Category Archives: land policies

Reflections on the Commentary on “Sinhala Mindset”

Michael Roberts

When I set up the THUPPAHI WEBSITE in late 2009 I imprinted two project statements: one entitled “WHY THUPPAHI”;[1] the other bearing the heading ‘SINHALA MINDSET.” Readers can access these two items via the sub-headings within the website – so I will not reiterate the latter here.

This set of project statements was crafted after the LTTE-led drive to create an independent SL Tamil nation state had been defeated over the course of Eelam War IV. I had been in Colombo from April-mid-June 2009, so I had vivid experiences of the last stages of this ‘encounter’ and the triumphant sentiments expressed in the Colombo area when the war was won. More vitally, I had been commissioned by Muralidhar Reddy,[2] the correspondent from the Hindu newspaper chain based in Colombo to present analytic essays for their magazine FRONTLINE.

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Ways of Regenerating Sri Lanka’s Economy: An Integrated Kick-Start Scheme

    Anton Balasuriya

Abstract: This paper details the concept of economic development to jump start the rural economy and alleviate poverty beyond COVID 19.The strategy is to combine the presently available infrastructure and administrative facilities and bring a new dimension of human motivation factors, as well as, to adding new resources to strength the weak areas and those that are non-existent presently.

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From Empiricist Conflation to Distortion: Caste in South Asia

Michael Roberts, responding in 1985 to a Review Essay by Susan Bayly of Cambridge University  on his book on Caste Conflcist and Elite Formation, CUP 1982

Susan Bayly** has done me the honour of reviewing the book on Caste Conflict and Elite Formation: The Rise of a Karava Elite in Sri Lanka, 1500-1931 at considerable length.’ Her essay is appropriately entitled ‘The History of Caste in South Asia’. This title provides a clue to the interpretative pathways which have led her systematically to misunderstand the arguments within the book. No less problematical is her implicit belief in the possibility of constructing a composite picture of the caste system qua system on the basis of empirical data drawn from different regions, regions as widely different as Sri Lanka, southern India and western India. Let me elaborate this charge, and in doing so reiterate the arguments which I presented.

Susan Bayly

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Dry Zone Peasantry and Chēna Transformations in Sri Lanka

Gerald Peiris [i]

Chēna is an anglicized rendition of the Sinhala term hēna. Chēna cultivation is widely regarded as being equivalent to ‘shifting cultivation’ which is described as a form of agriculture engaged in by people living in sparsely populated areas with easy access to scrubland or forest that could be used as venues for rainfed farming which may, depending on circumstances, constitute their only, main, or supplementary source of livelihood. In conventional perceptions, moreover, ‘shifting cultivation’ is a subsistence-oriented economic activity of poverty-stricken peasant communities. It should, however, be noted that in most parts of Sri Lanka, the term hēna connotes a plot of land devoted to rainfed cropping, regardless of whether the farming practices pursued on the plot involves “slash-and-burn” and/or “land rotation”.

  Precipitation & Irrigation Map of Lanka — https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Geography_of_Sri_Lanka

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Leonard Woolf in Hambantota: An Interpretation

Question-Mark Author, deploying this title “Leonard Woolf: He penned his love for Sri Lanka in ‘Village in the Jungle’,”

Leonard Woolf who served as a colonial Assistant Government Agent in Hambantota was the author of the renowned novel Village in the Jungle. During his tenure as the Assistant Government Agent of the Hambantota District from 1908 to 1911, Woolf visited villages and jungles in Hambantota on his bicycle or a pony’s back. He conducted his inspections under the shade of massive trees. He was very much attached and devoted to his job.

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Sir Hugh Clifford’s Memo on the Land Question in Ceylon, 1927

This rare document, a printed booklet of 32 pages arising in conjunction with the proceedings of the “Land Commission” set up by the Legislative Council of Ceylon,** has been scanned in a  manner which does not permit conversion into a Word-File document. Hence it is tacked on here as a pdf-style attachment.

CLIFFORD Land Q’tion 1927

FOR the context and the previous Memoranda, SEE https://thuppahis.com/2021/06/01/sir-hugh-cliffords-some-reflections-on-the-ceylon-land-question-1927/

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Sri Lanka’s Course, 1948-2020: Missed Opportunities, ONE

Sugath Kulatunga

At independence we had a stable democracy, a sound economy, and an effective public service and external assets equal to 100 percent of annual import value. We were second to Japan on almost all social indicators and above South Korea as late as in the mid-sixties. Singapore’s per capita income was just a little bit higher than Sri Lanka at that time. It is now over USD 64,000 whereas ours is USD 3852. The immediate looming question is why Sri Lanka with better physical resources failed to advance like Singapore.

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SR Faces the Wasps around him Foursquare

SR’s EMAIL NOTE, 2 June 2021

Hi, Michael. You’ve been stirring up hornets using me as a stick. Very naughty of you.

 

The learned Vespidae whose nests you’ve disturbed have every right to feel annoyed. I’m a bit annoyed, too – you really shouldn’t have used my innocent little email like this. But I forgive you, mostly for the judicious and illuminating response you have elicited from Mick Moore. I found it the more satisfying to read because it reassures me that my understanding of the subject, though a layman’s and doubtless superficial, is still correct.

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Sir Hugh Clifford’s “Some Reflections on the Ceylon Land Question” — 1927

This is a rare booklet and is one item in a lively debate on the agrarian sector in the political economy of Sri Lanka in the period extending from the 1920s to the present… BUT NOTE that the file is over 300MB in size and that it is likely to occupy a very large part of one’s computer’s memory capacity.

Michael Roberts — See

Gerald H Peiris = https://thuppahis.com/2021/06/01/51959/… AND

Chandre Dharmawardana = https://thuppahis.com/2021/05/31/addressing-a-criticism-of-ds-senananyakes-dry-zone-colonization-schemes/ ….. AND

Michael Roberts = https://thuppahis.com/2021/05/29/under-fire-sri-lankas-colonization-programmes-and-economic-policies-1920s-to-2020/

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Fostering the Peasant Sector of the Economy: Misconceptions

Gerald H Peiris

This whole pretence at applying serious scholarship to a study of land policy in SL since the late 1920s is becoming almost intolerable.[1] The author of this article[2] might well have impressed you with whatever he had done earlier. But this piece does not deserve the attention which you have sought to give,[3] even by way of a kick-off for a scholarly discussion on the subject. That is why I decided to confine my previous comment on just one item in your list of references. This morning I have enough time to send you a longer note – now that an almost total curfew has been imposed throughout SL and all of us are pleasantly home bound.

DS Senanayake, OEG, Dudley et al receiving official inputs

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