21 October, 2017

Indian Plantation Workers Overseas: Introduction & Malaya

By Charles Ponnuthurai Sarvan

Prof. Charles Sarvan

Recently, as a result of articles relating to Professor C. Suntharalingam, there has been mention of the Plantation workers. As a student of Literature, my interest has not been in broad, impersonal, happenings but, rather, on ordinary folk who experience and endure history; not on law-makers but on those at the receiving end of laws and statutory changes: as Thomas Paine urged in his Rights of Man, governments (and people) must be taught humanity. The approach here is primarily through literary texts. Most of what I have written on the Plantation workers is collected in my Sri Lanka: Literary Essays & Sketches from which the following essay is taken. At the request of the Editors, the article has been broken up into three parts. Readers are reminded of the Marxist phrase, “commodity fetishism”. For example, pictures of tea-leaves being plucked almost invariably show women smiling brightly, in bright sunshine, wearing bright clothes, healthy and happy. Poverty and wretchedness can excite contempt rather than compassion and conscience.

“We have taken

Too little care of this.”

(King Lear 111. iv.32-33)

The slave trade in Africans is perhaps the worst blot on recorded human history, given (a) the trade’s duration, (b) the numbers involved and, above all, (c) its appallingly cruel nature. The effects of the trade persist in various forms into the present, not least in the presence and experience of Africans now native to the United States and the Caribbean. Ironically, the trade has been enabling in that it has generated numerous studies, autobiographies, memoirs and fictional works, the last not only by Africans (Toni Morrison, Caryl Phillips and others) but also by non-Africans: for example, Barry Unsworth’s ‘Sacred Hunger’, Graeme Rigby’s ‘The Black Cook’s Historian’ and the Indo-Guyanese-British writer, David Dabydeen’s ‘A Harlot’s Progress’ (See, Sarvan, ‘Paradigms of the Slave Trade in Two British Novels’, International Fiction Review, vol. 23, 1996.)

The exodus of Indians, voluntary or otherwise, to labour on British plantations under the indenture system, some heading East to Malaya and further to Fiji, others West through the Suez Canal (opened 1869) to the distant Caribbean, was a newer form of slavery, but it has not drawn the attention of researchers nor inspired writers as much as the “trade” in Africans has done. This article examines some of the available work. I regret I have been unable to trace primary material from Mauritius, but I am sure others will fill in this, and other, gaps. The title specifies, “Indian” because many Chinese also went, or were taken, as coolies; “plantation” because Indians who slaved other than on estates were also derogatorily known as “coolies” – don’t visit Colombo harbour, for it is full of sweaty, smelly coolies (see Part 3, ‘Works Cited’: Carl Muller 1993, 19) – and “overseas” because “coolie” exploitation featured within India too: see ‘Works Cited’ for Mulk Raj Anand). Why the indentured labourers themselves haven’t left a substantial body of literature is not difficult to understand: most were illiterate, work was exhausting, housing squalid and they were segregated, trapped within the confines, physical and mental, of the plantation. No doubt, there were songs expressing their suffering and their longings; their yearning for a distant home made attractive by immediate misery, by time and distance, but these songs appear not to have been translated into English. I fear most are lost even in their original languages.

Historically, the African Slave trade and the system of indenture are linked in that it was the emancipation of the slaves in the nineteenth century that made Britain look to its teeming Indian possession for replacement labour. As with Africans, the descendants of Indian “coolies” now form part of the population of certain countries, leading, in some cases to racial attacks: Guyana in the early 1960s and Sri Lanka ever since independence in 1948 with the departure of the British who had introduced Indian labour into the Island. “In 1964, a few years before independence, racial clashes took place on an unprecedented scale… [For example] at Wismar… hundreds of East Indian residents were attacked and killed. The men and children were locked up in their houses which were then set afire. The women and young girls were raped, mutilated and then dumped in the river to die” (David Dabydeen, ‘Slave Song’ 1986: 46). To cite recent examples, the year 2000 saw increased tension in Mauritius between Indians and “Creoles”; parliament in Fiji was stormed and its Indian Prime Minister taken hostage by Fijian “nationalists”; and in November (so-called) “Indian Tamils” in Sri Lanka were attacked in various towns and four youths held in a rehabilitation centre, murdered by a mob which was allowed entry and incited by the security forces, the latter being drawn almost entirely from the majority group. In short, the effects of the British indenture system persist: indenture is not ‘history’ in the popular sense of being over and done with.

As the Africans before them had done, the Indians under indenture contributed to Britain’s wealth. Writing in 1859 about Mauritius, Patrick Beaton describes emaciated, scantily-clad wretches with miserable, melancholic expressions, and then reflects that these wretches are “the secret source of all the wealth, luxury and splendour with which the island abounds…. There is not a carriage … or a robe of silk worn … to the purchase of which the Indian has not, by his labour indirectly contributed’ (See Select bibliography: Beaton 11). The novel, The Last English Plantation, by the Indo-Guyanese writer Janice Shinebourne, states it directly: it is because of the “coolies” that some became rich and enjoyed a privileged life-style. The wretchedness in appearance of the “coolies” Beaton refers to was the product of poverty, of cramped and unhygienic living conditions; the result of the nature and duration of their labour. In contrast, Chandrasekhar (see Select bibliography) cites seventeenth-century descriptions of Tamils brought from India to work in Mauritius as artisans: a gentle, sober, and thrifty people (p. 13).

Simple folk who had not ventured outside their village, boarded ships and sailed thousands of miles to foreign lands of which they knew nothing; had not even the haziest notion of where they were geographically situated. The moment they signed, they became captives, degraded “coolies”; and when they crossed the kala pani, the dark waters (in the1870s, the voyage from Calcutta to Jamaica took about twenty-six weeks), they lost their caste and, with it, their sense of place within a cohesive social structure. The etymology of the derogative term ’”coolie” is uncertain. It may have been derived from the Tamil word for wages or from the Chinese, k’u, meaning bitter, and li, strength. Demand (in this case for labour) itself does not always create supply, and the chief factor accounting for the thousands of Indians who emigrated as indentured labourers was poverty at once both extreme and hopeless. The peasants at best managed subsistence living, and floods or drought meant starvation and death. In Kamala Markandaya’s novel, ‘Nectar in a sieve’, Rukmani’s sons leave for the tea estates of Ceylon (now Sri Lanka): “There is nothing for us here, for we have neither the means to buy land nor to rent it” p. (68). The mother grieves, and the young men speak soothingly to her, as one would to a child, telling her how much they would earn and that, one day, they would return. Even as they speak, mother and sons know it is a “sham, a poor shabby pretence to mask tortured feelings” (68). She never sees them again. Mulk Raj Anand’s Untouchable (1935) and Coolie (1936) convey something of the caste-based degradation and exploitation experienced by the poor within India itself, while his Two Leaves and a Bud (1937) describes and indicts plantation life in India, a prison though without bars where the workers must abnegate their selves in order to endure toil and humiliation. But poverty was not the sole factor impelling Indians to go abroad. Many were tricked into making the voyage and, later, some were also tricked into staying on: Sheik Sadeek of Guyana (see Part 3, ‘Works Cited’) describes a farewell party for “coolies” returning to India at the end of their period of indenture. There is plenty of alcohol and, in the morning, the coolies find to their dismay that they have placed their thumb-print on a document that indentures them for another five years. Others were threatened and forced into making the voyage, but there were also those who went abroad because they were enterprising, and were determined to fashion a better life for themselves and their children. A few women accompanied their husbands: the rest were a miscellany : those who, for one reason or another, had incurred the displeasure of their family or the opprobrium of their community, and women who had failed to get married, were barren, who could no longer endure conditions at home, and those who had been coerced.

Malaya. From earliest times, the Bay of Bengal was a highway of communication between India and Malaya but these contacts arose from mutual need and were of mutual benefit. However, with the establishment of rubber plantations in Malaya by Britain, India supplied not goods but labour, that is, human beings. The nineteenth century saw the breakdown of India’s traditional economy, and the consequences of this caused many who were innately conservative and immobile to emigrate (Arasaratnam). The Malay himself was unwilling to “abandon his fields, milieu and way of life in order to submit to the sweated toil of the estates” (see ‘Works Cited’: Tate, p. 151) – something which can also be said of other countries to which Indian labour was imported. In the Caribbean, the newly, emancipated African was not going to take on the yoke of another form of slavery. Malayan rubber companies found the Indian worker to be amenable to discipline (a chilling euphemism), docile and unused to collective bargaining. In short, they were ideal material for gross exploitation. D.J.M. Tate records that until almost the end of the nineteenth century, a labourer was not supplied with rice (his staple food) unless he was fit to work. It was a practice which condemned the sick and the disabled to a lingering death (Tate, p. 169).

K.S. Maniam is the writer who testifies best to the experience of the indentured Indian coolie on the rubber plantations of Malaya, particularly in his novels, The Return (1993a) and In a Far Country (1993b). I will deal with these two together because the latter begins with the experience of the new arrivals on the plantation and moves forward into contemporary Malaya, while the former, in chronological terms, fits into the 1950s (Malaysia gained independence in 1957). Rajan, in Far Country, pieces together something of the history of his taciturn father. The latter had been told stories by his father, stories from the Hindu epics of heroes who ventured into foreign lands untrodden by human feet, of those who walked through sandalwood-scented forests. Desperate to escape from the suffocating coils of poverty in India, Rajan’s father decides to dare, and makes the voyage. The contrast between epic adventure and the indenture system sharpens the sense of betrayal and defeat:

The ship we came in was crowded and foul. The hulls were rusted. When I drank water from the taps there was only a taste of rust. And the human dung – all over the place. The men not even closing the door. The door too rusted to be closed. The women with the saris over their thighs, to hide the shame. Sometimes no water even to wash, to flush away the human filth. (Manian 1993b)

Realising that they have been deceived and now were trapped, Rajan’s nearly ­deranged mother slashes at the rubber trees. “Brought to ‘wound’ the rubber trees so that the injured sides bleed their profitable sap (from which rubber was manufactured) they themselves become wounded beings, their bleeding enriching imperial capitalism” (Works Cited: Sarvan 1996a, 68). The father remonstrates: “You want to cut up something … cut me up. Yes, I brought you to these trees. Made you their slave. Put the wounds on me” (Manian 1993b, 41). Defending himself, the father says, “I tried … But people can be wrong … The price has to be paid. I’m paying it with blood… We suffered there in India. Now there’s only suffering. No escape like the last time” (Manian 1993b, 7). Attempting to escape, they find that they have fallen into a ravine infested with insects (Manian 1993b, 7). There are other casualties, such as the traditional Hindu woman who withdraws into herself and mutely dies, and Muniandy who worked in the plantation’s smoke-house. Once he retires, he is ejected from his hut, sleeps on the cement side-walks outside shops and is kicked by the irate Chinese shopkeepers. Reduced to rubbish, his body finds final rest “beside the huge furnace where the town’s rubbish was burned” (Manian 1993b, 22). The experience of the aged, use-less, coolie in Sri Lanka was no different:

They rot and linger

In a workless waste …

Their hearts uprooted

Thrown on the dust;

With a tin for beggary

A staff for support

Await the final hour

To cast their weary limbs

Underneath the tea

To the tom-tom’s throb. (Velupillai 1957, 11.)

The Return, like Far Country, is a first-person narrative (with a strong autobiographical element). Though not set on a plantation, its presence is felt, and its effects persist – indeed, at one point, the family is forced by circumstances to resume work on the plantation. Ravi’s father makes a living by washing clothes, beating them against stones, and ironing with a coal-fired iron. His was an effort to break free from the plantation and set up his own business, but the “imported” plantation economy misshapes and stultifies the growth of a balanced economy, and the ex-coolies have little or no scope. For example, the carver with his wonderful, “story-creating chisel” (Manian 1993a, 4) is unable to make a living and must fall back on physical labour. Poverty brings with it the curse of debt, for the coolies on arrival are already in debt to the kangani (recruiter, foreman, often the man who had brought them over from India) or to the planter. Writing about coolies on Sri Lankan estates, Hugh Tinker states that around 1917, the average debt of a coolie was Rs 70, while the debt owed by some was as high as Rs 200. The highest salary then was Rs 10 a month (179-80). The debt position in Malaya was worse: the coolie owed money to the planter and to the ‘ganger’ (tindal or mondal) who blackmailed him, made false claims, and took from “coolie” families the little they had. Ravi’s father, Kanna, is regularly visited by a moneylender who teases, demands, threatens and takes. Plantation-inculcated behaviour persists, and the men who harshly exact respect and obedience from their families are servile towards those of a higher standing – “humble, waist-bending, eye-averted’ (Manian 1993, p. 76). Families lived in close proximity, and adults were often dragged into the quarrels of children, first the mothers and then the fathers. Frustrated, unhappy and despairing, the men turned to alcohol, to the toddy tapped from the ubiquitous coconut tree, creating the image of the “coolie” as “an inveterate drunkard” (Arasaratnam 70). Debt, deep frustration, arduous work, unwholesome living conditions, hopelessness – these led to alcohol; and drink, in turn, to violence. “I was suddenly lifted from the floor and flung against the cups, plates and jars on the kitchen table” (Manian 1993a, 32); “my father caught [my stepmother] and … choked the curses in her throat. All around, the children wailed. My sister… went into an uncontrollable spasm” (Manian 1993a. 86). Defeated by imperial capitalism, the father mutters “Useless! Useless!” and dies a crazed man, talking a mixture of languages which makes no sense. The linguistic confusion is metonymic and points to his total bewilderment. Kannan’s futile goal, like that of his mother, was to own a piece of land, as if by that ownership he could claim a “place” in the country to which he had emigrated – even as Old Thom in an Indo-Guyanese novel dreams of going back to “his” paddy fields (‘Works cited’, Lauchmonen 1965). Ravi detaches himself from this tragedy, from this doomed destruction, and forces himself to be somewhat selfish. If not, he too will go down – and make no difference to the life of his family. His sacrifice would have been a gesture, and no more. The title of the novel can be read as Ravi’s “return”, his restitution, an attempt to make the pain of his people known to posterity.

 A Far country, as already stated, takes the reader forward into contemporary Malaysia, a country of over nineteen million with Malays comprising approximately sixty-one percent, the Chinese about twenty-eight percent and the Indians eight percent. Nationalism in some countries

loses its meaning of different peoples fusing over time to form a nation …. Instead, what rears its ugly head is “ethnic nationalism” (less euphemistically, “racism”), and its hatreds and rejections. Those of one racial group assert that they are the natives, the original inhabitants; that they, and only they, constitute the real or authentic nation. The notion of many truths, of a plural authenticity is not countenanced, and so … to be a nationalist is to be a “racist,” and vice versa. (Select bibliography: Sarvan 1996a, 69).

As Arasaratnam observes, in Malaya the ideal of non-racial politics cannot be pursued because “racism” is entrenched as the very basis of political organisation (120); it is politically and socially accepted, and the different ethnic groups are encouraged to think of themselves as separate entities (198). Yet, India is a far and foreign country to Rajan, as it was and is to other (Indian) descendants elsewhere: Indo-Guyanese writer, Mahadai Das, asks doubtingly, if I go to India, will I find my ‘self’? (47). And Naipaul describes the feeling of being out of place, particularly felt by those grown old: “They were living in Trinidad and were going to die there; but for them it was the wrong place” (20). Thus having freed himself from the servitude of indentured labour, Rajan finds himself discriminated against and rejected by the majority group of the only country he knows, the country he fondly (both in the earlier and present meaning) had thought was his “home”. Foreign commercial interests have left him becalmed on a shore which is unwelcoming, amid a people who would subordinate and reject him. Similar feelings of alienation and pain have been experienced by the so-called “Indians” of Sri Lanka and, according to Sivanandan, Sri Lankan Tamils in general: It has been said that the plight of the Sri Lankan Tamils has been no different: “Ever since independence successive Sri Lankan governments have done everything… to render the Tamils a separate people, and inferior – and then cried out against that separation when the Tamils embraced it”. (Race & Class, 1984).

To be continued..

 

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Latest comments

  • 8
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    I have always felt that CV Veluppilai’s long poem, In a Tea Garden, or In Ceylon’s Tea Gardens, should be in a school syllabus. It is a pity it is so little known.

    • 0
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      Manel Fonseka:

      Why don’t you go back to Tamilnadu and start it there ?

      • 4
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        That poem is about a people toiling here.

    • 1
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      Dear Manel,

      I’m afraid that it’s only today that I’m reading all this powerful writing, in Part I. How do we get everybody to read this responsively – painful as much of it is?

      There’s much more that I could say about what I see as the present condition in the plantation areas, and how we seem to have ever less awareness of these matters. At this moment, I’m despairing: how can I convey all that has to be said?

      Thanks, also SJ; how can we possibly put sense in to the head of this Jim fellow?

  • 5
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    In respect of plantation Tamils in Sri Lanka what I am unable to comprehend is how is that this pathetic, degrading life is more acceptable to them than going back to India and living in their own environment of language, religion and culture.( any of them or any of us would jump at an opportunity to migrate to the West). India is even tipped to be a big super power before long.

    Similarly despite so much venomous propaganda with allegations of discrimination, genocide what not against Sinhala Buddhists by the likes of Native Vedda, and many other Tamil writers in this forum not a single Tamil is prepared to move into the envisaged ‘Tamil Homeland’. For this reason they are vehemently justifying their right to live anywhere among the Sinhala Buddhists while fighting tooth and nail for a separate homeland!

    Can someone explain this phenomenon? Is there an inherent superiority in the Sinhala Buddhist society?

    Soma

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      Indian Tamils must be living in India by definition. British displaced them. Right thing to do is resettle them in India.

    • 5
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      somaaasss

      “Similarly despite so much venomous propaganda with allegations of discrimination, genocide what not against Sinhala Buddhists by the likes of Native Vedda, and many other Tamil writers in this forum not a single Tamil is prepared to move into the envisaged ‘Tamil Homeland’.”

      We know you are desperate to convert the entire island into a Sinhala/Buddhist ghetto, hang on until we the people decide how much area to be allocated to your nasty, dirty, greedy, …. racist project.

      People seem to think I am being over generous to you for promising a area of 10 square miles. Since ours is going to be a democratic decision I will have to convince the rest of the people why we need to be generous to the Sinhala/Buddhist ghetto builders. Trust me we will reach a consensus and let you know soon.

      In the mean time how was your Sinhala/Buddhist Aluth Aurudu? Did you have a jolly good new year eating, drinking, …dancing the whole day away?

      Now do you need your wife to send you extra allowance from middle east medieval kingdom to see you through to the end of the month?

      Poor lady.

    • 4
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      Soma,
      You can afford to sit in your house and type such insensitive rubbish because the Sri Lankan economy was founded on the sweat and blood of countless Tamil coolies, men and women. They are the ones who produced the tea and rubber, built the roads and railways, not your layabout sinhala peasants.
      If not for them you wouldn’t have got your free education either.
      Show some compassion at least, if you claim to be a Buddhist.

    • 2
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      Soma,

      Many Indigenous Tamils in the country in the South are only too willing to relocate to the North – for reasons of their safety. Problem is the Sinhala army makes thing impossible for them. Their houses/agricultural land have been stolen from them. The Govt discovers various false reasons to keep the army there and keep the Tamil people out. This situation must change soon.

      As to Indian Tamils from the Estate areas, there many keen to return to India. They see chances for better education to their children and employment opportunities in changing India. The problem is they are now SL citizens. India also needs these people. There is a shortage of workers – educated and skilled – in Tamilnadu. They see a negative future here in Sri Lanka.

      You will see many changes in the scenario in both categories soon.

      R. Varathan

  • 4
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    Soma asks why the plantation Tamils don’t go back to India. The answer is that Sri Lanka is their home, their only home, and has been for generations.

    Besides, “Why don’t you go back where you came from?” is the classic threat and taunt of ugly racists in the West, aimed at non-whites – including Sinhalese Buddhists.

    As for the “inherent superiority in the Sinhala Buddhist society”, is this superiority measured in moral, economic or cultural terms? Why are so many Sinhalese Buddhists leaving the Island?

    Sri Lankans settle abroad, get citizenhip and then expect, even demand, equal treatment, yet some of them will deny equal rights to all back home.

    Where is the morality, not to mention Buddhist attributes such as compassion, justice and inclusion? Is this superiority?

    Sagittarius

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      Sagittarius

      “Besides, “Why don’t you go back where you came from?” is the classic threat and taunt of ugly racists in the West, aimed at non-whites – including Sinhalese Buddhists.”

      I have already promised him a 10 square miles of area in the deep, deep deep south where he could build his much cherished Sinhala/Buddhist ghetto. However somasss is too greedy. He wants to convert the entire people into Sinhala/Buddhism, including the Buddhists.

      If he doesn’t listen, then he will have to be deported back to his ancestral homeland Tamil Nadu.

      If he is so keen on helping the up country Tamils he should take them with him back to Tamil Nadu. Let us see who is going to work in the plantation and earn much needed foreign exchange.

      Perhaps he should bring back all his women folks from middle east medieval kingdoms and employ them in the plantations.

      Is somass prepared to replace Tamils with his women folks in the plantation sector?

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        Native V (romana, Sagittarius)

        As usual you are shooting all directions except the target.

        Did I say I want the plantation Tamils to leave the country? When I visit the plantations I am totally depressed to observe that pathetic life. Poverty stricken to the bottom, born, multiply, and die in a tin roofed 10×10 room generation after generation. Children growing up with no other expectation than becoming a labourer attached to the same factory their parents , grandparents did. You don’t seem to care – you are only concerned with the ‘political rights’ of Jaffna Vellala class. Now the question I am immediately confronted with is how on earth is this miserable existence preferable to living as equals in their native environment of same language, religion and culture which they refused when arrangements were made. In this natural, simple question is there an iota of implication that these innocent people must be deported?

        Now it occurs to me in their preference to accept this over to going back to India aren’t these people giving lie to all vicious incessant propaganda carried out by Wingeshwaran, Native Vedda and all those Tamil racist donkeys here. Aren’t these people sensing some level of superiority in majority Sinhala Buddhist Sri Lanka vis-a-vis India. At the back their hearts they suspect that all this big talk of an icon of democracy on the way to becoming a superpower is just humbug.

        You have pointed out even Sinhalese would migrate to the West in search of a better society to live and raise their children. Thereby you are further supporting my argument that despite your non stop vilification of Sinhala Buddhists this society stands the same relative posion to India as West to the East and Africa. There is no futher proof to my contention that there must be some inherent superiority in the Sinhla Buddhist society than this Tamil desire to remain wherever they are to moving to the envisaged Homeland ( Hope Burning Issue reads this) . That is another ball game and another time to elaborate on that.

        Good night.

        Soma

        • 4
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          somaaasss

          However much you kick, scream and bang your head you will be deported to your new 10 square mile Sinhala/Buddhist ghetto in the deep deep south along with your fellow ghetto builders.

          No one else is relocating.

          Our border control will be very drastic. You will face stringent measures as well as punishment. For example, catch them and castrate castrate them, …. we don’t want to carry out punishment actually. Or may be we can subject you to Buddhist education, ….

        • 1
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          Soma,
          “Now the question I am immediately confronted with is how on earth is this miserable existence preferable to living as equals in their native environment of same language, religion and culture which they refused when arrangements were made.”
          Ignorance is bliss. Don’t you know that about half a million were sent back to India? The rest are as Sri Lankan as you are.If they are to be sent back, then you too should go. Also, don’t you know that there are 100,000 Sri Lankan Tamils in refugee camps in Tamil Nadu who DON”T want to come back?
          If all sinhala buddhists are as insensitive as you, vilification is what you deserve.
          As to India becoming a superpower, well, it will happen quite soon and you will have to find somewhere to hide. Maybe they will give you a job in the VW factory.

          • 0
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            Romana

            You are still avoiding the question. Given that most pitiful existence WHY do they consider living among Sinhala Buddhists is preferable to living as equals in India.

            So while Sri Lanka has given part of them citizenship the other part is in refugee camps in India? Why so even after more that 50 years?

            India is a superpower only for Sri Lanka and Nepal.

            Soma

            • 1
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              Soma,

              For your information,the 100,000 people in refugee camps in India are SRI LANKAN Tamils. Got it? AND they are reluctant to come back. They have not been there for 50 years either.
              In case you don’t know your history( or don’t want to know) , India and China were the richest nations in the 17th century. They will get back, don’t you worry. And we will be back to being a vassal state. There are lots of Sinhala Buddhists working in India, and thousands more who will go, given half a chance.
              Keep dreaming about your 2500 year culture which still survives on female slavery.

            • 1
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              somaaasss Ji
              Namaste नमस्ते

              “India is a superpower only for Sri Lanka and Nepal.”

              Is that why Sri Lanka didn’t fight the IPKF but VP kicked the Hindians out of this island and won the war for MR with huge support from Hindians?

              Jai Hind (जय हिंद)

  • 2
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    Ssouth Indians were taken all over the world as coolies. but, only in sinhale, they want to be special.

    Tamils Ran away to Tamilnadu during the Fake struggle and they were refugees in their own homeland.

    No one exaplain why Sinhala people are not moving to Tamilnadu and only Tamils are moving to Sinhale.

    Sinhala people are too backward because of that, Sinhale is a failed state to Sinhala people and they don’t have their own flag, own majority language, own national anthem and Tamil runaways from South India wants a safer country in Sri lanka.

    • 3
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      Idiot Jimmy,
      “No one exaplain why Sinhala people are not moving to Tamilnadu and only Tamils are moving to Sinhale.”
      How many Tamils moved to Sinhale? Sinhala people are not moving to Tamilnadu because they don’t want housemaids.
      Sinhala people go to countries where they get a dole, like you in UK. Why don’t you come back to Sinhale?

      • 0
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        This comment was removed by a moderator because it didn’t abide by our Comment policy.For more detail see our Comment policy https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/comments-policy-2/

      • 5
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        yusuf

        jimsofty the Dimwit is not even a pseudo Mahawamsi. He just types. He is the best match for ramona grandma therese fernando.

        Jimmy types with one finger of the left hand. Don’t ask me where he keeps his right hand. It is not nice to explain.

        As for Simhala presence in South India please refer to Osmund Bopearachchi, academia.edu for

        “Archaeological evidence on cultural and commercial
        relationships between ancient Sri Lanka and South India”,

        in Honouring Martin Quéré o.m.i. edited by G. Robuchon, Clamecy, 2002.

        “Ancient Sri Lanka and Tamil Nadu: Maritime Trade”

        in

        South Asian Horizons. Felicitation Volume for François Gros
        Edited. by J.-L. Chevillard & E. Wilden, EFEO, Pondichéry, 2004

        “New archaeological evidence on cultural and commercial relations between ancient Sri Lanka and Tamil Nadu”

        in

        Journal of Interdisciplinary Studies in History and Archaeology, vol. 1, Summer 2004

        “Tamil Traders in Sri Lanka and Sinhalese Traders in Tamil Nadu
        monograph”

        in

        International Centre for Ethnic Studies, Colombo, 2008.

        Prof R Champakalakshmi mentions Simhala settlements in Thiruvalamculi, Thirunageshvaram and various other urbanised areas of Chola Mandalam in

        Trade Ideology and Urbanisation South India 300 BC to AD 1300.
        Pages 331 – 370, etc.

        There are many Sinhala/Buddhists pseudo historians ready to deny facts mentioned in the above articles/books simply because those facts were not mentioned in Mahawamsa or by other fellow story tellers, some of them claimed to be eminent full time academics.

    • 3
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      jimsofty the dimwit

      What are you blabbering?

      • 0
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        Dumb Native Vedda

        what are you braying about ?

        • 0
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          dumb Jim

          what are you braying about ?

    • 4
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      Dumb Jimmy,
      Did you read the article, or maybe it is too long for your tiny brain?
      It is about HUMAN suffering. You preach Buddhism and Abidhamma, but you can’t show even slight sympathy for oppressed humans beacause they are Tamils. What kind of Buddhist are you?
      This is why there was a Prabhakaran. People like you created him.

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        romani

        “What kind of Buddhist are you?”

        He is a Sinhala/Buddhist hence what he types here has nothing to do with Buddhism.

        “Did you read the article,”

        jimsofty the dimwit has been suffering from learning difficulties.

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    The writer has missed out on the first literary reference in Tamil to indentured plantation labour (Tamils in Fiji), by Subramanya Bharathi in his poem “in the sugarcane plantation” (karimbuthth thoOttaththilE), and the first creative writing on life in the Sri Lankan tea plantations by Puthumaippithan “a pool of suffering” (thunpakkENi).
    I hope that they will be referred to as well in the next installment.
    CV Veluppillai wrote mostly in English. He was for a while effectively the sole literary voice of the Hill Country Tamils.

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    What It Should Be Understood At First Instance is that who Ever People Coming Or Brought Up To a Country And If they are To Be Settled Down Or Would Like To Settle Down….They Should Assimilate With The Culture Of That Country..So Please Every Body Should Understand that This Is A Sinhalese Buddhist Country and They should Live Accordingly.. Divide And Rule The British Policy Is Not Going to Work Out …
    Jimsofty ..You are correct THIS COUNTRY SHOULD BE RE-NAMED AS SINHALE AND Sinhale-Buddhist,Sinhale-Christians,Sinhale-Roman Catholics-Sinhale-Islam,Sinhale-Hindus ALL PEOPLE COULD LIVE AS SINHALESE PEOPLE with out any fuss

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      Sinhale

      “So Please Every Body Should Understand that This Is A Sinhalese Buddhist Country “

      No kidding!!!!

      “ALL PEOPLE COULD LIVE AS SINHALESE PEOPLE with out any fuss”

      No kidding!!!!

      What do you propose to do with Tamil speaking Muslims, Tamil speaking Hindus, Tamil speaking Buddhists, Tamil speaking Christians, Vedda language speaking Veddahs, ……. and Sinhala speaking Demelas soma, Ravi Perera, …. and about 99%of the people?

      What do you want us to do with you for a start?
      Are you willing to go back to your ancestral land Tamil Nadu?

      “SINHALE”

      What does it mean?

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    I regret Romani is intemperate – “Dumb Jimmy” – but agree: it’s all about suffering, the suffering of fellow human-beings.

    Thank you understanding that.

    Sarvan

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      Dr. Sarvan,
      I think even Gandhi would use violence on such characters.

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      Charles Ponnuthurai Sarvan:

      You must be descending from Tamilnadu estate workers brought to Sri lanka.

      read what I wrote. You people are crying out loud about Tamils. What I said was South Indians not only you Tamils were taken every where in the world. but, dumb asses do ot like if we remind those things.

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    Native Veddha–The fore going given was not a racial or extremist ideology ..about Sinhale which is sheer injustice done to the Sinhale country and its inhabitants in 1948 when independence was given to us….Its Simple Simon….India Has Indians ..France Has The French….Italy Has Italians….As Such Sinhale Has The Sinhalese…there is no matter what their religion or what language they speak … is that they are all sinhalese citizens of the Island Nation Of Sinhale(Sri lanka Is A wrongly made up country violating the moral rights of the citizens in the Island Nation Of Sinhale ,we gave the country to the British as Sinhale and should get back the country as Sinhale…..according to the Udarata Givisuma signed with the British in 1815 ..the blunder was done by MRS B in 1972 constitution they changed the name to Sri Lanka by using the name of their Sri Lanka Freedom Party )At that time before 1815 also this country had all these communities Malabars(now taken the Name as Tamils),Moors(now taken as Muslims) and malays and burghers so they were all living here as sinhalese under the sinhalese buddhist culture under the Royal Sinhale Lion Flag(this flag was distorted in 1951 by adding two stripes dividing the sinhala,tamil and muslim communities ..Mr.Nadesan and Mr.Sinne Lebbe had been dead against for this changes in our flag..they sensed the danger which the sinhala modayas did not listen to them) …even the last king of Sinhale who was a Nayakkar from india got the sinhalese citizenship to be throne as the king of Kanda Udarate…This is where we all should get together and fight at for all of us to be Sinhalese Citizens and live with peace and harmony in the Island Nation Of Sinhale.

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      Sinhale’
      If you don’t know anything about history, dont type anything. People might think you are a fool.

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        yusuf

        “People might think you are a fool.”

        Don’t you think that is a good outcome of Sinhale’s typings?

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    Dear Yusuf..What History You Are Talking About ..Is it about Your SAHARARA History Arabian Nights Just a Little bit..But I Doubt you people are aware about Your Arabian History even…..You dont’ try argue with me about our Sinhale History which now have been Traced back to more than 60,000 years(Sixty Thousand Years)..I advice you Dear Not To Fool With our Sinhale History…If you are a Patriot of this country you would love to study..but I doubt such,Sorry According to things we hear about people like you….But we all wants you to be patriots..in the country where you have been born and bred

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      Sinhale,
      “At that time before 1815 also this country had all these communities Malabars(now taken the Name as Tamils),Moors(now taken as Muslims) and malays “
      Please, o history expert, tell us who were those Damilas and Yonaka in the Mahvamsa? Is that another word for malabars?
      “even the last king of Sinhale who was a Nayakkar from india got the sinhalese citizenship”
      And you have a copy of his citizenship application? Now you have proved that you are a fool.

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    Hey usuf ,Thats what Happened to you also the Blunder Done by that Extremist Idiot Badurdeen Muhamud….Taking away history from the school syllabus..Giving A lead for a Muslim invansion …….Or Else You would have Known how The Last King Of Sinhale Sri Wickrema Rajasinghe was throned…so that you are asking from me his citizenship,Damn Shame Of You to Be A Patriotic Citizen Of this country….It Is High Time All People Of This Country Get Together To Reinstate The Sinhale Country Back Under The Royal Sinhale Lion Flag To get its original Identity for our country to its Inhabitants to live in Peace……Why Not Yusuf you take a lead ,we will follow……………May Be You Could Be A good Leader one day with the Sinhalese Buddhist Culture

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      Sinhale, I know who is Kannasamy, maybe you don’t? OK, do you have a copy of his citizenship application? YES or NO please.

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    Sure what You Know Of Kannasamy.I guess?…Do Not Con Man….How would you know Kannasamy as SINHALE history is Distorted when It Comes To You.For Your Information Go To Udarata Kerella By Tennakoon Wimalananda You Will Get All what you are asking…….Dont’ be a mutt to ask for a citizenship application of a King of Sinhale where you will be sentenced to the ULA

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      Sinhale,
      You are the mutt who said Kannasamy got Sinhale citizenship. So prove it or shut up.

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    With No Knowledge Of The History of the country Where You Are Born And Bred……This Is The Fault of that idiot Badurdeen Muhamud who took Our History away from the school syllabus,unless otherwise there would not be people like ,yusuf..Ok Good Bye

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