Category Archives: land policies

The Mahaweli Project: The Mother of All Development Schemes in Sri Lanka

Ajit Kanagasundaram

40 years have now elapsed since the launch of the accelerated Mahaweli project, so it is an opportune time to review what was done and the benefits and shortfalls of the project to the nation. This project was the culmination of a 50 yearlong process that started with the rehabilitate ancient irrigation works and settlement of the dry zone lands that was initiated by our first Prime Minister, DS Senanayake, when he was the Agriculture Minister in the State Council during the British Raj. After independence, this moved on to more ambitious projects building large multi-purpose schemes like Gal Oya and Uda Walawe culminating in the accelerated Mahaweli project.

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Tales of the Northways, Pioneering Planters in Ceylon

Hugh Karunanayake                                                                                                                                                                                                               The four generational link that the Northways had with the plantation enterprise in Ceylon ended with the death of the last of the Northways in Sri Lanka, that of Michael Northway in 1995. The progenitor of the family in Ceylon was Samuel Northway who together with the Winters, Bowmans, Hawkes, and Gotteliers, and others were induced to come over to Ceylon to establish the sugar industry in which these families were successfully associated with, in the Mauritius   where they lived previously. All, or most of these families, including the Northways, were of French extraction.

 Charles Northway & his wife on Deviturai Estate on their motorbikes; she witha douglas and He on a Bat, … circa 1910

 

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Vaddas, Rodiyo and Ahikuntakayo: Some Bibliographcal Items

LC Arulpragasam 2019 “The Veddas in the east of Ceylon in the 1950s,” 13 Oct 2019,https://thuppahis.com/2019/10/13/the-veddas-in-the-east-of-ceylon-in-the-1950s/

Michael Roberts 2017 The First Settlers and Their Claim to Ownership of Terrain. A Comparative excursion,” 18 January 2017, https://thuppahis.com/2017/01/18/the-first-settlers-and-their-claim-to-ownership-of-terrainstate-a-comparative-excursion/

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The Lonely Cadet and the Maiden: Leonard Woolf in Jaffna …..

Philip Sansoni
   In “Growing”, the second volume of his autobiography, Leonard Woolf tells us how he lost his virginity. According to him, he was riding down the main street of Jaffna, one evening in 1905, an apprentice representative of the British Empire, when he happened to look into a verandah and saw a burgher girl sitting there. It was a fleeting glance over some blinds but she smiled at him and he smiled at her. A short time later, with a “minute” boy who had chased after him acting as intermediary, she had arranged to sleep with him that night and she did. She is subsequently revealed to have been the mistress of a Jaffna lawyer and is convicted of using indecent and abusive language outside the lawyer’s house. As Woolf tells the story, Dutton, the police magistrate, naively took the young woman’s side and paid the fine, much to the amusement of the people of Jaffna.

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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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