Archive | September, 2011


He is writing history, where he lives, when he travels, to Denmark, Singapore, Tamil Nadu, Toronto. Edward Said wrote about Palestinians, Rudramoorthy Cheran, Tamils. News that my friend has suffered a mild heart attack does not surprise me. His muscle has been strained for more than thirty years. From the Saturday Review where he reported […]

Ray Wijewardene: An Extraordinary Thinker and Tinkerer

Ray Wijewardene in his study at Colombo home, playing with pet squirrel. Larger photo in the background is that of Sir Charles Hayward of Firth Cleveland Group. Photo courtesy A website about the life and vision of the late Dr Ray Wijewardene, one of the most accomplished and innovative engineers and scientists produced by […]

Milinda Moragoda’s ‘Right to Information’: A sordid record of its real nature and limits

The Hansard of 20th September 2011 records a question posed by Dr. Harsha de Silva in Parliament over the campaign finances and the asset declaration of Mayoral candidate Milinda Moragoda. See high resolution image here. Download the Hansard from 20th September as a PDF here. Dr. de Silva flags questions repeatedly via Facebook and Twitter […]

Fundamental questions for AJM Muzammil and the UNP

Last Friday, I was slated to interview the UNP’s Mayoral candidate AJM Muzammil on public television. After his media manager expressed a keen interest and confirmed his participation, Muzammil backed out the morning of the interview giving no reason at all and asked it to be rescheduled for the following week. This mirrored the behaviour of […]

A Review of ‘The Eighteenth Amendment to the Constitution: Substance and Process’

Photo courtesy Vikalpa September 8, 2010 marked a watershed event in the constitutional history of Sri Lanka. The enactment of the Eighteenth Amendment to the Constitution on this ill-fated day brought to a close an era in which successive presidential candidates had promised to abolish the executive presidency. The Eighteenth Amendment effectively extinguished the last […]

Hacking mayoral campaign promises

Photo from Asian Mirror In Open-source policy formulation for Sri Lanka’s capital, an article published on the Lanka Business Online website recently, the Head of the Policy Planning Group, Milinda for Mayor Campaign and renowned policy analyst Prof. Rohan Samarajiva looks at how mainstream politics can be made more participatory. The promise is of a direct […]

Authoritative Ethical Realist Reads Rajapaksa’s Role

The Pope with Archbishop Malcolm Ranjith Though my political approval of and personal liking for Mahinda Rajapaksa, (certainly in relation to his competitors and immediate predecessors) are shared by nine out of ten Sri Lankan citizens (according to the Gallup poll), it is not comfortable to be alone in one’s analysis and evaluation, among one’s own […]

Land in the North and East of Sri Lanka: Concern and confusion over Government circular

Image credit Jeremy Suyker, via Foto8 The Government recently unveiled a policy regarding land in the North and East through the introduction of a Cabinet Memorandum (memo) titled ‘Regularize Land Management in Northern and Eastern Provinces,’ which was subsequently followed by a Land Circular (circular) titled ‘Regulating the Activities Regarding Management of Lands in the […]

An appeal against infringement of university autonomy in Sri Lanka

The Ministry of Higher Education has issued a directive that all state universities should hire the services of Rakna Lanka Ltd for provision of security services. The undersigned of the University academic community considers that directive to be in complete contravention of the norms and conventions by which universities are expected to function. The letter […]

A Kunanayakam by any other name?

Mercenaries with misplaced consciences appear to be leading Sri Lanka’s latest band of apologists. Seldom does a hired hand leave such a damning trail as does Tamara Kunanayakam, Ambassador/Permanent Representative of Sri Lanka to the United Nations Office at Geneva and other International Organizations in Switzerland. During the General Debate under Item 2 at the […]

Are there really gay Sri Lankans?

As I write this, friends and people I have worked with, are living in fear. In truth, since Saturday before last (10th September) when Rivira published their exposé on condoms and lubricating gels being distributed to men who have sex with men, and the community based organization involved in the process, tensions have been high […]

Local government elections: Military puppeteers, elected puppets, right to information and people’s liberties

[Editors note: The author is at the time of writing, the head of the Sri Jayawardenepura Kotte Municipal Council (SJKMC) campaign committee for the UNP. Groundviews is critical of all political parties and candidates, but not equally so. Harsha’s article is published here as the extension of a lengthy exchange on the topic of RTI Groundviews has spearheaded with […]

Sinhala Buddhist Rationale In An Omnivorous Society

Photo courtesy Ada Derana My new neighbour, a quiet middle class, young Sinhala Buddhist professional from beyond Matara, who started constructing his own house, brought down a “Kattadi mahathtaya” from his village to evoke blessings on the property, the new construction and on himself and his young family, before the foundation stone was laid. The […]