Category Archives: self-reflexivity

Religion within Tamil Militancy and the LTTE

  Iselin Frydenlund, presenting her article in Oxford Encyclopedia of Religion, May 2018, …. one entitledTamil Militancy in Sri Lanka and the Role of Religion” ….  … OR … … with highlights and pictures being impositions by the Editor, Thuppahi

Induction of Tiger recruits into fighter ranks with receipt of the kuppi containing cyanide

Tiger soldiers relaxing in camp with cyanide kuppi around their necks Pix by Shyam Tekwani


Historical Background

Understanding the role of religion in the Tamil insurgency requires an understanding of Sri Lanka’s cultural mosaic and of the development of modern nationalism before and after independence from British colonial power. Sri Lanka is a geographically small yet culturally rich and complex island, with numerous ethnic, linguistic, religious, and caste subgroups. The majority of the population identify as ethnically Sinhala, and they speak Sinhala, an Indo-European language. The great majority of the Sinhalese are Theravada Buddhists who live mostly in the south and central regions of the island. A small minority of Sinhalese are Catholics, and some also belong to evangelical Christian churches. The largest minority group in Sri Lanka is the Tamils, who speak Tamil (a South Indian Dravidian language) and comprise several subgroups. The largest of these are the so-called Sri Lankan Tamils, who traditionally have lived in the north and east. The so-called Indian Tamils are labor immigrants from India who were brought in by the British to work in the plantation sector in the highlands. The majority of Tamils are Hindus of the Śaiva Siddhanta tradition, but there are also a significant number who are Catholics and a few to smaller Evangelical denominations. The Tamil Muslims identify based on religious belonging, not on a common ethnic identity, and they speak Tamil. Historically, the Muslim communities are scattered throughout the island; they form a stronghold in urban trading centers in the south but are also farmers in the Tamil-majority Eastern Province. Social stratification based on caste and regional identities was strong in precolonial Lanka, and then the colonial classifications of the island’s inhabitants produced new identities with intensified religious and racial signifiers. These were reproduced in the emerging Tamil and Sinhala nationalisms of the late 19th century.

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Orphaned. Abandoned. Illegitimate. Children cared for by the Evelyn Nurseries of Kandy, 1920 et seq

Michael Roberts

 The tale of the lifeworld of Charles Braine (1877-1944) in British Ceylon presented by one of his descendants generated a side-issue: sex and/or marriage between the British personnel managing the tea, rubber and coconut plantations in British Ceylon and the labour force they commanded. The inequalities in power placed unequal sexual advantages for the planter periya dorais …. and illicit children were one outcome in some instances – a process that probably continued into the second third of the 20th century when Sri Lankans of upper-crust status with an educational background in the best local schools began to gain entry to planter-jobs.

Unlike some of his compatriots, the Englishman Charles Braine kept house with his common-law Sinhalese wife, Engracia Nona: together they fostered and educated a lively family of nine children.

Interest in this tale and comments from Joe Paiva and Errol Fernando led me to two topics of some consequence: (A) the presence in the island of an ethnic category identified as “Eurasians” as distinct from the Burghers;** and (B) the endearing and enduring work of an orphanage known as the Evelyn Nursery that had been launched by a British lady with a large heart that was matched by her architectural and organisational skill: Ms Lena Chapman ( ….).


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From The Sublime to The Ridiculous: “Little Akio’s” Breadth of Quotable quotes

Item sent by Dulip Karunaratne of St. Aloysius in Galle then & Queensland now

The teacher said, “Let’s begin by reviewing some History.” Who said *’Give me Liberty, or give me Death?”* ………………….. She saw a sea of blank faces, except for Little Akio, a bright foreign exchange student from Japan, who had his hand up: *”Patrick Henry, 1775,”* he said.

“Very good! — Who said, *’Government of the People, by the People, for the People, shall not perish from the Earth’ ?“* ………….Again, no response except from Little Akio: *”Abraham Lincoln, 1863.”*

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Sri Lankans in Australia: 2016 Census Data …… The Demographic Profile

Item sent to Thuppahi by Victor Melder ….  at …. presented here with some selective highlights from the Thuppahi pen

People 109,853
Male 57,280
Female 52,573
Australian citizen 60.3%
Not an Australian citizen 38.3%

Families 43,816
Couples with children 26,914
Couples without children 13,326
One parent families 2,972
Other families 592

All private dwellings 52,548
Median monthly mortgage repayment $2,100
Median weekly rent paid $351


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Macron’s Warnings: France’s Immediate Future Bleak

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Frank Rees George: Intrepid Cameleer & Pioneer in Outback Australia

Rob George to Anne Scherer, 25 September 2022

Hi Anne, Michael has passed on your request to me and I am delighted to respond!  George was the camel driver on a geological expedition in 1905/6 led by my great uncle Frank Rees George that led ultimately to Frank’s death in Alice Springs in early 1906.  George wrote a letter to Frank’s mother, Ediva, (known as Nora) and my great grandmother, explaining to her the details of Frank’s incredible journey and his final hours.  It’s a wonderful letter made even more poignant by the fact that it was penned by a man who cannot have had a lot of education.  Please find a copy of the letter attached together with a photo that I think is George with the camels on the expedition.  The letter was originally in a box of family memorabilia that we carted around rural South Australia (my father was a bank manager so we moved frequently) and which he donated to the State Archives in the mid 60’s.  The letter is available at the archives.

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Queen Elizabeth in Parliamentary Pageantry in Ceylon, 1954

Queen Elizabeth honoured by and honouring the House of Representatives

Prime Minister John Kotelawela greets the Queen …  and she  is ushered in pageant mode into the chambers


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Queen Elizabeth in Ceylon, 1954: Pomp & Pageantry in Picture Mode

the Cadillac that conveyed Her Majesty Queen elizabeth




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Rare Items marking Queen Elizabeth’s Visit to Ceylon in 1954

The Rupee Notes and A Stamp



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Dr Carlyle Perera, 1938-2022: A Warm Appreciation

Trevor Denver de Rozairo

Dr Carlyle Perera

A famous Sri Lankan doctor passed away peacefully at his home in Melbourne, Australia … At the age of 84.

Perera PSM. Dr. Carlyle was born in Kotahena, Colombo. His parents Wilton and Winifred thought they would educate their eldest son at St. Joseph’s College, Colombo the leading Catholic institution, where he completed his entire scholastic education. He was an exemplary student and during this period he excelled in sport as well. He participated in College Cricket captaining a successful First Eleven team in 1958 — an unique collective becuase his brother Travis was part of that team.

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