Category Archives: Tamil civilians

The Sangakkaras Erudite & Charitable: At Home and Abroad

An Accidental Encounter ….  and An Illuminating Outcome

When I was in Sri Lanka at some point in the late 1990s on research work, my cricketing links with such individuals as PI Pieris and Michael Tissera encouraged me to take in some of the international cricket matches taking place in the capital city of Colombo. On one occasion I witnessed a match at the Khettarama Stadium where Sri Lanka A took on a West Indian side. I was in the BCCSL section at midwicket where the spectators were few and quite interspersed. I heard an elderly gentleman behind me explaining some of the finer points of the unfolding match to his wife beside him. At one point I turned round and amiably indicated that he understood the finer points of cricket. It turned out that he was a venerable lawyer from Kandy named Kshemananda Sangakkara. Kshema and Kumari Sangakkara were watching their son Kumar playing for the A team.

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Outdated Colonial Political Demarcations are No Foundation for Governance

Gerald H. Peiris, in The Island, 16 & 17 December 2020, where the title runs thus: “Province-based Devolution in Sri Lanka: a Critique”  …. https://island.lk/province-based-devolution-in-sri-lanka-a-critique-2/

  1. Preamble:  This article is prompted by the recent announcement that the Cabinet will soon consider a proposal to conduct Provincial Council (PC) elections without delay. The article is intended to urge that the PC system should be abolished and replaced by constitutional devices to ensure: (a) genuine sharing of political power among all primordial, áscriptive and associational groups that constitute the nation of Sri Lanka; and (b) the statutory protection of Sri Lanka’s sovereignty and territorial integrity which the PC system, as long as it is permitted to last, will remain in dire peril. The article is also intended to stimulate the memory of those who appear to have forgotten the circumstances that culminated in the enactment of legislation in 1987 to establish PCs. There appears to prevail a measure of complacency among some of our present political stalwarts based on the notion that, with their two-thirds majority in parliament, and with the 20th Amendment in place, they ought to let the status quo remain intact. This, I think, is quite silly. Apart from the fact that landslide electoral victories tend often to be  brittle, those who were in the forefront of empowering the present regime are already reacting with dismay to the decision to re-establish the PCs.

John D’Oyly negotiating with Kandyan chiefs

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Tilly’s Beach Hotel at Mount: Burnt-Out in July 1983

Ajay Kamalakaran, from Bombay on 26 February 2016, in http://ajayinbombay.blogspot.com/2016/02/the-gutted-building-near-mount-lavinia.html …. with this title “The gutted building near the Mount Lavinia beach”  …. see Note by Michael Roberts at the end

A gutted building that is near the beach on Mount Lavinia has been an eyesore for the last 33 years. It was once the Tilly’s Beach Hotel, which was owned by a Tamil businessman. The hotel was a favourite among residents of Colombo as well as German and Russian tourists. Colomboites would enjoy the Sunday Lunch Table Buffet, while many tourists had a mad crush on the handsome head chef, a culinary genius who understood Russian and German besides his native Tamil, Sinhalese and English.

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Naseby decimates Tariq Ahmed’s Statement for Its Inaccuracies

Island, 7 December 2020, where the title reads “Lord Naseby: UK policy statement on Lanka riddled with factual inaccuracies”

Lord Naseby, the Honorary President of The All Party Parliamentary British Sri Lanka Group has, on the basis of assurances received from the heads of ICRC, Colombo, on three occasions; denied torture was taking place in post-war Sri Lanka. In a letter addressed to Lord (Tariq) Ahmad, Minister of State for South Asia and the Commonwealth, [Naseby] reminded the Minister how some Tamils caused self-harm to gain entry into the UK.

 

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Dissecting the Federal Option for SL Tamils in 2005 — An Important Appraisal

  Gerald Peiris, whose original refereed essay in 2005 in Faultlines, Volume 17, Journal of the Institute for Conflict Management, New Delhi …. is entitled “Federalism and the ‘Federal Option’ for Sri Lanka” ….. Its Table of Contents is reproduced at the end of this presentation.

On Federalism as a Modality of Conflict Resolution

“The successful operation of federal systems requires a particular kind of political environment, one that is conducive to popular government and has the requisite traditions of political cooperation and self-restraint.  Beyond this, federal systems operate best in societies with sufficient homogeneity of fundamental interests to allow a great deal of latitude to local government and permit reliance upon voluntary collaboration.  The use of force to maintain domestic order is even more inimical to the successful maintenance of federal patterns of government than to other forms of popular government.  Federal systems are most successful in societies that have the human resources to fill many public offices competently and the material resources to afford a measure of economic waste as part of the price of liberty”.

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Cricketing Talent Denied: Derelict in the Jaffna Peninsula, 1980s Onward

Andrew Fidel Fernando, in The Cricket Monthly at ESPN, in 2014, where the title is “The lost boys of Jaffna” … [with two ‘contemporary’ Pix added by the Editor, and some highlighting of the text imposed ….. Thuppahi]

Amid the gunshots and landmines of Sri Lanka’s 26-year civil war, cricket managed to stay alive. The first time M Kandeepan visited the emigration centre in his city in 1993, the man in combat gear behind the desk asked why he wanted to leave.
“I want to go and play cricket.””Play cricket where? In Colombo? You want to play for Sri Lanka?””Yes, because I am in Sri Lanka.””You lie. This is Tamil Eelam. You’re not going anywhere.”

    Tiger “boys’ guarding the shoreline …maybe early 1990s Kids play on the St John’s cricket ground in Jaffna, 2014

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Maaveerar Homage in London: Virtual Reality

Photographs and ‘sights’ courtesy of a Muslim Friend

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Muttukrishna Sarvananthan’s Independent Paths and The Point Pedro Institute

Muttukrishna Sarvananthan completed his postgrad studies in Wales and was attached to the ICES in Colombo when I met him for the first time. When subsequently coming to grips with the contentious political issues associated with the ‘liberation war’ pursued by the fascist organisarion known as the LTTE, I found that ‘Sarvi’ sustained his indepenedence. At thatstage he had one foot in Point Pedro and another in Wellawatte (the later being my home base arena) … so I did meet him off and on. When in late 2011 I decided to question Rohan Gunaratne’s absurdly low figures on civilian Tamil deaths (at a talk at the British Council). it was to such personnel as Saravananthan, Narendran Rajasingham and Noel Nadesan that I turned to for alternative estimates in this nebulous arena…. See “The Tamil Death Toll in Early 2009: A Misleading Count by Rohan Gunaratna,”  23 November 2011, http: transcurrents.com/news-viewa/archives/6285 …. Michael Roberts

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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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The Eastern Regions of Sri Lanka in British Times

Michael Roberts

My D. Phil dissertation at Oxford in the early 1960s centred on British agrarian policy in the mid-nineteenth century and therefore included the British efforts to revive the tank irrigation systems of the Sinhala past. Several British colonial personnel as well as visiting dignitaries were captivated by the ruins of the Anuradhapura/Polonnaruwa periods which they observed during adventure trips. A few saw it as a challenge for their imperial capacity. Some British governors, notably Ward, Gregory and Gordon, took up the prospect.

 Sir Henry Ward and SJV Chelvanyakam

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