Category Archives: Kandyan kingdom

CJR Le Mesurier: A British Civil Servant who challenged the Imperial Order

Michael Powell: article published in 2007 and entitled “Fragile Identities: The Colonial Consequences of CJR Le Mesurier in Ceylon”

ABSTRACT of Article: In the many layered life of CJR Le Mesurier in Ceylon are themes that repeat and recur throughout the British colonial world, touching on marriage and morals, religion and race, archival retention and colonial employment.

Cecil Le Mesurier in Western Australia c 1920s …. Courtesy of Rod Cantley

In particular, his strenuous litigious attack on assumptions of Crown title challenged the philosophic and legal framework of colonial land policy, revealing its ideological foundation, and illuminating the pattern and impulse of land policy throughout Empire.

The increasing effrontery of his actions induces an equally escalating reaction from colonial authority that pares away the preferred patina of civilizing mission to reveal a far more base intent – a colonial impulse more discernible and the actions of authority more disclosing – contributing to a much richer comparative understanding of the dynamics of colonial land dealings.

Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under accountability, authoritarian regimes, British colonialism, centre-periphery relations, colonisation schemes, cultural transmission, discrimination, disparagement, economic processes, ethnicity, governance, historical interpretation, island economy, Kandyan kingdom, land policies, landscape wondrous, legal issues, life stories, plantations, politIcal discourse, power politics, religiosity, self-reflexivity, social justice, sri lankan society, trauma, unusual people, welfare & philanthophy, working class conditions, world events & processes

The Tales around a Painting: The Kandyan Ambassadors’ Audience in Dutch Colombo, 1772

Dr Srilal Fernando in Melbourne, reproducing the firs t part of an article that arpperas in THE CEYLANKAN, The journal of the ceylon Society of Australia, Vol25/3, August 2022. Its full title therein is as follows: “The Story of a Painting. Governor Falck’s Audience to the Kandyan Ambassadors in 1772drawn and painted from life by C F Reimer, Surgeon.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A group photograph is part of a visual record of a modern day conference. What did they do in 1772, long before the advent of photography? A skilled artist was commissioned to paint the scene as it happened. The occasion was the visit of 3 Kandyan ambassadors to attend a meeting with the then Dutch Governor , Iman Willem Falck in Colombo.

Continue reading

4 Comments

Filed under accountability, art & allure bewitching, authoritarian regimes, cultural transmission, ethnicity, governance, historical interpretation, Kandyan kingdom, landscape wondrous, life stories, paintings, politIcal discourse, sri lankan society, unusual people

Channa Wickremesekera’s Books on Sri Lanka’s Past …. & Beyond

Channa Wickremesekera’s Publications

Channa Wickremesekera is the son of the late Percy Wickremesekera, an acquaintance of mine from Peradeniya Campus days and a ‘Trot’ activist who migrated to Australia. Channa lives in Melbourne. I got to know him when I was working on my book on Sinhala Consciousness in the Kandyan Period¸1590’s-1815 (which came out in 2003  …………………… https://www.amazon.com/Sinhala-Consciousness-Kandyan-Period-1590s/dp/9558095311).

Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under art & allure bewitching, authoritarian regimes, British imperialism, centre-periphery relations, communal relations, economic processes, ethnicity, governance, hatan kavi, heritage, historical interpretation, Indian Ocean politics, Indian traditions, insurrections, island economy, Kandyan kingdom, language policies, Left politics, legal issues, life stories, LTTE, military strategy, modernity & modernization, nationalism, politIcal discourse, power politics, self-reflexivity, Sinhala-Tamil Relations, sri lankan society, suicide bombing, Tamil civilians, tamil refugees, Tamil Tiger fighters, terrorism, trauma, truth as casualty of war, vengeance, war reportage, working class conditions, world events & processes

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.

 

Continue reading

1 Comment

Filed under accountability, art & allure bewitching, authoritarian regimes, British imperialism, Buddhism, centre-periphery relations, discrimination, economic processes, ethnicity, heritage, historical interpretation, Indian religions, Indian traditions, Kandyan kingdom, landscape wondrous, life stories, Muslims in Lanka, politIcal discourse, population, Portuguese in Indian Ocean, power politics, religiosity, sri lankan society, the imaginary and the real, transport and communications, travelogue, unusual people, world events & processes

Robert Knox’s Journeys: Producing His Book …. Two

Thiru Arumugam, in The Ceylankan, Vol 25/1, Feb. 2022, where the title reads “A Three Hundred and Forty-Year Book-about-Ceylon”

Captain Robert Knox (1642-1720) of the East India Company
*oil on canvas
*126 x 102.8 cm
*1711
*inscribed b.l.: AEtat: 66
*inscribed b.l.: P: Trampon : Pinx (on the chair)
*inscribed c.r.: R: Knox: (on the quadrant)
*inscribed c.r.: Memoires of my owne Life: 1708 (on the notebook)

 

Continue reading

1 Comment

Filed under Aboriginality, authoritarian regimes, British imperialism, centre-periphery relations, cultural transmission, economic processes, ethnicity, heritage, historical interpretation, Indian religions, Kandyan kingdom, landscape wondrous, life stories, literary achievements, politIcal discourse, religiosity, self-reflexivity, sri lankan society, the imaginary and the real, transport and communications, travelogue, unusual people, world events & processes

Robert Knox’s Journeys in Ceylon and the World in the 17th Century: One

Thiru Arumugam, in The Ceylankan, vol 25/1, February 2022 , where the title reads thus A three-hundred-and-forty-year-old book about Ceylon – Part 1″

There exists a three hundred-and-forty-year old book about Ceylon which was published in 1681. Although there are other books about Ceylon in other European languages written in the 17th century, this is the oldest book about Ceylon in English. Other books of this genre include the manuscript of Fernao de Queyroz’s book in Portuguese titled “The Temporal and Spiritual Conquest of Ceylon” which was completed in 1687 but the author died a few months later in Goa and the book was never published until Father SG Perera translated it into English and published it in 1930. Another book is by Phillippus Baldeus titled “A true and exact Description of the Great Island of Ceylon” which was published in 1672, but this was in the Dutch language.

An Historical Relation of the Island Ceylon, Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under ancient civilisations, art & allure bewitching, British imperialism, centre-periphery relations, economic processes, ethnicity, historical interpretation, island economy, Kandyan kingdom, landscape wondrous, life stories, literary achievements, population, religiosity, sri lankan society, the imaginary and the real, travelogue, unusual people, world events & processes

Revisiting Robert Knox’s Experiences in the Kandyan Kingdom in the 17th Century

Padma Edirisinghe, in Sunday Observer, 2016, where the title runs “That wanderer among the Kandyan hills”.see note below **

Thirteen miles off Gampola, past sprawling tea estates nestling in the lap of luxuriantly foliaged mountains, lies Legundeniya. Here, the carpet of Lanka’s histRory rolls back and reveals a page of the history of Kande Uda Pas Rata, as it was 300 years ago.

 

 

 

Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under Aboriginality, ancient civilisations, authoritarian regimes, centre-periphery relations, cultural transmission, economic processes, heritage, historical interpretation, island economy, Kandyan kingdom, landscape wondrous, life stories, literary achievements, pilgrimages, politIcal discourse, self-reflexivity, sri lankan society, the imaginary and the real, trauma, travelogue, unusual people, world events & processes

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.

Continue reading

1 Comment

Filed under ancient civilisations, British imperialism, Buddhism, caste issues, centre-periphery relations, cultural transmission, economic processes, ethnicity, European history, heritage, historical interpretation, Indian traditions, island economy, Kandyan kingdom, landscape wondrous, life stories, literary achievements, politIcal discourse, self-reflexivity, sri lankan society, the imaginary and the real, travelogue, unusual people, world events & processes

Rendering Kandy into a Cosmic Force — Sri Vikrama Rajasinha

  PK Balachandran, in Daily Mirror 9 September 2021, with this title  “Recreating King Rajasinha’s cosmic city”

Sri Lanka’s last king, Sri Vikrama Rajasinha of Kandy, was vilified as a cruel despot and was overthrown by the British in 1815, acting in cahoots with disgruntled local chieftains. But King Rajasinha was a creative builder, town-planner and an executor of irrigation projects for the benefit of the common man. In the latter part of his politically troubled reign (1798-1815), King Rajasinha had turned all his energies towards making his capital city, Kandy, a “cosmic city” fit for God Sakra, the Sinhala version of the Hindu God Indra.

Continue reading

4 Comments

Filed under architects & architecture, authoritarian regimes, British imperialism, centre-periphery relations, cultural transmission, hatan kavi, heritage, historical interpretation, Kandyan kingdom, landscape wondrous, life stories, politIcal discourse, self-reflexivity, sri lankan society, unusual people

A Battle Map of the Dutch Invasion of Kandy in 1765

Presented by Brig Hiran Halangode, retd] GW SLA

Chamikara Pilapitiya, author of book titled Maha Nuwara Yugaye Apprakata Viththi* has gifted a copy of a rare Battle Map of the Dutch invasion of Kandy in 1765 to Trinity College Kandy. An image of the gifted copy of the map is given below. It shows a detailed description of the trench lines and the gun batteries in and around the town of Kandy, which was used by the Kandyan army to attack the invading Dutch army in 1765.

 Mr. Chamikara Pilapitiya presenting a copy of his book to then Principal of Trinity College in 2019.

The original map is available in Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam.

Continue reading

2 Comments

Filed under art & allure bewitching, authoritarian regimes, cultural transmission, economic processes, ethnicity, governance, heritage, historical interpretation, island economy, Kandyan kingdom, landscape wondrous, life stories, military strategy, patriotism, politIcal discourse, power politics, sri lankan society, transport and communications, unusual people, world events & processes