Category Archives: Tamil civilians

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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Sri Lankan Expressiveness: Warm Gratitude and Vicious Vituperation

Michael Roberts

I did not see the article that highlighted the manner in which the Tamil people of Vishvamadu feted and lamented the departure of the Sinhalese Military Commander of that arena, Ratnapriya Bandu, when it was originally placed in the public domain in late 2018. This striking presentation was the result of a combination between Shenali Waduge in Lanka and the SPUR organisation in Melbourne, an alliance that immediately indicates orientations laced with sentiments of a chauvinist Sinhala hue.

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Caste, Ur and Tamilness among the Tamils in Metropolitan London

Jane Russell. reviewing article by Thanges Paramsothy entitled  “Caste Within the Sri Lankan Tamil Diaspora” in Anthropology Matters Journal, Vol.18 No 1 (2018)

I usually avoid reviewing academic articles. Many are derivative and ones that employ original research can be turgid and dull. But that is not the case with this article by Thanges Paramsothy, currently South Asia Program Scholar at Cornell. While replete with sociological and anthropological information about Sri Lankan Tamil caste groupings, both past and present, it is also full of revealing insights into a social system that has been a veiled inner sanctum to many outsiders.

a toddy tapper

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A Poignant Farewell at Vishvamadu in 2018: Rathnapriya Banda’s Work of Reconciliation

Shenali Waduge. in an article presented in June 2018 and entitled  “LTTE village & a Sri Lankan Military Officer show the world what Reconciliation & Peaceful Coexistence is all about” …. ith highlighting emphasis added by The Editor, Thuppahi

It was a farewell that has shocked & left plenty of critics speechless. It has put to rest & completely nullified the lies that have been spread against Sri Lanka’s Army. The culprits include foreign governments/envoys, INGOs/NGOs, UN & even the present government in particular the Tamil leadership & the LTTE diaspora who must be startled at the pictures emerging of an entire village weeping as they bid farewell to a military officer who had played the role of their mentor, their father, their brother, their advisor & virtually their leader. Col. Rathnapriya Bandu has done what Prabakaran, Wigneswaran, Sivajilingam, Sumbanthiran, Sambanthan or even Tamil Nadu politicians could not do & do not want to do. In a world that plays divisive politics of divide & rule he has shown that it takes a hero to unite & Col. Bandu is one hero that we must all salute. No former LTTE village would ever carry a Sri Lankan Military officer on their shoulders & weep as he bid goodbye if he was no hero in their eyes.

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Fallacious Historical Claims pressed by Wigneswaran

Rienzie Wijetilleke and Kusum Wijetilleke, in Island, 4 September 2020,with this title  “False perspectives of Wigneswaran”

Archbishop Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith’s recent comments regarding racial and religious politics were most timely. In a climate where religious leaders seek to become political leaders, to hear the Archbishop state so unequivocally that religion and language should not be the basis for a political party is at least mildly reassuring. It seems that the Archbishop was irked by recent comments made in Parliament by MP C. V. Wigneswaran regarding the primary language of Sri Lanka’s indigenous peoples. Cardinal Malcom is certainly not alone, although when he states that this division began in the 1950s, he is only half right. Certainly, the introduction of the singular language policy of 1956 created a significant fissure in the country, yet the beginnings of the debate around language and ethnicity and its political divisions had taken root long before this.

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Ideological Blindness at Peradeniya in the Early 1970s: Inattentive to the Emerging Tamil Storm

Michael Roberts

Recent mail exchanges with a British gentlemen seeking information on British plantations led me to Tom Barron and his stay at Peradeniya University and to the Ceylon Studies Seminar of the late 1960s and early 1970s. While my essay on the latter has been aired before, the emphasis then was directed towards highlighting the inspirations behind this intellectual activity and identifying the many hands invloved in the ‘works’. However, it has dawned on me — today — that there is a subsidary stream within my review that demands emphasis …… in fact a gasp of amazement and exasperation. When leading intellectuals with substantial input within the governing circles of the day could be so blind, is it a wonder that the ethnic split between Tamils and Sinhalese developed astronomically!

 Sathiah

Sam  CR Gerry … every one of them alive to the developing undercurrents of ethnic hate

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Eelamist Movement Rises Again in the North?

Dinasena Ratugamage, in Island, 15 August 2020, where the title is “Wiggy makes vow before LTTE memorial”

Newly elected TMTK (Thamil Makkal Thesiya Kuttani) MP C.V. Wigneswaran, on Thursday (13), vowed before the LTTE memorial at Mullivaikkal that he would fulfill the aspirations of the Tamil people.

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Bopage’s Pessimistic Assessment of the Sri Lankan Vote and Its Implications

 Lionel Bopage: “The Best and the Worst – 2020 General Elections in Sri Lanka” ….. sent to me by a friend and doubtless due in Colombo Telegraph and/or some local newspaper …. Note: the emphasis in BLUE is Bopage’s hand and that in RED is mine –Editor, Thuppahi

The general elections on 5 August had turned out to be an outstanding victory for the Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP), the Rajapaksa Family and the Sinhala Buddhist nationalists representing both the elite and ordinary members of the country’s majority community. Despite many allegations made about the corrupt and criminal acts of certain candidates put forward at the election by some of the political parties, the electorate elected most of them. Sadly, the candidates who are known for exposing corruption and criminality in the country – the very people who have demonstrated their credentials to be promising parliamentarians – have not been elected. At the same time, it is heartening to note that some of the candidates who were credibly alleged to be robber barons during the 2015 regime have been outed.

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Remarkable Voting Results in Sri Lanka … Especially in the North and East

Chandre Dharmawardana, in an article entitled Tamil speaking voters  decisively reject vengeance-peddling Genocide-Claiming parties in Sri Lanka’s  elections,” –which will presumably appear in digital or print form somewhere

Sri Lanka, a nation troubled by decades of civil strife and a separatist war  has just concluded a parliamentary election bringing back the war-winning government. Western observers have keenly focused on the North, with its Tamil population (5% of the Nations population) previously controlled by the separatist Tigers. Their  “MaVeera”  (suicide fighters  presented as heroes) are celebrated covertly and even overtly by hard-liner Tamil politicians in the North, and in Western diasporas.

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Clandestine Tiger Forays in Sri Lanka, 2012-20

Camelia Nathaniel in Ceylon Daily News, 4 August 2020, where the title reads “Forces thwart attempts to revive LTTE terror”

Since the LTTE’s defeat in 2009, there have been several attempts over the years to revamp the terror outfit. From 2012 there have been 12 such attempts that are on record. All of these incidents have had some form of foreign hand in them. Intelligence units are investigating these incidents and the international connections.

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