Category Archives: Sri Lankan scoiety

Ravana Fables penetrate Sri Lanka’s Historical Terrain

PK Balachandran

When the media reported that the Sri Lankan Ministry of Tourism and Civil Aviation has issued a newspaper advertisement in Sinhala urging people to share documents, books, and research material on Ravana, the legendary king of Lanka, it was not a surprise for students of Sri Lankan nationalism. Far from being a villain (as portrayed in Valmiki’s Ramayana), Ravana has been celebrated by the majority Sinhalese in Sri Lanka as a cultured and creative icon and a defender of the island against a foreign invader.

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Pushing the British out of Ceylon, 1918-1956: Issues

Michael Roberts

My essay on “The Basis of British Power” (July 2020) was instigated by articles from Prabath de Silva and Leelananda de Silva on aspects of the Donoughmore Reforms and subsequent developments. Vinod Moonesinghe has seized on secondary dimensions to press some hoary old strands of Trotskyist thinking and to laud (A) the intervention of SWRD Bandaranaike and  the MEP forces for getting rid of British military bases in the 1950s and (B) the radical political messages of the young LSSP politicians who burst onto the scene in the late 1920s and early 1930s.[1] This is linked to the standard Marxist belittling of the achievements of DS Senanayake and associates in the interpretation of the island’s path to independence.

.Vinod RG Senanayake

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Irangani Serasinghe: A Beacon for Her Times …. Versatility Unconfined

Madapatha Uditha, in The Island, 17/18 June 2020, with this title “Searching for Irangani” …. while highlighting is an imposition from The Editor, Thuppahi

Irangani Serasinghe turned 93 on Tuesday, June 9

If the reputations of actors can be compared to shares in a company, there’s no doubt that Irangani Serasinghe’s has always been oversubscribed: public interest in her career in not just the cinema and television, but also the theatre, has never been matched by an adequate level of quality in coverage by the media. There’s never been a shortage of articles, of course, and Kumar de Silva’s sketchy yet comprehensive portrait of her does establish the links between several aspects of her life and family and the career she eventually chose.

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Rama Somasunderam’s Administrative Career

Anonymous, in Island, 7 June 2020, with this title “The Last Mandarin”

This is the story of a professional civil servant who believes that he made a contribution to a society and an administrative service, that in the first instance made him what he is and enabled him to achieve his full potential as a person, a professional and a citizen. It is the autobiography of a vanishing coterie of bureaucrats who strived for excellence, believing that they had responded to a high calling.

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Malinda and Shenali tilt at SOFA and MCC Schemes

Editor: I have not had the time to study the SOFA and MCC proposals or the several conflicting reports on this set of topics; while I have reservations about my own deciphering capacity on economic issues. An academic with a broad span of experience across several countries indicated to me this month  that the discussions surrounding these two issues has been marked by writings that “[ignore] facts that are unfavorable to the case that is being made or willfully distorting facts or using outright lies”.

He added: : ‘Unfortunately, this kind of unacceptable commentary is now common practice the world over and that includes some people in the highest levels of US government and academia.”

To this caution I add Sam Samarasinghe’s[i] cautionary email note to me a few months back where he indicated that the USA’s governing order is complex and its various arms do not always work with one mind.[ii]

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Mangala’s Show at Geneva in 2017 lauded by Dharisha Bastians

As the annual witch-hunt mounted by the UNHRC in its role as an arm of the Western world’s foreign policy approaches in March 2020, it is worthwhile reflecting on the ‘triumphant’ public performances in Geneva orchestrated by the Yahapaalana government and one of its driving forces, namely, Mangala Samaraweera — as presented by one of his proteges, Dharisha Bastians….. Editor, Thuppahi.

Foreign Affairs Minister Mangala Samaraweera heading the Sri Lankan Government delegation to the UNHRC’s 34th Session addressing a side event at the Palais des Nations last week. The event was organised by the Permanent Mission of Sri Lanka to the UN in Geneva and chaired by Permanent Representative of Sri Lanka to the UN, Ambassador Ravinatha Aryasinha. Secretary General of the Secretariat for Coordinating Reconciliation Mechanisms Mano Tittawella, MP and Constitutional expert Dr. Jayampathy Wickremaratne and Ariyasinha are also present – Pic by Sunanda Deshapriya

BASTIANS:  Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera’s masterful diplomacy is winning over a world eager to keep believing in Sri Lanka’s political transformation story, but the Government faces a deepening disconnect with activists and war-affected constituents at home who are losing faith in its promises to heal the wounds of a long and violent conflict.

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Boris and Gota: Where the “Progressives” were Out-of-Mind

Malinda Seneviratne, in his Blog where the title runs thus: “The flooring of ideologies and ideologues”

Labour gaining ground. One in ten still undecided. Jeremy Corbyn is much closer to becoming Prime Minister than voters think, according to a Conservative party memo. Hung parliament will see Boris Johnson removed from No 10 Downing Street. Labour minority government likely. Opinion polls tightening — Corbyn might just become Prime Minister.

These were headlined claims in the run up to the British Parliamentary Elections.

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Gerald Peiris Forecast was Spot-On

A Note received from Gerald Peiris, Friday 15th November 2019 … 12.56 pm

Gota, I think is going to be a definite winner, despite all the anti-Rajapaksa propaganda, Al Jazeera being just one source of such viciousness. Throughout the campaign Gota maintained a sense of dignity and balance (vis-a-vis the subject of ethnic relations) and has provided hope for the future of the country replacing the widespread despair that prevailed earlier. Sajith has been so hopelessly bad in his platform performances, sounding more like an undergrad firebrand contesting at a university student council meeting, focusing (to an incredible extent) on the theme of what a great guy he is.

Regards, Gerry

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Media Blitzkrieg from Keenan, Al-Jazeera et al: Fear Gota

THUPPAHI NOTE: A fear psychosis is being spread through the airwaves and web-routes by powerful players  who present a picture of Gotabaya as a potential dictator …. and even deploy the fallacious readings of the death-toll in Eelam War IV perpetrated by the drawing room boffins[1] who constituted the UN Panel of Experts (Darusman, Sooka et al) as one pillar in this campaign  (see https://www.srilankacampaign.org/a-decade-of-impunity-unlocking-accountability-for-the-victims-of-sri-lankas-killing-fields/ ………… for this dimension). Note that Alan Keenan’s essay is sponsored by the Lowy Institute.[2] Do read these items with a discerning eye and form your own conclusions.

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The Veddas in the East of Ceylon in the 1950s

L.C. Arulpragasam, in Sunday Observer, 13 October 2019, where the title is  The Veddas and the Gal Oya scheme: Ultimate resettlement at Bintenne”

In the Jungles of Bintenne: In 1950 I undertook a sociological survey along with Mr. Kuda Bibile, a University colleague, of the Veddas living in the jungles of Wellassa and Bintenne in the Badulla District of the Uva Province. The only authoritative study of the Veddas at that time had been done by Dr. C. Seligmann, a German anthropologist, in 1911. I carried his heavy tome around with me on my entire journey.

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