Category Archives: island economy

The Dutch Burghers in Sri Lanka Today

Prabath De Silva, in Daily Mirror, 21 January 2021, with this title “The Dutch Burghers in Sri Lanka”

 “We are a vanishing tribe in Sri Lanka. The first paternal ancestor of my father’s family who arrived in Sri Lanka in 1774 was Pieter Scharenguivel. He was a Quarter Master in the service of the United Dutch East India Company which ruled the maritime provinces of Sri Lanka from the middle of the 17th century to 1796. The Dutch Burgher identity and consciousness within the family I grew up in was extremely significant. It played a role  in the conversations, traditions, customs, food, perceptions and social interactions. During the British colonial rule, our community produced eminent surgeons, doctors, legal luminaries, judges, engineers, sportsmen, musicians , historians and artists etc.” , said Anne-Marie Scharenguivel (65), a management accountant and a member of Sri Lanka’s tiny  Dutch Burgher community of less than 30000 people.

Mrs. Anne-Marie Scharenguivel

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Investment in Sri Lanka Today: Questionable Steps and Looming Influences

Dr. Sarala Fernando, in The Island, 10 January 2021, with this title Selling the Family Silver” and India-Sri Lanka bilateral relations

A remark attributed to the US Congress that “Sri Lanka is a valuable piece of real estate” had made the news here hinting at the strategic value of our island location. while some had connected the remark to the MCC, an economic project integral to the US pivot to the Indo Pacific. This sudden interest in Sri Lanka’s land assets made the headlines after Harvard economists in 2016 advised on the incorporation of a land project under the MCC to address constraints to national growth by a re-survey, re-valuation and deed grants on lands around the country. Local experts argued that such a programme would lead to pressure on smallholders to sell land to more powerful entities for commercial exploitation increasing rural poverty, environmental and wild life destruction and water scarcity.

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Galle Fort built on the Backs of African Slave Labour

Jeevan Thiagarajah in Daily News, 25 March 2019with this title“Slaves built Galle Fort” … …. with highlighting emphasis imposed by The Editor, Thuppahi

The topic of the piece today was triggered by a conversation with the current High Commissioner in Colombo from South Africa, Ruby Marks, who has also posted on her Facebook page this passage, “Calvin Gilfillan, Head of Die Kasteel, affirmed what we suspected-the Dutch conceptualized and supervised, but it was the labour of an estimated 15,000 Africans brought from Portuguese and Dutch colonies, that did the back breaking work of actually building the Fort and the other ones scattered across Sri Lanka. I was shocked by how little was known in Sri Lanka about this. I visited the cramped quarters where the slaves were kept, the dungeons where they were imprisoned, and the cemetery-now a car park where they were buried. And my heart wept.

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The Looming Death of Kulams in Mannar … and Thus ….

Jeremy Liyanage

Mannar is a sand island perched on a limestone base. The hydraulic pressure of the groundwater in the kulams keeps the sea water from intruding. As significant areas of Mannar Island are targeted for mineral sand mining, working to a depth of 12 metres, the result will be widespread sea water intrusion which will then contaminate the groundwater supplies –promoting the destruction of agricultural livelihoods.

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Locals and Environmentalists Challenge An Aussie Sand-Mining Project in Mannar

ABC Science  environment reporter Nick Kilvert and Jane Lee for Science Friction

As a small child, Shreen Abdul Saroor remembers getting up before dawn with her father to spy on the masses of migratory birds that would visit her island. The birds were on their way down the Central Asian flyway — a migration path that crosses 30 countries from Siberia to the Indian Ocean. “We would hide somewhere and … we don’t make any noise,” Ms Saroor recalls. “[Then we’d watch] them coming and landing in the causeway areas and then catching fish and taking off as a huge group covering the entire sky.”

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The Lasantha Wickrematunge KILL: The Financial Shenanigans Inspiring the Strike

Ahimsa Wickrematunge, courtesy of Groundviews, 8 January 2021, where the title reads “The MIG Deal: Why My Father had to Die”

Twelve years ago today The Sunday Leader Editor, Lasantha Wickrematunge, was brutally murdered in broad daylight within a high security zone. His killers have never been punished. Here is why.

When I first heard the phrase “MiG deal” as a kid in 2007, I never expected that less than two years later, the printing of those two words in my father’s newspaper would lead to my standing over his open grave on the darkest day of my life. It has long been clear to me, and to all those familiar with the evidence, that had my father not exposed the MiG deal in The Sunday Leader, he would still be alive today, still writing, still exposing wrongdoing, still standing tall against the powers that be. He knew the risks of exposing a man who cherished his holier than thou public persona, but the risk did not stop him from doing his job.

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Coconut Goodies Sri Lankan Style …. with Hard Work

VISIT https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lJk4JaLNyd4

TRADITONAL ME tells us

Since the ancient times Coconuts have become so closely linked with every Sri Lankan cuisine! Coconuts have become a part and partial of Sri Lankan cooking. Later on due to this deep bond with this versatile crop, the coconut tree became well known as the “Kapruka“ on earth ( “Kapruka” is a mythical tree which is known to be in the heavens where it is believed to be a wishing tree that grant every wish & abundance of wealth).

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Charting Anagarika Dharmapala’s Many Pursuits

Nandasiri Jasentuliyana, reviewing  Bhadrajee S. Hewage’s book A NAME FOR EVERY CHAPTER: Anagarika Dharmapala and Ceylonese Buddhist Revivalism”

‘The unexamined life is not worth living.’ – Socrates.

Rarely has so much been written both in the West and in the East about the work of a ‘revivalist,’ that one would conclude there is nothing left to be revealed of the man or his work. That is until you read Bhadrajee Hewage’s “Anagarika Dharmapala and Ceylonese Buddhist Revivalism.”

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PUL ELIYA Comments reviewed critically by Ceylon Civil Servants for ROHP

“PUL ELIYA” QUOTATIONS AS PRESENTED to the CCS and other personnel

I quote some passages from a book by Dr. E. Leach entitled “Pul Eliya A Village in Ceylon” (Cambridge, 1961). He is a socia1anthropologist who lived for several months in Pul Eliya, a Dry Zone Anuradhapura area village, in the mid 1950’s. There are some interesting passages pertaining to Government regulations and their practical implementation. While these views pertain largely to the 1940’s and 1950’s they are, both implicitly and explicitly, held to apply to most of the 20th century for he has also delved into past records. I present some for your comments.

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Under Scrutiny: Edmund Leach’s PUL ELIYA

Michael Roberts

In late 1965 I set out on an oral history exercise interviewing retired British public servants[1] about their experiences in Ceylon. This work has been clarified earlier in two Thuppahi Items.[2] 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.

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