Category Archives: literary achievements

The Dutch Burghers in Sri Lanka Today

Prabath De Silva, in Daily Mirror, 21 January 2021, with this title “The Dutch Burghers in Sri Lanka”

 “We are a vanishing tribe in Sri Lanka. The first paternal ancestor of my father’s family who arrived in Sri Lanka in 1774 was Pieter Scharenguivel. He was a Quarter Master in the service of the United Dutch East India Company which ruled the maritime provinces of Sri Lanka from the middle of the 17th century to 1796. The Dutch Burgher identity and consciousness within the family I grew up in was extremely significant. It played a role  in the conversations, traditions, customs, food, perceptions and social interactions. During the British colonial rule, our community produced eminent surgeons, doctors, legal luminaries, judges, engineers, sportsmen, musicians , historians and artists etc.” , said Anne-Marie Scharenguivel (65), a management accountant and a member of Sri Lanka’s tiny  Dutch Burgher community of less than 30000 people.

Mrs. Anne-Marie Scharenguivel

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Aubrey Collette’s Satirical Work — An Appreciation

Neville Weeraratne, being Chapter IX in his opus, entitled Collette’s Cullings. The satirist’s fine line”

COLLETTE: Cartoon comment in the Observer following a ‘43 Group exhibition.

Everybody enjoyed Aubrey Collette’s work though he would not have satisfied every political aspiration. You turned to him for your reading of the day, originally in the Times of Ceylon, later in the Observer, and then as ‘Spur’ in a series he did for the Daily News as well. He gave a sharp edge to his drawing which, indeed, was capable of cutting deeply but never maliciously. Collette had the rare and splendid gift of observation: to remember a foible, to swiftly size up a characteristic, and enjoy having summed up the hapless one who had fortuitously wandered into his sights. To have been noticed by Collette was itself honour enough, and those who had been so distinguished by a portrait, as in Collette’s 1954 FACES – a collection of seventy-three pastel studies – soon bought them up, more for the immortality it conferred on them than for the fear of what their enemies might make of the caricatures. Collette very simply had the gift of showing some how others saw them, bestowing upon them the poet’s wish. You might have rejected these insights as subjective had you not yourself been drawn inevitably into the process of assessing the subject.

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Charting Anagarika Dharmapala’s Many Pursuits

Nandasiri Jasentuliyana, reviewing  Bhadrajee S. Hewage’s book A NAME FOR EVERY CHAPTER: Anagarika Dharmapala and Ceylonese Buddhist Revivalism”

‘The unexamined life is not worth living.’ – Socrates.

Rarely has so much been written both in the West and in the East about the work of a ‘revivalist,’ that one would conclude there is nothing left to be revealed of the man or his work. That is until you read Bhadrajee Hewage’s “Anagarika Dharmapala and Ceylonese Buddhist Revivalism.”

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A Refreshing New Study of the Anagarika Dharmapala’s Endeavours

The unexamined life is not worth living.’ – Socrates.

Rarely has so much been written both in the West and in the East about the work of a ‘revivalist,’ that one would conclude there is nothing left to be revealed of the man or his work. That is until you read Bhadrajee Hewage’sAnagarika Dharmapala and Ceylonese Buddhist Revivalism.”

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In Appeciation of Larry Schokman: As Sturdy and Productive as Ever in Florida 2005

Selva Kanagasabai, whose original title in this essay presented in 2005 [before Larry passed away] runs thus “Larry “Evergreen’ Schokman now foliates Florida”  …. while highlighting emphasis has been imposed here and there by The Editor, Thuppahi

During the 1950s, changes began to appear in the management of tea estates in (then) Ceylon: Although most of the planting jobs were still the preserve of British expatriates, political realities and foresight opened opportunities for young Ceylonese to enter this challenging and rewarding occupation. Initially, it was mostly Trinitians and some Royalists who were selected (probably due to a perception that Rugby players were better suited for the outdoor life on plantations). The presumption was “if you played hard, you worked hard!”

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The Roberts Oral History Project in the 1960s. Origins …. Outcomes

Michael Roberts

In re-establishing communication with two old Mertonians of the early 1960s generation at my College in Oxford, viz, Tony Roberton and Keith Shuttleworth, I have been induced to reflect upon my unusual circumstances as a postgraduate at Merton and Oxford. Apart from being one of the few Sri Lankans in that University,[1] I happened to be (A) engaged in postgraduate work which demanded research at the Public Record Office in Chancery Lane in London, and (B) a colonial visitor with the asset of two sisters domiciled in London.[2] This meant that, every now and then, I spent part of my term-time in London on research-work by hitchhiking directly to White City and its tube station on the Monday and returning on the Friday.

Merton Rugger Squad circa 1964 with Tony kneeling on the right and Keith on my right in the last row standing

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Muttukrishna Sarvananthan’s Independent Paths and The Point Pedro Institute

Muttukrishna Sarvananthan completed his postgrad studies in Wales and was attached to the ICES in Colombo when I met him for the first time. When subsequently coming to grips with the contentious political issues associated with the ‘liberation war’ pursued by the fascist organisarion known as the LTTE, I found that ‘Sarvi’ sustained his indepenedence. At thatstage he had one foot in Point Pedro and another in Wellawatte (the later being my home base arena) … so I did meet him off and on. When in late 2011 I decided to question Rohan Gunaratne’s absurdly low figures on civilian Tamil deaths (at a talk at the British Council). it was to such personnel as Saravananthan, Narendran Rajasingham and Noel Nadesan that I turned to for alternative estimates in this nebulous arena…. See “The Tamil Death Toll in Early 2009: A Misleading Count by Rohan Gunaratna,”  23 November 2011, http: transcurrents.com/news-viewa/archives/6285 …. Michael Roberts

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Where Raj De Silva has flourished in Retirement

Tuley de Silva  

Raj de Silva has been a very successful civil engineer, who has earned several international accolades for his contribution to some landmark civil engineering projects overseas. Lost in Retirement and Other Stories is his first contribution to the literary world.

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Galle: Basic Facts ….. Historical, General and Pacha

Ruhunu Putra, in THE ISLAND, 2o  November 2020, where the title is “Historical Glance at Galle”

Galle is the capital of the Southern Province. The popular derivation of its name is from the Sinhala word Gaala – a cattle pen. The mighty king Ravana’s cattle pen had extended from the present day Mahapola premises to the Town Hall, according to legend.  Galle is also considered to be the Tarshish in the Bible. It is reputed for cottage-crafts, lace making, tortoise shell work, gem polishing, ivory carving, jewellery and ornamental ebony elephants.

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Insights into Victorian Ceylon’s Westernized Bourgeoisie via the Jeronis Pieris Letters

Yomal Senerath-Yapa,“Family sagas and a peek at Victorian Ceylon’s westernised bourgeoisie” in  www.elanka.com.au/tag/yomal-senerath/ AND https://www.pressreader.com/sri-lanka/sunday-times-sri-lanka/20201108/282222308278502 …. 12 November 2020 = a REVIEW of the second edition of Facets of Modern Ceylon History -Through the Letters of Jeronis Pieris by Michael Roberts

Few voices of the early 19th Century bourgeois Ceylonese have survived straight from the horse’s mouth to-date. Who were this new elite? What were those first English-educated generations like? How did Macaulay’s “class of people who can act as intermediaries between us and the millions we govern — English in taste, in opinions, in morals, and intellect” fit in?

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