Category Archives: Indian traditions

Robert Pape’s Blunders in Tigerland: Pape’s Muddles on ‘Suicide Bombers’ in Sri Lanka

Michael Roberts, reprinting here an article which appeared initially in November 2007  as Working Paper No. 32 November 2007 in the Heidelberg Papers on South Asian PoliticsISSN: 1617-5069 …. edited by Subrata Mitra. Insofar as this essay is being reproduced in 2020, I cannot overstress the point at which it appeared in the public realm — in 2007 well before the LTTE was defeated… [noting that, with the exception of the emblematic Picture at the start, all other illustrations appeared in the Heidelberg publication. These pictorial scenes, I stress now in 2020, are valuable data in themselves].

No study of the LTTE can afford to neglect Sri Lanka’s cultural, historical, and geographical backdrop, The lack of existential awareness of religious cross-fertilisation, the either/or foundations of Western reasoning and the absence of local knowledge bedevil the scholarship that incorporates Sri Lanka within the global surveys of suicide attacks. Pape’s Dying to Win is an example. Here, in Pape’s article, the LTTE’s multi-pronged capacities are poorly evaluated. Too much significance is attributed to the coercive success of SMs in bringing the government to the negotiating table at various moments. Religious persecution has not been the main reason for the Tamil struggle. Comparative references to SMs elsewhere are occasionally interspersed in this review of the Sri Lankan scene.

Continue reading

1 Comment

Filed under accountability, authoritarian regimes, communal relations, cultural transmission, Eelam, ethnicity, fundamentalism, heritage, historical interpretation, Indian Ocean politics, Indian traditions, landscape wondrous, language policies, life stories, LTTE, martyrdom, military strategy, politIcal discourse, power politics, propaganda, religiosity, Saivism, self-reflexivity, Sinhala-Tamil Relations, slanted reportage, social justice, sri lankan society, suicide bombing, Tamil civilians, Tamil Tiger fighters, terrorism, the imaginary and the real, truth as casualty of war, unusual people, women in ethnic conflcits, world events & processes

Kamikaze, Mujahid, Tamil Tiger: Sacrificial Devotion in Comparative Lens

Michael Roberts, reprinting an essay drafted in 2007 and since presented in Fire & Storm in 2010 (chapter 19: 131-38)

  • Gandhi tried for years to reduce himself to zero” (Dennis Hudson 2002: 132).
  • Hitler: “You are nothing, your nation is everything” (quoted in Koenigsberg 2009: 13).
  • LTTE: “the martyr sacrifices himself for the whole by destroying the I…” (Dagmar Hellmann-Rajanayagam’s interpretation of a Tamil Tiger supporter’s poem; 2005: 134).
  • Spokesman for Al Qaida after the Madrid bombing: “You love life and we love death”
  • Col. Karuna, ex-LTTE: “Death means nothing to me….”
  • The Hagakure is “a living philosophy that holds that life and death [are] the two sides of the same shield” (Yoshio Mishima in his The Way of the Samurai, quoted in Moeren 1986: 109-10).
  • Bushido means to die” (Emiko Ohnuki-Tierney 2002: 117).
  • https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SVpbl0azdFM …. Kamikaze strike

Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under accountability, arab regimes, atrocities, Australian culture, australian media, authoritarian regimes, centre-periphery relations, chauvinism, communal relations, conspiracies, cultural transmission, economic processes, Eelam, ethnicity, European history, female empowerment, fundamentalism, historical interpretation, immolation, Indian Ocean politics, Indian traditions, Islamic fundamentalism, jihad, landscape wondrous, law of armed conflict, life stories, LTTE, martyrdom, meditations, Middle Eastern Politics, military strategy, nationalism, patriotism, political demonstrations, politIcal discourse, power sharing, propaganda, psychological urges, religiosity, religious nationalism, security, self-reflexivity, Sinhala-Tamil Relations, Sri Lankan scoiety, suicide bombing, Taliban, Tamil Tiger fighters, terrorism, the imaginary and the real, trauma, truth as casualty of war, unusual people, violence of language, war reportage, world events & processes, Zen at war

Allahu Akbar! Missing Dimensions in Contemporary Reportage

Michael Roberts

I recently watched a good part of Stephen Sackur’s dialogue with a French lady politician [whose name I have forgotten]. Sackur pursued his usual hard-line aggressive and bullying mode of questioning – posing vigorous criticisms of the French government’s position on secularism and its hostility to the carving out of sacred domains by French Muslim peoples.  The implicit suggestion[1] was that the British system’s tolerance of religious sensibilities was a better line of policy.[2]

Muslim protests … and the selfie proudly posted by the Islamic terrorist who was responsible for the killings in Nice in October 2020

Continue reading

1 Comment

Filed under accountability, Al Qaeda, arab regimes, atrocities, authoritarian regimes, centre-periphery relations, conspiracies, cultural transmission, ethnicity, European history, fundamentalism, heritage, historical interpretation, Indian Ocean politics, Indian traditions, Islamic fundamentalism, jihad, landscape wondrous, life stories, martyrdom, Middle Eastern Politics, politIcal discourse, power politics, religiosity, religious nationalism, self-reflexivity, suicide bombing, Taliban, terrorism, the imaginary and the real, unusual people, vengeance, violence of language, world events & processes

The Ahikuntika …. Roaming Gypsies of Sri Lanka

Pujitha Wijetunge, in http://www.lankalibrary.com/cul/gypsy.htm ….where the title is “Ahikuntika: Roaming Gypsy Clan”………. alas, no date given

Clad  in a sari and with a red mouth that showed signs that she was chewing beetle, Lili didn’t look any different from those fortune-tellers or palm readers who were a common sight in the streets few years back. But the next generation, Lucki, looked very much like those village boys, wearing a sarong and a gold painted wristwatch.

Lakshman with his dancing cobra.

Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under accountability, art & allure bewitching, caste issues, commoditification, cultural transmission, economic processes, ethnicity, heritage, historical interpretation, Indian traditions, island economy, landscape wondrous, life stories, performance, sri lankan society, the imaginary and the real, travelogue, unusual people, world events & processes

Myth-making Ridiculous: Raavana on Fire!

Grace Bains in  Scoopwhoop where the title is A Demon For Us But A Hero For Sri Lankans, The Fascinating Story Of Ravana, According To Lanka” and Chandre Dharmawardena, in Island, 11 September 2020

As we celebrate Dussehra, we recount Ramayana and the lessons that come with it. For us, the Ramayana isn’t just a story of Lord Rama winning over Ravana and rescuing Sita. It is about good winning over evil despite the many obstacles. It is the story that gives Indians hope and motivation to keep fighting for what they know is right.

But we all know that every story has two sides.

Source: Daily Mirror

Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under accountability, ancient civilisations, art & allure bewitching, asylum-seekers, atrocities, chauvinism, conspiracies, cultural transmission, disparagement, doctoring evidence, education, fundamentalism, heritage, Hinduism, historical interpretation, Indian traditions, landscape wondrous, life stories, meditations, pilgrimages, politIcal discourse, power politics, psychological urges, religiosity, Saivism, self-reflexivity, Sinhala-Tamil Relations, sri lankan society, taking the piss, unusual people, world events & processes

Modernist Fundamentalism: Missing the Force of Walk, Talk and Majesty in Sinhaladom

Michael Roberts

Asanga Welikala edited an important book entitled The Republic at Forty in 2012 in which I participated (CPA, 2012). Both Welikala and Roshan de Silva-Wijeyeratne have formidable curriculum-vitae behind them. Their recent intervention in criticism of the Rajapaksa state today[1] also happens to rely heavily on SJ Tambiah’s work on the mandala state,[2] a topic which also informed my concept of the “Asokan Persona,” which is developed within four chapters in my book Exploring Confrontation (1994).

Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under accountability, authoritarian regimes, British imperialism, centre-periphery relations, chauvinism, communal relations, cultural transmission, fundamentalism, governance, heritage, historical interpretation, Indian traditions, island economy, Kandyan kingdom, landscape wondrous, life stories, parliamentary elections, performance, politIcal discourse, power politics, Rajapaksa regime, self-reflexivity, sri lankan society, the imaginary and the real, world events & processes

Eelamist Movement Rises Again in the North?

Dinasena Ratugamage, in Island, 15 August 2020, where the title is “Wiggy makes vow before LTTE memorial”

Newly elected TMTK (Thamil Makkal Thesiya Kuttani) MP C.V. Wigneswaran, on Thursday (13), vowed before the LTTE memorial at Mullivaikkal that he would fulfill the aspirations of the Tamil people.

Continue reading

1 Comment

Filed under accountability, art & allure bewitching, authoritarian regimes, centre-periphery relations, chauvinism, communal relations, cultural transmission, education, ethnicity, governance, heritage, historical interpretation, Indian traditions, landscape wondrous, law of armed conflict, legal issues, life stories, LTTE, martyrdom, military strategy, nationalism, performance, photography, political demonstrations, politIcal discourse, power politics, prabhakaran, Rajapaksa regime, reconciliation, religiosity, Saivism, security, self-reflexivity, Sinhala-Tamil Relations, slanted reportage, sri lankan society, Tamil civilians, Tamil migration, tamil refugees, Tamil Tiger fighters, terrorism, trauma, truth as casualty of war, unusual people, vengeance, violence of language, women in ethnic conflcits, world events & processes, zealotry

Ravana Fables penetrate Sri Lanka’s Historical Terrain

PK Balachandran

When the media reported that the Sri Lankan Ministry of Tourism and Civil Aviation has issued a newspaper advertisement in Sinhala urging people to share documents, books, and research material on Ravana, the legendary king of Lanka, it was not a surprise for students of Sri Lankan nationalism. Far from being a villain (as portrayed in Valmiki’s Ramayana), Ravana has been celebrated by the majority Sinhalese in Sri Lanka as a cultured and creative icon and a defender of the island against a foreign invader.

Continue reading

1 Comment

Filed under accountability, art & allure bewitching, chauvinism, cultural transmission, education, elephant tales, fundamentalism, heritage, historical interpretation, Indian religions, Indian traditions, landscape wondrous, life stories, literary achievements, politIcal discourse, self-reflexivity, slanted reportage, Sri Lankan scoiety, truth as casualty of war, unusual people, world events & processes

Cultural Cross-Fertilization as the Road to Amity

Raj Gonsalkorale, in DailyFT, 4 August 2020, with this title “The Northern Province: The centre for Tamil culture in Sri Lanka”

As much as the Sinhala Buddhist culture and its richness should be recognized, the Tamil culture, in particular the Tamil Hindu culture and its universality, too needs to be recognized. All Sri Lankans should be proud that the country has two such ancient cultures as its foundations.

– Pic by Shehan Gunasekara

http://www.ft.lk/columns/The-Northern-Province-The-centre-for-Tamil-culture-in-Sri-Lanka/4-704036

 

Culture is the characteristics and knowledge of a particular group of people, encompassing language, religion, cuisine, social habits, music and arts. … The word “culture” derives from a French term, which in turn derives from the Latin “colere,” which means to tend to the earth and grow, or cultivation and nurture.

Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under Australian culture, australian media, Buddhism, centre-periphery relations, charitable outreach, communal relations, cultural transmission, democratic measures, economic processes, education, governance, heritage, Hinduism, historical interpretation, Indian traditions, language policies, life stories, politIcal discourse, reconciliation, religiosity, Saivism, self-reflexivity, Sinhala-Tamil Relations, sri lankan society, Tamil migration, tolerance, welfare & philanthophy

Portuguese Colombo in 1662 via the Sketches of Esaias Bourse

Chryshane Mendis, in The HistoryFreek, 4 May 2020, where the title reads “Colombo in Transition 1662: Through the Eyes of Artist Esaias Boursse

This short essay serves as an introduction to a rare collection of sketches of Colombo and its environs in the year 1662.

Sinhalese soldier and labourer

Esaias Boursse was a servant of the VOC who made over hundred sketches of daily life in Colombo, mainly focused on the People and the work they were engaged in. This collection is called the “Tijkenboeck” and is held by the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam. This album containing 116 sheets of drawings came into the possession of the Rijksmuseum in 1996. Its value outweighs the poor quality of some of the drawings in that it captures scenes from within a city which was being transformed from its Portuguese outlook to the Dutch; thus some scenes depict street views of Portuguese Colombo- a phenomena never before captured in drawing except for textual descriptions.

Continue reading

2 Comments

Filed under architects & architecture, authoritarian regimes, colonisation schemes, cultural transmission, economic processes, heritage, historical interpretation, Indian traditions, island economy, landscape wondrous, life stories, military strategy, politIcal discourse, population, Portuguese in Indian Ocean, religiosity, sri lankan society, travelogue, unusual people, working class conditions, world events & processes