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.
Jeevan Thiagarajah in Daily News, 25 March 2019, with 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.
Mannar is a sand island perched on a limestone base. The hydraulic pressure of the groundwater in the kulamskeeps 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.
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.”
In late 1965 I set out on an oral history exercise interviewing retired British public servants about their experiences in Ceylon. This work has been clarified earlier in two Thuppahi Items. 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.
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.
MERIP Report in 1975:where the title runs thus: “Diego Garcia: New Imperial Roost in the Indian Ocean”
At the end of July , 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.
Dr Tilak Siyambalapitiya, in The Island, 8 December 2020, where 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.
Thuppahi's Blog · This web site presents the interventions of MICHAEL ROBERTS in the public realm with reference to Sri Lankan political affairs. It will embrace the politics of cricket as well. ROBERTS was educated at St. Aloysius College in Galle and the universities of Peradeniya and Oxford. He taught History at Peradeniya University and Anthropology at Adelaide university. He is now retired and lives in Adelaide.