Same culture – Different life paths? Contrasts and similarities in socio-geographic development of two Sinhalese local communities 1972–2005
The article is a review over 33 years of two villages in Sri Lanka, Bundala and Panapola Pelawatte. The two villages are located in two contrasting climatic regions, the Dry Zone of the lowland region in the south-east, and the Wet Zone of the southern hill country. The climatic differences have been considered to influence preconditions for development, especially for agriculture. The article reviews changes from 1972 to 2005 in the two villages and compares this with development in Sri Lanka as a whole. Development in the two villages, located in relatively backwash areas, was assumed to be lagging behind the rest of the country. Somewhat surprisingly, conditions in recent years were found to have improved considerably in Bundala and Panapola Pelawatte, even compared with the rest of the country, in spite of the relative isolation of these communities, and the article provides some explanations for this.