30 September, 2020

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The Doomed King: A Requiem For Sri Vikrama Rajasinha

By S. Ratnajeevan H. Hoole

Prof. S. Ratnajeevan H. Hoole

Book Review: Gananath Obeyesekere’s The Doomed King: A Requiem for Sri Vikrama Rajasinha, Sailfish, Colombo, 2017. 409 pages. SL Rs. 1500, US$20, £16, €20.

This fascinating book opens with the anonymous quotation: “In order to survive as a nation people have to truthfully invent falsehoods.”

This reminded me of my own article from April 2013 on “Heritage Histories.” We create false histories to define who we are in superior light – our caste, race, religion, language, schools etc. – and when these are questioned, it is soul wrenching. This is such a book. It is gratifying to have a Sinhalese Emeritus Princeton University Professor laying bare the Sinhalese myths built around the last king of Kandy.

Lankan school texts unflinchingly claim that the Sinhalese came to Sri Lanka as settlers and the Tamils as invaders. Tamils cry foul, but cannot see that we do the same to our minorities – claiming that Muslims are low caste Tamils, that the Tamil Bible was translated by the Hindu Leader Navalar who taught Tamil at the age of 12 to the actual translator Peter Percival; and that C.W. Thamotharampillai who discovered some of the oldest Tamil books and whose infant baptism is a matter of record, was a born-Hindu pretending to be a Christian for privileges. Worse, ancient roots are ascribed to the relatively new Sinhalese language by calling Brahmi inscriptions proto-Sinhalese – as absurd as giving English ancient vintage by calling British Roman inscriptions proto-English.

The Doomed King

My wife had already read our daughter’s copy with all footnotes. When I got my copy she wanted to re-read it and we literally fought for our turns and finished it in a day. Such is the gripping nature of Gananath’s narrative.

Sri Vikrama Rajasingha (SVR)

Gananath terms the deposing of SVR as the most momentous event in Lankan history because it marked the end of independence. Nayaka rule begins with the death of the childless Narendrasingha (1707-1739) who had appointed his Nayaka brother-in-law Sri Vijaya Rajasinha as Yuva Raja (sub-king). The Nayakas were warriors from Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka who had established their empire in Tamil country, especially Thanjavur and Madurai from where the Kandyan kings obtained their royal brides.

The Sinhalese saw the Nayakas as Tamil. SVR’s end is owed to the British demonizing him with a view to invading Kandy on the pretext of freeing the people from tyranny, and the Englishman John D’Oyly using numerous Buddhist monks as his spies to prepare for the invasion. To these Buddhists, the English King was preferred to this so-called Tamil king. The popular account from D’Oyly, “deliberate misinformation from [the traitor] Ahelepola’s Sabaragamuva loyalists,” is the stuff of school texts from my time.

SVR is made villainous in the execution narrative of the wife and children of Ahelepola who was working with the British against SVR. He, his wife Kumarihami, children and his brother and wife were all sentenced to death. Ahelepola escaped. He could have saved his family by surrendering but failed them. The eldest, 11 years old, clung to his mother, terrified and crying. The second nine-year-old son, stepped forward showing his brother how to die. His head, severed by a sword was put in a rice mortar and the pestle given to the mother to pound it. The infant at the mother’s breast was decapitated. The milk he had drawn flowed mingled with blood. SVR is said to have watched all this with a crowd.

Gananath does not believe any of this, asking how it leaked out. He adds “surely not through the king’s executioner, very likely the only witness to the event.” The so called assembled crowd, Gananath puts down to John Davy the British surgeon’s inventiveness, “from British practices where crowds gathered at executions in a carnival-like atmosphere.” Having passed by an LTTE execution of a “traitor” husband and wife couple at Urumpirai where ice-cream and gram vendors were gathered and school children gleefully watched over these treats, I am not so certain the habit was not already introduced by the Dutch as seen from the gallows on the Jaffna Fort ramparts.

Accounts by Sinhalese like the Ahelepola Varnanava, in contrast, says Gananath, lambaste the king as a heretic Tamil while barely mentioning the execution of Ahelepola’s family. The “outrageously anti-Tamil text,” puts Ahelapola in the dynasty of the sun and the moon and says he is like the mystic eagle (Garuda) that destroyed the Tamil serpent. Rather strangely, the Ahelepola Varnanava makes out Ahelapola as the peacock, the vehicle of Muruhan, which made Tamils flee in fear. We see cultural appropriation, as when White people takeover the weaker Black people’s symbols especially from Black music, and make Blacks feel they have no culture. Taking over Kadirgamam and calling it Kataragama and the Tamil Buddhist ruins of Kandarodai, renamed Kathurugoda seem similar.

Adaptation of the Sri Lankan Flag from the Dutch Flag

The final capture of the king was guided by D’Oyly and Ahelepola. Molligoda, appointed Disava by the king, betrayed his lord. Several chiefs fled as the British approached. Ekneligoda (“who believed that his chief Ahelepola would soon be king”) and 500 of his supporters from Sabaragamuwa caught the king, reviled him and tied him up with wild creepers. The queens came out “reeling like fowls whose necks had been twisted and blood streaming from the lobes of their ears which had been lacerated in tearing away their earrings. However false, when such stories are internalized by a people, the repeat of similar incidents in successive race riots against Tamils becomes normative.

Interpreter Don William Dias took charge and entreated D’Oyly to come quickly, writing “the Sinhalese king” has fallen into our hands and was being “subject to ill-treatment and ignominy.” He asked for three palanquins (for the king and his two queens) and wearing apparel as the queens were almost naked. Is this what happened to Prabhakaran, his family and Isaipriya in Nandikadal?

Gananath brings out the many positive views of the king, a man of composure and majesty who ruled according to the shastras with a deportment that “indicated considerable dignity and firmness of mind” that could discuss the causes of lightning. Says Gananath, “In my view all these cases of the executions or punishment of prominent chiefs and confiscation of lands [by SVR] were for treason and fully justified under the law.” For almost every matter on which British writers blamed the king, Gananath points to the same thing being the norm for British behavior – drinking spirituous liquor, having many women, issuing savage punishments to traitors, etc.

Following up on the reference to SVR as “the Sinhalese king,” Gananath notes that the Nayaka kings (except Kirti Sri Rajasinha (1747-1782) “the great Nayaka-Buddhist king”) were born and raised in Kandy. They were practising Buddhists who “also believed, as most Sinhala Buddhists did [and do], in the great Hindu gods” such as Vishnu, Skanda and Pattini. Gananath says that some Nayaka queens, born and raised in Madurai, were more passionately Buddhist than most Buddhists “which of course is true of recent converts.” “It is therefore no accident” that it was SVR who constructed the magnificent site in honor of the Dalada after much of it was burnt down by the British in 1803-4. I might add that if SVR was not Sinhalese, nor was Vijaya if at all he existed. His queens from Madurai too were Sinhalese just as many Tamils who have chosen to change identity in recent years are Sinhalese. (It was Gananath who told me, just after 1983 that when a Sinhalese-English dictionary by the Government Press defined the Salagama caste of the Sinhalese as recent Tamil immigrants brought in as cinnamon peelers, a high ranking Buddhist prelate of that caste persuaded J.R. Jayawardene to burn the books and reprint them without the offending reference).

Gananath is an iconoclast who enjoys being that. He is critical of many established writers. He apologizes for making the necessary references to caste and treason, and “to the descendants of the aristocrats who live and work in Sri Lanka today.” His defence of his explicit references to caste, I find redeeming because I too have found it necessary to identify people by their caste to make the argument that there is discrimination even today, and that oppressed people who rise in the system, once empowered, put down those lower than themselves. He salves the egos of those criticized saying “the good and the bad exists [sic.] within us all,” although their behavior towards their noble and enlightened king who lived by Kandyan Law and forgave many traitors, seems utterly selfish, brutal and venal.

Iconoclastic Gananath cannot resist pointing out that it is a mistake to say “the lion flag was the ‘national flag’ of the Tri Sinhala,” the term Tri Sinhala being “of thirteenth century origin.” He adds, “there was no flag, lion or otherwise, that expressed the collective unity of the three parts of the Tri Sinhala. Such national flags were invented, designed or reshaped only with the advent of the modern European nation state.”

This extremely valuable book will enlighten the many who were brought up on nonsensical history books and school texts. It will also bother many authors whose work is questioned, but in very polite and non-confrontational but inexorable arguments cutting to the core of texts from colonial times to now. Worse, it will expose the many families who go as noble Sinhalese but in reality were traitors for having betrayed a just and noble “Sinhalese king,” a Buddhist who like all Sinhalese today, if they trace their ancestry back however they choose, would find they end up in a Hindu somewhere – whether Vijaya the mythical ancestor of the Sinhalese; or Mootha Siva the father of the first Buddhist king of Lanka Devanambiyatheesan; or the Tamil Buddhists of Kantharodai; or the thousands of Tamils on the western and southern coasts who became Sinhalese in the twentieth century; or the Nagas and Yakkas; or even Ravana.

It is academically and intellectually salutary that Gananath Obeyesekere is, going by the spelling of his name, from the same aristocratic families whose loyalty to the Sinhalese king and uprightness he questions. That adds to the book’s credibility.

This book will promote national unity and reconciliation through greater understanding among all Lankans and help form a truthful and realistic identity. It is a tribute to Gananath Obeyesekere’s wit, sharp mind, noble thoughts and empathy for the weak. It is most enlightening of our prejudices and a beautiful thing for any collector to own.

A final compliment to the new publisher, Sailfish: An excellently produced book at an affordable price with the commitment to delve into the controversial. I look forward to more.

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Latest comments

  • 19
    3

    Prof: Gananath Obeyesekeres first degree was English– First Class Honours @ Peradeniya. It was later on he became a celebrated ANTHROPOLOGIST @ Princeton University.

    In the aftermath of the July 1983 anti Tamil Pogrom,his letter to the New York Times was as follows…..
    Indeed,it would not be a distortion to say that if it were possible to trace the present day Sinhalese populations ancestry far enough,all lines would in major part lead back to South-India………

    • 12
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      Plato.

      How hard it is for Prof Gananath Obeyesekere to remain an intellectually honest scholar.

      There are only a few of them left on this island.

      He is now 87 years old, don’t you thing we should start worrying?

      • 4
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        Dumb native Veddo:

        He is now 87 years old, don’t you thing we should start worrying? christianity would say Almighty is with you always whethe ryou are going to hell or to heaven.

        Try not to be smart. Every compounded thing decays.

        • 7
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          jim softy the dimwit

          “Every compounded thing decays.”

          Thanks.

          I know what you mean, I have been observing you for more than seven or eight years. The decaying is really fast so is your decadence.

          How do you manage it?

        • 2
          3

          You dont know why Christians say almighty is with you whether you are going to hell or not, do you?

  • 11
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    Dear Professor Hoole,

    Good Write-up. You always write something with broad mind. I will read this book.

    Sunil Dahanayake.

    • 9
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      Sunil Dahanayake

      “Good Write-up. You always write something with broad mind. I will read this book.”

      What about the book?

      • 7
        1

        NV: Stop being a Naughty Vedda

        • 7
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          Tee Twenty

          Sunil Dahanayake talked lot about Halal regulations in Australia, he talked about new refugees swarming Australia, he talked about constitution drafting and people, Tamil, Sinhalese and Muslims, he talked about the trade agreement with India, lots of praise for Malinda’s typing on Good Governance, found RW, Ravi Karu and Central Bank governor were unfit for purpose, thought Dr. Wijewardana was a “Yahapalanaya” boot licker, on February 28, 2015 wanted MR to be the next president, …… .

          I thought Sunil Dahanayake would have taken the trouble to buy the book, read it before all of us.

  • 12
    1

    Dr. Hoole,
    ” I might add that if SVR was not Sinhalese, nor was Vijaya if at all he existed. His queens from Madurai too were Sinhalese just as many Tamils who have chosen to change identity in recent years are Sinhalese.”
    Well. many of our ancient kings could not strictly be described as Sinhalese, including Parakramabahu the Great. It is time these facts make their way into the school texts. Instead, children are being influenced by a steady stream of “historical” films like “Maharaja Gemunu “and “Aba”. One was made by Jackson Anthony,a “smart patriot” whose” Sinhala” ancestry is itself doubtful.
    I have not had the opportunity to investigate, but I believe the textbooks throw a similar discreet veil over the asassination of SWRD Bandaranaike.

  • 8
    2

    Thank you Plato and Sunil.

    Jennings initially studied Mathematics and Political Science before doing Law. He hired my uncle Nesiah as Head of the Department of Education. Nesiah was then a teacher at St. Thomas’ College. He was hired based on his articles on education, although his BA and MA were both in History.

    Not Nesiah, not Gananath Obeyesekere, not Jennings can be hired today as even Lecturer (Probationary) based on the circulars in force.

    We are a corrupt society. To stop the corruption we have rigid circulars which then also stop us from hiring good, deserving people. This is because discretion in Sri Lanka is invariably abused

    Gananth’s letter in the New York Times is reproduced fully in my book the Exile Returned.

    • 0
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      “……….. He (Jennings) hired my uncle Nesiah as Head of the Department of Education. …………”

      SRH H is rubbing-in that Nesiah was a Christian!

      ” Not Nesiah, not Gananath Obeyesekere, not Jennings can be hired today as even Lecturer (Probationary) based on the circulars in force.”

      Gananath would not have mentioned anything like this in the book. Why bring this up?

      In any case, nowadays universities the world over insist on a PhD for Lectureship. This will rule Nesiah out – wrongly. Jennings is not Lankan. Gananath had been a Lankan university (Peradeniya??) teacher.

  • 11
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    With the new constitution to come (God willing) we should also adopt the beautiful and highly elevating and aesthetically symmetrical lotus flag; enough of the lion and tiger (mindset)!

  • 10
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    Native.

    I was told that Prof: Gananath lives somewhere in Kandy. He and Prof: S.J. Thambiah[ Harvard] were the foremost intellects of our times. Alas these species are now almost extinct!

    • 0
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      Plato,

      I’ve never met Prof. G.O.

      But his daughter, Nalinika, turned up in Peradeniya about 1985 as a Vet. Science undergrad. She was a charmingly unassuming and spontaneous kid (please remember that I was 15 years or so overage). She loved dogs so much that she was called “Dog”. She didn’t mind that one bit.

  • 5
    1

    Incidentally, Sri Wicrema Rajasinghe [actual name Kannasamy]–The last King of Ceylon was just about 3ft: and a couple of inches off the ground. The place where he was kept before exile has a small bust of him which most people would not notice @ Fort in the corner of the Ceylinco building.

    As for Ahelepola,he died in the Mauritius and to this day someone sweeps and cleans up,with offerings of fresh flowers at the location where he was laid to rest.
    1815 was indeed, a momentous year. I used to wander what happened to the Entourage of the Queens from Madurai; They could not have possibly got back.Perhaps,they pass off as the present day Kandyan Aristocracy?!

    • 1
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      Plato,

      Generally royalty on a good high-protein diet are well made. Here is a physical description of SVR from p. 340 of Gananath’s book:

      His person and manner possessed something particularly striking and distinguished; and no one, let him be of any civilized society whatsoever, could be five minutes in his presence without discovering a grandeur and superiority about him which is almost impossible to define. He was about six feet in height; his limbs were of herculean size, but beautifully formed, his head small, his features regular and handsome, his eyes large and intensely black and piercing, his hands and feet small and elegantly turned.

      Here is a description as he disembarked into Indian exile with his wives:

      He wore enormously wide trousers of stain striped yellow, green and red with a multitude of gold buttons down their outward seams from the hip to the ankle. A white satin waistcoat richly embroidered with gold flowers, a gold band encircled the edge round the neck. The sleeves were short, widely puffed, and slashed after the Spanish fashion. They were richly embroidered and had handsome stiff white lace round their edges. He wore a wide point lace ruff round his neck, and beneath it a most beautiful lace tippet starched, which hung in the shape of a semi-circle down his back and over his shoulders.His head was adorned with a white satin Kandyan cap. The top of his cap rose like a cone, and was surmounted by a small spire to which were attached several horizontal gold crosses, one above another, and from the points of each cross hung some beautiful gems, rubies, emeralds and sapphires Round the bottom of the cap there was a gold band studded with precious stones. In his hand he carried a white jacket handkerchief, and his feet were adorned with red velvet slippers embroidered in gold, curving high from the toe.

      • 0
        0

        Sorry. It is satin, not stain in
        “He wore enormously wide trousers of stain striped yellow, green …

  • 9
    2

    Mr. S. R. H Hoole,
    Thank you for making us the CT readers aware of this book. Definitely I will buy the book and read. Hats off to Prof Gananath Obeysekere.

    I am not that rich .but I sincerely hope rich people like smart patriot DJ will buy 2000 books and distribute among the Viyath Maga members.

    I also hope DJ after reading the book will enlighten his readers about

    1. the genetical differences among Sudu Sinhala ( eg JR J Srimavo B and MR ), Kalu Sinhala ( eg R Premadasa ), Kalu Tamil (eg GG Pon, V.Pon ) Sudu Tamil ( eg SJV C ) and so on.

    2. Why the majority of film going Sinhalese like the Hindi movies ?

    3, Many claim that they are Arya Sinhalese. Is there any Dravida Sinhalese in SL ?

    4, Many of the Arya Sinhalese and Dravida Sinhalese or darked skinned Sinhalese wants the Tamils to go back to South India. Why many of the Tamils are not asking these Arya Sinhalese to go back to North India.

    Hope this book will be an eye opener to the likes of smart patriot DJ and inan unconventional way.

  • 9
    0

    I have read that Sir Ponnambalam Arunachalam on his visit to South India had met the last queen and royal family. SVR was imprisioned in Vellore close to Chennai. Perhaps, Sir Arunachalam’s great grandsons Jayanta Swaminathan Partner of Julius and Creasy, and his brother Minister D.M.Swaminathan could elaborate more on this.

    • 4
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      Likely a true story. Any of the queens in 1815 must have been born around 1800 or before.

      SVR died in 1832. Arunachalam was born in 1853. When Arunachalam visited India at age 15 or later (to remember the meeting), he might have seen a queen when she was around age 70.

      Please let us know if you hear anything further.

  • 11
    10

    This is not a book review but used as a means of venting the insatiable SRH H narcissism. He proudly tells us that his daughter has the book, his wife read it, reread it and he fought with his wife to have his turn and finished reading 409 pages in a day. What the hell has this to do with the review?

    SRH H says that Gananath opens with the anonymous quotation: “In order to survive as a nation people have to truthfully invent falsehoods.”
    SRH H says “………….that the Tamil Bible was translated by the Hindu Leader Navalar who taught Tamil at the age of 12 to the actual translator Peter Percival; and that C.W. Thamotharampillai who discovered some of the oldest Tamil books and whose infant baptism is a matter of record, was a born-Hindu pretending to be a Christian for privileges”
    What the hell has SRH H pet theory based on plain belief to do with Gananath’s book?

    SRH H says “ Gananath is an iconoclast who enjoys being that.”
    Gananath is a sociologist. His conclusions are based on research.

  • 4
    14

    Hoole, your article is FULL of lies. You are praising and promoting a book that fits your pathetic agenda.

    Idiotic writer should know that when Vijaya arrived in, Sri Lanka wasn’t an unoccupied land, there were many sophisticated tribal communities all over the land. Unification of those scattered tribes formed the ethnic Sinhalese.

    Have you heard of the Balangoda Man? Archaeologists keep uncovering pre- Vijaya – era sophisticated artifacts and well preserved skeletons .

    Cunning Dutch and Cunning British gifted the King SVR with Whiskey, the king became an alcoholic, Dissawes lost faith in the King, British choreographed fighting between the King and the Dissawes, …………….. British got Sinhale on a tray without firing a bullet.

    It is because Tamils history on the Sinhale Island (Sri Lanka) is unpleasant, don’t take it out on Sinhalese.

    Tri-Sinhale was Ruhunu rata, Pihiti rata and Maya rata. Hoole, do some research before you type!!!!

    Long-distance historians written history reviews are not valid. If anyone finds this so called book review, chuck it in the bin!!!!

    • 11
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      Johnny boy

      “You are praising and promoting a book that fits your pathetic agenda.”

      Have you read the book or any of Prof Gananath Obeysekere’s work? If you have, please let me know the details.

      “Unification of those scattered tribes formed the ethnic Sinhalese.”

      Did he really unify all those “Sophisticated Tribes”

      “Have you heard of the Balangoda Man? Archaeologists keep uncovering pre- Vijaya – era sophisticated artifacts and well preserved skeletons”

      Were the skeletons belonging to Vijaya’s people? Any evidence? Are those skeletons clearly marked with “I am Vijaya’s Mum”, I am Vijaya’s maternal Great Grandma” “I am the lion”, …… I am Jonny boy’s ancestor, …..

      “Long-distance historians written history reviews are not valid. If anyone finds this so called book review, chuck it in the bin!!!!”

      And treasure the book.

  • 5
    12

    Does anyone notice that the trouble making Tamils are not Hindu Tamils, It’s Non-Hindu colonial master’s boot lickers!!!!!

    • 11
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      Johnny Boy

      “Does anyone notice that the trouble making Tamils are not Hindu Tamils, It’s Non-Hindu colonial master’s boot lickers!!!!!”

      Have you noticed that the historically authentic boot lickers have been the Sinhala/Buddhists, look at those whose ancestors came from South India and now they call themselves the Sinhala Buddhists, during colonial rule they were recruited by colonial masters and fought against the Sinhalese and Buddhists, 3000 Lasarians mercenaries went to Jaffna fought against Tamil Kingdom.

      Find out from your grandma more stories.

    • 1
      0

      You mean Christians named John?

  • 4
    12

    Actually, Lion flag was used by King Dutu-Gemunu.

    • 12
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      Johnny Boy

      “Actually, Lion flag was used by King Dutu-Gemunu.”

      Did he really? Did your grandma tell you that? She must have been a good story teller.

    • 2
      0

      Read between the lines, and you find that Elara (Tamils call him Ellala, don’t they?) was a far nobler man than DutuGemunu.

  • 3
    13

    Bitter old man, stay away from Sinhalese’s history book!!!!

    • 2
      0

      From the above article I do not think you have to worry about it. It sounds like that Old Guy was talking about Tamils of South India, isn’t he?

      He was not sure of Wild Life Sanctuary really exists or even if any wild life named SinhaLE migrated to Ceylon.

      Before you worry too much about it, just check it out; did take any blood tests?

    • 1
      1

      John, John!
      As Prof said, when heritage histories are challenged, it tears our souls apart.
      You are getting angry and Prof’s writing are difficult for you.
      Sorry.

  • 6
    1

    A history of Sri Vikrama Rajasinha is here:-

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sri_Vikrama_Rajasinha_of_Kandy

    The references authenticate the text which appears to differ with what is ascribed to G.Obeysekera by Hoole.

    As usual, Hoole denigrates Navalar and Thamotheram Pillai – this appears to be the purpose of this article.

    • 2
      1

      Justice, please try not to be like a bull in a China shop when you see the name Hoole. It erodes any credibility you might have.

      Thamotharampillai is his ancestor and I think he is very proud of that.

  • 7
    1

    History of Peter Percival and link to history of Arumuka Navalar are here, with references.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peter_Percival

  • 2
    2

    The Old National flag of Iran
    http://www.payvand.com/news/10/mar/Iran-flag-lion-and-sun.jpg
    http://www.payvand.com/news/10/mar/1252.html

    It was during the Mohammad Shah reign (1848) that the three colored flag (horizontal equal stripes of green on top, white in the middle, and green on bottom) and a lion, sun and sword as inscribed or evolved in our history for at least over 2500 years, was officially chartered as the Flag representing the Nation of Iran (Persia) worldwide

  • 12
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    Phenotypically and Genotypically Sinhalese, Tamils and Tamil speaking Moors are from the same gene poolt. Perhapsa blend from Andra, Bihars who sailed, Bengalis and Ori who sailed and settled but predominanty from Andra, Tamil Nadu, Kerala etc. Our features, shorter dimensions, curly hair all suggest a mix of S.Asian genes. I did an Ancestry DNA test and this is what it said of me.
    81% Asia South
    11% Asia East
    8% Other regions

    I always wondered why we are not closer than we are in political and economic relations to Kerala with malayalis. Were’nt a lot of Sri lankan kings in the last kingdom married to Malayalis too? Aappa or Aappam, Indiaappa or Indiaapam all and Murunga and a lot of so called Sinhala foods as opposed to “Tamil Food” like vadai or thosai seem to be common in Kerala too. I see a lot of mallung with coconut scraped into it in frozen Malayali food too. I buy frozen Murunga and curry leaf too. The frozen murunga does not taste good.

    I am sure being an Island food habits, spices etc evolved over time but food links always fascinate me. Why not increase links with Kerala? I buy “Ceylon Roti”, “Romali Roti” from the Indian store and make Koththu roti. Do Indians have Koththu roti? Where did the Godamba Roti food habit come? We know the pastries, and cakes came from Colonial times but it seems food links need to be researched too.

    . Who cares what the genes say if we are buffoons or too stupid to do stuff with our lives but brag about genes like supremacists now do with their post Obama white awakening; targeting brown people in the USA and Anti-Indian sentiment is growing.. As some white folks say “Y’all all look alike”.

    • 12
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      Mano
      Kerala was somewhat geographically isolated from the rest of the Tamil land in South India.
      Sinhalese kings had closest ties with the southernmost kingdom, the Paandiyas.
      Cholas, during the days of their empire whose influence went as far as Cambodia, were a terrible lot. It had little to do with race or religion but concerned the glory of a monarchy.

      Malayalam was a dialect of Tamil and became a distinct language following the writing of Sanskritized texts, especially the Ramayana and Mahabhratha. It adopted as its script the Tamil Grantha designed to write Sanskrit in Tamil. The current Sinhala script is a rounded version of that Grantha, while the Tamil script is a hybrid of its old form and the Grantha, and with much similarity to S&M, but minus several letters.

      The entire region was one of rice eaters. (Of course there were millet varieties which were mostly Chena crop.) The wheat-based gothampa roti perhaps had origins near Indonesia, and we may owe it to Muslim traders.
      Even hoppers and string hoppers are not very ancient.
      Pittu, however, has references in literature dating at least a thousand years back.

      Strangely, people with many differences seem to coexist better than those with many similsriteies.

    • 9
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      Thank you, Mano. Your last paragraph is very pertinent.

      Most of us will not do a gene test because of what it might show. An Indian Tamil Brahmin friend of mine has a father who always boasts about his pure Aryan ancestry. So the son went for the test using a $50 special offer from National Geographic. It showed one branch of his family being descended from the Mongols. The test is wrong, insists the father. Some of us simply refuse to be educated and enlightened.

      Jeevan

      • 4
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        S.R.H. Hoole

        “The test is wrong, insists the father. Some of us simply refuse to be educated and enlightened.”

        True.

        Proof HLD Mahindapala, Dayan, Johnny Boy, Hela, somass, ……. and others.

      • 3
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        I knew about Kerala a bit only and that too because my parents and grandparents talked about it. But i really got to know about them when I lived in India and the most brilliant child prodigy roommate of mine was a Jacobite Christian from Kottayam. We learned a lot from each other. He says “tamils are cunning and cannot be trusted”. Still says that and feels Tamil Nadu wants to dominate the south and feel superior to them.

        Which was fascinating because when he was in a private boarding schoo,l his 1st girlfriend Nithila was Tamil. and she moved to the same town as we did to get her medical degree. In fact he used to borrow my bicycle and even take me as a cover to go visit her at the Christian Medical School about a hard and harsh 6 mile bicycle ride, but then he met and fell for her roommate his fellow doctor Malayali girl. He is a top award winning soil scientist and married her.

        I was older and like an older brother; I had too many Sri Lankan sins like drinking; poor bloke got introduced to Arrack. Still friends via social media. My bucket list is to go visit him in Kottayam. Brilliant lad. Got his PhD whereas I never finished my PhD and goofed off.

        All the scenery looks like Sri Lanka. I used to take the train to Madras and fly back from there for summer. The areas around Madras airport were harsh climes. But it was the cheapest way to fly home for summer when summers were 40C in North India. No way in hell are we Aryan. Sikhs, Kashmiris, Afghans, Pathans are bigger taller and do not have our short stature nor our thicker noses and we have thicker negroid lips too; Digressing here a bit.

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          Mano,

          If you search for “sbarrkum DNA” you will find excerpts of DNA literature, breakdown of Sri Lankans who contributed to HarrappaDNA (unhappily no longer active).

          General conclusions
          a) We have about 55% and above of Ancestral South Indian (ASI) which is similar Andaman Islander (Onge).

          b) Maternal mtDNA haplogroup is most likely M

          So a few males came and slept with the existing women (ASI, mtDNA women).

          Has not changed that we are the blackest people of Asia.

          Even the Kandyans look pretty black in old photographs.
          eg. Meedeniya family in link below
          http://www.karava.org/other/radala

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            Dear sbarrkum,

            I went in to that link you’ve given:

            http://www.karava.org/other/radala

            Fascinating stuff; one could get lost in all that. Families that became prominent in British period.

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            “So a few males came and slept with the existing women (ASI, mtDNA women).”

            I think:

            Like was in Poland, and now Vanni the “moguls” came killed the men and raped the women.

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        Cant comment on the Para (dont know that much Tamil).

        The Arya Chakaravartis “claimed” descent for Sinhabahu.
        The last guy had a son called Sinhabahu.

        See Image below
        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Jaffna_Royal_family.jpeg
        Linked from
        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aryacakravarti_dynasty

        Does it really matter.
        The Eastern part of India including Chandra Gupta Mayura (and Asoka) were according to Brahmins Low outcastes.

        Yes, it does matter. One needs to reject Brahmin Law (Laws of Manu).

        We in Sri Lanka are of a common Identity.

        Probably a large portion of Ancestral South Indian (I am 55%), what guys like Brahamin Sankar Sarma call Low castes or Adi Dravida.

        The beauty is this country (Sri Lanka) has developed a society that is very equal (egalitarian).
        The necessity
        a) to cooperate on maintaining small scale tanks/reservoirs
        b) Cooperate on water flows to paddy fields.

        Seen it first hand.
        Live in a mixed village, Muslim, Sinhalese and Tamil.
        The paddy fields are 5-10 acres with each owner having 0.5-2 acres in the paddy field tract.
        Paddy field plots next to each other (adjacent), can be Muslim, Tamil or Sinhalese.

        They all work together.

        If you ask them on a one to one (individually) they will say bad about the other.
        A little more chats and you find that they are all married to each other.

        Any different from NYC?. A little digging finds the Black/Jew/White disliker (hater is a strong word) is married, has family from the disliked group.

        A classist ref:
        Ms Marple: What you see in the village, you see in the whole world.

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      The “Pittukku Man Sumantha” story is about 1300-1500 years old. That time TN has been making Pittu. Story is taking about varieties of Pittus- a common phenomenon in our Eelam break past dishes (At least at my time). All age Old- from Sangam time- stories are talking about Curry-Sooru. Saatham-Sambar is unique to modern TN out of whole India, other than extreme North, where only roti (or Chapatti) is standard. Southern states and Lankawe stood with their age old tradition. It is TN moved out between 1000-300 years. Idli, Dosa- Sambar is a re-invention some Indonesia- Thailand dish, after invading those countries.”Udad” is mainly TN style. Not the Indonesia or Thailand style. Ceylon Tamils picked a part of it by the continuous connection with TN. Sambar-rice did not come to Jaffna. Further, they did not lose Pittu – Idiappam-Appam. It is not Idli is, nowadays, not known in Andhra or Kerala. I buy the Idli Podi only Kera Brands. Andhra Udupi Idli is famous. Once the racial tensions stated – I would think it is about less than 150 years before Portuguese to come- Sinhalese stayed away from adopting anything branded as Tamil. They copy the Hindi movies believing that is their mother culture.

      It cultural question TN researchers have to answer how did they lose the Pittuku Man Sumantha Culture without even a tiny trace?

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      Mano,
      “I am sure being an Island food habits, spices etc evolved over time but food links always fascinate me. Why not increase links with Kerala? I buy “Ceylon Roti”, “Romali Roti” from the Indian store and make Koththu roti. Do Indians have Koththu roti?”
      It might interest you (as it does me) that kokis, kavun, halapa, apart from aappa idiaapa and pittu are all common in Kerala.The idiaappas are mammoth sized, unlike our anaemic variety. Keralites don’t have koththu, but it seems to be catching on, having been imported lately from SL along with rambutan and avocado. They have managed to produce some rather pathetic rambutans so far.
      As to increasing links with Kerala, how can it be done when very few Sri Lankans know that it exists, and the vast majority think that 70% of Indians are Tamils? Any three-wheeler driver knows where Melbourne is, but not Trivandrum.

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        old codger

        “Any three-wheeler driver knows where Melbourne is, but not Trivandrum.”

        Are you trying to sell Economic and Technology Cooperation Agreement (ETCA) with India through Trivandrum?

        We the smart ass patriots are vigilant because we are paranoid.

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        Sadly the same ignorance is very true in India. In N.India where I lived for 4.5 years often people would ask “Do you speak Hindi?” “Do you worship Hanuma?” I had to chuckle in both cases. But North Indians really looked down on us darker, shorter S.Indians and Sri Lankans in a way. Also interestingly if you even ask a Rickshaw puller “Are you hindu?” If they were and if they were Brahmin they would promptly and always say “I am hindu Brahmin”. WTF?

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    Thanks for the issue on the height of SVR. I read this somewhere in the Newspapers,several years ago by a Kandyan commentator that SVR was v.short. Anyway,Prof:Gananaths version must be the authentic one.
    I need to buy and read this book—A collectors item!
    Regarding Ahalepola and Mauritius an article appeared in the CDN, SOMEWHERE IN1993, by a Pilot by the name of Elmo Jayawardena[AIR LANKA] who had given the details of the Tomb of Ahalepola.
    Since you too appear to be interested in the sad fall of the Kandyan Kingdom,where the King was betrayed by his council of Ministers, you could check that site next to the Ceylinco building,where the bust of SVR is placed!

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      Thanks. Will look it up when I go to Colombo next.

      SRHH

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    Oops.
    My above post is for S.R.H.Hoole.

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    The “Kandyan” wedding jewelry which consists of the Nalal Patiya and the 7 layered Necklace seems Malayali too right? We had those and I remember seeing photos of Indian Malayali or Perhaps some Tamil Chola or Pandyan Royalty images from history adorning the same.

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    Actually Buddhism teaches a lot of real practical things. So if we are real buddhists(I know I am not) his verse from the Dhammapada which says “Najja wasalohothi, Najjaja hothi Brahmano. Kammana wasalohothi, Kamman Hothi Brahmano” made great sense back then Dr. Hoole to these so called “Brahmins” and to this date too whether one claims to be G or K or B or Vellala or Brahmin in the case of Tamils. It is sad that after the war, the Brahmins were housed separately, cooked for separately by the army and their kids schooled separately from the rest of the Tamil refugee population. Why? Because the army had to defer to the ultra conservative Tamil culture.

    It is our actions and our actions alone determine if we are superior or inferior beings and in the context of Buddha;s period, the Wasala or cleaners were doomed by virtue of caste to be relegated and oppressed. It is still a bigger curse in India than in Sri lanka I think. It is probably because of socialism that it is less in Ceylon/Sri Lanka. Also buddha said “an auspicious time is a time when it is most SUITABLE for a person to carry out a task” and hell it had nothing to do with alignment of Uranus and Earth or other things and charts and horoscopes. Look at the beholden Lankan politicians and even military people. Sad no? where is rational thought and logic in all this?

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    Although this Professor is not a Vellala, I am not buying his attempts to turn our coastal inhabitants who are salagama. karawa, durawa and other not so fashionable castes in to Dalit Tamils.

    Does the Six Star General, although he is now firmly on the side of the LTTE remnants, look a Suppiah who drinks Toddy in Kotahena ?.

    Obviously not. There goes the theory that Salanagamayans are Kallathonies.

    The great King Dutu Gamunu lived in the South Coastal town of Thissamaharama.

    His brave Army were all from the South Coast, which had connections even with the ancient civilizations like Phenoecians and Romans who frequented our shoires on their sea voyages.

    Then we have Batalanda man still in the Museum.

    There are no real evidence to prove beyond doubt that even that Hindian dude Vijaya coming and laying our native chicks before killing them.

    If anyone came from India they are all Tamils .

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      Dear Sumaney
      “If anyone came from India they are all Tamils .”
      Your own name is of South Indian origin. There is a town called “Kulasekharapuram “in Tamilnadu.
      Maybe you look like Jayalalitha then?
      Read last Sunday’s Times Plus front page.

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    Mano
    ” …the Brahmins were housed separately, cooked for separately by the army “
    There is some mistake.

    The Brahmin (although Class 1 according to Manu Dharma) is not socially dominant in Sri Lanka to be afforded such treatment.
    You must be having the Class 4A caste in mind.

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      The top commander who is a friend told me of people being housed separately. It could have been their religious heads and families. But I was sure I heard Brahmin. If not then whoever was the upper cast or the Poosaris and their families. This is direct words about those who were housed separately from a friend of mine. I will check on this and thanks for the information. Sorry if I did not get the people’s classification correctly.

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        Mano
        The status of a ‘Hindu’ priest is very different here from that in India.
        An exceptionally influential Brahmin is another matter, Otherwise it is the JHV that calls the shots.

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    To the English, our king must have looked just like the majestic Porus who once stood tall before Alexander the Great, a story they knew well.

    In the book “Alexander of Macedonia” I believe, which I read in my youth, it was said that Porus was a six footer. Alexander’s biographer says that When Alexander met the Indian king Porus, he was struck by the man’s height of 7 feet, and he (biographer) thought the tall man would look as fitting on an elephant as a Greek man looked on a horse.

    “Wounded in his shoulder, standing over 2 m (6 ft 7 in) tall, but still on his feet, he was asked by Alexander how he wished to be treated. “Treat me, Alexander, the way a King treats another King” Porus said.” So was he treated by Great Alexander.

    The nobility of SVR too did not leave him even when facing death.

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    My former boss who was once a friend but turned out to be a douchebag asshat was a highest level Indian Tamil from Madras but his sweet wife who looked up to me as an older brother was from Andra Pradesh though she grew up in Tamil Nadu. Their’s was a love marriage from the same elite Missionary school but even after 2 kids and having assimilated herself his Brahmin Hindu family never accepted her. When they used to go back, she always went back to her family. When sometimes she took her twins and went alone also she went to her family which also had educated people. I won’t talk about how this once close friend became an asshole and petty and vindictive against my wife but because my wife was tenured, and he could not take it out on her, he took it out on me even after we had talks one on one about the great days and straightened out(or we thought so) the differences and I apologized to him for calling him incompetent indirectly when I said my wife was the most competent person in the Department(true) but he could have come to me and asked me instead he took steps to deny me my 5 year contract, gave me a pay cut and put me on a 1 year contract and basically threatened me). Same shit, his first year as Department head (and we were very close then) had received a bad evaluation from a fellow faculty. It was not us because we were on his side; but his character came to light and we should have known better when he came to us to find out who it was and speculated whether it was our best friend(whose family came with us for a great vacation in Sri Lanka in 2012 simply based on friendship!). So he was petty. He is a close relative of the Cong-I Tamil powerful Defense guy and has the same last name. F him; we left. If was there for 2 more weeks I would have punched him on his face. So much for Tamil upper class Brahmin eh ?

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      Mano, We need to be careful not to generalize. You do not do that here, but readers may feel encouraged to.I once had an oppressed caste Christian friend who was cheating on his forbearing Brahmin Hindu wife. Counter examples I am sure abound.

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        I agree, I was just giving one example out of personal anger. I had no such problems in Madras, except with customs in the 1989s before the genocide of black July 1983. People were been friendly . I used to stay at the buddhist hostel for 10 rupees a night on a mat or cot and used to eat brain curry in Eggmore and shop for stuff before flying to Colombo. Back then the only jerks in Madras were terrorists from Sri Lanka and not Indian tamils. so there are always so many anecdotes

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    Mano Ratwatte.

    Interesting insights of the Indians.Basically,I dont trust any of them!
    But there is a difference between the Indian[south] Brahmins and our local Brahmins.Our guys are not economically well-to-do and therefore do not have any clout in a socio-political context.
    In South-India the Hindu Newspaper and its Editor[still?] N.Ram wield tremendous influence in the public life over there.In fact Late Jayalalitha is Brahmin. In general people of some consequence are Brahmins,even though South-India opted for the Dravidian parties several decades ago.
    The leaders in the Film Industry in South India hail from Kerala,Andhra,Telugu etc.

    I had always argued that it was the Mahawamsa that had driven the wedge between the Tamils and Sinhalese in Srilanka. Even otherwise we are not at each others throat are we?

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    Prof Hoole, are you aware that a young happy go lucky carefree Tamil boy who was from Royal and who played Rugby as well died in Madras in 1983 protecting a group of Sinhala students who attended the private Aeronautical school in Madras? That place was popular for a lot of students Sinhala and Tamil and also before the problems of 1983, a lot of Sinhala students also studied at various Universities in Madras. Almost all the Sinhalese moved back in a hurry. But Mani Subramaniam was shot dead by either terrorists or Indian Tamil supporters of terrorists through the doorway when a gang was looking for this mad hatter group of Sinhalese students. I had stayed in that house relatively close to the Airport. In fact, one of my trips and it is probably the fateful 1983, I stayed there with them; boozed and ate with them, and because my three-wheeler failed to show up at 4:00am the boys including Mani Subramaniam the Royalist, all took me to the Madras Airport on their Bicycles.This was probably 1983 when I took a semester off to come back for a family issue.

    Yes one guy had tied a suitcase to his bike; the other the other back and I was on the back of the bicycle and went all the way to the Airport. It was a scary adventure at 4:00am or close to that in the dark. It was before the troubles in Sri Lanka. But that kid was shot and killed protecting his sinhala roommates and classmates. I feel sadly. I had met him at Royal a few times but because he was junior to us he was not quite a friend.Quiet at first and I got to know him only in Madras. They all took me to their College too. I think the place was called HIET or the HIndustand Aeronautical school fo HAIT maybe. Sad.

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