Category Archives: land policies

Introducing the Ceylon National Congress: Its Agitation & Its Context

Michael Roberts

The four-volume edition of DOCUMENTS OF THE CEYLON NATIONAL CONGRESS was presented by the Department of National Archives in 1977 and has been out of stock for some time now.

Haris De Silva — Deputy Director, DNA in the 1970s

Volume ONE contains a book within a book written by me and entitled ELITES, NATIONALISMS and the NATIONALIST MOVEMENT IN BRITISH CEYLON – in seven chapters and running to ccxxii pages.

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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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Michael Roberts: A Partial Bibliography, 1965-1999

Michael Roberts

Pressed by a friend in Australia, I revisited my academic journey as recorded in my old CV listings and feel that it may possibly be beneficial to the numerous personnel venturing into Sri Lankan history and politics via the stimulation of social media to have these items marked as targts for criticism and, even possibly, inspiration. I commence by listing Articles — but not books – presented in the period 1965 to 1999.

 

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Why Sri Lanka is Sinking – Prithi’s Prognosis

In Response to the THUPPAHI Item bringing Imran Khan’s ‘fate’ into juxtaposition with that of Sri Lanka, viz. https://thuppahis.com/2022/04/11/kota-uda-imran-khan-and-sri-lanka/ …….. Prithi Perera has fashioned an “Address to Sri Lankan Aussies” …. And, thus, to Thuppahi @@

Dear Sri Lankan Aussies, Unfortunately, this post does not reflect any of the issues mentioned in my email of 30 March 2022 that explained the real reasons for the present foreign debt and foreign exchange crises facing Sri Lanka today. As per that post where the statistics from the World Bank were quoted, it was clearly shown how the External Debt grew and the years that had the biggest increases with the External Debt growing in double digit increases from 2009 to 2014 with 2012 showing the highest annual increase in External Debt as compared to 2012. viz; 38.54 %. The growths in External Debt which involves foreign currency was highest during the periods 2009 to 2014, recording a growth from USD Billion 19,504,201 in 2009 to USD Billion 42,262,755, an increase of 117%. The External Borrowings from 2015 to 2019 have shown only single digit annual changes and the growth in External Debt has been from USD Billion 43,925,371 in 2015 to USD Billion 56,095,469, thus an increase of USD Billion 12,170,098 or 27% increase during the five-year period ending 2019, as compared to the 117% increase during the five-year period ending 2014.

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The 1956 Generations: After and Before

Michael Roberts, reproducing  the GC Mendis Memorial Lecture in 1981** in his collection of essays within Exploring Confrontation as chapter 12, pp 297-314.

ABSTRACT of the Article:  The electoral victory of the Mahajana Eksat Peramuna (MEP) led by the SLFP has been described as a “cultural revolution”, “a radical shift of power in Sri Lanka’s politics”, and a landmark in Sri Lanka’s history. Some authors have even gone so far as to speak of “the dethronement of the westernised elite” or the “replacement” of “the westernised bourgeoisie” by the national bourgeoisie. Within the pancha-maha-balavegaya particular attention has been directed towards the role of the bhikkhu, the vernacular school teachers and the ayurvedic physicians. To these interest ‘groups’ and social categories5 should be added the Sinhala journalists, the minor officials, the notaries and petition writers, and the small businessmen. Among the political goals emphasised by the revivalist elite were the demand for an explicit importance to be attached to Buddhism and the demand that the English languages should be replaced by the vernaculars as the language of administration.

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The Pioneering Planters of Maskeliya

Hugh Karunanayake, with highlighting and spacing imposed by The Editor, Thuppahi

The economy of Sri Lanka or Ceylon as it was then known, was basically a peasant economy which through the nineteenth century transformed into a plantation economy. The change commenced with the introduction of the first commercial crop, coffee. Commercial cultivation of coffee as a crop was introduced and encouraged during Governor Sir Edward Barnes’ tenure in the 1830s and by the 1860s had covered most of the upcountry areas. Maskeliya District  opened up in the late 1860s, the first estate to be cleared and planted upon in the district being Bunyan Estate.

View of Adam’s Peak (Sri Pada, Sri Paadaya) from Maskeliya, Central Province, Ceylon (Sri Lanka). Date: circa 1910

 

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Gerald Peiris: His Work on Agriculture in Sri Lanka’s Economy

An Editorial Note from Michael Roberts, 27 January 2022

Recent items on the Senanayake family and on DS Senanayake (Sri Lanka’s first Prime Minister) in Thuppahi touched on his work in promoting peasant agriculture . One of Sri Lanka’s foremost researchers in this field is my friend and colleague from undergraduate days in Ramanathan Hall and Peradeniya University in the late 1950s, namely, Gerald H Peiris. As it would be of wider benefit, I asked him to present Thuppahi with a list of his research work on agriculture and the island economy.

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DS Senanayake’s Endeavours in Peasant Agriculture

From KM. De Silva:  DS. The Life of DS Senanayake, (1884-1952)

A NOTE from Thuppahi: printed in 2016  this book of 135 pages is clearly meant to provide a distilled assessment of DS Senanayake’s career.  Our readings of this work by Kingsley De Silva must take note of this precising intent on the author’s part — though we must also be aware of Professor De Silva”s conservative UNP affiliations….. and be grateful to Iranga Silva of the ICES in Kandy for making the text of the whole book available to us in a convenient form.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

DS Senanayake on a field trip … at Gal Oya

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Searching Investigations from Verite Research in 2021

A VERITE RESEARCH BULLETIN

Dear Friends and Colleagues,

As we approach the end of the year, there is much to look back on and reflect upon. I am glad to share with you some of the highlights of the recent month in this Verité Bulletin.

We have long felt that democracy is not meaningful when citizens are not critically cognizant of the information in relation to public finance. This is why Verité Research strategically expanded its work on Public Finance. The platform that we built, PublicFinance.lk, is probably the pre-eminent locus for information and analysis on the state of Sri Lanka’s public finance.

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Exploring Sri Lanka’s Experiences with Democracy

Sarah Kabir and ROAR on “A Journey of a Demcracy: The Sri Lankan Story”

ROAR is embarking on the generation of a documentary thatseeks to create awareness and understanding of Sri Lanka’s post-independence history…… SEE INITIAL NOTICE: https://thuppahis.com/2021/11/19/imaginative-explorations-of-sri-lankas-history-on-the-cards/#more-56776

 

 

 

 

 

 

Project Intervention

It has been over a decade since the end of Sri Lanka’s protracted conflict, but what we have today is ‘negative peace’ – which is the absence of overt violence. Limited understanding of Sri Lanka’s history, politics, democracy, ambition, intent, and the refusal to acknowledge acts of intolerance and discrimination that destroyed lives and led to bloodshed makes it increasingly difficult to avoid the recurrence of violence and we risk repeating the same mistakes. Today, we are confronted with choices that could lead to positive peace or a resumption of cycles of violence. Even now, the difficulties of dealing with COVID-19 and the resulting economic fallout could lead to social unrest that may morph into inter-communal violence if manipulated. Continue reading

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