Uditha Devapriya, in The Island, 10 March 2023, where the title reads “A visit to Marga” …. and where the highlighting embodies editorial intervention by Thuppahi
Sri Lanka’s oldest development think-tank, Marga Institute was formed in 1972, at a time of deep social unrest.
“The ideological direction of the journal will be radical in that it will unremittingly question the values and systems that hinder development. It stands for an equitable and humane social order which will eradicate social and economic privilege and which will leave no room for the concentration and arbitrary exercise of power in any form.” ………. “About Marga”, Marga Journal, Volume I, 1971
photo by Uthpala
A random jaunt in Borella took me and my research assistant to Marga Institute, in my old hometown at Kotte. Sri Lanka’s oldest development think-tank — and Sri Lanka’s oldest such institution — Marga was formed in 1972 to promote and facilitate research into the island’s socioeconomic problems. That its founding coincided with the first JVP insurrection is not fortuitous: as Gamini Samaranayake would point out, the insurrection proved for the first time that an armed group could threaten the State. Among other commentators, Gamini Keerawella, Gananath Obeyesekere, Fred Halliday, and Hector Abhayavardhana grappled with the JVP’s origins, what it was doing, and where it intended to go. It was in the midst of these often-fiery debates and discussions that Marga came to be. This essay is an attempt at framing and understanding these debates, and how Marga emerged from them.
Michael Roberts, presenting his review article on the study of the abortive 1962 coup plot by elements in the Sri Lanka officer corps by Donald Horowitz: namely, Coup Theories and Officers’ Motives. Sri Lanka in Comparative Perspective,Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1980.This essay was entitled “Brown Sahibs in Universal Suits” and went through a refereeing process and appeared in South Asia: Journal of South Asian Studies, 1983 vol 6, pp. 62-77 …………… while the pdf version was converted/retyped for me by Nadeeka Pathuwaaratchchi in the Colombo metropolitan area.
The year 1956 is rightly regarded as a major junction in Sri Lankan history. At the general elections that year, a coalition of parties known as the Mahajana Eksath Peramuna (MEP), in which the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) led by S.W.R.D. Bandaranaike was the major partner, achieved a landslide victory. This victory marked a populist upsurge of the vernacular educated and under-privileged mass of the population against the privileged few- a minority which was regarded as being both Westernised and conservative. In particular, the SLFP saw itself as the vanguard and instrument’ of “the common people of [the] country, the rural people” – that is to say, the rural Buddhist Sinhalese-speakıng masses. Interlaced with this movement against privilege was a virulent expression of Sinhala Buddhist nationalism. Its demand for a rapid switchover to Sinhala as the language of administration was at once a symbolic statement and an instrumental blow against the old structures of discrimination.
DBS Jeyaraj, in The Daily Mirror, 4 February 2023, where the title reads “75 Years of Independence and the Tamils of Sri Lanka“
A SUMMARY: They invited Indian political leaders to the peninsula and held mass rallies and processions. Mahatma Gandhi, Jawaharlal Nehru, C. Rajagopalachariar, Sarojini Nayudu and Kamala Devi Chattopadhyay are some of these.
It was only in 1833 after the Colebrooke-Cameron Reforms of 1832 that predominantly Tamil territories were integrated into a unified Ceylon. Until then they were administered separately.
The rationale was that independence from the British had only resulted in being ruled by the Sinhalese. There was only a change of masters. So, Independence Day was nothing to celebrate, but only to be observed as a black day, it was argued.
Translation by Vinod Moonesinghe from Robert Gunawardena’s“Memoirs of Bracegirdle” … 1.44 to
Mark Anthony Bracegirdle
“Bracegirdle’s anti-slavery struggle”
In April 1937, a remarkable incident took place which strengthened the anti-imperialist struggle and aroused the interest of the masses. That is, the Bracegirdle Incident which is spoken about by older people to this day.
Prabhath de Silva, ... an article that appeared initially in the Daily Mirror, 25/26 November 2022– with highlighting in this version imposed by The Editor, Thuppahi
Mark Anthony Lyster Bracegirdle (also known as Price) was born in Chelsea, England in 1912. His parents were Ina Marjorie Lyster and James Seymour Bracegirdle. His mother was a suffragette and an active member of the Labour Party. Bracegirdle migrated to Australia with his mother, and studied art, and later trained as a farmer. In 1935, he joined the Australian Young Communist League (YCL) and became an active young Communist.
An Item at Roar.lk, where the title reads “We must remember Suriya Mal, even in this era of Manel Mal”
Doreen Wickremasinghe was a British leftist who became a prominent Communist politician in Sri Lanka and a Member of Parliament (MP). She was one of the handful of European Radicals in Sri Lanka.
Doreen & the Rodi lass she ‘rescued’
Doreen Wickremasinghe was the daughter of two British ‘ethical Socialists’. While a student in London in the 1920s, she became involved in the India League and carried out other anti-imperialist work. Here she met Dr S.A. Wickremasinghe, then a radical Sri Lankan moving in Communist and radical circles while a post-graduate student in London.
Uditha Devapriya, inThe Journal of Indo-Pacific Affairs, August 2022, a refereed article with this title “The Crisis in Sri Lanka: Economic and Political Dimensions”
This article seeks to chart the trajectory of the Sri Lankan protests that began in early March. The first section will examine the causes of the crisis and how the government contributed to it. Economists, policy makers, and commentators cite different reasons for the economic crisis. This article classifies these reasons under two headings: orthodox and heterodox. The orthodox camp generally criticizes the government’s fiscal and monetary policies, including a series of tax cuts in 2019. The heterodox camp traces the crisis to longer-term structural causes, like Sri Lanka’s failure to industrialize and to diversify into manufacturing. The article concludes that we cannot view these two sets of causes in isolation from each other, and that whatever side one takes, we must consider the political dimensions of the crisis as well.
Channa Wickremesekera is the son of the late Percy Wickremesekera, an acquaintance of mine from Peradeniya Campus days and a ‘Trot’ activist who migrated to Australia. Channa lives in Melbourne. I got to know him when I was working on my book on Sinhala Consciousness in the Kandyan Period¸1590’s-1815 (which came out in 2003 …………………… https://www.amazon.com/Sinhala-Consciousness-Kandyan-Period-1590s/dp/9558095311).
Item in The Island, 1 August 2022, where the title runs thus “Dons Condemn Suppression of Aragalaya”
“Tyrannical governments and illegitimate leaders throughout history have led their societies to destruction”
The Federation of University Teachers (FUTA) says that the Wickremasinghe-Rajapaksa government lacks any legitimacy and it should stop taking cover behind the Constitution.In a statement condemning what it termed as “repression of aragalaya activists by the current regime” the university teachers have said that “the tyrannical governments and illegitimate leaders throughout history have led their societies to destruction.”
Thuppahi's Blog · This web site presents the interventions of MICHAEL ROBERTS in the public realm with reference to Sri Lankan political affairs. It will embrace the politics of cricket as well. ROBERTS was educated at St. Aloysius College in Galle and the universities of Peradeniya and Oxford. He taught History at Peradeniya University and Anthropology at Adelaide university. He is now retired and lives in Adelaide.