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T. Shanaathanan in conversation with Sharmini Pereira

Sharmini Pereira: What’s your earliest recollection of wanting to study art? Was it something that you were encouraged to do or something that you encouraged your family to allow you to do? T. Shanaathanan: I come from an orthodox middle class family and my parents have some interest in art. I learnt the basic principles […]

Uthayan in Jaffna: All the news that’s fit to print, and then some

JAFFNA. “Even though the war is over and the guns are silent…it doesn’t change a thing. We still face threats. We are still feeling the fear,” said 35 year old Thevanayagam Premananth, the editor of Uthayan newspapers. We talked in his office, part of the compound that had once been the torture chambers of the […]

The Tamil Elephant in the Green (Blue?) Room

Photo courtesy Sri Lanka Brief Kalana Senaratne’s characteristically perceptive article on the implications of Maithripala Sirisena’s common candidacy for the upcoming Presidential election flags the Tamil question: what role do Tamils and issues of concern to them play in the politics of the election? Kalana deems the Tamils the ‘forgotten other’ of the upcoming campaign, […]

The new Yarl Devi to Jaffna: What do people in Jaffna think?

Photograph courtesy Colombo Gazette. A version of this article appears on the author’s blog. The Yarl Devi was a train. A hulking pile of metal on wheels, just like any other train. It began its run around 1956; neither the first train to make the trip to the North of Sri Lanka, nor the only […]

Kerosene, Koothu and Paper: Questions and answers

On Sunday, 19 October 2014 the Sri Lanka Archive of Contemporary Art, Architecture & Design screened, for the first time in Jaffna, three short films by Kannan Arunasalam. Kerosene, Koothu and Paper were produced for Groundviews in 2011 as part of the Moving Images project. The Sri Lanka Archive of Contemporary Art, Architecture & Design is a flagship project […]

A Presidential visit up North

Photo courtesy Yahoo By all accounts, President Rajapakse’s unprecedented and rather controversial third term re-election campaign, though unofficial, has begun in earnest. Last week he presented the Cabinet of Ministers with a proposal to increase communal harmony in the country and implement the LLRC proposals, though a few weeks earlier the defense establishment, had facilitated […]

Dr. Rajani Thiranagama Commemoration on 20th and 21st September 2014

I was a public servant when Rajani was assassinated by an LTTE agent 25 years ago. I took private leave, travelled to Jaffna at my own expense and participated in the 31st day Commemoration. She was a leading member of the UTHR (Jaffna branch) and coauthored, with Dr.Rajan Hoole, Dr. Daya Somasundaram and Dr. K.Sritharan, […]

INFOGRAPHIC: Military Presence in the North of Sri Lanka

Five years since the end of the war, a significant military presence still remains in the Northern Province of Sri Lanka. This despite repeated assurances by the Government of Sri Lanka (GoSL) that the military presence is, and will be phased out in order to pave way for post-war reconciliation efforts. In a context of […]

Review of Neville Jayaweera’s Jaffna: Exorcising the Past and Holding the Vision

Photo courtesy Thomas Berg Part I When I was asked by Marshell Fernando whether I would review the above, I readily agreed. Neville was several years senior to me in the Ceylon Civil Service and also served as Government Agent (GA) Jaffna but 18 years before my turn. I know him well and have some […]

Post-War Development in Nepal and Sri Lanka: A Comparison

Image courtesy Wikipedia This is an abridged version of a paper presented at the Annual Symposium of the Centre for Poverty Analysis on Post War Development in Africa and Asia in Colombo on 01 September 2014 Introduction Both in Nepal and Sri Lanka the transition from war to durable peace has been painful and is […]

Healing through humanisation: A reflection on Just Reconciliation

Photo courtesy Sri Lanka Campaign History concealed    An acquaintance returned from a recent visit to Jaffna to announce it as one of the best holidays she had ever had. The hotels were good, the food delicious, there were numerous places to visit and of course the roads were excellent. The oral tradition My recent […]