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 […]

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 […]

The media as it is and should be: In conversation with Kunda Dixit

Kunda Dixit (@kundadixit), Publisher and Chief Editor of Nepali Times was in Sri Lanka recently, where we caught up for a brief conversation on the issues related to journalism in South Asia and more broadly. We began by probing why Kunda, after a Masters in Micro-Biology, switched his focus to journalism. We then talk about […]

Northern Provincial Council: Prudence prevails for now

Image from Lanka Standard Finally, a pragmatic perception, however episodic, of reality– and a prudent policy move results. With President Rajapaksa’s decision to announce the holding of the election to the Northern Provincial Council after almost a quarter of a century (taken together with the re-arrest of the suspects in the murder of the Trinco […]

Whither the Sri Lankan Tamils?

Photo courtesy The Guardian (Rafiq Maqbool/AP) I attended the Thanthai Chelvanayakam Memorial lecture entitled “Whither the Sri Lankan Tamils?” given by Justice C. V. Wigneswaran to mark the 36th death anniversary of Mr. S. J. V. Chelvanayakam Q.C., as sponsored by the Ilankai Tamil ArasuKatchi (I.T.A.K.), Colombo District branch on Friday 26th April at the New […]

‘The Invention Of The Jewish People’

Shlomo Sand, ‘The Invention Of The Jewish People’ Collective identity needs a misty image of an ancient biological common origin (Sand, 280). In Sri Lanka, ‘identity’ contains a very distinctive blend of ethno-nationalism with traditional religion where religion becomes an instrument serving political ends (Sand, 285-6). Shlomo Sand, Professor of History at Tel Aviv University, […]

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 […]

India and Sri Lanka: The Road Not Taken

Photo courtesy The Nation “…Sri Lankan foreign policy must be centred on a non-hostile relationship with India…Choice is the essential question; not only the choices open to us, but the choices likely to be taken by others…” – Mervyn de Silva, ‘External Aspects of the Ethnic Issue’ (1985), Crisis Commentaries (2001: pp68-78) In the aftermath of the victory over the LTTE […]

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