“Why South Asia’s majorities act like persecuted minorities” by The Economist

When it is pointed out that Sri Lanka has, in fact, never experienced an act of violence attributable to Islamists, and that at this rate of conversion it will take the island’s Muslims about 10,000 years to convert the rest of its 21m inhabitants, Mr Gnanasara simply shrugs. His hoard of evidence does not really need to add up. In Sri Lanka, as across most of South Asia, surprisingly large numbers of people among groups that enjoy overwhelming numerical superiority seem eager to convince themselves that their identity is somehow in mortal danger.


“Cooperative System to Rejuvanate Northern Economy” by Azhar Razak

According to plans mooted by the Finance Ministry, the government intends to support community-based co-operative sector by investing in fifty small industries run by over 1,900 regional co-operative movements, in a major bid to spur sustainable and inclusive reconstruction, while generating employment for over 2,500 people.

via: http://www.sundayobserver.lk/2018/04/08/cooperative-system-rejuvenate-northern-economy

“Stories of Resilience: that aims to document and share stories of strength, courage and resilience of Tamil communities before, during and after the armed conflict” by  Adayaalam Centre for Policy Research (ACPR)

‘Stories of Resilience’ is a project by the Adayaalam Centre for Policy Research (ACPR) that aims to document and share stories of strength, courage and resilience of Tamil communities before, during and after the armed conflict. ACPR intends to preserve these stories for current and future generations of Tamils in Sri Lanka and the Diaspora as part of a broader conversation about Mullivaikkaal
This project aims to contribute to efforts around the world to document and share stories of Tamil survival, by documenting stories of those who still live in Sri Lanka and continue to persevere.

This project currently features two series’ of stories:
  • “Stories of Mullivaikkaal”: This series presents alternative narratives from survivors of Mullivaikkaal which does not narrow their lived experiences to helpless victimhood but rather promotes and accepts their agency. We hope that this series will raise awareness about the struggle and resilience of the survivors of the last phase of the war and broaden the conversation about assisting those who suffered mass atrocities during the end of the war.
  • Stories of Vaharai“: This series presents a variety of narratives from Tamil individuals who have survived the war in and around the Vaharai region in the East. We hope that this series draws attention to the often overlooked ongoing plight faced by Tamil communities in the East, and the significant trauma they have experienced.
If you would like to be notified when new content is added to the website,
you can directly on ‘Stories of Resilience”s website.

Nine stories are alrealdy available there.

Source: http://storiesofresilience.com/

“Caste in the United States: A Survey of Caste among South Asian Americans” by Equality Lab

“This report came out of a community driven survey conducted in 2016 and has now emerged as a crucial document that both presents the first evidence of Caste discrimination in the US and helps to map the internal hegemonies within our communities. It also provides insight into how the South Asian community balances the experiences of living under white supremacy while replicating Caste, anti-Dalitness, and anti-Blackness.

As the South Asian American community, we are uniquely situated to redeem the errors of history as well as set the tone for a progressive conversation around Caste, both here and in countries of origin.”

via: https://www.equalitylabs.org/caste-survey-2018

To download directly the report: https://nofile.io/f/OXRXwaHU0dG/Caste+Survey+2018+Full.pdf

“Survey: employers’ perspectives on domestic workers” by The International Centre for Ethnic Studies

The International Centre for Ethnic Studies (ICES) is conducting some studies on domestic workers in Sri Lanka. This work seeks to advance knowledge on the employment relations and working conditions.
A domestic worker is someone employed by a household to do tasks such as the following: driving, cleaning, cooking, gardening, guarding the house, laundry, childcare, care for the aged or sickly, taking care of pets. They may live with you or in their own home and they may work with you full-time, part-time or only come to your household when needed.
If your household is currently employing the services of a domestic worker, please take part in this survey on “Employers’ perspectives on domestic work“. The survey isanonymous and will take 10-15 minutes to complete.
Take the Survey:
ජනවාර්ගික අධ්‍යයනය පිළිබඳ අන්තර්ජාතික කේන්ද්‍රය (ICES) විසින් ශ්‍රී ලංකාවේ ගෘහස්ත ශ්‍රමිකයින් පිළිබඳව අධ්‍යයනයන් පවත්වනු ලැබේ. මෙම අධ්‍යයනය මඟින් බලාපොරොත්තු වන්නේ සේවා සම්බන්ධතා සහ වැඩ තත්ත්වයන් පිලිබඳ දැනුම වර්ධනය කර ගැනීමයි.
ගෘහස්ත ශ්‍රමිකයකු යනු පහත සඳහන් ආකාරයේ කටයුතු සඳහා නිවසක් තුළ සේවයේ යොදවා ගන්නා තැනැත්තෙකි: එනම්, රිය පැදවීම, පිරිසිදු කිරීම, ආහාර පිසීම, උද්‍යාන අලංකරණය, නිවස බලා ගැනීම, රෙදි සේදීම, ළමයින් බලා ගැනීම, වැඩිහිටියන් හෝ රෝගීන් බලා ගැනීම, සුරතල් සතුන් බලා ගැනීම වැනි දේ ය.  ඔවුන් ඔබ සමඟ හෝ ඔවුන්ගේම නවාතැනක ජීවත් වන අතර, පූර්ණ කාලීනව, අර්ධ කාලීනව හෝ අවශ්‍ය වූ විටක පමණක් පැමිණ සේවය කරනු ලැබිය හැකිය.
මෙබඳු ආකාරයේ ගෘහස්ත ශ්‍රමිකයකු දැනට ඔබේ නිවස තුළ සේවයේ යොදවා ගනු ලැබේ නම්, “ගෘහස්ත ශ්‍රමිකයින් පිළිබඳ සේවාදායකයින්ගේ අදහස්” නමැති මෙම සමීක්ෂණය සඳහා සම්බන්ධ විය හැකිය. මෙම සමීක්ෂණය තුළ ඔබගේ අනන්‍යතාව හෙළි නොවන අතර,  සම්පූර්ණ කිරීම සඳහා දළ වශයෙන් මිනිත්තු 10-15ක් ගත වනු ඇත.

இனத்துவக் கற்கைகளுக்கான சர்வதேச நிலையம் (ICES)இலங்கையிலுள்ள வீட்டுப்பணியாளர்கள் தொடர்பான ஆய்வொன்றில் ஈடுபட்டுள்ளது. இந்த ஆய்வு வீட்டுப்பணியாளர்கள் – முதலாளிகள் இடையேயான உறவுநிலை மற்றும் பணி நிலைமைகள் தொடர்பான அறிவை மேம்படுத்திக்கொள்ள முனைகின்றது.

ஒரு வீட்டுப்பணியாளர் என்பவர் வீட்டில் வசிப்பவர்களினால் பின்வரும் பணிகள் உட்பட்ட வீட்டு வேலைகளை செய்வதற்காக பணிக்கு அமர்த்தப்பட்டவர் ஆவார்: வாகனம் ஓட்டுதல், துப்பரவு செய்தல், சமையல், தோட்டப்பராமரிப்பு, வீட்டை பாதுகாத்தல், சலவை செய்தல், குழந்தைப்பராமரிப்பு, வயதானவர்களை / நோயுற்றவர்களை பராமரித்தல்,செல்லப்பிராணிகளை பராமரித்தல். அவர்கள் உங்களுடன் வசிப்பவர்களாக அல்லது அவர்களது சொந்த வீட்டில் வசிப்பவர்களாக இருக்கலாம். மேலும் அவர்கள் முழு நேரம் அல்லது பகுதி நேரம் அல்லது வேலை தேவைப்படும்போது மட்டும் வேலைசெய்பவர்களாக இருக்கலாம்.

நீங்கள் தற்போது வீட்டுப்பணியாளர் ஒருவரை வேலைக்கு அமர்த்தியிருப்பவராக இருப்பின் தயவுசெய்து வீட்டுப்பணியாளர்கள் பற்றிய முதலாளிகளின் பார்வைஎன்ற இந்தக் கருத்துக்கணிப்பில் பங்கெடுக்கவும். அநாமதேயமான இந்தக் கருத்துக்கணிப்பை பூர்த்திசெய்ய 10 – 15 நிமிடங்கள் வரை எடுக்கும்.

கருத்துக்கணிப்பில் பங்கெடுக்க:




“150 Years Later: the story of tea” by The Centre for Policy Alternatives (CPA)

In 2017, we celebrate 150 years of tea production in Sri Lanka. To mark this anniversary, several events and activities have been planned throughout the year in Sri Lanka and internationally, including a Global Tea Party, International Tea Convention and a charity auction organised by a variety of stakeholders such as the Ceylon Tea Traders Association, Sri Lanka Tea Board, Tourist Board and tea companies.

While there is much reported in the media around these events, the anniversary celebrations and the future of Ceylon tea, there is little to no mention whatsoever of the tea plantation workers without whose contribution the industry would not exist.

There has been a lot of research and advocacy for decades on the rights of tea plantation workers, life conditions, wages and hardships faced by the workers and their families. In comparison to other parts of Sri Lanka, poverty, nutrition, maternal and children’s health statistics of plantation communities are poorer and further exacerbated by issues related to inadequate housing, alcoholism, gender based violence and unemployment especially among youth. Opinion polls conducted by the Centre for Policy Alternatives show that the community is badly impacted by the economy, have made serious cut backs in the household expenditure and feel little sense of empowerment as citizens of the country.

GroundviewsVikalpa and Maatram have previously created new media stories, in all three languages across their respective platforms, that highlight the hardships faced by the tea plantation workers.

With the objective of creating more visibility and awareness and to ensure that key narratives do not remain invisible during this significant anniversary, CPA’s civic media output over four weeks will be anchored to key issues facing the tea plantation workers to coincide with the 150-year anniversary celebrations in order to take advantage of the momentum gathered by the celebrations. As Sri Lanka strategises the future of the tea industry, it is critical that the official discussions and reflections seriously consider issues faced by the workers who sustain the industry. The output will focus on the change (or lack thereof) in the lives of the workers 150 years since the start the industry, including a plethora of issues faced by them and their families, challenges for the future, areas for reform and strengthening rights. Content will be in all three languages, through short-form video, photography, long-form journalism and other interactive media.

Download this statement here.

source: The Centre for Policy Alternatives (CPA)

New articles on religiosity among Tamil Hindu youths in Norway by Valen Kleive

Hildegunn Valen Kleive has recently published two articles (one in English and another in Norwegian) looking at religiosity among young Tamil Hindus in rural Norway.

The first (in English), ‘Belonging and Discomfort: Young Hindu Religiosity in Rural Norway’ is published in the Nordic Journal of Religion and Society and may be accessed here.

The second ‘Mestring og balanse. Trekk ved ung hindureligiøsitet’ is published in Prismet and may be accessed here. An English translation will follow at a later date.

Film Screening of “DEMONS IN PARADISE” at ICES Auditorium, on 8th August 2017, at 4.30PM


Sri Lanka, 1983: Jude Ratnam was five years old. He fled the massacre of the Tamils instigated by the majority-Sinhalese government on a red train.
Now a filmmaker, he takes the same train from the south to the north of the island.

As he advances, the traces of violence left by the 26-year-old war, which turned the Tamil’s fight for freedom into self-destructive terrorism, pass before his eyes.
Reminiscing about the fighters and Tamil Tigers, he unveils the repressed memories of his compatriots, opening the door to a new era and making peace possible again.

Demons in Paradise is the result of 10 years of work. For the first time, a Tamil documentary filmmaker living in Sri Lanka is showing the civil war from the inside.

“Navaly Church bombing remembered 22 years on” by Tamil Guardian

“On 9th July 1995, the Sri Lankan Air Force bombed the St Peter’s Church in Navaly and the nearby Sri Kathirgama Murugan Kovil, which were both sheltering displaced Tamils from army bombardment.

A total of 13 bombs were dropped on the sheltering shrines, killing 147 on the spot with many more succumbing to injuries later.”

to read more: http://tamilguardian.com/content/navaly-church-bombing-remembered-22-years

“India offers help to Sri Lanka’s Northern province” Meera Srinivasan (The Hindu)

India has expressed willingness to further partner Sri Lanka’s Northern Provincial administration in development initiatives, emphasising the need for a clear economic programme identifying specific areas.

to read more : http://www.thehindu.com/news/international/india-offers-help-sri-lankas-northern-province/article19189330.ece

“No more bottom trawling in Sri Lanka waters from Thursday” by Steve Creech The Sunday Times)

“On Thursday, Fisheries and Aquatic Resources Minister Mahinda Amaraweera will set a global precedent by proscribing one of the world’s most destructive forms of fishing — bottom trawling — in Sri Lankan waters.

In doing so, the minister will be reiterating the Government’s commitment to sustainable exploitation of the country’s vital fishery resources. Fish contributes around 65 percent of the protein intake for Sri Lanka’s 20 million people.

The prohibition is also intended to buttress northern fishermen’s repeated demands for an immediate end to illegal, unreported, unregulated (IUU) fishing by Tamil Nadu trawlers in Sri Lanka waters. As many as 1,500 Tamil Nadu trawlers have been reported fishing illegally in Sri Lanka waters, using bottom trawls.”

read more: http://www.sundaytimes.lk/170702/news/no-more-bottom-trawling-in-sri-lanka-waters-from-thursday-248236.html

“Something is rotten in Sri Lanka” by Meera Srinivasan (The Hindu)

For a long time, Sri Lanka was a leader in the region in two key areas – public health and civic conservancy. But over the last year, the country is facing a major challenge in both, the most visible manifestation being the recent dengue epidemic that has claimed over 200 lives.

to read more : http://www.thehindu.com/news/international/sri-lankas-public-health-crisis/article19194197.ece

“Disinformation in Sri Lanka: An Overview” by Groundviews

Editor’s Note: This discussion note was prepared in the run up to the Digital Disinformation Forum, held on June 26 and 27. Excerpts of this were used in a moderated discussion on the media’s efforts to build resilience to disinformation. 

Fake news became a buzzword around the 2016 US Presidential election campaign. However, it’s something we have been grappling with in Sri Lanka for years. Fake news, is news created with the intent to deceive. However, the term has also been distorted over the years. Not only has it been used by people to dismiss news they don’t like, but it has also become confused with reporting that requires correction, as the Washington Post pointed out. In fact, saying something is ‘fake news’ doesn’t necessarily make it so – Trump himself often accuses entire publication houses as being fake.

To understand how and why fake news has been such a persistent problem in Sri Lanka, it’s necessary to understand a little about the political context. Sri Lanka is still recovering from nearly three decades of civil war that, among other issues along lines of language, land, ethnic politics, education and employment, has sowed deep and enduring divisions between the majority Sinhalese and the minority Tamil communities.

For decades, politicians have deliberately pandered to the Sinhala majority community and their needs in order to gain political mileage- from as back as 1956, when Prime Minister S W R D Bandaranaike passed the Sinhala Only Act, which made Sinhalese the official language of administrative service. In the run up to elections, politicians, news outlets and social media have all put out information designed deliberately to mislead.

Read the article in full here.

Source: Groundviews

“Respectable Gentlemen and Street-Savvy Men: HIV Vulnerability in Sri Lanka” by Sandya Hewamanne in Medical Anthropology

We are glad to provide a link for e prints for Sandya Hewamanne’s new article in Medical Anthropology on HIV vulnerability and migrant workers in Sri Lanka.
In this article, the author investigates how particular discourses surrounding class specific understandings of sexual behavior and female morality shape awareness and views of the disease and personal vulnerability. Although both groups belong to the working class, those employed by the transportation board consider themselves government servants and, therefore, “respectable gentlemen.” Construction workers identify easily with their class position, recognizing and sometimes trying to live up to the stereotypes of free sexuality. These different perceptions directly affect their concern and awareness of risk factors for sexually transmissible infections and safe-sex practices. While the “respectable gentlemen” consider themselves invulnerable, the “street-savvy men” learned about risks and took precautions to prevent STIs.

Author information

Sandya Hewamanne

Sandya Hewamanne is the author of Stitching Identities in a Free Trade Zone: Gender and Politics in Sri Lanka (2008) and Sri Lanka’s Global Factory Workers: (Un) Disciplined Desires and Sexual Struggles in a Post-colonial Society (2016). She teaches anthropology at the University of Essex, United Kingdom.