2018 and originally published in the Messenger, May, 27, 2018. 

Today the Messenger carries a very special and exclusive interview with one of the most senior and popular priests in the Archdiocese of Colombo, Rev. Fr. Ernest Poruthota. Since his ordination in 1957, Fr. Poruthota has served in ten parishes in different parts of the Archdiocese.  As Asst. Parish Priest in Kotahena (1957-59), Moratuwa (1959-60), Pamunugama (1960), Dehiwala (1960-62) and Parish Priest in Dehiyagatha (1962-66), Kelaniya (1967-74), Kalamulla (1974-82), Kotte (1982-87), Wattala (1991-1997), Dehiwala (1997-2004), Kirimatiyagara (2004-2011). Apart from Parishes he has served as the Chaplain of lay Apostolate (1966-67), Director PMS (1971-74), Chaplain YCW, CWM (1983-87), Dean of Colombo (1987-91).

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Exploring the Etymological Strands of the Word “Thiruketheeswaram”

Chandre Dharmawardana

The word stub “ket,”, கேத, in the place name:  Tiru-k-keteeswaram,  திருக்கேதீசுவரம்

In finding a meaning for the component –ket– in Tiru-ket-heesvaram, well known Engineer Thiru Arumugam has quoted an interpretation given in 1849 by Pridham which leans on a mythological tale of Vishnu’s exlir of mortality that fell into the hands of a demon. The demon was said to be cut into two and became Rahu and Ketu (.இராகு கேது) recognized in astrology.  Predham stretches his imagination very far to convert the Tamil -கேத- sound to கேது in finding  an “explanation” or rationalization for the stub  -கேத- found in the place name.

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