Post-war Sri Lanka at the Crossroads

Event details

PSC Seminar

Date & time

Friday 13 March 2020


PSC Reading Room 4.27, Hedley Bull Centre (130), Garran Road, ANU
ANU Canberra


Ahilan Kadirgamar


Maxine McArthur

Over a decade after the end of the war in Sri Lanka, political changes nationally and in the war-torn region have been dramatic. The consolidation of the Rajapaksa Government after the war in 2010, the victory of the Tamil National Alliance in the Northern Provincial Council elections of 2013 and their subsequent failures, the dramatic regime change in January 2015 unseating the Rajapaksa Government, the devastating Easter Sunday Attacks and the backlash against the Muslim minority, and the return of the Rajapaksas in November 2019 are some of those major developments. This paper explores the relationship between the processes of economic development, devolution of power and democratisation with respect to the post-war North. How do such issues change with time, from the grievances before the war, the problems that emerged with the war and the political challenges of moving forward after the war? As the discourses of development, devolution and democracy are polarised by different constituencies within Sri Lanka during the current historical conjuncture of geopolitical and political economic shifts, rethinking progressive politics has become an urgent task.

About the Speaker
Ahilan Kadirgamar is Senior Lecturer, Department of Sociology, University of Jaffna, Sri Lanka. He holds a PhD in Anthropology from the Graduate Center, City University of New York. He is a fortnightly columnist in the Daily Mirror in Sri Lanka and regularly writes on the political economy of Sri Lanka and post-war issues in forums such as The Hindu in India. He served on the Central Bank of Sri Lanka appointed committee to draft the Economic Development Framework for a Northern Province Master Plan (August 2018).

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