In late 1965 I set out on an oral history exercise interviewing retired British public servants about their experiences in Ceylon. This work has been clarified earlier in two Thuppahi Items. Because of my strong interest in colonial agrarian policies, I was familiar with the books produced by two outstanding Cambridge University scholars: BH Farmer and Edmund Leach. Farmer’s book on Pioneer Peasant Colonization in Ceylon (1957) reviewed British efforts to develop the dry zone of Sri Lanka via irrigation projects emulating the captivating efforts in ancient times. As such, it focused on DS Senanayake’s inspirational role in this set of enterprises. Leach’s detailed ethnographic experiences in a village arena in Anuradhapura District provided detailed ground-level data and interpretations in this field.
The concept of the ‘Traditional Tamil Homeland’ as promulgated by its exponents is based on the notion that, from the distant past, the island of Sri Lanka comprised the territories of two distinct nationalities that were arbitrarily unified in the formation of British Ceylon in the early 19th century. My survey, which draws from several authoritative writings, some of which have been authored by reputed Tamil scholars, shows that such a notion does not conform to known facts and unbiased interpretations of the country’s history.
L.C. Arulpragasam, in Sunday Observer, 13 October 2019, where the title is “The Veddas and the Gal Oya scheme: Ultimate resettlement at Bintenne”
In the Jungles of Bintenne: In 1950 I undertook a sociological survey along with Mr. Kuda Bibile, a University colleague, of the Veddas living in the jungles of Wellassa and Bintenne in the Badulla District of the Uva Province. The only authoritative study of the Veddas at that time had been done by Dr. C. Seligmann, a German anthropologist, in 1911. I carried his heavy tome around with me on my entire journey.
Renuka Sadanandan, in Sunday Times,22 September 2019, where the title is “Lanka’s friend in need and deed“
J.R. Jayewardene entertaining guests on the lawn of the President’s House once asked British MP Michael Morris if he smoked. When he replied no, the President inquired if his father did. Receiving a positive answer he presented Morris with a box of Cuban cigars, saying that President Fidel Castro regularly sent them to him. Back home in the UK, his father called to thank Morris for the cigars, informing him that he cut them in half as they were so strong! “You can’t cut Castro’s cigars in half Father,” he recalls his horrified protest.
“The Portugese, the Saviours of our Culture?” = This is the title of a scholarly article written in the Ceylon Historical Journal in the 1950s by B. J. Perera BA (History) University of Ceylon who was our teacher in the University Entrance class. It was of course “dead against” the version given by nationalist historians after independence. However his interpretation simply put was that the Mughals had conquered Hindu India and ruled it for a couple of centuries and converted a large part of the Hindu population to the Muslim religion as had happened in countries such as Indonesia and Malaysia and the Maldives, which had been either Hindu or Buddhist. The evidence in Bali and Java of the existence of Buddhist and Hindu relics supports this view.
Sudath Gunasekara, in The Island, 16 December 2018, were the title is “Vision and mission on water management in Sri Lanka!”
A recent study on Sri Lanka has identified it as one of the six countries that share one half of the 0.3% drinkable water this planet has. What is even more important and surprising is that ours has been identified as the only country in the world that will have drinking water even if there is going to be a shortage of drinking water in the whole world.This news has made water the biggest asset and the most valuable commodity of Sri Lanka that has put it on the top of the world.
Thuppahi's Blog · This web site presents the interventions of MICHAEL ROBERTS in the public realm with reference to Sri Lankan political affairs. It will embrace the politics of cricket as well. ROBERTS was educated at St. Aloysius College in Galle and the universities of Peradeniya and Oxford. He taught History at Peradeniya University and Anthropology at Adelaide university. He is now retired and lives in Adelaide.