15 November, 2018

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A Rejoinder To Hoole: Tamil Hinduism And Arumuka Navalar

By Romesh Jayaratnam

I respond to the three opinion pieces of Samuel Ratnajeevan Herbert Hoole namely (i) “Arumuka Navalar: Fake Images and Histories” published in the Colombo Telegraph on March 30, 2013; (ii) “The Jaffna Version of the Tamil Bible: By Peter Percival or Arumuka Navalar” published in the Colombo Telegraph on April 5, 2013; and (iii) “Heritage Histories: What They Are and How They Operate Through Jaffna” published in the Colombo Telegraph on April 6, 2013.

Mr. Hoole asserts that Arumuka Navalar was built up by “ill-educated” “Tamil Saivite extremists” and that everything about Navalar was “fake” be it “his portrait, caste and name, and perhaps religion..”. He alleges that Navalar, a “high school dropout”, had ‘tiny ears and a big forehead on a huge head, thin hands and legs, strong facial hair, and huge body without any strength”. Hoole explains that Navalar was unable ‘to complete high school after 6 years in Tamil school and 13 years under Percival”. He adds that Navalar had a multitude of names each spelt differently and that he was but an “unpaid” “menial assistant” to the missionary Percival!

Hoole similarly claims that the Tamils “were Buddhist and Jain before Saivism took root after the seventh century AD”. He adds that 8,000 Jains who refused to convert to Saivite Hinduism were impaled in the 7th century. He asserts “that many Hindu temples today were once Buddhist and Jain”, agreeing with a Sinhala Buddhist nationalism that is eager to plant Buddha statues in places of old Hindu worship in Sri Lanka. He ends by asserting that “Christians live in fear – living oppressed and as the the oppressed’.

I will be brief as I respond. In the interests of brevity, I will focus on just two subjects i.e. (i) the roots of Tamil Hindu tradition prior to the period of Jain and Buddhist literary influence; and (ii) Arumuka Navalar. Hoole needs to verify his information. His is a highly selective and wishful narrative with numerous errors. Little of what Hoole says is credible. Its time to set the record straight in the interests of a more nuanced interpretation.

Hinduism, Jainism and Buddhism in early Tamil history

If one were to appraise the religious character of early Tamil society, one will need to refer to the earliest specimens of Tamil literature that exist today i.e. the Sangam-era work. The Sangam works consist of two literary compendia namely the Ettutogai or Eight Anthologies and the Pattu Paatu or 10 songs. Both are dated to between the 1st and 3rd centuries of the Common Era (CE). It is also important to cite the earliest Tamil grammar in existence today i.e the Tol-kaapiyam. The latter text is usually dated to the early centuries CE. There is an academic debate on the internal consistency and date of the Tol-kaapiyam.

The Sangam compendia I refer to excludes the 18 later works or the Pathinen-keezh-kannaku nool which subsumes the Silapadikaram, the Manimekalai, the Tirukural and other later texts. Those are post-Sangam works.

If one were to explore the Sangam-era, one finds a bardic tradition interspersed with references to the veneration of the Hindu gods Seyon or Murukan, Maayon or Vishnu, Venthan or Indra, Korravai or Durga and Varuna. These were the patron deities of the Tamil land. Seyon or Murukan was the benefactor of the hill tribes while Venthan or Indra was the God of Rain and the protector of the fertile agricultural tracts. Varuna, the God of the Sea, was the guardian of the maritime tracts and all those whose livelihood depended on the sea. Korravai or Durga was the patron of the fierce tribes of the arid tracts. Maayon or Vishnu, also known as the lotus-eyed or Taamarai Kannanaar, protected the herdsmen. The Sangam literature refers to the mighty womb of Korravai that gave birth to Seyyon. There are allusions to the three-eyed God, Siva.

There are references to the Brahmins who tended the sacred fire and studied the four Vedas or Naan Marai. Several Brahmins contributed to the corpus of early Sangam literature. This included Kapilar, Uruttira-kannanaar, Nakeerar, Paalai Kauthamanaar and Perum Kausikanaar to mention just a few. There were several others. Several of the Chera, Chola and Pandya monarchs performed the Vedic sacrifice as documented in the Sangam corpus. The practice of suttee existed. This inheritance is what we today call Tamil Hinduism. The literary allusions to the Jains and Buddhists were far fewer in the Sangam-era.

The pottery and stone inscriptions in Tamil Brahmi dated to the decades before the dawn of the common era offer insights as well. The potsherd inscriptions linked to a megalithic culture contain references to Murukan while the few early rock inscriptions document individual donations to itinerant Jain monks.

The more copious literary record that has survived to date reflects a Hindu folk idiom linked to the rural populace, chieftains and the priesthood while the rock inscriptions suggest individual traders sponsoring Jainism. Buddhism in that early era was numerically less significant. Hoole’s point that Hinduism influenced the Tamil land only in the 7th century is therefore false.

Buddhism emerged in a significant manner in the Tamil land with the later Kalabhras. The Kalabhra dynasty had invaded and ruled Tamil Nadu between the 4th and the 6th centuries CE. Inscriptional and literary evidence indicates that the Chola, Chera and Pandya kings were ruthlessly suppressed. The Kalabhras patronized Buddhism and used Prakrit. Buddhism remained an urban phenomenon. Most Tamil Buddhist monks of this period chose to write in Pali, not Tamil. This included Buddhadatta Thera from Uragapura (Uraiyur) and Dhammapala Thera from Tambarattha (Tirunelveli) who traveled to Sri Lanka to translate the proto-Sinhalese language commentaries into Pali. The celebrated Buddhist commentator Buddhaghosha lived for a while in Madhura-sutta-pattana (Madurai) en route to Sri Lanka to study the proto-Sinhalese texts. Hoole’s contention that Sinhalese literature is a 9th century phenomenon linked to the suppression of Buddhism in the Tamil land is therefore flawed!

The Buddhist zeal of the Kalabhras triggered a home-grown Saivite and Vaishnava revival in the 6th century. This in turn saw the eclipse of Pali scholarship in the Tamil land and a renewed pride in the Tamil language.

Buddhism however continued in urban Tamil Nadu until the 14th century. The Culavamsa describes Sinhalese kings inviting Tamil monks from South India to visit Sri Lanka between the 12th and 14th centuries CE. The Tamil grammar, the Vira-choliyam, was authored by a Buddhist in the heyday of Chola rule in the 10th century CE. The Saivite Hindu Cholas sponsored this Buddhist author. Meanwhile, the Jain center of Sittanavaasal continued to flourish between the 7th and 9th centuries. Saivite Hinduism did not annihilate Buddhism or of Jainism in 7th century Tamil Nadu as Hoole writes. The Buddhist presence in Tamil Nadu ended with the establishment of the Madurai Sultanate in the early 14th century. Tamil Jainism continues to exist to this day.

Hoole highlights the alleged impalement of 8,000 Jains in 7th century Tamil Nadu and cites Nambi Aandaar Nambi, an early medieval Saivite scholar, in support of his claim. This was a literary allusion with no independent evidence. The Chalukyas and Rashtrakutas ruled in neighboring Karnataka. Several of the near contemporary Chalukya and Rashtrakuta monarchs, not to mention the Pallava kings in Tamil Nadu were Jain. There is no corroborating Jain literary or inscriptional evidence of any such impalement. The inquisition was a Christian instrument of persecution, not Hindu.

Hoole is likewise dishonest in selectively quoting Nilakanta Sasti’s History of South India to extrapolate that Buddhist and Jain temples were converted into Hindu places of worship ignoring the extensive evidence provided by Professor Sastri on the Brahmanic and Vaishnava presence in the earliest period of Tamil history.

In conclusion, what we now designate as Hinduism was pre-eminent in the earliest years of recorded Tamil history. The Jains did extensively contribute to Tamil literature at a subsequent date. To argue that we were Jains and Buddhists before we became Hindu is simply incorrect.

Arumuka Navalar

Let me now turn to the subject of Arumuka Navalar. Whether Navalar had any input in the translation of the Bible into Tamil, how he looked, how he spelt his Tamil name in English in a era where such spelling had not been standardized and where births and marriages were unregistered, what caste he belonged to and whether his father was baptized is irrelevant to his legacy as a pioneer who recognized the importance of the media, print technology and western education to the dissemination of Tamil Hindu learning.

Mr. Hoole has had a 15 to 20 year track record of attacking Hinduism and individuals linked to the Hindu revival in Sri Lanka. I had rebutted an earlier article of his dated May 14, 2010 where he had attacked Arumuka Navalar and Sir Ponnambalam Ramanathan. “In Defense of the Sri Lankan Hindu of Yesteryear: Arumuka Navalar and Sir Ponnambalam Ramanathan” was published in the Sri Lanka Guardian on May 20, 2010 and in the HaindavaKeralam and LankaWeb. What I stated there still holds. Let me repeat what I said there rather than reinvent the wheel.

One needs to revert to primary sources if one is to accurately describe Arumuka Navalar. Navalar lived between 1822 and 1877 CE. His works include the ‘Prabandha Thirattu’, ‘Saiva Thooshana Parihaaram’, ‘the Prohibition of Killing’, and his classic deconstruction of the Bible. These texts help one to understand him better.

One discovers herein an astonishing man who grasped the imperative to establish Hindu primary and secondary schools in the 19th century, modernize and broadbase Hindu education, use simple Tamil prose to disseminate Saivite Hindu doctrine and leverage the printing press to republish the Tamil classics and Saivite Hindu scripture. Navalar made it a point to study Christianity to more effectively combat the white missionary enterprise. Navalar worked in Jaffna and Tamil Nadu. He established schools in Jaffna and in South India of which the Saiva Prakasa Vidyalayam was the first. Arumuka Navalar’s emphasis on a modern Hindu education in Sri Lanka was the prelude to the later Hindu Board of Education in Sri Lanka.

He was the first person to avail of the modern printing press to publish rare Tamil classics in the mid-1800s anticipating the subsequent seminal work of U.V. Swaminatha Iyer and the other Sri Lankan Tamil Hindu stalwart C.W. Thamotherampillai.Navalar established a printing press in Sri Lanka and in Tamil Nadu. The one in Jaffna was called the Vidyanubalana Yantra Sala. Professor Dennis Hudson of the State University of New York has chronicled Navalar’s use of the printing press on both sides of the Palk Straits in the 19th century. Navalar published 97 Tamil language documents. He published rare works of Tamil grammar, literature, liturgy and religion that were previously unavailable in print. For instance, the first ever Sangam text that saw the light of print was the Tiru-murukaatru-padai of the Pattu Paatu. Navalar brought this out in 1851.

Noted Czech scholar of Tamil, Kamil Zvelebil, demonstrated that Navalar was the first author to use modern Tamil prose in a manner understandable to the layperson. Professor Meenakshisundaram echoed this view when he reiterated that Navalar was the first to use simplified and unadorned lay Tamil. He had adopted a highly effective and unadorned preaching style borrowed from the missionaries that consisted of five steps to quote Hoole i.e. (i) preface; (ii) exposition; (iii) doctrinal analysis; (iv) applying the interpretation; and (v) conclusion. So yes, Navalar made stellar contributions to Hinduism, the Tamil language, Tamil prose and Sri Lankan Tamil identity.

The Hindu revival preceded the Buddhist revival in Sri Lanka by a full generation. As Bishop Kulendran of the Church of South India in Jaffna conceded, it was Navalar’s Saivite Hindu revival that stemmed the conversions to Christianity in northern Sri Lanka in the 19th century. It was Navalar likewise who first articulated in modern times that the Sri Lankan Tamil identity was parallel to and not the same as the South Indian Tamil identity.

Navalar, like almost all in the mid-1800s, suffered from caste prejudice. The 1800s was an unenlightened age where the Christian missionaries in India and Ceylon exemplified a deep religious bigotry, the Sri Lankan Tamils exemplified a hateful caste prejudice while the Europeans were busy enslaving or exterminating the Black population in America, Australia and South Africa often in the name of Christianity. Navalar can not be absolved on the issue of caste. This said, a critical interpretation of history forces one to acknowledge his other accomplishments.

Bibliography

(i) K.A. Nilakanta Sastri, A History of South India: From Prehistoric Times to the Fall of Vijayanagar, Oxford University Press, 1955;
(ii) V.R. Ramachandra Dikshitar, Studies in Tamil Language and History, University of Madras, 1936;
(iii) Vaiyapuri Pillai, History of Tamil Language and Literature, Chennai, 1956;
(iv) George Hart, The poems of ancient Tamil, their milieu and their Sanskrit counterparts, 1975 (University of California, Berkeley);
(v) Takanobu Takahashi, Tamil love poetry and poetics, 1995;
(vi) Kamil Zvelebil, The Smile of Murukan on Tamil literature of South India, 1973; and
(vi) V.S. Rajam, A comparative study of two ancient Indian grammatical traditions: The Tolkapiyam compared with Sanskrit Rk-pratisakhya, Taittriya-pratisakhya, Apisal siksa, and the Astadhyayi, University of Pennsylvania, 1981.

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  • 5
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    The author, Romesh Jayaratnam, has given very clear account of the growth of Hinduism in South India briefly and the efforts taken by Arumuka Navalar to revive Saivaism in Jaffna. After the invasion of Kalabras, there was a dark period spanning for almost 300 years, during which period Jainism and Buddhism thrived, because the Kalabrars imprisoned the Saivaite Brahmins and deliberately suppressed Saivaism. Thereafter, Saivaism emerged again when the Pandyas and the Pallavas jointly defeated the Kalabras. It is during this period the Tamil community saw a turn of event in the social structure. For instance, the Maravas (warriors) and the Kallars (thieves stealing cattle) merged within themselves and engaged in agriculture and known as Vellalars during this period. Congratulations to Romesh Jayaratnam.

    • 0
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      After reading your comment I have become convinced Arumugar Navalar was probably a closet ‘born again’ Christian.

      • 3
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        Bedrock Barney,
        In Hinduism there is something called ‘the wheel of life’. Accordingly, a soul goes through the cycle of birth-death-rebirth in different times and different situations and ultimately merges with the Brahman. The concept of Karma centres round the nature of the ‘Soul’. It is common that all are not born equal. Some are born rich while some are born in poverty. Some have good tendencies while some are with bad qualities. Some are healthy and strong, while some are weak. What is astonishing that some are weak and sick though they are rich while some are strong and healthy though they are poor. The question is why are inequalities between persons created by God. Such inequalities and sufferings of life cannot be adjusted after death, because no one knows what happens after death. This Hindu concept of the eternal birth-death-birth cycle describes that Death is a mere departure from the material body and enters again into the womb of another. Rebirth is an inference or a natural result to the idea of the Soul’s immortality. Death is only a break in the series of continuing events known as life. In this case, God only knows in what category he can place Arumuka Navalar for the next birth.

  • 4
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    I applaud Romesh for his rejoinder to Hoole. Well said!

    Hoole should be viewed in the larger context of Mahinda Rajapakse’s agenda to Sinhalize and Buddhacize Sri Lanka’s North. This explains why Hoole alleged that Hindu temples were once Buddhist temples!

    As Sumanthiran had corrected pointed out in an earlier article here, 6,400 acres of private land in the Jaffna peninsula is to be appropriated by the Government. This is in addition to several hundred acres appropriated elsewhere in the East. In Ilankaiturai, south of Trincomalee, 15 acres were appropriated, a Murukan temple demolished and a Buddhist Samudragiri Vihara constructed in the last 12 months. In Echamlampattu, 10 acres of land was appropriated, the Malaineeli Amman temple razed and a Buddhist temple will be constructed in the next few months. In Kuchchaveli, the Karadimalai Pillaiyaar shrine was demolished and plans are afoot for a new Buddhist tmple. In Kanniyai, the site of the famed hot springs and where Hindus perform the annual death anniversary services, a Pillaiyaar statue was moved and a Buddhist temple – the Unuthiya Lin Rajamaha Vihara constructed in the last six months. Likewise, the construction of a Raja Gopuram in Munnesvaram is being blocked while Buddhist groups seek to place a Buddha statue nearby. In Thirukethiswaram, a Buddhist Pilgrim Society was constructed last year. In Mathakal within the 6,400 acres to be appropriated, another Buddha vihara on Thirunilaivadi is on the cards! This agenda of identifying any old Hindu place of worship, of appropriating the land and then constructing a Buddhist vihara in its stead will likely fail with a renewed diaspora supported Tamil nationalism that is being reinternationalized. The agitation against Rajapakse in international fora is likely to continue. But this fervour of constructing new Buddha viharas when the state is short of resources sure provides the context for Hoole’s initial statements to legitimize the Rajapakse agenda.

    • 0
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      I go to Trincomalee often but am yet to see any evidence of Hindu Temples being razed and being replaced by Buddhist ones. Instead I see a massive, newly built (post war) Saiva temple on the Nilaveli Road, Probably one of the biggest in the entire country. Perhaps a few before and after pictures might give these claims some credibility.

    • 0
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      Archaeologists have confirmed that most of the Bhuddist dagabas predate any Hindu structures in the north of the country. Most of these temples mentioned above are merely latter day structures, once cleared will pave the way for the north to return to its original religion which is Bhuddism.

      Have no fear Raman, the golden age of the Emperor Ashoka will soon be upon us and with a era prosperity and peace will follow.

  • 0
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    I hope Colombo Telegraph will confine the debate to an intelligent academic level and not encourage desultory discussions as it happened in the case of earlier response of Jeyaratnam..

    • 0
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      I too have a similar hope. I even hoped for a peaceful Sri Lanka, once upon a time. The Colombo Telegraph is really good at judging intelligence and academic levels, can’t you tell?

    • 3
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      Curucunda,

      I happened to think that the discussion on the earlier article was an engaging one. I loved it. The debate at the Colombo Telegraph is quite often an academic one as witnessed in this particular article by Colombo Telegraph itself. The website is very informative and has become tne number 1 platform for the exchange of opinion. We need the sharing of views that Colombo Telegraph facilitates, one that the Sunday Times and Daily Mirror prevent given the editorial policy there, one that the Lake House Group prevents given the government ownership there, and one that the Sunday Leader now lacks given the departure of Frederika Jansz. In short, the intellectual climate in the Sri Lankan media is now stale.

      Btw, congratulatulations Romesh. I liked your rebuttal. I learnt a lot.

      I would like to respond to the comment of Raman. He provides names, size of land appropriated and often the name of the Buddhist replacement structure in the East and North. If correct, its a serious charge he makes of Government appropriation of private land.

  • 3
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    Thank you Romesh Jayaratnam for this. This is a scholarly debate! In response to Citizen’s comment above, there is a saying in Tamil – Maravarum, Kallarum, Agamudaiyarrum mella mella maari Vellalar aayinar – indicating that the Vellalar represented a social fusion of diverse social elements connected perhaps to the political consolidation of Tamil Nadu.

    • 2
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      Dear Raja,
      I have quoted from the works of Prof.Ramasamy on the history of Tamilakam during the Kalabrar’s period. The birth of the new caste saw the downfall of Kalabrars with the fusion of Maravars & Kallars, which is the consequence of Kalabrar’s rule. After their downfall, Hinduism began its journey towards its glory.

  • 0
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    Raman, don’t write rubbish.. You are talking like ltte morons trying to push rubbish as truth.
    In Trincomalee, Kanniyai hot springs belong to the govt. and used to run by the local council… Some how in late 80’s some tamil rascals came and start to built things around the wells including food shops etc… Council did tolerate these things and now things are getting to reality and council is removing all rubbish constructions.

    Try to write some thing original rather than trying to push agendas and self interest.

    • 0
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      He isn’t writing rubbish, he is merely misinformed. It is obvious that unity can only be had by mass conversions to Islam!

  • 4
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    thanks Romeh Jeyratnam. Hoole is driven by Christian fanaticism not any scholarship. What ever scholarship he holds is colonial Missionary scholarship which is totally skewed
    Thanks

  • 4
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    Jayaratnam has given a sound response to Hooele’s cooments.I am however not certain whether one should bother to even respond to Hoole’s clownish antics or should leave him alone to continue his vengeful inquisition against Jaffna society.Hardly anyone takes him seriously and even some Jaffna Christians that I know are embarassed by his venom.
    Take a break Hoole, and return to engineering and leave historical and political commentary alone to those who are trained for it and are not animated by religious zeal.As I said in an earlier comment:keep praying and stop preying on a defeated people.

  • 0
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    Typical Sri Lanka! There is a wedge in every fissure and soon there will be gaping cracks along every fault line in society. Keep it up!

    • 1
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      Dingiri:To whom or what is your comment adressed

  • 2
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    As a Tamil of a Christian background, I am appalled by Hoole’s fundamental fanaticism.In fact there is much in common between the bhakti tradition of the Saivites and the faith tradition of the Christians- a fact noted by many of the missionaries including G U Pope who was moved to translate the thiruvasagam into English.

  • 0
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    regards the Kanniya Hot Springs.
    Visited the place in 2010, It was one of the dirtiest tourist places in Sri Lanka. Pettah Bus Stand bathrooms are maintained better. Whole lot of temporary stalls, paper litter food thrown about. There was also a shifty eyed Buddhist priest collecting money saying it was to maintain the place.
    That said the recent online photos of Kanniya Hot Springs seems to show a place whole lot cleaner.

    Yes, the Hindu Temple on the road to Nilaveli is one of the largest I have seen in Sri Lanka.

    • 1
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      RE the Temple Nilaveli:Is it frtequented by Hindus alone or like Munnewaram do Buddhist wirship there too?

  • 1
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    Raman mentioned some “destructions” of Hindu Temples. I never heard any such things sofar. If the said info is true, it is diplorable. As Trinco is a “hot spot” in Tamil politics, any SL government will try to make any “HINDU Tamil” sentiments weaker in Trinco.

    After independence the pro-Sinhala elements changed the “Elara tomb” to “Gemunu tomb” at Dakunu Maluwa in A’Pura. This mockery was done by Dr.Senarath Parana Vitana who was the commissioner of Archeology. This politically motivated “historical fraud” made the people of Raja Rata to stop paying homage to King Elara and the 2500 years tradition of Rajarata abruptly ceased. King Gemunu asked his subjects to pay homage to his enemy fell in the war and Mahavansa mentions ELARA as a JUST king and ruled 44 years.

    Now the “Holy City” A’Pura stands with a Historical Fraud.

  • 0
    1

    As usual, this articles some big lies.

    for example, Tamilnadu was created in 1964.

    Yet, this author says, according to Chulawamsa ( a Sinhala Text) that Tamilnadu had buddhist monks.

    How do you prove this ?

    Do you have exact GPS locations or good evidence to prove this ?

    • 2
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      Jimsofty,

      They say, ignorance is a bliss.

      South India was known as Tamilagam (Tamil country) where several dynasties such as Chola, Chera, Pandya, Pallava, etc were ruling different parts of Tamilagam. The name TamilNadu was given only in 1964.

      I hope you are not ignorant enough to use google.
      Regarding Tamil Buddhism there is enough litrature available in the net which gives evidence, etc.

      Do not make yourself as a laughing stock in a public forum by showing your total ignorance. Learn something that is freely available before commenting like a fool.

  • 2
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    Sivananthan

    The fate of Elara’s Tomb near Tissaweva Guest House was a sad one. However, many of the locals still recognize it as that, not the historical interpretation provided by Paranavitana. So although the notice board provides a different explanation, when I visited the place, I promptly recognized it for what it was i.e. a tomb of a defeated Tamil king built by the victor with a distinctive sculptural feature that indicated that the ashes of the individual placed within was a warrior, not a monk.

    Romesh made a very interesting point on the Kalabhras and how Indian Buddhist monks had traveled to Sri Lanka to learn the Pali canon. Sri Lanka in the Anuradhapura era was an intellectual hub and its a pity that the likes of Paranavitana felt compelled to detract from that tribute to Sinhalese history by a narrow reinterpretation of the facts to deny the tomb of a Tamil king built by a Sinhalese one!

    • 1
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      Pallava defeated the Khalbras but allowed all the religions to exist and practiced. Bodhi Dharma, a Bhikku from the Pallava royal house went to China to spread Buddhism and eventually he became the inventor of Khung-Fu.

      Another Bhikku Mahanama, who was the author of Mahavansa also came from the same Pallava Royal house at Kanchipuram, Tamil nadu!

      Many Buddhist scholars came to Lanka from the same Kanchipuram. Chinese travellers of 6th century mentioned Kanchipuram as a city of thousands of Dagopas, not Hindu temples!

      Pallava rulers used Pali (prakrit) at the start of their rule and their emblem was LION. Later they changed it to Bull. Though the last Pallava king was BUDDHA VARMAN.

    • 0
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      But the homage paid by the subjects of Gemunu was vanished forever after 1957.

  • 0
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    One should have listened to the person who introduced a new book on Dutugemunu recently at the Book Launch at the National Archives. He disputed Paranavitana’s suggestion that Vihara Maha Devi, mother of Dutu entered a nunnery. This is but speculation without any support, the commentator said. But the evidence is that Devi disappears from the Mahavamsa record after the first encounter with a Tamil chieftain at Amba- Tiththa which did not succeed in overcoming the opposition for four months. Then the Mahavamsa says, the King captured the opponent through a rouse, by ‘showing the mother.’ Citing the original Pali texts, speaking in Pali, the speaker pointed out “No. The 12th century glossary on Mahavamsa (Tika) says something different. There was a “marriage proposal” according to it. As such, he concluded that there was a reconciliation with the Tamil chief through a marriage alliance, and Devi, in this instance, made a second sacrifice for the nation, i.e. for national unification, by deciding to go on a ‘Deveni Gamana’ with the Tamil chief. He said the lady was still young enough for such a venture and nomenclatures were important. The place where the reconcilliation was effected came to be known as ‘Khema”. The chief’s name itself, ‘Thitha-Amba’ reminds one of Sour Mango, which is but ‘bitter sweet.’ So Devi’s entry to this new partnership was a ‘bitter-sweet’ affair which she had to endure for the sake of national unification. Strategically, the pacification of this formidable firt chieftaincy was important because it formed the rear for the rest of operations.
    This shows , history, even traditions, can be viewed from different angles. need to be

  • 0
    2

    Another Tamil Historian that some Pseudo-scholars always quote is Nilakanta Sastri of Tamil Nadu. Nilakanta Sastri’s historical research was over 50 years old. According to historians/scholars in Tamil Nadu, Nilakanta Sastri’s Tamil proficiency was not good and he relied on others for understanding Tamil literary works. Thus he was not able to analyze the changing meaning of words over time. They say, the professional historiography in Tamil Nadu practiced during K. A. Nilakanta Sastri’s period there was rarely any interrogation of sources.

    Therefore, quoting Nilakanta Sastri is not a good practise.

    • 1
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      Suresh:
      But the facts of K.A.Nilakanta Sastri are not proven as “false” by any one.

      When Maha Kavi Subramaniya Bharathi sang a song “we will build a bridge to the Sinhala Island” (“சிங்கள தீவினுக்கோர் பாலமமைப்போம் “) in 1920s, it was correct and appreciated because “No Eelam problem” of the VVT smugglers existed then!

      Now some Eelam pandits cry Subramanya Bharathi was a fool enough to wrote song of the kind.

      • 1
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        Suresh

        R.S. Shastri, a Marxist scholar who had specialized in Tamil Nadu amongst other subjects in the 1970s (and founder of the Indian Council of Historical Research), called K.A.N Sastri a dependable historian. Another left leaning historian who specialized on colonial era Tamil Nadu was Venkatachalapathi who also had good words for K.A.N. Shastri. Its an indictment that there has been no world-class Tamil historian until recently who specialized in ancient history since K.A.N Sastri and the famed lexicographer Vaiyapuri Pillai of the 1950s. Both their accounts tally and much is independently confirmed by Kamil Zvelebil. Newer historians are emerging and their focus is on the early iron age. They have not made their mark in international academia yet.

        Sivananthan – you quote Xuan Zang who visited Kanchipuram in the 7th century. That city had significant Hindu, Jain and Buddhist sites in that period.

      • 0
        0

        Dei loosu! antha aalu (barathiyar) summa oru edhukai monai-kaga padina adhaye pudichikinu singalavan arumayana natta nasam pannikinu keeran. ellathayum vuttutu ozhunga velaya parungappa!

        Cheenai Thamizhan Munusamy

  • 3
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    Brilliant! Hats off to Romesh for this rebuttal!

  • 0
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    All sinhala, tamil modayas what load of rubbish stories. writing old shit of shitlanka. WOrld going faster than u all muppets think. forget the damn bloody past. We all need a 3 square meal a day, reasonably good life for the future generation. this is what we want. we dont need a stone age historys. we all fight for the future. Dont waste your past.

  • 0
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    Muthu, you must have heard that ‘past is prologue’..

  • 0
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