Nalin de Silva

“The middle-class of this country, a majority of them, appear to follow Jathika Chintanaya. But it’s very clear that they don’t know what Jathika Chintanaya means. Nor do they seem interested in knowing what it is. Gunadasa Amarasekara talks about Jathika Chintanaya. I talk about Chintanaye Jathikathwaya. Those not hailing from the middle-class know what Chintanaye Jathikathwaya is. But they don’t yet know how to articulate it.”

— Nalin de Silva, “Jathika Chintanaya and Chintanaye Jathikathwaya

I

Somewhere between adolescence and adulthood, I read Nalin de Silva. At the time it was hard for anyone to miss him, especially readers…


“The Identity of France, Volume I: History and Environment”, Fernand Braudel, translated by Siân Reynolds. HarperPerennial, 432 pp., 1993.

What does the concept, the idea, of home really mean to the intellectual? I don’t mean only the intellectual in the sense of a detached theorist, cut off from the world around and beyond him: I mean also the determined scientist, the romantic novelist, the fevered painter, the fervent historian. Do they care where they live, where they evolve?

Since at least Odysseus, home has rarely been where the heart is. The Greek hero leaves everyone dear to him in pursuit…


The year so far has not boded well for the government. Coming on top of the sugar scandal and the Geneva debacle, not to mention escalating food prices, it now faces the prospect of a third coronavirus wave, depending on how well people adhered to health guidelines during Avurudu.

If press photographs from Pettah, Nugegoda, and Maharagama are anything to go by, it’s clear not a few of those guidelines have been transgressed: regrettable, given how case numbers were coming down in recent weeks. The government can’t be blamed for such transgressions, to be sure, yet for me they are…


The most populated and densely populated region in Asia, South Asia is a sprawling mass of land and sea. It covers around five million square kilometres, or 3.5 percent of the world’s land surface, and houses around a quarter of humanity. Within its frontiers, eight countries shelter a dazzling potpourri of ethnicities, faiths, dialects, cultural and behavioural patterns, alternating between conflict and coexistence.

Nations thrive on borders, and borders define their state of being, as they do in much of Europe and the Americas. In South Asia, however, communities define themselves beyond borders. Very few ethnic groups are unable to…


A little over a year ago, Devani Jayathilaka, the Gampaha Division Wildlife Officer now on a crusade against the government, stood up to a State Minister and got away with it. Objecting to Sanath Nishantha’s proposal to build a playground on government forest land, she stood her ground even as the Minister and his acolytes attempted to intimidate her.

Videos of Devani retorting to Nishantha and those acolytes gained supporters across social media. Public opinion being very much with her, the government quickly began feting her: Bandula Gunawardena said that the Cabinet took her side, and S. M. …


Speaking at the launch of the 43 Senankaya a month or so ago, Champika Ranawaka bemoaned the way voters, particularly young voters, view politicians. “We saw this when MPs began contracting the virus,” he observed. “The first reaction on social media was: when will the virus invade parliament and help us get rid of those in parliament?”

This, Ranawaka pointed out, had a lot to do with how politicians have congealed into a distinct class of their own, insulated from the public and hardly receptive to it. He went on to observe, however, that inasmuch as family bandyism — the…


Courtesy: twitter.com/gotabayar

A lot can happen in April. This April hasn’t been good for the government: coming in weeks after its Geneva defeat, it now faces a major issue with the pandemic, with India reportedly suspending exports of AstraZeneca. The dilemma, as it stands, reminds us of the dangers of relying on one vaccine, and on one source of procuring the vaccine.

April hasn’t been good for the economy either. This is import season. Workers’ remittances are down. Tourism may be on its way up, but it is hardly enough. Trade will in all likelihood be greater than this time last year…


Situated at Stanley Wijesundera Mawatha, the Planetarium continues to captivate every child in the country, yet unless you strain your eyes, you can easily miss it. It’s one of those places you go to through appointment, and emerge from wishing you could go back in again.

I must have been in Grade Five when I visited it on a class trip somewhere in 2004. So was Supun Jayasinghe, when he went there with the rest of his class seven years later. The only exception, apart from the year of the visit, was where he came from: a hundred miles away…


On the other side of the road from where I lived stood a temple and two stupas. Some historians conjecture the latter to have been the mausoleums of Parakramabahu VI and his queen Ranmenika, while others dispute it. Whatever they were, my bedroom window offered a view of these edifices, and of a cashew tree overlooking both. Beyond them lay a long stretch of marshland, which led ponderously to the road to parliament.

This was Beddagana, Kotte, somewhere in the early 2000s.

One of my earliest memories, from then and there, has me wake up in the morning and look…


Courtesy: hvholistichealth.com

The recent scandals involving sugar and coconut oil should point the country to the dangers of private rent-seekers. This is especially so because they are not your typical supermarket groceries: these are fast-moving goods, consumed by every class, and from every income level.

In the hands of racketeers and rent-seekers, ensuring the most rudimentary health and safety checks for such necessities seems to have taken a backseat to profiteering off them. While it is unfair to take the government to task over such failings, it is the government which has the final discretion in rectifying those failings. …

Uditha Devapriya

Sri Lankan. History fanatic. Movie addict. Book lover.

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