Category Archives: Left politics

The Political Travails of the Indian Tamils in the State Council Era 1931-48

Uditha Devapriya, in  The Island, 21 May 2022,  where the title runs thus “DS Senanayake and the Indian Tamil Question”

In his recent work on D. S. Senanayake, K. M. de Silva explores certain controversial aspects of Ceylon’s lurch into independent statehood. Among these is the issue of the fate of the country’s Indian Tamils. Brought to the island from South India amidst conditions of famine and mass starvation in the early part of the 19th century, Indian Tamil workers replaced Sinhalese and resident Tamil labour in the island. Governed by a semifeudal set-up that shut them out from the world outside, Indian Tamil labour grew up in a world of their own. It was their tragic fate that while the colonial government feigned little interest in their welfare, their lives lay in the hands of that government.

Continue reading

1 Comment

Filed under accountability, British colonialism, chauvinism, communal relations, demography, discrimination, disparagement, economic processes, ethnicity, foreign policy, governance, historical interpretation, Indian Ocean politics, island economy, Left politics, life stories, nationalism, plantations, politIcal discourse, power politics, power sharing, self-reflexivity, Sinhala-Tamil Relations, social justice, sri lankan society, Tamil migration, welfare & philanthophy, working class conditions, world events & processes

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.

Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under accountability, British colonialism, centre-periphery relations, communal relations, cultural transmission, democratic measures, devolution, economic processes, education, electoral structures, ethnicity, governance, historical interpretation, Indian Ocean politics, island economy, land policies, landscape wondrous, language policies, Left politics, life stories, nationalism, patriotism, plantations, politIcal discourse, power sharing, self-reflexivity, Sinhala-Tamil Relations, sri lankan society, welfare & philanthophy, world events & processes

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.

Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under accountability, British colonialism, Buddhism, caste issues, centre-periphery relations, communal relations, democratic measures, devolution, disparagement, economic processes, education, electoral structures, ethnicity, governance, heritage, historical interpretation, Indian General Elections, Indian traditions, island economy, land policies, language policies, Left politics, life stories, literary achievements, modernity & modernization, nationalism, parliamentary elections, patriotism, plantations, politIcal discourse, power politics, self-reflexivity, Sinhala-Tamil Relations, sri lankan society, transport and communications, unusual people, working class conditions, world events & processes

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.

Continue reading

1 Comment

Filed under architects & architecture, British colonialism, communal relations, cultural transmission, education policy, ethnicity, heritage, historical interpretation, language policies, Left politics, life stories, nationalism, patriotism, politIcal discourse, power politics, self-reflexivity, Sinhala-Tamil Relations, sri lankan society, unusual people, world events & processes

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.

 

a

 

Continue reading

3 Comments

Filed under British colonialism, caste issues, cultural transmission, education, ethnicity, governance, heritage, historical interpretation, irrigation, island economy, land policies, Left politics, life stories, literary achievements, modernity & modernization, politIcal discourse, power politics, religious nationalism, Sinhala-Tamil Relations, sri lankan society, teaching profession, transport and communications, unusual people, World War II and Ceylon

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

Leave a comment

Filed under accountability, atrocities, authoritarian regimes, chauvinism, communal relations, cultural transmission, ethnicity, governance, historical interpretation, Indian Ocean politics, insurrections, island economy, landscape wondrous, language policies, law of armed conflict, Left politics, life stories, LTTE, martyrdom, military strategy, NGOs, patriotism, performance, politIcal discourse, power politics, prabhakaran, riots and pogroms, security, self-reflexivity, Sinhala-Tamil Relations, Sri Lankan scoiety, suicide bombing, Tamil civilians, Tamil migration, tamil refugees, Tamil Tiger fighters, terrorism, the imaginary and the real, transport and communications, trauma, truth as casualty of war, unusual people, vengeance, violence of language, world events & processes, zealotry

Remembering Mervyn De Silva and His Reach

Bradman Weerakoon, writng in the year 2000  …

When Mervyn de Silva passed away, many tributes were paid to his contribution to critical writing, to journalism, to literature and the arts, to his scholarly weekly radio commentaries on world affairs, his lone editorship of the Lanka Guardian and the stimulation he provided to popular discussion by his constant and thoughtful, intellectual engagement with whatever was current in the public debate.

Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under art & allure bewitching, citizen journalism, cultural transmission, education, female empowerment, governance, historical interpretation, Left politics, life stories, modernity & modernization, performance, politIcal discourse, power politics, press freedom, self-reflexivity, sri lankan society, tolerance, unusual people

Conflicts in Sri Lanka reviewed in 2009 by Muralidhar Reddy

Muralidhar Reddy, in Frontline, vol. 26/20, Sept 26-Oct 09, 2009 where the title reads “Analytical Anthropology”

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

Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under accountability, centre-periphery relations, chauvinism, communal relations, conspiracies, cultural transmission, democratic measures, economic processes, ethnicity, governance, historical interpretation, Indian Ocean politics, insurrections, island economy, landscape wondrous, language policies, Left politics, life stories, LTTE, modernity & modernization, nationalism, photography, political demonstrations, politIcal discourse, power politics, prabhakaran, religiosity, riots and pogroms, self-reflexivity, Sinhala-Tamil Relations, sri lankan society, suicide bombing, Tamil civilians, Tamil Tiger fighters, terrorism, transport and communications, truth as casualty of war, unusual people, vengeance, violence of language, war reportage, welfare & philanthophy, world events & processes

A Celebration of Qadri Ismail’s Career by Academia

From the Department of English, University of Minnesota, 5 November 2021

  It’s been amazing reading the tributes to Qadri, reading about his impact and his generosity. Our family was able to keep up with his exploits during his early career in Sri Lanka, when he was a reporter, but his scholarly career was a bit harder to keep up with. I read some of his early writings, but most of them were above my head. But reading the articles about his impact and reach has been very helpful and valuable to us.

A Searing Wide-Ranging Critique from Qadri Ismail after 21/4 in 2019 ……. Now a Requiem

Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under cultural transmission, democratic measures, economic processes, education, ethnicity, historical interpretation, Indian Ocean politics, Islamic fundamentalism, language policies, Left politics, life stories, literary achievements, meditations, performance, politIcal discourse, power politics, self-reflexivity, social justice, sri lankan society, teaching profession, unusual people, world events & processes, zealotry

The Senanayakes at STC, at Cricket and in Politics in Ceylon

Michael Roberts

In seeking details relating to DS Senanayake’s career at S. Thomas’ College after I received a copy of his school-leaving character reference from Warden Stone,[1] I received a fascinating note from Mevan Pieris[2] about young DS Senanayake’s school career and his cricketing ‘achievements’ at the big match against Royal.

“Indeed, a valuable item [referring to Warden Stone’s certificate]. At least a certified photocopy of it should be maintained at the College Library and at the National Archives, especially since he was known as Kele John who could not pass any examinations and was in what was called the Commercial Class of STC. No doubt he was physically strong and tough and would have been an ideal dormitory prefect to keep the guys quiet. ”

 ‘By the sea’ at Mutwal looking at Colombo Harbour — scenic paintng from O’Brien the 1860s

Continue reading

2 Comments

Filed under accountability, British imperialism, centre-periphery relations, constitutional amendments, cricket for amity, cultural transmission, education, governance, historical interpretation, Indian Ocean politics, language policies, Left politics, legal issues, life stories, politIcal discourse, power politics, S. Thomas College, Sri Lankan cricket, sri lankan society, unusual people, world events & processes, World War II and Ceylon