The Sri Lanka Reader: History, Culture, Politics

The Sri Lanka Reader: History, Culture, Politics

by John Clifford Holt

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ISBN-10: 0822349825

ISBN-13: 9780822349822

Pub. Date: 04/13/2011

Publisher: Duke University Press Books

The Sri Lanka Reader is a sweeping introduction to the epic history of the island nation located just off the southern tip of India. The island’s recorded history of more than two and a half millennia encompasses waves of immigration from the South Asian subcontinent, the formation of Sinhala Buddhist and Tamil Hindu civilizations, the arrival of Arab


The Sri Lanka Reader is a sweeping introduction to the epic history of the island nation located just off the southern tip of India. The island’s recorded history of more than two and a half millennia encompasses waves of immigration from the South Asian subcontinent, the formation of Sinhala Buddhist and Tamil Hindu civilizations, the arrival of Arab Muslim traders, and European colonization by the Portuguese, then the Dutch, and finally the British. Selected texts depict perceptions of the country’s multiple linguistic and religious communities, as well as its political travails after independence in 1948, especially the ethnic violence that recurred from the 1950s until 2009, when the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam were defeated by the Sri Lankan government’s armed forces. This wide-ranging anthology covers the aboriginal Veddhas, the earliest known inhabitants of the island; the Kings of Kandy, Sri Lanka’s last indigenous dynasty; twenty-first-century women who leave the island to work as housemaids in the Middle East; the forty thousand Sri Lankans killed by the tsunami in December 2004; and, through cutting-edge journalism and heart-wrenching poetry, the protracted violence that has scarred the country’s contemporary political history. Along with fifty-four images of paintings, sculptures, and architecture, The Sri Lanka Reader includes more than ninety classic and contemporary texts written by Sri Lankans and foreigners.

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Duke University Press Books
Publication date:
The World Readers
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Product dimensions:
6.10(w) x 9.20(h) x 1.70(d)

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations xiii

Acknowledgments xv

Introduction 1

I From Ancient to Early Modern 9

Buddhist Visions of a Primordial Past, Anonymous, comp Mahanama Thera 13

A Tamil Hindu Vijaya: Yalpana Vaipava Malai, Anonymous 26

The Saga of Dutugemunu Devarakkhita Jayabahu Dharmakirti 30

Sirisamghabodhi and the Ideals of Buddhist Kingship, Anonymous, comp Mahanama Thera 42

Anuradhapura: Fifth-Century Observations by a Chinese Buddhist Monk Fa-Hien 44

Path of Purification Bhadantacariya Buddhaghosa 50

A Hydraulic Civilization Chandra Richard de Silva 53

Sigiri Graffiti, Anonymous 57

Set in Stone, Mahinda IV and Anonymous 60

Anuradhapura: A Photographic Essay John Clifford Holt 64

Tamil Identity in Ancient Sri Lanka K. Indrapala 69

The Indigenous Veddhas Robert Knox 75

Tamilnadus in Rajarata Charles Hoole 79

Promulgations of a Polonnaruva King Parakramabahu I 87

Buddhist Sculpture at Polonnaruva: A Photographic Essay John Clifford Holt 96

The Abdication of King Parakramabahu II Mayurapada Buddhaputra 98

Dambadeni Asna, Anonymous 101

Alakeshvara Yuddhaya, Anonymous 107

The Observations of Ibn Battuta Ibn Battuta 111

Saelalihini Sandesaya (The Starling's Message) Sri Rahula 119

II The Colonial Encounter 133

Sri Lanka: National Identity and the Impact of Colonialism K. M. de Silva 135

The Portuguese: An Introduction Jorge Flores 152

An Early Observer Duarte Barbosa 154

Visions from the Mid-Sixteenth Century: The Economist, the Viceroy, and the Missionary António Pessoa Dom Afonso de Noronha Fr. Manuel de Morais 159

The Spin Doctors at Work: The Island as "New Portugal," Francisco Rodrigues Silveira Jorge Pinto de Azevedo 166

Kandy in the 1630s: Through the Eyes of a Soldier-Poet and a Soldier-Ethnographer, Anonymous and Constantino de Sá de Miranda 170

The Final Dreamers João Ribeiro Fernão de Queiroz 176

The Catholics' Last Sigh: Oratorian Missionaries in Eighteenth-Century Kandy M. da Costa Nunes 182

The Dutch: An Introduction 189

A Dutch Prelude Sebald de Weert 191

Jaffna and Kandy through Eyes of a Dutch Reformed Predikant Philip Baldaeus 201

The Price of Good Cinnamon Sinnappah Arasaratnam 210

How the Dutch Ruled Ryckloff Van Goens 219

Dutch Policy towards Buddhism in Sri Lanka K. W. Goonewardena 225

The British: An Introduction 230

A British Description of Colombo, 1807 James Cordiner 232

The Final Tragedy of the Kandyan Kingdom John Davy 245

The Rebellion of 1818 and Consolidation of British Rule Jonathan Forbes 252

The 1848 Rebellion Governor Torrington 258

Leonard Woolf's Ceylon Leonard Woolf 269

The Establishment of the Tea Industry in Ceylon L. A. Wickremeratne 279

Kandyan Culture in the Colonial Era: An Introduction 295

Vimaladharmasurya: The First Kandyan King, Anonymous 297

Concerning Their Religions … Robert Knox 299

Poetry and Proclamations in the Kandyan Kingdom, Anonymous Kirti Sri Rajasimha 308

An Open Letter to the Kandyan Chiefs Ananda Coomaraswamy 320

Colonial Postscript: The Other Eden Richard de Zoysa 328

III Emerging Identities 331

Buddhist Identities: An Introduction 334

Old Diary Leaves Henry Steele Olcott 335

The Western Invasion and the Decline of Buddhism Anagarika Dharmapala 350

Ape Gama (Our Village) Martin Wickramasinghe 356

Ten-Precept Mothers in the Buddhist Revival in Sri Lanka Justine Semmens 364

Sarvodaya in a Buddhist Society A. T. Ariyaratne 376

Politically Engaged Militant Monks Walpola Rahula 380

Politics of the Jathika Hela Urumaya: Buddhism and Ethnicity Mahinda Deegalle 383

A Buddha Now and Then: Images of a Sri Lankan Culture Hero John Clifford Holt 395

Losing the Way Home Ramya Chamalie Jirasinghe 407

Muslim Identities: An Introduction 409

Origins of the Sri Lankan Muslims and Varieties of the Muslim Identity Dennis McGilvray Mirak Raheem 410

The Ethnology of the "Moors" of Ceylon P. Ramanathan 420

A Criticism of Mr. Ramanathan's "Ethnology of the Moors of Ceylon," I. L. M. Abdul Azeez 424

Who Are the Moors of Ceylon? S. L. Mohamed 429

The Bawas of Ceylon R. L. Spittel 435

The Fight for the Fez M. M. Thawfeeq 441

The Purdah's Lament M. L. M. Mansoor 446

Sri Lankan Malays M. M. M. Mahroof 453

Tamil Identities: An Introduction 458

Language, Poetry, Culture, and Tamil Nationalism A. Jeyaratnam Wilson 459

The Dance of the Turkey Cock-The Jaffna Boycott of 1931 Jane Russell 471

Language and the Rise of Tamil Separatism in Sri Lanka Robert N. Kearney 491

The Militarisation of Tamil Youth A. Jeyaratnam Wilson 503

Womanhood and the Tamil Refugee Joke Schrijvers 523

Translating Remembering Benjamin Schonthal 542

Nallur Jean Arasanayagam 557

Christians and Burghers: An Introduction 559

Christians in a Buddhist Majority Paul Caspersz, S.J. 560

On the Meaning of "Parangi" and "Burgher": Symbolic Discourse of Subordination Michael Roberts Ismeth Raheem Percy Colin-Thomé 567

Emergent Perspectives in Modern Art: The '43 Group-Formation of a Sri Lankan Avant-Garde Larry D. Lutchmansingh 574

IV Independence, Insurrections, and Social Change 589

Sri Lanka in 1948 K. M. de Silva 591

The Bandaranaike Legend James Manor 599

After Forty-Five Years Howard Wriggins 607

The Ceylon Insurrection of 1971 Robert N. Kearney Janice Jiggins 618

The Colombo Riots of 1983 S.J. Tambiah 641

"In the Month of July" and "Voyagers," Jean Arasanayagam 648

Patriotic TV K. Jayatilake 650

Search My Mind Jean Arasanayagam 656

The Great Divide Antoinette Ferdinand 664

A Land Divided Jean Arasanayagam 667

Neither Sinhala nor Tamil-On Being a South Asian in Sri Lanka Sree Padma 680

Female Labor Migration from Sri Lanka to the Middle East Michele Ruth Gamburd 687

Juki Girls: Gender, Globalization, and the Stigma of Garment Factory Work Caitrin Lynch 695

A Place with No Room Ramya Chamalie Jirasinghe 706

The Wave, Ramya Chamalie Jirasinghe 708

V Political Epilogue 713

And Then They Came for Me Lasantha Wickrematunga 715

Checkmate!, The Island 721

Our Holocaust, The Tamil Guardian 723

Moderation the Only Way Lilani Jayatilaka 726

Kingship-in-the-Making Doug Saunders 731

Acknowledgment of Copyrights and Sources 735

Suggestions for Further Reading 745

Index 755

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