Category Archives: land policies

Jeronis Pieris Letters in Coffee Table Book: Insights into 19th Century Ceylon


F
acets of Modern Ceylon History through the Letters of Jeronis Pieris … originally published in 1976 by Hansa  [on Bandaranaike era paper] and now presented as a coffee table book with  a host of striking photographs that recapture the mid-nineteenth century era of capitalist expansion with all its pluses and minuses.

Cost is Rs 6400 via the website www.pererahussein.com using VISA or MASTERCARD. The Registered Airmail postage rate to different countries in the world is calculated automatically by the website and added to the cost of the book. Foreign currency rates will thus be equivalent to the Rupee price but will vary slightly depending on the daily Forex rate. Foreign currency rates will thus be equivalent to the Rupee price but will vary slightly depending on the daily Forex rate.

ISBN = 978-955-1723-49-1 .…………….The book is available at : Barefoot, Cargills book city, Sarasavi, Vijitha Yapa, JamFruitTree, Kalaya, Pendi and Urban Island.
 
Jeronis in mid life … & Alfred House in its Prime in mid-19th century

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The Plantation Economy in British Ceylon: The Downtrodden Indian Tamil Labour and the Dispossessed Kandyan Peasantry

Uditha Devapriya, in SAT MAG” of The Island on September 19 and September 26, 2020.

PREFACE: This essay does not present a complete history of plantation slavery, which anyway has been covered many times before by scholars of repute, including Professor Asoka Bandarage, whose Colonialism in Sri Lanka went through a second edition recently. Rather, it counters Sinhala nationalists and those opposed to Sinhala nationalists who equate the position of African-Americans with that of Tamils and Muslims, indicating a failure to distinguish between minority communities which thrived under conditions of colonialism (and neocolonialism) and those which suffered under those conditions. It also counters certain “Marxist” and rightwing academics who see the plantation system as capitalist, and who, while either sympathising with the plight of Estate Tamils or ignoring them outright, single out Kandyan Sinhalese peasants for what they allege to have been their innate laziness under British colonialism, a myth demolished by S. B. D. de Silva in his underrated and unread magnum opusThe Political Economy of Underdevelopment.

Tea Plantation labour in Ceylon – circa 1890s

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How Robert Knox’s Opus took shape in 1681

Anna Winterbottom, in The British Journal for the History of Science, Volume 42Issue 4., December 2009 , pp. 515-538 where the title is Producing and using the Historical Relation of Ceylon: Robert Knox, the East India Company and the Royal Society”

Abstract: Robert Knox’s An Historical Relation of the Island of Ceylon was produced, published and enlarged through the collaboration of the author with scholars including Robert Hooke and financial support from members of the East India Company. The Relation should be seen in the context of a number of texts collected, translated or commissioned by the East India Company in cooperation with the Royal Society during the late seventeenth century that informed and shaped both European expansion and natural philosophy. As well as circulating between European intellectual centres, often reorientated in the process of translation, these texts served as practical guides across settlements and trading posts abroad. Comparing written accounts with experience led to annotations and borrowings that served as the basis for further writings. Company records and Knox’s own unpublished works reveal how the Relation was used as the basis for bio-prospecting for naturally occurring drugs and food sources and in efforts at agricultural transplantation spanning the Indian and Atlantic Oceans. Through the reports of seamen like Knox, such experiments contributed to contemporary theories concerning the effects of latitude on plant life.

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Felicitations: Fr. SG Perera and His Work

Chryshane Mendis, in Sri Lanka archaeolgy.lk, 26 July 2017 …. and due ultimately to an article in The ALOYSIAN

The student of the colonial history of Sri Lanka has undoubtedly come upon the name of S. G. Perera in their studies. Fr. S. G. Perera, a Catholic Priest of the Society of Jesus, was an exemplary scholar of the last century and whose parallels are unheard of. Publishing over a dozen books and over 300 articles in journals, his contributions to the history of the Catholic Church in Sri Lanka and the history of the Portuguese, Dutch and British periods of the island have aided the development of historical knowledge to a great extent in Sri Lanka; what could be called his magnum opus, the translation of the ‘Conquista’ of the 17th century Portuguese historian Fr. Queyroz, is the single most important Portuguese literary work which is the basis for any historical study on the Portuguese period. His proficiency of the Portuguese language gave him access to numerous original sources which he has translated and made available to the public is part of the wonderful legacy of this great historian of Lanka.

Fr. S. G. Perera (image from The Aloysian 1946-1950, Volume 06, No. 03 )

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The Eastern Regions of Sri Lanka in British Times

Michael Roberts

My D. Phil dissertation at Oxford in the early 1960s centred on British agrarian policy in the mid-nineteenth century and therefore included the British efforts to revive the tank irrigation systems of the Sinhala past. Several British colonial personnel as well as visiting dignitaries were captivated by the ruins of the Anuradhapura/Polonnaruwa periods which they observed during adventure trips. A few saw it as a challenge for their imperial capacity. Some British governors, notably Ward, Gregory and Gordon, took up the prospect.

 Sir Henry Ward and SJV Chelvanyakam

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The Insidious and False Dimensions of the “Traditional Homeland” Thesis

Gerald Peiris 

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.

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A Military Man seeks Election in a Vanni Electorate

Kamanthi Wickramasinghe, in Daily Mirror, 1 August 2020, where the title is;“Communal harmony will commence from Vanni District -Rathnapriya Bandu”

Colonel Rathnapriya Bandu who served as the Commander of the Civil Defence Force in Vishwamadu made headlines when he was transferred to the Sinha Regiment in Ambepussa. He received a warm farewell from the Tamil community, including rehabilitated ex-LTTE cadres proving that he was embraced by all communities alike. Upon his retirement, Col. Bandu made his entry to politics and will be contesting under the Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP) ticket from the Vanni District. Although it was once a hotbed of communal violence, he assures that communal harmony will soon commence from the Vanni District and spread to all parts of the country.

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Pushing the British out of Ceylon, 1918-1956: Issues

Michael Roberts

My essay on “The Basis of British Power” (July 2020) was instigated by articles from Prabath de Silva and Leelananda de Silva on aspects of the Donoughmore Reforms and subsequent developments. Vinod Moonesinghe has seized on secondary dimensions to press some hoary old strands of Trotskyist thinking and to laud (A) the intervention of SWRD Bandaranaike and  the MEP forces for getting rid of British military bases in the 1950s and (B) the radical political messages of the young LSSP politicians who burst onto the scene in the late 1920s and early 1930s.[1] This is linked to the standard Marxist belittling of the achievements of DS Senanayake and associates in the interpretation of the island’s path to independence.

.Vinod RG Senanayake

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A Voyage into the National Archives via Experienced Hands Speaking on You Tube

ABSORB THIS https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qz6zMy9Hf1U&t=924s​

ජාතික ලේඛනාගාරයේ විකාශය හා වටිනාකම 22 June 2020

වර්ෂ 2017 දෙසැම්බර් මස ජාතික ලේඛනාගාරයේ වාචික ඉතිහාසය සුරැකීමේ වැඩසටහන යටතේ, පර්යේෂකයන් සහ ජාතික ලේඛනාරක්ෂක දෙපාර්තමේන්තුවේ විශ්‍රාමික නිලධාරීන් පිරිසකගේ අත්දැකීම්, පටිගත කරන ලදී. ඒ ඇසුරින් ජාතික ලේඛනාගාරයේ විකාශය සහ එහි වැදගත්කම, ලන්දේසි, බ්‍රිතාන්‍ය සහ නිදහසින් පසු කාල වකවානුවල රාජ්‍ය ලේඛන සහ වෙනත් ලේඛන එකතූන් එනම්, පුවත්පත් එකතූව හා ශ්‍රව්‍ය දෘශ්‍ය ලේඛන, අධිලේඛන පරිශීලනය කළ යුතු ආකාරය, අනාගතයේ දී නව තාක්ෂණය තුළින් ලේඛනාගාරය වෙනස් විය යුතු ආකාරය පිළිබඳ ඔබට ඉතා වැදගත් අදහස් ඇතුළත් සංක්ෂිප්ත වාර්තා වැඩසටහනක් ඉදිරිපත් කරන ලදී….. VIZ  = The Development and Worth of the Department of National Archives

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Elephantine Problems in Sri Lanka’s Jungles and Villages

Kamanthi Wickremasinghe, in Daily Mirror, 23 June 2020, where the title reads “Sri Lanka’s vanishing Elephant Corridors”

  • As many as 16 areas that have been identified as elephant passes are yet to be declared and included in a gazette
  • Area residents told the Daily Mirror that more land had been cleared during the curfew period
  • According to research conducted by CCRSL elephants have well delineated to comparatively small home ranges of 50-150 sq. kilometres
  • In Galgamuwa 60 acres of land belonging to the Thorawa Mailawa Temple were leased out to a private company

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