It is likely that the paravas (also known as Bharathas in Sri Lanka to indicate their Indian origin) were working as fishermen and mercenaries in South India and the north western coast of Sri Lanka well before the sixteenth century. Tradition links them to the evolution of the catamaran (a small craft with two hulls) and with a major role in pearl fishing in the Gulf of Mannar. They were also proficient in chank (turbinella pyrum) fishing: chanks being seashells that were used to make ornaments and drinking vessels. The coming of the Portuguese to the region in the sixteenth century provides us many Portuguese records that illuminate the history and seafaring skills of this community.. Historian Jorge Manuel Flores, for example, quotes a mid-sixteenth century Portuguese document which records thanks to a parava convert named Duarte de Miranda for assistance in navigating the seas off South India.
A Bibliography of Published/Unpublished Work by Sandadas Coperahewa (1923 – 2022)
Books: * යුර ෝපා කලාරේ ලුහුඬු ඉතිහාසරේ සිංහල රපරැළිය හා යුර ෝපා කලා රහළ කලා සසදුව (1958)
[The Sinhala Translation of R.H. Wilenkski’s A Miniature History of European Art and a Comparative Study of European and Sinhalese Art] * රෙරේ හිමි සෙරුව ( 1991) …. [A commemorative poem on Ven. Pamburana Metteyya Thera of Vajirarama] * ජගේ කලාකරු කතන්ද – 1 : රලරයෝනාරදෝ දා වින්ි (1992) * ජගේ කලාකරු කතන්ද – 2 : ෙයිකල් ඇන්ිරලෝ ( 1997) * ජගේ කලාකරු කතන්ද – 3 : ෆාරයල් ( 1998) …………………. A series of books on World famous artists – Leonardo Da Vinci, Michelangelo and Raphael
Uditha Devapriya, in The Island, 9 April 2022, …With input from and photographs by Manusha Lakshan … & bearing this title “Some reflections on the temples of the South”
The social and cultural history of Buddhist temples in Sri Lanka has been the object of study for well over a century. Far from receding into a world of their own, these temples occupied a prominent place in the world around them. Buddhist monks lived under a code of piety and self-denial, and they operated under their own rules and customs. Yet despite being cut off from mundane concerns, they were very much linked to the society they hailed from. Granted entire villages for their upkeep, the clergy made use of the social institutions of their time, most prominently caste, to maintain their hold.
Computer generated 3D illustration with a Portuguese Caravel of the Fifteenth Century
Abstract of the article below: Two arrival stories in the long span of the island’s history will provide the foundations for reflections on history-making in the modern era. Episode One will pursue my own intellectual trail in the 1980s in fashioning an interpretation of the story of the arrival of the Portuguese and my subsequent confrontations in print with KM de Silva on this issue in the 1990s. Episode Two essays an interpretation of the advent of Vijaya retailed in the Pali & Sinhala chronicles as a genesis story of the same order as the tale of Adam and Eve: contending that it is not a tale with any factual basis, but one that conveys a mythic truth for its authors and ‘faithful’ listeners. It is, thus, a morality-tale about the magical implantation of civilised culture and state-forms within the island. This interpretation, however, has shortcomings and will benefit from the correctives imposed by Godfrey Gunatilleke’s exposition of the multi-faceted symbolism associated with this myth.
A monument constructed at the ninth kilometer post on the *Ella–Wellawaya Road near the village of Randeniwela is a unique obelisk to commemorate the Battle of Randeniwela (Battle of Randeniya or Sinhalese – Portuguese War), a battle fought on August 25th 1630. The battle was fought between Portuguese forces commanded by the *Governor Constantinu De Saa de Noronha and King Senarath’s (1604–1635) youngest son Prince Maha Astana (pre coronation) who was later crowned as King Rajasinha II (1635–1687), the second ruler of Kandyan Kingdom and his brother Prince Vijayapala.
Michael Roberts, reproduing here an article that appeared initially in 1989 with the same title in Ethnos, 55: 1-2:69-82. … and also in Swedish inLanka. Tidskrift om Lankesisk Kultur (Uppsala), No. 2, March 1989. I regret that the presentation here has not been able to incoroporate diacritica for indigenous words.
ABSTRACT: This essay decodes a sixteenth century folktale which records the Sinhalese reaction to the arrival of the first Portuguese. Where the historiography has interpreted this tale as benign wonderment in the face of exotica, a piecemeal deconstruction of the allegorical clues in the ‘story is utilised to reveal how the Sinhalese linked the Portuguese with demons and with Vasavarti Maraya; the arch enemy of the Buddha. In this fashion the Portuguese and the Christian sacrament of communion were represented as dangerous, disordering forces. The piecemeal reinterpretation of this short text, however, must be overlaid by a holistic perspective and the realisation that its rendering in oral form enabled its purveyors to lace the story with a satirical flavour: so that the Portuguese and Catholicism are, like demons, rendered both disordering and comic, dangerous and inferior – thus ultimately controllable. In contending in this manner that the folktale is an act of nationalist opposition, the article is designed as an attack on the positivist empiricism which pervades the island’s historiography and shuts out imaginative reconstructions which are worked out by penetrating the subjective world of the ancient texts.
Dishan Joseph, in Daily News, 4 Septmber 2021, where the title is “Jaffna Fort: Reflections of Dutch History” … reproduced here with highlighting inserted by The Editor, Thuppahi
The Northern Province is embellished with history and culture. It is a land laced with mystic aura. Perhaps the most iconic landmark in the Jaffna town area is the massive Dutch Fort, which stands as a historic sentinel.This fortified superstructure is the second largest Dutch Fort in Sri Lanka.
For centuries this Fort has been associated with the strategic defence on the maritime boundary of our resplendent island. It is probably the most visited destination of the Northern Province by local and foreign visitors, the other being the Nallur Kandaswamy Kovil. From the 13th century to the 17th century, the Nallur Rajadani featured prominently in ancient Ceylon.
Michael Roberts, responding in 1985 to a Review Essay by Susan Bayly of Cambridge University on his book on Caste Conflcist and Elite Formation, CUP 1982
Susan Bayly** has done me the honour of reviewing the book on Caste Conflict and Elite Formation: The Rise of a Karava Elite in Sri Lanka, 1500-1931at considerable length.’ Her essay is appropriately entitled ‘The History of Caste in South Asia’. This title provides a clue to the interpretative pathways which have led her systematically to misunderstand the arguments within the book. No less problematical is her implicit belief in the possibility of constructing a composite picture of the caste system qua system on the basis of empirical data drawn from different regions, regions as widely different as Sri Lanka, southern India and western India. Let me elaborate this charge, and in doing so reiterate the arguments which I presented.
The Portuguese arrived in Ceylon, or Ceilão, as they called it, by chance. In 1505, a fleet commanded by Lourenço de Almeida—the son of Francisco de Almeida, the first viceroy of Portuguese India—was blown into Galle by adverse winds. It was thirteen years later, in 1518, that the Portuguese established formal contact with the Kingdom of Kotte, ruled by Vira Parakrama Bahu, and were permitted to build a fort in Colombo.
Chandra R. de Silva, aka “CR”, being the Inaugural Tessa Bartholomeusz Memorial Lecture, Department of Religion, Florida State University, Tallahassee, FL, delivered on March 4, 2002
Let me begin by thanking the Department of Religion and Florida State University for inviting me to deliver the inaugural Tessa Bartholomeusz Memorial Lecture. As many of you are aware, Tessa and I worked together in two academic projects in the last few years and we were part of a group that worked hard and successfully to set up an American Research Center in Sri Lanka. I miss her both as a scholar and a friend and thus, my appreciation for all you have done in her memory is immense.
Thuppahi's Blog · This web site presents the interventions of MICHAEL ROBERTS in the public realm with reference to Sri Lankan political affairs. It will embrace the politics of cricket as well. ROBERTS was educated at St. Aloysius College in Galle and the universities of Peradeniya and Oxford. He taught History at Peradeniya University and Anthropology at Adelaide university. He is now retired and lives in Adelaide.