Category Archives: population

Dual Citizens in Australia: Statistics

   Courtesy of Harry de Sayrah of Sydney

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Ethnicity after Edward Said: Post-Orientalist Failures in Comprehending the Kandyan Period of Lankan history

Michael Roberts ... presenting a refereed journal article from the year 2001** as a foundation for reflection and fresh pursuits because it addresses the work of Edward Said, a renowned social theorist-cum-political scientist.

Edward Said  Leslie Gunawardena

Abstract: Disenchantment with the excesses of nationalist and ethnic claims in recent decades has directed the analysis of ethnicity presented in academic writings in recent decades.  Ethnicity is seen as pernicious, “primordialist” and “essentialist.”  Other scholars as well as nationalist spokespersons are castigated for reading the present into the past.  This line of criticism has entered the scholarship on the Indian subcontinent and been extended to surveys of the literature on the pre-British and British periods of Sri Lankan history.   Yet these critics themselves are governed by the either/or epistemology of 20th century rationalism.  They are unable to decipher the worldview and the political ideology that organised the socio-political order of the Kingdom of Sihale, better known as the Kingdom of Kandy.  Their bias is “presentist” and “modernist.”  With little patience for historical puzzles, their readings of the pre-British period are simple-mindedFor the most part they rely on the severely flawed interpretation presented in Leslie Gunawardana’s “People of the Lion.”  This dependence marks their ignorance.

** presented in Ethnic Studies Report, Vol XIX/1, 2001 … ICES and kindly supplied by Iranga Silva

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Leonard Woolf’s WELIWEWA and Its Terrain

Gerald Peiris**

After getting the article in Thuppahi on Leonard Woolf and Silindu presented by Ernest MacIntyre, I read Village in the Jungle (for the second time since long ago) and found it difficult to connect the essence of the Woolf narrative with what the producers of the play referred to as an attempt to portray village like in a remote setting in the interior of the ‘deep south’.

Leonard Woolf in his aging years & glimpses of village women gathering tank-water in 2oth century Ceylon

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Upcountry Clubs of Yesteryear — Nostalgic Histories

Sugi De Silva promoting Tours of Sri Lanka’s Upcountry Clubs of Yesteryear

Our search for the legacy of Sports and Clubs in Sri Lanka took us to Nuwara Eliya. Featuring one of the oldest and picturesque sporting venues in Sri Lanka – Radella Club (1856). Legacy Tour on Quadrangle is dedicated to Sporting institutions and legendary individuals who promoted Sports in Sri Lanka commencing from the Colonial era. During the 19th century under the patronage of British Administrators and by Planters and Military officials, various Sports Clubs were established exclusively for them to patronize recreational activities and social gatherings. By the middle of the 20th century, most of these Clubs were opened to Ceylonese or natives to patronize. Then Ceylon’s now Sri Lanka’s Sports and Sporting culture were built on these ‘Exclusive Clubs’ and these are the homes to some of the greatest and were Ceylon’s pride. The rich heritage along with the ‘Legendary Sporting Icons’ of yesteryear who made a mark through these hallowed sports clubs in various sports helped in popularising Sports in Sri Lanka. The journey has been long, challenging and we hope you will enjoy the stories we share from our tour to these Sports Clubs and Pubs.

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Admiral Zheng He’s Imprint in Galle: Its Implications

 Dr. Nirmala Chandrahasan, in The Island, 9 June 2021, where the title runs: “Mandarin and Tamil -A Historical Perspective.”

The recent discovery of name- boards in public institutions which have omitted one of the national languages, namely Tamil, only to replace it with Mandarin Chinese has caused a furor with Tamil members of Parliament and other politicians voicing their protests. Certainly, this is most unfortunate but rather than blame the Chinese it is the government Authorities in charge of the implementation of the Official Languages policy who should be blamed. That they have been remiss in this instance is only a small part of the general malaise in respect of the implementation of the official languages policy.

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Fostering the Peasant Sector of the Economy: Misconceptions

Gerald H Peiris

This whole pretence at applying serious scholarship to a study of land policy in SL since the late 1920s is becoming almost intolerable.[1] The author of this article[2] might well have impressed you with whatever he had done earlier. But this piece does not deserve the attention which you have sought to give,[3] even by way of a kick-off for a scholarly discussion on the subject. That is why I decided to confine my previous comment on just one item in your list of references. This morning I have enough time to send you a longer note – now that an almost total curfew has been imposed throughout SL and all of us are pleasantly home bound.

DS Senanayake, OEG, Dudley et al receiving official inputs

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Addressing A Criticism of DS Senanayake’s Dry Zone Colonization Schemes

Chandre Dharmawardana, 28 May 2021, with this title “Criticism of D.S. Senanayake’s Dry Zone colonization schemes”

Would Sri Lanka have been better off if not for the fetishization of rural peasant life and its connexion to the Sinhalese Buddhist nation-myth?

Why do people talk of “colonization schemes” when a government  facing bulging population growth, for one reason or another, opens up land for its people to settle?

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Covid: Ominous Tentacles in All South Asian Lands

Smriti Mallapaty, 14 May 2021 in an Article ….. where the opening lines run thus: From Sri Lanka to Nepal, scientists with limited resources are working feverishly to discover which variants are driving outbreaks.

https://jwp-nindia.public.springernature.app/en/nindia/figures/1665 Health workers administer SARS-CoV-2 tests at a railway station in Sri Lanka’s capital, Colombo. …. © Xinhua/eyevine

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The Hegemony of Colombo from Way Back

Michael Roberts

After discovering the Lorenz letters in the library of the Royal Asiatic Society in the 1980s I worked on the history of the island in the ninetenth cenury-and-thereafter with aid from Percy Colin-Thome and Ismeth Raheem in a book which apeared as People Inbetween under the imprint of Sarvodaya Book Publishing Services in 1989. One of its central themes is embodied in a chapter entitled “Colonial Transitions: The Development of Colombo’s Hegemonic Power.”

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Tamils in Ancient and Medieval Sri Lanka: The Historical Roots of Ethnic Identity

Sirima Kiribamune, in Ethnic Studies Report, vol IV/1, January 1986, pp. 1-23 … article retrieved via meticulous work by Iranga Silva of the ICES, Kandy — in a committed labour of love

“The past is intelligible to us only in light of the present; and we can fully understand the present only in the light of the past.” E.H. Carr.[*]

Professor Kiribamune

The current ethnic problems of Sri Lanka form the backdrop to this paper. The present tension lies between the majority Sinhalese who speak an Indo-Aryan tongue and the Tamils who use a Dravidian language. The two groups claim distinct racial antecedents, the Sinhalese styling themselves Aryans from north India and the Tamils tracing their origins to the Dravidians of the south. (The use of the terms ‘Aryan’ and ‘Dravidian’ to denote racial groups is considered totally unscientific. This terminology can only be used in a linguistic context. Sinhalese is included in the Indo-European or Aryan group of languages and Tamil belongs to the Dravidian group. The division of people speaking these two groups of languages into distinct racial types is not valid even for India and less so for Sri Lanka.) This division is further marked by religious differences, the Sinhalese being largely Buddhist and the Tamils, Hindus. Interested parties on both sides of the conflict have tried to use the past to legitimise different standpoints. It is the responsibility of the historian to set the record straight and that is the aim of this paper, but one is all too aware of the fact that complete detachment in the writing of history is hardly ever achieved. It is an ideal towards which one strives and needs to strive.

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