Category Archives: Indian traditions

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

The Exiled Malays, Javanese et al in Ceilao and Lanka Today and Yesterday

Greg Fealy reviewing Ronit Ricci, Banishment and Belonging: Exile and Diaspora in Sarandib, Lanka and Ceylon, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 2019, 282pp, ISBN 978-1-108-72724-2…… https://www.newmandala.org/book-review/banishment-and-belonging-exile-and-diaspora-in-sarandib-lanka-and-ceylon-2019/

For well over a century, Sri Lanka was the Dutch colonial administration’s main site of exile for troublesome Indonesians. From the late seventeenth century, hundreds of ‘natives’ from the Netherlands East Indies who were deemed rebellious were consigned to the island, many never to return. They were a diverse community, including members of royal families from across the archipelago and their retinues, as well as soldiers, convicts and slaves. Among the nobles were kings, sultans and princes from Java, Madura, the Moluccas and Timor. Revered Islamic leaders were also banished there. Conditions for the exiles ranged from tolerably comfortable to miserable, with often tight restrictions on their ability to socialize and travel within the island, and also limited communications with family and peers in the Indies. The psychological toll of separation from their homeland was immense. Many felt humiliated and personally diminished by the experience. Today, the descendants of this exilic community are known collectively as ‘Sri Lankan Malays’ and they have a distinctive culture and identity borne of their peculiar historical experience.

Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under accountability, ancient civilisations, authoritarian regimes, British colonialism, centre-periphery relations, communal relations, cultural transmission, discrimination, economic processes, ethnicity, heritage, historical interpretation, Indian Ocean politics, Indian traditions, island economy, landscape wondrous, life stories

A Sino-Tibetan Folded Book from 1410 predates the Gutenberg Bible

Colin Marshall in Open Culture, 15 May 2020, where the title is  “Breathtakingly-Detailed Tibetan Book Printed 40 Years Before the Gutenberg Bible”

The Gutenberg Bible went to press in the year 1454. We now see it as the first piece of mass media, printed as it was with the then-cutting-edge technology of metal movable type. But in the history of aesthetic achievements in book-printing, the Gutenberg Bible wasn’t without its precedents. To find truly impressive examples requires looking in lands far from Europe: take, for instance, this “Sino-Tibetan concertina-folded book, printed in Beijing in 1410, containing Sanskrit dhāranīs and illustrations of protective mantra-diagrams and deities, woodblock-printed in bright red ink on heavy white paper,” whose “breathtakingly detailed printing” predates Gutenberg by 40 years.

Continue reading

2 Comments

Filed under ancient civilisations, Buddhism, China and Chinese influences, cultural transmission, evolution of languages(s), heritage, historical interpretation, Indian traditions, landscape wondrous, life stories, meditations, modernity & modernization, pilgrimages, self-reflexivity, the imaginary and the real, unusual people, world events & processes

Sacrificial Devotion in Comparative Perspective: A Workshop at Adelaide University in Late 2005

Daya ….. Rohan…. Shyam…. Riaz ….. what a South Asian spread! …………………. a dinkie-die curry’

I = Michael Roberts: An Explanatory Preamble Cast in May 2020

By 2004 I had retired from teaching in the Anthropology Department at Adelaide University and was proceeding with the pursuit of my research interests at my own pace within my limited resources. Sri Lanka and my connections therein was one such resource. When researching in Colombo in late November 2004 I flew to Jaffna on a wing and a prayer[1] with the intention of exploring the Tamil Tiger “cult of suicide.” Previous contacts with two Tamil Canadians and a visit to the University of Jaffna as soon as I landed assisted me no end: partly via the invaluable support provided by the Krishnaswamy family[2] and the readiness of their medical student son Chenthan to become my aide and guide during peregrinations within the Peninsula.[3]

Continue reading

1 Comment

Filed under atrocities, Australian culture, chauvinism, communal relations, cultural transmission, economic processes, education, ethnicity, fundamentalism, heritage, Hinduism, historical interpretation, immolation, Indian religions, Indian traditions, Islamic fundamentalism, jihad, landscape wondrous, life stories, literary achievements, LTTE, martyrdom, nationalism, performance, politIcal discourse, power politics, religiosity, religious nationalism, security, self-reflexivity, Sinhala-Tamil Relations, sri lankan society, suicide bombing, Tamil Tiger fighters, terrorism, the imaginary and the real, trauma, truth as casualty of war, unusual people, vengeance, war reportage, world events & processes