Development is the Solution, What is the Problem?

Principal Researcher: Sumith Chaaminda Leelaratne Research Assistants: T. Waradas, Begum Rahman, Vishalanee Jayarajan Period: January 2009 – June 2013 Supported by: Diakonia

Two development projects titled “Uthuru Wasanthaya” (Northern Spring) and “Negenahira Navodaya” (Reawakening of the East) were initiated in the North and East of Sri Lanka by the government during the last phase of the war. The political strategy behind these two development projects was not concealed from the outset; the government authorities interpreted them as a part of their larger project of integrating ethnic minorities into the state and development. One possible interpretation of this development strategy is that it aims at winning over active or passive consent of ethnic minorities towards the state so that state power is consolidated in Tamil populated areas. Against this background, it is important to study whether political dimensions of power, control, and hegemony do function within these post-war development projects.  This study is an inquiry about the possible political articulations of development and their prospective outcomes with regard to the post-war Sri Lankan context.