Category Archives: literary achievements

In Defence of a Voice from the Grave, That of Sunila Abeysekera

Jane Russell presenting “a reply to unjustified criticism ” …. * …. [see endnote]

Foreword: I first met Sunila Abeysekera at a joint exhibition of sculpture and poetry which my Sri Lankan partner, sculptor Malathie de Silva, and I held at the Lionel Wendt Gallery in 1976. Sunila was twenty-four; I was two years older. She brought her father along and he purchased one of my poems which I‘d produced as wall-posters.:

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Sri Lanka’s Tea Country Trail from Yesteryear with Julia Margaret Cameron

Juliet Coombe

Sri Lanka’s Tea Country Trail. 582 likes · 9 talking about this. The Tea Country Trail is a proposed 310 km long-distance hiking trail through the Sri Lankan Tea Country. The trail winds its way…

https://www.facebook.com/teacountrytrail/

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Anne Abayasekara: Telling It Like It Is

Telling It Like It Is …. is a compilation of a few of the journalistic writings of Anne Abayasekara.

   

She was born Annette Aurelia Ameresekere in April 1925. In the field of journalism, she was a Sri Lankan pioneer, entering what was a male dominated profession in the early 1940s. At Lake House, before reaching 22 years of age, she was appointed Editress of the Women’s Pages in the Ceylon Daily News and Sunday Observer, being the only female in the Editorial Department.

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Exploring the Etymological Strands of the Word “Thiruketheeswaram

Chandre Dharmawardana

The word stub “ket,”, கேத, in the place name:  Tiru-k-keteeswaram,  திருக்கேதீசுவரம்

In finding a meaning for the component –ket– in Tiru-ket-heesvaram, well known Engineer Thiru Arumugam has quoted an interpretation given in 1849 by Pridham which leans on a mythological tale of Vishnu’s exlir of mortality that fell into the hands of a demon. The demon was said to be cut into two and became Rahu and Ketu (.இராகு கேது) recognized in astrology.  Predham stretches his imagination very far to convert the Tamil -கேத- sound to கேது in finding  an “explanation” or rationalization for the stub  -கேத- found in the place name.

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Vijaya and Kuveni: Two Legendary Figures of the Pali Chronicles

Chandre Dharmawardana

“This may confuse some since Madura became a part of the Chola kingdom, and that Vijaya called for a Chola princess after rejecting Kuveni. In reality, many south Indian kings sought North Indian brides as they were fair-skinned”.**

Cholas, Pandyas, and Cheras, are mentioned in the Ashokasthamba (Asoka-Pillar) inscriptions (3rd century BC although some historians think the pillar inscriptions may have been even earlier). When did Vijaya come to Tambrapanni? Is Vijaya even a real person?

I believe there have been many invasions (basically, not necessarily invasions, but people coming in even to farm, fish or trade, and by boats and settling down). Even Vijaya’s landing as described in the Pali chronicles was accidental.

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Thiruketheeswaram: the Site of a Temple from Pre-Historic Times

Thiru Arumugam, being an article presented recently in The CEYLANKAN, Journal of the Ceylon Society of Australia. No. 3, August 2021

Thiruketheeswaram is located about eight km north of Mannar Town. It is on the coastal mainland of Ceylon, near the seashore on the direct coast road from Mannar to Jaffna. It has been the site of a Temple dedicated to Siva from pre-historic times. The place name of Thiru-Kethu-Iswaram has been devised as follows.  ‘Thiru’ means sacred or holy and “Iswaran” is another name for Siva. As regards ‘Kethu’, Charles Pridham in his 1849 book A Historical, Political and Statistical account of Ceylon and its Dependencies describes how the gods asked Vishnu to prepare an elixir which would make them immortal. The elixir was prepared by churning the oceans but a demon who was a bystander also managed to drink the elixir. When Vishnu realised this, he cut off the demon’s head, but he was too late as the elixir had already made him immortal. The two parts became Rahu and Kethu, which are significant planets in the Hindu astrological system. In order to propitiate his sin, Kethu (Fig. 1) wandered from place to place and ultimately reached the shores of Lanka. He performed severe penances and he   was ultimately blessed with the Lord’s vision and the place where this occurred was named Thiru-Kethu-Iswaram or Thiruketheeswaram.

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Buddhist Revitalization in Sri Lanka in the Early Twentieth Century: Some Thoughts

Uditha Devapriya, in The Island 12th & 19th August in two parts, with this title  “Early 20th Century Buddhist Revival”  …. https://ceylontoday.lk/news/a-short-note-part-1-early-20th-century-buddhist-revival AND https://ceylontoday.lk/news/a-short-note-part-2-early-20th-century-buddhist-revival

The colonial bourgeoisie in Sri Lanka did not form a monolithic class. They were divided horizontally as well as vertically: horizontally on the basis of income and inheritance, and vertically on the basis of primordial attachments such as caste ideology. Various factors, mainly economic conspired as much to unify the bourgeoisie as they did to divide them, distinguishing them by their homogeneity as well as by their heterogeneity.

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Sinhalaness in Pre-British Ceylon: Issues and Pathways

A Review Essay by Alan Strathern** dissecting a Book by Michael Roberts published in 2004

This item was located by Thuppahi in the web-site Colombo Telegraph on 26 December 2012 (see https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/the-royal-we-sinhala-identity-in-the-dynastic-state/). However, it appeared initially in 2005 in the prestigious journal Modern Asian Studies,  39: 1013–1026.

AN INTRODUCTORY NOTE by Michael Roberts, 7 August 2021

This item is a review essay not a standard review. Alan Strathern is an accomplished historian who happens to be the son of a leading social anthropologist, viz., Marilyn Strathern of ANU and Cambridge University. You will find that his prose is as refined and clear-cut as demanding. After some hesitation, I decided to adhere to my normal policy of highlighting some parts of the text with blue colourfor the benefit of readers facing the difficulties posed by complex issues in historical sociology. On occasions I have also imposed a break in extra-long paragraphs. The illustrations too are my impositions intended to promote reader interest.

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The Skeins of Class bearing on the Threads of Sinhala Cultural Revival under the British

Uditha Devapriya, in The Island, 24 July 2021, where the title reads “Colonial Bourgeoisie and Sinhala Cultural Revival”

The colonial bourgeoisie in Sri Lanka did not form a monolithic class. They were divided horizontally as well as vertically: horizontally on the basis of income and inheritance, and vertically on the basis of primordial attachments, such as caste ideology. Various factors, mainly economic, conspired as much to unify the bourgeoisie as they did to divide them, distinguishing them by their homogeneity as much as by their heterogeneity.

Panadura Vaadaya

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Australian Aboriginal Peoples as Sophisticated Hunter-Gatherers?

Christine Judith Nicholls, reviewing the book Farmers or Hunter-Gatherers? authored by Peter Sutton & Keryn Walshe …. with highlighting imposed by The Editor Thuppahi

Eminent Australian anthropologist Peter Sutton and respected field archaeologist Keryn Walshe have co-authored a meticulously researched n a meticulously researched new book, Farmers or Hunter-gatherers? The Dark Emu Debate. It’s set to become the definitive critique of Bruce Pascoe’s Dark Emu: Black Seeds — Agriculture or Accident?

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