28 May, 2024

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Divided In A Small Land By Myths Of Ancestry

By Rajan Hoole

Dr. Rajan Hoole

Citizenship was not originally a contested area. At the first session of the Ceylon National Congress, on 11th December 1919, where Sir Ponnambalam Arunachalam was elected president, it was assumed without dissent that all communities in the Island would be represented. In 1927, the Donoughmore Commissioners, who proposed universal adult franchise for ordinary residents did not themselves envisage a distinction. But it was clear to the Sinhalese plutocrats that under the scheme of one man – one vote, the balance of power would shift to the labouring classes.

In 1928, W.A. de Silva, president of the Ceylon National Congress, wanted the most vulnerable Plantation Tamils denied the vote because ‘their highly deprived living conditions and isolation made their vote a danger to the ‘community.’’ Any outsider visiting them was legally an intruder and subject to prosecution. Asked by the Indian journalist, Sant Nihal Singh, why not remove the restrictive regime in the Plantations, including his own, and allow the labour freedom to mix freely? De Silva admitted that then, the chief reason for denying them the vote would be gone. Seeing such specious denial of the vote made universal franchise farcical, the British Administration settled for minimum five years residence as condition for the vote. 

Proof of five years residence seemed reasonable in 1929 and the Plantation Tamils too exercised the franchise in the 1931 and 1936 elections, but were by 20 years of insult and administrative harassment based on small-minded technicalities, rendered voteless in 1949. In 1941 the Legal Secretary had told the Council that 80% of the Plantation Tamils were either born here or had resided more than 10 years. Any government with a meagre sense of justice would in 1948 have taken the five years’ residence for granted. But even though they were paupers at the backbone of the economy, they were denied citizenship and the vote, making them slaves, on the risible pretext that they were, as D.S. Senanayake put it, citizens of India.

During the 20 years of the Donoughmore era, education too followed the social hierarchy; in 1927 a teacher in an English medium school could earn Rs. 70 to 200 and in a vernacular school from Rs.35 to Rs. 60. But the estate children were nominally taught reading, writing and arithmetic by teachers paid almost a plantation labourer’s salary of Rs. 20 a month in 1948. The labour was totally unprepared for the challenges of contesting disenfranchisement in the courts by proof of five years’ residence, even when many judges were sympathetic. The Registration bill of 1941 aimed at the Plantation Tamils, showed Senanayake whom the British favoured for the transfer of power, with the Left opposition jailed, established a stranglehold over the House. Amazingly, with the Left behind bars, no Sinhalese voted against the Bill. When the independence bill was put to the State Council in 1945, no Ceylon Tamil was willing to face up to the tragedy in train.     

In the process, we destroyed the trust and good neighbourliness within the country to the point of driving the Tamil minority to seek lethal weapons; and in the unfolding dynamic, the majority and minority sought to overcome internal dissent by terror.

In today’s reality, this was defending the unaffordable Army doubling up as archaeological experts; scouring the North-East for tokens that could be turned into grandiose monuments for the Sinhalese among non-Sinhalese; and in turn driving the starving Sinhalese to desperate measures. 

Academic historians and archaeologists have from their dull enclaves been shot into stardom as their professions became politicised. Written history will be of value only if it broadly reflects truth, rather than confirms the reader’s bias. The writer must interrogate his writing to check the validity of his conclusions.

To prove that the Indian labourers came only for short stay, Prof. S.U. Kodikara argued from the comparatively low proportion of unemployable elderly persons on the estates in the early 20th Century, that the elderly generally returned to India. But, in truth, conditions were harsh and the relative death rate very high, so that few survived to return. The blackout of Indian labour’s crucial contribution which kept the economy afloat, during the second world war and long after, to the tune of 65 per cent of our foreign earnings until 1965, is an injustice committed by both Sinhalese and Tamil politicians. That began the move to devalue everything Tamil.

The systematic denial of the Pallava (namely Tamil) contribution to Buddhist Art was to suppress the Tamil role. With scant evidence, the credit was shifted further north to inspiration from Amaravati of the 3rd century. This necessitates suppression of an episode of Indian Tamil immigration in the 8th to 10th centuries that led to excellence in art, expansion of trade, identification and internationalisation of the port of Trincomalee and the coming of China, by invitation.  

Movement between Lanka and India was there all along, be it religion, trade, war or peace  

The political need for the citizenship Act therefore inserted an official culture of systematic falsehood. Lankan professor of archaeology, Sirima Kiribamune, in ‘Tamils in Ancient and Mediaeval Sri Lanka’ of 1985, says, passing over the Pallava era in silence: “the 8th century, which saw some dynastic stability in the country, appears to have been relatively free of Indian troop movements.” Of Manavamma’s return following more than 20 years in service of the Pallavas, K.M. de Silva, remarks that there was augmentation of royal authority and sophistication of administration.

D.K. Dohanian, however, points out in his paper ‘Sinhalese Sculptures in the Pallava Style’ in Archives of Asian Art Vol. 36 (1983), Duke University Press:

Lanka’s awareness of Indian neighbours was never so dynamic than during the nearly four hundred years following the flight of the Sinhalese prince Manavamma to political asylum in [Pallava] Kanchi, to the court of Narasimhavarman I. In 684 AD he captured the throne of Lanka in the wake of naval aid from the Pallava monarch, which set off from Mamallapuram. Following his reign of about 35 years, he was succeeded by his sons Aggabodhi V (AD 718 – 724), Kassapa III (724 – 730) and Mahinda I (730 – 733). These sons of Manavamma both shared his exile and were born in the Pallava country. In consequence Pallava influence at the Sinhalese court was quite strong.

“Both the stability and prestige of the Government of Lanka were related to the unbroken alliance with the Pallavas that lasted until the extinction of the Pallava dynasty near the end of the 9th Century. During this time the kingdom of Lanka benefitted from the might of the Pallavas” – who in the late 7th or 8th Century AD turned Trincomalee into a throbbing port city, judging by its wealth from the seabed ruins of Koneswaram Temple, and Mahayana Buddhist remains all over. 

The relevant history of Tamil Nadu – inspiration of Budhism and Jainism

Tamil Nadu has a blank in its history, after the 3rd Century AD, up to about 550 AD. Nilakanta Shastri tells us in his History of South India: “This dark period marked by the ascendancy of Buddhism and probably also of Jainism, was characterised also by great literary activity in Tamil.” Though characterising it ‘the dark period,’ being the great historian he was, Shastri followed with the brighter side of what has been termed the Kalabhra era, a time that saw the golden age of Tamil literature. He added: “Most of the works grouped under the head, The eighteen minor works were written during this period as also the Silappadikaram, Manimekalai and other works. Many of the authors were votaries of the heretical sects.”

It was a period marked by pluralism, if not secularism. David Shulman is a citizen of Israel, who works actively for justice to the Palestinians, from whom we in the University of Jaffna were privileged to have a visit. In his book of 2016, Tamil – a biography – provides a solution to the Kalabhra riddle that avoids the fantastic: “The once prevalent notion of a dark interregnum in which a mysterious dynasty of ‘Kalbhras’ penetrated with devastating effect, into the Tamil country now seems rather exaggerated, if not, indeed, entirely fictive.”

The Kalabhra period had witnessed a social upheaval in which the Buddhists and Jains gained in economic importance. In dealing with a revolution, which was largely pacific, the Pallavas, the emergent power in the Chola country from 550 AD on, whose rulers in turn embraced Jainism and Hinduism, wisely chose to buy into the revolution rather than suppress it. Thus, the Pallava capital Kanchipuram became a city of Jain, Theravada and Mahayana Buddhist learning. The merchant marine of the time with Kanchipuram as headquarters carried Mahayana Buddhism and the Tamil language to East Asia. The social atmosphere of the time is captured in the Silappadikaram and Manimehalai, and in Anne E. Monius’ book ‘Imagining a Place for Buddhism.’  

Amaravati or Pallava?

Senarat Paranavitana, the doyen of Ceylon’s archaeologists, in his Art of the Ancient Sinhalese (1971), advances the ‘overwhelming’ influence of ‘Andhra art on that of early Ceylon and a branch of that school in Ceylon, producing the sculptures on the frontispieces of the ancient stupas.’ This was speculative, given the censorship of Mahayana in the chronicles of Ceylon and the 400 years that separated Amaravati from the flowering of Pallava art. Nilakanta Shastri traces Roman influence in the ‘vigorous and supple realism, characteristic of all Indian sculpture, particularly from the days of Asoka and Sanchi to the Pallava sculptures of Mamallapuram … Roman influence in the art of Amaravati that foreshadows that of Aihole and Mamallapuram.’  

Osmund Bopearachchi, from Sorbonne, one of our eminent archaeologists has pointed to the mass discoveries from the 7th and 8th centuries of statues of Bodhisattva Avalokiteswara, the protector of sailors, along the island’s ports, rivers, and overland routes. He also points to famous Mahayana Buddhist statues in the southeast of the island, as in Budurugala, from this period. But he remarkably fails to make the crucial Pallava connection and leaves these facts as curiosities hanging in the air. The Amaravati claim is focused on one instance. Paranavitana quoted the authority of Ananda Coomaraswamy on the well-known statue in the Abhayagiri grounds [in Anuradhapura], ‘dignified as are the Buddhist statues of Amaravati, the great Buddha at Anuradhapura surpasses them in grandeur.’

Dohanian (ibid) adds: “Perhaps the most celebrated Sinhalese sculpture in the Pallava style is the stone Buddha of the Outer Circular Road in Anuradhapura [cited by] Coomaraswamay … Though originally from the Mahayanist shrine at Abhayagiri vihara, with three similar, if not identical Buddha images, it has been given space in virtually every publication on Buddhism and Buddhist art in modern times. The stone sculpture isolated from its shrine has been much commented upon, and has been placed within dates, ranging as a rule from the 2nd century A.D. to the fifth; there have been some attempts to date it much earlier … The shrine of which this image is a component has been dated within the first half of the eighth century, and I have demonstrated elsewhere, that the sculpture was contemporary, in manufacture, with the shrine.

“Although most scholars have been content to see ‘Gupta’ qualities in it, this image most convincingly resembles the figures carved on the face of the great rock at Mamallapuram, the ancient city of the Pallavas.”

No Lankan scholar seemed to have commented on Dohanian’s paper of 1983. At a seminar in University College London on 6th July 2005, Bopearachchi, repeated Paranavitana’s thesis on the ‘overwhelming’ influence of Amaravati-Nagajunakonda art on the earliest Buddha images in Sri Lanka as having ‘gained unanimous acceptance.’ This he partially retracted on 30th December 2014, at the Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts:  

“D.K. Dohanian sees a parallel between this type of ascetic Avalokiteśvara and Śiva of the early Pallava style depicted … in Mamallapuram (Mahabalipuram). If this hypothesis is correct, the stone Avalokiteśvara images cannot be dated before the 7th century because the Pallava sculptures at Mamallapuram are generally dated to the reign of Narasimhavarman (630–668 CE).”

But Dohanian’s case on the actual origin of the Statue and its date to 8th Century AD went unanswered. All the while local archaeological publications have tried to protect the State’s ideological positions on the East of the country, particularly Trincomalee.    

The East, a Pallava Lake

The Culavamsa tells us that in his second and successful attempt after 20 years, the Pallava king Narasimhavarman I, had ‘numerous strong ships of different shape built’ in Mamallapuram and sent Manavamma who successfully conquered Ceylon in 684 AD. The convoy resembled a ‘floating town.’ C.W. Nicholas identifies the place he landed as Mahatittha in Mannar (pp.76, 77) on Ceylon’s western seaboard. However, the Culavamsa speaks of Parakramabahu I sending an expedition from the East to punish the King of Burma from Pallavanka (Palvakki), identified by Codrington as an inlet between Thiriyai (27 miles from Trinco) and Kuchchaveli (20 miles from Trinco) on the north road.    

The Pallavas were in conflict with the Pandyas, who overlooked Ceylon’s western seaboard, where the water is shallow and would not readily admit large vessels (Pliny on Taprobane, Chap 24.(22.)). The Culavamsa on the Pallava convoy speaks of ‘numerous strong ships.’

Assuming the destination of the Pallava forces was Anuradhapura, there was a well-traversed route from Thiriyai to Anuradhapura. This is also suggested by the Mahayana shrine Girikanda Caitiya with Sanskrit inscriptions in Pallava Grantha of about 7th Century AD, founded by guilds of merchants named Trapassuka and Vallika. Nearby Kuchchaveli too has a Mahayana inscription in Pallava Grantha. It is reasonable to assume that the Pallavas in sending forces into Lanka, saw the utility of the East Coast to expand their trade activities. It opens the likelihood that Spatana Portus in Ptolemy’s map represented Thiriyai rather than Trincomalee.

Nilakanta Shastri records (p.139) that Pallava Narasimhavarnan’s son and successor, Narasimhavarman II Rajasimha during his reign (700-728) marked by peace and prosperity, ‘sent embassies to China and maritime trade flourished greatly in his time.’ We may take this as the time Trincomalee was opened to international shipping from China to the Arabian Peninsula, permitting spread of the contemporary message of Islam to the far east. The time agrees with the paean to Koneswaram by the 9th Century lyricist Tirugnanasambandar, who sang “Konamalai and the peerless God who dwelleth on Konamalai, to the sound of the roaring Ocean and rows of Kalal and the anklets, and half whose body is shared by the Maid of the Mountains and who rides the sacred bull.”  

Once more we refer to David Shulman’s Tamil – a Biography: “Prehistory proceeds into protohistory and from there to the historical light of day … To return briefly to the problem of dating: once again we find ourselves working backwards from the eighth century record, converging on some legendary figure who might easily be situated, together with other heroes from the mythic past … I think we can conclude that this layer of consolidated tradition constitutes something good and true – not in the sense of brute historical facts, but in the sense that Tamil literary tradition achieved a certain semi-standardised form at that time [in Pandya Madurai of the 5th – 8th Century].” 

The history in the Mahavamsa we discern followed Shulman’s formula. We know that the Tamil Buddhist monks who wrote or presided over the writing of the Mahavamsa, Buddhadatta Thera (5th Century) and Culavamsa, Dhammakitti Maha Thera (13th Century), were undoubtedly familiar with history writing in the Pandya country (T.N. Ramachandran, Hisselle Dhammaratana Mahāthera). Manavamma seeing Muruga riding the peacock at Gokanna belongs to this category of history. The peacock is fictitious, but it points to the location of meditation, Gokanna, as near Kataragama.

On Trincomalee, further evidence is related by Tijana Radeska in the Vintage News (6 Sept.2016): “Arthur C. Clarke uncovered ruined masonry, architecture, and idol images of the sunken original temple — including carved columns with flower insignias, and stones in the form of elephant heads — spread on the shallow surrounding seabed.  The pillar, as well as the ruins, display Tamil, Pallava, and Chola architectural influence of the 3rd-9th-century era, corroborated by the discovery of Pallava Grantha and Chola script inscriptions and Hindu images found in the premises …” C. Nandagopal, Univ. of Kelaniya, adds, ‘As the emblem of power and imperial status elephants are given a significant place in the Pallava royal regalia and occupy the sacred precinct of temple architecture.’

On the development of Trincomalee first by the Pallavas, followed by the Cholas, there is a great deal more evidence in the form of artefacts and inscriptions apart from the remains of Koneswaram in the sea. The building of the port and temple were supported by land grants to surrounding villages, a tradition continued almost to this day (Van Senden’s diary (1786)), a 10th Century Tamil slab inscription at Nilaveli (S. Gunasingam). Neither the Pallavas nor Cholas let religion jeopardise trade. In fact, in 1090 the king of Sri Vijaya (Sumatra – Island of Gold) sent an embassy to Kulottunga with the request to issue a grant of villages to the two Buddhaviharas built at Nagappattinam – known as the Rajaraja Perumpalli and the Rajendra Perumpalli. The administration of Trincomalee by trade guilds such as the Ainnuruwar explains its continuity under changes from Pallava, to Chola to Parakramabahu (Dinuka Kekulawala, Kelaniya).  

Until the Pallava intrusion in the 7th century, Trincomalee was hardly noticed. C.W. Nicholas in the special issue of the Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society Ceylon Branch of 1963, referring to Ptolemy’s celebrated map of AD 150, confirms the obscurity of Trincomalee then, “If the River Ganges is the Mahavali Ganga, it is extraordinary that no port is marked at its mouth and the great harbour of Trincomalee had no name … In the Chronicles the port of Trincomalee is called Gokannatittha or Gonagamaka: it is mentioned as a landing place in the 5th century B.C., though this account is probably legendary, and again in the 3rd century…” The latter to newly erected Gokanna Vihara in Trincomalee, claiming precedence over Koneswaram Temple, supposedly destroyed in the 3rd Century.

The foregoing might also answer another question – the origin of the Kataragama Muruga shrine, latterly supported by the kings of Kandy, and patronised by Tamil speakers. The best introduction to this question is given by Sir Ponnambalam Arunachalam in his essay, ’The Worship of Muruga or Skanda.’ This may be termed the ancient religion of Ceylon, enriched by a steady stream of Indian immigrants and pilgrims from prehistoric times.

We observed that the Pallavas came by the east coast. It suggests further possibilities. One mile west of the Mahayana shrine of Thiriyai lies the hill Kandasamy Malai dedicated to Muruga. Further south just north of Kathirkamam is a seaside shrine to Muruga at Uhanthamalai in Tamil – Okanda in Sinhalese. 

What this suggests to us is that before Mahayana expanded in Tamil Nadu, about 4th Century AD, its sailors were worshippers of Muruga. Thus, Mahayana shrines followed Muruga shrines in tandem along the East coast. Hence the Mahayana shrines in the South, including Budurugala, in the same area as Kathirkamam. Pilgrims from the North to Kathirkamam too have followed on foot the coastal route from the North. Muruga’s power over the Sinhalese too should not be underestimated. 

Arunachalam tells us, “In the great annual perahera in Kandy, [Muruga] had always a leading place; Buddha’s Tooth, now the chief feature of the procession, formed no part of it till the middle of the 18th Century, when it was introduced by the order of King Kirtti Sri Rajasinha to humour the Buddhist monks, he had imported from Siam … both among Buddhists and Hindus he is the god par excellence.  According to ancient tradition of which he was informed by Mudaliar Mendis Gunasekara, who gave him the poem Kanda Upata, King Dutugemunu paid obeisance at the Kathirkamam shrine before he went north to take on the Tamil king Elala, and after killing him, fulfilled his vow by refurbishing the Kathirkamam shrine. The 2nd Century AD map of Ptolemy marks Kathirkamam as Dionisi Civitas (City of Dionysius, a place of religious orgies).

We are left with a picture of continuous immigration from India. E.B. Denham writing in Ceylon Census of 1911 says of another festival, “[It] is now regarded as a very sacred occurrence by the Catholics of Ceylon, and even of Southern India. But they are not the only people who form the vast crowd that each year, during the month of July, convert the quiet little village of Talavillu into a large bustling town, improvised with huts made of boughs and cadjans. Muhammadans, Gentiles, individuals of all shades of religious opinion, flock thither as to a large fair.” He adds, “With a through connection with India, Mannar may once again enjoy a prosperity which has been graphically described by many writers.” But, alas, that prosperity has evaded us. 

We may note that Koneswaram rose as a port of international fame only when there was peace within Lanka and peace between China, India and Lanka. But our Indian labour came on the basis of solemn promises. We acted like a super-power in the way we treated them.  

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Latest comments

  • 21
    1

    Lanka is well and truly f***ed ……….. just accept the inevitable and try to enjoy life …….. what’s left of it.

    • 11
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      Look at the faces of these women in the photo in the front-page …… old-women, middle-aged-women, young-women ……… when Native Vedda sees them, his raving misogyny, subconsciously, takes over his mind and makes him go into a wild uncontrollable rage to spew out venom ….

      I feel so sad …… these are my people …….. so much of hope in their eyes/faces …….. ready to be taken for the next ride by the best smoothest talking humbug of them all, in the contest ……. such gullibility …… wanting desperately to believe in someone

      Am I surprised? No. ……. Look at the people in this forum who are enthralled by personalities ….. and here might be the top 1% of Lankans in education. What hope has the rest?

      When others were waxing lyrical about the greatness/goodness of human-nature ……… there was a tiny handful of cynics among the ancient Greek philosophers

      Lankan Cynics, anyone? ….. Cynicism, anyone? ……….. After 75-years worth of good rides of all types: you guys still want to believe? Have faith?

      I have refrained from mentioning a single current/bygone political-personality ……. cause it would’ve blocked your mind from focusing on what’s said.

      Such is how ye minds have been taken over …….. captured prisoner.

      • 19
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        “In 1928, W.A. de Silva, president of the Ceylon National Congress, wanted the most vulnerable Plantation Tamils denied the vote”
        It is amazing that leaders and academics with names like De Silva and Kodikara were instrumental in denying the rights of recently arrived Plantation Tamils. Were these worthies unaware of their own slightly earlier South Indian ancestry?

        • 5
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          OC, in his book Democracy Stillborn Rajan Hoole states that the Tamil Congress could have defeated the Citizenship Bill, but chose not to. The Bill passed because enough non-Sinhala MPs either voted for it or abstained.

          • 14
            1

            Svenson,
            In those days, there were Jaffna Tamils, and there were lesser Tamils. It took 70 years for them to figure out they were all Tamils. In the meantime, some ex-Tamils managed to out-Sinhalese the Sinhalese themselves.

            • 10
              1

              OC
              Beware of what you say. You may be treading on Jaffna Tamil Vellala sentiments.
              *
              As a people, the Sinhalese more willingly accommodated foreigners into their fold. (It was true of language too.)
              The current form of bigotry is much after SB ideology came to the fore.

            • 4
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              old codger,
              Sinhalised Tamils of recent erasing their trace with the help of the early sinhalised Tamils.

            • 8
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              OC, 70 years is not so bad. The Sinhalese have still not accepted that they all have Tamil blood.

              • 3
                3

                Svenson,
                .
                The Sinhalese have still not accepted that they all have Tamil blood.

                Are u sure about ” all” ?
                .
                So we Sinhalese should remember “LTTE atrocities” and hate all other nations.

                At least today our people like you should be blessed with more wisdom. It is unfair to place the finger equally. Whether it is done by JVPs or nothern Sri Lankans, it is unfair.

                • 4
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                  Pardon, Svenson, I have misinterpreted it. Please add supporting links so we can discuss this further. It would help if you insist that all Sinhalese have Tamil blood.Thank you.

              • 3
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                Svenson,
                They may be right!!?? Agree that “Tamil Blood” may not be consistent with their outlook and synchronise well, with their Historical 2600+ years of Culture, Heritage and Civilisation!!!
                If as claimed, being Aryans, probably got their blood from the Ganges flowing down from the Himalayas!!!
                That’s why their seeking to find and remain at the bottom end of the world is Eternal and seems not yet achieved!!??
                Aggressively and progressing well on course as desired – delightful indeed!!??

            • 2
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              OC
              Isn’t it the case that at least some Jaffna tamils—may be most—Jaffna tamils still consider the Estate tamils to be inferior to them and that they don’t count when it comes to tamil issues?

              • 1
                7

                Regret the inadvertent repetition of “Jaffna tamils.” This happens when you write comments on a small device like a smartphone!

              • 7
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                Another apologist for state-sponsored Chingkalla racism against the Thamizh, Jayawardene is quite a common name in Kerala former Thamizh Chera Nadu. What do you say to your namesake a former President of Sri Lanka and a direct descendant of Thambi Mudaliar the 17Th-century immigrant from Thamizh Nadu o the London Daily Telegraph on 11 July 1983?
                “I am not worried about the opinion of the Jaffna [Tamil] people now… Now we can’t think of them. Not about their lives, or their opinion of us. Nothing will happen in our favour until the terrorists are wiped out. Just that. You can’t cure an appendicitis patient until you remove the appendix.”
                The more you put pressure on the North, the happier the Sinhala people will be here. Really, if I starve the Tamils out, the Sinhala people will be happy. Generally, the term Jaffna Tamil is used to describe all Eezham Thamizh including the ones from the east. hen-President Jayewardene’s interview expresses the state’s exclusionary ideology and implicitly dehumanizes the Thamizh people while calling them “terrorists.” Such tactics are risk factors of genocide. This quote has been interpreted to, at best, condone mass violence against Thamizh and, at worst, incite Chingkalla -Buddhist nationalists to commit such anti-Tamil violence. This has been the ideology of all Chingkalla-led governments from the time of independence

              • 6
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                Mr Jayawardene, isn’t it also the case that most Kandyan Sinhalese consider the low country Sinhalese inferior to them, especially the recently Sinhalised South Indian Tamil origin coastal communities and castes? Even recently the two Mahanayakes from Kandy protested to SillySena not to appoint any low country Sinhalese, especially low castes as governors of the Kandyan Sinhalese heartland the central province. The position should always belong to a Buddhist Kandyan Sinhalese upper caste or failing that a Christian Kandyan Sinhalese and Sillysena meekly complied. What do you say to this? Just look at all the matrimonial advertisements, where Sinhalese parents largely want their offspring to marry within their caste or from a higher caste and 99% of the Kandyans prefer only Kandyans. They do not consider low-country Sinhalese as actual Sinhalese, the only exception is filthy rich or aristocratic upper-caste low-country, Sinhalese families.

                • 6
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                  There are caste, tribal, regional and class divisions in every ethnic group, not just the Tamils. It was not the Jaffna Tamils, who marginalised discriminated committed violence against the Indian-origin estate Tamils and made them stateless but the Sinhalese-led Sri Lankan state and the Sinhalese people and they committed these same atrocities against the Jaffna Tamils too and chased 1/3 of them away from the island. In the case of Indian-origin Tamils, they made them stateless and forcibly deported them to India but the case of the Jaffna Tamils made life hell for them that they were forced to flee. Do not try to blame the victims and whitewash what happened. The Jaffna Tamils have never ruled or were in important positions and did not pass these discriminatory laws. It was the Sinhalese.

                • 0
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                  Rohan25:
                  “Mr Jayawardene, isn’t it also the case that most Kandyan Sinhalese consider the low country Sinhalese inferior to them….”

                  So you do agree with my point that the Jaffna Tamils consider the Estate Tamils to be inferior to them. The other respondent to my comment, presumably a Tamil by his name, has admitted as much by not disagreeing with me.

                  Responses like yours and the other one make me think constantly that many commenters on CT articles would flunk miserably if they were made to sit for a comprehension test. Please read Old Codger’s original comment to which my comment was posted in reply and then my reply again and see whether your comment is warranted. If you still think so, then there no hope for you.

                  Yes, historically, the Kandyans have regarded the low country Sinhalese to be inferior them and may be most of them still do, but that has absolutely no relevance to my comment.

                  • 5
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                    Ah, the truth hurts and hence this reaction. It has a lot of relevance as a lot of Sinhalese racists and apologists are cunningly trying to deflect the criticism, with regard to racist legislation and laws that were passed by the Sri Lankan state aided and abetted by the vast majority of the Sinhalese, not only against the Indian origin estate Tamils but also the native Tamils from the north and east by justifying these racist laws favouring the Sinhalese only, by constantly referring to the social attitudes of the Jaffna Tamils, towards other Tamils. These sorts of social attitudes are not peculiar just to the Jaffna Tamils but also to the Sinhalese and every other nation and ethnic group in the world. Even certain races and nations think they are superior to others. However these social attitudes are just individual or collective social attitudes, that over time and education are fast disappearing. This does not excuse the state from passing racist laws based on these social or racist attitudes, as to who is superior or who belongs and who does not belong, based on religion, ethnicity, race and skin colour.

                    • 4
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                      This is what the Sinhalese Sri Lankan state did the Jaffna Tamils did not, they kept their social attitudes to themselves and were largely endogamous when it came to marriage, this was their personal choice and it did not affect the Indian-origin Tamils or anyone. They did not prevent any other people from advancing or prospering like the Sri Lankan state and the Sinhalese largely did. Steal their lands or make them stateless. My comment here is not in isolation, as I have read most of your comments and like the so-called Sevenson , has largely the same themes, cunningly trying to blame the victim for their current plight, with irrelevant justifications.

                    • 0
                      3

                      Rohan25:

                      “Ah, the truth hurts and hence this reaction.”

                      Yes, the truth does hurt. It does hurt that I have to live in a world full of retards like you with zero comprehension skills in addition to going through other trials and tribulations of life.

                      I asked you to read Old Codger’s comment and did you? Here’s part of OC’s original comment:

                      “In those days, there were Jaffna Tamils, and there were lesser Tamils. It took 70 years for them to figure out they were all Tamils.”

                      I got the sense from this that OC thought that Jaffna Tamils now considered “lesser Tamils” (including Estate Tamils) to be equal to them and I was just pointing out that they haven’t still got there. Contrast his intelligent comment with your B.S. comment.

                      If it helps you, if someone made a statement to the effect that Kandyans no longer considered low-country Sinhalese to be inferior to them and I thought otherwise, I would have at the first opportunity posted a comment disagreeing.

                    • 0
                      0

                      Rohan25:

                      Further to my last reply, by “his intelligent comment” I meant OC’s reply to my reply to his original comment.

              • 4
                2

                L.J,
                “Jaffna tamils still consider the Estate tamils to be inferior to them “
                True enough. Leave alone Estate Tamils, even Eastern ones aren’t quite on par. But all this is kept under cover nowadays, just like the attitudes of the Mahanayakas.

          • 17
            3

            Svenson

            “The Bill passed because enough non-Sinhala MPs either voted for it or abstained.”

            Oh yeah, you are now blaming the Tamils for the bill. You do not seem to have words to describe about those racists who initiated the process and passed the bill in the parliament.

            Let us forget the citizenship Act and its enforcement by SJ’s old flame SiriMao for a second. Can we now talk about how they have been treated before and after independence and their living condition, standard of living, their physical safety and security …….?

            Which planet are you living?
            Perhaps planet Krypton.
            Some of the Sinhala/Buddhist Aryans believe their ancestors came from planet Krypton and brought with them the technology to build Pushpaka Vimana.

            • 10
              1

              “Oh yeah, you are now blaming the Tamils for the bill. You do not seem to have words to describe about those racists who initiated the process and passed the bill in the parliament.”

              Good one!!

            • 10
              0

              Native,
              “Some of the Sinhala/Buddhist Aryans believe their ancestors came from planet Krypton”
              They claimed to be Buddhist, yes. But are there real Buddhists in this country? How many of them were really Sinhala (assuming that there is any such creature)…?

              • 5
                0

                old codger

                “But are there real Buddhists in this country?”

                A few still honestly following/adhering to The Awakened One’s teaching. Rest of them are known as Sinhala/Buddhists a new identity given by the public racist Anagarika Homeless Dharmapala.

                We must urgently conduct an island wide genetic documentation of the people. Those who share 50% or more North South Indian gene should be kicked out of the island. Ravi Perera, Wimala, Gamanpilla, …… Kamala, Surgeon General, …. along with Mao’s b***s carriers, …. will share the first boat back to India.

          • 12
            1

            Svenson, most probably living the good life in some western country, is always an apologist for state-sponsored Sinhalese Buddhist racism against the island’s Tamils and constantly wants to blame the Tamil victims and not their oppressors, the Sri Lankan state or the Sinhalese for their current predicament, just like the way the Nazis cunningly used blame the Jews and other oppressed people for their predicament and what happened to them. It was not the Tamil Congress or any other individual Tamil or Tamil party that enacted this racist bill to make around a million Indian-origin estate Tamils, who had then lived around 100 years on the island and earned to most of the island’s foreign, as stateless slaves, but it was the Sinhalese led state and Sinhalese parties, who enacted these racist laws, that they most probably had been secretly planning and plotting prior to independence, that first step towards reducing the island’s Tamil population that was around 30% at that time and to marginalise them, by using their numerical majority.

            • 11
              1

              Yes the Tamil Congress, especially their leader, choose not to do anything and betray the Tamils, as this person was bribed with a ministerial post. However, the vote would have still been passed because of the numerical majority of the Sinhalese, irrespective of the Tamil Congress and the quisling leader, who after this was rejected by the Jaffna Tamils. As one person already pointed out many of these so-called Sinhalese both low and high-born, who were advocating and enacting this bill to deny the vulnerable Indian origin estate Tamil population, their basic rights and citizenship, conveniently had forgotten their own recent or slightly earlier South Indian Tamil ancestry. Just because they now identified themselves as Sinhalese Buddhists or Christians, they belonged but the estate Tamils who arrived a century or two later than them from South India did not belong, as they still retained their Tamil identity.

          • 5
            0

            Svenson,
            That’s a myth?? How come Majority could be overcome by the Minority (Lesser number of MP’s)!!! Propaganda! SB;s, to use Hill Country Tamil vote for ulterior motives! Well-planned SB’s ulterior motive Move!!?

        • 16
          1

          “Plantation Tamils”

          Plantation Tamils have contributed to the Lankan economy more than any of the freeloading pols, clergy and the rest of the parasites.

          They have lived in atrocious conditions ……. in line rooms.

          Kick out the robbing, country-destroying, not-a-single-day’s-honest-work, disgraceful scum of the earth ex-presidents and their widows from luxury free government housing ………. have a lottery not rigged by the Thondamans or other plantation Tamil leaders ……. let some of the line-room dwellers live in those houses.

          That’ll be appreciation well deserved.

        • 8
          1

          OC
          Kingsley de Silva was noted for his ethnic prejudices but he was relatively cautious in his writing.
          Shelton Kodikara was more into international affairs.
          But I doubt if either was ‘instrumenta’ in denying the rights of the Plantation Tamils.
          That job was done by DSS well before they were even known a academics. By late mid 1950s the plight of the Hill Country Tamils was mostly irrelevant to parliamentary politics, including the FP that was created with the Citizenship Act as its central theme.

          • 4
            0

            SJ,
            Yes, Kodikara was a bit later, but I meant another De Silva, W.A. De Silva.
            The list of “patriots ” should be analysed to see how many had Indian ancestry.

            • 3
              0

              OC
              Yes.
              We predominantly have that ancestry along with a touch of Arab, European and even East and South-East Asian on occasion.

        • 2
          0

          OC,
          Whenever someone is in ‘DENIAL MODE’, facts hardly become observable or Realisable!!??
          Most senses become DISABLED without one’s own knowledge!!
          BLIND, DEAF AND DEAF, but NOT DUMB!!!
          Alternate explanation, OPPORTUNISM!!!??
          PARDON THOSE WHO DID NOT KNOW THEIR FALLIBILITY!!
          Pin Siddha Wewa!!??

      • 9
        3

        nimal fernando

        “After 75-years worth of good rides of all types: you guys still want to believe? Have faith?”

        We must never surrender!!
        Keep hope alive.
        Keep hope alive!
        Keep hope alive! On tomorrow night and beyond,
        keep hope alive!
        Rev. Jesse Jackson
        SEPTEMBER 24, 2008

        • 10
          3

          Yes, dear NV,.
          .
          We must never give up!
          .
          Panini Edirisinhe

          • 8
            1

            We live in hope ……….. although living in hope is what kills us all in the end.

            Ever tried living without hope, faith, belief, ………… just accepting the reality out there for what it is?

            Try it ……. it’s not all that bad ……. as they say ……….

        • 6
          1

          “keep hope alive!
          Rev. Jesse Jackson”

          Native,

          What hope did George Floyd have?

          Have the Blacks reached the Promised Land ……… Martin Luther King saw?

          I too know what the Sri Lankan Promised Land should look like ……. as for reaching it: forget it ……. count me out

          Why is reality so hard? …….. Even though we live it daily.


          “I have no money, no resources, no hopes. I am the happiest man alive. Twenty year ago, ten years ago, I thought that I was a learner. I no longer think about it, I am. Everything that I’ve learned has fallen from me. There are no more books to be read or things to learn, thank God.”

          Light at the end of the road ……. eh? :))

          • 3
            0

            nimal fernando

            “What hope did George Floyd have?”

            Comparatively speaking don’t you think George Floyd’s generation is better off than his 17th, 18th, 19th, 20th .. century ancestors. It doesn’t mean his death is acceptable or anyway justifiable.

            Whatever happens Keep hope alive.

      • 4
        5

        Dear nimal fernando,
        .
        Although I thoroughly approve of you, I object to these words of yours: “these are my people”.
        .
        I suggest that we say, “these are our people“. They sometimes make mistakes, and we all suffer. We have accepted that suffering.
        .
        However, we must never accept Ranil Wickremasinghe as our legitimate President. Our protests must be so peaceful that it doesn’t become possible for this junta to claim that the country will fall into anarchy, when Ranil is finally removed.
        .
        We will remain poor for a long time to come; some of us may die soon, but let us so live (and die) that we restore dignity to all 22 million of our Lankan people
        .
        Panini Edirisinhe (NIC 483111444V)

        • 7
          0

          “I suggest that we say, “these are our people“.”

          I can speak only for myself. …….. How can I speak for others?

          Can I speak for Native? He doesn’t like women. …… They are certainly not his people. :)))

          In this place, one has to choose one’s words very carefully!

      • 5
        0

        nimal fernando

        “old-women, middle-aged-women, young-women ……… when Native Vedda sees them, his raving misogyny, subconsciously, takes over his mind and makes him go into a wild uncontrollable rage to spew out venom ….”

        My partner is a women, all my friends are women, my mother is a woman, my aunts are women, my grandmas are women, …… most of my teachers were women, …. …. You are confused, I am not Mervyn, Mahinda’s step brother.

        • 2
          0

          Native,

          You know I’m just taking the mickey out ……. about you and women.

          Good, that you don’t take it too seriously. :))

    • 4
      0

      This comment was removed by a moderator because it didn’t abide by our Comment policy. The key to maintaining the website as an inviting space is to focus on intelligent discussion of topics.

      For more detail see our Comment policy https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/comments-policy-2

      • 2
        2

        This comment was removed by a moderator because it didn’t abide by our Comment policy. The key to maintaining the website as an inviting space is to focus on intelligent discussion of topics.

        For more detail see our Comment policy https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/comments-policy-2

      • 7
        0

        SM,
        Go have some sleep. It’s 2.49 in Bandarawela.

        • 4
          0

          “It’s 2.49 in Bandarawela.”

          Why is it different in Colombo? Different time zones?

          Perhaps you are thinking of another place ……… it’s sure different in Pittsberg. :)))

          • 5
            0

            Nimal,
            “Why is it different in Colombo? Different time zones?”
            Just reassuring SM.

        • 4
          0

          This comment was removed by a moderator because it didn’t abide by our Comment policy. The key to maintaining the website as an inviting space is to focus on intelligent discussion of topics.

          For more detail see our Comment policy https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/comments-policy-2

    • 4
      0

      This comment was removed by a moderator because it didn’t abide by our Comment policy. The key to maintaining the website as an inviting space is to focus on intelligent discussion of topics.

      For more detail see our Comment policy https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/comments-policy-2

  • 3
    1

    “”Muhammadans, Gentiles, individuals of all shades of religious opinion, flock thither as to a large fair.”
    ……..and while one may argue that this is a colonists view
    Rajan………..perhaps and so we forgot to “lean not on our own understanding” and thus missed the blessings of acknowledging the infinite.

  • 4
    0

    Great piece of writing to top up our knowledge.

    One aspect: “Senarat Paranavitana, the doyen of Ceylon’s archaeologists, in his Art of the Ancient Sinhalese (1971), advances the ‘overwhelming’ influence of ‘Andhra art on that of early Ceylon and a branch of that school in Ceylon, producing the sculptures on the frontispieces of the ancient stupas.’
    .
    Mr. Paranavitana my indeed be correct in attributing it to the Andhra and Amaravati, which had a flourishing Buddhist society.
    .
    As per Anirudh Kanisetti in his Medieval India, re-imagined:
    “The general belief, of course, is that the school of Buddhism which is closest to what the Buddha taught is the version that survives in Sri Lanka and Southeast Asia, the Theravada school. Sri Lankan scriptures are preserved in Pali and claim to be the authentic words of the Buddha, and most scholars until recently believed in that claim. BUT Theravada Buddhism itself derives from an even older school called the Staviravadins, who were the rivals of the sects of Andhra, who as I said, were derived from the Mahasanghikas.” (https://www.anirudhkanisetti.com/post/episode-5)

    In fact, during the demise of Buddhism in the South India by the 6th century, a large migration must have occurred to Lanka, as a safe haven.

    • 5
      4

      Dear Fairmindedone,
      .
      Although there isn’t any one person who can make a difference, I, as a Sinhalese have been following the tireless efforts of Dr Rajan Hoole to undo the injustices that have been done to the Upcountry Tamils upon whose labour it was that our prosperity around Independence was based. Yet we did so little for them. Even the Northern Tamils of whom Dr Hoole is one.
      .
      Two weeks ago, I came across this:
      .
      https://www.thehindu.com/news/international/interview-in-ceylon-there-was-no-tryst-with-democracy-rajan-hoole/article66521251.ece
      .
      I had bought the book; I wish I could say that I have read it all. No not all, yet, but a good deal of it. Thank you, Dr Hoole. Most citizens from your part of the country used to look upon the poor workers on the estates as a different community. You have persuaded even many of us Sinhalese to some re-thinking.
      .
      This is Panini Edirisinhe from Bandarawela (NIC 483111444V)
      .

      .

  • 7
    2

    Dr Rajan Hoole has presented well researched a very useful informative article even though may not be categorized as a research article.nevertheless,if this narrative goes through a through comprehensive research peer review and the results published , the readers will benefit immensely, and the history of the relevant period revised accordingly, otherwise the article will face a racial slant and remains one among many.

    • 7
      2

      During this same period, the British Raj was instrumental in sending thousands of Indians as laborers to various countries throughout the world such as South Africa, Uganda,Burma Ceylon and many others in the Indian Ocean and left them stranded to face their fate.Once the British went back the migrant labour were were allowed to live at the mercy of the country they migrated.
      . Was the working class in Brittan then treated any better?

      • 2
        0

        Rajan Hoole,
        In the first place, I would like to know how the line rooms originated in the plantations during the British period?
        How it evolved into a monster later?
        How the sub-human conditions including lack of proper and education facilities that existed around the line rooms and how and why the plantation labor was excluded from the surrounding villages.
        Why the British/the Planters constructed line rooms for the Plantation labor in the first place? Was it to provide residential facilities to a single laborer or a single laborer family, that in time were forced to accommodate many families mainly due to natural increase in population?

        • 5
          0

          SK,
          “Rajan Hoole,
          In the first place, I would like to know how the line rooms originated in the plantations during the British period?”
          At the time, this was considered acceptable accommodation. No electricity, no running water, outside toilets (if at all). But this was not all that different from the “tenements ” where the working class lived in Colombo. Very few of them had the amenities we expect today. The original government “flats” in Kotahena, built in the 50’s had electricity, but just one room and an enclosed toilet. Residents used curtains for privacy. Of course there was no LPG for cooking, and kerosene fumes ruled.
          The injustice was that the Plantation housing stayed the same, while the housing in the rest of the country improved.

          • 3
            0

            OC,
            ´
            I think the blatant lie based on “there are no polauthu huts” anywhere in the island is similar to what was done to beggars within the Colombo Municipal Council area.

            Remember? Those beggars were hurt in every way. All this was as an eye wash, not for a real beautification project.

            In recent days, I had to come to know many more mud huts not only in the northern areas but also in the southern and Uva provinces.
            The funny truth is that based PACHAWAHINIS (TV channels) create “false public opinion” and repeatedly sweep the real shortcomings of those poor people under the carpet.

            That is why I strongly oppose the mainstream Sri Lankan media institutions(SIRASA TV, Hiru TV, Derana TV). Like “Hiru TV” and “Derana TV” journalists, there are “several idiots who repeat in rounds and on Sirasa TV” uneducated journalists.These men are shameless.
            All these parasites were produced by the media mafia in the last 15 years. Their strength in creating false public perception is superior to various other forces. I don’t know how the powerful nations control these paparazzo-style “nilamasso-blueflies”.

            • 3
              0

              LM
              “That is why I strongly oppose the mainstream Sri Lankan media institutions(SIRASA TV, Hiru TV, Derana TV)”
              Media practically anywhere has their agenda. The listener must be able to sense when he is being fed BS.

              • 2
                0

                OC,
                .
                Thanks.
                As you once told us, Sri Lankan media evaluates TV channels only by rates. Not so in Germany, UK, France and many other countries in Europe. I have never heard any TV channel in Germany overestimating only then former leader Dr. Merkel. The same is true of the current Prime Minister of the UK: they simply cannot act arbitrarily like in our hell (by SIRASA TV, Deran TV and Hiru TV).

                You may be right about people’s indifference, however what if people are not knowledgeable enough to understand what the biased media scammers are broadcasting/broadcasting? The general knowledge of our average is far below that of any country with a comparable high literacy rate.

              • 3
                1

                OC
                When there is only BS to consume, people get used to it.
                See what the mainstream media of the West are doing.
                It was a world better at the time of the Watergate scandal.
                Today, they are dead silent about the Nordstream blasts exposed by a highly regarded investigative journalist.

                • 0
                  1

                  ” they are dead silent about the Nordstream

                  What do you think about the following heading?

                  “European experts question unusual silence over Nord Stream blasts”:

                  Source: Xinhua ; Editor: huaxia ; 2023-03-07 07:48:15

                  Do some honest comment on that. I want, then, to get back to you.

                  Please don’t parrot here what Xinhua or Pravda invented.

                • 0
                  1

                  What did you say about the Chinese laboratory, which was working for America, spreading the Covid-19. You never wanted to accept that it was a China’s game even though America funded that project so America might have had a hand on the leak of the virus.

                  If it were done by President Biden, Europe certainly would have retaliated to him the way they did to President Bush or President Trump. Europe got Norway to give the Nobel Prize to Obama, though they too were engaged in some wars, because it was a form of retaliation to George Bush giving Obama the Nobel prize within one month of his presidency. When the bombing took place, Russia had cut off the pipes’ capacity by 60%. Russia’s Gazprom was not the first one to report the bombing. European agencies reported it. Russia denied that and said there was no problem in the gas pipes. Denmark & Sweden did a lot of research to prove it was a bomb blast. How come the world’s largest gas company did not find out that the gas pressure on the line had gone down? Why did Russia wait until the neighboring countries reported about the pipes blasting sounds?
                  Drink Deva’s tonics and take a good rest. No other remedy!

              • 3
                0

                old codger

                I agree with you completely.

                “The listener must be able to sense when he is being fed BS.”

                How did 6.9 million swallow BS fed by media and saffronistas?
                How does SJ swallow Beijing’s BS all the time?

                • 0
                  2

                  Have a good rest, and you should be all right.
                  Always remember, I care for your health.

                • 0
                  0

                  It is just swallow bs is seen as hobby in that culture. I think people are not serious enough about anything today.

                  🤔🤔🤔🤔🤔

          • 0
            1

            Old Codger,

            Thanks for your response. Old Codger Are you frightened of the British or being an apologist for the British capitalist? Yet let me elaborate on my line of thinking.
            ..
            The plantation Tamils had supposed to have come to Sri Lanka 200 years back, precisely in 1823!
            .Now the bicentenary celebrations are being conducted to celebrate the event.
            The estates were run by planters / Agency Houses from inception.
            . .
            By 1948, 125 years had already elapsed and in 1975 when the estates were nationalized under Mrs Bandaranaike’s regime, the Agency houses had completed 152 years of management..

            Were any improvements made to the living conditions -precisely the wages paid and the condition of line rooms and also the sanitation/ health, education and other amenities?

            If we are actually correcting historic mistakes and if we have to pinpoint the actual perpetuators, let us be honest and sincere and be impartial!.

            • 1
              0

              SK,
              “Are you frightened of the British or being an apologist for the British capitalist?”
              No, not at all. My point is that norms and expectations change over time. We shouldn’t look at 19th century people through a 21st century lens. At the time, that was how workers were treated, not only on plantations, and not only by the British. We must also remember that many of these workers were affected by the Great Madras famine, for which the British were partly responsible. Living in practical slavery with food might have been preferable to starvation or even being eaten by others.
              https://unbelievable-facts.com/2015/07/the-great-madras-famine.html
              As you can see, historical background is very important.

              • 1
                0

                SK,
                “”Were any improvements made to the living conditions -precisely the wages paid and the condition of line rooms”
                Yes, but not much. A British TV documentary in the 70’s about British owned tea plantations forced the government to take action. Also, improvements in conditions outside the plantations were much wider.
                As SJ says, it ‘s all about profit. If your costs go up, your profits go down. When your profits are half the country’s income, the easy way out is to keep the wages down. If you want a docile workforce, you keep them uneducated. Who does the government sacrifice? Does it want to lose its income and have the rest of the population rioting? Reality sucks.

              • 0
                0

                Old Codger,
                I agree. Norms and expectations change over time. Yes! But it is an explanation, not refuting my point.

                Great Madras famine may have affected all the people in Madras Presidency. Where there were Tamils as well as Malayalee, Telegu, Kannadigas.

                But why only Tamil laborers were sent to Ceylon,Figi Islands, South Africa and to even Burma. Why ? were there any racial bias?.

                Old Codger, You are justifying , not contesting my hypothesis!

                • 3
                  0

                  SK,
                  I am not contesting any hypothesis. Actually, I can’t see one.
                  I don’t think the British had any bias . But it is a fact that many workers sent to places like East Africa and the West Indies were Gujaratis, Punjabis, etc. Perhaps Tamils were more willing to leave their villages , compared to Malayalees or Telegus. There is a story that Chinese workers were considered too, as in Malaya and Singapore. That would have been interesting!
                  Yes, the first Tamil workers arrived in 1820, at which time slavery was still legal. It was only abolished in 1844.
                  The point is that one shouldn’t assume that the planters set out to be deliberately evil or cruel. This is how workers were treated at the time. There were enlightened colonials like Bracegirdle who protested, but they didn’t have much effect. What cannot be condoned is that local leaders both before and after Independence carried on the same way.

                • 2
                  0

                  Incorrect. Almost the entire Thamizh country was part of the Madras presidency and the Thamizh were the largest population of the presidency and then the Telugu. The Malayali, Kannada, Odia and Tulu speakers were only in the peripheries. Most of the homeland of the Malayali, Kannada and Telugu speakers, did not make up the Madras Presidency but were ruled by Maharajas of Nizams. What you call Indian India. Travancore-Cochin in the case of Malayalees, Mysore Maharajah and by the Nizam of Hyderabad in the case of Kannadas and northern Telangana was also ruled by the Nizam. Only the northern Malabar region of present-day Kerala, the Andhra and coastal Rayaseelama region ( now the new state of Andhra) of the Telugu lands and in the case of Kannada/Tulu areas not under the Mysore Maharajah and the Nizam of Hyderabad were part of the Madras Presidency.

                  • 2
                    0

                    Thamizh would have been around 42% of the population and Telugu around 36% together making up 78% of the population of the presidency. The rest is made up of the others. At one time even the northern province and the entire coastal areas of the island were also part of the Madras presidency until the capture of the Kandyan kingdom and the creation of a new colony called Ceylon by the British in 1833. The Thamizh were the largest population hence most of the labour recruitment was from the Thamizh. This does not mean Malyalis, Teugus and others were also not recruited but they soon assimilated into the Thamizh Identity. Eg; The Telugu Sakilli caste. Moreover, it was the Thamizh areas which were badly affected by the famine and not the other regions, hence more Thamizh recruitment. However, most of the Indian labour sent to Fiji, Mauritius and the Caribean as well as to some other colonies was largely from the Hindi belt, mostly from Bihar, which also used to get badly affected by famine. Thamizh made up less than 10% of the labour sent to these colonies. This is why the language spoken in these former British colonies by people of Indian origin is Bhojpuri( Hindi). Even the Thamizh and other Indians like the Bengali have assimilated into this identity and now speak Bhojpuri/Hindi as their mother tongue.

          • 3
            3

            OC
            The plantation industry like all capitalist ventures was about profit not social justice. They get away with providing the least that they can get away with.
            People like Sir P Arunachalam spoke up for the plantation workers very early. But it takes a lot of effort to make a colonial ruler to budge.
            The urban workers had a strong trade union movement that began post WWI. Urban unrest, especially in the capital, was most unaffordable to the rulers.
            Sadly for the plantation worker the loss of citizenship denied all political clout. Also, their main leadership lacked militancy.

            • 2
              0

              SJ,
              Absolutely!But now Capitalism had learnt a lot and practiced social responsibility in addition to Profit maximization in a big way.

              The capitalist countries have EPF, ETF and many worker friendly legislations just to dampen the militancy of working class.

              The capitalists have also evolved to challenge the workers not by confrontation but by cooperating?

              • 0
                2

                “The capitalists have also evolved to challenge the workers not by confrontation but by cooperating?”
                So workers are jolly happy in the capitalist countries?
                I suppose that the French and British workers are continuing with their outdoor champagne party in these wintry days.

                • 0
                  2

                  Have you checked on what happened to the British welfare state since the 1980s?

          • 2
            0

            The plantation workers were initially brought to work on the coffee plantations. The work was seasonal and once the coffee berries were harvested they went back to their villages in India, Since the work was seasonal they were housed in Barrack type accommodation as the workers arrived as single individuals and were not accompanied by their families.

            Following the devastation of the Coffee plantations due to a disease the planting of Tea commenced. Tea cultivation practices required for the presence of a permanent workforce. Due to this the workers came to Sri Lanka along with their families and were housed in the Barrack type temporary accommodation. This subsequently became a permanent feature till cottage type single unit accommodation was provided following the nationalisation of the plantations in 1975. However, the Barrack type Line rooms still exist and a majority of the workers no longer work on the plantations but have migrated to other forms of employment outside the p;antations.

            • 0
              0

              James Taylor,

              Thanks, You are spot on !.This is what I expect for historical facts.

              Had you indicate years too it would immensely helped your comments..
              The line rooms really puzzled me for a long time. it originated by the British. and continued to date.
              .

            • 4
              0

              “Due to this the workers came to Sri Lanka along with their families and were housed in the Barrack type temporary accommodation.”
              So they ‘just came’?
              Are we not missing something here?

              • 0
                0

                You mean after the arrival of Margret Thanchche-, the Iron lady and her neo- liberal capitalism replacing the British welfare state by converting most of public sector enterprises back to private sector that was with the new slogan of globalization, extended to countries like India under Narasimbha Rao and Manomohan Singh and in Sri Lanka staring from Premadasa days with slogans like peoplization and continued under Chandrica Bandaranaike and further consolidated now under Ranil Wicramasinghe.

                These are counter moves by state capitalism by fighting back and reforming itself to face new challenges from the left.

                Capitalists learn new tricks quickly while the left unable to face new challenges. Just collapse!.

  • 13
    3

    I still remember what Prof KM deSilva as a young lecturer in 1973 said when he took lectures for Engineering faculty final year students under Agricultural civilization of Sri Lanka as a part of subject General Engineering re gard8ng ‘Yoha Ella’. ” it is gradient so fine that it is beyond the capabilities of Sri Lankan at that time. It must have been built by artisans from Tamil Nadu’. I real8zed KM de Silva was a different kettle of fish

    • 6
      0

      I was in his class in 1971. We were all very impressed by him. I was disappointed when he wrote about settlements in I believe 1986. He resorted to rhetoric to make out that the Kandyan peasantry driven by the British advance into the drier areas of Amparai, Batticaloa and Trincomalee districts, post 1818, had been there from ancient times. They responded to a humanitarian catastrophe and were victims. Why were these not countered, not to delegitimise their new habitations? Many Tamil lecturers in the humanities went abroad. Those remaining made their points very indirectly and often in Tamil. If you look at careers and the way people are selected for prestigious scholarships through the UGC, you will see how myths are passed off as history with dissent scared to express itself.

      • 5
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        RH
        Kingsley had a reputation to protect as a ‘great historian’. But his parochial slips did show to a careful observer.
        His academic colleagues knew his ideology well.
        The number of Sinhalese settlers in the three districts was not significant and no big issue until after DSS started his colonization schemes.
        Sinhalese settlements in the NCP followed the revival of irrigation tanks and were on a larger scale than in the East.
        *
        The UGC was a post 1978 creation, after your time at Peradeniya.
        I know several Tamil academic historians who were outspoken. But if an academic boldly says something in Tamil but will dare not repeat it in English, the problem is more with the person.

  • 4
    0

    “The time agrees with the paean to Koneswaram by the 9th Century lyricist Tirugnanasambandar”
    This is flawed I think in an otherwise well researched and equally well narrated piece of history.
    (Sambamthar and Appar, said to be contemporaries, belong to the time that the Saivaites confronted the Jains in the Pallava country and are located in early 7th Century. Calling either a lyricist is imprecise as poetry by the time, unlike Sangam poetry that was more akin to speech, was set to strict metre and was often sung.)
    *
    That besides, the author deserves our utmost thanks for this account at a time when history is maliciously distorted by all manner of nationalists.

  • 8
    4

    “That besides, the author deserves our utmost thanks for this account at a time when history is maliciously distorted by all manner of nationalists.”

    What a hypocrite this aging China’s man in Sri Lanka is.

    When UTHR(J) was documenting human rights violations in Sri Lanka particularly in the North East under the institutional name “University Teachers for Human Rights” China’s man was very upset. He wanted Rajan Hoole and Sritharan to use their own names to publish their regular reports on Human Rights violations committed by men and women under arms, including Armed forces, LTTE, ..& others.

    I was told how this aging man held UTHR(J) and its contributors in contempt. Since Rajan was using a cover he is alive now and SJ shamelessly acknowledges his contribution. I understand LTTE attempted a few times to bump him and his mates off. It has taken almost 30 years for an aging man to understand why and how other lives are precious and it would be worthwhile preserving them.

    Will he now apologise to Rajan?

    • 4
      7

      FYI
      I stand by all what I said then and by what I say now.
      A weird mind can imagine contradictions.

    • 6
      2

      Native, thanks for the update. I was not aware of this fact. Now I’m informed knowing who I’m dealing with. What a prick ??

      • 5
        1

        chiv

        I happened to meet some of his old admirers.
        I don’t harbour any malice against this feeble minded China’s man in Sri Lanka.
        By the way he used to type under two different pseudonyms namely SJ and Sekere. He stopped using Sekere when I pointed out him.

        He stands by both, what a hypocrite he is.
        This is not the expected behaviour of a learned man, poet, commentator, …. .
        He deserves a DSc from Colombo Uni.

        • 3
          1

          Native, I have come to know many in my life, to the point I can’t stand it, any more. Dealing with outright snobbish or narcissism is one thing but hypocrites are some thing else. Unfortunately we have plenty of such pricks in Lanka.

  • 0
    12

    Tamil King Elara, my foot.
    Tamils didn’t even exist at the time. Their existence is recorded only in 1911. Not only Tamils, even the name India didn’t exist at the time of Prince Jetta (eldest) Gamini (King Dutta Gamini Abhaya).
    Same as other Malavari (pronounced as Malabari) origin writers, Arunachalam also distorted English translation of the history of Sinhaladwipa to create a history for Tamils. British writers have clearly mentioned that India didn’t have a written history or a vocabulary on their own. Read Royal Asiatic Society Journals. The British were in India before they came to our country.
    Even “Soli” (සොළී) is a wrong word. It is the Tamil word for the high Sinhala word “Cola” (චෝළ) because they (Tamils) pronounce “Cha” (ච) as “Sa” (ස). Sinhalese should stop using the word “සොළී”. There is no such word. Even Elara is a made up name. One day I will be able to find the correct name. The name of his elephant was “Mahapabbatha” and the name of his horse was “Rana Maddava”. Were those Tamil names? Tamil writers don’t even know their own language.
    Contd’……

    • 0
      11

      Nowhere in Mahavamsa there is a mention of India.
      Cola, Pandu and Cera (චෝළ, පඬු, චේර) were countries located in the Dakshinapatha or the Southern territories. Southern to what? Southern to Himalaya. “Himalaya”, “Haimavatha”, “Himava” or “Himagiri” was not located in India. I have written proof. British writers had poor knowledge in geography. They couldn’t figure it out. Interestingly, our Buddhist monks haven’t corrected them either. Chola Rata or Chola Kingdom has a history that goes back to Mahi Ravana’s time. In the war between Mahi Ravana and Indra, Chola kings have taken the side of Ravana. Clearly, Chola Rata, Pandu Rata and Chera Rata weren’t in India.
      .
      The other story.
      There was no mention of a Kathirkamam shrine in the original Mahavamsa. It was an add-up. Not even by Geiger. But, much later. Together, British and Malavari writers have added various stories to our Mahavamsa to create a history for India and Tamils.
      Contd’……..

      • 0
        12

        There was no shrine in Kataragama at the time of King Dutta Gamini Abhaya. He visited “Wedahiti Kanda” and met King Vishmakarma Rawana (Vesamuni) or his Boar Avatar in their human forms. Why did he go to meet Ravana before waging war against a Chola king?
        British/Malabari writers have made King Vishmakarma Ravana and his Boar Avatar as one, reduced ten heads to six and called him Murugan. They may be not aware, 16th century Portuguese writers have mentioned that the Sinhalese have worshipped two gods in Kataragama and one had a head of a boar (Kataragama Deviyo).
        Also, there was no god called “Skandha”. It is “Kavandha” which means “a body without a head”. “Kathir” is the Tamil version for Sinhala word “Khadira”. Oh, it reminds me of Ramzan Khadirov, President of the Chechen Republic. I read somewhere that he was sick. I bless him with good health and speedy recovery. Russia. There is something big waiting for Russia. They are not ready at all. Bakhmut could be a distraction. Cannibalism was not a part of Russian wars. Russia’s Defense Minister’s strategy was to either give Ukrainian soldiers time to retreat or force them surrender, not slaughter them.

        • 8
          1

          Chimpa instead of posting rubbish , please clam down and take your Prozac tablets

      • 5
        2

        Champa dear ,
        “Nowhere in Mahavamsa there is a mention of India.
        Cola, Pandu and Cera (චෝළ, පඬු, චේර) were countries located in the Dakshinapatha or the Southern territories.”
        You are absolutely right! I have written proof, from your mates in that famous institution in Angoda, that all these places are in Russia, just south of the North Pole. When Mr.Putin enters Kiev, he will reveal the true Mahavamsa.

        • 6
          1

          old codger

          After reading Champasses typing I now wonder whether I exist. I also now question the existence of you, nimal, Sinhala Man, chev, mahila, ……. Colombo Telegraph, ….

        • 0
          6

          Pandikutti
          old codger
          Learn to challenge the topic I am talking about rather than resorting to personal attacks.
          I can present more facts.
          According to Mahavamsa, the king who came from “Chola” ruled with justice, fairness and kindness. It is possible that he came from one of the Dharma Rajya mentioned in our ancient books. That means, the names “Chola” and “Ellala” could be distorted names. It could actually be the “PanChala”. British and Malabari writers have a history of distorting our history. The best example is the fake Vijaya Hora story!.
          The kingdom of “Panchala” was ruled by powerful kings. That may be the reason Prince Jetta Gamini (later reigned as King Dutta Gamini Abhaya) had to seek help from King Vishmakarma Rawana (Wesamuni) to defeat the King from “Panchala”.
          .
          Mr. Putin’s forces won’t enter Kiev. His troops have already completed whatever task was assigned to them. Anyway, Kiev is under Russia. That is why even the mighty US President had to seek permission from Russia before visiting Kiev. The balloon drama and unidentified, unmanned aerial objects that appeared on US and Canada skies may have been there to give real time war experience to Ukrainian pilots.

      • 7
        1

        Champass

        “Nowhere in Mahavamsa there is a mention of India.”

        I hate to agree with you.
        You are right there was no country named India, but there were several kingdoms which were brought under one roof by the Brits.

        .

        • 6
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          Native,
          Champa says:
          ““Nowhere in Mahavamsa there is a mention of India.”
          Nowhere in Mahavamsa are the following mentioned:
          Bambalapitiya, Pettah , electricity, Russia, Putin, CT, Old Codger, Native Vedda…..
          Therefore, none of the above exist. Hello, are you there??

  • 6
    0

    Oh my God ! Cant you guys see wisdom of the ages

    Indeed, there was Sri lanka and the universe went round it offering loans as always, and even jobs the desert.

    Wonder if Sumaria and China were mentioned.
    Could it be western propaganda, as it cant be chinese folklore .

  • 5
    0

    Oh my God ! Cant you guys see the wisdom of the ancients.
    Indeed, there was Sri lanka and the universe went round it offering loans as always, and even jobs in the desert.
    Wonder if Sumaria and China were mentioned.
    Could it be western propaganda, as it cant be chinese CCP folklore .

    What for the asking…… Paris club loan comming …….its Baila time.

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