Category Archives: Indian traditions

Nationalisms in Ceylon: Origins, Stimulants and Ingredients

Michael Roberts, … reproducing Chapter III in Volume I of Documents of the Ceylon National Congress and Nationalist Politics in Ceylon, 1929-1950, Vol I, 1977, Department of National Archives, 1977 , pp. lxviii–lxxviii **

While the political activists of the first half of the twentieth century were drawn from both the national and the local elites, the political leadership (at significant island-wide levels) was largely composed of individuals who could be ranked among the national elite. As indicated earlier, the national elite was a small segment of the Ceylonese population. Its levels of wealth, power and status, its lifestyle, and its value-system marked it off from the rest of the population.

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Always Ahead of the Present: Farewell Barbara Sansoni

Nazreen, Anjalendran & Ismeth farewell Barbara Sansoni —https://thuppahis.com/wp-admin/post-new.php?post_type=post&calypsoify=1

ONE; Nazreen Sansoni, ……… Barbara Sansoni, the well-known Sri Lankan artist and designer, passed away on April 23rd at around 1.10 a.m., just one hour after her 94th birthday. Dominic, her devoted son and Kavi, her faithful right hand, were by her side – Simon, her eldest, could not make it as he was in London.

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Barbara Sansoni in Life and Work

Thuppahi is pleased to offer some of her work in juxtaposition with some classic ‘shots’ of her in life.

 

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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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David Paynter’s Open Homosexuality on Display THEN

Namini Wijedasa, on David Shillingford Paynter, in The Sunday Times, 22 November 2015, sent to me by Jane Russell of UK and Sri Lanka

David Shillingford Paynter was an ornament of the Anglo-Ceylonese community. His middle name indicates that his English father was a west countryman, most likely from Devon. Paynter combined a Protestant work ethic with a Sinhalese aesthetic sensibility about colour and form. 

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Fashioning History in Sri Lanka: Controversies

Michael Roberts

Computer generated 3D illustration with a Portuguese Caravel of the Fifteenth Century

Abstract of the article below: Two arrival stories in the long span of the island’s history will provide the foundations for reflections on history-making in the modern era. Episode One will pursue my own intellectual trail in the 1980s in fashioning an interpretation of the story of the arrival of the Portuguese and my subsequent confrontations in print with KM de Silva on this issue in the 1990s. Episode Two essays an interpretation of the advent of Vijaya retailed in the Pali & Sinhala chronicles as a genesis story of the same order as the tale of Adam and Eve: contending that it is not a tale with any factual basis, but one that conveys a mythic truth for its authors and ‘faithful’ listeners. It is, thus, a morality-tale about the magical implantation of civilised culture and state-forms within the island. This interpretation, however, has shortcomings and will benefit from the correctives imposed by Godfrey Gunatilleke’s exposition of the multi-faceted symbolism associated with this myth.

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Glenn Maxwell’s Indian Jewels

Vini Raman is an Indian origin Australian citizen who is a practising pharmacist in Melbourne. Glenn and Vini got engaged last year on February 21, 2021. Glenn Maxwell and Vini have been dating for quite some time now and the news of the couple emerged on social media in 2017 after they were photographed together. Vini also accompanied her Victoria-born cricketer boyfriend at the Australian Cricket Awards in 2019 and 2020. Vini belongs to a Tamil family based in Australia. She went to Mentone Girls Secondary College in Victoria and completed her studies in medical science and is practising in the field…. https://www.news18.com/cricketnext/news/who-is-vini-raman-glenn-maxwells-fiance-who-loves-him-more-than-jimmy-neesham-3462464.html ….. & …. https://www.instagram.com/p/B8YMAjapb4k/?utm_source=ig_web_copy_link Continue reading

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The Pearls and Pearl Divers of Ceylon

Tamara Fernando:  Seeing Like the Sea: A Multispecies History of the Ceylon Pearl Fishery 1800–1925″*  Past & Present, Volume 254, Issue 1, February 2022, Pages 127–60, ……………………………………………. https://doi.org/10.1093/pastj/gtab002

ABSTRACT of the Article: The pearl fishery of Ceylon was a lucrative source of pearls as well as a theatre of colonial power. But instead of narrating a story of abstracted governmentality, this paper dives below the waves, braiding Tamil poetry with scientific material relating to the oyster and state sources concerning fishery administration. Taken together, these unearth a multi-species history of the human relationship to the seas. In the same way that pearl divers’ labour was a mode of knowing nature, so too, natural processes and marine creatures shaped, in turn, the economic, social and cultural worlds at the fishery. This nacreous, layered approach combines natural history, maritime labour and historical ecology to explore the fragile and interlocking balance below the waves which extended beyond humans to the molluscs, sharks, boring sponges and parasitic tapeworms of the Gulf of Mannar. The archive around the pearl fishery advances the animal and ecological histories of the Indian Ocean and also points towards ways of suturing the gulf between Indian and Sri Lankan scholarship.

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Sarojini Jayawickrama’s Book on Robert Knox

Nira Wickramasinghe: reviewing Sarojini Jayawickrama’s Writing that conquers. Re-reading Knox’s Historical Relation of the Island Ceylon, (Social Scientists Association, Colombo 2004)

 

Among academic historians in many parts of the world there exists an almost pathological fear of contamination by literary studies via the linguistic turn which manifests itself in the display of fierce criticism of authors of postmodern or cultural studies especially those interested in ‘discourse’ or textual analysis. This is an indication of how centred professional historians still are in the historicist and implicitly empiricist models which are responsible for their material and political hegemony in academia as well as in the public sphere.

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