19 April, 2019

Blog

“Para Dhemalā”

By Charles Sarvan

Prof. Charles Sarvan

“…an alien Tamil speaking group with little or no history in the island” (Sunday Island, Colombo. 25 January, 2004, p. 7),   quoted in my essay, ‘Reign of Anomy’.

I don’t remember hearing Sinhala spoken in the Jaffna of my childhood, but I’m over 75 and no longer trust my memory: perhaps, Sinhala was spoken here and there.    Be that as it may, it’s not relevant to what follows.

We shifted to Colombo when I was 14, and I was almost immediately sent to St Thomas’, Gurutalawa (see “Recollections of Gurutalawa,” Sunday Island, 5 July 2009). The context in which the word para was used, both at boarding-school, in Colombo and elsewhere; the accompanying tone of voice and facial expression, all indicated contempt, dismissal and rejection. Para was linked to Parayā (low caste) and that sufficed to convey meaning to me.

It was reading Michael Roberts several years ago that brought me to another, and far more significant, meaning of para, namely, “foreign”. I think even those who have recently expressed disappointment with him will admit that not many can match the reading and knowledge Michael has on Sri Lankan history and anthropology.  (I feel free to use the familiar “Michael”. I met him even before we both entered the University of Peradeniya in 1957.)

In his Sinhala-ness and Sinhala Nationalism, Michael writes that the term para

has multiple meanings including pita (foreign). Pita and para become synonymous, he comments. The conventional sense of the word throughout the middle period and into the twentieth century has been that of “other,” “alien” or “enemy.” Though disparaging, especially in modern times, para was not necessarily so in the classical literature and could refer to “others” in a neutral sense. Nevertheless, the context of usage in the Cûlavamsa of the early middle period, where it refers to Māgha and his destructive activities, and in the hatan kavi of the seventeenth century and onwards, where it refers to the Portuguese (who are often called parangi), points to a pejorative import in such politicised expressions.

In his Sinhala Perceptions of the Self through Images of the Burghers (my sincere thanks to Mr Nanda Godage for taking the trouble to post a copy to me) Michael Roberts writes: “The word para has a lineage that goes back to medieval times and carries numerous meanings in literary texts… In more recent centuries, however, the common meanings have been (i) enemy or saturā and (ii) other or others, in the sense of ‘foreigner’… para can be prefixed, as an adjective in expression of contempt, to hambayā (Moor), demalā (Tamil) and lansiyā” (page 10).

If the foreign is seen as a threat to Sinhalese purity (of “race” and culture); to innate and intrinsic Sinhalese righteousness and stability, then it helps to explain not only contempt and hatred towards those seen as foreign (in effect, everyone who is non-Sinhalese) but the extreme violence used to preserve what is believed to be pristine and pure and, therefore, sacred. Roberts: the Sinhalese have a conviction that they are a chosen people, and this leads to an emphasis on purity (page 14). The distinction is between the “Sinhala” and the “a-Sinhala”, the non-Sinhala (page 19). Evil, and the disorder and fragmentation it brings, is not within but comes from outside, from what is foreign, para (page 20).

By the way, something Michael notes ( page 20) shows yet again that “race” can be a far stronger emotion and force than religion: “Sinhala Catholics… participated actively in the populist or the sponsored violence against Tamils in 1977, 1981 and 1983” – I may add, irrespective of whether these Tamil victims were Christian or not.

Finally, as Paul Caspersz ironically commented (see, Sarvan, Sunday Leader, 14 February 2010), if one insists on the label “Indian Tamils”, then one should also speak of “Indian Sinhalese”: polluted or pure, the roots are the same.

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    Mr Sarwan

    Let us be clear in that Tamils need to reconcile their differences with the Sinhalese brethren. I feel harping on communalistic past did not serve the Tamil community very well in the recent past.

    However I agree with you that majority of my country men were misguided in their belief it is the Sinhala Buddhist’s birth right to assert themselves where ever it is possible in contrary to the current genetic and linguistic evidence.

    According to my basic understanding of sociology it is the minority communities’ right to fight for equality and diversity. Therefore I believe that in “all hands to the deck” approach to prevent further communalistic elements in both sides of the community.

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      Ken Robert@

      I think not only in SL, in entire developed world, they the folks have their colloquial terms to name their minorities looking down upon. Towards the gipsy and traveller social groups, they have all kind of similar embarrassing terms. In Germany, towards the turks more or less the same. White soccer fans shout at black players ” Du Affe – you monkey” is not seen not often but still in EU tournaments.
      I believe it is the religion and culture of our people make it worse in SL. It is sad reality, to see some buddhist monks stammers stories harming on the muslim communities; I have never experienced in by myself that sri lankan muslim restaurants usually serve unhygienic food to sinhala customers – but this was a part of a monk^s hate speech lately. How can the particular monk and the fraction further obey ” musawada weramanee sikkapadam samadiyamai” (avoid lying)while spreading these lies further ? Why the authorities allow this kind of stammered stories to spread ? For what purpose we have got a ministry for Buddhist and cultural affairs if it fails to do the due against these issues.

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        Dan

        Why do authorities allow this kind stammered stories to spread?
        Because most of our srilankans are foolish. We as a nation like conformity and does not embrace new ideas very well.

        Sadly our leaders tamil, sinhala and muslim like to rule us by instigating fears rather than rational and realistic thoughts.

        Furthermore western systems such as parliament, judiciary and executive have a poor track record in developing countries.

        Recently some one I know commented
        A Westerner follows the rule of law more in comparison to a easterner. However when it come to morality easterner’s obedience to moral values looks better atleast superficially.

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          I wrote you earlier comments being in Austria. To tell you, had anyone made unprovable statements specially about food and beverages (its constitution), it can be legally punishable act on these three countries (Germany,Switzerland and Austria).Our so called buddhist monks go on saying whatever they feel is correct to attack muslim sri lankans, but nothing seem to be coming from responsible authorities. This has nothing to do with many of the population being stupid, but the authorities should have to react accordingly.
          Even after the most cruel incident occurred in Weliweriya, people are reported to have no other choice than further to consume acidified/contaminated water for their daily use.
          They the top leadership is seen to be swollen/boasting about having built a new port, an airport and several other road constructions, but what brings all those so called huge projects while poor people be poisoned with contaminated drinking water. Impact of all these will arise in form of unexpected health problems in significant fraction of the nation. Authorities should already have learnt this from Rajarata area where heavy metal containing waters have already caused the kidney ailments in increasing number of people living in that region.

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            I simply cant see any good that MR has made to our country. He has destroyed the nation and country to inestimable degree to this day.
            Road developments and other on going projects are common to even today^s Ethiopia or Eritrea or any other poorest of the poor developing countries – global fact.

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      Ken,

      I don’t know which part of the planet you come from.

      I need some clarification for the following?
      Let us be clear in that Tamils need to reconcile their differences with the Sinhalese brethren.
      My reading of the above is that you are saying that Sinhalese are our brethren. Man where did you get this idea from. Since 1958 you have been slaughtering your brethren relentlessly and how could we reconcile our differences.

      I feel harping on communalistic past did not serve the Tamil community very well in the recent past.
      Man are you telling me that harping on the past cost more Tamil lives and if that was the case how are we going to reconcile.
      The only way two people can reconcile their differences is by the perpetrator admitting to the Guilt and the perpetrated if he has in his heart to forgive and forget and move on.
      But in Sinhala Lanka this is not going to happen as ( if you are Sinhalese of which I have my doubts ) you lot will never admit to your guilt and we will be wasting time.

      But for me the day of reckoning has arrived and after the elections to the Northern Assembly the process of accountability will begin.
      IF you care to read the Statement from the American State Department you will see that that there are Ominous sings for MR and his Thugs.
      The following is what the State Department Said.

      “The problem in Sri Lanka is no longer a Sinhala Tamil Issue but it is a Jaffna issue and what that means is that there is now the recognition that the North is a Separate Entity distinct from the South.

      Just read the following as to why we are having an Election.

      The Indo-Lanka Agreement and its off shoot, 13A, were virtually imposed on the country with Russia’s blessings. The Left parties came out in strong support of it, which in itself is ample proof that Russia was the true sponsor of the peace agreement and the 13th Amendment – of course acting behind the scene. When JR was virtually forced to sign the Indo-Lanka Agreement, he sought American help in desperation, only to be told by the Americans to work with India, amicably.
       
       
      Rohan Gunaratne, in his book ‘Indian intervention in Sri Lanka’ discusses this in detail.
      US interests
       
       
      Was Indian dominance over Sri Lanka a loss to the US? The letters exchanged in the July 1987 Accord was a clear loss for the United States in the Indian Ocean region, but in spite of this implication, the US Government praised the Accord. The letters refereed to the availability of ports, particularly Trincomalee, the Trincomalee oil tank farm deal, the broadcasting facilities and the presence of foreign military and intelligence personnel. Even though all of these concerned US interests in the region, US policy, which is based on long-term strategic interests, was to ignore and establish a strategic alliance with India. This explained the US reaction to the Indo-Lanka conflict and the ethnic crisis in Sri Lanka.
       
       
      An official of the Bureau of Research and Intelligence of the US State Department, Washington DC, informed the author that the letters of the Accord was a direct attack on American interests. The then US Ambassador in Colombo, James Spain, disagreed. He said: “(It) depends on which pair of glasses you put on. Nobody wanted the facilities the Indians were scared of.” Commenting further on the accord, Spain said: “Both the Sri Lankans and the Indians got what they wanted out of each other.” When asked whether the Americans were aware of the Accord in advance, Spain said: “We first got to know about it when the ongoing discussions between the Voice of America and Sri Lanka Broadcasting Corporation were suddenly suspended. These weekly meetings were going on for about a year. When the US asked why, it was indicated to us that Sri Lanka was working out an agreement with India to solve the ethnic issue.” After the Accord was signed, Spain said that “Jayewardene wanted to demonstrate to the world that Sri Lanka had not lost its independence to India.” So Jayewardene requested the US, the UK, France, Pakistan, China and the USSR for military assistance. The request to the US was for helicopter spare parts, 45 calibre ammunition and maritime radar. Spain said: “We had congressional budgetary constraints. But I sent our Defence Attache to meet General Attygalle, the then Sri Lankan Defence Secretary. He explained that this was to meet the impending threat from the south.”
       
       
      But President Jayewardene had a different story to say. “When I asked the US Ambassador, James Spain, for some helicopter spare parts, Ambassador Spain asked me to obtain the approval of India and when the spare parts were to be flown in, once again Spain asked me to obtain the approval of India, which I obtained.” When Spain was asked why the US requested Sri Lanka to obtain the concurrence of India before considering and later before transporting the helicopter spare parts to Sri Lanka, Spain said: “Sri Lanka had entered to an agreement with India without our knowledge. It would have been improper for us to disrupt the cooperation between India and Sri Lanka.” After the concurrence of India was obtained, spare parts worth US$ 2 million were given to Sri Lanka on low-interest concessionary terms under a US Foreign Military Sales (FMS) Loan.
       
       
      The Sri Lankan people have short memories – in fact, very short ones. Ambassador James Spain told the author: “Bringing in the IPKF resulted in the up-swinging of the JVP. We still blame the Japanese, but ironically in Sri Lanka, the people do not blame India.” Ambassador Spain, a soldier with a service record in the Pacific and in Japan, and a scholar with a doctorate on the orient from Columbia University, who is a diplomat with 40 years’ service in countries such as Sri Lanka, Turkey, Tanzania and Pakistan, as well as in Washington, DC and at the United Nations, has now retired and settled in Sri Lanka. He said: “For the first time when I retired in 1989, I could do whatever I wanted – I chose to live among a fine and a sincere people, and in an old country than in a new one.” Speaking affectionately of Sri Lanka and its people, Spain said: “A military or a political solution may be possible. Even in the rose years, I have been reasonably optimistic. Sri Lanka will not become a Lebanon, but it will never be paradise again.” Perhaps, Spain was assessing the cost of foreign intervention.
       
       
       
       
      ‘Do not antagonize India’
       
       
      One would not be wrong to surmise that when India started exerting pressure to hold the Northern Provincial Council election, Mahinda Rajapaksa would have sought a helping hand from Russia and China. Their reaction most probably could have been more like America’s advice to JR on a previous occasion; do not antagonize India, and work out an amicable solution, albeit with some added wisdom so they could to protect the government from war crime charges in the UN but not go against India. India’s massive market is invariably a defining matter in Chinese relations. Now it is known the Tamil National Alliance has also built some sort of rapport with China.
      All in all, the idea which is fast gaining ground among cognoscenti in political analysis that it was Russia who set Mahinda Rajapaksa on course for the Northern polls, could in all probability be true.

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    Tamil Nadu is the Tamil Homeland. SL is the Sinhala Homeland.

    If each respect each others’ homelands in TN and SL there is no problem. Do the Sinhalese claim part of TN as their homeland? No. Then why Tamils claim part of Sinhala island as theirs?

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      Tamil Nadu is the homeland for the Tamils of India and Tamil Eelam (N&E) is the homeland for the Tamils of Sri Lanka. The Sri Lankan Tamils have a clearly defined (Tamil speaking) territory, their historic habitat in the North & East of Sri Lanka as their traditional homeland where they lived and defended for several centuries.

      Right from ancient history, Tamils are from both India and Sri Lanka. Tamil nation existed and still exists in both Tamil Nadu in India and Tamil Eelam (N&E) in Sri Lanka. The Tamils are the sole owners of both N&E Sri Lanka (Tamil Eelam) and South India (Tamil Nadu). There was a natural bridge known as Rama Setu that existed during the ancient period from Tamil Nadu to Tamil Eelam.

      If Tamils like Elara are called invaders, then the Singalas like Vijay and his 700 men were also invaders. Whether you call them invaders or invitees or tourists or whatever, both Tamils and Singalas ruled the Island alternatively right from the beginning of history and the civilization was created by both. It is not mentioned anywhere that the Sri Lankan civilization is a Singala civilization or Tamil civilization. They both contributed, the Tamils starting from Sena and Guttika as per the Mahavamsa.

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        Tamils in Sri Lanka are inhabitants here like everyone else. They have no rights for separate country within the country of Sri Lanka. If you cannot accept it, just quit and go home to TN where you belong

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          mahasohon

          According to above and below comments, Eelam seems to be the original country of the Tamils. That is why the global Tamils (including the Tamils in Tamil Nadu) are talking about a Tamil country in Sri Lanka and not in India. So the Tamils rightly belongs to Eelam and not TN.

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          Singalese should go where they came from if they cannot coexist with Yaksha, Naga and Dewa who are Dravidians similar to Tamiks.

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            Anura

            “Yaksha, Naga and Dewa who are Dravidians similar to Tamiks.”

            I beg your pardon. Where the hell did you get this stupid idea?

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          mahasohon

          “Tamils in Sri Lanka are inhabitants here like everyone else.”
          They have no rights for separate country within the country of Sri Lanka.”

          If that is the case, why have you allow Sinhala/Buddhists to build their exclusively Sinhala/Buddhist one nation? Some thing seems illogical in your comment, please review.

          ” If you cannot accept it, just quit and go home to TN where you belong”

          For different reason all Tamils should go back to Tamilnadu which is supposed to be their ancestral homeland and so should the Sinhalese. Both Sinhalese and Tamils have roots in India why can’t both get on a Kallathonie and disappear among the ocean of their brethren in India.

          My people have nowhere to go and we need our ancestral land back.

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            Native,

            You moron we have a right to a Separate Country and that has arrived whether you like it or not.
            Our next task is to take MR and his Thugs to the Hague just like Milosevic and you could travel with them if you like. But expect to come back as it is a one way ticket.

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              kali

              “You moron we have a right to a Separate Country and that has arrived whether you like it or not.”

              Yes I am a moron and proud to be one. I am my own moron and not yours. It is my birth right to be a moron, does it bother you?

              On what basis do you think you had a right to a separate country? Where has it arrived, Mulliwaaikkaal?

              “Our next task is to take MR and his Thugs to the Hague just like Milosevic and you could travel with them if you like.”

              What are you waiting for?

              “But expect to come back as it is a one way ticket.”

              What do you mean?

              When we send both of you back to India, it is also on a one way thoni.

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          The militant separatist strain only came about because of pogroms against Tamils.
          What about those Singhalese who like to claim Sri lanka as their Island, are you equally steadfast in asserting that they must go back to Bengal and South India from whence they came.

          The only demographic who can claim aboriginal status are the Veddah.

          I have no quams about Tamils going back to the mainland, just as long as Singhalese and Muslims also return to their homelands.

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      Fukushima

      For all those people who ask why cannot the Tamils demand for a separate Tamil country in Tamil Nadu instead of Sri Lanka (Eelam).

      From the very ancient time, Lanka (as first mentioned in the Ramayana) was a part of South India. The ancient Tamil was born on the sacred earth a part of which is now called Sri Lanka. What is Sri Lanka now is part of the lost landmass of Kumari kandam (Lemuria) that went under a massive quake of the sea in times long past. The first Tamil Sangam was held in this land. It is believed that God Siva attended the first Tamil Sangam. The Island of Sri Lanka was not a Buddhist island but a Siva Bhoomi – the Land of Siva right from the beginning. All the ancient rulers of Sri Lanka were Saivaites irrespective of whether they were Nagar or Damilar (Chola) or Pandu (Pandya). It was only recently the Sinhalese started calling Sri Lanka as the Dhamma Deepa of Buddha after the Buddhist missionary monk Mahinda introduced Buddhism where as we Tamils still call Sri Lanka as Eelam, the sacred Tamil land of Siva. Even the footstep at Adams Peak is originally known as Siva’s and NOT Buddha’s. The original Siva boomi (sacred land of the Tamils) that broke away from South India due to the massive earth quake (Kumari Kandam) is the right full place for the Tamils. This is the reason why the world Tamils (including the Tamils in Tamil Nadu) is trying to establish a Tamil country known as Tamil Eelam in Sri Lanka and NOT in India.

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        Ravi

        “What is Sri Lanka now is part of the lost landmass of Kumari kandam (Lemuria) that went under a massive quake of the sea in times long past.”

        Come on be serious.

        This is another counter myth floated by the South Indians who never cared to record their history.

        Could you give us few reference.

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          Kumari Kandam is sarcastically referred to Sri Lanka by the Indians, while the word smells a foul meaning “cervix of a lass”.

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      Dear Fathima,
      I think you do not seem to known the history. Both Sinhalese and Tamils were inhabitants of Sri Lanka since time immemorial. Prior to the arrival of the West there were two Nations in Sri Lanka. Territories of both Nations were amalgamated into nine Provinces by the British for a smooth administration. When granting independence, the British should have provided Sri Lanka with a Federal structure and Sri Lanka would be like Canada respecting each other’s rights. Had Federalism been introduced, destruction to lives and property would not have occurred. Sri Lanka would be like Canada. Federalism has the force of bringing unity. Politicians are the cause of present days turmoil.

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      Yes Fathima, Tamil Nadu is the Tamil Homeland. India is the Sinhala Homeland.

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      Fathima Fukushima a.k.a. Farzana and possibly other covers – is a Muslim male. This deception, of course, comes naturally. But the stupidity is more glaring – “Do the Sinhalese claim part of TN as theirs” asks this nimcompoop. Despite many faults – they are not
      idiots to go to that extent. Even a fool knows one cannot lay claim
      to any country foolishly – without historical evidence. Lankan Tamils have an undeniable claim to the North East part of the island, which the Sinhalese themselves do not generally contest.

      This Fathima Fuku has gone out of the way in these pages to annoy the Tamils – with his/her brain-damaged comments. The efforts are succeeding while even Mr. Rudrakumaran (TGTE) and Mr. Sumanthiran are trying to save the Muslims.

      Thamilthambi

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        Fathima Fukushima???

        Half Muslim Half Japanese? Be careful readers the person emits radiation, which cannot be detected by known scientific methods. Nuclear Plant blast in Fukushima appears to have damaged this person’s brain and it is emitting radiation of an unknown kind.

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      So what about the Malaysian Tamils ?
      South african Tamils?
      Canadian Tamils ?

      Don’t they each have no identities ?

      For me, no matter what community we belong to – where we are born AND grew up should be our home countries. Meaning nothing else than each of the community should be entitled to equal rights.
      In sri lankan context, no matter they be sinhala, tamils, muslims and other minorities, all are sri lankans.

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      Fat ” Mama” Fukushima

      You cross breed and a Sinkalam,

      What are you talking about you silly woman ( or may be a Transvestite) Tamil Nadu is our second Home and our First Home is Eelam. Catch up with news and for your information Elam has arrived through the back door and elections are scheduled to take place next month. In future you will have to apply for a visa to come North. got it?.

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      Fat “Mama” Fu.ku( does it ring any bells ) Shima

      Yes you are right North ( Eelam ) is our Home Land and the South is your Homeland.

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    Indian Sinhalese are in the majority & speaking sinhala. Thereforte just follow their requirements and leave aside the genetics & linguistics.

    Its SL majority Sinhala speaking & buddhist country……………No claims for tamil speaking Indians. Tow the line for mutual existence or else do a jump to waiting hands of Seemens & vaikos.

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      Nice name Thonda,

      But for your information the Aru ( I mean the Thonda Man made River ) has dried up and even if we jump we wont be able to reach Waiting Vaiko and Seeman so I am afraid we are staying put where we belong.

      Why don’t you all leave and claim asylum in Mahabodhi temple in your mother Country.

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    Ken Roberts – Very valid point.

    Fathima – Learn your history.

    Thondamanaru – So your are a Tamil. Hmm.

    • 0
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      Thondamanaru is the disguised idiot Senguttuvan Cheran Nakkeeran.

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    Is Para and Parava the same?

    “When the North East Provincial Council was established in 1989, the EPRLF leader Pathmanaba brought two Sinhalese to be ministers of his cabinet both to be nominated after the resignation of two EPRLF members. The moment this news spread in Colombo, one was branded a Malayalee ( coming from Kerala in India) and the other a Parava (coming from Tutucorin in India). The one who was branded a Prava from Tutucorin who had dropped the Portuguese surname to become more of a ‘Niyama Sinhalayo’. The moment he heard that he is being branded a Parava he abandoned Trincomalee and returned to Colombo. The other which was branded a Malayalee was taken and produced in front of Srimavo Bandaranaike. She tested the person by speaking to him in difficult Sinhalese and making him recite Sinhala Kaviya in which he excelled, conferred him the title, Niyam Sinhalayo thus ‘Oya Niyama Singalek Ne? (You are a real Sinahese No’), a gleaning Minster returned to the Provincial Council in Trincoamlee.”

    http://www.srilankaguardian.org/2009/07/towards-peaceful-equitable-and.html

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      Grateful to Anpu for Arular’s piece. Of the two Ministers Dayan J is
      known to all. Who is the other Sinhalese in the NEPC team?

      Kettikaran

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        Thanks Kettikaran. I knew DJ had something to do with Pathmanaba. But I did not that he was one of those two ministers.

        The link given above is the first of six articles written by Arular.

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    UK got the royal family to rally around. USA got the American flag to rally around. Sinhala people rally around their nation.

    Tamils scream for their language. Otherwise, they are highly deviated because of the caste system.

    what is wrong ?

    Probably, Charles Sarvan is jealous and does not feel that belonging ness because HE is half Tamil and half from the Middle- east.

    Listen, Tamils may have side lined you based on your caste. sinhala people are not like that.

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    WE NEED TO THINK SRI LANKAN FIRST.NO RACE HERE IS ‘PURE,WE ARE A MIXTURE WITH RICH TRADITIONS WHICH WE SHOULD BE PROUD OF.INSTEAD WE HAVE INSULTED THE DIFFERENT RELIGIONS,COMMUNITIES AND INDIVIUALS TO THE MAXIMUM.WHAT MORE IS THERE TO BE SAID.EXCEPT WE HAVE TO TRY TO MAKE THINGS BETTER IN OUR SMALL CIRCLES SO THAT GRADUALLY THE RIPPLES WILL GROW BIGGER AND REACH OUT TO A WIDER GROUP.START SOMEWHERE SOON.BEFORE THINGS GET WORSE AND OUT OF CONTROL.
    PARENTS,SCHOOLS,RELIGIOUS GROUPS YOU HAVE A HUGE RESPONSIBILITY, SINCE THE ROOT CAUSE FOR MOST OF THESE PROBLEMS ARE BAD MANAGEMENT BY YOU ALL.RESPONSIBILITY TO TURN THINGS AROUND IS YOURS.DO SOMETHING CONSTRUCTIVE.

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    On the meaning of the word ” para ” ; I am not qualified to critique the explanation put forth in the article , so I was wondering if the definiton for said term has been accepted by Western linguists specialising in Indology?

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      Where does the word “Hadi Demala ” come from ? Para is being used in Sinhala but “HADI” is being used only to attack the minority folks. :(

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        No doubts there should also be similar words in tamil language to address their angers towards Sihnalaya or any other folks.

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          Oh, don’t get me started on that now — Tamil is a very rich language :-)

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    Mr. Charles..

    Para means ‘foreign’, ‘foreigner’, ‘outsider’, ‘alien’;
    As such this words went on rampage to denote the ‘untouchables’ (in the Brahmin context), culminating in the use of the word ‘Paraya’ (‘lowly’ _slang) likewise the word ‘Mleccha’ construed to be of ‘lowly’ whereas it is originally refered to ‘a foreigner’.

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      Also consider para-military, para-medic etc.

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        That ‘Para’ comes from the famous lice killer.

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    Even the title is wrong there is not word called DHEMALA. It is Demala.

    Para means even in Sanskrit or in associated languages foreign. e.g. para-desi.

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    I think the term “para” comes from the word “paraya”, a low caste among the Tamils. The word “pariah” as in a “pariah state” or an outcast is also derived from this word. This is my humble opinion but I am open to correction.

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      Piranha

      Please refer to page 206 in

      Early Settlements in Jaffna An Archaeological Survey – July 1987.

      By P Ragupathy

      This is what he wrote under plate 179:

      A drummer from Karainagar, Jaffna.

      Being one of the aborigines of Jaffna, the drummers (Parayars) still retain a dialect which has a number of archaic Tamil words and a few Prakrit words. Besides drumming at funerals and folk temples they were heralds and traditional weavers. Some mong them practiced native medicine and astrology. The chief of this community used to maintain genealogical records of the vellala chieftains. Even today they have their own shrines dedicated to the deity of Valliayakkan (Val lyakkan – mighty Yaksha) and the priest is known as Valluvak Kurukkal.

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        Native,

        You appear to be a well read man. In the Jaffna tamil caste system the various castes are named after their traditional vocations and in the case of parayars it is drumming.

        In normal day to day spoken tamil, Parayan refers to an outcast, a person you did not wish to associate with or a detestable person.

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          Piranha

          Outcast means:

          A person who has been rejected by society or a social group.

          However, Parayars are classed as lower caste by the caste hierarchy but very much part of the community.

          “a person you did not wish to associate with or a detestable person.”

          This is not the impression I gathered from Jaffna. Although they are one of the lower caste in the hierarchy, they are not treated as detestable.

          Paray is a type of drum. Drummers are known as Parayars.

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            Mr Native@
            caught in the act :) I did not know that Native Veddas ever lived in Jaffna. Yakshas were living in Nothern Soils if I might be right.

            So you added “This is not the impression I gathered from Jaffna”???

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            Paray means ‘Utter’, the spokespersons on behalf of Zamindars, Landlords or Public Scouts were called upon these titles in the olden days in India, which doesn’t mean to show any contempt on the beholder.

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        Yea, ‘Drummer’ smells pine.

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    The Sinhala, Saravan, did not ever refer to the Tamils as Indian Tamils but as Vathu Dhemala – “Estate Tamils” as opposed to Yapanay Dhemala.It is possible that your memory is not just fading but is becoming warped with time and racial excreta/ Naturally the few Sinhalese who moved to Jaffna as business people were intelligent, humble and cersatile enough to speak the language of the majority- whech your own people have somehow refused to do because of utter ignorance. Was it not better to speak the language of the oppressors and gain their favours when the time was right and forget that one day independence would come and the apple cart would be turned on you? You would would you not seek to set sail where the social benefits make better for living so you would sell your mother and family to get along. I do not mean you personally but tose people who paint a pretty picture of war crimes and harassment whereas the fact is that all that matters is welfare benefits in the cold some where. India is too poor to accommodate the Servants of Jaffna and the Vanni so the boat trip to Australia. So what do you think of Papua New Guinea eh? You Jaffna Tamils will be able to teach the “savages” all the scam you are well versed at. Good luck. Who knows you can fight the Pidgins for a state of Eelaam there and teach them a bit of English while you are at it.

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      aha peter aiya seems to be all worked up ,well never mind, the old man must be wanting to feel important

      poor poor peter aiya

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      Mr. Casie Chetty : Your essay is a model of clarity and sober reasoning!And you also display such a sure grasp of facts and figures too.It would benefit all those who write in these pages if you reveal where you learned your craft.
      By the way,do you want the chetties and hetties to leave along with the Tamils to India?

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      We have noticed this Peter Casie Chetty jumping to pour scorn on Tamils at the first opportunity. I learn from others this failed journo is a Tamil and was earlier known as Peter Christie from the slums of Kotahena. He is said to have played some Cricket for Wesley
      College. After a trail of failures here, it is said he took off to the UK and spent many years there – not in Fleet Street but in the cheap water holes of London’s East End. He is said to have spent sometime in
      Paris too – with no better luck. He has for years tried to get to the side of the Tamil militancy in the diaspora and has been rejected because he cannot speak proper Tamil – reading and writing the language being out of the question. This may be one of the reasons he uses toxic language on the Tamil resistance. In recent times he sings the praises of Malinda Seneviratne and Bandula Jayasekera – in the hope, I think, of getting a job somewhere. I wish him luck there. What we do not want him to do is to slander the Tamil language and the Tamikl Nation – the language of his aunt, a cultured Tamil teacher at Wesley, who is said to have brought him up with much difficulty.
      The long and short of this is people who live in glass houses not only should change their dresses with care but also not throw stones at others.

      Kettikaran

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        You probably are someone who has had a little education and the reason you hide behind a pseudonym is evidence of cowardice. I can speak three languages fluently but sadly not the language of the latrine cleaners. I know your Uncle was Perumal and your father sat on the Borella pavement and sewed shoes for a living. I live in Liverpool and have lived in Paris.
        I know Bandula and Malinda and many other journalists. Patriotic ones. Tamil was the language spoken by our servants at Pickering Road and Gunanada Mawatte My cricket records are for all to see in the school pavillion and if I was a failure then you my dear latrine coolie’s nephew are a non entity.
        I have no problem with Tamils who are straight-forward but a Tamil coward I cannot suffer. Remember that the Chetties are higher caste in India or anywhere.

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          {language of the latrine cleaners]

          you means sinhalese in ARab latrines.

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            No tamil, if you know that.

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          ‘Cheena-chutties’ aren’t much durable.

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          My friends, more familiar with Kotahena, after reading your diatribe, say it is quintessentially Peter Christie – the vulgar
          language, the curses and the uncontrollable anger. No signature needed here. This is not the language, the finesse and the mannerisms of anyone, even those at the lower level, of the respected journalistic profession. They ask why did you change your name to the Casiechetty’s of Kotahena. You are not one of them – despite the deceptive name change. I am also told you are more in Kelaniya now than in Liverpool. So much for all those huge properties in Kotahena your family owned.

          As to your other low adjectives on Tamils, enjoy yourself, sicko.
          Sri Lanka and the whole world know of the ancient culture, rich language, history, traditions and culture of the Tamils. By the way, wise man, those who dealt in night soil earlier – by no means nothing to be shamed about – are not Tamil but from Andhra. You will not know the difference.

          Kettikaran

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            You want to trade insults? We can go on forever. Our ancestral propertoes are in Kotahena and we have mover because of the influx of the sakkili Tamils. Is that good enough for you. Check out 11 Pickerings Road or the whole of Srio Gunanada Mawatte you loser. You family carried our buckets.
            Now can you bold enough to tell me your name because if you cannot it shows what a coward you are. My language gets obscene when I talk with idiots like you because that is the only language you understand/So what have you done in life to make you want to live on and make a joke of yourself? Probably sold your self to male customers. Am I right? I never met you because I never walked down that path. So what is your name? Too scaredto tell? Come oon come on show yourself man.

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    MR is a ‘Para Balla’. What doest it denote?

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      You are right – this is the great example to understand the word “para”.
      No need to search for any other examples :)

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        Sama

        Please refer to my comment above:

        at August 21, 2013
        12:13 pm

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      It doesn’t denote that he is a Kurakkan Appu.

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      If Gamini will allow me, I have read with amusement this ongoing debate
      on the word para. To me it is a reference to the low castes Parayar (Jaffna) which the Sinhalese cottoned on to describe someone/persons lower in the class structure than themselves. This has, down the years,
      come to as an expression to be used by all communities – usually in the heat of the moment and soon forgotten – usually with a friendly laugh. I have seen Sinhala friends from caste families calling their mischievous children as paraya – in temporary angst. Tamils/Muslims/Burghers calling parap payaleh/para rascal and so forth. I believe such expletives are there in most communities worldwide. It is best to allow it to rest there – now that the caste factor is gradually on the way out. Just as well.

      Senguttuvan

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        Senguttuvan

        It appears that you have limited your visit to this forum drastically. Hope you are alright.

        As an elder commentator you have a responsibility towards CT readership.

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    Para sathuran is the word for foreign enemy in Sinhala. I never had a Tamil Aunt but an Aunt who spoke Tamil/ Christie was the name forced on my ancestors so that they could pretend to be white men for a while. The Csie Chetties in Kotahena own probably half of the land there and houses as well KK and you know that your ancestors worked for my family before the drainage system was in use.

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      I thought the Pigs in that area did the job to evryone’s satisfaction from Kotahena to Negombo.

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        Gamma, more info:

        Kaasi (Malay)= Give, Off
        Chetti = (‘Shaddi’ in Hindi) = Pantie

        There comes your word: “Off the Pantie”

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          The Casie Chetty’s of the Colombo Chetty clan came from the Chettinad area of Tamil Nadu. Read the story of Simon Casie Chetty – one of the first of the clan to come to Ceylon (“The Colombo Chetties”) They were an educated, religious and responsible community – who have since 1987 chosen to be classified as a different community outside the Lankan Tamil identity. Till about the 1970s they considered them to be Tamil – with ladies wearing the pottu, thali being compulsory in weddings and with Tamil names e.g. Jeyaraj, Rajan, Selva, Jeyam etc. Sadly, in recent years they have come by hard times and many had to leave their beloved Kotahena selling their properties – mostly to “Indian” Tamils in the business sector. They are now scattered in the suburbs of Colombo. There is a small community in Malacca having emigrated there like some of their clan left to Ceylon.

          Kettikaran

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      Casie Chetty = (Chitty Money) (Usury, Money launderer)
      Should that your forefathers be Gujarati Red Hats who wandered in Jaffna during the ruler AyaryaChakravarti (himself a Gujarati)’s time. Still Gujarati’s are referred to as Marwadis.

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    Just for every one’s information a references and websites to visit.
    How British have purposely colonised the East of Sri Lanka with South Indian Tamils and Mohammedans (Malabars) as a check community taking over lands belonging to Singhalese people, after the Kandy rebellion against British Rule in 1848 by the Singhalese people”. http://sinhalaheritage.org/Images/Letter_to_Lord_Grey_7.jpg http://sinhalaheritage.org/Images/Letter_to_Lord_Grey_5.jpg
    Dutch maps with Singhalese names of town and villages
    http://www.jaffnahistory.com/Eastern_Province/Bathkalapuwa_to_Cotiar.html
    http://www.jaffnahistory.com/Eastern_Province/Sinhala_Villages_of_Eastern_Lanka_1695.html
    Read from book ‘The Temporal and Spiritual Conquest of Ceylon”, by contemporary Portuguese historian Father Fernao de Queyroz. That Singhalese was the official language when Portuguse took over Jaffnapatam from Singhalese forces.
    “http://www.sinhalaheritage.org/Images/IMG_0013.jpg” “http://www.sinhalaheritage.org/Images/IMG_0001.jpg” “http://www.sinhalaheritage.org/De_Queyroz.html” and Prof. James Crawford in his book ‘The Creation of States in International Law’ refers to a treaty where in 1766, Kirthi Sri Rajasinha, the King of the Kandyan Kingdom, ceded a stretch of land in the Eastern part of the island, 10 miles in width from the coast, to the Dutch East India Company as one of the oldest treaties in the world proving once again that East of Sri Lanka was under King of Sri Lanka and not under mythical Tamil kingdom. Captain Robert Percival in his book ‘An Account of the Island of Ceylon’ (1805) states – “even as late as 1805 A.D. the Tamils and the other minority communities who had settled in the Jaffna peninsula have been referred to as ‘foreigners’” (page71). If you want more historical evidence in the form of artefact and where to find them in and around Jaffna I can take antone arround Jaffna and show them in some Tamil Kovils.

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    Dear Prof. Charles
    Could you please explain why Sinhalese appointed three Tamils as their last kings if the Sinhalese have a conviction that they are pure and a chosen people. Also I wish to point out that there were no riots against Tamils in Catholic majority areas such as Negombo and Chilaw.

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      Reader Wiji might note there were incidents, falling under the category of racial riots, in the Negombo town area, during 1984
      said to be in response to the attacks on Sinhala migrant fishermen
      then in the Tamil NEP. Writer/Social Activist Jehan Perera – probably
      influenced by the earlier research of Prof Stanley Thambiah – was to note those identified as Tamil traders – who were attacked in Negombo
      then could well have been Sinhalese who went from the Negombo-Chilaw
      coastal areas to the NEP decades earlier and settled there. The narrative went further and speculated those Sinhalese in the Negombo areas who attacked the Tamil traders in 1984 themselves could well have been migrant Tamils from the NEP who later settled in the Negombo-Chilaw areas. A fairly good example of vicious circle – one might say.

      Senguttuvan

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    Analyse the word PARA KRAMA does it sounds similar to PARA DEMILA? I hope the idiotic modayas can analyse the two words with a mighty big lense.According to history there was a Tamil king by the name of PARARAJASIGHAM in Ancient Jaffna. HALFWITS present day (srilankan) historians are like half baked maniocs with poison instilled yams. Results may be cracked head.

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    Mr.Sarwan,

    I don’t remember hearing Sinhala spoken in the Jaffna of my childhood, but I’m over 75 and no longer trust my memory: perhaps, Sinhala was spoken here and there. Be that as it may, it’s not relevant to what follows.

    I have heard it in Jaffna and I have spoken mostly from the Bakers and to the Bakers.
    The Sinhalese Bakers are good at baking and may be that is why they baked so many Tamils sad but true.

    By the way, something Michael notes ( page 20) shows yet again that “race” can be a far stronger emotion and force than religion: “Sinhala Catholics… participated actively in the populist or the sponsored violence against Tamils in 1977, 1981 and 1983” – I may add, irrespective of whether these Tamil victims were Christian or not.

    I agree and disagree with the above for the simple reason it varies from Race to Race and I will explain to you why.

    For us Tamils race is more important than Religion as you will see that in Sri Lanka the fight is due to ethnicity and not Religion.
    Tamils happily cross the religious divide as I ( am a Hindu) have Christians, Buddhists and Muslims in my family.
    Just go to the Anjaneyar temple( which is Hindu) in Dehiwala you will see Sinhalese worshippers happily mingling with the Hindus. Whenever we drive to Kandy we put money in Boxes at a Vihara.

    But look at Christians and Muslims they fight over Religion even though they are the same race and you will see from the following what I am talking about.

    1) Catholics and Protestants in Northern Ireland fight over and kill each other for Religion
    2) Sunni and Shia Muslims fight over and kill each other for Religion.

    I am sorry to disagree but true.

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    Mr.Sarwan,

    I should have added the following to my comments.

    Although the war in Sri Lanka is not a religious war but an ethnic war
    BBS are making every attempt to make it into a Religious war enjoying the Patronage of Gotha and MR and they have set out to destroy Temples and Mosques.

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    Peter Casie Chetty- no offense but-

    I didn’t like u line in one of your comments –‘You Jaffna Tamils’.?
    It rings a different tune from trying to defend yourself from the attacks of ‘Kettikaran’.
    yu seem to be dissapointed you cannot be called a Jaffna Tamil.Well,you made it difficult for yourself by explaining too much.

    Kettikaran,hold your horses buddy,What happened to you?
    Do not attack family and our ancestors.It is embarassing to read this on an open platform.Somewhere many will be hurting.
    Can you please drop this?

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