Sinhalization of Ravana and Un-deification of Rama

October 6th, 2007

By: Dr.Rajasingham Narendran

Ramayana is an epic that pre-dates the Mahabharatha. The Ramayana, though originally composed by Valmiki Rishi in Sanskrit, has been reproduced in many languages through the centuries. The Tamil version composed by Kamban, reflects the best in Tamil poetry, values and culture, although following the line of the story in Valmiki’s original. The Ramayana has also influenced the cultures as far flung as Thailand, Indonesia, Timor, Philippines and Cambodia. Lanka plays an important role in the Ramayana, as the plot unfolds in its manifold facets representing all aspects of human life, behaviour, thought and values, set against the background of what are eternal truths, un-impeachable ethics and divine values. The lessons to be gleaned from the Ramayana, will remain valid and valuable to humankind, as long as we aspire towards higher humanistic goals and cease our head long descent into soulless consumerism and the accompanying barbarism. It is an epic made for eternity. It is a story holding a meaning to males and females of all ages, pursuits and stations in life. It is a priceless jewel in humankind’s crown!

[King Ravana, at Thirukoneswaram Temple, Trincomalee - Pic:HA]

Ramayana is a complex story, involving the life and times of King Dasaratha of Ayodhya, his wives-Kausalya, Kaikeyi and Sumithra, his four sons-Rama, Laxshmana, Bharatha and Sathrukna, Rama’s consort- Sitha; King Ravana of Lanka and his brothers-Kumbakarna and Vibhishana, his sister-Soorpanaka, his wife-Mandothari, his uncle-Maarisan, his children-principally Indrajit; the Vanaras led by Vaali, Sukreevan, Hanuman, Angathan and Jambavaan; and the big bird-Jadaayu. Rama is a Vishnu Avatar- a re-incarnation of Lord Vishnu (The ‘Protector’ in the Hindu Trinity) and Ravana, a Rakshasha /Asura, who is a great devotee of Lord Siva (the ‘Destroyer’ in the Hindu Trinity) and a great exponent of carnatic (South Indian Classical) music. Hanuman is ‘Vaayu Puthalvan’ (son of the ‘God of winds’). Many perceive Rama as the hero (representing ‘Good’) and Ravana as the villain (representing ‘Evil’) in this epic. However, as the story unfolds in all its complexity, this simple classification does not hold water on many occasions. Both Rama and Ravana come out as great men, who are fallible at times. They are better than most of us at their best-characters to be emulated, and fallible as all of us are at their worst- providing lessons on what to avoid. The essence of Ramayana transcends its principal characters and reaches out to humankind with eternal values worthy of emulation.

The epic Ramayana re-tells a prevailing legend involving the lives and times of Rama and Ravana, thousand of years after the real events, in a poetical format and in a religious context. The characters represent personalities that are super-human in many dimensions and hence it should not surprise us that they are considered divine or blessed by the divine in this epic. There are temples dedicated to Mahatma Gandhi springing up in India today- a day and age in which we consider ourselves to have become ‘rational’ men and women! Astronomical calculations indicate that the Rama-Ravana war took place 880,148 years ago as of April 2006. Valmiki’s Ramayana (Travels of Rama) was probably written between 4th to 2nd centuries BC. The Kamba Ramayana popular among the Tamils was written in the 13th century A.D. Whether Valmiki poetized and recorded an oral history transmitted down the centuries, or based his work on written records lost to us now will be never known. However, the inherent complexity of the story, and its imaginative and instructive presentation in this epic, point to a golden period of human history we have lost, probably forever.

In Sri Lanka, the Sinhala nationalists, who had hitherto clung to the history as told in the Mahawamsa (6th century AD) as the rationale for their claims to exclusive ownership of the island, have increasingly in recent years delved much further back into the past, to claim exclusive lineage from Ravana and his people. In a publication titled ‘Sinhela (Hela) History’ (http:// www. Sinhalacentre.demon.co.uk/helahistory.htm), Sinhela (Hela) history is defined as the story of the indigenous inhabitants of Heladiva (’Sri Lanka’). It claims that the ‘Sinhela (Hela) Nation’ possesses an unwritten history of 30,000 years and written history of 2500 years. This publication also states that the ‘Unitary Heladiva’ – Hela meaning ‘Pristine’ and Diva meaning ‘Island’- (emphasis mine) is the land of the indigenous Sinhela (Hela) people whose culture and traditions are based on Theravada Buddhist teachings and practices. A ‘Hela’ is defined as anyone who identifies with the Hela culture; practices Hela traditions; and recognizes Heladiva as the motherland of the Hela nation.

It claims that the once united Hela nation (the indigenous people of Heladiva) at the time of Vijaya’s arrival, was divided into four tribes, which still spoke the one language – ‘Hela Basa’ and because there were four Hela tribes the island was known at that time as ‘Sivuhela’ (’Sivu’ meaning four) or by the shorter version of ‘Sihela’. The four Hela tribes were – Yakka, Nagha, Asura and Raksha. Significantly, this article also states that, “Today, the Sinhela’s (Hela) are a bewildered race facing a situation they have been unable to comprehend. Given the gross distortions peddled by the immigrant ethnic Tamils, as well as by the immigrant ethnic-Tamil-controlled-Government (emphasis mine) with its control of the news media, the real situation of the country has been concealed from the Sinhela (Hela) nation”.

It is also further stated that one of Heladiva’s celebrated Kings was Ravana who, according to Indian history, first invented the airplane, 5000years ago. It is claimed that the Indian festival of Divali commemorates the ultimate defeat of King Ravana by the overwhelming numbers of Indian troops of Rama and Hanuman. The ten heads attributed to Ravana is explained as a tribute to Ravana’s intellectual might, which gave birth to his (at least two-seater) aeroplane. Ravana’s ten- headedness is further explained as the colloquial way of saying that he had the brains, or intelligence, of ten men.

P.K.Balachandran in an article titled ‘ Ravana is hero for Sinhala nationalists’ (Hindustan Times of 4th Nov.2007) states, ” The Ramayana is not part of mainstream Sinhala religious tradition in Sri Lanka, because Buddhism has been the religion of the majority of Sinhalas for long. But ancient Sinhala works like Rajavaliya and Ravanavaliya identify Ravana as a Sinhala king and extol him as a great one. In modern Sri Lanka, there has been a movement to revive Ravana as a cult figure, who represents Sinhala or Sri Lankan nationalism because he was among the first in the island’s history to have resisted an alien/ Indian invader. Ravana’s ten heads represent the ten crowns he wore as a symbol of his being the sovereign of ten countries “. Balachandran also states that the book ‘Sakvithi Ravana’ published in 1988 by Ahubuddu claims that Ravana reigned over Sri Lanka from 2554 to 2517 BC. While Ravana’s ancestors ruled over what is now the Pollonaruwa district, Ravana himself is claimed to have ruled over the whole of Sri Lanka.

According the astronomical calculations cited earlier, Ravana’s people could have been in the island (Lanka) longer than a million years back. Would this in anyway prove that these people were the exclusive ancestors of the present Sinhala – speaking people in Sri Lanka? What proof is there that Ravana did not speak Tamil or a proto-Tamil language, as Ramayana confirms that he was a Lord Siva worshipper (Saivite) and an un-surpassed exponent of classical (carnatic) music, who swayed Lord Siva himself with his rendering in the ‘Naattai’ ragam. Saivaism constitutes the major religion of the Tamils to this day and four of the five major Siva temples (Pancha-Easwarams) are located in Sri Lanka. Rameswaram- the Siva temple in which Rama himself worshipped according to legend is the only one among the Pancha-Easwarams located in India. The Tamil language has a literary tradition of over 2100 years, while Sinhala as a language developed only after the introduction of Buddhism to Sri Lanka, with its beginning as proto-Sinhala between the 3rd and 7th centuries AD. The indigenous people of ancient Lanka could very well have been Proto-Tamil-Saivites, a substantial number of whom subsequently adopted Buddhism and the Sinhala language. What evidence is there to prove the contrary? What makes ‘Helamites’ think that the Yakkhas, Nagas, Asuras and Rakshas were not the progenitors of the Tamils? To the Tamils of India, Lanka was known as Ealam/ Illankai throughout history. In the Kamba Ramayana, Ravana is referred to as the Illankai Venthan- King of Illankai. Lanka is the Sanskritized name for Illankai. Poets from Ealam are recorded to have participated in the ‘Thamil Sangams’ held in Madurai early in the Sangam period (100 BC to300 AD).

Tamil and Malayalam were dialects of one language called ‘Tamil’ by speakers of both until the 9th century AD. The manner in which Tamils is spoken and several words used by Jaffna Tamils point to this old affinity between Tamil and Malayalam. Further, there is much in common between the food habits and art forms of the Tamils and Sinhalese of Sri Lanka and the people of Kerala-Iddiappam/Iddiarppa, Pittu, Appam/Arppa and Kandyan dancing. The separation between Tamil and Malayalam as distinct languages was not completed until some time in the 13th or 14th centuries. Why could a similar phenomenon not have unfolded in Sri Lanka? It is not possible for Sri Lanka to have had a history uninfluenced by South India from times immemorial. To assume that the thirty miles that separated our island from mainland India would have been a barrier for the Tamils in India is the height of stupidity. Jawaharlal Nehru in his ‘Glimpses of World History’, states,

“A considerable trade flourished between South India and Europe. Pearls, ivory, gold, rice, pepper, peacocks and even monkeys were sent to Babylon and Egypt and Greece and later to Rome. Teakwood from the Malabar Coast went even earlier to Chaldea and Babylonia. And all this trade, or most of it, was carried in Indian ships, manned by Dravidians. This will enable one to realize what an advanced position South India occupied in the ancient world”.

Would such a people have ignored verdant Sri Lanka within their easy reach? It will be also futile to ignore the likelihood that Sri Lanka was linked to the Indian subcontinent at one time. The legend of vast extents of land in the Australasian region being lost to a massive deluge (an ancient tsunami) cannot be ignored. Sinhala legend alludes to vast areas of the ancient Kingdom of Kalyani being deluged. Kaviripoompattinam- a centre of Tamil-Buddhism was also similarly deluged. The recent tsunami and the associated retreat of the seas along the South Indian coast revealed several structures that had been under water for centuries.

Let us learn to face facts as they are now and find solutions to our problems, instead of clutching selected strands of history to prove the un-provable. Sri Lanka today consists of people who have descended from the original inhabitants- living before even Ravana, people who have migrated and settled over several centuries since and those who are the result of the intermingling of these two strands. There is nothing called a pure Sri Lankan or ‘Hela Divan’ as some irrational elements would like to proclaim. Modern day DNA studies also confirm that we have very much in common genetically. To call all Tamils, ‘Immigrants’, is an unpardonable travesty of truth and to consider the Sinhala-speakers residing in Sri Lanka as the only legitimate heirs to the island is a despicable lie. Large segments of the Sinhala-speakers of today have proven Tamil ancestry. To twist history or legends to suit a criminal end game, is a blot on all Sinhala people.

Deepavali (Festival of Lights) celebrates the victory of Lord Krishna over Nagasura (the evil ruler of Pradyoshapuram in India) and is not a celebration of the victory of Rama over Ravana as claimed by those who have chosen Ravana as their true ancestor, over the interloper Vijaya. It is a celebration of the victory of good over evil and light over darkness. The Krishna Avataram happened long after the Rama Avataram. Ravana is not demonized in the Ramayana, especially in the Kamba Ramayana, read with devotion by Tamils. There are regular debates in literary circles in Tamil Nadu, whether Rama or Ravana was the better character in the Ramayana. Such debates were also widely held in Tamil literary circles in Sri Lanka regularly until darkness descended on the Tamils here. The Saivite-Tamils of South India, revered all the people of Lanka, as the people from the great land of Ravana! Ravana is a revered figure among the Tamil-Saivites. Further, Buddhism historically was not the exclusive preserve of the Sinhalese in South Asia. Tamils, both in India and Lanka had adopted Buddhism in large numbers at one time, as it was a breeze of fresh air that swept away the cobwebs and dust in the form of rituals, foolishness and casteism that had buried the essence of Hinduism. Great Tamil epics such as Silapadikaram, Manimehalai and Kundalakesi germinated and blossomed in the hey day of Buddhism among the Tamils.

The Sinhala-Buddhist nationalists should remember that their nationalism based on their historical achievements as a people, their language and their religion-Buddhism, is not something any one, least of all the Tamils, object. What is objectionable and obnoxious is the attempt to denigrate and destroy the essence and foundations of other parallel nationalisms, that are the birth right of the other peoples living in Sri Lanka / Hela Diva. Ananada K. Kumaraswamy ( born to a Jaffna Tamil father and an English mother), the greatest intellectual Sri Lanka produced and who spent a major part of his life researching medieval Sinhala art has said,

” A nationalism which does not recognize the rights and duties of others but attempts to aggrandize itself at their expense, becomes no longer nationalism but a disease generally called Imperialism”.

While Ravana is emerging as the hero for the Sinhalese in Sri Lanka, Rama is under siege in Tamil Nadu, India. The Dravidian movement that found its feet in the prevalent anti-Brahmin sentiment, is largely agnostic and had cast the events in the Ramayana as a contest between Aryan forces represented by Rama and Dravidian forces led by Ravana.

This latter sentiment is not that of the vast majority of Tamil Hindus. Sri Raman / Sitha Raman/ Ramachandran/ Janaki Manaalan/ Ayodhya Raman/ Dasaratha Kumaran / Pattaabi Raman- are some among the many names by which Rama is adoringly called by his Tamil devotees. Rama worship is entrenched in Tamil culture and the Ramayana is entwined in their daily lives in many ways, including to being alluded in several popular proverbs. The Sethu Samudram dredging project, which would have led to the destruction of sections of the Ramar Bridge/ Monkey bridge/ Adam’s bridge is mired in much controversy. This sand dune cum coral formation that connects the southern tip of India with northern Sri Lanka, is identified in the Ramayana as a bridge Rama built with the Vanara forces led by Hanuman, to invade Lanka, where Ravana was holding Ram’s wife Sitha captive. This bridge is clearly visible in contemporary satellite photographs. This bridge is undoubtedly of religious significance to Hindus. What is important to note is not whether the bridge was built by Rama or not, but the fact of its existence was known toValmiki approximately 2500 years back! The existence of this bridge would have been known to the people of India much longer, as the story of Ramayana was known to them thousands and thousands of years before Valmiki. When we do not know details regarding our grand parents lives and do not know even the names of our great-grand parents, that the existence of this bridge was known, remembered and recorded over several millennia, is an astounding event.

To question the collective memory of a people as recorded in the Ramayana is foolishness indeed. The DMK under Muthuvel Karunanithi has barged into an area, where even angels will fear to tread, by questioning whether Rama had a degree in engineering to design and build this bridge. Did the builders of the Madurai Meenachiamman temple and the Tanjai Sivan temple-standing monuments to the building skills of our ancestors- have higher degrees in civil engineering? Karunanithi has also gone on to call Rama a drunkard. Karunanithi was insulting the very foundations of his people’s faith with an insensitivity born in arrogance, if not ignorence. It is this very same Dravidian movement that at one time disparagingly questioned where Saraswathy- the Hindu Goddess of learning- called ‘Naa Mahal’ ( resident Goddess of the tongue or human sound) would be performing her excretory functions!

The attempt to un-deify Rama by the Dravidian movement in Tamil Nadu, is the continuation of the tendency of politicians- a breed of present day men who think they are wise, because they have unbridled power, the gift of the gab and a servile media that propagates their foolish words- to undermine transcendent legends unmindful of repercussions on human values. They forget facts such as the values Rama represents to a people and his positive impact on their thoughts and actions. Legends such as that of Rama are part of the cultural ethos of a people and their collective inheritance. Such legends should be protected from the depredations of foolish and power hungry politicians. It does not matter whether Rama ever existed or not, but the story of his life- whether factual or mythical- serves an important function in humanizing humankind.

Entry Filed under: transCurrents NewsFeatures

36 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Thamilan  |  October 7th, 2007 at 8:23 am

    I was hoping for someone to pick up this issue and write a full article.

    Thank you Dr.Rajasingham Narendran

    I am eager to see the comments for this article by the Sinhalese.

    Once the Sinhalese are done, I would like to see the response from Tamils of Eelam and the Tamils of Tamil Nadu.

  • 2. mahaththaya  |  October 7th, 2007 at 12:45 pm

    You need a brake…
    No need to go and dig in to history…
    Just think,
    Why Sinhala people are so different from other nations around sri lanka and why not tamils

    Why there are hadly any difference between tamils in SL and tamils in Tamilnadu.

    why was the SL civilization build by sinhalas and not by tamils and time to time destried by tamils

    Above is enough to undersand who swam from tamilnadu to find something for hunger!!!

    You just look at yourself and ask yourself whether you are a immigrant to original inhabitant and what makes you to think that. what you guys are doing now is what was your original immigrants did to SL.
    !!!! Destroy the Civilization!!!!!

  • 3. EEroppe Sinhaya  |  October 7th, 2007 at 7:20 pm

    This kind of racist articles prove the base of Tamil racism which promotes to think they are superior than Sinhala and other ethnic groups in Sri Lanka and in south asia. This type of mentality creates not to live harmony with other ethnic groups. This type of mentality think work under British is better than work under Sinhala leaders (which led to 50/50 demand). This type of mentality made one of the Tamil political leaders to pronounce that he wants to make shoes out of Sinhala skins. Which made him equal to Hitler just before Prabakaran.

    Still Tamils racists don’t know the difference between racism and nationalism. Sinhalese love their country it is called nationalism. It is not a something letting down other ethnic groups unless they carry bagages of superiority and feel offended when Sinhalese talk proudly about their country and their kings.

    Ramayanaya is a myth story which demonized the name of our mother land and one of it’s kings. So what’s wrong if one Sinhala writer made Rawana a good king. There are so many other things to unearth in a time like this; not this type of B.S. Write something which led to harmony, not destruction!!.

  • 4. Anon  |  October 7th, 2007 at 8:00 pm

    My comments :

    //Ramayana is an epic that pre-dates the Mahabharatha.//

    This is not true. Mahabharatha happens in modern Punjab where as Ramayana happens in the northern plains of Ganga.
    It is now established that the Sanskrit speakers came through Punjab in 1700BC and expanded to full of North India by 1000 BC.

    http://www.flonnet.com/stories/20071005501401900.htm

    The above article says,

    “Valmiki Ramayana was composed only after 400 B.C.; it is not all that early in history. There is no evidence to date any portion of the Ramayana before 400 B.C. Even Ayodhya, which is associated with the Ramayana, is not dated earlier than 700 B.C. Excavations by B.B. Lal have shown that the earliest settlement at Ayodhya was not before the seventh century B.C. ”

    This is in line with Aryan migration theory.

    //What is important to note is not whether the bridge was built by Rama or not, but the fact of its existence was KNOWN toValmiki approximately 2500 years back! //

    There is nothing wonderful in this, given that there were well-established traffic of traders and sages from north to south across the indian subcontinent as well as through the seas. If Vijaya can know to “actually go” there to SriLanka in 5th cent BC, there is no wonder a NorthIndian Valmiki knew about this bridge.

    //The DMK under Muthuvel Karunanithi has barged into an area, where even angels will fear to tread, by questioning whether Rama had a degree in engineering to design and build this bridge.//

    Why the “angels will fear to tread” for this simple comment ? Afterall it is democratic India, not Sri Lanka.
    This was actually told in the ire that it was BJP that agreed to this project when it was in power, now it is the one that blocks this by arousing sentiments.

    //Karunanithi has also gone on to call Rama a drunkard. //
    Karunanithi didnt call anyone drunkard but as a literatus himself, just presented the fact that was in Valmiki’s Ramayana.

    - in Times of India

    The above link says,
    “Says S Varadan, a Sanskrit professor: “There ARE references in Ramayan about Ram eating meat and drinking wine. After crossing over to Lanka, when Hanuman meets Sita, he informs her that ‘now a deeply worried and agonised Ram, since your disappearance, has stopped eating meat and drinking madhu’.”
    But Varadan doesn’t find fault with Ram’s actions. “Ram was a Kshatriya, who are known to drink and eat meat,” he says.

    You concluded with
    //Rama ever existed or not, but the story of his life- whether factual or mythical- serves an important function in humanizing humankind. //

    This is precisely the notion and attitude that the Dravidian movement seek to demolish. It is the ideology of the hindutva gang (of BJP & the likes) that the South Indians were aborigines and like monkeys till the time Rama came to “humanize and civilize” them.

    The author appears to be inadequately informed and ignorant of the social history as well as politics of Tamil Nadu. MK in his inimitable style digs Hinduism every now and then, rightly so, to demolish the myths that would otherwise go around as “pure history”.

    THE Sethusamudram Ship Channel Project (SSCP) is mainly for the uplift of the economy of the long neglected Southern TamilNadu.
    This is also a classic case of being a part of the so-called “quasi-federal” setup. You cannot do what is important for your people. First you need to be always “friendly” with the “central government” to get the approvals and then the fund allocations for your share of projects. Then, it is always possible for some bunch of crooks to intervene in matters that are remotely connected to them.

    I also observed the author as emotionally attached and religiously sensitive on this topic. As long as SL tamils cannot comeout of their differences (northern, eastern , muslim etc), I dont think they deserve any self-rule.

  • 5. AA  |  October 8th, 2007 at 1:37 am

    When people are cloning Animals and possibly humans (on the cards) at least the Human organs for better health, It is utter stupidity to kill each others in the name of the “GOD and its versions”.

    If we call Osama Bin laden and his group as Islamic Fanatics, we should call with the same breath that BJP and VHP as Hindu fanatics and Sinhalese and JHU as Buddhist fanatics who kill people and destroy property in the name of GOD they never seen and never existed.

    Religion is a WAY OF LIFE for self discipline. I follow religious principle to discipline my self and live healthy and to have a QUALITY life. I preach this to my patients and follow the same. I call Jehovah’s Witness patients who refuse the blood transfusion when it become a life saving matter as Jehovah’s victims.

    In the early civilization when our ancestors were unable to give explanation of Thunder, rain, floods and the wrath of some animals, they attributed the power to some one beyond their imagination. In the same breath, elders who want the younger Generation to follow the religious steps, created the GOD so that the younger generation can follow with the fear of being punished by the same GOD.

    We as Humans can be better of if we keep the religion into our home for the self discipline and not mix with politics. Religion + Politics = Corruption

  • 6. Sinhalese  |  October 8th, 2007 at 6:40 am

    As a Sinhalese I don’t realy bother who was first in Sri Lanka. For me arguements from both nationalistic sides seems valid although there are no proof for both sides points here. Nationalistic Tamils and nationalistic Sinhalese are the ones created misery for all of us. As a Sinhalese and a Sri lankan I respect Ravana as my king even though he may be the baddie here. He fought the invading Indians. That’s why we Sinhalese were opposed to IPKF tooth and nail even at latter time IPKF fought with LTTE. LTTE or Tamil Fighters are “ours” opposed to indians. That’s the part Tamils of Sri Lanka do not understand. They look at Tamilnadu and towards India when problems occur (Like Muslims cheering Pakisthan Cricket team in sri lanka even though they were born and raised in Sri lanka) but when Sinhala nationalists complain about Tamil Immigrants this Doctor here is getting angry. We want you to be “ours”. That’s why we were against IPKF and that’s why we supported LTTE against India. LTTE is our problem caused by our attitudes towarsd our Tamils though used cunnigly by India and Indira Gandhi. India later ditched Tamils and embraced Sinhalese.
    MKodern Sinhalese left India long time ago physicaly and mentaly and mixed with original people of Sri lanka to create Modern Sinhala/ Sri lankan race and identity. Northern Tamils are still living in India in their minds. Come back to your roots. Then Sinhala nationalists won’t have arguements to support their cause and Tamil nationalists ceased to exist. On that day most problems will end.

  • 7. the point man  |  October 8th, 2007 at 9:42 am

    Dr.Rajasingham Narendran,
    The point Dr.Nalin De Silva and some other extremist (in terms of wiping out tamils is that ) is little more nauanced than going back to Ravana.

    Sinhalese originated from immigrants who came from different parts of India who mixed with the natives and CREATED THEIR OWN UNIQUE CULTURE .Where as the current Tamils(North and East) are the one who did not have the flexibity or the creativity adopt or contribute new to the the culture of the new country they immigtaed to.
    Sinhalase created their own Langauage/Arts/Music(folk)/And great works of engineering(Stupa/Irrigation) where as the people who we currently consider Tamil are the recent immigarnt who is yet to be Sinahalized due to their recent FOB status.
    For instance he brings out the old dutch records from 17th and 18th century to prove that the Tamils in North and East were migrant farmers who did not have roots in North /East .According to him it was the grand plan of Western imperialist (Dutch in this case)to keep the Tamils in East and North to grab the East from the Kandayan king .(which was part of the Kandayan kingdow until 1769.Interestingly enough Kandayan king was Tamil by then).
    There is no dispute that Tamil was the dominant language for trade and culture in south asia and hence you can see the influance in Sinhala.

    There may be initial migration from Easter India as the mahawansa claims but the most of the current sinahalese track their heritage to southern india .
    If you take literature from early 1900’s when the battles for the caste heridate for raging most of the up and coming castes traced their heritage south indian clans(Kerala and TamilNadu).The only caste that did not tracked the heritage was Wahampura.The away Sinhalese accomodated new arrivals was placing them in a caste
    Currently caste is lines are fading away giving rise to a one big happy/angry family of Sinhalase .
    Even the upcountry Muslims have Sinhala names!

    I think it was DBS who wrote the ancedote about what CPS de Silva told Chelavanayakam(His ancesters came to Lanka 500 years ago and now they are fully Sinhalese)

  • 8. Naga UK  |  October 8th, 2007 at 10:13 am

    Well done and nicely presented Dr.Narendran! I am sure this will provoke some nasty comments from those who get offended by truth. Some ultra-nationalist Sinhalese, the Budhist version in particular are so confused, they will even claim that the whole human kind descended from them given the time! Distorting history is nothing new to them. In fact they thrive on it. An objective analysis of their language would reveal that more than 90 percent of the Sinhala vocabulary comes from Sanskrit and Tamil. They would not hesitate to say that the Sanskrit and Tamil contain Sinhala words – plagiarized. What can we say about people who believe their own lies?

    With the “cornered rat” mentality they will distort anything!

  • 9. Dingiri  |  October 8th, 2007 at 10:53 am

    I am surprised at the credence given by so called modern intellectuals to an ancient myth like the Ramayana. Do you believe that Ravana was a 10 headed demon? Do you believe in demons with magical powers? Do you believe monkeys can leap over the Palk straight? Do you believe that Adam’s Bridge is man/god made and not a mere geographical feature? So the Rama/Ravana battle occurred 1 million years ago? And this is from some Astronomical calculation? I think you mean Astrological. Astronomical implies it is scientific. Astrological implies it is hocus pocus nonsense. I have also seen dates of 10,000 and 100,000 years given for this event by various astrologers. I wish they could make up their mind. Anyway modern humans (Homo Sapiens) emerged around 100,000 years ago. Before that it was Homo Erectus and other homonids who we believe were not as bright as us. But the Ramayana tells us that they built aircraft and massive cities with immense fortifications. I wonder why no archaeological remains havent been found.

    If the Ramayana were true so must be the opening chapters of the Mahavamsa with its leonine beginnings! They are both equally fantastical!

    Why cant we treat these ancient epic myths for what they are. They were written long years ago when people were not too enlightened. They probably have a grain of truth buried in them and talk of a real life incident where an Indian prince invaded Sri Lanka to rescue his bride from a kidnapper. That’s all.The rest is surely all gloss? However would it be possible for Val Miki or his predecessors to give us such a seemingly full account of everything that went on in this campaign? Were there embedded reporters at that time? All we can say is it is possible that the skeleton is genuine but the flesh is all embellishment.

    What we do know is that there must have been some kind of cultural impulse from North India about 2500 years ago. How then would a mostly Indo-European language get established off the tip of South India? This most probably would have come in the form of migrations. There would have inevitably have been some conflict with the indigenous people and that’s how we have the Ramayana and the Vijaya myths. A lot of mixing is bound to happen in 2500 years. So the ancestors of the Sinhalese must be these ancient indigenous people be it vedda, yakka, naga, deva or Balangoda Man, but also the North and South Indians who have been migrating in for ages.

  • 10. P.S.JOSHI  |  October 8th, 2007 at 3:36 pm

    excellent.

  • 11. Anothere Sri lankan  |  October 8th, 2007 at 11:36 pm

    “Najachcha Wasalo Hoti, Najachcha hoti Brahmano -
    Kammana Wasalo Hoti- Kammana Hoti Brahmano”

    may someone who really understand this words of Lord Buddha (The only person promoted his findings and not of any devine that no one ever sighted) to this crazy sinhalese and tamils that no of us will take any we value here when we die. So, why fight when you can live together peacefully. Of course, it takes great deal of sacrafice since this is not buddhas time but the times of Thugs, Gangs, and all other obsticuls including the LTTE. I think Mahinda and Praba should get together, talk to each other from heart and find the solution to this problem.

    So, my fellow pundits, sinhala, tamil or any other, there is only one superior race that is human and act and be one.

    “Karaniya matta kusalena”

  • 12. Zona  |  October 9th, 2007 at 6:40 am

    “Why Sinhala people are so different from other nations around sri lanka and why not tamils”

    What is the big difference between the Sinhalese and Tamils? For anyone outside Sri Lanka, both are the same. Remove the mustache of some of the tamils and they look no different from the sinhalese.

    Elam as Sri Lanka is know through Tamil literary works was just another kingdom along with Chola, Chera, Pandya, Pallava etc. There was no fundamental enmity between the people. These kingdoms fought each other and supported one against the other at various points in history.

    According to astronomical references, several dates have been established for various events appearing in Ramayana. The below links elucidate them –

    in The Hindu

    http://ignca.nic.in/nl002503.htm

  • 13. mahaththaya  |  October 9th, 2007 at 7:03 am

    Guys,
    understand this!!!!
    UN has passed a new bill to grant self-determination and sesation if requred to the indigenious people in the world for there respective lands.
    Now lot of tamils will write B.S to prove that they are indigenios people of the SL to chive same LTTE aims from diffrerent means.
    Tamils were behaving like monkey in south india, when the ravan was the grate king of SL.

    You can sill find people in Amason, who behave exactly like monkeys and no different to dravidens in the era.

  • 14. Dingiri  |  October 9th, 2007 at 7:34 am

    Naga,

    You seem to be the Tamil equivalent of the Sinhalese Supremacists who you rail against. You accept the improbable and fantastical chain of events narated in the Ramayana while pooh poohing the genesis myth of the Sinhalese in the Mahavamsa.

  • 15. thiaga  |  October 9th, 2007 at 9:14 am

    The intention of the present and past Sinhalese rulers is no doubt Sinhalize the whole country. The way to do it is to marginalize even the non Sinhala cricketers who have done great service.
    The following is taken from a article appeared on Sunday Leader

    ” Four main reasons to boycott the Ifthar were cited in the leaflet. The first reason was a statement allegedly made by Rajapakse while attending the cricket World Cup in the Caribbean. It has been alleged that the President during a meeting with the selectors had asked why they needed to field a Muslim (thambiyek) in a winning match referring to Ferveez Maharoof.

    In another occasion during a meeting with mill owners, Rajapakse had allegedly asked them not to give any paddy to the Muslims.It was alleged the President had again referredto the Muslim community as ‘thambiyo “.

    Dilshan who had played so well has been left out for the next tour

    Murali is next in line to go and I believe it is already happening.

  • 16. Pooja Pillai  |  October 9th, 2007 at 12:20 pm

    Dr. Narendran, this has been an enlightning article in many ways. Being an Indian, however, i couldn’t help disagreeing with some minor points.

    First the minor point – Diwali is, in fact, celebrated to mark the victory of Rama over Ravana. The Krishna story holds true too, for some parts of India. But the fact is that we’ve been celebrating this festival for so long that we’re probably very foggy about it’s origins.

    Secondly, Ravana is reviled as a villain in large parts of India. However, there have been many efforts to rehabilitate him in the mainstream mindset in recent years.

    Thirdly, many people oppose the building of the Sethu Samudram project, not because of religious concerns, but because of the potential environmental havoc it could wreak on the delicate ecological balance in the Palk Strait.

    The Ramayana still occupies a very emotional space in the hearts of many people, but it is increasingly being viewed as a myth built around minor political strife which must have taken place many, many centuries ago.

    I, however, agree with the general point of your article – which is that it is foolish to imagine that either the Sinhalese or the Tamils of India could’ve lived so geographically close to each other without being influenced by one another. There must’ve been migration of people and culture in both directions. And as you rightly point out, it is wrong of people to pick up strands from myth and history which prove politically useful to them and then to proceed to manipulate those strands out of all recognition.

  • 17. Tamizh  |  October 10th, 2007 at 5:46 am

    Thankfully the Sinhalese haven’t claimed that Buddhism originated in Sri Lanka and Buddha was a Sinhalese!!!

  • 18. Samuel  |  October 10th, 2007 at 8:16 am

    Comment 17 from Tamilzh

    Be aware that the claim has been made in Sri Lankan academic circles that Pali was invented by the Sinhalese in Sri Lanka and then sent over to India.

  • 19. Naga UK  |  October 10th, 2007 at 10:34 am

    Truth often hurts. I am neither for Ramayana nor for Mahavansa for both contain inaccuracies former on account of some poetic expressions (without political agenda though) and the latter with some willful twisting contradictions. My question is why should these things matter in the present context if we as human beings look at problems for what they are worth instead of enbarking on unnecessary ego building?

    It is like, somebody gets knocked down by a vehicle, the first person to be violently dealt with is the driver even if the victim jumped in front of the vehicle to commit suicide. What if we stop to think for while and appropriately react? We do not seem to have inherited the trait!

  • 20. Walter Rajaratne  |  October 12th, 2007 at 10:57 am

    Hi Dr.Narendran

    You talk sense. Whole Ramayana in whichever form reproduced is undoubtedly a mythical saga. Nonetheless, what matters in these turbulent times for Sri Lankans is to take the bright side of the story, precisely the conflict between evil and justice.

    Why bother about a make-believe Rama and Ravana when we have a documented history of Tamil Sri Wickrama Rajasingha ruling the whole Sinhala nation as its undisputed monarch and that too with paying homage to Buddhism as his avowed faith. How unfortunate we did not have a strong Buddhist representation from the Tamil community that would have made a huge impact on the equation. Imagine Tamil Buddhist Temples in Jaffna with Tamil Sangha. Which Sinhala soldier would ever aim his gun at saffron robed Tamil Sadhu; a sin that would never diminish throughout his entire traverse through Samsar? The missing monolith, the building block of one nation.

  • 21. Athos  |  October 13th, 2007 at 1:04 pm

    Dr. S. Krishnaswami Aiyangar of the Madras University writing on 29.8.1926
    the Foreword to Ancient Jaffna by Mudaliyar C. Rasanayagam says: “The
    attempt of the author to derive the name Ilam does not appeal to us as quite
    successful; Ilam to us seems to be directly derived from the Pali word
    Sihala, which in Tamil would be Singalam or even Singanam, but a strict
    Tamilising would make it Ilam….” Ancient Jaffna-Mudaliyar C Rasanayagam
    (Foreword p. v.).

    The Tamil Lexicon gives the meaning of Ilam.;
    “Ilam

  • 22. Athos  |  October 14th, 2007 at 2:05 am

    Let me put this in a nutshell for you.

    Hela > Ela > Elam
    Hela > Sin-Hela > Sinhala
    Hela > Sin-Hela > Cieala > Ceylon

    Hela people are essentially anyone who inhabits the island including Tamils and Moors. Hela is NOT a race but a culture and language that evolved over a millennia in geographical isolation from the rest of subcontinent as did Malayanam to the west and TN in the east separated from the Ghats mountain range. The Hela language and culture is unique to the island, not found anywhere else. The island is part of Hela people’s identity as Tamil Nadu identifies with modern Tamils.

    Hela roots of the island is not propaganda. Its etched in stone in all four corners of the island, written in ancient manuscripts not just by Sinhala Buddhist Monks and accepted by respected Historians not by part-time fruit cakes like Peter Shalk but by eminent historians such as Prof Indrapalan, former VC of Jaffna University.

    There certainty are Tamils who lived in the island from inception. However, now they speak Sinhalese, the native Hela tongue. The late arrivals and left over from recent invasions still speak Tamil.

  • 23. siva  |  October 14th, 2007 at 7:29 am

    Comments for the article are funny. Not only RAMA but many Kings from the Indian main land fought with Sri Lanka in the past. Many kings from the Indian main land helped many Sri Lankan kings in the past as well. Dont forget many Kings of Sri lanka were of South Indian origin.

    After the CHRISTIAN rule of Sri Lanka only, Sri Lankans lost direct contacts with the Indian main land. Not only that many theories were created to separate Hindus and Buddhists.

    CHRISTIAN rulers started to tell that Hinduism and Buddhism are different. This kind of propaganda still continue.

    Many Sri lankan Tamils never know the HINDU GODS are in the BUDDHIST VIHARAS of Sri Lanka. Buddha is still venerated by Hindus as BODHI MADHAVA.

    Sri Lanka’s past under the CHRISTIAN RULE separated HINDUS and BUDDHISTS very badly.

    Tamils must know why KATARAGAMA or KATHIKAMAM is in SOUTH. Sinhalese too were once HINDUS but Buddha was a reformer of HINDU religion.

    We share the same day as our new year. Why?

    The present India came into reality after 1947 only. South India and Sri Lanka were neighbours and relatives before the arrival of Christian rulers.

    Language never be an issue during the old days. Pallava kings helped MANA VAMMA (MANA VARMA) to get the throne of Sri Lanka. This Sri lankan King stayed in the royal court of Pallavas and treated as a KING by Pallava rulers.

    Many Sinhala names still carry the origins of S/India. example: HERATH MUDIYANSELAGE…..

    Many Tamil castes are of Sinhala origin and not exist in Tamil nadu or in India..example: KOVIYA, CHandar and NALAWA.

    Christian rulers wanted our wealth and not our health. Their books are half baked on the history of our land.

    Jaffna has more non-Tamil names of places but we can see many place names of Tamil in the South.
    In Panadura, there is a NALLUR(UWA). How?

    Before the Christian rule we did not have any language based problems. Kings fought on the basis of their clanical alliances.

    Mahavansa mentions SENA and GUTTIKA were TAMILS but no such names exist in Tamil language. Even the word ELARA is not TAMIL at all but later ELARA was TAMILIZED as ELLALA by Tamils. During the time of ELARA, no CHOLA rule any where in Tamil Nadu.

    Tamils are still unable to tell the TAMIL MEANINGS of the words CHERA (SERA), CHOLA and PANDIYA.

    There are errors and we must correct them to live in peace and not necessarily to take them as truth. Rama’s story too treated in the same way.

  • 24. samira srikanth  |  October 15th, 2007 at 1:55 pm

    we are ravana’s people

  • 25. zulu  |  October 18th, 2007 at 9:22 pm

    Facinating to see how many are tangled in the Ravana’s tail.

    All it needed was a small rag laced with kerosene.

  • 26. uluz  |  October 19th, 2007 at 10:04 pm

    If you are ravana’s people,
    we are anavar’s people.

    Now what’s the problem?

  • 27. cholapandyan  |  October 25th, 2007 at 8:03 am

    QUOTE: Why Sinhala people are so different from other nations around sri lanka and why not tamils. Why there are hadly any difference between tamils in SL and tamils in Tamilnadu. UNQUOTE.

    If the Tamil people look different from the Sinhalese, how easy it will be for the Sri Lankan Army/police to identify the Suicide bombers in Colombo. If a Tamil girl removes her pottu or if a Tamil boy shave his mustache, can they be differentiated as Tamils and Sinhalese?

    According to the recent genetic study conducted by Gautam Kumar Kshatriya and a team of genealogists who were inspired by the University of Texas, Houston on the Genetic affinities of Sri Lankan populations came to the following final conclusion,

    The Bengalis, the Tamils, and the Veddahs are considered parental populations for the Sinhalese. The Bengali contribution is 25.41%, the Tamil (India) contribution is 69.86%, and the Veddah contribution is only 4.73%. Thus the Sinhalese have a predominantly Tamil (India) contribution followed by the Bengalis and the Veddahs.

    By studying the Sri Lankan Tamils, one can see that the Sinhalese, the Bengalis, and the Indian Tamils can be considered ancestral populations. The contribution of the Sinhalese to the Sri Lankan Tamils is 55.20%. Similarly, the Bengali contribution is 28.17% and that of the Indian Tamils is 16.63%. The results indicate a predominant influence of the Sinhalese (who already have a high contribution from the Indian Tamils) and the Bengalis to a lesser extent.

    In conclusion, the original inhabitants of Sri Lanka were the Veddahs, who have had little admixture with the Sinhalese and possibly none with the Tamils. The Veddahs is distinct because they were confined to inhospitable dry zones and were hardly influenced by the neighboring inhabitants. Furthermore, the Sinhalese and the Sri Lankan Tamils are an admixed population genetically.

    As per the research done by the archeologist Prof Deraniyagala, the present-day territories of Sri Lanka and South India comprised a single region in which the pre-historic ancestors of the modern Sri Lankans and South Indians moved freely along with their cultures, languages, religions, artifacts and technologies with the sea dividing the two land masses acting as a unifier rather than a divider. There is ample archaeological evidence for the cultural interaction between Tamil Nadu and Sri Lanka from PREHISTORIC times.

    The Nagas who occupied both South India and North Sri Lanka (Nagapuram, Nagarkovil, Nagarcot, Nargapattinum, Nagakulam, Nagadivpa, etc) were considered as the native Ila/Eela/Hela, the ancient Elu speaking inhabitants of the region.

    Some Tamil Sangam poets were Nagas from Jaffna. Among the Sangam poets mentioned is Illattup Putantevanar, who composed some verses in Kuruntokai, Akananuru and Narrinai. The Mahavamsa states that in the 6th century B.C. there existed Naga strongholds at Nagadipa under Mahodarai, the Naga King. Among the Sangam works, a few personalities who were referred to as ‘chieftains’ appear to have come from Jaffna. For example Elini and Pittankorran about whom verses appear in the Purananuru, appear to have come from Kudiraimalai, now identified with Kantherodai in Jaffna.

    During the Early Historical Period, South India and Sri Lanka were not considered as two separate countries. The Pali chronicles and the early Brahmi inscriptions talk about the Naga, the Dameda/Damela/Damila and the Pandu/Pandya. These people were moving back and forth between Sri Lanka and South India. The idea of looking upon them as outsiders or aliens was surely not prevalent in the Early Historical Period. Some historians believe that the Dameda/Damela/Damila were Dravidians, the Pandu/Pandya were Aryans and the Naga were the original natives of the Sri Lanka/South India region, but they all assimilated together to form the Tamil race and later the Sinhala race.

    Prof. S. Paranavitana says, the vast majority of the people who today speak Sinhalese or Tamil must be ultimately be descended from those autochthonous people of whom we know next to nothing.

  • 28. cholapandyan  |  October 25th, 2007 at 8:27 am

    QUOTE: How unfortunate we did not have a strong Buddhist representation from the Tamil community that would have made a huge impact on the equation. Imagine Tamil Buddhist Temples in Jaffna with Tamil Sangha. UNQUOTE.

    During the period from 3rd Century AD to 6th Century AD, Buddhism had spread widely in Tamil Nadu and won the patronage of the rulers.

    The major urban centers of Kanchi, Kaveripattinam, Uraiyur, and Madurai were centers of Buddhism and Jainism. These were also important centers of Pali learning.

    The Tamil Buddhist monks of South India used Pali languages in preference to Tamil in their writings. This is because the Buddha spoke in Magadi Prakrit (Pali) which was considered to be the sacred language of the Buddhists.

    It was at this time that Tamil Nadu gave some of its greatest scholars (both Theravada and Mahayana) to the Buddhist world.

    Three of the greatest Pali scholars of this period were Buddhaghosa, Buddhadatta, and Dhammapala and all three of them were associated with Buddhist establishments in the Tamil kingdoms. Two of them, Buddhadatta, and Dhammapala were Tamils. The third and the most celebrated, Buddhaghosa is one about whom reliable biographical details are not available but a large number of Pali works are attributed to him.

    Buddhadatta was a senior contemporary of Buddhaghosa. He was born in the Cola kingdom and lived in the 5th Century AD. Among his best known Pali writings are the VINAYA-VINICCHAYA, the UTTARA-VINICCHAYA and the JINALANKARA-KAVYA. Among the commentaries written by him are the MADHURATTHA-VILASINI and the ABHIDHAMMAVATARA. The author of NETTIPAKARANA is another Dhammapala who was a resident of a monastery in Nagapattinam.

    One more example is the Cola monk Kassapa, in his Pali work, VIMATTI-VINODANI, this Tamil monk provides interesting information about the rise of heretical views in the Cola Sangha and the consequent purification that took place.

    There are so many other Tamil monks who are attributed to the Pali works some of them were resident at Mayura-rupa-pattana (Mylapore, Madras) along with Buddhagosha. The well known Tamil Buddhist epics on the other hand were MANIMEKALAI and KUNDALAKESI.

    As Buddhism was one of the dominant religions in both Tamil Nadu and Sri Lanka, naturally there were very close relations between the two regions. The monks from Sri Lanka too, went across to the Tamil kingdom and stayed in the monasteries.

    As Dr. Leslie Gunawardana says, ‘The co-operation between the Buddhist Sangha of South India and Sri Lanka produced important results which are evident in the Pali works of this period’. He also says that the Tamil Buddhist monks were more orthodox than their counterparts in Sri Lanka.

    Indeed, the relations between the Tamil and Sinhala Buddhist monks were so close that the latter sought the assistance of the former in political turmoil.

    In Sri Lanka, the Tamil Buddhists who followed Theravada Buddhism shared the common places of worship with the Sinhalese but there were also Tamil Buddhists who were following the Mahayana Buddhism and they had there own Mahayana temples.

    There are still some Tamil Mahayana Buddhist establishments (Palli) in the east and possibly in the Jaffna peninsula. The best known was Velgam Vehera (see details below), which was renamed Rajaraja-perumpalli after the Cola emperor. Another was the Vikkirama-calamekan-perumpalli.

    Some ten miles northwest of Trincomalee off the Trincomalee – Horowupothana road is an ancient Buddhist shrine with origins dating back to the years before the second century. It is a historical fact that among the many ancient Buddhist shrines in Sri Lanka Velgam Vehera which was renamed Rajaraja-perumpalli, also called Natanar Kovil by the present day Tamils stands out as the only known example of a ‘Tamil Vihare or Buddhist Palli’ or as the late Dr. Senerath Paranavithana described it in his book ‘Glimpses of Ceylon’s Past’ as an ‘Ancient Buddhist shrine of the Tamil people’. Some of the Tamil inscriptions found at the site record donations to this shrine and are dated in the reigns of the Chola Kings, Rajaraja and Rajendradeva. It was his view that the date of the original foundation of the vihare was no doubt considerably earlier than the reign of King Bhatika Tissa II.

    The situation in Tamil Nadu, however, began to change towards the beginning of the 7th Century AD when the rise of Vaishnavism and Saivism posed a serious challenge to Buddhism and Jainism. There was a significant increase in Brahmanical influence and soon the worship of Siva and Visnu began to gain prominence.

    The Buddhist and Jaina institutions in Tamil Nadu came under attack when they began to loose popular support and the patronage from the rulers. One result of this was the migration of Buddhist and Jaina monks and devoted lay members to kingdoms where they could find refuge. While the Jainas were able to go to Kannada and Telugu regions, the Buddhists turned to Sri Lanka and assimilated with the local Buddhist population.

    During the 9th Century AD, when the Cholas who were strong Hindus (Saivism) were ruling Sri Lanka, they did everything in their power to destroy Buddhism and they managed to convert many Buddhists (Tamils and Sinhalese) into Tamil Hindus (Saivism). These Tamil Hindus later settled from Anuradapuram to Jaffna.

    Since the Cholas were Tamils, most of the Sinhalese, due to their ignorance, still believe that the Tamils attacked the Sinhalese religious sites. Actually, the Cholas attacked and damaged the Buddhist sites which belonged to both Sinhalese and the Tamils of Sri Lanka.

    Today there is no Buddhism in Sri Lanka. It is monopolized by the Sinhalese and they call it Sinhala Buddhism. The Maha Sangha today is the Sinhala Maha Sangha and they will not accept any Tamil Buddhist monks or a Tamil Maha Sangha in Sri Lanka.

  • 29. cholapandyan  |  October 25th, 2007 at 10:14 am

    The point man,

    QUOTE: The point Dr.Nalin De Silva and some other extremist (in terms of wiping out tamils is that ) is little more nauanced than going back to Ravana.
    For instance he brings out the old dutch records from 17th and 18th century to prove that the Tamils in North and East were migrant farmers who did not have roots in North /East. UNQUOTE.

    These SinhalaBuddhist racists have created their own history, they say that most of the Tamils in Jaffna are coolies/slaves brought in by the Dutch from Tamil Nadu to work in the tobacco fields. The results of the genetic study which I have written above does not prove their point and they do not even have any solid evidence to prove what they say is true other than an article written by one Tamil Prof S. Arasaratnam who has picked up a few points from the article written by the colonial writer Markus Vink.

    It is true that the Dutch brought slaves from Tamil Nadu to Sri Lanka during 17th century but what was settled in Jaffna in the Tobacco fields was a very small percentage when compared to those settled in the South from Colombo to Galle on the Southwest coast.

    According to the colonial writer Markus Vink, (http://www.historycooperative.org/journals/jwh/14.2/vink.html), the Dutch Indian Ocean slave trade was flourishing during 17th century.
    QUOTE: In 1694, the city of Colombo alone had a slave population of 1,761. See Knaap, ‘Europeans, Mestizos and Slaves,’ p. 88. In 1661, 10,000 slaves had been put to work by the company and by private individuals on the lands in southwestern Ceylon, including 2,000 company slaves. UNQUOTE.

    Ten thousand slaves from Coromandel Coast in South India were brought to the South of Ceylon (Colombo, Galle and the entire South West) by the Dutch. One of the main sources of income the Dutch had at that time was not Tobacco but Cinnamon.
    The South west Coast was where cinnamon grew to perfection, during that period, and the Dutch were the monopoly in trading spices. Cinnamon was the staple export. It was ‘the Helen or bride of contest’ (as Baldaeus called it) for whose exclusive possession successive European invaders had in turn contended.

    In 1740, Governor Van Imhoff, by a system of forced labor/slaves, planted the waste land along the coast south of Colombo with the Cocoa palm, the result of which is seen in an almost unbroken grove of palms for 100 miles along the south west shore.

    In other words, the Sinhalese from the entire South west including Colombo and Galle are partly the decedents (5th generation) of those 10,000 slaves from the Coromandel Coast as per the article written by Markus Vink, used by our colonial masters for the cinnamon and cocoa palm plantation along the South west coast as well as for domestic purpose.

    During the Dutch period, those slaves would have been domestic laborers, grown cinnamon or planted coconut but today (Within the last 350 years) they have got naturalized with the Sinhalese and become a part of them, as Sinhala Buddhists and Sinhala Catholics. A large part of the present day Sinhalese (those 10,000 would have multiplied into lakhs), both Buddhists/Catholics in the South western coast from Colombo to Galle such as Fernando, De Silva, etc were originally coolies/slaves brought in by the Dutch from Tamil Nadu and today they are the people who are talking about those very few coolies/slaves settled in Jaffna during the same period.

    The most hilarious part is, these are the people who pretend to be more Sinhala (Patriots) than the original Sinhalese (if there is any such thing today).

    The Sinhalese also argue that the question when you arrived or from where you arrived does not arise as long as you get naturalized with the natives who live in that place, you become a part of them.

    But, when it comes to Jaffna, there argument is totally different.

    This is just one (small percentage) of the many admixtures that took place in Sri Lanka between the Sinhalese and the Indian Tamils, the assimilation of Tamils into the Sinhala ethnic group took place right from the beginning with Vijay taking wives from Madurai in Pandya Nadu. As a tradition, the Kings of Sri Lanka up to the last one took wives (Queens) from Madurai in South India.

    These SinhalaBuddhist racists are so ignorant, they do not even realize that Indian Tamil blood runs in their veins.

  • 30. Thamilan  |  November 3rd, 2007 at 8:44 am

    cholapandyan,

    Thank you!! I have been trying to tell them that the Sinhalese ethnic group is a mixture of Bengali, Tamil and Veddah, everyone knows the fact but the Sinhalese are refusing to accept it. Tamils embraced Buddhism is another fact that is undeniable in Tamil Nadu with all the historical evidence.

  • 31. Viking  |  November 14th, 2007 at 9:18 am

    The Tamils are the world’s largest ethnis group with a so called “holmeland”. this desperate artcile shows the frustration of that reality. Dont think Ravana ever spoke tamil cause, tamil is without a doubt the irritaing , unpleasant langauage in the whole world.

  • 32. Thusitha Jayawickrama  |  November 23rd, 2007 at 8:35 am

    Dr. Narendran

    Once I read your article I realized that the article was built on mythical framework. The Mahawamsa is the written history of Hela. The unwritten part is on the stone scripts in which I will show you if you come to Hela deepa. King Ravana’s scripts still visible on certain parts in the Island. King Ravana was Kasup buddhist and the donations (Dana) performed by Dasis Ravana can still be viewed. Unfortunately those are written on Brahmi letters which is the close letters to Hela Basa (Sihela)

    Have you ever heard a king named Mahasen who ruled 25000 years back in Kataragama? where your people pay homage for protection was the first significant Buddhist who followed Lord Buddha Kasup. The last king who followed Kasup Buddha Dharma was Ravana. ( We have collected so much of evidence that related to this)

    Have you ever know King Mahasen’s sword was transfered to Ravana then transfered to King Dutu Gemunu. King Gemunu performed a war in order to protect country from the invader Erala.

    We have these footprints clearly which you cannot view with your mythical eyes. The evidence (Written evidence) are with us that we are going protect for the next generation.

    We know that your people have been trying to build mythical Tamil history over Hela Island where would be in vain. First you keep you fanatic dreams away and come to a ground that we all can live in peace.

    We already know that you and your pathetic fans are bribing others to encourage to prove just only 2500 years only which you still failed. The Kovils built by your people just by destroying Buddhist temples that is proved by the last Tsunami.

    So doctor this is a humble appeal to elaborate the truth and say truth.

    In the name of Great King Ravana who was a Bodhisatwa blessed this Island and all the kings who ruled this Island were same.

    Let them get merits which I disclosed here, and may your people’s blind eye vanished and get correct light on the eyes those who are blind on this.

    May all you be well and happy.

    Thusitha Jayawickrama
    If you want me to contact try thusith_j@yahoo.com

  • 33. Migara  |  January 17th, 2008 at 12:52 pm

    Thats true Thusitha,
    Here try to vanished sinhala history.sinhalease are so good peoples.
    Do you know 60% of the Tamil population in Sri Lanka living in the south peacefully with Sinhalese? If they are discriminated or harassed by Sinhalese, Why don’t they go to Wanni and live with their so called hero Prabhakaran…?
    Migara

  • 34. Migara  |  January 17th, 2008 at 12:54 pm

    This above article is totally fiction.also fabric frame work

    Do you know 60% of the Tamil population in Sri Lanka living in the south peacefully with Sinhalese? If they are discriminated or harassed by Sinhalese, Why don’t they go to Wanni and live with their so called hero Prabhakaran…?

  • 35. ssw  |  January 30th, 2008 at 1:16 pm

    Myth ……
    “Sinhale started after the arrival of prince Vijaya from North India while Tamils were there in Lanka before him”

    This is such a lie and distortion of facts. Archaeological proof clearly shows that Lanka was inhabited by the human as early as 900,000 BC. Since then, there is solid archaeological evidence to prove that Lankans, who called themselves Hela people, were trying very hard to advance themselves into a civilization. Hela as Lanka was known at the time, was in the forefront of human progress in the region.

    Dravidians arrived in India only around 7500 BC from somewhere in Mediterranean. Archaeologists have proof that Lankans had an established culture in existence by this time.
    Meanwhile the Dravidians merged into the native Indian tribes all over India. When Aryans from the areas around Caspian Sea arrived in North India in 1500 BC, the Dravidians in the north mixed into the stronger Aryan culture. Dravidians survived the Aryan integration in South India as Aryans stopped in North India.

    It is quite possible that later on, migrants and visitors arrived from all parts of India to Sri Lanka and vise versa as happens between any two countries. It is fair to say that from this point onwards there must have been some migration of South Indian Dravidians to Lanka as merchants. With them the Dravidian religion Hinduism must have arrived in Lanka just like the way other Indian religions such as Jainism arrived in Lanka. But these were NOT the native religion of the Lankans. Hela people practiced their own religions.
    Prince Vijaya who landed in Lanka in 483BC, only took control of one of the towns and then mixed into this Hela civilization. Many such Indian migrants brought their religions to Lanka. Sinhalese ( derived from Sihalese – Sivu Helaya ) didn’t start from Vijaya onwards. Hela was always there in Sri Lanka, from the beginning.

    Subsequently, after Sri Lanka became the centre of Buddhism, there were continuous migrations of the North Indian Buddhists from North Indian Aryan Kingdoms to Lanka. All these North Indian migrants, unlike the other migrants such as the ones from the South Indian Dravidian kingdoms, mixed into the Sihalese civilization adopting Sinhalese culture and principles of life. None of these North Indians formed ethnic ghettos in one corner of the island.

    The great qualities of the Sinhalese which made Sinhalese unique people in the world, were introduced at two points of history. First, King Pandukabaya introduced the very first National qualities of the Sinhalese in 375 BC. Then, 129 years later, during King Devanampiyatissa’s reign, the great National philosophy which placed Lanka in the developed world, was introduced.

  • 36. Deva  |  March 27th, 2008 at 12:13 am

    Post #32 by Thusitha Jayawickrama

    When I was browsing the net for something else I came across this article.

    Out of all the replies, the one by Thusitha Jayawickrama is the most hilerious.

    I am sure she must have escaped from mental assylam. Only her inmates at Angoda will be able to understand and believe all what she has written here.

    Anyways, a good reading for entertainment to have a big laugh.

    She talks as if she had been living during Kasup Buddha’s time. There is not even a single evidence to prove anything what she has written.

    All these must have appeared to her in her dream. Anyways, good hallucinating, keep it up, please continue to entertain us.

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