24 September, 2018

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Some Ethnic Differences Observed By Robert Knox

By Laksiri Fernando

Dr. Laksiri Fernando

My interests are of ‘ethnicity’ deriving from the discipline of political science and not ethnography or anthropology as such, since I don’t have any disciplinary background in them. Also my effort is not to argue that ethnic labels or characteristics are static or permanent but on the contrary to hypothesise that they are time bound and context specific. Some characteristics, however, might last for many centuries or millennia. What I relate here is what Robert Knox said about ethnic groups in Ceylon in his An Historical Relation of the Island of Ceylon in East-Indies published in 1681 in London, of course with my interpretations and comments. Knox’s was the first book in English on Ceylon.

Many scholars, both foreign and local, consider Robert Knox to be fairly a reliable and certainly an insightful author on the matters that he observed in the island of Ceylon during his captivity between 1660 and 1679. He on few occasions used the terms ‘barbarians’ and ‘heathens’ referring to the inhabitants in the country when he related his captivity, but in respect of internal differentiations of the people, he didn’t seem to have any preference or prejudice.

His general accounts were quite objective and dispassionate as he saw them or learned from others. Of course he was extremely critical of the King, Rajasinghe II, and his rule but these were days of the Glorious Revolution in England and many writers did the same back home in England in respect of their own king. The renowned political thinker, John Locke, who introduced a social contract theory for good governance referred to Knox’s book in his famous Two Treatises of Government.

On the issue of his captivity with others, including his father, he in fact admitted their mistake of not informing the King first and related the ensuing events which led them to be captives in the country as their ship had already left. He related that they were treated well by the King and the people to the best of their ability. However, he always wanted to escape unlike his other companions who in fact became married to the locals and got settled down in the country with families.

The book is of 189 pages without preliminaries or numerous illustrative drawings of the people, animals, plants and events. A well-organized book, separated into IV Parts and 39 short Chapters, this is one of the first sociological or anthropological studies of any country in modern times. In prefacing the Part III of his book he said, “We shall in this Part speak of the Inhabitants of this Country, with their Religion, and Customs, and other things belonging to them.”[1]

Chingulays

Before talking about the Sinhalese whom he called Chingulays, he gave a general picture of the country with the people as follows which shows the multi-cultural or multi-ethnic nature of the period.

“Besides the Dutch who possess, as I judge, about one fourth of the Island, there are Malabars, that are free Denizons, and pay duty to the King for the Land they enjoy, as the Kings natural subjects do; there are also Moors, who are like Strangers, and hold no Land, but live by carrying goods to the Sea-Ports, which now are in the Hollanders hands. The Sea-Ports are inhabited by a mixt people, Malabars and Moors, and some that are black, who professes themselves Roman Catholicks, and wear Crosses, and use Beads. Some of them are under the Hollanders; and pay toll and tribute to them.” (p. 61).

It is interesting note that he italicized all the ethnic and religious names and symbols. The subsequent descriptions also reveal that what he talked about as Blacks were the African origin people who were probably brought to the country initially during the Portuguese period.

Then he talked about the Sinhalese, what he called the “natural proper People of the Island” and it is possible that, that is what he heard from the Sinhalese. With reference to the Sinhalese, he says “I have asked them, whence they derive themselves, but they could not tell. They say their Land was first inhabited by Devils, for which they have a long fable.”

He heard a story from a Portuguese, something similar to the Vijaya story, but the banished Prince came not from India but from China! “But to me nothing is more probable that this Story. Because this people and the Chinese have no agreement nor similitude in their features nor language nor diet,” Knox says. Then in respect of ethnicity, the following is what Knox says:

“It is more probable, they came from the Malabars, their Country lying next, tho they do resemble them little or nothing. I know no nation in the world do so exactly resemble Chingulays as the people of Europe.”

What the above shows is the apparent mix character of the Sinhalese as he had seen. Knox was mainly living in the Hill Country, where people were relatively fair skinned due to the climatic conditions, and among the Sinhalese, it is also possible that there had been an ancestral mix of people who came from the Northern parts of India as well. Knox had not seen the Sinhalese people who were living in the coastal areas of the West and the South who would have mostly resembled what he called the Malabars.

Knox also talked about Vaddahs and referred to ‘Bintan’ where they mostly lived and said “In this Land are many of these wild men; they call them Vaddahs, dwelling near no other Inhabitants. They speak the Chingulay’s Language.”

Malabars

Knox in his book again returned back to the inhabitants and gave an account of the Tamils what he called Malabars. It should be noted that Malabars is the name that many European writers gave to the Tamils even until the 19th century, whether they lived in India or Ceylon. It also should be noted that the Tamils who lived in Jaffna almost completely escaped Knox’s knowledge or observation. He was also unaware of the Jaffna Kingdom (1215-1624) which lasted for four centuries with some interruptions. Knox was mainly referring to the Tamils who were living during the period in Wanni. But what he said was important in terms of perceived ethnicity.

In his Chapter XIII of Part IV, he was talking about other nations and referred to the Wanni Tamils as Malabars and the following was what he basically said.

“But before I enter upon Discourse of any of these, I shall detain my Readers a little with another Nation inhabiting in this Land, I mean, the Malabars; both because they are Strangers and derive themselves from another country, and also because I have occasion to mention them sometimes in this book.” (p. 175). Knox had earlier referred to Malabars in previous chapters and especially when he was escaping from Kandy and after passing Anarodgburro, he said:

“This Plain is encompassed round the Woods, and small Towns among them on every side, inhabited by Malabars, a distinct People from the Chingulays.” (p. 159).

It is important to note that the Tamils were called “a distinct people from the Sinhalese.” To turn back again to his main interpretations, he further said: “These Malabars then are voluntary Inhabitants in this Island, and have a Country here; tho the Limits of it are but small: it lyes to the Northward of the King’s Coasts between him and the Hollander, CorundaWy River parts of it from the King’s Territories. Thro this Country we passed, when we made our Escape. The Language they speak is peculiar to themselves, so that Chingulays cannot understand them, nor they a Chingulays.” (p. 175).

Then Knox referred to their politics saying that “They have a Prince over them, called Coilat Wannee, that is independent either upon the King of Cande on one hand, or the Dutch on the other, only that he pays an acknowledgement to the Hollanders.” It is obviously a strange relationship, the Malabars paying a duty to the King for land and the Prince paying a tribute to the Hollanders perhaps for sparing him from conquering! He goes on saying:

“The King and this Prince maintain a Friendship and Correspondence together. And when the King lately sent an Army against the Hollanders, this Prince let them pas through his Country; and went himself in Person to direct the King’s People, when they took one or two Forts from them.” There is an interesting comparison between the two rulers which should not be stereotyped. To relate only one aspect, “The People are in great subjection under him: they pay him rather greater Taxes than the Chingulays do their King. But he is nothing so cruel…”

Importance

The importance or the purpose of relating Robert Knox’s observations about the ethnic differences between the inhabitants of Sri Lanka in the mid or latter part of the 17th century is to understand that there are differences, but those cannot or should not be obstacles for peaceful living. The differences are not absolute either. The differences or related claims should not be used as weapons of subjugating one against the other or creating conflicts among them.

To be sure, Knox does not refer to conflicts among the people, except once when some villagers had attacked a Muslim Mosque given by the King! The King had punished the perpetrators severely. The King had also given permission to build a Church in Kandy but retracted the permit later as it was misused by the Portuguese residents. Apart from Knox’s portrayal of the King as tyrannical ruler, he has also commended him as a promoter of foreign residents. There had been Portuguese, Dutch, English and French residents in Kandy encouraged by the King. He has not shown any obsession against the whites or foreigners except of course their political or economic intrusions.

Building reconciliation and peace among communities today should be based on the realities of today. What we can get from Knox for our understanding of the ethnic question is also limited. Different authors or records might give different interpretations based on the times, circumstances and individual perceptions. Nothing could be sacrosanct. Who has created this human Babel? This is a perennial question. There can be many theories without a final answer. What is relevant is that the Sinhalese, the Tamils and the Muslims have their own respective identities so important to them all.

It is important to note however what Knox observed, “the Tamils as a distinct people to the Sinhalese,” in the same words as they claim today. So be it. Let them live in peace.


[1] He had an excessive practice of capitalization, italicization and punctuation, perhaps was the style of that time, which I have not altered. However, I have altered the alphabetical characters to suit the present day understanding while retaining the old spellings as much as possible. All quotations are from the original, published by the Royal Society in London and Printed by Richard Chiswell in 1681.

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Latest comments

  • 1
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    “Knox was mainly living in the hill country where ‘people were relatively fair skinned due to climatic conditions’……………..”
    Skin colour is always due to one’s genes.
    Climate does not affect skin colour.
    The genes must have come from fair skined aryans in india,or from the Portugese.

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      “Skin colour is always due to one’s genes.
      Climate does not affect skin colour.
      The genes must have come from fair skined aryans in india,or from the Portugese.”

      You don’t need to be Michael Jackson or Obumer. Climate does change the colour to some extent and with generations even more. Try indoor and exterior plants in an experiment.

      “Aryan”: so the research stops(0,0,0) at one face of the Himalayas slap bang (bench mark looks like an Indian rope trick)because the other side is Mongolian and the west had to learn how to count zero and decimal points from the Dravidian s. Incidentally Indo Europeans are from Iran and are not considered to be white plus they were favoured over the natives (who were now mixed to the Mughals) by the European traders because they suppressed cast creed etc. by retaining it as their privacy so they prospered. That’s today’s problem in SL.

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        Javi,
        Are you sure that all africans who migrated to cold countries are slowly turning white?
        And,that those who went centuries ago are now indistinguishable from the white population?

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          Not if you hide in a sac you must know what you are doing or can end up with skin cancer (UV radiation) like inter breeding races. Life started in Africa. Check this out and beyond and know that the veddhas of Ceylon are similar to folk of Andaman. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Human_skin_color
          BTW I dont purport to be an expert on this but like knox have travelled and observed good luck. I like Glastonbury where we do the mud bath.

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            Your putrid science of the mother of tropology, for some idiot scientist assumed Africa bore the prime sperm of human race doesn’t mean it is a well established fact without arguments. ASk yourself, do the Caucasoid, the Mongolids, Australoids and Javanese bear the same specs of the African stock?

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              So you sit on your hands did in your feet an d make the forum stagnant and putrid. Never too surprised biscuit buffon. The latest finding that we europeans come from Africa was by the Germans about an year ago go fetch its not my subject.

      • 0
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        Human are Humans,
        Nothing is going to change within few centuries.
        Irrespective of their Colours , Habits, Cultures, Foods.
        Only differences are their Beliefs.

        AND ALL THE HUMANS ARE GOING TO LIVE MAXIMUM 100 YEARS.

        FOR THAT SHORT PERIOD ,

        SEE WHAT WE ALL ARE DOING TO SEVIVE BYFOECE.

        using POWER/MONEY AS A leverage.

        Searching for identities, interpretations of ethnic differences, creating theories??????????????????.

        Do we want to fight for living on these short period,
        amassing wealth and power to change hand to next of kins.

      • 0
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        zero was invented by Aryabhat who was teching at the University of Nalanda in north India which was burned down by Muslims to ashes.So the number Zero has nothing to do with Dravidians.

    • 2
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      The Sinhalese consider themselves Aryan (invaders) of the island. They also love to propagate that they are light skinned unlike the dark-skinned Tamils. They want to be superior in color, race, castes, language, physical features etc. This is a characteristic of the low thinking or low mind set of the Sinhalese. World do not give the Sinhalese this superiority.

      Maha Kalu Sinhalaya, King Walagambahu was pitch black. So was Wimaladharmasooriya, so was Kavantissa aka Kakkavanna Tissa (crow-coloured Tissa), and many others. All these kings must be descending from South Indian Dravidians and not from those North Indian Aryans.

      We all can see, even Sinhalese come in dark black like any dark skinned Tamil and white like any fair skinned Tamil. If the Sinhalese were Aryans, then all those black skinned Sinhalese must have been once Tamils (Sinhala converts).

  • 1
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    Thank you Laksiri
    “What is relevant is that the Sinhalese, the Tamils and the Muslims have their own respective identities so important to them all.

    It is important to note however what Knox observed, “the Tamils as a distinct people to the Sinhalese,” in the same words as they claim today. So be it. ******Let them live in peace******.”

    • 0
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      Didn’t one of our exasperated Governor’s blurt out the oft repeated words ‘they all look the bloody same to me’.

  • 0
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    Prof laksiri,

    Thanks for the academically sound article. The Tamils and Sinhalese are different, but also similar. Only those who have known both intimately would understand. Your discussion of Robert Knoox and his observations i like a refreshing shower in a dreary desert of biased and most times silly discourse on the subject.

    The Sinhalese would have been also labelled Malabaris if not for their intonation of Sinhalese. I have mistaken Keralites speaking Malayalam for Sri Lankan Tamils. I have been also mistaken to be a Keralite by Keralites, because of the intonation of my Tamil and appearance. Further, Sinhalese and Tamils also eat food akin to the Keralites and the Sinhalese dressed like the Keralites in times I remember. The Malayalam film ‘Chemmeen was arevelation.

    Dr. Rajasingham Narendran

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      Oh you are back -I was wondering if you were in negotiations with Sumanthiran for that extra bonus seat in the NPC !!!
      (one being already given to the defeated Muslim candidate). Heaven forbid such a scenario, we have suffered enough due to your “lauding” of the regime.

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        Thou art vie for the discomfort in your soul? Let the Dev il bless you.

  • 0
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    Dr.Rajasingham Narendran

    Good to hear from you.

    Let us have a brief account of what you witnessed in the North and south during hustings and after the elections have concluded.

    • 0
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      go to his home at night. And don’t forget to accompany your mom. Then let her ask what she and you want from him and you sit outside until they finish. Your mom will explain to you what she got from him

      • 0
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        PuppetMuhamed

        Thanks for sharing your family’s experience with us.

      • 0
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        Animal, do not bring forth in public what’s of your vulva discomfort accommodating others in place of your pleasures.

      • 0
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        P M
        Your ancestry / Genes of Night bobcattings are showing,
        what you are, with your ideas unknowingly vomiting out,
        good to know that Mohomadians never drop their ancestry vulgar habits.

  • 0
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    Knox’s observations are relevant today. Both President and the Northern Provincial Council Chief Minister Elect Wigneswaran have indicated that they are prepared to cooperate to continue the development of the Northern Province. It is in their mutual interest to proceed on these lines, without being misled by others.

  • 0
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    Good article calling for peaceful co-existence in a secular nation.

    “he talked about as Blacks were the African origin people who were probably brought to the country initially during the Portuguese period.”

    1. Long before the Spanish/Portuguese period (both were ruled for 800 years by the Arabs) the Romans drove the Jews (who also originate from Ethiopia and Eastern Europe) and some landed at Malabar like the Syrians you still find their communities over there.

    “but the banished Prince came not from India but from China! “But to me nothing is more probable that this Story. Because this people and the Chinese have neither agreement nor similitude in their features nor language nor diet,” Knox says. Then in respect of ethnicity, the following is what Knox says: “It is more probable, they came from the Malabars, their Country lying next, tho they do resemble them little or nothing. I know no nation in the world do so exactly resemble Chingulays as the people of Europe.”

    1.XANTHIC POWER and the EPICANTHIC FOLD RULE!! They came from Bihar closer to Lumbini and China. Even today one can see Africans with similar eyes.

    2. If you add something concrete and read Percy Brown (1872–1955) Indian Architecture (Buddhist And Hindu Period) you will find Ceylon

    Main thing is to have individual rights then all live in peace irrespective of ethnicity, religion etc. but no politician will give that so we never vote in our life come what may.

  • 0
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    The theme of this well-intended article seems to be that the Tamils and Sinhalese are different. I am particularly not sure about the following statement about Sinhalese light-skin:

    “What the above shows is the apparent mix character of the Sinhalese as he had seen. Knox was mainly living in the Hill Country, where people were relatively fair skinned due to the climatic conditions, and among the Sinhalese, it is also possible that there had been an ancestral mix of people who came from the Northern parts of India as well.”

    However, Prof. Gananath Obeyasekere says there is no difference between us and I tend to agree with him. In a letter to the New York Times, dated April 24, 1984 that appeared in the issue of May 4, 1984 after their editorial said Tamils are dark and the Sinhalese light, Prof. Obeyasekere wrote :

    “…..You state: ‘The Sinhalese and Tamils are divided not only by religion, but by ethnic background: the Sinhalese are of Aryan stock, the Tamils are of darker-skinned Dravidian extraction.’ This racist nonsense is part of the current mythology of middle-class Sinhalese.

    “The Aryans were motley groups of ancient tribes, probably from the Central Asian steppes that descended into the Iranian plateau and launched a series of migrations or invasions into Northwest India in the second millennium B.C. Most of the languages of North India, and the (sic) language of Sri Lanka are Indo-European because they are off-shoots of the languages of these early settlers.

    “However, even during the period of the Buddha, in the sixth century BC, miscegenation had been complete and the term Aryan ceased to have any racial connotation. It was simply a descriptive term meaning ‘noble.’

    “The racial connotations of ‘Aryan’ were introduced in the late 19th century by Sri Lankan Sinhalese nationalists to differentiate themselves from the Tamils. They were aided by 19th-century European Indologists who spoke of the Aryan subjugation of [… a line missing from my photo- copy..] acceptable to serious historians.

    “In reality, there is little difference in the ethnic backgrounds of the Sinhalese and the Tamils. The first colonisers of Sri Lanka were probably North Indians. But according to the chronicles of the Sinhalese, even the first king and his followers married women from South India (Madurai). Thereafter, the patterns of royal marriage and mass immigration were wholly from South India, initially from the Tamil country and later (since the thirteenth century) from Kerala.

    “As for dark skin, the father of King Dutugemunu, a great hero of the Sinhalese, was called ‘Kavan’ or crow-colored. There are a few Sinhalese nowadays with fair complexions, but this is probably due to miscegenation with successive waves of European conquerors from the early 16th century onward. Any Aryan complexion comes from the latter-day European descendants of the ancient Aryans.”

    • 0
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      You as well as many give opinions on Tamils mix Dravideans and Tamils.

      See Some Tamils in Jaffna have far fairer skins than Sinhala people. Some Jaffna Tamils are not at all from the Dravidian stock of the square faces, wide forehead, large flat nose and the dark skin.

      Tamils, except for dravidians who are conservative, are highly mixed.

      See Jayalalitha, In Tamilnadu.

    • 0
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      The stereotype that Sinhalese are fair and tamils are dark came probably after the british brought tamil labour from TN. The tamils who were brought to Hill country from TN were darker than ppl in the island. As Sinhalese mostly associated estate tamils than northern tamils, it is the estate tamils who had influenced the impressions of the Sinhalese on tamils.

      Actually I cant differentiate between a Sinhalese and a Northern tamil but I can very well find the difference between a estate tamil or a northern tamil (or even a Sinhalese).

    • 0
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      And king Duttugemunu’s mother (Kavan’s wife), princess Viharamahadevi, was offered as a sacrifice to the sea.

      (which people get affected by the tsunamie; the coastal people)

      Knox talks of more than two nations…..

  • 0
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    As Laksiri wants to imply here, one day, Laksiri’s descendants can claim a homeland in Australia based on their ethnic differences.

    • 0
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      … and the Jim Nifty still get nourished with the punnakku Lakspray.

  • 0
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    This is a nice exercise to pass time of day; the usual who came from where and who did what to who. However, the call of the moment is to take each other as we find ourselves, adrift in a tropical paradise, where all we have done for some many years now is to go for each others throats. We can only hope that there will be an outbreak of sanity soon and that all races and creeds who inhabit this paradise will learn to live, respecting and tolerating each other and growing strong in our diversity. Not much to ask for, is it?

  • 0
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    Of course, the Sinhalese ,Tamils and Muslims and the Veddah people are different. They have different world views.

    The Sinhalese can be further divided quite clearly as Judo-Christians and Buddhists AND the Tamils Judo-christians and Hindus….

    The question is ALLOCATION of LAND based on this ethnicity.

    IF northern and eastern provinces of Sri Lanka are according to the Indo-Lanka agreement the ancestral lands of Tamils

    Could you PLEASE specify WHAT are the ancestral homelands of the Sinhalese….?

    Where is it ….? Soon there will be a movement saying that Sinhalese don’t even exist….

    Because northern and eastern provinces are declared as Tamil homeland there MUST be a legal defintion of where is the Sinhala HOMELAND.. This is vital to the solution to this problem…

    THIS IS THE ELEPHANT IN THE ROOM

    • 0
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      sinhala_voice

      I am sorry to disappoint you.

      “Could you PLEASE specify WHAT are the ancestral homelands of the Sinhalese….?”

      There is no such thing as Sinhala or Tamil land, the entire island is Veddah land.

      The Sinhalese land is somewhere in Sinhapur, in Lataland.

      The Tamilaham is in Tamilnadu.

      Both of you have a historical claim to go back and live there.

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      Yep I agree with you. If gov accepts Tamil”a traditional homeland rest of the country needs to be identified as Sinhala traditional homeland. We can see how Tamil homeland supporters act on that

    • 0
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      TAMILS AND SINHALESE WERE DIVIDED PEOPLE, RACIALLY, LINGUISTICALLY, CULTURALLY, RELIGIOUSLY, HISTORICALLY, GEOGRAPHICALLY AND IN SPIRIT FOR A VERY LONG TIME UNTIL THE BRITISH PUT TOGETHER THE TWO DISTINCT NATIONALITIES BY ANNEXING THE TWO TERRITORIES INTO ONE UNITARY STATE.

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    For the Record

    Knox’s statement in 1691 ” with another nation inhabiting in this land (Ceylon),I mean the Malabars(Tamils)——” was elucidated and confirmed a little over 100 years later by Hugh Cleghorn, the then British Colonial Secretary.

    What has been referred to as the famous Cleghorn Minute of 1799 recorded ” Two different nations from a very ancient period have divided between them in possession of the island ( Ceylon): First the Sinhalese,inhabiting the interior of the country in its southern and western parts from the river Wallouve ( Walawe) to that of Chilow ( Chilaw), and secondly the Malabars( Tamils)who possess the northern and eastern districts. These two nations differ entirely in their religions, language and manners—- “

    The history of the country took a different path with the advent of the British, for better or worse!

  • 0
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    Laksiri says-
    “It is important to note however what Knox observed, the Tamils as a distinct people to the Sinhalese,” in the same words as they claim today.”

    There is no need to invoke Robert Knox to establish that the Tamils are a distinct people. Their distinction in language, religion and culture is well accepted. The Muslims, Plantation Tamils and even Christians have all or some of these distinctions. The objection is to the claim by the TNA for the following on the basis of these distinctions.

    • The Tamil People are entitled to the right to self-determination
    • Power sharing arrangements must be established in a unit of a merged Northern and Eastern Provinces based on a Federal structure, in a manner also acceptable to the Tamil Speaking Muslim people
    • Devolution of power on the basis of shared sovereignty shall necessarily be over land, law and order, socio-economic development including health and education, resources and fiscal powers.

    DOES THE WRITER SAY “SO BE IT” FOR THEM AS WELL?

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    Dr.Laksiri fernando,

    Thank you for a very good summary article.

    “The importance or the purpose of relating Robert Knox’s observations about the ethnic differences between the inhabitants of Sri Lanka in the mid or latter part of the 17th century is to understand that there are differences, but those cannot or should not be obstacles for peaceful living. The differences are not absolute either. The differences or related claims should not be used as weapons of subjugating one against the other or creating conflicts among them.”

    Well said.

    There are differences between men and women, but it should not be used to subjugate women. Yes, there are differences between different races, not shouldn’t be s reason to subjugate one or the other.

    Who are the Sinhalese?
    From where did they come from? India,West Asia, Arabia, East Africa?

    Read Below:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sinhalese_people

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Genographic_Project

    https://genographic.nationalgeographic.com/

    Studies looking at the origin of the Sinhalese have been contradictory. Older studies suggest a predominantly Sri Lankan Tamil contribution followed by a significant Bengali contribution with no North Western Indian contribution,[47][48] while more modern studies point towards a predominantly Bengali contribution and a minor Tamil and North Western Indian (Gujarati & Punjabi) contribution.[49][50][51] Multiple studies have found no significant genetic difference between the Sinhalese and the three other major ethnic groups in Sri Lanka (Sri Lankan Tamil, Indian Tamil and Sri Lankan Moor).[48][52][53][54][55][56]

    It is debatable whether the Sri Lankan population have genetic links to Far East Asian populations however due to their close links to North East India, there is a likelihood of some traces of East Asian genes.[57][58]

    https://genographic.nationalgeographic.com/about/

    The Human Story

    Working together, we are unveiling the story of the greatest journey ever told: how our ancestors migrated from their African homeland to populate the Earth tens of thousands of years ago.

    Since its launch in 2005, National Geographic’s Genographic Project has used advanced DNA analysis and worked with indigenous communities to help answer fundamental questions about where humans originated and how we came to populate the Earth

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      I am an amateur anthropologist who has made some in-depth study in to the ethnic relationship between the Tamils and Sinhalese. My research proves that the Srilankan Tamils are the nearest of relatives to the Sinhalese .even the South Indian Tamils are closely related to the Sinhalese than for instance Bengalis. Political spin aside what Dr. Laksri Fernando and Amarasri have said here are correct. I am a Tamil and had serious difficulty even contemplating accepting the Sinhalese people as my ethnic cousins. But my research proves whether I like it or not they seemed to be genetically closely related to us Srilankan Tamils. It reminds me of a saying ” you can’ choose your friends but not your relatives.

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      Amarasiri

      FYI

      There are two books on this area of study and the details are as follows:

      Peopling of Sri Lanka, An Outline Based on Genetic (DNA) Studies
      By Subramaniyam Visahan
      Published by
      Tamil Information Centre
      London
      Contact Details:
      svisahan@yahoo.co.uk

      Peoples and Cultures of Early Sri Lanka
      A Study Based on Genetics and Archaeology
      By Dr Siva Thiagarajah
      Published by
      Tamil Information Centre
      Bridge End Close
      Kingston KT2 6PH
      admin.tic@sangu.org
      Tel:00442085461560

      Research papers:

      A Genetic Study of the Veddas and the Sinhalese
      by
      S. B. ElXEPOLA*
      Pathologist, General Hospital, Badttlk
      And
      EUGENE R . WIKRAMANAYAKE
      Department of Anatomy, University of. Peradeniya

      Blood Genetic Markers in Sri Lankan Populations-
      Reappraisal of the Legend of Prince Vijaya
      By N.SAHA
      Department of Physiology, Faculty of Medicine, National University of
      Singapore, Singapore 0511

      Blood Groups of the Sinhalese
      Author(s): D. F. Roberts, C. K. Creen, K. P. AbeyaratneReviewed
      Genetic affinities of Sri Lankan populations
      Human Biology| December 01, 1995 | Kshatriya, Gautam Kumar

      The legend of Prince Vijaya – A Study of Sinhalese Origins
      R. L. KirkDepartment of Human Biology, The John Curtin School of Medical Research, Canberra ACT 2601, Australia

      Genetic study of Dravidian castes of Tamil Nadu
      S. KANTHIMATHI, M. VIJAYA and A. RAMESH
      Department of Genetics, Dr ALM PGIBMS, University of Madras, Taramani, Chennai 600 113, India

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      Mr Amarasiri,

      Sorry to be late in acknowledging. I really appreciate your contributions.

      Laksiri

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    Regardless of Knox’s observations or Laksiri’s conclusions on Knox’s book, all races and people of every religion born in Sri Lanka or citizens of Sri Lanka have the equal right to live in Sri Lanka enjoying equal status.

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