Category Archives: life stories

The Early History of Sociology at the University of Ceylon

H.L. Seneviratne,** Department of Anthropology, University of Virginia, USA, in Social Affairs: A Journal for the Social Sciences, ISSN 2478-107X (online) …. www.socialaffairsjournal.com

This paper is an account of the Department of Sociology of the University of Ceylon in approximately the first decade of its existence. The most significant development during this period was the transition of the department from one that provided courses for other departments, in particular Economics, to one that awarded its own degrees, making it a full-fledged and autonomous entity. The inability to grant its own degrees was not a plight rooted in any statutory limitation but a limitation of resources, in particular the want of adequate teaching staff. This may partly have been due to the ‘late comer’ status of Sociology in relation to other disciplines, and a related vicious circle of inadequate resources and low enrollments. Being a subordinate partner of Economics was also a part of the legacy of the department’s structural origin in the model of British universities. The oldest Department of Sociology in the UK was at the London School of Economics (LSE) and only goes back to the beginning of the 20th century; and it started as a subsidiary of the Economics Department. This paper makes an attempt to assess the relative contribution of the two major figures that strived in their own ways to secure the progress of the department towards achieving full-fledged status as a department that granted its own degrees.

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The Wikipedia Tale of the Murugappans of Biloela … Today, Mid-2021

Murugappan family asylum claims  .https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Murugappan_family_asylum_claims

Kokilapathmapriya Nadesalingam (Priya) and Nadesalingam Murugappan (Nades)[1] are two Sri Lankan Tamils seeking asylum in Australia. The couple married in Australia and have two Australian-born children. Until their detention by Australian Border Force in March 2018, the family was resident in the central Queensland town of Biloela, and consequently referred to as the Biloela family by some media.[2][3] The cause of the couple and their children has been supported by some residents of Biloela as well as asylum-seeker advocates.[4]

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High Noon in Mid-Air, August 2019: For the Murugappans of Biloela

ABC Account on 30 August 2019, with this title “Who are the Tamil family from Biloela and why are they being deported?” ……  https://www.abc.net.au/news/2019-08-30/who-are-tamil-family-from-biloela-why-are-they-being-deported/11463276

Last-minute injunctions have stalled the deportation of a Tamil family who have spent years fighting to stay in Australia. The plane carrying the Sri Lankan couple and their Australian-born daughters had already left the tarmac at Melbourne Airport when a judge granted a reprieve over the phone. Here’s what we know about the family’s case:

Dozens of people rushed to Melbourne Airport in a bid to stop the family being deported on Thursday night..   … Supplied: @HometoBilo)

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Bernard Ziegler’s Innovative Impact on Air Travel: Manifold

Times Obituary, 9 June 2021 ….  https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/bernard-ziegler-obituary-lhzx5txbc

Ziegler oversaw the advance of technology on aircraft such as the Airbus A320. In 1993 Bernard Ziegler flew what was then the longest recorded flight by a civil aircraft when he piloted an Airbus 340-200 around the world in 48 hours, stopping once in Auckland.  Yet the veteran French fighter pilot and director of the multinational aircraft manufacturer Airbus was self-deprecating about his abilities in the cockpit, attributing most of the skill involved to the automated systems he had developed. “After all, airline pilots are no more than taxi drivers,” he said.

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Debating Modern Ceylon History with Daggers Drawn: Roberts vs De Silva, 1986-91

Two Peradeniya colleagues from yesteryear, Professor Kingsley de Silva and Michael Roberts, took sharply different positions on facets of the island history in British colonial and post-1948 times in hardhitting essays in local journals and newspapers in the period 1986 to 1991. The series began with Michael Roberts’s article-length review of KM De Silva:  Managing Ethnic Tensions in Multi-Ethnic Societies: Sri Lanka, 1880-1985  (Lanham, University Press of America) ….. and continued with KM De Silva’s hard-hitting review of the book, People Inbetween (Colombo, Sarvodaya, 1989) where Roberts was the principal author in a triumvirate that included Percy-Colin-Thome and Ismeth Raheem.

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People In Between: The Splendid Contortions of DBU Diehards

Rajiva Wijesinha, reviewing the book People Inbetween in the Sunday Observer of 24 March 1991 **

“In this review of the book by three Sri Lankans – Michael Roberts, Percy Colin-Thome and Ismeth Raheem, Rajiva Wijesinha discusses some interesting aspects that go to make People In Between a ‘fascinating social history’.” — The Observer’s Introduction

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One-Upmanship in Riposte …. with An English Bias

Courtesy of Tissa Abeywardene of Kirulapona, Colombo

JFK’S Secretary of State, Dean Rusk, was in France in the early 60’s when DeGaulle decided to pull out of NATO.

De Gaulle said he wanted all US military out of France as soon as possible.

Rusk responded “Does that include those who are buried here?

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A Sturdy Voice That We Miss: Rajeewa Jayaweera on India’s Looming Politics

Dr, D. Chandraratna in The Island, 11 June 2021, where the title reads An Appreciation: Rajeewa Jayaweera: A Void Hard to fill” …. with highlighting imposed by The Editor, Thuppahi

On 11 June, 2020, when we heard the distressing news of Rajeewa Jayaweera’s untimely death, I wrote an appreciation from afar that he was a public intellectual who had contributed immensely to public debate, mostly on our relations with India and to a lesser extent with the Western countries. Coming from a fortunate background, and immersed in the diplomatic life of his father he took a scholarly interest in foreign affairs. Few in Sri Lanka has contributed so much to the subject recently as much as Rajeewa, to bring into public discussion our relations with the world community. His accounts were a  ‘learned and incisive appraisal of events’ particularly during the turbulent times of the threat posed by separatism. In this article on the first death anniversary I wish to justify my assertion about Rajeewa by way of an appreciation with a difference.

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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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Grim Realities: Encountering Battlefield Casualties

Dr Gamani Goonetilleke, whose chosen title is “Treating war victims: a learning experience” ….. https://drgamini.org/2020/07/13/first-exposure-to-war-injuries/

As a medical student or as a doctor, I was never taught about War injuries, their implications or the principles of their management. Nor did I study the topic. We grew up and learnt medicine and surgery during peaceful times when these were not seen. The initial exposure to these gruesome circumstances was dreadful and horrendous. It was my duty to attend to these casualties as they were brought to hospital.

Legs amputated by blast

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