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The making of ‘The Brothers Shaikh’

When the journalist Peter Savodnik asked me to collaborate with him on making The Brothers Shaikh, I said no. I was scared. This was my home. I knew that if I crossed some invisible line, there would be repercussions. But then I changed my mind. What convinced me was that The Brothers Shaikh was a […]

‘Flying Fish’ and the Constriction of the Arts in Sri Lanka

I met Sanjeeva Pushpakumara last year in a little art cinema off the Champs Elysees at the showing of Ashoka Handagama’s Ini Avan. It seemed he knew me from his days as a student or a journalist. A pleasant, articulate yet understated young man, of less taciturn intensity than Handagama, he debated Ini Avan with […]

30 Years Ago: An unprecedented look at Black July

Photo by Natalie Soysa, for Groundviews In August this year, Groundviews will launch a compelling collection of content to commemorate 30 years since Black July. The content will feature original podcasts, photography and writing on a dedicated website. Building from the critically acclaimed Moving Images two years ago, Groundviews brought together leading documentary filmmakers, photographers, […]

Sri Lankan diplunacy: Stray dogs, pricks, tigresses and CHOGM 2013

Photo courtesy Transcurrents / by Tony Ashby, AFP Bandula Jayasekara (@bundeljayse) is currently one of Sri Lanka’s highest-ranking diplomats, as Consul General in New South Wales and Queensland, Australia and former Consul General to Toronto, in Canada. His Twitter account has consistently featured bitter invective and all-manner of unsubstantiated allegations against civil society and human […]

Clearing up inconvenient Hindus and laundrymen in Colombo

Recent web media reports flagged that an 85 year old Kovil was going to be relocated in order to create space for a new parking lot to accommodate vehicles arriving at the President’s official residence in Colombo, Temple Trees. Along with the relocation of the Kovil, eviction orders were given to dozens of laundrymen, many […]

In conversation with Michael Mendis: Winner of 2013 Commonwealth Short Story Prize for Asia

Michael Mendis is the winner of the 2013 Commonwealth Short Story Prize for Asia. ‘The Sarong-Man in the Old House, and an Incubus for a Rainy Night’ can be read in full on Granta. Upon winning the prestigious prize, Michael averred, “Although writing, for me, is inherently a personal exercise, involving a distillation of private […]

Blocking inconvenient truths: Time magazine and Sri Lanka

Image courtesy Al Jazeera (AFP/Christophe Archambault) The Face of Buddhist Terror, cover story of the most recent issue of Time magazine, is banned in Burma. Even though the lead article is primarily on U Wirathu, the leader of the 969 Buddhist Nationalist movement and only has passing reference to Islamophobia in Sri Lanka championed by fascist […]

Why a TNA-run Northern Council is more positive than negative

Image courtesy in.com Had the Government not made the mess it has by fussing over the 13th amendment, it could have shown off the TNA run Northern PC in all global forums as evidence of post-war progress in political reconciliation. Instead of deploying the NPC into an advertisement for Sri Lanka’s domestic process of reconciliation […]

Celluloid Nationalism in Sri Lanka

Photo courtesy Cinema.lk In post war Sri Lanka, where triumphalism is an ever-present threat to reconciliation, and where issues of religious and language diversity continue to engender conflict, we are encountering a reassertion of Sinhala-Buddhist nationalism through the powerful medium of film. In the recent past we have seen the grand dramatization of several episodes […]

From Merchant Prince to Akbar Brothers: Inayat Akbarally and the Bohras of Sri Lanka

Photography by Alefiya Akbarally and Kannan Arunasalam Inayet Akbarally tells the remarkable story of his great grandfather Careemjee Jafferjee and how he became the first member of the Dawoodi Bohra community to set foot in Ceylon believed to be around 1830. A “Peterite” through and through, he reflects on the days when where you went to school trumped […]

Gotabaya Rajapaksa and National Security: The Kotelawala Defence University lecture

Photo courtesy Business Today As a citizen of Sri Lanka, naturally I was keen to know what the country’s secretary of defense thinks about the current security situation and the military history of Sri Lanka. Therefore, I went through his “lecture”  under the National Interest Module of the inaugural MPhil/PhD Programme of the Kotelawala Defense […]

Viroda Vipakshaya, General Fonseka and early presidential stakes

Image courtesy The Australian The political opposition in Sri Lanka seems freshly energized if recent events are anything to go by. The UNP has formed some form of a broader opposition coalition through the “Viroda Vipakshaya” and released a draft constitution as a discussion document for public and civil society debate, while the JVP galvanized by the […]