Category Archives: working class conditions

Leonard Woolf’s Remarkable Novel

Nick Rankin, in BBCnews, 23 May 2014, where the title runs thus: “Leonard Woolf’s forgotten Sri Lankan novel” …… The Bloomsbury Group and Sri Lanka are rarely spoken of in the same breath, but that is partly because Leonard Woolf’s groundbreaking first novel, The Village in the Jungle, is unjustly ignored, argues writer and broadcaster Nick Rankin.

She was born Virginia Stephen, daughter of the Victorian bookman Sir Leslie Stephen, but when she married in 1912, her name changed to Virginia Woolf, and she went on to become the best-known woman writer of the 20th Century.

 

Her lesser-known husband, Leonard Woolf, however, wrote and published a novel first. That almost forgotten book, first published in 1913, is called The Village in the Jungle and it is a remarkable work because it is the first novel in English literature to be written from the indigenous point of view rather than the coloniser’s.

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Leonard Woolf’s Humanist Empathy & Discernment

The Sivasambu Colloquium on 29th April 2012 entitledWoolf the humanist who empathized with the vulnerable” …. with highlighting emphasis added by The Editor, Thuppahi

Jane Russell and Ruth Allaun continued their account of the Seminar on Leonard Woolf organised by Nathan Sivasambu, Coordinator of the Ceylon Bloomsbury Group, convenors of the seminar, with the assistance of Dr. Shamil Wanigasekera and Dulmini Wimalasekera at University of London Union, Malet St, Bloomsbury, London on May 24, 2011.

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Leonard Woolf in Ceylon: A Pictorial Excursion

A Collection derived from Digital internet sources  and with special thanks to Hugh Karunanayake in Melbourne for some great finds, including the shot of the New Oriental Hotel in Galle Fort in the 1910s, the dhony and the coastal steamers plying the island’s coasts.

Young Leonard Woolf    …. & then a mustachioed Woolf


 

 

 

 

 

Woolf and his dogs in Jaffna

 

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The Lonely Cadet and the Maiden: Leonard Woolf in Jaffna …..

Philip Sansoni
   In “Growing”, the second volume of his autobiography, Leonard Woolf tells us how he lost his virginity. According to him, he was riding down the main street of Jaffna, one evening in 1905, an apprentice representative of the British Empire, when he happened to look into a verandah and saw a burgher girl sitting there. It was a fleeting glance over some blinds but she smiled at him and he smiled at her. A short time later, with a “minute” boy who had chased after him acting as intermediary, she had arranged to sleep with him that night and she did. She is subsequently revealed to have been the mistress of a Jaffna lawyer and is convicted of using indecent and abusive language outside the lawyer’s house. As Woolf tells the story, Dutton, the police magistrate, naively took the young woman’s side and paid the fine, much to the amusement of the people of Jaffna.

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Portuguese Creole in Sri Lanka: Faint Traces & Remnants

Dr Hugo Cardoso, a linguist from the University of Lisbon and his team who have been researching this historical language spoken in the East of Sri Lanka have now taken to social media to preserve this fast fading heritage.

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The Political Travails of the Indian Tamils in the State Council Era 1931-48

Uditha Devapriya, in  The Island, 21 May 2022,  where the title runs thus “DS Senanayake and the Indian Tamil Question”

In his recent work on D. S. Senanayake, K. M. de Silva explores certain controversial aspects of Ceylon’s lurch into independent statehood. Among these is the issue of the fate of the country’s Indian Tamils. Brought to the island from South India amidst conditions of famine and mass starvation in the early part of the 19th century, Indian Tamil workers replaced Sinhalese and resident Tamil labour in the island. Governed by a semifeudal set-up that shut them out from the world outside, Indian Tamil labour grew up in a world of their own. It was their tragic fate that while the colonial government feigned little interest in their welfare, their lives lay in the hands of that government.

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The Galoya Valley Scheme & the People who made it a Reality

KK De Silva, who was an employee of the RVDB from 1967-1979

 

 

 

 

 

Introduction

 Sir James Emerson Tennent, Colonial Secretary from 1845 to 1850, at page 432 of his book, Account of the Island of Ceylon ….. Vol. II says that on a visit to the Horra-bora Tank (Soraborawewa ), then in ruins, he was so impressed with its magnificense & potential for rice cultivation that after subsequent inspections of other ancient tanks in the Northern Division , he proposed in 1848 that measures be taken to restore important ancient reservoirs by legislative action; his proposal was approved, but action delayed due to unavoidable circumstances, possibly the 1848 uprising, & legislation was introduced later, when Sir Henry Ward was Governor, by way of the Irrigation Ordinance No. 9 of 1856 . Soraborawewa was restored in 1876. (Arumugam,1969).

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A Sri Lankan Arthur C. Clarke: Nigel Kerner

Michael Roberts

Arthur C. Clarke came out to Ceylon in the 1950s and went adventuring in the jungles and seas of the island with the Brit, Mike Wilson and a local Burgher named  Rodney Jonklaas. He took to the island and its peoples – aided no doubt by its easy-going lifestyle and the widespread scope for homosexual relations. He settled down in Colombo and became a member of the Otters Club where he could swim and indulge in table tennis. His commitment to the island was such that he deployed his international links to ensure that a satellite was placed in the skies to service Sri Lanka among its many capacities.

 

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Nationalisms in Ceylon: Origins, Stimulants and Ingredients

Michael Roberts, … reproducing Chapter III in Volume I of Documents of the Ceylon National Congress and Nationalist Politics in Ceylon, 1929-1950, Vol I, 1977, Department of National Archives, 1977 , pp. lxviii–lxxviii **

While the political activists of the first half of the twentieth century were drawn from both the national and the local elites, the political leadership (at significant island-wide levels) was largely composed of individuals who could be ranked among the national elite. As indicated earlier, the national elite was a small segment of the Ceylonese population. Its levels of wealth, power and status, its lifestyle, and its value-system marked it off from the rest of the population.

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Powermonger Hands behind Sri Lanka’s Financial Crisis?

Darini Rajasingham-Senanayake for VT Sri Lanka … with highlighting imposed by The Editor, Thuppahi

The writer, Dr. Darini Rajasingham-Senanayake, is a Social and Medical Anthropologist, based in Colombo, Sri Lanka……. Links to Gospa News articles have been added by our Editorial Staff

 In Cherry Blossom lined Washington DC in the glare of global media last week Sri Lanka became the poster child of the International Monetary Fund’s (IMF), Spring Meetings. The strategic Indian Ocean island’s pathetic plight featured on major media and television channels that craft the global narrative, with images of people in queues amid food, fuel, and medicine shortages due to its crashing currency, soaring cost of living and ‘Arab Spring’ style protests.

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