29 September, 2021

Blog

Teaching A New History In Sri Lanka

By Uditha Devapriya

Uditha Devapriya

Reading through Senake Bandaranayake’s last published work, Continuities and Transformations, I was a little perturbed by the point that we no longer produce exceptional sociologists, historians, anthropologists, and archaeologists, as we once did.

This is something Dr Bandaranayake himself observed earlier in his book, The University of the Future and the Culture of Learning. As he observes there, our education system has been so debased that it is no longer capable of producing original thinkers: a point even Nalin de Silva highlights, belabours, and bitterly laments in his essays. That a Marxist scholar and a Sinhala nationalist intellectual could reflect on the same point, of course, says much about how structural issues cut through ideological divisions.

The problem is more pronounced in the domains of history and archaeology than in that of science. The latter faces much better prospects as a subject and a profession; after all, if the country’s experience with COVID-19 reveals anything at all, it’s the fact that our healthcare system is highly efficient, yet badly underfunded. This is linked to how we teach science at schools and universities, and more importantly, how it is learnt.

Sri Lankans in general give pride of place to medicine and engineering, and rate a higher education in these fields positively in terms of employment and prestige. It thus comes as no surprise that, regardless of how underdeveloped the state of scientific research may be, our public healthcare system is manned by personnel who respond efficiently to emergencies, even on the scale of a pandemic. That strengthens the case, not so much for the privatisation of education and healthcare, as for much greater investment in government hospitals and research labs.

It’s a different story with history and archaeology, for that matter with the humanities and social sciences in general. Due on the one hand to a lack of prestige associated with them, and on the other to the relative ease with which one can engage with a university education in them, these fields remain both overcrowded and underused.

The problems with such subjects have much to do with, firstly, how we teach them, and secondly, how we learn them. Any discussion of these issues must start with an analysis of three problems: the way such subjects are taught at schools; the deficiencies in our teaching methods; and the vacuum caused by a lack of public funding.

The first problem is the easiest to diagnose, because we encounter it from an early age. In spite of possessing a recorded history going back some 2,500 years, plus a literary tradition that ranks among the best in the region, possibly the world, we do little to preserve or even take forward our past within the classroom. Put in another way, we teach history very badly.

By this I don’t mean so much how we are taught history as what history we are taught in the first place. Occupied more with rulers and nobles than with people and structures, the historiography we learn amounts to a series of dates and events, of kings and battles. This, of course, is the great man thesis: the notion that the past is the work of a ruling class.

Senake Bandaranayake was among many intellectuals, including R. A. L. H. Gunawardana, Kumari Jayawardena, S. B. D. de Silva and G. V. S. de Silva, and Newton Gunasinghe, who challenged that view of history. Posing as an alternative to the then dominant empiricist tradition in our universities, these scholars came up with a radically different conception of local history. It is not coincidental that their scholarly forays into the past coincided with the most ambitious set of education reforms to be enacted in post-independence Sri Lanka.

These reforms sought to replace a rote-based colonial education system with a model that placed emphasis on the relationship between a child and his or her community. In recent times such reforms have come under attack for, inter alia, reducing the prominence given to kings and rulers by even colonial historiographers, and occupying the student with “social studies” rather than the history of civilisations. Such foggy notions of history, focused less on structures of society than on lists of rulers, ignores certain facets of our past, such as how the feats of architecture for which Sri Lanka has gained a reputation were as much the work of kings as they were of people.

In any case, whatever their perceived limitations, the collapse of the Sirimavo Bandaranaike government in 1977 gradually led to the abandonment of these reforms. That, in turn, lead to a reversion to a rote-based learning culture, whereby students were made to shift from a study of social structures to a curriculum oriented towards civilisations. The French historian Fernand Braudel made his dissatisfaction with such an approach to the subject clear with his rejection of “the traditional history of politics”, in favour of “a deeper analysis of social and economic forces.” Yet it is to the former that our children have turned today.

This brings us to the second of our problems: how history is taught, and how that reflects more generic deficiencies in our teaching methods. It seems little short of astonishing that a subject requiring critical scrutiny, extensive research, and continuous revaluation should be taught in terms of memorising, and recalling, dates and names.

What’s more astonishing is how certain periods are emphasised and others hardly touched at all: hence, while we learn much about the Anuradhapura and Polonnaruwa kingdoms from the perspective of the triad of Pandukabaya, Dutugemunu, and Parakramabahu, an emphasis which to me is justifiable, hardly anything is spoken of, much less taught about, other rulers. Yet such selectivity is not surprising: a historiography which gives more importance to certain rulers must of necessity exclude certain others who, in popular opinion, are not great enough.

Even less surprising is the selectivity embedded in the teaching of recent history. With regard to the latter, the issue is of valorising, not certain rulers, but rather a ruling class. The results can be disconcerting: when textbooks recast those who opposed free education, disenfranchised minority communities, and sanctioned crackdowns on political critics and opponents, as national heroes, while sidelining those who campaigned for free education, universal suffrage, and national independence, you realise how one-sided the teaching of post-20th century history can be and in fact is. Yet this is a state of affairs that has never bothered relevant authorities.

The third problem is felt more acutely at university level, and has to do with funding. Historical scholarship in Sri Lanka suffers from an absence of financial patronage. This is felt in certain areas more than in others: for instance, in pre-historical research, an area that has never got the kind of attention it deserves since Siran Deraniyagala and Raj Somadeva published their pioneering studies. On the other hand, the never-ending clamour for research, or more correctly speculation, in areas such as the Ravana story reveals how an absence of patronage, at the institutional level, can divert our attention from history to mythology.

The longer we wait without addressing this issue, the more out-of-focus our interest in our own history will be. Yet what is required are not more rupees; a clearly defined programme, identifying which areas need to be researched in-depth, needs to be in place as well. Such a programme requires a critical frame of mind, of the sort that 40 years of debasement in our education system has, all but completely, made extinct.

Given these problems, what are the solutions? A complete overhaul of the system in terms of historiography and teaching methods, plus greater allocations of money and resources to research, seem to be in order. But more reform, and more money, has been the mantra for the last three or so decades. That authorities have not heeded the call yet is symptomatic of two issues: academics no longer place as much hope on education reforms as they once did, and the prejudice against the social sciences has become so embedded that we no longer care.

However, the importance of these fields cannot be underestimated. The humanities and the social sciences, far from being peripheral domains, are in fact vital to any country, because as much as the natural sciences can help us understand the material underpinnings of our society, the social sciences can help us rediscover our past, and thus exert control over our future.

This is a point Senake Bandaranayake raised many years ago, when he observed that research in fields like archaeology and art history being conducted more by foreign than by local specialists indicated “an impoverishment of our internal intellectual environment” and a loss of control over “our hold over intellectual and scientific resources.” To regain control over these areas, hence, is to regain control over our very destiny.

Here an assumption, or rather misassumption, needs to be debunked: that a lack of fluency and engagement with English has crippled scholarship. The solution suggested to this issue is the allocation of more money and resources to English language teaching.

Yet apart from the problems in raising enough funds for such programmes, the question to be raised is whether fluency in English is a litmus test for critical scholarship. If it were so, the English speaking crowd – still a minority in Sri Lanka – would have produced enough innovative thinkers to compensate for the failures of the system. That this crowd has so far not produced another Siran Deraniyagala – I exclude exceptions like Asha de Vos, who remain regrettably rare – is hence a sign that this has not been the case for three decades. This reveals a fundamental problem in Sri Lanka: while the majority remain cut off from English, those who are fluent in it are not modernised enough, as a class, to achieve an intellectual synthesis.

Indeed, much scholarship on social science since the 1980s and 1990s has been in Sinhala or Tamil. Logically, such a state of affairs calls not for more English language programmes, but rather for more translations of European and American texts in areas such as anthropology. Doing so would democratise scholarship and research in these domains considerably, in a country where the majority have not yet mastered the language of the colonial oppressor. The road ahead thus seems clear enough: devote funds, not (only) to teaching English, but to research on the one hand, and to translations of texts and theories, from elsewhere, on the other.

*The writer can be reached at udakdev1@gmail.com

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Latest comments

  • 8
    3

    Leslie Gunewardena, yes, but where’s Karthigesu Indrapala?
    .
    What’s become of Anthropologist Ashraf Ghani of Afghanistan?
    .
    Nalin de Silva is one of the worst racists anywhere. Not to be even mentioned if you’re talking about the above.
    .
    From my phone. All aerial signals are poor on this hill in Bandarawela. Can’t make detailed comment from here

    .
    Panini Edirisinhe (NIC 483111444V)

    • 3
      9

      Sinhala_Man,
      “…where’s Karthigesu Indrapala”

      He was kicked out from Jaffna University by separatist Tamils because he wrote in his doctoral dissertation that Dravida settlements in Sinhale started around 12th and 13th Centuries.
      His conclusion became a major blow to separatist Tamils who claim that they were in Sinhale since ‘the dawn of time’.

      • 7
        1

        Eagle Blind Eye

        “…………………………. he wrote in his doctoral dissertation that Dravida settlements in Sinhale started around 12th and 13th Centuries.”

        Have had a chance to read his actual doctoral dissertation?
        Please let us know what he wrote in introductory paragraph and his conclusion.

        Mind you, you got to be very careful what bull do you type, as my Elders have access to his entire thesis. Do you know how many pages his entire thesis run into?

        Dumbo do you know when exactly did Prof Indrapala submit his Thesis?

        Do know how much new knowledge has been accumulated between then and now?

        When his thesis was published you were probably still wearing amude.

        • 2
          1

          “Teaching A New History In Sri Lanka”

          No one can teach history to anyone ……. especially biased “teachers”

          People learn history themselves ……. the hard way ……….

      • 4
        1

        Eagle Eye.
        .
        I’m not a historian or a medical man specialising in DNA, and I will start by acknowledging that I haven’t read the book, although I have read through this review. I’m very conscious of the fact that I have made a damning statement.
        .
        https://tamilnation.org/books/eelam/indrapala
        .
        Never mind, I’m just going on that, whereas you have quoted from his doctoral thesis which he wrote about fifty years ago. His views (as I dare say you know) are now very different from what he sad fifty years ago.
        .
        I can’t help thinking that so many of us (including me) keep asserting views. Without anywhere near proving that these myths are literally true I have little idea how “foolproof” DNA testing is. I’m only trying desperately to have an overview of our past and I’d like that to be one which allows us to live peaceably with others in this island.
        .
        I’m going on the pictures I’ve seen of Sinhalese (me included) and of phone chats with others. I have concluded that Tamil folks and me have come from common ancestors – something totally different from your strife-causing claims.
        .

        • 4
          1

          Thank u sinhala man, indeed a great comment. If anyone would hang on what was being said before 51 years ago, he or she should be sick bei6ubable to see it right

        • 3
          1

          Sinhala_Man,
          “I have concluded that Tamil folks and me have come from common ancestors – something totally different from your strife-causing claims.”
          —-
          You are free to make conclusions about your ancestors based on information you get through telephone conversations. The validity of your conclusions depends on how reliable those information are. Simply because you made a conclusion about your ancestors, you cannot apply that to rest of the people.
          I make claims on the basis of evidences provided by eminent historians and archeologists. They have concluded with scientific evidences that Sinhalayo and Vedda Eththo evolved in this country, invented a unique language and developed the country from scratch. Until someone come up with solid evidences to disprove their conclusions, we have to rely on them.

          • 1
            1

            Eagle,
            What is unique about Sinhala? The number of Portuguese words in it? Or the number of invented Sanskrit words? Or the large number of words it has to describe your female ancestors?

          • 1
            0

            EE, please disregard what I said about phones! I was tired, and typing into my phone when that got in.
            .
            No, my belief that we in Lanka are essentially one people is owing to appearance (mainly colour and features), and our proximity to South India. Just common sense. Of course I heed what scholars of history, archaeology and anthropology say, but as individuals how much do we know of our ancestors? At the level of great, great grandparents we ought to have sixteen individuals. I’m sure that even those who spend years and fortunes tracing their genealogies won’t be sure of ALL sixteen. I have been helped more than most by having a few obsessive relatives! We all have selective knowledge; in your case, we have no clue as to who you are, to begin with!
            .
            With regard to being scientific, there is little real evidence, and remember that the best hypotheses are the simplest.
            .
            That is one respect in which we are improving; few young people bother about such things.
            .
            Face it. You are propagating myths – and haven’t you been saying these things ad nauseam for years?

            • 2
              1

              Sinhala_Man
              “Face it. You are propagating myths…”
              —-
              Can you please tell me the myths that I propagate?
              Please do not evade answering the question.

      • 2
        1

        EE
        Indrapala was not kicked out of anywhere.
        He decided to migrate because of conditions in the country.
        He has been a highly respected former professor of the UoJ all along since.
        *
        He got his PhD in 1968 or 1969. there was no Eelam cry then.
        His writing was based mostly on the Jaffna Kingdom.
        Subsequent archaeological findings permitted a deeper insight, the outcome of which was “Evolution Of An Ethnic Identity – The Tamils in Sri Lanka: C. 300 BCE to C. 1200 CE – Dr. K. Indrapala” in 2005.
        You should read it for a balanced view of history.

        • 2
          0

          SJ,
          .
          Indrapala’s PhD thesis is dated 1965, and has 560 pages to it. I have it downloaded on my older computer, but haven’t read it. Just checked, it’s working on the same router as this. There’s just too much of material, and too few to study it seriously.
          .
          For two years I knew one of his pupils, Dr Raghupathy, in the Maldives, 1993 and 1994. We both worked in what was then known by thee misnomer, “Science Education Centre”, a small place. A. levels only; all subjects were taught there. Raghupathy taught European History. Raghupathy, a native of Karainagar, had had some of his school education at St. Joseph’s College, Bandarawela, his father having been an important man at the Survey Institute in Diyatalawa. That’s a State School, Tamil students were moved out long ago.
          .
          http://www.infolanka.com/ubb/Forum1/HTML/003266.html
          .
          I didn’t then know about Professor Indrapala. However, many of the views that Raghupathy held were congruent with those of Indrapala. We do need a New History of Lanka, but let us not waste any of the money that don’t have on writing rubbish that will divide our people even more.

          • 1
            0

            Dagupathy had the benefit of hitherto undiscovered archaeological material.
            Indrapala took them into account to develop a very coherent picture of history on the Tamils.
            The man is sober like Leslie and Siriweera and not given to gimmicks.

          • 0
            1

            EE
            Thanks for correcting the date of KI’s thesis.
            It only strengthens my argument.

            • 0
              0

              There are bits of confusion.
              .
              This is probably of little consequence, SJ.
              .
              It was me, Sinhala_Man, and not EE (Eagle Eye, clearly) who reported to you the date of Professor Indrapala’s PhD thesis.
              .
              Who is sober and not given to gimmicks? Indrapala or Raghupathy.
              .
              The latter was a personal friend for two years, long before emails and mobile numbers made it possible to keep friendships going though separated by many a mile. I’ve lost touch with Raghupathy. Have you got any idea how I can get in touch with him?
              .
              He would be a healthy influence on our thinking.
              .

        • 3
          0

          We, Sinhalese, say that the LTTE were terrible terrorists. True, although I don’t know whether they were worse than our armed forces. (Remember that I’m sitting in this house which was leased to (then Lt. Colonel) Bull Weeratunga for two years around 1971. He was good company, but I know that what he later set about doing in Jaffna strengthened the Tigers.
          .
          Raghupathy lived a difficult life in Male. At least I enjoyed snorkelling over the coral reefs of many islands. A very decent Scotsman got me into the UNDP Social Club, which allowed resort-hopping cheap. Raghu refused to indulge in “Private Tuition” there. Not in keeping with his academic status. I had two or three special private pupils whom I could teach with dignity. Most Lankan teachers were hired to do the homework of students, and were regarded almost as servants, but they had carried their racist enmities even there.
          .
          When some Caucasians heard that a Lankan teacher had joined the Club, its regulations were changed forthwith, saying that we’d get drunk. I’m a teetotaller!

        • 1
          1

          SJ,
          “He got his PhD in 1968 or 1969. there was no Eelam cry then.”
          —-
          May be there was no Eelam cry but separatist Tamil politicians were there and separatism was in the agenda of Tamil politicians even in 1930s. When they realized that there is no history of Tamils in Sinhale, they started ridiculing ‘Mahawansha’. G.G.Ponnambalam started that in 1939 by delivering a racially charged speech at Nawalapitiya ridiculing Mahawansha and denigrating the Sinhala-Buddhist culture, its history and the people igniting the first Tamil-Sinhala conflict.
          SJV Chelvanayakam who came to Sinhale from Malaya during British rule established the Illankai Tamil Arasu Kachchi (toned down as Federal Party in English) in 1949 which had as its hidden agenda the establishment of a separate state.

          There were Dravidians in Sinhale who came as invaders and traders but there was no record of an ethnic group called Tamils until British introduced the terms ‘Ceylon Tamils’ and ‘Indian Tamils’ in 1911.

          • 6
            1

            Eagle,
            “there was no record of an ethnic group called Tamils “
            How many tes do I have to tell you that there is no record of Sinhalese in “Sinhale” either, because there is no such country?

          • 1
            0

            Anyone ridiculing the Mahavamsa was only for its irrational content.
            Have a sense of humor. There are worse myths that pass for history in South Asia.
            It had worse anti-Mahayana bias than anti-Demala bias.
            Its value is in its recording of historical events in some sequence that makes sense. Good historians can rectify biased interpretation of events,

    • 0
      0

      This comment was removed by a moderator because it didn’t abide by our Comment policy.

      For more detail see our Comment policy https://www.colombotelegrap

    • 8
      0

      “Nalin de Silva is one of the worst racists anywhere. Not to be even mentioned if you’re talking about the above.”

      NDS was posted as the ambassador to Myanmar. We did not hear anything from him for such a long time. Perhaps, he might have learnt -self immolation tactics from – wirathu (siamese twin of our Abasaranayi-thero aka Ghanasara).
      :
      A little bird told me that NDS had been going through some unexpected problems while reading for his doctoral dissertation. That may well be the reason him to be against the west. He overestimates ” sinhala race” to the very same manner, some Ethiopians did about their race. I was then known to an ethiopian hostel mate who was easily offended by any arguments based on western colonisation.
      :
      These men are ultra hypocrites. He criticises western medicine, but for sure he is dependent on Metformin (the first-line medication for the treatment of type 2 diabetes,)

      • 5
        0

        LM,
        NDS resigned from his position.

        • 3
          0

          OC,
          .
          Is NDS still alive ?

          What made him silent for such a long time ? Did he change his nature after having faced it Myanmar ?

        • 2
          1

          OC
          NDS was bright but a little temperamental. But to make negative comments about his personality is unfair.
          He was a sincere leftist when I knew him well into the ‘early 80s. What transformed him post ’83 (or was it post ’87?) I do not know. The failures of the NSSP may explain his defection to SB thought as much as Vasu’s surrender to the SLFP.
          NDS’s SB arguments had the vehemence and irrationality of a new convert. But to resort to character assassination to criticize him is in bad taste (not unusual here).
          *
          Switching loyalties is no crime, but parochialism goes with a large dose of intellectual dishonesty, which should be confronted.

          • 2
            1

            S.J
            “Temperamental” is a mild way of putting it. The odd thing is that his own “wasagama” is of recent Indian origin!

            • 4
              0

              Old Codger,
              .
              Thank you. Cant agree with you more.

              To me, he is not at all temperamental… but very judgemental sort of a person, swollen by 2500 years of so called heritage.

              It is all right to respect those with high academice achievements, but what if such personalities would behave like the blind and deaf.. only promoting their undermind ?
              :
              Best examples GLP, Rajeewa Wejesingha, Prof. Vitarana, Prof. Tattarala (in cumbent govt) and the like men….. are most known laughter stocks so far.
              .
              Academic accomplishments would bring nothing, if a person would further lead to ultra sinhala racism in a country where the society is reached to all appalling levels.
              The best example I go tot know is NDS. Like a frog in a well-mentality.. how come ?

              I know his past life in UK (having studied his days during his team work ).

              • 4
                0

                OC,
                Thank you. could not agree more.

  • 6
    6

    Stop wasting time and money teaching Tamil to Sinhala kids and Sinhala to Tamil kids. Instead teach them more English, Chinese and other useful languages for global trade.

    • 7
      1

      “Sri Lankans in general give pride of place to medicine and engineering, and rate a higher education in these fields positively in terms of employment and prestige. “
      Sadly, no longer. We currently give pride of place to part-educated persons sporting fancy uniforms. There are currently 300000 plus of this variety, and of course they have to be paid. So a large part of the national budget is eaten up by them So where is the money to “improve the health services and education”? It is ironic that this very same lot who are the cause of health underfunding are now in charge of vaccinations!
      We also give pride of place on the media to purveyors of snake oil and purported “traditional knowledge” making claims of Covid cures. I don’t know whether this is more of an indication of the gullibility of the audience or ignorance of the journalists. In either case, it is an indictment on our education system.

      • 7
        1

        “when textbooks recast those who opposed free education, disenfranchised minority communities, and sanctioned crackdowns on political critics and opponents, as national heroes,”
        It isn’t clear whether Uditha includes the much-hyped Anagarika in this list.
        “These reforms sought to replace a rote-based colonial education system with a model that placed emphasis on the relationship between a child and his or her community. “
        Colonial education was less rote-based than the current system. Some missionary schools were centres of excellence which produced the sharpest minds of the time. Now we have an equal level of mediocrity. The president of the GMOA, no less, quotes Pliny to “prove” that the ancient Sinhalese lived up to 140 years, and claims that the reduction is due to toxins in food! In colonial times, the union itself would have expelled such a half- baked moron for malpractice.

        • 9
          1

          OC
          UD is utterly superficial and pretends to be well read. His lack of scientific analysis is glaring.
          He makes sweeping statements about no need for teaching more English but for translations from European and American texts.
          Who will do the translations and who will check correctness?
          I suppose there will be thousands of Americans and Europeans who queue up to translate the massive volume of literature accessible through English into Sinhala. (Tamils can count on the predominantly shoddy Tamil translations from Tamilnadu.)
          The man does not think of the cost-benefit of developing scholarly persons sufficiently fluent in foreign languages who could transfer knowledge to their respective scholarly communities.
          Even countries that educate mainly in the regional language encourage learning of foreign languages, among which English is popular. Learning is of course goal oriented.

          • 5
            0

            S.J,
            I suspect that not teaching English is a ploy to keep the majority dumb and pliable.

      • 4
        0

        This comment was removed by a moderator because it didn’t abide by our Comment policy.

        For more detail see our Comment policy https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/comments-policy-2

        • 5
          1

          Eagle Blind Eye

          Brilliant
          Thanks a lot.

      • 1
        10

        old codger,
        “We currently give pride of place to part-educated persons sporting fancy uniforms. There are currently 300000 plus of this variety, and of course they have to be paid.”

        Sinhalayo have no problem with looking after the people who sacrificed their lives to eliminate terrorism and restored peace that was denied for all communities for three decades.

        • 8
          1

          “Sinhalayo have no problem with looking after the people who sacrificed their lives”
          Do people who sacrificed their lives need looking after?

          • 5
            0

            S.J
            “Do people who sacrificed their lives need looking after?”
            Perhaps that question is too deep for EE? Try and give him something easier.

          • 5
            0

            EE doesn’t seem to know what he has been talking. Ultra hatreds have definitely killed his little brain. .
            .
            Love and care is only wayout.
            .
            Hatreds kill themselves.
            .
            Look at closely how it works today under Rajapakshe stupid rule.
            .
            6.9 moo of mercy cows + the rest hate them today wish them all ” second death” with Gota waiting earful in his visit to UN Assembly on the 22nd sep. Entire world ll become clearer how his murderous rule let people kill today, no different to his brother until 2015😡😡😡😡😡

    • 4
      0

      GATAM, When a tamil patient goes to a sinhala doctor and vice versa, it is a government AR and FR requirement to speak in that language.

    • 3
      7

      GATAM,
      I fully agree with you. Stupid Sinhala politicians are forcing Sinhala students to learn Tamil in the name of reconciliation. What a waste of their precious time. But NPC does not recruit teachers to teach Sinhala to Tamil students which could be helpful for them to find jobs in the South.

    • 6
      3

      GATAM,
      .
      Go and have a check on your little brain.
      .
      We the sinhalayas wish if we had the chance to learn TAMIL or any other langauages.
      .
      If your staple is not punnaku, you would have been aware , that langauges are the first step to come out human problems.

    • 2
      1

      If it will help your divide by three formula I wonder

    • 3
      1

      We have wasted lots of money teaching English (it’s the only job that I ever did!) but we seem to have made little progress. We have to persist, but, time-permitting, I will try to indicate where we’re failing.
      .
      Teaching the third language is not something which ever gobbled up much money. However, let it not be taught compulsorily. Where there are mixed populations, it makes sense, and shorn of compulsion, many Northern Tamils would also learn it. Most Sinhalese students here find it so much less daunting than learning the Kaduwa (English).
      .
      To date I haven’t commented on this much: there are many new tertiary courses, purportedly conducted in English, which could spell trouble in the future.
      .
      GATAM, an effort was made (lasted about nine months) to educate my grand-daughters in the Sinhala Medium in Colombo. The major reason for giving up. My daughter (their mother) found the parents too competitive. They are now studying in English in Selanghor, Malaysia,

      • 2
        1

        I’m sorry, that ejaculated prematurely, GATAM.
        .
        They are studying Chinese and Malay as ancillary subjects – not French! It’s an International School, with friends who speak those as native languages. Little children have no prejudices unless we inculcate them. Our education is too much governed by syllabi and examinations.
        .
        Currently, the COVID figures are worse than ours, and there have been political changes as well. However, when comparing notes, there isn’t the same degree of confusion as here. School work has been on-line. A good deal of education depends on the attitudes of parents. I don’t want to generalise much beyond this; living in a foreign country is unsatisfactory in many other respects.
        .
        Childhood should be a period of fun, play, and friendships. The curbs are there, but his week I had Viber videos of the kids swimming. When I enquired I was told that kids are allowed in the pool belonging to the condominium block with fully vaccinated parents, but a maximum of five persons in the pool at a time. Checking on COVID figures just now, it looks as though there are improvements in both countries.
        .
        The economy here is what worries now.

        • 4
          0

          Dear Sinhala Man,
          .
          I have never noticed that you would use the term “ejaculated” in this context… we are known to that in Bio medicine, but not in politics…. grins.
          .
          You are right about CHILDHOOD. But today, it is being destroyed by their own parents and the society. In srilanka more than in european countries.
          Parents want their own chidren to achieve lot more than they can afford. Sadly, most of the cases, it ends up being backfired. This happened to my nephews and several youth known to me in SL in UK.
          Chidren should have their own choice.. and parents should learn respecting the wishes of the children.
          Gone are the days that parents knew best for their children. Today, they should discuss it more with teachers also considering the thoughts and minds of the children. Chidlren should be given the chances to share their fields of interests, and amibtions.
          Some dont want to become doctors and engineers… because some dont like such fields… just because parents want them to be doctors… they can end u pbeing empty vessels in their carrier life. This reflects in Sl in medical profession and other areas very well.

    • 5
      0

      No, its not a waste at all. Its a good thing. Learning Tamil will make it possible for the Sinhalese from childhood to communicate with Tamils, understand how the Tamils feel and so on… this is the worst nightmare of the politicians, especially the Tamil politicians. They’ve done everything to keep the Tamils and the Sinhalese separate and poison innocent Tamil children’s minds. This is part of their separatist agenda. Learning Tamil should not be forced though – after a basic Tamil course in lets say from grades 1-5, the children must be given the choice to choose Tamil among other languages (English, Chinese, Paali, Sanskrit), to study further from grade 6 onwards. Some of these Sinhalese students will later on go on to study Tamil at university level too. Sinhalese children learning Tamil will be helpful in bringing more understanding between the Tamils and Sinhalese. Its always a positive thing to learn other languages. Children can learn languages quickly and easily – there will be no problem teaching English too as a third language, as English is essential in higher studies, especially in natural sciences, law and commerce – basically everything, actually.

      • 3
        0

        Punchi,
        .
        By way of exception you are right. How come ?
        :
        In that small country with 7 mio by population, Switzerland, teaches 3-4 langauges in their schools from the begining on. THat is the only powerful state where the children are taught several languages in central europe. Scandinavians too are doing well with their school curriculums, but the swiss are special to me.

        All these instructions from other countries would not do much in a country, where no CIVILIZED systems in place: For what purpose, the govts maintain diplomatic relations is questionable, if our ruling idiots, dont seem to profit them on long term ????
        Even if their boasts would repeat about their so called 2500 year old heritage, nothing good seems to be taken from any outside world – surely, future generations in our hell would curse on current generations, not having done enough good for the benefit of the youth in the future.

  • 1
    0

    Going to the many tourist sites, sole proprietor tour guides, some of them three-wheelers, usually take us around for a small fee. Sometimes they speak a very high level of Sinhalese and it is difficult to follow, but most if the time we can get by in understanding. Many make it by, with a smattering of English. They know quite a bit about their neck of the woods, and give a very descriptive and detailed narrative of its ancient and recent history, and cultural assimilations. One feels a great connection with Lankan society with them. If it can be all put down in book format with interesting pictures, it could create a very interesting and profitable local industry also.

  • 2
    11

    Uditha Devapriya, many thanks for your article.
    I wish you could publish this article in Sinhala, too.
    It is “not teaching a new history in Sri Lanka”, it is “teaching the true history in Sri Lanka”.

    • 7
      1

      Champa

      “”It is “not teaching a new history in Sri Lanka”, it is “teaching the true history in Sri Lanka”.”

      Just copy paste Mahawamsa, that would do nicely.

      • 2
        6

        Native Vedda
        Which Mahawansa are you talking about? The early Mahawansa written by our Sinhalese ancestors or the fake Mahawansa written by Indian Jain Priest Mahanaman?
        I find it weird that Mahanaman’s Mahawansa and Valmiki’s Ramayana both were written in the 5th Century BC.
        Not only that, even visits of Buddhaghosha and Fa-Hien (Faxian) have also occurred in 5th Century BC.
        In his book, Fa-Hien has never mentioned visiting India. He has clearly mentioned that he visited “Madhya Desha,” which is the country situated in the middle of the earth. Those who distorted Fa-Hien’s travels have forgotten that his companions had also written about their journey clearly indicating that “Madhya Desha” was ancient Lanka.
        I thanked Uditha Devapriya, not for the contents of his article, but for providing me a platform to talk about our history.

        • 5
          2

          C
          I find your claims about 5th Century BC a little weird.
          Now China, which had a good tradition of recording history, also will need to rewrite its history.

      • 7
        2

        NV,
        .
        does any body of you know what the Mahawansa was not subjected to any revisions, even if historians and archaeologists definitely have lot more to add today ß

        If Mahawansa was subjected to its due revisions, things would have worked well for the benefit of the masses in our motherland. Look, today, with MEDAMULANA animals abusing it as no others, but so called powerful sinhala buddhist monks, stay as if their senses were fully impaired by Kaliamma/or any other forces.

        Our champa is known to us as one of the powerful sinhala nationalists. I really dont know why she doe snot focus on all other crucial issues before us.

    • 4
      1

      Uditha Devapriya
      There are many misconceptions in your article such as Rawana is a myth.
      .
      Dr. Shiran Deraniyagala has found writings on potsherds in Anuradhapura that go back to BC 700, which is not even included in our current history books.
      Our history narrated by Raj Somadeva is largely based on his own creative imagination. For example; when talking about Sub-king Mahanaga sending an ambassadorial delegation to ancient Rome, Raj Somadeva says the delegation was headed by a ‘Rachiya’, as mentioned by Roman author, Pliny the Elder. On an earlier occasion, he said that the delegation was headed by a person called ‘Rachie’ (pronounced as Rakhi). At the discussion about ‘Rachiya’, he and the host expressed their opinion about the word ‘Rachiya’ as a non-Sinhala word and as to how foreign words were incorporated in the Sinhala language even in ancient times.
      But the truth is, ‘Rachiya’ is a Sinhala word. The only mistake was Pliny the Elder mentioning only a part of the word. What Pliny the Elder meant by ‘Rachiya’ was actually ‘ARachi’ or ‘ARachiya’. It was an ‘Arachchi’ who headed the ambassadorial delegation to ancient Rome in the 3rd Century BC!!!

      • 10
        1

        C
        “Our history narrated by Raj Somadeva is largely based on his own creative imagination.”
        Will not that make history pure fiction?

      • 1
        0

        So how does finding potsherds with inscriptions dated to 700 BC relate to Ravana?

    • 6
      0

      Champa,
      .
      I have a question to you. Why is that you seem tobe interested only in SINHALA HERITAGE, SINHALA BUDDHISM and US being Kept above etc. than anything else. What if anyone was born not in a sinhala family, but became a srilanken citizen ? You seem to be a well read person, but only for very selected areas.
      To be a natioalist is fine, but why to hurt others this way ? As if we are the only ones born to srilanken soil ?

      • 1
        0

        An excellent query, dear LM. This is the crux of the matter, Champa. We needn’t have all this acrimony and argument.
        .
        Also, Champa, you are being less than careful with dates. I’m sure that Siran Deraniyagala’s dating of potsherds is accurate, but do some of these other dates stand upto scrutiny at all? Even a guy like me, with no pretences to scholarship, finds these dates given by you to be quite wrong.
        .
        You speak of an “Arachiya” visiting Rome in the 3rd Century B.C. This counting backwards can be tricky. It should mean 201 B.C. TO 300 BC, the time of the First Punic Wars, before Hannibal invaded Italy crossing the Alps with elephants during the Second Punic Wars. Pliny the Elder was much later. That’s what I get by just browsing the Internet. The Romans themselves kept very accurate records, and what happened in their empire was studied intensively by European scholars for two centuries. There may now be a let up.
        .
        Challenge their research, by all means, but first understand the monumental nature of what you are trying to undermine.

  • 2
    10

    Uditha Devapriya,
    Prof. Raj Somadeva is making an attempt to change the way history is taught in schools following the way you have suggested. He has taken measures with few other historians to revise history text books making them more interesting to read.
    He has a program with Neth FM called ‘Unlimited History’ which is very interesting. You can watch this program in YouTube by searching ‘Unlimited History’.

    • 8
      2

      Eagle Blind Eye

      “Prof. Raj Somadeva is making an attempt to change the way history is taught in schools following the way you have suggested. “

      Like History in Hindia under Hindutva, is Prof Somadeva transforming every available myth into serious historical events?

      How does he propose to incorporate Rama’s victory over Ravana in his mythology?

    • 3
      0

      Eagle Eye, That program is one of the most boring programs ever to be made. Besides Raj Somadeva is no a very smart person – his explanations are boring and he speaks so slowly that even if you put the playback speed to x2 its still too slow… :). He has done some good research, but he should keep to what his expertise is about – namely pre-history and maybe some early social and state formation issues. He has absolutely no idea of the linguistics of the Sinhala language, but tries speak as if he is well read on the matter. Also, the Neth-FM’s program-leader too looks as if he has just been sleeping and about to fall asleep again…. ridiculously dumb program.
       
      Some months ago, there was something about finding a new inscription and Raj Somadeva implied that they are going to show it, but they never showed it, they showed some people tracing something they said was an inscription, but they never showed it. When speaking of inscriptions, they should show them, with the excellent opportunity now with cameras and internet, its not a big deal to actually show the inscriptions they are talking about.

    • 1
      0

      Dear EE,
      .
      I’ve sampled this, and it is very interesting, no doubt about that:
      .
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XbhJOTTu0lk
      .
      However, it is interesting in the way that fairy stories are; I also agree with many of the things he seems to say about our need for an identity. Yes, we all feel such a need, and all the better if we become the “noblest”. Our kids may end up being misfits.
      .
      You seem to hold the view that you are ethnically pure. How can any of us feel that way when we have no idea who all our ancestors were, just three generations ago? I was brought up to believe that all my ancestors were Sinhalese, and I have not learnt anything that contradicts that. However, when we survey our history from the time homo sapiens evolved, it has to be a different story.
      .
      How much History did I learn in school? Little bits and pieces of the Mahavamsa account upto Grade Eight; after that it was dropped because I was supposed to be a science student. This is what happens to most of our people. And then we believe we know all that we need to. Won’t do.

    • 0
      0

      Prof. Raj Somadeva’s “Unlimited History”,
      .
      Seeming contradictions. “Punchi Point”
      saying that they are utterly boring, and me saying “very interesting”. Are we saying different things?
      .
      Not really. I was thinking of children hooked on those programmes going on listening to that slow delivery imagining that they were getting truly valuable unchallenged facts.
      .
      Heaps uploaded; I’m unlikely to listen to all that. To be fair, it isn’t limited to Lankan History. It takes in speculation on the Trojan War:
      .
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RWnWD4bhWA0
      .
      He grants, what Schliemann discovered cannot be proved to be Troy, but once children have swallowed this will they keep an open mind? Unlikely.
      .
      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Heinrich_Schliemann
      .
      Owing to quirks in my life, I studied all that thoroughly forty years ago, and got an A for WCC at Peradeniya External GAQ. Once an internal student at Peradeniya, I found that I had exceeded requirements, but my study, done critically, was from various sources in English.
      .
      What if I were a kid swallowing “Unlimited History”, in the belief that it was absolute truth? Never mind Ancient Greek History. Applied to contemporary Lankan affairs, you can see, on this page, the ridiculous assertions being made.

  • 12
    3

    The writer is totally out of his depth when talking of higher education.
    An Arts degree was prestigious when it attracted civil service jobs and high posts in the state and private sector. Even sports activity was rewarded. It was over-production that led to unemployment and hence the fall in prestige. Had we produced 500 engineers and doctors per year in the 60s and 70s, I wonder what their plight would have been.
    Learning by rote is still the norm in many fields despite ‘outcome-based education’. I do not know what the ‘reforms that sought to replace a rote-based colonial education system’ referred to are. (Was our traditional learning system any different?)
    Some of our best scholars came from the ‘rote-based colonial education system’. Scholars evolve despite an educational system rather than because of any. What enabled scholarship then was a healthy learning climate. Undergraduates had time to debate and discuss matters, even outside subject and field.
    I cannot see how a handful of university scholars helped to place emphasis on the relationship between a child and his or her community (which is a school based phenomenon). There were no such educational reforms then. Reform of school curriculum was an on-going process since independence, but child-based education was slow to arrive.

    • 2
      4

      It was over-production that led to unemployment and hence the fall in prestige
      ———–
      If there really are ‘too many doctors and engineers’ in sri lanka without jobs it is because they refused to join freemasonry and not due to ‘over supply’
      Freemasons will create jobs out of thin air for their masons to collect money. This is why in so many companies there are so many useless management positions.
      They are also involved in stealing publics money from the stock market and other fraudulent activities so they dont ever need to fear a lack of legitimate income.
      For example there is an infamous construction company that has a huge office filled with managers, but not enough labourers to actually build their projects on time. The company has been accused of fraud by many, but to date have proven untouchable (but the most high will deal with them when the time is right).

      • 5
        0

        H
        Pity, you were not around to advise our arts graduates about freemasonry.
        BTW
        Between you and me,
        R U a U-no-what?

  • 4
    1

    In many multi lingual democracies , children are taught all the languages spoken in the nation, unless there are too many languages to teach, like in the cast of India. Then at least another language is learnt including the mother tongue and a world languge like English. In Canada French is taught to ENglish speakers and vice versa. In Swizeraland that is around 70% German speaking 20% French speaking and 5% Italian speaking and another 5% still speaking ROmansh, which is descendant of spoken Latin. All four languages are national languages and German speakers are taught French and Italian and the French and Italian speakers learn German and Italian or German and French respectively. Sri Lanka has two spoken native languages, that are in paper at least national and official languages and for reconciliation and intergaration both languages should be taught to everyone. Thamizh to Chingkallams and Chingkallam to Thamizh.

    • 2
      2

      Pandi Kutti,
      “Sri Lanka has two spoken native languages,…”

      Are you referring to Sinhala and Vedda languages? They are the two Native languages. Apart from those two Native languages there are several other languages spoken in Sinhale e.g Malay, Tamil, Arabic, English but those languages were brought to Sinhale by immigrants.

      • 1
        0

        EE,
Sinhale ?
–
Where is it existing ?
–
In your DYING little head ? Your genetic disease would not help you opening your mind, in this life, even if your last neuron would not die….. that is what we CT readers are forced to think, whenever it comes from your little head.
–
No matter what it is , SINHALA, TAMI AND, ENGLISH should be taught to all SRILANKENs equally. if not start now, when would it be ?
        I dont know about others, if I knew TAMIL from the begining own, like some africans with multi lingual talents, It would have been a plus to me for sure. If I knew HINDI, I would have understood the meaning of “beautiful hindi songs – that go viral ACROSS hindians”:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9JmSWtpdbk8
–
Tamil srilankens are not a tiny minority, but I think 4 mio. …. look at how the SWISS do it …. those who dominate francophone provinces in that small country with 7 millions, children are taught french, English and german… the very same is the case where anglophone provinces…. that has not shown bad effect in their daily life- in fact that has become a great advantage. German as a grand nation envy whenver they notice the swiss speak several languages.

    • 0
      0

      Dear Pandi Kutti,
      .
      You’re dead right. Why must Eagle Eye try to send us also off at a tangent?
      .
      When we speak of a system of education on which the State spends money, we can’t have education in ten media, just because somebody discovers that some speakers of (let’s say) Malay still exist in Lanka. Encourage it, but don’t fund it from our limited resources.
      .
      Sinhalese and Tamil are our two local languages, and unless we want to cause further strife, those two languages ought to be given something close to equal status – although Sinhalese appears to have got ahead.
      .
      We need a foreign language; in many African countries it is French; in America, Mexico southwards, it is Spanish (and closely related Portuguese in Brazil).
      .
      We are fortunate that, owing to historical reasons, for us it is English. Rather unfortunately, English seems to me crazily organised. That may be because I know it well, and have been teaching it.
      .
      For the future, keep an open mind for Chinese, but I can’t really see it displacing English.

  • 6
    2

    Yes history needs to be taught correctly in sri lanka.
    That the sinhalese are descendants of tamils. For the most part the same race of people.
    Instead of brainwashing them that they descended from beastiality (between a lion and human woman) and that they are a ‘separate’ and ‘superior aryan race’ from tamils.
    This will play a huge role in ending communal problems on the island.

    • 1
      2

      Humble,
      “That the sinhalese are descendants of tamils. For the most part the same race of people.”
      —-
      If Sinhalayo are descendants of Tamils they should speak Tamil instead of a unique language called ‘Sinhala’ invented by people who evolved in this country. Sinhala is classified as an ‘Aryan’ language and not as a ‘Dravidian’ language. Dravidians (Tamils) came to Sinhale from Hindustan and settled down after 12th century. Dravidians who came as invaders before 12th Century were chased away. Sinhalayo have lived in this island for thousands of years.

      • 4
        1

        Eagle,
        “Sinhala is classified as an ‘Aryan’ language and not as a ‘Dravidian’ language.”
        How come the Sinhala alphabet is so similar to Tamil?
        Oh, and the only reason Sinhala is considered “Aryan” is that half the words are Portuguese.

        • 2
          0

          OC
          Don’t be too hard.
          The classification of Sinhala as Indo-Aryan is generally agreed among linguists.
          *
          Like any other language, Sinhala had external influences.
          Writing came to the Indian sub-continent probably with the Phoenicians. Sanskrit (with its oral tradition) was written much after Tamil and even Prakrits.
          The source language of Sinhala is a Prakrit. But Sinhala borrowed heavily from Pali and Sanskrit through Buddhism. Tamil being the sole neighbour had a huge impact.
          The first text on Sinhala grammar was modelled after a medieval Tamil work of grammar, like Tamil grammar being modelled after Panini’s work.
          There is no shame in borrowing, as long as it is done intelligently and profitably.
          The current Tamil, Malayalam and Sinhala scripts derived from the Grantha script developed to write Sanskrit words in Tamil around 7th or 8th Century.
          Early Lankan inscriptions were in some form of Brahmi.
          Pali dominated scholarship and later Sanskrit, hindering the progress of Sinhala.
          *
          The Sinhalese have been far more pragmatic than Tamils in developing the language in the past century or two.
          If not for bigots on all sides, the two languages would have complemented each other in their development in the past 3/4 century

          • 0
            0

            S.J,
            I am not against borrowing, just object to borrowers who don’t know what they’ve borrowed. I think Sinhala would have been much better if it had continued with adapted European words . In practice, in technical fields, English terms are used, not invented Sanskrit ones.

            • 0
              0

              OC
              I thought that you were a little too harsh on linguistic superstitions.
              The bulk of the comment is not directed at you, but to clarify matters, and applies to all manner of claimants of purity and seniority of languages.
              *
              Our love of our respective languages seems in proportion to our hatred towards of our closest linguistic relatives.

              • 0
                0

                S.J,
                “Our love of our respective languages seems in proportion to our hatred towards of our closest linguistic relatives”
                A perverted kind of love?

                • 0
                  0

                  OC
                  Agree.

          • 0
            0

            “like Tamil grammar being modelled after Panini’s work.”

            I believe you are wrong in this.

            Though I am not a linguist, I have now come across many linguists who agree that Sanskrit grammar had borrowed from Tamil, and then adopted it into the Sanskrit.

            The argument is Tamil can be theoretically purified (because Tamil mostly borrowed words than grammatical structure) though neigh pulling tooth and nail that is not worth it , where as Sanskrit cannot be.

            Please point out evidence to the contrary.

      • 3
        1

        Eagle eye
        If Sinhalayo are descendants of Tamils they should speak Tamil
        ————–
        According to the BUDDHIST dalit leader Dr BR Ambedkar, tamil was the original language of the entire indian subcontinent, but its speakers across much of the region gradually created other languages and branched off.

      • 3
        0

        Eagle Blind Eye

        I wonder why you remind me of blockhead.

        • 3
          1

          Dear Native,
          .
          You may have heard of the Tourette’s syndrome/patients.

          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U8xEin-APAo
          .
          Those patients cant help their behaviours at all, thus seen as beyond cure. Using ” filthy terms” and uncontrolleble ticks, so that they become helpless, all seem to us as not normal – but if you would study them only, u can get ot know why they act like that.. WHenver, I read the barks coming from lone wolf – EAGLE EE, I remind the kind of patients.
          Sadly, some of our sinhalayas, being intoxicated by ” the RACIST stories fed to them by their elders AND yellow jokers in their adolesence”, make them behave no different to the kind of patients. Not just octagenarians of EE, but young generations too, line up to support any racial movements today.. Harvest were reaped by POHOTTUWA yet today.

          Lord buddha repeatedly asked, the kind hate-spreaders be forgiven. So, this man EE would never learn it.

        • 1
          2

          This is a must see.

          “Tourette’s case”, never heard of it, but I know that this is perfectly possible.
          .

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tourette_syndrome
          .
          Many thanks, “leelagemali” aka LM. This is a video which all must see. It makes one realise just how much we are at thee mercy of chemical changes within us.
          .
          The fact that this young woman is alive at all
          , says a great deal for the society that she lives in. Not many societies would tolerate this. I wonder what the Taliban is Afghanistan would do to her.
          .
          What would happen to her in Lanka? I don’t think that she would be allowed to live in most societies. The State or the Rulers would never reveal that they would “destroy” her, but we have to face it, her ending would be swift, with “interesting” public explanations
          .
          When faced with the normal Bianca who is so happy and innocent, it makes one realise how inadequate any response of ours is going to be.
          .
          Even though we are unlikely to come across anything as extreme, all readers must spend 16 minutes with that video; it teaches us such a lot.

          • 3
            0

            Dear SM,
            .
            thanks, Tourette’s is not uncommmon. Only sensitive world would be able to tolerate such diseases.
            Please check it below. I have met 2- 3 patients in Europe (Germany and Switzerland). So, the kind of genetic diseases are the reality. Just Kaliamma dominated srilankens would not believe it, because the society is made to believe ” only what SBs and biased media ” got to say. They could propagate myths, so that the power hungry political crooks could live up their symbiosis.
            .
            What percentage of the population has Tourette’s syndrome?
            Image result for tourette syndrome frequency
            One estimate says that about 0.6% of children, or 1 in every 162 kids, has Tourette’s. A study conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that 1 in 360 kids, or about 0.3% of children, had a diagnosis of Tourette’s, meaning that only about half of children with Tourette’s are diagnosed.20 Apr 2021

  • 7
    1

    Champa ,since we are talking scholarship let us be objective and factual.

    700 BC, was there a Anuradapura ? This was even before the Buddha.If this so called writing referred to a Ravana , who presumably predates the writing, what was the source for that writing ?

    3rd Century BC Rome was not what it later became. ( 300 years before Christ) Why did Arachi travel so far , how did he go ? what did he want, ? what did he know ? what language did he speak? On his return did he write about Rome ?

    it is most unlikely that Romans of 3 Century BC knew of this little island at that time. They were only establishing their empire in the Mediterranean then . To go to Rome from here would mean crossing the lands of several enemies of Rome.I think Arachi was an office that developed much later, perhaps with European invaders

    I am not sure about Pliny , whether he was a serious historian or a heavy wine drinker. If he got the name wrong, would he have not got his info wrong too ?

    • 3
      2

      DS,
      It might interest you that Pliny also mentioned that the natives lived for 140 years, and others had only one large foot which they used as an umbrella on rainy days. Only Champa has a more creative imagination.

  • 4
    4

    I don’t know much about the history of Sri Lanka because it was not available for ordinary people in all three languages. it is true that the history only highlighted the rulers of the island but not about people and their culture in all parts of this island. Even today, It is a confused country even we couldn’t find a proper name for this country and why and who changed the names in different periods.

  • 4
    2

    When you have men like sanath jayasuriya, mahesh senanayake, keheliya rambukwella etc
    walking around thinking they are ‘aryans’ you know the islands education system is a joke.

  • 1
    2

    “Indeed, much scholarship on social science since the 1980s and 1990s has been in Sinhala or Tamil. Logically, such a state of affairs calls not for more English language programmes, but rather for more translations of European and American texts in areas such as anthropology. Doing so would democratise scholarship and research in these domains considerably, in a country where the majority have not yet mastered the language of the colonial oppressor.” While the writer has correctly identified the problem at hand, the suggested solution is not going to get Sri Lankans out of the ‘academic dependency’ that has been the result of teaching and translating Eurocentric social sciences (and to some extent humanities) for more than a century. In history, we have been taught to disconnect from our local context and focus on the geneology of rulers etc. In social sciences we have been taught a set of theories,concepts,methods originated in Europe initially and then America-not learn indigenous/local scholarly traditions(Read Four Sinhjala Intellectuals by Wimal Dissanayake). Rather than perpetuate the inherited Eurocentric and Ameri-centric knowledge in various subject in limited English and local languages by way of ranslations, why dont our academics start to dig deeper into the local/indigenous scholarship from the country and region? Tonight’s Zoom seminar by me and Prof. Syed Farid Alatas(national University of Singapore)is about this topic:

    https://us02web.zoom.us/j/89436376344?pwd=WmtGSTZWbzJUYWZtTXlwNW04dXI0Zz09

    Zoom ID 89436376344

    P.W 723262

    Dialogues on Epistemic Justice: Early Writings of Syed Farid Alatas 11th September 2001 12.00 UTC, 18.00 Singapore, 22.00AEST. 5.30pm Sri Lanka/India

    • 1
      0

      I clicked on that just now (4 am on Saturday, the 11th). That Zoom meeting is 13.5 hours from now.

Leave A Comment

Comments should not exceed 200 words. Embedding external links and writing in capital letters are discouraged. Commenting is automatically disabled after 7 days and approval may take up to 24 hours. Please read our Comments Policy for further details. Your email address will not be published.