Category Archives: literary achievements

In Appreciation of “Our Sam” … The Samarasinghe Family Collective

It is with profound sorrow that we share with you the passing of Prof. Stanley (Sam) Samarasinghe on Monday, Nov 22, 2021. Our husband, father, grandfather, brother, uncle, teacher, colleague and friend fought his illness with relentless courage and undiminished fortitude for several years. His enthusiasm to live his life to the full did not abate. Except family and close friends, no one else had even the slightest inkling that he was battling an invasive enemy within.

 

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Dutch Burghers and Portuguese Mechanics: Eurasian Ethnicity in Sri Lanka

Dennis B. McGilvray, reproducing an essay presented in April 1982 within Comparative Studies in Society and History 24 (2): 235-263 –– an article that is wide-ranging and draws on ethnographic work as well as historical manuscripts. Note that the highlighting and pictorial insertions are the work of The Editor, Thuppahi.

 

 

 

 

 

I: PROLOGUE

Historians and anthropologists in Sri Lanka have tended to migrate in opposite directions, but away from the multiethnic confusion of the port cities. Typically, the heterogeneous, semi-Westernized, postcolonial urban society of Colombo and the larger towns has been only a transit point on intellectual journeys outbound to European archives or inbound to “traditional culture.” This was certainly my viewpoint as I arrived “inbound” in Sri Lanka for my first anthropological fieldwork. I took only passing notice of the clerks of mixed European and Sri Lankan descent who sold me stationery supplies at Cargill’s and mosquito nets at Carvalho’s. These people are given the official designation of Burghers in the government census: they are the racially mixed descendants of the Portuguese, Dutch, and British personnel who occupied the island during four and a half centuries of colonial rule.

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Imaginative Explorations of Sri Lanka’s History on the Cards

ISLAND newspaper News Item, 18 November 2021

In a brand new initiative, under the working title ‘Project 72’, Roar Media and author Sarah Kabir are set to take a deep dive into Sri Lanka’s past since gaining Independence in 1948, entertainingly and educationally covering some of the most defining years in the nation’s history.

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Hassina Leelarathna: In Action, In Words And In Commemoration

LT Times,  November 2021

Hassina Leelarathna, a co-founder of the only Sri Lankan newspaper in the U.S. and an activist who spurred fellow immigrants to help when disasters struck their homeland, has died at age 73. Leelarathna died in Sherman Oaks on Oct. 17 after battling lung cancer for the last five years, said her son, Sahan Gamage.

 

Hassina Leelarathna co-hosted a bilingual radio show called “Tharanga,” focusing on news, music and culture. The program began in San Francisco at KFJC-FM, pictured here, before migrating to Los Angeles when the family relocated south in 1985 (Sahan Gamage)

 

 

 

 

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Vale Dr. Siran Deraniyagala: Assiduous Archaelogist & A Savant Servant for Lanka

Chryshane Mendis

It is no easy task to pen down few words on the life history of a colossus like Dr. Siran Deraniyagala, but nevertheless I will try. Life has its ways, its own twists and turns at times one would not expect; such was the shocking yet inevitable demise of Dr. Deraniyagala. The mystery of life will take us on many paths, and in the case of Dr. Deraniyagala, it took him to explore the mystery of life itself! While digging the earth to unravel humanity’s origins, perhaps he too realized where his journey would end, in the earth; and it eventually did come to pass on the 5th of October 2021. The Man who studied the past, of the lifeways of past peoples, now himself joined them; Siran Upendra Deraniyagala is now a person of the past! But what of his legacy? Will he be only a person of the past or will he be remembered in the present? Unlike the mystery of life, this is an easy question with a simple answer. Yes. Siran Deraniyagala will live on! Decades later even after fading from living memory, his name will be remembered even centuries on. Such is his legacy. Therefore let us briefly marvel at the amazing life of of Dr. Siran Deraniyagala.

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DB Dhanapala’s AMONG THOSE PRESENT

Ravindra Wijewardhane, in Sunday Observer, 25 July 2021, where the title readsv “One of Dhanapala’s best books”

This is a collection of newspaper articles on important people who shaped events in Sri Lanka and even made history. Published in 1962, includes 22 articles or biographical reviews on 22 people – Anagarika Dharmapala, Ananda Coomaraswami, D.S. Senanayake, Dudley Senanayake, John Kotelawala, S.W.R.D. Bandaranaike, Sirima Bandaranaike, Oliver Goonetileke, Philip Gunawardhane, P. de S. Kularatne, G.P. Malalasekera, L.H. Mettananda, Senarat Paranavitana, G.P. Wickramarachchi, Yakkaduve Thero, Nicholas Attygalle, Herbert Hulugalle, Soliyas Mendis, Nittavela Gunaya, Victor Dhanapala, Arunachalam Mahadeva, Ediriweera Sarathchandra.

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The Nomenclature and Lineaments of White-Brown Cohabitation in British Ceylon: A Puzzle

MEMO from Michael Roberts, October 16 October 2021

Moving from BRIDGE ON THE RIVER KWAI to the Greet and Paynter lineages in British Ceylon-and-thereafter has raised a query in my mind: how is it that the category “ANGLO-Ceylonese” did not take root in Ceylon and Lanka in contrast with British India where the label “Anglo-Indian” became well-entrenched[1] and therefore was carried over to the era after India secured Independence in 1947? As we know,[2] Revd Arthur Paynter was an Anglo-Indian missionary who established the Paynter Homes in the Himalayan region of India and then set up the Paynter Home in Nuwara Eliya. He had also married a fellow-missionary in the Salvation Army who was pursuing her commitment in India, one Miss Weerasooria from Dodanduwa … and together sired a talented lineage.

Photograph on display at the Paynter Home of the Paynter family. David Paynter stands at the centre, behind his mother Agnes

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Revd Ernest Poruthota in Q and A on His Life’s Work

Avishka Mario Senewiratne in Q and A with Fr Poruthota (1931-2020) ………… Interview in  May 2018 and originally published in the Messenger, May, 27, 2018. 

Today the Messenger carries a very special and exclusive interview with one of the most senior and popular priests in the Archdiocese of Colombo, Rev. Fr. Ernest Poruthota. Since his ordination in 1957, Fr. Poruthota has served in ten parishes in different parts of the Archdiocese.  As Asst. Parish Priest in Kotahena (1957-59), Moratuwa (1959-60), Pamunugama (1960), Dehiwala (1960-62) and Parish Priest in Dehiyagatha (1962-66), Kelaniya (1967-74), Kalamulla (1974-82), Kotte (1982-87), Wattala (1991-1997), Dehiwala (1997-2004), Kirimatiyagara (2004-2011). Apart from Parishes he has served as the Chaplain of lay Apostolate (1966-67), Director PMS (1971-74), Chaplain YCW, CWM (1983-87), Dean of Colombo (1987-91).

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Anne Frank: A Dutch Girl whom the Nazis Exterminated …. But Her Diary Lives

Bart Von Es, in The Guardian, 25 May 2019, where the title runs Anne Frank: the real story of the girl behind the diary”

Albert Gomes de Mesquita is one of the last people alive to have known Anne Frank in person. He appears briefly in her diary as a fellow student at the Jewish Lyceum in Amsterdam, where she writes of him: “Albert de Mesquita came from the Montessori School and jumped a year. He’s really clever.” There is nothing else. In all likelihood, Albert more or less vanished from her memory, but for him the situation is, inevitably, very different.

As the years have gone by his memories of Anne have become ever more important. Aged 89, he still travels internationally to conferences on her work and life. Anne has become a strange kind of celebrity and Albert, as someone who was actually there at the birthday party at which she was given her still-empty diary, is a point of contact for that fame.

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Pablo Neruda in British Ceylon: Literary and Sexual Flowerings in Wellawatte and Beyond

  Jamie James, initially presented in Literary Hub, 3 June 2019, with this title “Pablo Neruda’s Life as a Struggling Poet in Sri Lanka: A Young Poet’s Adventures in the Foreign Service”

At 22, Pablo Neruda was an international literary celebrity—and desperately poor. His second book, Twenty Love Poems and a Song of Despair, had been a sensational success and would eventually become one of the bestselling books of poetry in the 20th century (more than 20 million copies to date), but he was paid almost nothing for it. He was a student at the Universidad de Santiago in Chile, and hunger was an issue; he wore a billowing cape to conceal his emaciated physique and a wide-brimmed hat that hoped for an air of mystery.

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