The uncommon problem

Views - 7205 Thursday, 5 June 2014 00:27

“You don’t want to run the risk of sclerosis in a democratic society. You want to keep the blood running. You don’t want to get the idea that any dependent on any one person. You look at a lot of these dictators that have been depo

Honeymoon with Modi?

Views - 3081 Thursday, 29 May 2014 00:00

President Mahinda Rajapaksa may have metaphorically leapt into new Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s arms this week, but in the beginning there was Sonia Gandhi and Manmohan Singh. The Congress Party won Parliamentary elections in 2004, return

Vae victis

Views - 2954 Thursday, 22 May 2014 00:09

The double-edged sword  that is ‘Victory Day’     Beside the aquamarine seas of Keerimalai, at the island’s northernmost tip stands a Hindu holy of holies. One of five Sivan kovils in Sri Lanka, the unique convergence

“Counter diaspora influence with strong domestic process”: EU Ambassador

Views - 3079 Thursday, 8 May 2014 00:00

Head of the European Union Delegation to Sri Lanka, Ambassador David Daly, speaks to the Daily FT about the bloc’s motivations to rigorously pursue accountability, the promotion of human rights and reconciliation in Sri Lanka, underscoring the need

Mob rule and the ‘Hambantota Doctrine’

Views - 5017 Thursday, 24 April 2014 00:14

Marauding saffron armies and increasingly unruly pro-Government mobs are casting long shadows on Sri Lanka’s future Hambantota is Rajapaksa country. The rest of Sri Lanka may be in the vice grip of a raging personality cult, but the southern

Jinxing the game

Views - 3423 Thursday, 10 April 2014 00:48

“Our cricket embodied everything in our lives, our laughter and tears, our hospitality our generosity, our music, our food and drink. It was normality and hope and inspiration in a war-ravaged island. In it was our culture and heritage, enriched by

A chink in the armour!

Views - 3899 Thursday, 3 April 2014 00:12

The Government of President Mahinda Rajapaksa is having a spectacularly bad week. Technically, with the two assemblies lapsing in late April, March 29 elections for the Western and Southern Provincial Councils took place on schedule. But the polls w

Geneva 2014: First whispers of an impending storm

Views - 3734 Thursday, 27 March 2014 01:11

  Since 2004, President Mahinda Rajapaksa has been on a remarkable winning streak. In April that year he wrested the Premiership from former Foreign Minister and Chandrika Kumaratunga confidant, Lakshman Kadirgamar, after the newly-const

The inglorious self-goal

Views - 2992 Thursday, 20 March 2014 00:26

So perfectly orchestrated and precisely timed, the detention of human rights campaigners in Sri Lanka over the past week almost looks like internal sabotage to ruin the country’s faltering chances at the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva

The two Sri Lankas

Views - 8416 Thursday, 13 March 2014 00:00

Strongly opposing views north and south of the island about human rights, the US draft resolution and the prospect of international intervention tells a damning story about how deep ethnic and ideological divisions run in Sri Lanka five years afte

A crisis of expectations

Views - 2484 Thursday, 6 March 2014 00:00

Months of anticipation for human rights campaigners, the Tamil Diaspora communities and the country’s main Tamil party ended in an anti-climax when despite international pledges and dire warnings, the US draft resolution at the Human Rights Council

A litany of broken promises!

Views - 2804 Thursday, 27 February 2014 00:51

When history is being written one day about this particular chapter of Sri Lanka’s chequered dealings with the international community, historians will discover that the road to Geneva and beyond was littered with promises made and broken by the

Elections and the Geneva advantage

Views - 2324 Thursday, 20 February 2014 00:01

As long suspected, allegiances are shifting far right in the upper echelons of the ruling administration. As the country gears up for battle in two key provinces and a frantic effort to rescue a deteriorating situation overseas, Geneva offers the

The Road from Geneva

Views - 2645 Thursday, 6 February 2014 00:00

As preoccupied as the Government is with UNHRC Sessions in March, staving off an international war crimes inquiry may prove the least of its troubles. Having alienated its most crucial ally across the straits and with inaction by Colombo forcing 

A pauper’s choice

Views - 7544 Thursday, 30 January 2014 00:00

“Today, only money talks. Intelligent people no longer come forward to contest elections. Women don’t contest. It’s only rich thugs who enter the fray” - Senior Minister D.E.W. Gunesekera, 31 August 2013. On 31 August 2013, with less than a

Freedom Party blues

Views - 5629 Thursday, 23 January 2014 00:17

For years reams have been written about the crisis within the main opposition United National Party. Long winters in Opposition make parties prone to internal rifts and leadership battles. The Sri Lanka Freedom Party, the main party in the rul

Legacies of impunity

Views - 3582 Thursday, 16 January 2014 00:00

Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out- Because I was not a Jew - Martin Niemöller (1892-1984) Bible burning and church razing – that is the horrific legacy of 18 months of carte blanche for extremist forces masquerading as Buddhi

The pallbearers’ legacy

Views - 2074 Thursday, 9 January 2014 00:00

 Lasantha Wickrematunge may have been killed, but his spirit lives on in those he left behind. Lasantha’s tribe, some of them exiled in far off lands, others – brow-beaten, hunted and still pushing the boundaries at home, continue to be a tho

Constitutional tangles in an election year

Views - 2437 Thursday, 2 January 2014 00:00

    On 19 November 2010, Mahinda Rajapaksa, who had been President elect for 10 long months since the dramatic 26 January poll, took his oaths on the steps of the Presidential Secretariat. The entrance to the historic building th

Lead, be led or get out of the way

Views - 2243 Thursday, 19 December 2013 00:39

As the UNP Leadership Council attempts to effect real change in the main Opposition party for the first time in years, why is Sajith Premadasa insisting on becoming a stumbling block?   In these troubled times, when Sri Lanka’s democr

Mandela: Whose hero?

Views - 3287 Thursday, 12 December 2013 00:55

“It took a man like Madiba to free not just the prisoner, but the jailer as well” – US President Barack Obama   The Sri Lankan Government is taking some aspects of its role a Chair in Office of the Commonwealth of Nations very ser

Hail, the emperor!

Views - 21063 Thursday, 21 November 2013 00:00

Crowned emperor of the new Commonwealth and with a war crimes inquiry in the offing next March, at home President Mahinda Rajapaksa is looking more invincible than ever       There’s a new emperor  in town The po

‘Step into my parlour’

Views - 8321 Thursday, 14 November 2013 00:16

President Rajapaksa’s benevolent smiles and warm hospitality as he welcomes world leaders to his showpiece summit may mask the grimmer realities facing the people living in the shadow of the new Chair of the Commonwealth    

UNP: The war within a war

Views - 2736 Thursday, 7 November 2013 00:05

“Politicians are like children; you can’t just give them what they want – it only encourages them” – Antony Jay and Jonathan Lynn (Yes Minister) Standing at the podium of the Business Today Top 25 Awards to recognise the country’s to

CHOGM and the Indian conundrum

Views - 2566 Thursday, 31 October 2013 00:00

For the Sri Lankan Government and the Commonwealth Secretary General, the absence of Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh at CHOGM 2013 will be keenly felt   The decision by Indian Premier Manmohan Singh to remain mysterious about his C

Pinwheels of fortune

Views - 12106 Thursday, 24 October 2013 00:00

If there is one thing the Government of President Mahinda Rajapaksa loves, it is to put on a grand show. Domestically and internationally, the regime has excelled at marketing its smallest successes to great effect. As it prepares to strut upon the g

UNP: A changing of the guard?

Views - 3090 Thursday, 17 October 2013 00:00

UNP Chief Ranil Wickremesinghe left on a two-day visit to Singapore after a marathon day of discussions that centred on his leadership of Sri Lanka’s main opposition party on Tuesday (15). Nearly two weeks ago, the United National Party’s intern

A pivotal moment

Views - 7801 Thursday, 10 October 2013 00:00

 As the main opposition United National Party attempts to undertake major reform to resolve its present leadership crisis, Sajith Premadasa may need to rethink his political strategy There is an old story in UNP circles about Sajith Premadasa

Changing the game

Views - 2804 Thursday, 3 October 2013 00:00

If the TNA can keep ploughing the politically mature path, push the Rajapaksa Administration to reciprocate and ensure they exercise their writ over the Northern Province with responsibility and accountability, the party could reinvent the image a

Time to press the reset button

Views - 1735 Thursday, 26 September 2013 00:34

  With the TNA flushed with victory in the north and the President’s popular support reinforced in the south after Saturday’s provincial elections, the time has never been more opportune for the country’s main Tamil party and its rulin

Today's Columnists

M.N. Nambiar: Birth centenary of Tamil cinema’s greatest screen villain

Saturday, 23 March 2019

Thursday 7 March this year was the birth centenary of Indian film actor Manjeri Narayanan Nambiar known to the world at large as M.N. Nambiar. The great Thespian who made a name for himself by acting in negative roles was hailed by many as the greate

An innocent utopian dream

Saturday, 23 March 2019

In an article published in the Daily FT on 19 February 2015, I predicted the trajectory of the ‘Yahapalana’ Government. In that piece of conjecture captioned ‘Maithri’s Mandate and Ranil’s Royalist Regency’ I said that Sri Lanka was witne

Historic betrayal of SLMC and ACMC

Saturday, 23 March 2019

It appears, according to a news report that the leaders of SLMC, ACMC and DPF during a meeting with President Sirisena to discuss constitutional reforms have “reneged on their promise to back the ongoing efforts to abolish the executive presidency

Playing with history

Friday, 22 March 2019

First of all, I was delighted to note a counter criticism ‘A reply to Victor Ivan’s ‘What went wrong with Sri Lanka?’ published in the Financial Times on 11 March in response to my article which appeared in the same newspaper on 22 February.

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