Category Archives: language 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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Chance Events in the Making of the Four-Volume Documents of the Ceylon National Congress

Michael Roberts

 In 1977 a sizeable stock of historical manuscripts was made available to the public by the Department of National Archives in four volumes entitled Documents of the Ceylon National Congress and Nationalist Politics in Ceylon, 1929-1950. This outcome was the result of a substantial body of work. It was also the outcome of several fortuitous encounters.

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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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Remembering Professor Sinnappah Arasaratnam

ONE: A Valedictory Vale from Don Beer of the University of New England, Armidale, NSW, in 1998

  Emeritus Professor S. Arasaratnam died suddenly in Sydney on 4 October, aged 68.

Sinnappah Arasaratnam was born in Navaly, Ceylon, on 20 March 1930. After taking his BA with First Class Honours at the University of Ceylon in 1951, he began the first of two stints lecturing in history at that university, before undertaking doctoral research at the University of London in 1954. Arasa, as he asked to be called, graduated PhD in 1956, returned to the University of Ceylon as a lecturer, and in 1961 took up a lectureship in Indian Studies at the University of Malaya. By 1968 he had risen to the rank of Professor of History there.

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Ideas of Political Reform Mooted in June 2009: Dilute the Asokan Model

Michael Roberts, in the cover story in FRONTLINE, 19 June 2009, where the title reads “Some pillars for Lanka’s future”

One can win the War, but lose the Peace. A cliche this may be, but it is also a hoary truism that looms over the post-war scenario in Sri Lanka. The triumphant Sri Lankan government now has to address the human terrain rather than the fields of battle.

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Conflict: Sinhalese, Muslims, Tamils and Others

Muralidhar Reddy, in FRONTLINE, 26/20, Sep. 26-Oct. 09, 2009 ….. reviewing  CONFRONTATIONS IN SRI LANKA,  Colombo, Yapa, 2009

Michael Roberts’ collection of essays on Sri Lankan identity is a breath of fresh air in an atmosphere polluted by callous accounts.

 

Pirapaharan honouring Miller on Black Friday Day, Continue reading

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A Tamil Tiger Migrant who Dares to Differ

Sabaratnam Sundaramoorthy

The book, Dare to Differ, is a short account of the long struggle of the Tamils to establish a separate state. It is written from the point of view of a Tamil expatriate living in Australia. The author is well equipped to write this account as he was an active member of the pro-LTTE Tamil diaspora which was the second front opened by the Tamil separatists. The Australian branch of the Tamil diaspora was a leading contributor to the cause. As a political activist and sympathiser of his people, he had close access to leading members of the LTTE. This has enabled him to give an insider’s view of some of the events that shaped the movement. His interactions with the Tamil leaders are revealing. His narrative runs smoothly. It is a MUST read for anyone interested in understanding the role played by the Tamil diaspora in the LTTE struggle.

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Chandrahasan broaches ‘Pragmatic Amendments’ in Sri Lanka’s Political Framework

Dr Nirmala Chandrahasan,  in The Island, 11 February 2022 , with this title “13th Amendment and Tamil polity: A pragmatic approach”  …… with highlighting imposed by The Editor, Thuppahi

There is much speculation in the Tamil political circles as to the usefulness or otherwise of the 13th Amendment to the Constitution and whether the Provincial Council system set up under its aegis gives a measure of power sharing or devolution of powers to the Tamil speaking provinces, or whether it is an ineffective institution which blocks out any greater devolution under the exercise of internal self- determination. This debate has been sparked by the decision of Tamil speaking parties including the TNA, to send a letter to the Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi, requesting him to use his good offices to induce the Government of Sri Lanka to implement the 13th Amendment fully, in the context that the 13th Amendment arose out of the provisions of the Indo -Sri Lanka Peace Accord of July 1987, to which treaty India and Sir Lanka are signatories.

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Addressing Sri Lanka’s Future in June 2009

Michael Roberts, reprinting here an article that appeared in FRONTLINE vol. 26/12, 19 June 2009 … with this title “Some Pillars for Lanka’s Future”

“One can win the War, but lose the Peace” — A cliche this may be, but it is also a hoary truism that looms over the post-war scenario in Sri Lanka. The triumphant Sri Lankan government now [must] address the human terrain rather than the fields of battle.

 

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