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Confrontations with Colonialism: Resistance, Revivalism and Reform under British Rule in Sri Lanka 1796-1920 (Vol. I) by P. V. J. Jayasekera

Author:

Chandra Richard de Silva

Former Professor of History, University of Peradeniya, Sri Lanka & Emeritus Professor of History, Old Dominion University, Norfolk, Virginia, US
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Abstract

In this first volume of a two-volume work, P. V. J. Jayasekera has used a wide variety of sources to challenge a number of interpretations relating to Sri Lanka under British colonial rule in the nineteenth century.
Jayasekera argues that Sri Lankan historians have, so far, generally been complicit with perpetuating “the legitimizing ideology of colonialism.” He shows how policies of the colonial state, fashioned through an alliance of British bureaucrats, planters and entrepreneurs in matters such as the grain tax and land ownership, led to increased impoverishment of the peasantry and the growth of landlessness. He documents how Christian missions provided not only support for colonial rule but also the motivating force to try to eliminate other faiths in Sri Lanka. He asserts that while Theosophists assisted the Buddhists in challenging colonial policy, by the time they arrived, Buddhists had already begun to “play an assertive role in confronting Christian hegemony.” He also assesses the divisions and weaknesses in the Buddhist movement, including the presence of a westernized lay leadership, while tracing how elements of the Buddhist revival fed the growing nationalist movement.
How to Cite: de Silva, C.R., 2018. Confrontations with Colonialism: Resistance, Revivalism and Reform under British Rule in Sri Lanka 1796-1920 (Vol. I) by P. V. J. Jayasekera. Sri Lanka Journal of Social Sciences, 41(1), pp.65–68. DOI: http://doi.org/10.4038/sljss.v41i1.7593
Published on 28 Jun 2018.
Peer Reviewed

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