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In conversation with Kalana Senaratne: Religiosity, politics and identity in Sri Lanka

Kalana Senaratne is a distinguished columnist and researcher. Readers of Groundviews would be most familiar with his writing on the rise of militant Buddhism in Sri Lanka, though he has written consistently of issues of governance, rights, politics and religiosity since 2009. We caught up on TV recently to talk about at greater depth and […]

Celebrating 5 years of Post-War Conflict

Photography by DushiYanthini Kanagasabapathipillai Kiru is a soft spoken but hard-nosed activist from Jaffna. He and I both attended the opening ceremony of the recently concluded World Conference on Youth (WCY) in Hambantota, and he and I both watched as the President got up on stage and spoke about the eradication of terrorists, and of […]

Understanding the National Question as a Pre-Democratic Problem: A Skeptical Note on the Southern Reform agenda

Photo by AP Photo/Eranga Jayawardena, via FT.com Five years after the end of the war, the Government has now started arguing that the war is not over. The Government doesn’t think the LTTE is finished. Even US and India seem to think that sections of the Tamil Diaspora are raising funds for a possible regroup […]

Writing on the Wall: A Sinhala Prayer in a Tamil Church

When I was walking near the Mulativu beach by around 5.30 this morning, I came across an abandoned Catholic Church. It was in a dilapidated condition. The Church seems to have been used during the war period, at least in the last stages of the war. A new Church, made in concrete, is under construction […]

Life in the Open-Air Panopticon: Surveillance and the Social Isolation of Ex-LTTE Combatants in Sri Lanka

Image from SL Online News “You have to live – did live, from habit that became instinct – in the assumption that every sound you made was overheard, and, except in darkness, every movement scrutinised.” – George Orwell, 1984 Talking to former members of the LTTE in Sri Lanka reveals much about their lives and […]

The Five-Year Tongue Twisters

Photo courtesy ISHARA S.KODIKARA/AFP/GETTY IMAGES, via The Global Mail [five times five things to try to say quickly] 1. The misters assisted in shelling these shells on the seashore war, The shells they shelled were not sea-shells, I’m sure. Some of the people they shelled aren’t there any more. And if they shelled the seashore […]

Quo vadis Sri Lanka?

Photo courtesy Amnesty International May 2009 will always be an exclamation mark in Sri Lanka’s history. Many will celebrate the defeat of the Tamil Tigers as a rupture with a brutal past. For others it will mark a period of remembrance as families mourn relatives lost in crossfire or shelling. It was a time of […]

The slow wheels of justice and change: a Sri Lankan case study?

Image via Rights Now Five years since the end of the war, the state of affairs in Sri Lanka is likely to evoke feelings of frustration and despondency for most readers of this series of essays. The military has entrenched itself in the governance of the North and East and continues to suppress Tamil political […]

Attitudinal change necessary to give momentum to the Provincial councils

Image courtesy Sri Lanka Guardian Sri Lanka on the threshold of change needs an overhaul of the entire democratic process and good governance. The three decade old war is over and expectations have been raised for a more tranquil future. People are looking forward to a life enriched by greater equity in society, guided by […]

The Silly Idealist

Photography courtesy Dev Policy Blog Everyone called her a “Silly Idealist”. Some said it fondly, some with contempt, some with anger, and others even with disgust. But, she didn’t care. She truly believed with all her heart, in a one people – a one country. And nobody could deny her that dream. Change would come. […]

Five years on, where we are now: Reconciliation, the Rule of Law and governance

Photo by AP, via VOA News It is five years now after the defeat of the LTTE. As the Government then claimed it marked the end of terrorism and the beginning of a new era of reconciliation and renewal throughout Sri Lanka. The Government’s specific goals were the restoration of peace, rehabilitation of the ravages […]

The National Question: All about State Power

Photograph courtesy PACT S.J.V. Chelvanayakam Memorial Oration, 26 April 2014 I am thankful to the S.J.V. Chelvanayakam Commemoration Committee for inviting me to deliver this memorial oration on the occasion of the 37th death anniversary of S.J.V. Chelvanayakam, Q.C., a revered leader of the Sri Lankan Tamils. I am told that I am only the […]