Category Archives: politIcal discourse

Jeronis Pieris Letters in Coffee Table Book: Insights into 19th Century Ceylon


F
acets of Modern Ceylon History through the Letters of Jeronis Pieris … originally published in 1976 by Hansa  [on Bandaranaike era paper] and now presented as a coffee table book with  a host of striking photographs that recapture the mid-nineteenth century era of capitalist expansion with all its pluses and minuses.

Cost is Rs 6400 via the website www.pererahussein.com using VISA or MASTERCARD. The Registered Airmail postage rate to different countries in the world is calculated automatically by the website and added to the cost of the book. Foreign currency rates will thus be equivalent to the Rupee price but will vary slightly depending on the daily Forex rate. Foreign currency rates will thus be equivalent to the Rupee price but will vary slightly depending on the daily Forex rate.

ISBN = 978-955-1723-49-1 .…………….The book is available at : Barefoot, Cargills book city, Sarasavi, Vijitha Yapa, JamFruitTree, Kalaya, Pendi and Urban Island.
 
Jeronis in mid life … & Alfred House in its Prime in mid-19th century

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The Plantation Economy in British Ceylon: The Downtrodden Indian Tamil Labour and the Dispossessed Kandyan Peasantry

Uditha Devapriya, in SAT MAG” of The Island on September 19 and September 26, 2020.

PREFACE: This essay does not present a complete history of plantation slavery, which anyway has been covered many times before by scholars of repute, including Professor Asoka Bandarage, whose Colonialism in Sri Lanka went through a second edition recently. Rather, it counters Sinhala nationalists and those opposed to Sinhala nationalists who equate the position of African-Americans with that of Tamils and Muslims, indicating a failure to distinguish between minority communities which thrived under conditions of colonialism (and neocolonialism) and those which suffered under those conditions. It also counters certain “Marxist” and rightwing academics who see the plantation system as capitalist, and who, while either sympathising with the plight of Estate Tamils or ignoring them outright, single out Kandyan Sinhalese peasants for what they allege to have been their innate laziness under British colonialism, a myth demolished by S. B. D. de Silva in his underrated and unread magnum opusThe Political Economy of Underdevelopment.

Tea Plantation labour in Ceylon – circa 1890s

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How Robert Knox’s Opus took shape in 1681

Anna Winterbottom, in The British Journal for the History of Science, Volume 42Issue 4., December 2009 , pp. 515-538 where the title is Producing and using the Historical Relation of Ceylon: Robert Knox, the East India Company and the Royal Society”

Abstract: Robert Knox’s An Historical Relation of the Island of Ceylon was produced, published and enlarged through the collaboration of the author with scholars including Robert Hooke and financial support from members of the East India Company. The Relation should be seen in the context of a number of texts collected, translated or commissioned by the East India Company in cooperation with the Royal Society during the late seventeenth century that informed and shaped both European expansion and natural philosophy. As well as circulating between European intellectual centres, often reorientated in the process of translation, these texts served as practical guides across settlements and trading posts abroad. Comparing written accounts with experience led to annotations and borrowings that served as the basis for further writings. Company records and Knox’s own unpublished works reveal how the Relation was used as the basis for bio-prospecting for naturally occurring drugs and food sources and in efforts at agricultural transplantation spanning the Indian and Atlantic Oceans. Through the reports of seamen like Knox, such experiments contributed to contemporary theories concerning the effects of latitude on plant life.

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The Eastern Regions of Sri Lanka in British Times

Michael Roberts

My D. Phil dissertation at Oxford in the early 1960s centred on British agrarian policy in the mid-nineteenth century and therefore included the British efforts to revive the tank irrigation systems of the Sinhala past. Several British colonial personnel as well as visiting dignitaries were captivated by the ruins of the Anuradhapura/Polonnaruwa periods which they observed during adventure trips. A few saw it as a challenge for their imperial capacity. Some British governors, notably Ward, Gregory and Gordon, took up the prospect.

 Sir Henry Ward and SJV Chelvanyakam

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Democracy under the Gun in Sri Lanka

Jayadeva Uyangoda, in Sri Lanka Guardian 24 September 2020, where the title is “The End of Sri Lanka’s Democracy”

The debate on the proposed 20th Amendment to Sri Lanka’s 1978 Constitution is gathering momentum. The proposal, which has been published in the Government Gazette, is indeed a constitutional bombshell, literally. Its provisions are very destructive in their objectives as well as consequences. 

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Lanka’s Measured Diplomatic Appointments in Key Capitals

Daya Gamage, in Asian Tribune US Bureau Diplomatic Note, Septmber 2020, with this title “Sri Lanka enters into rational foreign policy with key dip. appointments”

  Sri Lanka administration under the Rajapaksa brothers has given a strong indication that it is moving toward formulating a rational foreign policy taking serious note of the emerged international order in the past three years that brought Washington and New Delhi into an unprecedented military bond,  on-going military thrust toward Indo-Pacific region, the relevance of the Quad – US-India-Australia-Japan – India’s Modi administration’s special emphasis that Sri Lanka maintain closer working rapport with it, the acceleration of political-military and economic rivalry between US-India combination and China in announcing key diplomatic appointments to New Delhi, Washington and Beijing.

Moragoda and Modi in 2008 –“Minister of Tourism Milinda Moragoda in President MahindaRajapaksa administration met with India’s Gujarat Chief MinisterNarendra Modi in Capital City Gandhinagar 08 October, 2008”

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Sri Lankan Expressiveness: Warm Gratitude and Vicious Vituperation

Michael Roberts

I did not see the article that highlighted the manner in which the Tamil people of Vishvamadu feted and lamented the departure of the Sinhalese Military Commander of that arena, Ratnapriya Bandu, when it was originally placed in the public domain in late 2018. This striking presentation was the result of a combination between Shenali Waduge in Lanka and the SPUR organisation in Melbourne, an alliance that immediately indicates orientations laced with sentiments of a chauvinist Sinhala hue.

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Confronting Tamil Distortions: Webinar in Their Face Sunday 27th September

Global Webinar to Combat Baseless Propaganda of Tamil Tiger Agents

A group of Sri Lankan professionals have teamed-up for a two-hour Webinar on Sunday, 27 September at Sri Lanka time 7:30 in the evening which will go globally live for a presentation of cogent facts and data to combat the still-prevailing misinformation campaign undertaken by the former Tamil Tiger agents now operating within the Tamil Diaspora worldwide.

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Chinese Ambassador Hu Wei in Q nd A with Kelum Bandara

Acting Chinese Ambassador Hu Wei speaks to Daily Mirror about the present status of bilateral relations. He responds to questions about controversial issues involving China with India and the United States at the moment…. 14 September 2020

  • Debt moratorium from China to Sri Lanka might only solve a small percentage of existing problems but with huge prices.
  • Some subsidiary companies of China Communications Construction Company are blacklisted
  • China never says China First and force Sri Lanka to choose sides
  • Legacy of “Rubber-Rice Pact” Safeguards China and Sri Lanka’s Cooperation against Foreign Threats
  • China provided  a loan of  US $ 500 million in March when  Sri Lanka needed some urgent loans to settle external borrowings and fight the pandemic 

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Caste, Ur and Tamilness among the Tamils in Metropolitan London

Jane Russell. reviewing article by Thanges Paramsothy entitled  “Caste Within the Sri Lankan Tamil Diaspora” in Anthropology Matters Journal, Vol.18 No 1 (2018)

I usually avoid reviewing academic articles. Many are derivative and ones that employ original research can be turgid and dull. But that is not the case with this article by Thanges Paramsothy, currently South Asia Program Scholar at Cornell. While replete with sociological and anthropological information about Sri Lankan Tamil caste groupings, both past and present, it is also full of revealing insights into a social system that has been a veiled inner sanctum to many outsiders.

a toddy tapper

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