Category Archives: Saivism

An Ethnological Introduction to the Tamils of Sri Lanka

 Karthigesu Sivathamby

 This item now presented in Thuppahi is the first part of a book in pdf format entitled The Tamils of Sri Lanka. In converting the pdf the whole text went haywire and the paragraph divisions were all over the shop. I cannot guarantee that my painstaking editorial reconstruction stuck to Siva’s original design. I have refrained from inserting any highlighting emphasis on the text: so the highlighting you see is there in the original… As far as I could work out, this work was finalized in 1989, but that point is subject to correction ………….. Michael Roberts Continue reading

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Caste in Jaffna

Prashanth Kuganathan** whose title runs thus: “Social Stratification in Jaffna: A Survey of Recent Research on Caste”

A SYNOPSIS: Since 1983, war has dominated the perception of Sri Lanka. This has affected scholarship on the country, such that the subjects of an overwhelming number of research proposals and publications have been on the war and the prospects and prescriptions for peace. This survey paper is an attempt to locate the system of caste in transition in the Jaffna Peninsula by reviewing recent literature written after the commencement of the war. While detailed ethnographies of caste in Jaffna may have temporarily come to a halt, caste practices have not and remain a salient part of everyday life among the Tamils in Sri Lanka. As the war ended in 2009, it is therefore important that social scientists on Sri Lanka revisit the topic of caste, that is an integral part of not just Tamil culture or society, but being Tamil itself. As the study of caste is dominated by research in India, a microanalysis of Jaffna and Sri Lanka, particularly the nuances of this system in transition due to war and militancy, could contribute to the macro-study of caste at a sub-continental perspective.

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Analysing the Many Threads of Religiosity in Sri Lanka

Lynn Ockersz, in The Island, 19 August 2022, where the title reads An incisive exploration of Sri Lanka’s religiosity” with highlighting imposed by The Editor, Thuppahi

This timely publication could be described as a revelation of the fascinating nature of Sri Lanka’s religiosity. It is almost customary to refer to Sri Lanka as a ‘religious country,’ but it is not often that one comes across scholarly discussions on the subject locally. ‘Multi-Religiosity in Contemporary Sri Lanka..’, a collection of research papers put together in book form, fills this void most adequately.

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When Tamilnadu’s LTTE Stalwarts attacked Thiru Nadesan at Rameswaram Temple in 2012 –DBS Jeyaraj

 D.B.S.Jeyaraj, in his website on 9th October 2021 with the following title “Revisiting the Attack on Thirukumar Nadesan in India”

Though Thirukumar Nadesan is a well-known businessman, it was the Rajapaksa connection of his spouse Nirupama that captured headlines in national and international media

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Sinhalaness in Pre-British Ceylon: Issues and Pathways

A Review Essay by Alan Strathern** dissecting a Book by Michael Roberts published in 2004

This item was located by Thuppahi in the web-site Colombo Telegraph on 26 December 2012 (see https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/the-royal-we-sinhala-identity-in-the-dynastic-state/). However, it appeared initially in 2005 in the prestigious journal Modern Asian Studies,  39: 1013–1026.

AN INTRODUCTORY NOTE by Michael Roberts, 7 August 2021

This item is a review essay not a standard review. Alan Strathern is an accomplished historian who happens to be the son of a leading social anthropologist, viz., Marilyn Strathern of ANU and Cambridge University. You will find that his prose is as refined and clear-cut as demanding. After some hesitation, I decided to adhere to my normal policy of highlighting some parts of the text with blue colourfor the benefit of readers facing the difficulties posed by complex issues in historical sociology. On occasions I have also imposed a break in extra-long paragraphs. The illustrations too are my impositions intended to promote reader interest.

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Robert Pape’s Blunders in Tigerland: Pape’s Muddles on ‘Suicide Bombers’ in Sri Lanka

Michael Roberts, reprinting here an article which appeared initially in November 2007  as Working Paper No. 32 November 2007 in the Heidelberg Papers on South Asian PoliticsISSN: 1617-5069 …. edited by Subrata Mitra. Insofar as this essay is being reproduced in 2020, I cannot overstress the point at which it appeared in the public realm — in 2007 well before the LTTE was defeated… [noting that, with the exception of the emblematic Picture at the start, all other illustrations appeared in the Heidelberg publication. These pictorial scenes, I stress now in 2020, are valuable data in themselves].

No study of the LTTE can afford to neglect Sri Lanka’s cultural, historical, and geographical backdrop, The lack of existential awareness of religious cross-fertilisation, the either/or foundations of Western reasoning and the absence of local knowledge bedevil the scholarship that incorporates Sri Lanka within the global surveys of suicide attacks. Pape’s Dying to Win is an example. Here, in Pape’s article, the LTTE’s multi-pronged capacities are poorly evaluated. Too much significance is attributed to the coercive success of SMs in bringing the government to the negotiating table at various moments. Religious persecution has not been the main reason for the Tamil struggle. Comparative references to SMs elsewhere are occasionally interspersed in this review of the Sri Lankan scene.

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Myth-making Ridiculous: Raavana on Fire!

Grace Bains in  Scoopwhoop where the title is A Demon For Us But A Hero For Sri Lankans, The Fascinating Story Of Ravana, According To Lanka” and Chandre Dharmawardena, in Island, 11 September 2020

As we celebrate Dussehra, we recount Ramayana and the lessons that come with it. For us, the Ramayana isn’t just a story of Lord Rama winning over Ravana and rescuing Sita. It is about good winning over evil despite the many obstacles. It is the story that gives Indians hope and motivation to keep fighting for what they know is right.

But we all know that every story has two sides.

Source: Daily Mirror

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Eelamist Movement Rises Again in the North?

Dinasena Ratugamage, in Island, 15 August 2020, where the title is “Wiggy makes vow before LTTE memorial”

Newly elected TMTK (Thamil Makkal Thesiya Kuttani) MP C.V. Wigneswaran, on Thursday (13), vowed before the LTTE memorial at Mullivaikkal that he would fulfill the aspirations of the Tamil people.

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Cultural Cross-Fertilization as the Road to Amity

Raj Gonsalkorale, in DailyFT, 4 August 2020, with this title “The Northern Province: The centre for Tamil culture in Sri Lanka”

As much as the Sinhala Buddhist culture and its richness should be recognized, the Tamil culture, in particular the Tamil Hindu culture and its universality, too needs to be recognized. All Sri Lankans should be proud that the country has two such ancient cultures as its foundations.

– Pic by Shehan Gunasekara

http://www.ft.lk/columns/The-Northern-Province-The-centre-for-Tamil-culture-in-Sri-Lanka/4-704036

 

Culture is the characteristics and knowledge of a particular group of people, encompassing language, religion, cuisine, social habits, music and arts. … The word “culture” derives from a French term, which in turn derives from the Latin “colere,” which means to tend to the earth and grow, or cultivation and nurture.

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Lord Naseby castigates the LTTE past … and the TGTE present … Today

Yesterday (29/07/20) in the House of Lords, Lord Naseby spoke in the debate on Global Human Rights Sanctions Regulations 2020: “My Lords, I have no problem at all with the financial aspects of this SI. I think there is a big challenge with individuals and human rights; I remember Gaddafi, Saddam Hussein and Assad, all of whose communities we interfered in at huge human cost to those communities. I want to focus, though, sadly, on the Sri Lankan Tamil Tigers—LTTE—which we proscribed in 2001. It was succeeded by the Transnational Government of Tamil Eelam—TGTE—itself proscribed in Sri Lanka. It is staffed and organised by former LTTE people and yesterday it started a legal action in the courts here in the UK to lift the proscription on the Tamil Tigers.

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