Category Archives: Tamil civilians

Sri Lankan Tamils & Their English Names: How This Feature Came About

Vinod Moonesinghe, in RoarMedia, 13 January 2023, where the title runs thus: How Sri Lankan Tamils Came To Have ‘English’ Names”

Many Sri Lankan Tamils have English or otherwise European names, and are often confused with Burghers or Eurasians. How this came to be constitutes a vital part of the evolution of modern Sri Lanka.

 

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Ranil’s Moves to Resolve Ethnic Issues in Rapid-Action Measures

DBS Jeyaraj, in Daily Mirror, 24 December 2022where the title runs thus: President Ranil’s initiative to resolve Tamil national question” …. & a kind-of sub-heading read  The All Party conference was a success of sorts with all participants agreeing on the need for a power-sharing solution”

The Tamil Progressive Alliance (TPA) leader and Colombo District MP, Mano Ganesan received a telephone call from Ranil Wickremesinghe on 19 July 2022

It was a day before the Presidential election where the MPs were scheduled to vote and elect a new executive President to fill the vacancy created by President Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s resignation. Ranil Wickremesinghe, who was the then Prime Minister and acting as the interim President, was a candidate for the Presidential election.

 

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Crunchtime: Resolving Sri Lanka’s Political Dilemma

Chandre Dharmawardana, in The Island, 02 January 2023 where the preferred title runs thus: Using SORTITION to prevent electing of same crooks to parliament”

The terrorism of the LTTE ended in May 2009, and most Sri Lankans looked forward to a dawn of peace, reconciliation and progress.  Even Poongkothai Chandrahasan, the granddaughter of SJV Chelvanayagam could state that ‘what touched me the most that day was that these were poor people with no agenda ~ wearing their feelings on their sleeves~. Every single person I spoke to said to me, “The war is over, we are so happy”. They were not celebrating the defeat of the Tamils. They were celebrating the fact that now there would be peace in Sri Lanka’ (The Island, 23rd August 2009, http://archive.island.lk/2009/08/23/news15.html).

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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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The Travails of War in Lanka Underscored in a New Play in Sydney

Steve Dow @dowsteve  in a review in The Guardian, 18 November 2022… the play being entitled “The Jungle and the Sea” 

Sri Lankan civil war drama lifts joy above traumThis play by the xcreaators of the Helpmann-winning Counting and Cracking shows people living and loving despite danger, but sometimes minimises the horror.

 Blindfolded matriarch Gowrie (Anandavalli) and her firebrand daughter Abi (Kalieaswari Srinivasan) in The Jungle and the Sea at Belvoir St theatre in Sydney. Photograph: Sriram Jeyaraman

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The Hill-Country Tamils: Their Shitty-Situation Then … and NOW

Ahilan Kadirgamar, in Daily Mirror, 21 November 2022, where the title reads “Hill-country Tamils and Crisis Times” …. with highlighting imposed by The Editor, Thuppahi

When our country collapses before our own eyes with one of the deepest crises in historical memory, from what vantage point should we analyse our predicament? Sri Lanka’s political economy over the last two centuries is anchored in the travails and strivings of Hill Country Tamils. Their sweat and blood, that began with the horrifying journey from South India two centuries ago as indentured labour to work in the coffee and later tea plantations, were central to building the country’s modern economy under British colonialism. However, their position in society, and for that matter even the writing of their history, was marginalised. And despite the great democratic and social welfare advances in Sri Lanka with universal suffrage in 1931 and a powerful legacy of free healthcare and education, the social, economic and political life of the Hill Country Tamil community is characterised by struggle amidst persistent crisis times.

‘Ceylon tea’ gave Sri Lanka the recognition in the world map, but the plantation workers are still languishing in their ages-old abode, known as line rooms and continue to be marginalised in education, community wellbeing and healthcare.

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Confronting Two Calamities in Eastern Sri Lanka in 2005

Dennis B. McGilvray, in India Review 5(2-3) November 2006, special issue on public anthropology, …. where the title reads  Tsunami and Civil War in Sri Lanka: An Anthropologist Confronts the Real World”  …. with highlighting in different colours imposed by the Editor, Thuppahi

Recent calls for a new “public anthropology” to promote greater visibility for ethnographic research in the eyes of the press and the general public, and to bolster the courage of anthropologists to address urgent issues of the day, are laudable although probably too hopeful as well.  Yet, while public anthropology could certainly be more salient in American life, it already exists in parts of the world such as Sri Lanka where social change, ethnic conflict, and natural catastrophe have unavoidably altered the local context of ethnographic fieldwork.  Much of the anthropology of Sri Lanka in the last three decades would have to count as “public” scholarship, because it has been forced to address the contemporary realities of labor migration, religious politics, the global economy, and the rise of violent ethno-nationalist movements.  As a long-term observer of the Tamil-speaking Hindu and Muslim communities in Sri Lanka’s eastern coastal region, I have always been attracted to the classic anthropological issues of caste, popular religion, and matrilineal kinship.  However, in the wake of the civil wars for Tamil Eelam and the 2004 tsunami disaster, I have been forced to confront (somewhat uneasily) a fundamentally altered fieldwork situation. This gives my current work a stronger flavor of public anthropology, while providing an opportunity for me to trace older matrilocal family patterns and Hindu-Muslim religious traditions under radically changed conditions.

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Engaging the Politics of Conflict in Sri Lanka: Padraig Michael Colman

Michael Roberts

Padraig Michael Colman is an experienced journalist and writer who pursued his trade in England and Europe before moving to Sri Lanka with his vivacious Sri Lankan wife Tiny and a coterie of dogs. They settled down awhile in Uva district; but have moved to the outskirts of Colombo in more recent times…. and have since moved back to Great Britain.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Playing to the Western Gallery? Shehan Karunatilaka

A Simple Silva

Shehan’s intervention with his prize-winning book at the present juncture is significant. He states the obvious re corruption, cronyism and expresses thumps his bleeding heart for the suffering people of Sri Lanka (and YES, Shehan, do please gift the prize money of 50,000£ to the suffering masses in the island).

In an article published in the Financial Times, he laments that “I would like to write from a Tamil woman’s point of view. I mean, that would be calling in a lot of grief if I get it wrong”. (Financial Times) …. … …………………………………. https://www.ft.com/content/fa8c6ebb-7c93-4b54-8337-b6f568234d78

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