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A point of departure

Keep the memories alive July 1983 was a turning point for many Sri Lankan Tamils to leave the motherland, and seek refuge in various countries including India, Australia, United Kingdom, Canada, United States of America, France, Switzerland, Denmark, Germany, New Zealand, and so on. Tamils who have either lost their family members or properties during […]

‘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 […]

Cargills Food City and ‘Humber’ dates

On its website, Cargills Food City (one of Sri Lanka’s oldest and largest supermarket chains) notes, that it “has been recognized for its innovation in taking super marketing to the masses”. We wonder if said innovation includes interesting references to Muslims in items sold in its supermarkets? The term ‘hambaya‘ and its variant ‘hamba‘, in […]

Sri Lankan exiles and emigrants: Some thoughts

Still from the movie Silenced Voices But when you arrive in Ithaca, don’t expect to find jewels… Without Ithaca, you would not have set out… And through this journey… Such things have you learned. (Cavafy. Translated from the Greek) By way of a preface, I mention the perception in some religions that we all are […]

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, […]

Waiting for my own Mandela…

Editors note: Through Nelson Mandela International Day, the UN General Assembly resolution A/RES/64/13 of 2009 recognizes Nelson Mandela’s values and his dedication to the service of humanity, in the fields of conflict resolution, race relations, the promotion and protection of human rights, reconciliation, gender equality and the rights of children and other vulnerable groups, as well as the upliftment […]

Prince Salie: A story of sapphires and steamships

Mohammed Usuff Mohammed Salie was born in 1877.  He was the grandson of Mohamed Usuff, the Alim of the Kandawatte mosque in Galle, who was responsible for handwriting a Quran he knew by memory for his mosque. Prince Salie was sent at a young age to Madras for his religious education. Like generations before and […]

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 […]

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 […]

Interview with MIXED RICE: Standing up for a diverse Sri Lanka

Describe the group of people who curate MIXED RICE. Who are you? Where are you located? What are your ages? Educational and professional backgrounds? The people behind MIXED RICE are a collection of Sri Lankans from various backgrounds who are scattered across the globe from Sri Lanka to Australia, Japan, the US and UK. There […]

‘Rally for Unity’, a March towards Reconciliation

Photo by Anushan Selvarajah, from Flickr photo set on rally It is often the case that a nation which experienced a protracted war will tend to look forward rather than backward. For Sri Lankans, over the years, the war became a part of their lives, and survival a part of their routine. In such a context, […]

Rally for Unity: Standing up for an inclusive Sri Lanka

Groundviews strongly endorsed a rally held in Colombo on Sunday to reaffirm the fact that Sri Lanka is not only a Sinhala-Buddhist country. As the movement’s Facebook event page noted, this non-partisan, non-violent awareness raising rally aims to empower the silent majority of moderate Sri Lankans to stand up for an inclusive Sri Lanka. At […]

Archiving ‘Her Stories’: In conversation with Radhika Hettiarachchi

Her Stories, a unique archive of oral history, was conceived of and curated by Radhika Hettiarachchi. We begin by Radhika going in to what the archive is, and how it came about. Featuring 240 stories of mothers, the archive’s website avers, These histories or ‘Herstories’ showcase a shared history and highlight how we Sri Lankans […]

Sri Lanka’s racism juggernaut and the war against it

Sri Lankan society is being divided and systematically targeted as the racism juggernaut continues to gain momentum around the country. Minorities face growing persecution with nationalist groups sprouting up and feeding on the insecurities and economic decline of the nation. The Bodu Bala Sena (BBS) was the first organised group to rise up and openly […]

Protecting violent protesters and dispersing peaceful protesters: New role for Police and some Buddhists in Sri Lanka?

Image courtesy Colombo Telegraph On 12th April, around 7pm, I was amongst a group of people gathered on the pavement, outside the Sri Sambuddha Jayanthi building, situated at 32, Havelock Road, Colombo 5. This is the address of the Bodu Bala Sena, which has been accused of inciting and unleashing violence against minority religious communities, […]