Category Archives: population

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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The Insidious and False Dimensions of the “Traditional Homeland” Thesis

Gerald Peiris 

The concept of the ‘Traditional Tamil Homeland’ as promulgated by its exponents is based on the notion that, from the distant past, the island of Sri Lanka comprised the territories of two distinct nationalities that were arbitrarily unified in the formation of British Ceylon in the early 19th century.  My survey, which draws from several authoritative writings, some of which have been authored by reputed Tamil scholars, shows that such a notion does not conform to known facts and unbiased interpretations of the country’s history.

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Galle Fort: Demography, 2018

The Population of Galle Fort in 2018

Muslims                    561

Sinhalas                     432

Tamils                          14

Malays                         02

Burghers                     02

Foreigners                  60 …… Total 1071        

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Portuguese Colombo in 1662 via the Sketches of Esaias Bourse

Chryshane Mendis, in The HistoryFreek, 4 May 2020, where the title reads “Colombo in Transition 1662: Through the Eyes of Artist Esaias Boursse

This short essay serves as an introduction to a rare collection of sketches of Colombo and its environs in the year 1662.

Sinhalese soldier and labourer

Esaias Boursse was a servant of the VOC who made over hundred sketches of daily life in Colombo, mainly focused on the People and the work they were engaged in. This collection is called the “Tijkenboeck” and is held by the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam. This album containing 116 sheets of drawings came into the possession of the Rijksmuseum in 1996. Its value outweighs the poor quality of some of the drawings in that it captures scenes from within a city which was being transformed from its Portuguese outlook to the Dutch; thus some scenes depict street views of Portuguese Colombo- a phenomena never before captured in drawing except for textual descriptions.

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Imbalanced Task Forces in Sri Lanka?

Jehan Perera, in Island, 30 June 2020, with this title “The Need For Better Representation In Divided Societies”

There has been a trend of President Gotabaya Rajapaksa making senior appointments in which those who are outside the established administrative systems are being brought in to provide leadership and ensure effective and non-corrupt practices.  As a large number of these appointments have been from the security forces this has given rise to a perception that the country is heading towards eventual military rule. There is a concern that the forthcoming general elections will be followed by constitutional changes that will entrench the military in governance as in some other countries such as Myanmar. This is unlikely to be the case in Sri Lanka as democratic traditions upholding civilian control of government are deeply ingrained in the fabric of political society.

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The Black-White Divide in USA: Covid’s Exposure/Disclosure

Daya Gamage

The lack of healthcare facilities, less economic opportunities, sub-standard educational facilities, extremely low-paying jobs, inadequate housing availability, widespread racism and discrimination, long-standing economic and health disparities between white people and the minority blacks have directly contributed to 35 percent of the Black community being affected by the Covid-19 despite the Blacks in the U.S. make-up just 13 percent of the overall population, the Asian Tribune survey found.Even though African Americans make up 13 percent of the US population, they account for 30 percent of the country’s COVID-19 patients

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A Pooja for Kandy

Gerald H. Peiris **

Almost exactly eighty years ago a young woman, then in her first appointment as a teacher serving a village school off the township of Mawanella, and her husband, evangelist of the Methodist Church in the same village, rushed their infant son to the General Hospital in Kandy in the desperate hope that he would somehow survive through the bout of high fever and infection diagnosed as diphtheria – a disease with which an infant mortality rate quite close to 100% was associated at that time in ‘Ceylon’. They both maintained vigil at the hospital cot, day and night, throughout the fortnight or so of treatment and their child’s erratic recovery.

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On Kandy. For Kandy.

Gerald H Peiris’s New Book: PLANNING FOR THE FUTURE OF KANDY …. a monograph

2. Cover image ….. 

Kandy 1

Kandy is considered the epitome of Sri Lanka’s civilisational heritage, both as a supremely venerated sanctum in the world of Thēravāda Buddhism as well as from perspectives of harmonious multiculturalism evident in its demographic, structural and functional characteristics…..

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‘Covidiot Specialists’ as Another Menace

Dr Upul Wijayawardhana, in Island, 4 May 2020, where the title is Which is more dangerous, Covid or Covidiot?”

“Where knowledge is sparse, experts proliferate” is, perhaps, the most important lesson I have learned during this troubled time we all are going through. At times, I wished Sir Tim Berners-Lee patented his invention – the World Wide Web – rather than gifting it to humanity. That would have prevented so many of my friends, and relatives, from forwarding many frivolous items, by e-mail and WhatsApp, as I am a Facebook shunner. Had they been obliged to pay, even the tiniest amount, they would have thought twice before forwarding most of these which, at best, are silly and, at worst, laden with darned lies. Had Sir Tim been selfish, he would have been a multi-billionaire, the richest man in the world, perhaps, and could then be a ‘philanthropist’, like some Americans, doling out millions to help the fight against the unseen-enemy. But that is another story.

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The Problem with Spatial Diffusion Models

Gerald H. Peiris

Models of Spatial Diffusion have been developed and used in Geography at least from the time of the Swedish geographer Hiegastrand (I hope I have got his name correct), and the kindly old professor of Geography at Trondheim, Prof. Karlsen Asbjorn (now retired) who hosted me for several meals at his home when I was on sabbatical in Norway way back in the last century. Asbjourn was considered an expert in the field of applying those models to the diffusion of infections. There are several such models.

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