Peter Bogdanovich, 1939-2022

Several years ago, I thought of profiling the country’s actors, directors, scriptwriters, and cinematographers, not to mention playwrights and composers. It would have been a difficult project, and I have no doubt that it would have cost a lot. But in those idealistic days – I was not yet 21 – I felt I had… Continue reading Peter Bogdanovich, 1939-2022


Revisiting Charles Mills’s “The Racial Contract”

Charles Mills passed away last week. A prolific writer on African-American and Marxist philosophy, Mills was the author of six books, including the only one of his I read cover to cover, The Racial Contract. Though he never joined the academic mainstream like most of his colleagues and contemporaries, he was never outside it either.… Continue reading Revisiting Charles Mills’s “The Racial Contract”

An alternative to the alternative

Advocata Institute’s “A Framework for Economic Recovery” is both comprehensive and succinct. A response to the spiralling crisis in Sri Lanka, its publication has been well timed. Striking a realistic and pragmatist note, it foretells the worst for the country, unless certain urgent reforms are implemented. What it admits at the beginning is that the… Continue reading An alternative to the alternative

Sri Lanka, the UN, and the world

The 48th session of the UN Human Rights Council commenced this Monday. As usual, Sri Lanka is to figure in the proceedings. Issuing a critique of the government, Human Rights Watch has urged the UNHRC to maintain its scrutiny of the country’s human rights situation, with HRW’s South Asia Director Meenakshi Ganguly lamenting how Gotabaya… Continue reading Sri Lanka, the UN, and the world

A political history of post-1977 Sri Lanka

A crucial difference between Bonapartism and fascism is that the one responds to the public and the other regiments it. Bonapartism can deteriorate into fascism, and it not infrequently does, yet its populist-pluralist character deters it from doing so, unless its co-option by a rightwing fringe group makes such a transformation inevitable. There were three… Continue reading A political history of post-1977 Sri Lanka

From ritual to performance: The sociology of Kohomba Kankariya

Kohomba Kankariya: The Sociology of a Kandyan Ritual, by Sarath Amunugama Vijitha Yapa, 2021, 204 pages, Rs. 2,000 One of the oldest rituals in Sinhala culture, the Kohomba Kankariya is also the biggest. It is certainly the most expensive, requiring tremendous reserves of energy, effort, enthusiasm, and initiative. Bringing together a galaxy of deities and… Continue reading From ritual to performance: The sociology of Kohomba Kankariya