Category Archives: working class conditions

Bracegirdle’s Anti-Slavery Struggle as Depicted by Robert Gunawardena

Translation by Vinod Moonesinghe from Robert Gunawardena’s “Memoirs of Bracegirdle” … 1.44  to 

Robert Gunawardena 

Mark Anthony Bracegirdle

“Bracegirdle’s anti-slavery struggle”

In April 1937, a remarkable incident took place which strengthened the anti-imperialist struggle and aroused the interest of the masses. That is, the Bracegirdle Incident which is spoken about by older people to this day.

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The Potency Borne by Pictures

Michael Roberts

This little presentation is a DEDICATION. It illustrates the potency and power of friends in producing an academic booklet in 2011. As it happens, the booklet bears the title Potency, Power & People in Groups and was financed by the good friends Godfrey & Amar Gunatilleke of the Marga Institute.

The “Acknowledgements” and the “Foreword” taken together spell out the names of those friends who assisted this project. But let me single out Anura Hettiarachchi for his aid in this project and in the endeavours leading to my book on Sinhala Consciousness in the Kandyan Period (Colombo, Vijitha Yapa Publications, 2004) because he was struck down by heart failure recently.

To Anura, then, in gratitude I place this item in my website.

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The Paravas in Sri Lanka and South India in the Sixteenth Century

Chandra R. de Silva

It is likely that the paravas (also known as Bharathas in Sri Lanka to indicate their Indian origin) were working as fishermen and mercenaries in South India and the north western coast of Sri Lanka well before the sixteenth century. Tradition links them to the evolution of the catamaran (a small craft with two hulls) and with a major role in pearl fishing in the Gulf of Mannar. They were also proficient in chank (turbinella pyrum) fishing: chanks being seashells that were used to make ornaments and drinking vessels. The coming of the Portuguese to the region in the sixteenth century provides us many Portuguese records that illuminate the history and seafaring skills of this community.. Historian Jorge Manuel Flores, for example, quotes a mid-sixteenth century Portuguese document which records thanks to a parava convert named Duarte de Miranda for assistance in navigating the seas off South India.

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An Ethnological Introduction to the Tamils of Sri Lanka

 Karthigesu Sivathamby

 This item now presented in Thuppahi is the first part of a book in pdf format entitled The Tamils of Sri Lanka. In converting the pdf the whole text went haywire and the paragraph divisions were all over the shop. I cannot guarantee that my painstaking editorial reconstruction stuck to Siva’s original design. I have refrained from inserting any highlighting emphasis on the text: so the highlighting you see is there in the original… As far as I could work out, this work was finalized in 1989, but that point is subject to correction ………….. Michael Roberts Continue reading

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Bracegirdle’s AntI-Slavery Struggle in British Ceylon, 1937

A Section translated  from Robert Gunawardena, Satanaka Satahan, Kosgama: 2007, Vijith Gunawardena: ….. provided here by Vinod Moonesinghe  …. with highlighting imposed by The Editor, Thuppahi

In April 1937, a remarkable incident took place which strengthened the anti-imperialist struggle [in Sri Lanka} and aroused the interest of the masses. That is, the Bracegirdle Incident which is spoken about by older people to this day.

 Mark Antony Lyster Bracegirdle, an Australian, came to Lanka in December 1936 to gain appointment as the assistant superintendant of a tea estate owned by a British plantation company. It is possible that the plantation company which appointed him to this position did not know that he had been a young member of the Australian Communist Party. Having come to Lanka, Bracegirdle took up his duties in a tea estate not far from Madulkele, beyond Katugastota.

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Profound Mementoes for Michael Wille

ONE: A PRAYER for MICHAEL’s PEACEFUL REST

The kids at the Day Care at Bandarawela which Mike supported said a Prayer this morning for his Peaceful Rest.

💛🙏🙏

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Re-visiting the Case of Mark Anthony Lyster Bracegirdle of 1937: A Landmark Judgment that upheld the Liberty of the Individual and that affirmed the Fairness of ‘ British Justice’  

Prabhath de Silva, ... an article that appeared initially in the Daily Mirror, 25/26 November 2022– with highlighting in this version imposed by The Editor, Thuppahi

Mark Anthony Lyster Bracegirdle (also known as Price) was born in Chelsea, England in 1912. His parents were Ina Marjorie Lyster and James Seymour Bracegirdle. His mother was a suffragette and an active member of the Labour Party. Bracegirdle migrated to Australia with his mother, and studied art, and later trained as a farmer. In 1935, he joined the Australian Young Communist League (YCL) and became an active young Communist.

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Confronting Two Calamities in Eastern Sri Lanka in 2005

Dennis B. McGilvray, in India Review 5(2-3) November 2006, special issue on public anthropology, …. where the title reads  Tsunami and Civil War in Sri Lanka: An Anthropologist Confronts the Real World”  …. with highlighting in different colours imposed by the Editor, Thuppahi

Recent calls for a new “public anthropology” to promote greater visibility for ethnographic research in the eyes of the press and the general public, and to bolster the courage of anthropologists to address urgent issues of the day, are laudable although probably too hopeful as well.  Yet, while public anthropology could certainly be more salient in American life, it already exists in parts of the world such as Sri Lanka where social change, ethnic conflict, and natural catastrophe have unavoidably altered the local context of ethnographic fieldwork.  Much of the anthropology of Sri Lanka in the last three decades would have to count as “public” scholarship, because it has been forced to address the contemporary realities of labor migration, religious politics, the global economy, and the rise of violent ethno-nationalist movements.  As a long-term observer of the Tamil-speaking Hindu and Muslim communities in Sri Lanka’s eastern coastal region, I have always been attracted to the classic anthropological issues of caste, popular religion, and matrilineal kinship.  However, in the wake of the civil wars for Tamil Eelam and the 2004 tsunami disaster, I have been forced to confront (somewhat uneasily) a fundamentally altered fieldwork situation. This gives my current work a stronger flavor of public anthropology, while providing an opportunity for me to trace older matrilocal family patterns and Hindu-Muslim religious traditions under radically changed conditions.

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The Kaffir in Sri Lanka: A Partial Bibliography from Thuppahi

Michael Roberts 

The first two photographs provide just a glimpse of their ‘markings’; while the map composed I think by Shihan de Silva Jayasuriya indicates the long history of African migratory flows (sometimes as slaves) to Asian lands.

 

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In Memoriam. The War Dead … within “A Clear Blue Sky”

Elmo Jayawardena, in The Island4 March 2021, where the title reads “A Clear Blue Sky” … bearing this ’emphasis’…. I publish this article just so that we can remember how sad the times were during the war for both sides. Let us hope and pray such will never happen again)

The one unforgettable memory that Selva always carried within himself was the colour of the vast Jaffna sky, spotless and shimmering in brilliant blue. It appeared as if the Gods had decided to spread a sheet and tucked it taut to the corners of the horizon as if to show off how perfectly they could do things. Off and on there would be fluffy white clouds, being sheep-dogged by winds aloft, harmless cartoons scattered in the sky, men and dogs, trees and castles or whatever a child wanted to imagine them to be. The clouds were seldom grey and laden with rain. That’s how the dry climate came about to roast the soil where Selva’s family toiled under the merciless sun, for generations, to grow chilli on. The kochika as they called it, were the thin and long kind, blood red, extremely hot and mouth-burning. Selva’s people sold the chilli harvest at the week-end market in the closest town. That was Vaddukodai, located an hour’s distance away, by bullock cart, from their nameless village of nowhere and no one; just blood red kochika and blue skies.

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