Gananath Obeyesekere: “Sorcery and Premeditated Murder: The Canalization of Aggression”
In this paper I want to deal with a series of interrelated problems beginning with the following specific questions and propositions. First: how far can we make inferences about the human psyche and social structure from official statistics computed by government agencies, in this case statistics on homicide and crimes of violence? Criminology as a discipline is especially concerned with this problem, and criminological studies in Sri Lanka have made social structural, cultural and psychological inferences from the statistical data. At the outset, let me emphasize that I am not concerned with the conventional debate about the accuracy of governmental statistics. Criminologist who have dealt with this issue are agreed that Sri Lanka’s official statistics on homicide and violent crimes are reasonably accurate, and on the face of it there is perfect justification for using these data for social analysis.
Michael Roberts, reproducing here an article entitled “Tamil Tigers: Sacrificial symbolism and ‘dead body politics’,” that was first presented in Anthropology Today, June 2008, vol. 24/3: 22-23. The re-working of this article was seen to by Ms Nadeeka Paththuwaarachchi of Battaramulla.
Scholars and journalists often mistakenly treat the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE, or Tamil Tigers) as a ‘secular organization’ at a time when stereotypes of the Islamic ‘terrorist’ or ‘Hindu fundamentalist’ dominate popular thinking about political extremism. Political scientists devote space to the Tamil Tigers in their global surveys of what they term ‘suicide terrorism’.Recently, Roland Buerk of the BBC presented a similar view: ‘They arenot religious and believe that there is nothing after death. Their fanaticism is born of indoctrination from childhood.’
Tiger fighters relax in camp but retain their kuppi with cyanide in chainsaround neck-Pic by Shyam Tekwani c.1989 whne embedded among the LTTE
Michael Roberts ….. This article appeared first in Studiesin Conflict and Terrorism, 2007, vol. 30: 857-88.with the title “Suicide Missions as Witnessing: Expansions, Contrasts” and is reproduced here with its original American English spelling. The re-working of this article was seen to by Ms Nadeeka Paththuwaarachchi of Battaramulla. The pictorial images are embellishments that were not part of the original essay. I have also added highlighting emphasis in orange as well as a few hyperlinks to other standard sources of information. The bibliographical references are within the End Notes as in the original format.
ABSTRACT: Studies of suicide missions usually focus solely on attacks. They also have highlighted the performative character of suicide missions as acts of witness. By extending surveys to suicidal acts that embrace no-escape attacks, theatrical assassination, defensive suicide, and suicidal protest, one gains further insight into the motivations of individuals and organizations. Illustrative studies, notably the assassination of Mahatma Gandhi and Sadat as well as Tamil Tiger operations, generate a typology that underlines the benefits of such extensions. The Japanese and Tamil contexts reveal the profound differences in readings of sacrificial acts of atonement or punishment by local constituencies. Norman Morrison in Washington in 1965 and Jan Palach in Prague in 1969 did not have such beneficial settings and the immediate ramifications of their protest action were limited. Morrison’s story highlights the significance of a societal context of individuated rationalism as opposed, say, to the “pyramidical corporatism” encouraging martyrdom operations in the Islamic world.
Jan Palach…19 Jan. 1969 Nathuram Godse vs Mahatma Gandhi .. 30 Jan 1948
Iselin Frydenlund, ….. which reached me via the University of Adelaide circuit and where the title is “Tamil Militancy in Sri Lanka and the Role of Religion”. It is presented here against the wishes of the author, with a change of title, modifications in the hyphenation style, the addition of illustrative photographs from my own stock and the use of coloured highlighting to mark significant passages….. The Editor, Thuppahi
From the late 1970s to its defeat by the Government of Sri Lanka in 2009, the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) fought for Tamil independence in Sri Lanka. The ultimate aim of what was often considered to be one of the world‘s most disciplined and efficient insurgency groups was to create an independent Tamil homeland (which they called Tamil Eelam) in the northern and eastern parts of the island. The LTTE based itself on a unique mix of Tamil nationalist, socialist, and feminist visions of a new future for the marginalized Tamil communities of Sri Lanka.
Lopamudra Maitra Bajpai, in newsin.asia, 17 September 2018, where the title reads “Vishwakarma, the celestial architect who built Sri Lanka”
The Vishwakarmapuja, which was observed on September 17, is not restricted to India but is observed in Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Nepal and Bhutan. The puja closely follows the celebration of the Ganapati festival. In some places, it is performed the day after Diwali in October or November.
Vishwakarma puja or Kanya Sankranti is celebrated in the Indian states of Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and Jharkhand in North India; Karnataka in the south; and Assam, West Bengal Odisha and Tripura in the east, in honour of Vishwakarma – the celestial architect.
Shannine Daniel, courtesy of Roar Media, 6 December 2017, where the title is “When Architecture and Buddhism Came Together. The Guard Stones Of Ancient Sri Lanka”
The ruins of Sri Lanka’s ancient kingdoms are a testament to the architectural skill of our ancestors. They have several unique architectural features including intricately carved stairs, the moonstones that lie at the foot of the stairs, and the guard stones that are placed on either side of the stairs at the entrances to these historic and religious sites. Among these, the guard stones, known as muragal in Sinhalese, are particularly fascinating. These features of Sinhalese architecture have both practical and decorative purposes.
Some academics believe that the concept of guard stones found its way to Sri Lanka from India
Ranga Kalugampitiya, courtesy of Colombo Telegraph, dated 20 July 2015, where the title runs ‘Rāvanā & Sinhala Buddhism: A Strained Relationship Ridden With Contradictions”…. The version here being embellished with Editorial highlighting.
Rāvanā, one of the principal characters in the Rāmāyana, emerges as a villain in the mainstream (Hindu) understandings of the text. Given the important position that Rāmā (Rāvanā’s opponent), who is believed to be a manifestation of Viśnu, occupies in the Hindu religious tradition, Rāvanā becomes a symbol of evil in those readings of the text.
Nevertheless, the conceptualizations of Rāvanā within the context of Sinhala Buddhist nationalism point to alternative perspectives on the character. One such perspective that has emerged in the post-2009 Sri Lankan context shows a tendency to idealize Rāvanā as a national hero. The present paper argues that the relationship between Rāvanā and Sinhala Buddhism that this conceptualization suggests is ridden with certain contradictions that Sinhala Buddhist nationalism fails to address successfully. Continue reading →
A road junction memorial for Annai Poopathi in Batticaloa District, Annai Poopathi, a mother of ten children and aged 55, fasted unto death in protest against the IPKF presence in Sri Lanka, breathing her last on 19th April 1988. –thereby backing Thileepan’s fast-unto-death earlier in Jaffna in 1987. A permanent memorial in her homage was also constructed at Kiran … but the tsunami destroyed it. Her memory is evoked to this day. Her sacrifice is remembered and hallowed today among Tamils in many lands –Germany, Netherlands, UK et cetera –see http://www.tamilguardian.com/content/annai-poopathy-remembered?articleid=4700.
The Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) is a nationalist organisation which has been a key player in Sri Lanka’s ethnic war. Like the early Tamil nationalist groups in Sri Lanka, the LTTE professes to be a secularist organisation. This tradition of secularism distinguishes Tamil nationalism from its Sinhalese counterpart.A small group of academics, however, has debated whether the LTTE is truly secularist. The debate focuses on the LTTE’s ritual calendar and commemorative events which draw on religious symbols and which, according to some critics, have the character and quality of religious events. This project intervenes in this debate by analysing how scholars use the terms ‘religion’ and ‘secular’ when discussing the LTTE and Sri Lankan politics. In addition, this book investigates how the LTTE’s claim to be secular impacts upon its narration of history and its discourse around death and dying. This work is useful not only for those interested in the Sri Lankan situation but also for those who wish to explore nationalism, modernisation and the categories of religion and the secular.
The book can be purchased via AMAZON = http://researcharchive.vuw.ac.nz/xmlui/handle/10063/1784… with illustrations below being from the Thuppahi stock associated with my work on the “sacrificial devotion” of the Tamil Tigers — work which is considered intelligently by Perinpanayagam in association with the writings of Peter schalk Dagmar Hellmann-Rajanayagam and others. Continue reading →
Sinharaja Tammita-Delgoda, courtesy of the Daily Mirror, 26 April 2017, where the title rune thus: “Martyrdom and LTTE. The worship of death” … with highlighting and additional bibliographivcal references at the end inserted imposed by The Editor, Thuppahi
Dr. SinhaRaja Tammita-Delgoda is one of the few non-combatants allowed into the war zone during the final stages of the Eelam War. On his own initiative, he made an application to visit the operational areas and was granted permission to do so by the Defence Ministry. He toured these areas on three occasions between March and April 2009. His work has been published in international media and military journals, and presented to audiences in the U.K., India and Canada. Dr. Tammita-Delgoda has never been an employee of the Sri Lankan Government nor the Defence Ministry. These impressions and supporting photographs are original and based on firsthand experience in 2009 when the war was still raging and had entered its final stages.
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.