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We the Sinhalese

Image courtesy Lankapura An oyster sucks in particles from its environment and creates a pearl. If instead, it filters out every particle, it is destined to be a lesser being. In untold generations, the Sinhalese people were fashioned from extraditions, waves of invasions, conquered kingdoms and stranded travelers to this fecund island. They are the […]

In conversation with Joshua Roman: Videos and photos

Performing at the Lionel Wendt. Photo by Ruvin de Silva. TED Fellow and gifted cellist Joshua Roman was in Sri Lanka recently for his debut concert in Colombo. He also performed in Kandy. Cellist Yo-Yo Ma called him an “extraordinary young musician”. Those who came to listen to him play in Colombo and Kandy, accompanied […]


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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

Crossing Red Lines: The New Tamil Consensus in Sri Lanka

R Sampanthan is a Member of Parliament and leader of the Tamil National Alliance and Illankai Tamil Arasu Kachchi. Photo from vivatamils.2009 on Flickr. A visit to the Mayan exhibition in Paris tells the tale of a splendid ancient civilization with an advanced mathematics, now reduced to marginality by colonial conquest. It also reminds one […]

How can society protect vulnerable women from post war atrocities?

I just viewed a documentary produced recently by Al Jazeera titled ‘Civil war leaves Sri Lankan women vulnerable’. The film has left me deeply disturbed, shocked and ashamed particularly because as a woman, I am not doing my duty in protesting vociferously against such atrocities. Some sections of the documentary appear to have been deliberately […]

Ancestry and Ethnic Identity in the Australian Census… and thus to Sri Lanka

The 9th of August was census night in Australia. The census form has three boxes relating to “Country of Birth,” one’s “language other than English at home” and “Ancestry”— all interesting formulations that bear on one’s ethnic subjectivity and one’s explicit identity. Ethnicity is a complex phenomenon that is nourished over the years by the […]

What Sri Lankans really think

“Seek truth from facts” (Deng Xiaoping) It is ironic, is it not, that those Western voices and Lankan liberals who believe that there is a democracy wave sweeping the world, that democracy is dying if not dead in Sri Lanka and is in dire need of regime change, do not, for the most part, pause […]