Category Archives: transport and communications

Investment in Sri Lanka Today: Questionable Steps and Looming Influences

Dr. Sarala Fernando, in The Island, 10 January 2021, with this title Selling the Family Silver” and India-Sri Lanka bilateral relations

A remark attributed to the US Congress that “Sri Lanka is a valuable piece of real estate” had made the news here hinting at the strategic value of our island location. while some had connected the remark to the MCC, an economic project integral to the US pivot to the Indo Pacific. This sudden interest in Sri Lanka’s land assets made the headlines after Harvard economists in 2016 advised on the incorporation of a land project under the MCC to address constraints to national growth by a re-survey, re-valuation and deed grants on lands around the country. Local experts argued that such a programme would lead to pressure on smallholders to sell land to more powerful entities for commercial exploitation increasing rural poverty, environmental and wild life destruction and water scarcity.

Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under accountability, american imperialism, authoritarian regimes, centre-periphery relations, economic processes, foreign policy, governance, historical interpretation, island economy, legal issues, life stories, modernity & modernization, politIcal discourse, power politics, Rajapaksa regime, self-reflexivity, slanted reportage, sri lankan society, transport and communications, truth as casualty of war, unusual people, world events & processes

Galle Cricket Grounds: Tsunamied……. !!!

 

Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under landscape wondrous, meditations, photography, self-reflexivity, transport and communications, world events & processes

Galle Fort built on the Backs of African Slave Labour

Jeevan Thiagarajah in Daily News, 25 March 2019with this title“Slaves built Galle Fort” … …. with highlighting emphasis imposed by The Editor, Thuppahi

The topic of the piece today was triggered by a conversation with the current High Commissioner in Colombo from South Africa, Ruby Marks, who has also posted on her Facebook page this passage, “Calvin Gilfillan, Head of Die Kasteel, affirmed what we suspected-the Dutch conceptualized and supervised, but it was the labour of an estimated 15,000 Africans brought from Portuguese and Dutch colonies, that did the back breaking work of actually building the Fort and the other ones scattered across Sri Lanka. I was shocked by how little was known in Sri Lanka about this. I visited the cramped quarters where the slaves were kept, the dungeons where they were imprisoned, and the cemetery-now a car park where they were buried. And my heart wept.

Continue reading

2 Comments

Filed under accountability, architects & architecture, authoritarian regimes, British imperialism, caste issues, centre-periphery relations, commoditification, discrimination, economic processes, governance, heritage, historical interpretation, human rights, Indian Ocean politics, island economy, landscape wondrous, legal issues, life stories, military strategy, politIcal discourse, population, Portuguese in Indian Ocean, power politics, self-reflexivity, sri lankan society, transport and communications, trauma, travelogue, unusual people, working class conditions, world events & processes

The Looming Death of Kulams in Mannar … and Thus ….

Jeremy Liyanage

Mannar is a sand island perched on a limestone base. The hydraulic pressure of the groundwater in the kulams keeps the sea water from intruding. As significant areas of Mannar Island are targeted for mineral sand mining, working to a depth of 12 metres, the result will be widespread sea water intrusion which will then contaminate the groundwater supplies –promoting the destruction of agricultural livelihoods.

Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under accountability, australian media, democratic measures, economic processes, education, governance, heritage, historical interpretation, island economy, land policies, landscape wondrous, life stories, patriotism, politIcal discourse, self-reflexivity, sri lankan society, the imaginary and the real, transport and communications, unusual people, world events & processes

Locals and Environmentalists Challenge An Aussie Sand-Mining Project in Mannar

ABC Science  environment reporter Nick Kilvert and Jane Lee for Science Friction

As a small child, Shreen Abdul Saroor remembers getting up before dawn with her father to spy on the masses of migratory birds that would visit her island. The birds were on their way down the Central Asian flyway — a migration path that crosses 30 countries from Siberia to the Indian Ocean. “We would hide somewhere and … we don’t make any noise,” Ms Saroor recalls. “[Then we’d watch] them coming and landing in the causeway areas and then catching fish and taking off as a huge group covering the entire sky.”

Continue reading

1 Comment

Filed under accountability, australian media, centre-periphery relations, communal relations, economic processes, environmental degradation, governance, historical interpretation, Indian Ocean politics, island economy, landscape wondrous, legal issues, life stories, modernity & modernization, Muslims in Lanka, politIcal discourse, power politics, self-reflexivity, sri lankan society, the imaginary and the real, tourism, transport and communications, truth as casualty of war, unusual people, welfare & philanthophy, working class conditions, world events & processes

Ceylonese Elephants and Labour in Wartime Airfield Construction, 1941-45

Group Captain Kumar Kirinde (SLAF, Retd)

Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under architects & architecture, British colonialism, centre-periphery relations, landscape wondrous, life stories, military expenditure, military strategy, sri lankan society, transport and communications, war reportage, working class conditions, world events & processes, World War II

Under Scrutiny: Edmund Leach’s PUL ELIYA

Michael Roberts

In late 1965 I set out on an oral history exercise interviewing retired British public servants[1] about their experiences in Ceylon. This work has been clarified earlier in two Thuppahi Items.[2] Because of my strong interest in colonial agrarian policies, I was familiar with the books produced by two outstanding Cambridge University scholars: BH Farmer and Edmund Leach. Farmer’s book on Pioneer Peasant Colonization in Ceylon (1957) reviewed British efforts to develop the dry zone of Sri Lanka via irrigation projects emulating the captivating efforts in ancient times. As such, it focused on DS Senanayake’s inspirational role in this set of enterprises. Leach’s detailed ethnographic experiences in a village arena in Anuradhapura District provided detailed ground-level data and interpretations in this field.

Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under ancient civilisations, British colonialism, centre-periphery relations, colonisation schemes, cultural transmission, economic processes, heritage, historical interpretation, irrigation, island economy, land policies, landscape wondrous, life stories, modernity & modernization, politIcal discourse, population, sri lankan society, transport and communications, unusual people, welfare & philanthophy, working class conditions, world events & processes

Papal Receptivity to New Inventions …. Down the Ages

Avishka Mario Senewiratne, originally in MESSENGER of 24 February 2019, where the title reads “Great Moments where the Pontiffs embraced State of the Art Technology

Since the early centuries, where the church was established many of our church fathers and pontiffs have shown interest in new inventions, the beauty of science and technology, and so on. With the dawn of the renaissance, pontiffs were much eager than before in the advancements of technology, music, and arts. Some pontiffs embraced these new discoveries, while some were dealt with a controversial sense at that time. Nevertheless, in the last two centuries, we have noticed how our holy fathers have dealt with one-time fantasies: new inventions in a more positive sense. Not just have they enjoyed the fruits of these but also have inspired all to use them to be better children of God, to be better men and women of glory, and so on. This article is an attempt to point out some key events of where the Holy Fathers at that respective time embraced the state of the art technology in the past 150 years.

Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under cultural transmission, economic processes, education, heritage, historical interpretation, landscape wondrous, life stories, modernity & modernization, religiosity, self-reflexivity, transport and communications, unusual people, world events & processes

Diego Garcia: USA displayed Its Imperial Intentions in 1975

MERIP Report in 1975: where the title runs thus: “Diego Garcia: New Imperial Roost in the Indian Ocean”

At the end of July [1975], the US Congress decided to allocate funds to expand the present US communications base on Diego Garcia, a small island 1,000 miles south of India in the middle of the Indian Ocean. The decision to fund the expansion of the present installation, coming after a Presidential determination that it is “essential to the national interest,” resolves a long-standing controversy within the US government and military. It also promises to introduce the possibility of a military build-up by the US and the Soviet Union in the Indian Ocean, a development viewed with some concern by the states bordering that Ocean.

Continue reading

4 Comments

Filed under accountability, american imperialism, ancient civilisations, centre-periphery relations, economic processes, foreign policy, historical interpretation, Indian Ocean politics, landscape wondrous, legal issues, life stories, military strategy, politIcal discourse, power politics, transport and communications, world events & processes, zealotry

Wind-Power Takes Off in Mannar

Dr Tilak Siyambalapitiya, in The Island, 8 December 2020where the title reads “Wind power in Mannar,now a reality”

On a windy day, way back in 2002, an engineer from the CEB, approached the Mannar island, searching for a location to set up a wind measuring system. Those were difficult times, with the ceasefire taking hold, but a flareup between the two warring sides was imminent. He precariously crossed the makeshift bridge, on the Mannar causeway, previously blown-up in the war. Moving toward Thalaimannar, the road was deserted and full of potholes, the result of years of neglect during the war. With calculations and estimates in hand, he knew Mannar would be a superior location for wind power, compared to Hambantota, where a pilot wind power plant had been fixed three years back, in 1999.

Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under accountability, energy resources, governance, growth pole, historical interpretation, island economy, landscape wondrous, life stories, performance, politIcal discourse, self-reflexivity, sri lankan society, transport and communications, unusual people, world events & processes