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Encyclopedia > Sri Lankan Tamils

Sri Lankan Tamils also known as Eelam Tamils, Ceylonese or Ceylon Tamils and Jaffna Tamils are today a trans-national minority, and are Tamil people from Sri Lanka. Just like the Jewish Diaspora, they are found in almost all continents including their country of origin Sri Lanka. Their origins lie in South India in a cultural region called as Tamilakam, a region that encompasses both the present day Indian states of Tamil Nadu and Kerala as well as Sri Lanka. They are of interest to many Western and Asian decision makers because of their national aspirations back in Sri Lanka for an independent state called Tamil Eelam and related activities. It is a community bound by common language, culture and suffering or memory of it because of repeated pogroms in Sri Lanka since 1958 till the present day. (see Black July.) The Tamil people are an ethnic group from South Asia with a recorded history going back more than two millennia. ... The Jewish diaspora (Hebrew: Tefutzah, scattered, or Galut, exile) is the dispersion of the Jewish people throughout the world. ... The ancient Tamil country of the classical era extended from River Krishna to the Cape Comorin(Kanyakumari). ... Tamil Nadu (தமிழ் நாடு, Land of the Tamils) is a state at the southern tip of India. ... Kerala (IPA: ; Malayalam: കേരളം — Keralam) is a state on the tropical Malabar Coast of southwestern India. ... Map of the districts of Sri Lanka claimed by LTTE as parts of Tamil Eelam Tamil Eelam (தமிழ் ஈழம், tamiḻ īḻam) is the name given by the LTTE and some Tamil population of Sri Lanka to the independent state which they demand in the Northern and Eastern portions of the island. ... The Russian word pogrom (погром) refers to a massive violent attack on people with simultaneous destruction of their environment (homes, businesses, religious centers). ... Black July is the commonly used name of the pogroms starting in Sri Lanka on July 23, 1983. ...

Contents


History

Sri Lanka boasts of a continuous written history of its political aspirations called Mahavamsa that has become the rallying point for the majority Sinhalese Buddhists to relegate the minority Sri Lankan Tamils as the perennial other or foreigner amongst them. This has prompted the Tamils to look for or manufacture history that can stand up to the claims made by the Sinhalese. Nevertheless there is attestation of Tamil presence during the period of Prakrit speaking people’s colonization of the country and ever since spanning a period of over 2,000 years. Whether Tamil People as a self conscious community were present prior to this colonization from somewhere in North India is debatable. It is this colonization that gave birth to the nation of Sinhalese. The Mahavamsa, also Mahawamsa, (Pāli: great chronicle) is a historical record, written in the Pāli language, of the Buddhist kings of Sri Lanka. ... This article needs to be cleaned up to conform to a higher standard of quality. ... Prakrit (Sanskrit prāká¹›ta प्राकृत (from pra-ká¹›ti प्रकृति), original, natural, artless, normal, ordinary, usual, i. ... Tamil New Year Ethnic problems In India After independence, Tamilians felt they and their dravidian race were ignored by the North Indians. ...


One of the major impetus for the survival of a community that considered it, Tamil as opposed assimilating with majoritan Sinhalese happened in the 11 century A.D. with the advent of Jaffna Kingdom. The survival of Tamil communities or social groups that maintained a Tamil identity outside this kingdoms borders namely in the eastern province (Batticaloa) has not being explained fully. To meet Wikipedias quality standards, this article or section may require cleanup. ... The town of Batticaloa is the provincial capital of the eastern province of Sri Lanka. ...


Complete Tamil assimilation of formerly Tamil speaking communities such as the Karave, Durave, Salagama and Demalagatara as Sinhalese in the western littoral has been accepted begrudgingly and belatedly by local historians. Salagama (Halagama, Haali or Chaliya) is a Sri Lankan cinnamon peelers caste found mostly in Southern coastal areas, especially in the villages around Hikkaduwa and Balapitiya in Galle district. ...


Hence the Sri Lankan Tamils today are descendants of those who for what ever reason decided to maintain a non Sinhalese identity. It can be argued that a lot more people of Tamil heritage have become Sinhalese than remain as Tamils. It is also true that a significant minority of Sri Lankan Tamils decend from Sinhalese and indigenous Vedda lineages. The Wanniyala-Aetto, or forest beings (This is the name they call themselves; the commonly known name is Veddahs in Sinhalese) are an indigenous people of Sri Lanka, an island nation in the Indian Ocean. ...


Subgroups

Due to the various streams by which Tamils have either maintained or lost their identity as Tamils in Sri lanka we can identify 2 major sub groups. One is the Eastern Tamils who live from Trincomalee down to Kumana. The other major group is the Northern Tamils. Infact the modern trials and tribulations of the Sri Lankan Tamils is that of the Northern Tamils. Because it is this sub group that has articulated a political vision that eventually lead to the aspirations for separation from Sri Lanka. There was also group of Tamils known as Negambo Tamils of the Western province who just recently switched over to Sinhalese identity. Other social groups or castes who lived further south in the western littoral have abandoned Tamil identity many generations ago and are considered to be Sinhalese. Bay of Trincomalee (View from Temple) Trincomalee North East city of Sri Lanka. ... Negambo Tamils is a term usually used for Sri Lankan Tamils who live in the western Puttalam district of Sri Lanka. ...


There are other social groups such as the Colombo Chetty and Bharatakula who although with obvious Tamils roots with Sinhalese and other admixture for political and sociological purposes do'not consider them to be either Tamil or Sinhalese. // Origins Colombo Chetty are a formerly endogamous Sri Lankan social group or caste. ... // Origins Bharatakula are a Sri Lankan caste of Tamil Paravar immigrants from Tamil nadu in India. ...


Ethnic consciousness

Not all the Tamils living in Sri Lanka referred to as Sri Lankan Tamils(SLT) for in all the government records and even at the level of group consciousness there is a distinction made between the Indian Origin Tamils (IT) of the tea and rubber plantation areas, and the Sri Lankan Tamils who are the traditional Tamil inhabitants of Sri Lanka largely confined to the northern and the eastern parts of the island.


It should be borne in mind that the political militancy found among the Tamils that characterises the current ethnic conflict is totally opposed to such a distinction being made, and prefers to call these Tamils the “ Malaiyakat tamilar” or Tamils of the Mountain referring to the Hill Country Tamils. Though it is true that the bulk of the Tamils of Indian descent bought in as plantation laborers by the British are continuing to live in the estate areas in the central regions of Sri Lanka, it cannot be denied that a substantial number of them had to leave the estates and go into the traditional Tamil areas for reasons of safety and security - a process that started in the sixties increased in the seventies when the estates were nationalized and in the eighties when there were ethnic riots. Thus in the Census of 1981 it was officially acknowledged that the following districts which are predominately Tamil had the following percentage of Indian Tamils: Vavuniya 19.4% Mullaitivu: 13.9% Mannar:13.2% Kilinochi est. 15% The Indian Tamils, Hill-country Tamils, Up-country Tamils or Indian origin Tamils are descended from indentured labourers sent from South India to Sri Lanka in the 19th and 20th centuries to work in coffee plantations there (and, after the collapse of coffee planting in Sri Lanka, in tea and...


The figures since state sponsored Black July 1983 anti Tamil pogrom must be high. What is important is that, due to economic and socio-political pressures the pace of assimilation of the IT into the SLT is high. Marriages between IT and SLT Tamils are on the increase and there is an increasing sense of oneness politically. However, to understand their group solidarity and cohesiveness, it is important that they are studied separately. Black July is the commonly used name of the pogroms starting in Sri Lanka on July 23, 1983. ... Pogrom (Russian: ; from громить - to wreak havoc, to demolish violently) is a form of riot, a massive violent attack on a particular group; ethnic, religious or other, primarily characterized by destruction of their environment (homes, businesses, religious centers). ...


Tamilnadu Tamils versus Sri Lankan Tamils

a) Unlike in Tamil Nadu, the Brahmins do not exercise social control. Though they are ritually the highest caste, among SLT they do not have the necessary numbers, social power and authority. Quite often they are employees at temples with well-defined duties and obligations. Nor do the Brahmins officiate in all temples; there are non-Brahmin priests known as Saiva kurukkals, drawn originally from the Vellala caste. Tamil Nadu (தமிழ் நாடு, Land of the Tamils) is a state at the southern tip of India. ... Young Indian brahmachari Brahmin A Brahmin (less often Brahman) is a member of the Hindu priestly caste. ... It has been suggested that this article or section be merged into vellalar. ...


b) The dominant caste among SLT is the Vellalas, and except in rare cases they have the social control.


c) Unlike in Tamil Nadu where the caste system has an observable caste-tribe continuum (Vanniyar, Kallar, Maravar, Irular) among SLT just like amongst the Sinhalese, castes are largely occupation based. (See Caste in Sri Lanka) The system of Caste in Sri Lanka is a division of society into strata, differing somewhat from the classic Varnas of India. ...


d) Among the SLT marriages are largely matrilocal; among the TnT it is largely patrilocal. This article needs to be cleaned up to conform to a higher standard of quality. ...


e) Kinship organisation and sometimes even the kinship terms are different, for instances, at the non-brahmin level among the TnT uravinmurai or lineage tradition is very strong; among the SLT even though they have the pakutior lineage tradition, it is not strong; it is not sustainable. Kinship is the most basic principle of organizing individuals into social groups, roles, and categories. ... The term lineage can refer to several things. ... The term lineage can refer to several things. ...


f) In religious practices also there is considerable difference; there are also considerable differences in temple management.


g) Food habits vary much, among the SLT there is much less use of milk, esp."tayir" and "mor". SLT and Sinhalese food habbits mimic that of the Malabar region of Kerala and south Tamil Nadu. This article needs to be cleaned up to conform to a higher standard of quality. ... It has been suggested that Malabarian Coast be merged into this article or section. ... Kerala (IPA: ; Malayalam: കേരളം — Keralam) is a state on the tropical Malabar Coast of southwestern India. ... Tamil Nadu (தமிழ் நாடு, Land of the Tamils) is a state at the southern tip of India. ...


h) SLT dialects (Jaffna, Negombo and Batticloa variety) are different from the major local dialects of Tamilnadu. But maintain archaic Tamil words that are used also in Malayalam a langauge used in Kerala as well Tamil dialects used in southern Kanyakumari district of Tamil nadu. Nallur Kandaswamy Kovil, Jaffna Jaffna (Tamil யாழ்ப்பாணம், meaning யாழ்=harp, பாணம்=town of harper) the capital city of the Northern Province, Sri Lanka. ... Malayalam (മലയാളം) is the major language of the state of Kerala, in southern India. ... Kerala (IPA: ; Malayalam: കേരളം — Keralam) is a state on the tropical Malabar Coast of southwestern India. ... The Tiruvalluvar statue The Vivekananda memorial The Gandhi Mandepam Kanyakumari is a town and a cape at the southernmost tip of the Indian peninsula. ... Tamil Nadu (தமிழ் நாடு, Land of the Tamils) is a state at the southern tip of India. ...


i) The SLT literary culture too has been very different. In creative critical writings, SLT literary culture, responding to local needs and aspirations, has been able to carve out a distinct idiom of expression.


Population figures

The following are the population figurers of the SLT in the various districts of the North and East, for 1981.


Jaffna - 95.3% Mullaitivu - 76.0% Mannar - 50.6% Vavuniya - 56.9% Trincomalee - 33.8% Batticaloa - 70.8% Amparai - 20.1% Of the population of 14,850,001, SLT are 1,871,535 (12.6%) and Indians are 825,238 (5.6%). The Tamils in all constitute 17% of the population. SOURCE: CENSUS 1981. Nallur Kandaswamy Kovil, Jaffna Jaffna (Tamil யாழ்ப்பாணம், meaning யாழ்=harp, பாணம்=town of harper) the capital city of the Northern Province, Sri Lanka. ... Bay of Trincomalee (View from Temple) Trincomalee North East city of Sri Lanka. ... The town of Batticaloa is the provincial capital of the eastern province of Sri Lanka. ...


Eastern Tamils

Batticaloa is the anglicized form of “ Mattakkalappu” (lit: shallow points in the sea/river)and is now used, as the term Jaffna is to refer to a system of social organization (Batticoloa Tamils, Jaffna Tamils). Batticaloa lies on the central part of the eastern sea border of Sri Lanka, south of Trincomalee. Historically speaking it was part of the Kandyan Kingdom from about the 14th century to 1815 thereby it has a different geographical and historical environment. Batticaloa has been able to preserve many of traditional Dravidian social institutions. Even under British rule, Batticaloa was not “ modernized” as comprehensively as Jaffna was. Modernization in Batticaloa was confined only to the town. Bay of Trincomalee (View from Temple) Trincomalee North East city of Sri Lanka. ... Dravidian may refer to: A group of people who came through Arabia to settle on the Asian mainland at the Strait of Hormuz and on the Indus river in what is now Afghanistan. ...


Social Organization of Eastern Tamils

The social organization of the Tamils of this district in terms of caste formation is definitely less rigid. The traditional agrarian organization is characteristically feudal in terms of the extraction of surplus. Within the Sri Lankan Tamil dialect, Batticaloa has a distinctly separate mode and is of more recent origin. The town of Batticaloa is the provincial capital of the eastern province of Sri Lanka. ...


It is important to note that the differences that one sees on the social and cultural organization of Jaffna and Batticaloa are not that fundamentally different from each other, because if ore analyses the basics of both the “systems” one will not fail to see that they emanate from the basic Dravidian kinship system (Trautmann)– South Indian system. Uneven development arising out of years of exclusive existence have sharpened the Dis-similarities. Dravidian may refer to: A group of people who came through Arabia to settle on the Asian mainland at the Strait of Hormuz and on the Indus river in what is now Afghanistan. ... Kinship is the most basic principle of organizing individuals into social groups, roles, and categories. ... South India is a geographic and linguistic-cultural region of India. ...


Social structure of Eastern Tamils

The following are the castes found in Batticaloa – the dominant ones – The word Caste is derived from the Portuguese word casta, meaning lineage, breed or race. ...


Vellalar, Cirpatakkarar, Mukkuvar, Karaiyar Vellalars are a dominant caste of agriculturalists of Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Sri Lanka. ... Introduction Mukkuvar is a fishing community, living in the coastal districts of southern Kerala, south west of Tamil Nadu in India and also in Sri Lanka. ...


other castes are :


Tanakkarar, Kaikkulavar Canar, Pallar, Vannar,Ampattar, Vanniyar*, Kollar, Tattar, Taccar,Kataiyar*, and Vetar* or Tamil speaking Veddas. The Wanniyala-Aetto, or forest beings (This is the name they call themselves; the commonly known name is Veddahs in Sinhalese) are an indigenous people of Sri Lanka, an island nation in the Indian Ocean. ...


Castes marked with the asteric (*) are found only in Batticalo.


A special feature of the caste organization of Batticalo is the Kuti system. The Tamil word KUTI means a house, a settlement. In Batticalo Kuti is found among all the major caste groups, and every context it refers to the exogamous matri – clans. The kuti system is alos among the Muslims of Batticalo. The number of Kutis within a caste is always seven and the names vary. The significance of the kuti system lies in that,


a) it is related to matrimonial alliances (none carry with him the kuti of his birth and one always a joins the wife’s kuti on marriage


b) control of the places of worship (temples) is through the kuti system, for Instance the following are the kutis among the Vellalar are


Kantankuti, Carukupillikuti. Kattappattankuti, Kavuttankuti, Attiyayankuti, Ponnaccikuti and Vaittikuti.


The Vellalar consider themselves to be the decedents of soldiers of Kalinga Magha who invaded Sri Lanka in the 11 th century A.D. Curiously he was also instrumental in creating the Jaffna Kingdom in the North. Kalinga is a landlocked province of the Philippines in the Cordillera Administrative Region in Luzon. ... To meet Wikipedias quality standards, this article or section may require cleanup. ...


Mukkuvar kutis are Ulakippotikuti, Kalinkakuti, Pataiyantakuti, Pettankuti, Panikkankuti, kaccilakuti, and Pettantapata antakuti.


The kuti system is also found among the Cirpatakkarar, the Cettis, the Karaiyar and the Kammalar. It is of interest to note that the names of kutis are common to some of the castes.


Besides those castes which have an internal kuti system there, are seventeen (17) caste groups which are called CIRAIKKUTIS or prisoned kutis, meaning these are under captivity and they are confined to the work they have got to do. Those are Matular, Koil Pantaram, Pantarappillai, Kucavar, Kollar, Mutalikal, Valipan, Nampikal, Vannar, anipattar, Canar, Pallar, Paraiyar, Koviyar, Tavacikal, and Kataiyar.


In the traditional agrarian system the feudal landlord is known as the POTI, the reverential form being potiyar. The Batticala potiyar is a regular farmer; he is not an absentee landlord. But there is a system of leasing land to Kuttakaikkarar or lessees, who undertake to do the cultivation by paying a lump sum to the potiyar. There are instances when one potiyar could lease out land from another. Under the potiyar come the vayalkarar or those of the field who work on the fields. Labour is their main input, and the potiyar looks after them, giving them what they need. These vayalkarar of the Batticalo system would correspond to the pannaiyal of the ryotwari system in Tamilnadu.


Religious traditions of Eastern Tamils

The religious tradition of the Batticalo Hindus are very important. Sanskritization, which is a characteristic feature of Jaffna Hinduism is very much absent. Religious practice in Batticaloa is mainly non-Agamic. In fact there is only one major Siva temple Kokkatticcolai Tantonri Isvaran Koyil. There are of course a number of Pillaiyar(Ganesa) shrines in Batticalo, most important of which is the Mamankappillaiyar temple. But it should be noted that Pillaiyar is an agrarian deity among all the SLT. Sanskritisation is the process by which castes placed lower in the caste hierarchy seek upward mobility by emulating the rituals and practices of the upper or dominant castes. ... Hinduism (Sanskrit/Hindi: ; also known as Sanatana Dharma - , and Vaidika Dharma - ) is a worldwide religious tradition that is based on the Vedas, and is generally regarded as the oldest major religion still practiced in the world today. ... Popular image of Ganesh In Hinduism, Ganesha (Gaṇeśa, lord of the hosts, also spelled Ganesa and sometimes referred to as Ganesh in Hindi, Bengali and other Indian vernaculars) is the god of wisdom, intelligence, education and prudence. ...


Batticalo has a large number of Murukan shrines, at Verukal, Cittanti, Tirupperunturai, Mantur, Tantamalai and Ukantamalai. Kartikeya(extreme right) in Durga Puja In Hinduism, Kārttikeya (also Skanda, Subrahmanya, Kumara, Arumugan, Shanmugan, Murugan, Guha, Saravana, Swaminatha, Velan, Velavan, Senthil) is a god born out of a magical spark created by Shiva. ...


The most important popular cult found in Batticalo is the Pattini cult in which Kannaki, the chaste goddess, is worshipped. The important cult centers are Karaitivu, Palukamam, Kulakkattu, Makilativu, Aracatitivu, and Kannakuta. Another important cult is the Draupatai Amman cult. Whereas Kannaki worship is also found among the Jaffna Tamils mostly at the little tradition or folk Hinduism level. Draupathai Amman cult is only seen at very rare places in the Jaffna tradition. Tee Midi or Fire-walking, though performed at other cult centres also, is the main form of votive offering at these shrines. There is also the worship of Amman and Kali. Kannagi, a mythological Tamil woman, is the central character of the South Indian epic Silapathikaram. ... Amman (Arabic عمان ʿAmmān), the capital of the Kingdom of Jordan, is a city of more than 1. ... A common scene depicting Kali standing over Shiva. ...


Some of the major art forms of Batticaloa are yet associated with rituals - the Kuravai, Vacantan, and the Kompu-murittal. The Batticalo theatre, consisting of the Vatamoti and Tenmoti plays are even now largely votive offerings performed during the post-harvest season. The entire village joins in the production of a kuttu or play. The town of Batticaloa is the provincial capital of the eastern province of Sri Lanka. ...


It is important to note that when compared to the religious tradition prevalent in Jaffna and in Tamilnadu, where the Brahminic traditions are very strong, one could see that the cults now prevail in Batticalo are really the pre-sanskritized forms or those forms which were widely prevalent among the Tamils before Brahminism gained ascendancy. Young Indian brahmachari Brahmin A Brahmin (less often Brahman) is a member of the Hindu priestly caste. ...


Tamil Speaking Muslims of the east

Batticaloa has a strong Muslim presence (Batticalo 24.0% and Amparai 41% of the population) and unlike in the case of the Muslims of the Western and Southern province they are very strongly steeped in the Tamil tradition(they share the kuti system) and the much published oral poetry of Batticalo is really the folk-songs of the Muslims. But this should not under play the intense suspicions one group has of the other, which is quite manifested in the Tamil-Muslim fights. Regardless of this a lot of syncretism has been taken place. A Muslim is a believer in or follower of Islam. ... The town of Batticaloa is the provincial capital of the eastern province of Sri Lanka. ... Syncretism is the attempt to reconcile disparate, even opposing, beliefs and to meld practices of various schools of thought. ...


Position of Trincomalee

Trincomalee on the north of the Eastern Province is really a halfway house between the Jaffna and the Batticalo systems. With Mullaitivu on its northern boundary and Batticalo on its south it has had a Tamil population which has been maintaining its relationship with both parts. Triconamalee with its famous Tiru Koneswaram Temple, the second of the Hindu shrines hallowed by the Bhakthi songs or Tevarams of Campantar and Cuntarar is vital to the Hindu Tamil traditions of Sri Lanka. Bay of Trincomalee (View from Temple) Trincomalee North East city of Sri Lanka. ... Temple in the top of the Rock Koneswaram temple is a Hindu temple wich is located in the town Trincomalee, Sri Lanka. ... Bhakti is a Tamil or Sanskrit term from Hinduism that means intense devotion expressed by action (service). ...


Going northwards form Triconamalee we come to Vavuniya, Mullaitivu districts, known as the Vanni.


Tamils of Vanni

Vanni is characterised by the developed village, with a tank-based cultivation a highland settlement and the jungle beyond. The livestock of buffaloes, bulls and cows is related to the agrarian system. Hunting in this area is more than a pastime; it is necessary to keep the cultivation going.


The Tamil Vanni consists of Vavuniya, Mullaitivu and Eastern Mannar. A census taken in 1890 listed 711 tanks in this area.


Historically speaking this area has been in direct contact with South India in the Late Medieval period.


Nedunkerni, Putukkutiiruppu, Mulliyavalai and Tenneerurru are some of the better known Vanni villages and their characteristics and social composition could be taken as representative of the Vanni traditions.


Vanni Tamils distinguish themselves from those of Jaffna. But quite often they have marital relations with the Tamils living in the peninsula. For instance the Vellalar of Tanneerurru, Odducuttan and Netunkeni have marriage relations with the Vellalars of Mattuvil and Itaikkatu, Kaikkular of the Vanni with the same group at Kallinankatu, the Karaiyar of the Vanni have marriage relations with those living in Valvettiturai and Karaveddi (and also with the Karaiyars from Tennamaravady and Tampalakamam in the eastern province). Once the marriage is over the couple, generally speaking, settle down in Vanni because of the availability of land. Vellalars are a dominant caste of agriculturalists of Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Sri Lanka. ...


Social structure of Vanni Tamils

Vanni being primarily agricultural, farmers dominate, but there has always been a tendency for all these castes to take to agriculture. The Tamil proverb current in vanni, a variation of a well known one indicating the upward mobility of many non Vellala caste groups to Vellala status, depicts the Vanni situation rather pithily, Kallar Maravar Kanatta Akampatiyar mella mellap pallarkalum vellalar anarkal (Not only) the Kallar the Maravar and the weighty Akampatiyar even the Pallar gradually became Vellalar).


J. P. Lewis in his “ THE MANUAL OF THE VANNI DISTRICT” gives a list of 36 castes from Brahmins, Vellalar, Karaiyar to Nalavar. There is also mention of the Vanniyar caste, one which is not found in the Jaffna system but is very important in the Tamilnadu system. But it no longer exists. The caste system is less rigid in the Vanni. Because of the peculiar feature of the Vanni where elephant noosing or wild elephant catching for Jaffna kings, it was done by a caste called panikkans.


Vanni has a very rich oral tradition connected with agriculture, a feature not seen much in other areas. The oral poetry of Pantippall kuruviccintu, Kuruviappallu, Murukaiyan cintu and Amman cintu are connected with agriculture. It has also a very rich dramatic tradition kattavarayan Kuttu and Kovalan Kannaki Natakam are well known. Kannagi, a mythological Tamil woman, is the central character of the South Indian epic Silapathikaram. ...


Northern Tamils

Jaffna with a history of a kingdom (Jaffna Kingdom) of its own taken as an important legitimising factor in the political demands of the SLT has throughout been an articulating centre in the constitutional demands of the Tamils. To meet Wikipedias quality standards, this article or section may require cleanup. ...


Position of Mannar

In an overall grouping up of “ culture areas” within the Tamil speaking region of Sri Lanka, Mannar presents a problem. This region on the North-West of the Northern province, now taken as part of the Vanni electoral district, was till recently a bigger district with Mullaitivu within it. It lies to the north-western border and is the closest point in Sri Lanka to South India. It has a long littoral region thus making it a rich fishing area. It has been rich in pearl fisheries from historical times. In spite of the fact that in the land interior it has as much a tank-based agrarian economy as the Vanni, the littoral character dominates. Manner has a substantial Muslim population (26.6%) and among the Tamils the Roman Catholics are very influentially placed.


It is of interest to note that on the south it is contiguous with Puttalam district which until the first two decades of this century had a substantial Tamil Catholic population. It is well known fact of Roman Catholic Church history that there was a process of Sinhalisation or assimilation into Sinhalese identity of these fishermen during the time of Bishop Edmund Peiris. The fishermen of the north western coast beginning from Negombo go to the Mannar and Mullaitivu areas for seasonal fishing. They were also known as Negambo Tamils. This article needs to be cleaned up to conform to a higher standard of quality. ... Negambo Tamils is a term usually used for Sri Lankan Tamils who live in the western Puttalam district of Sri Lanka. ...


One should not fail to understand the rich Roman Catholic tradition that is prevalent in Mannar. It was the first area to be converted and had therefore come under the influence such illustrious personalities like Francis Xavier. The Roman Catholics of Mannar have a rich literary and dramatic tradition. The memory of Matottam, the ancient port of trade, looms large in the traditions of Mannar, in fact one of their theatrical forms is referred to as the Matottappanku. Memorial to St. ...


To the Hindu Tamils, Mannar is hallowed by the presence of Tirukethisvaram the Hindu temple sanctified by the Bhakti songs tevarams of Campantar and Cuntarar of 7th and 8th centuries A.D. A Hindu (archaic Hindoo), as per modern definition is an adherent of philosophies and scriptures of Hinduism, the predominant religious, philosophical and cultural system of the Indian subcontinent and the island of Bali. ... ...


Social Organization of Northern Tamils

The major studies on Jaffna social organization are those of Banks, David, Skjonberg, Pfaffenberger and Holmes. The following are the important caste groups seen in Jaffna today:


Piramanar(Brahmins, Saivakkurukkalmar, Vellalar, Karaiyar, Koviyar, Tattar, Taccar, Kollar, Nattuvar, Kaikkular, Chetti, Timilar, Mukkuvar, Kucavar, Vannar, Ampattar, Nalavar, Pallar, Paraiyar, Turumpar. Of which Koviar and Nalavar are not found in Tamil Nadu. Young Indian brahmachari Brahmin A Brahmin (less often Brahman) is a member of the Hindu priestly caste. ... Vellalars are a dominant caste of agriculturalists of Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Sri Lanka. ...


It is the hierarchic order that is crucial to the discussion of caste as a system of social organization and action among the Tamils of Jaffna. Kennetth David very rightly spoke of the bound and the non-bound mode, the former refers to the relationships those caste groups which have been considered dependent on the Vellalar for their economic subsistence and thus were bound to the Vellalar through the kutimai-atimai murais. Both the kutimai and the atimai systems are there no more in the manner they are expressed and articulated in traditional terms but the this concept of being bound has a significant role in assigning the hierarchical order. The term non-bound refers to those groups which are not dependent on the Vellalar for their sustenance. This would refer to those non-agrarian pursuits like fishing.


The caste system in Jaffna is very much Vellalar based and an ideology of Vellala hegemony has been built up over the centuries through caste myths and histories which have legitimised the hegemony. Ideologically speaking the most interesting are the sat-shudra concept which takes away from the Vellalar the defilements spoken of in relations to shudras as the lowest in the varna hierarchy and the formation of the pancama castes (lit: the fifth caste consisting of Nalavar, Pallar, Vannar, Ampattar and Paraiyar) so that the Vellalar as shudras are no more the lowest. Vellalars are a dominant caste of agriculturalists of Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Sri Lanka. ... Shudra or Sudra is the fourth caste or varna in the traditional four-caste division in Indian society. ... Shudra or Sudra is the fourth caste or varna in the traditional four-caste division in Indian society. ... Varna (Bulgarian: Варна) is the third largest city in Bulgaria after Sofia and Plovdiv, with a population of 351,552(10. ... Shudra or Sudra is the fourth caste or varna in the traditional four-caste division in Indian society. ...


Agriculture and fishing traditions

In the case of fishing the following are the caste groups that are considered as traditional fishermen: Karaiyar, Mukkuvar and Timilar. It is true that occasionally Nalavar and Pallar do some shallow water fishing during rainy season. They use very primitive forms.


Vellalar are the agriculturists. In the native perception a Vallalan is one who is engaged in vellanmai: They own the lands. A close analysis of the caste formation in Jaffna would show that many of the intermediate caste groups which were doing vocations which ceased to exist after the socio-historical changes that have been taking place through modernization, like the Matappalliyar, the Akampatiyar, the Tanakkarar and even the local Chetties, have been now absorbed in to the Vellala caste.


An important feature of contemporary caste in Jaffna today is the formation of what I would describe as the Mega castes. By this is meant the absorption into one caste all those intermediate castes the specific vocations of which do not exist now, or those which, irrespective of the technologies they use are doing the same vocation and are clustered together now. The mega castes that have arisen thus are the Vellalar, the Karaiyar and the Smiths. The word Caste is derived from the Portuguese word casta, meaning lineage, breed or race. ...


It should be noted that the social position assigned to the intermediate castes in the sub regions vary, for instance the social position of the Karaiyar is low in Karaveddi whereas in Valvettiturai they are the dominant caste.


Modernization through higher education

With the opening up of Education in the British period and education itself becoming the gateway to white collar jobs in the government service the consciously guarded social power began to disintegrate. At the beginning it was Christianity that provided the breakthrough. One should not altogether dismiss as mere Christian propaganda that the early efforts at the revitalization of traditional religion (Hinduism) were also meant to check the social mobility that had started taking place. When the traditional main groups found that their social pre eminence was at stake they began to collaborate with the rulers.


With modernization and the ensuing mechanization there came up new professions which eroded the caste-vocation continuum. Driving lorries and tractors, being masons, running and working. in motor-repair shops and garages and such other secondary technology led to a number of people from the lower rungs of the society to get out of the tyrannies of the caste system. Also important was the emergence of urban trade, mostly small trade which again eroded the social exclusiveness that the caste system tended to impose.


Politicization, especially the emergence of Tamil nationalism, was another factor which enabled social mobility. All these led to a process of Sanskritization and many caste groups and subgroups assuming “ respectable” position within the system itself. These led to the absorption of many of the intermediate caste groups onto the higher groups and to many of the lower groups to be independent of the religious isolation that the higher castes tried to impose on them. Sanskritisation is the process by which castes placed lower in the caste hierarchy seek upward mobility by emulating the rituals and practices of the upper or dominant castes. ...


The social rigidities of the caste also began to loosen. With the development of the subsidiary food crop production, especially with the boom of the early seventies the traditional tenurial system relating to leasing began to change. Men and women from the lower caste groups began to be employed as agricultural wage labor. They began to demand new work conditions which challenged the traditional caste norms. There began in the fishing industry also the employment of wage labor in fishing.


Equally important, though a later day phenomenon, is the exodus to the Middle East, Europe and North America which enabled carpenters and masons to get very high incomes. This newly earned wealth has led to a new wave of Sanskritization by which social position accruing out of management of religious institutions is being shared by the once socially un-privileged, and underprivileged. Sanskritisation is the process by which castes placed lower in the caste hierarchy seek upward mobility by emulating the rituals and practices of the upper or dominant castes. ...


Social structure

With the new problems as Sri Lankan Tamils are facing as Tamils and because they are Tamils, there is no doubt an increasing emphasis on the Tamil identity than on the “ intra” identities. When one takes into count the fact that many of the youth are out of the country as refugees, and a large number of families have migrated or are migrating, the question is how does the social organization among the Tamils stand today?


At this point the problem has got to be viewed in an all Tamil perspective for we will find that all the Tamils virtually share the same concepts relating to “ family”.


Extended family and lineages

The Tamil word for family is KUTUMPAM and it does not, even today, refer only to the nuclear family. It is the extended family that is always referred to. There may be so many bickerings (and there are many) within Kutumpam but it is the unit of social existence when it comes to matters relating to marriages and deaths. The extended family would definitely include the parents, brothers and sisters and their children. It is at this point a Kutumpam becomes a PAKUTI (making a section, division) a caste group really consists of such Pakutis. The pedigree of the family, the moral values of a family are all judged in terms of the pakuti’s standing in those matters. This is so because marriage in this situation is largely a question of forging relationships with other situation is largely a question of forging relationships with other families to form not only new solidarities, but also to establish the internal unity of the family that seeks or accepts the marriage proposals.


Marriages

Marriage in such a situation becomes an important social arrangement which has got to be carefully negotiated. The choices have got to be made very carefully, because on it would depend the future position of that sons or daughter in the family, his/her usefulness to the younger siblings and the maintenance of that family relationship with the other members of the Kutumpam.


It is true that love marriages do pose problems for this type of family-oriented organizations. And the experience so far has been that love marriages ultimately end up with the parents’ families also getting together or the couple being absorbed into one of the families, either that of the husband or that of the wife.


Marriage of a sister therefore becomes the responsibility of a brother. The social norm yet is that the brother helps enable the sister married comfortably so that the standing of that family goes up in relation to the pakuti.


One could say that the individual in among the Sri Lankan Tamil is, if we understand that term in its original meaning – that which cannot be divided furthur into substantive figures - it is the family that is the unit of existence, not the single person.


The traditional property law among the Tamils yet envisages such a social organization in which the Kutumpam is taken as the unit of social existance. This is very much so in the Tecavalamai (lit: the usages of the country) the law relating to the Property rights of the Tamils of Jaffna. 1989. See Thesavalamai. traditional law of the Tamils inhabitants Jaffna peninsula, codified by the Dutch during their colonial rule in 1707. ...


The concept of worship and ritual

The concept of worship in the social discourse in Tamil Hindu tradition is expressed by two terms:


1. Kumpitutal like in cami katavul kumpitutal, worship of the lord god and


2. valipatu like in katavulal valipatutal, following the god.


Anyone interested in a study of religiosity among the Tamils should be aware of the distinction between worship and rayer. Whereas to pray means to make devout supplication to, and beseech earnestly, worship (the verb) means adore as divine, pay religious homage to, idolize, and regard with adoration.The Tamil word kumpitu comes from a combination of kumpu and itu, to join hands (in worship). This form of establishing a relationship with the deity one worships, arises out of the bhakti concept in which there is an emotional relationship established with the deity in a highly personalized manner.


Places of worship

The places of worship could vary in terms of the object of worship and how it is housed. At best it could be in the form of an agamic koyil, constructed according to the akamam (Sanskrit agama), which is a set of scriptures regulating the temple cult. By an agamic temple is meant a temple replete with a mulattanam rootplace, (Sanskrit garbhagrha womb house., which is the innermost room. There is also a kotittaampam from koti “ flag” and tanipam “ pillar”, which indicates the god or goddess. You also find the eluntaruli, the room on the eastern end of northern side of the inner pirakaram, precincts (of the temple), in which the icons, which are taken out on the round inside and outside the temple are kept. For the Buddhist texts called the Agamas, see Nikaya. ...


This type of temple is more the exception than the rule. Very often the temples are not that replete, the barest essential would be the ulviti and the veliviti and the important shrines being housed alongside the ulviti. There will be the mulattanam and the eluntaruli. Kopuram (skt. Gopura) is not always there.


during the period of ethnic crisis during times of night curfew the pucai hours are shortened, and all the pucais would be over at least an hour before the curfew begins. During times of day curfew no pucais are held. The conducting or not doing so is known by the sound of the kopuram bell or the absence of it.


In both these types of temples there would be a resident kurukkal or Iyer. An Iyer is always a Brahmin; a kurukkal would refer to one from the Caiva-kurukkal tradition also. These are priestly families which have arisen out of the Vellalar caste but observe all the ritual purities that are essential for those who officiate at the pucais (Skt. Puja). Caiva-kurukkal is also a caste name of a Brahmin. Iyer is the name given to a community of Brahmins (members of the priestly class / caste) of India whose members mostly profess the advaita philosophy propounded by sri Shankaracharya and whose ancestors have had strong ties with the Tamil region, for many centuries. ... Panini // Who is a Brahmin? A Brahmin (ಬ್ರಾಹ್ಮಣ, ब्राह्मण, Sanskrit pronunciation- braahmaNa) is a caste and a member of the Hindu. ... Vellalars are a dominant caste of agriculturalists of Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Sri Lanka. ...


In terms of the overall number of the places of worship in the Jaffna district these village-level temples would be only a small proportion. Among those with permanent stone-cult structures there is a category of places of worship which would have just one building built in the traditional Dutch architecture having only one small room inside (or some times without a room) to house the icon of the deity. In such temples, which are clan or caste levels ones, there will be no daily pucais. Some one from the caste-group would light the coconut oil lamp every evening and that too if he is ritually clean. The pucai would be only on Friday noons or fore-noon. It may be done by a professional priest, usually a Caivakurukkal, not a brahmin. These are also referred to as koyilkal, temples.


Another type of places of worship does not have icons proper. They would have a culam, “ trident” if the worship is of Kali or Vairavar, and a stone. In terms of the number of “ temples” in Jaffna district this category would be the largest. Any village unit would have about at least 100-150 of such places. Most of these places of worship do not have icons proper. They would have a culam, “ trident” if the worship is of Kali or Vairavar, and a stone.


There is another category of worship-spots. These are under trees usually big, spreading ones, often palamaram, banyan tree,araca maram king-tree (ficus religiosa, bo-tree), naval, blackberry-tree or pulia maram, tamarind tree, or even puvaraca maram, king trees with flowers. This is the Portia tree (Thespecia populnea) and is found in large numbers in Jaffna.


There will be a few stones placed at the trunk of the tree with a culam or trident stuck in. Invariably the offering would be done by an elder of the family. On Fridays a coconut oil lamp would be lit. There will be a special ponkal, (rice) cooking done annually or there would be a ponkal done on the tai ponkal day (January 14/15) and/or the New Year Day (April 14/15).


It needs mention that in the two types of worship-spots (cult-centres) mentioned above, special votive offerings are given on the auspicious days of the year (tai ponkal, putu varucapponkal, (ponkal on the New Year day), vaikasi full moon-day (Sinhala vesak (April / May) etc, or on any Friday in case of any emergency within the family. The emergency would arise because of the illness of some one in the family or some severe stress period someone in the family undergoes. During such times the blessing of these deities are quite often invoked. Sinhala (also Sinhalese, formerly Singhalese) is the language spoken by the Sinhalese, the largest ethnic group of Sri Lanka (formerly Ceylon). ... ...


The deities thus worshipped could range from Annamar, Vairavar, Kali to Pillaiyar and Murukan. The following is an incomplete list of such deities.


List of deities

  • 1. Annamar is a caste god of the castes nalavar, toddy collections, and pallar, a low servant caste.
  • 2. Mutalikal is possibly a caste deity. The example I know of it is that of the karaiyar.
  • 3. Periyatampiran or the great master, a caste god of the washermen.
  • 4. Ayyanar (Skt. Sasta).
  • 5. Virumar is possibly a caste god of the smiths.
  • 6. Kattavarayan (the Saviour hero).
  • 7. Naccimar or the ladies - now quite often given in the form Ampal, the Mother Goddess.
  • 8. Sapta Kanniyar or seven virgins.
  • 9. Naka tampiran or snake master
  • 10. Vairavar (skt.Bhairava).
  • 11. Kali or black goddess.

It is interesting to note that the identities of some of the lesser known deities are getting lost and most of them are now identified as Vairavar and Kali. Both are worshipped in the form of culams or tridents. Bhairava (भैरव) is a name of the fearsome aspect of the god Shiva. ... A common scene depicting Kali standing over Shiva. ...

  • 12. Pillayar, the child God referring to Ganapati or Ganesa.
  • 13. Murukaiya or Murukan. This deity is often referred to at the dialectal level as Murukaiya(Skt. Skanda).
  • 14. Amman, the mother goddess. There are various forms of amman worship, important of which are Mariamman, the goddess of rain, Kannaki amman which is Kannaki, the chaste goddess.
  • 15. Civan, (Skt Siva). Civan is never worshipped at this level. The number of temples dedicated to Civan arc few. In agamic tradition distinction is made between temples based on the nature of the rituals performed, the buildings available in the temple, the icons that are installed for worship etc.

At the village level temples, it is the Pillaiyar temples that are the largest in number. Pillaiyar worship is very much associated with the farmers. Popular image of Ganesh In Hinduism, Ganesha (Gaṇeśa, lord of the hosts, also spelled Ganesa and sometimes referred to as Ganesh in Hindi, Bengali and other Indian vernaculars) is the god of wisdom, intelligence, education and prudence. ... Kartikeya(extreme right) in Durga Puja In Hinduism, Kārttikeya (also Skanda, Subrahmanya, Kumara, Arumugan, Shanmugan, Murugan, Guha, Saravana, Swaminatha, Velan, Velavan, Senthil) is a god born out of a magical spark created by Shiva. ... Amman (Arabic عمان Ê¿Ammān), the capital of the Kingdom of Jordan, is a city of more than 1. ... Kannagi, a mythological Tamil woman, is the central character of the South Indian epic Silapathikaram. ... This article is about the Hindu God. ...


The temple significant at the village level will be the focus of study in this paper.


Shaiva Siddhanta school of thought

Caiva Cittanta or in Sanskrit Shaiva Siddhanta, the school of Hindu thought which is the governing, religious ideology of the upper castes from Jaffna, divides human beings into four categories in terms of their “ spiritual maturity”. This article needs cleanup. ...


1. Those at cariyai level which is, the first stage. They need representation of god in iconic form and temples are important for them. 2. Those at the kiriyai level are second of the fourfold means attaining salvation, which consists in worshipping Civan with rites and ceremonies prescribed in the akamas. In this case this worshipping is done by the person himself. 3. Those at yokam level, i.e.the path of yoga which consists in the mental worship of Civan in his subtler form. 4. Those at the nanam level. This is the path of wisdom which consists in the realization of God as transcending form and formlessness.


(see also Hinduism in Sri Lanka) Hindu temple, Colombo Hindus currently make up approximately 15% of the Sri Lankan population, and are almost all exclusively Tamil-speaking apart from immigrants from North India and Pakistan such as the Sindhis. ...


Temple as centre of socialization

There are some more aspects of the temple as a centre for socialization and as organ of social control. The temple has been traditionally an important place for socialization. That continues in Jaffna even to this day, especially during festival time. It is the holiday season in the village. Earlier there had been a ban on any travelling during the festival time. It is difficult to observe it these days, but every one takes effort to see that he/she is in the village during festival time and once there not to undertake trips outside the area. Special effort is taken not to miss the main pucai referred to as the tiruvilappucai, worship at the holy festival. There is sense of participation arising out of the fact that many observe fasting during these days. These fasts are not rigorous like the kantacatti fast of six days in Aipparai during which one takes only one meal or one glass of tirttam or sometimes even less for a day. In fact, during the annual festival days all the households ensure they are well-stocked for preparation of wholesome, hearty, vegetarian meals.


Attendance at the festivals becomes a social event and adequate notice is taken of who wears what (sarees and jewellery). Those without enough jewellery would prefer not to go to the festival rather than go with an empty neck. Some borrow jewellery, some redeem the pawned jewellery in time to wear them for this occasion, some of the generous pawnbrokers would loan the pawned article for use during festival time and return.


The annual festival time affords an opportunity for concerned people to meet and discuss problems connected with the village and the community. This is also the time for exploring possibilities of marriage, but no wedding ceremony will take place during the annual festival time. The general belief is that when he temple flag is up there should be no other festive ceremony.


The temple as an agent of indirect social control is seen best in the case of the lower groups. The conducting of the festival often drains them of the surplus earnings they have had in the previous year, because of the heavy expenses they incur in the way they conduct the festival. Their belief is that if they have a grand festival there are chances for better earning in the ensuing year. There is also a puritanistic trend that discourages expenditure of this type. The puritan school would like to spend money for arranging lectures by the learned.


Indigenous laws

Another peculiar aspect of Tamil society in Sri lanka is its adherence to special laws. Northern Tamils are governed by their own set of laws. It is called Thesavalamai. Under the this law , which is the customary law that governs property rights among the Tamils of Jaffna, codified by the Dutch in 1707 under the heading “ The Malabar Laws and Customs”, not all property could be given away. A person could give away only the tetiatettam, i.e. property acquired by either husband during the period after married life and or the priests acquiring from such properties. Even of the tetiatettam property, the husband cannot alienate the whole property; the wife is entitled to half of it. Those properties inherited from the parents cannot be given away according to ones own wish. There are also cases of old ladies who do not have any children gifting their properties to the temple. Most Eastern Tamils follow what is called Mukkuva laws traditional law of the Tamils inhabitants Jaffna peninsula, codified by the Dutch during their colonial rule in 1707. ...


The present situation

Even before the advent of ethnic conflicts and civil war in Sri Lanka, Sri Lankan Tamils especially those from Jaffna have been migrating to Malaysia, Singapore and Europe. Hence there is a large expatriate community in these countries that are well integrated and prosperous unlike in Sri Lanka. Lack of integration with the Sri Lankan mainstream community has been noted as a failure of the community by many commentators. But the Sri Lankan Tamils total integration in Singapore and Malaysia shows that internal political climate in Sri lanka as the real culprit not the community itself. Especially in Singapore, many politicians both ruling and opposition have hailed from this community. Because of the open and accepting conditions found by the community in the West and South East Asia, many prominent Sri Lankan Tamils of the 21st century are not from Sri Lanka. Nallur Kandaswamy Kovil, Jaffna Jaffna (Tamil யாழ்ப்பாணம், meaning யாழ்=harp, பாணம்=town of harper) the capital city of the Northern Province, Sri Lanka. ...


Due the effects of civil war many aspects of spiritual, social and religious mode of life, even the personal has been adversely affected. Over 64,000 people have been killed or gone missing since Black July of 1983, vast majority of them civilians. Countless number of personal property, businesses and places of worship have been destroyed. Many Sri Lankan Tamil families are affected via a murder, rape, missing or detention of a loved one. Many have left these deprivations by emigrating to India, Europe and North America. Countless number of them are internally displaced. There are more displaced Tamils in Colombo today than Jaffna. In Canada alone there are over 250,000 Sri Lankan Tamils congregated in Ontario province. All this must have profound effect on the Sri Lankan Tamil society viability and future in Sri Lanka. Black July is the commonly used name of the pogroms starting in Sri Lanka on July 23, 1983. ... Nickname: Motto: Official website: [2] Location [[Image:|250px||Location of Colombo]] Government Colombo Division, Colombo District Mayor Prassanna Gunawardena (United National Party) Geographical characteristics Area Total 14. ... Nallur Kandaswamy Kovil, Jaffna Jaffna (Tamil யாழ்ப்பாணம், meaning யாழ்=harp, பாணம்=town of harper) the capital city of the Northern Province, Sri Lanka. ... Motto: Ut Incepit Fidelis Sic Permanet (Latin: Loyal she began, loyal she remains) Official languages English, French (in some areas) Capital Toronto Largest city Toronto Lieutenant-Governor James K. Bartleman Premier Dalton McGuinty (Liberal) Parliamentary representation  - House seat  - Senate seats 106 24 Area Total  â€¢ Land  â€¢ Water    (% of total)  Ranked 4th...


But the community aboard particularly in the West is prospering and integrating with the host community just like their predecessors did in Malaysia and Singapore a few generations ago. In the 2004 Canadian general elections 2 members of the federal parliament were nominated from this community. .


References

  • The above is a summary of the study by Prof. By Karthigesu, Sivathamby titled ‘’’Sri Lankan Tamil Society and Politics’’’.
  • Banks M, “ Caste in Jaffna”. Aspects of Caste in South India, Ceylon, and North West Pakistan. Ed. E R Leach. Cambridge 1960.
  • Casie chitty S, The Castes, Customs, Manners and Literature of the Tamils. Colombo: Ceylon Printers, 1934.
  • Kanapathipillai K, Iattu valavum valamum. Madras: Pan Nilayam, 1962.
  • Kenneth D, “ And Never the Twain Shall meet? - Mediating the Structural Approaches to caste ranking”. Structural Approachcs to South India Studies. Ed. H M Buek, G L Yocum. Wilson Books, 1974.
  • Kenneth D, “ Spatial Organization and Normative Schemes in Jaffna, Northern Sri Lanka”. Modern Ceylon Studies. Vol 4, No 172 (1973), pp.
  • Marthyn J S, Notes on Jaffna. Tellipillai: 1923
  • Murukan J (Rev), Hinduism in Ceylon., Colombo: Gunasena, 1957. Navaratnam C S, A Short History of Hinduism in Ceylon and Three Essays on the Tamils. Jaffna: 1964.
  • Pfaffenberger B, Caste in Tamil Culture. The Religious Foundations of Sudra Domination in Tamil Sri Lanka. New Delhi: Vikas, 1982.
  • Raghavan M D, Tamil Culture In Ceylon. A General Introduction. Colombo: 1971.
  • Sivathamby K, IattilTamnilllakklyam. 2nd Ed. Madras: New Century Book House, 1987.
  • Tambiah H W, Laws and Customs of the Tamils of Jaffna. Colombo: 1951.
  • Vithiananthan S, Vithiananthan. Collection of Articles Written by Professor S Vithiananthan. Jaffna: 1984.
  • Holmes R, Jaffna(Sri Lanka) 1980. Vadukkoddai: Jaffna College, 1980.
  • Kanapathipillal Memorial Seminar on Sri Lankan Tamil Folklore. Collected Papers. Ed. K Sivathamby. Jaffna: University of Jaffna, 1980.
  • Kenneth D, "Hierarchy and Equivalence in Jaffna, North Ceylon: Normative Codes as Mediators. he New Wind. Changing Identities in South Asia. Ed K David. The Hague: Mouton, 1976.
  • Raghavan M D, The Karava of Ceylon. History, Society and Culture. Colombo: 1961.
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  • Sivathamby K, “ Inledning till de lankesiska tamilernas etnografi”. Lanka 2 (1989).
  • Sivathamby K, “ Niraivurai”. Arrankaraiyan. Ed. A. Shanmugada. 1989. Sivathamby K, “ Some Aspects of the Social Organization of the tamils in Sri Lanka”. Ethnicity and Social Change in Sri Lanka. Colombo: Social Scientists Association, 1984.
  • Sivathamby K, 2Towards an Understanding of the Culture and Ideology of the Tamils of Jaffna”. Commerorative Souvenir of the Public Library, Jaffna. Jaffna: 1984.
  • Epochal study by Prof. By Karthigesu, Sivathamby titled ‘’’Sri Lankan Tamil Society and Politics’’’.

List of prominent Sri Lankan Tamils

  • Eelattu Poothanthevanar – Sri lankan Sangam Era Poet
  • Arumuka Navalar - Sri Lankan Hindu reformer
  • Dr. Ananda Coomarswamy – Sri Lankan orientalist
  • Sir. Muthu Coomaraswamy – Sri Lankan, first Asian to be knighted
  • Balu Mahendra – Indian Bollywood film Director
  • Joshua Benjamin Jeyaretnam – Perenial Singaporean Opposition Politician
  • Edwin Thumboo – Singaporean Poet
  • Prof.Philip Jeyaretnam – Singaporean professor
  • Sinnathamby Rajaratnam – Singaporean politician
  • Prof.Shan Ratnam - Singaporean Professor and reseacher
  • Ananda Krishnan – Malaysia's richest man and usually makes Forbes 100 richest peaple list
  • Prof.Alfred Jeyaratnam Wilson – Famous Sri lankan peace maker and politician
  • Ponambalam Ramanathan – Sri Lankan pre independence politician
  • Ponnabalam Arunachalam – Sri Lankan pre independence politician
  • G.G. Ponnabalam – Sri Lankan pre independence politician
  • S.J.V. Chelvanayagam – Sri lankan politician
  • Velupillai PrabhakaranLTTE Leader
  • Neelan Thiruchelvam – Sri Lankan politician, Human Rights activist and founder of Minorities Rights organization
  • Radhika Coomraswamy – Human Rights activist and UN representative for violence against women and children
  • Lakshman Kadirgamar – Sri Lankan politician
  • Joseph Pararajasingham - Sri Lankan politician
  • Russel Arnold - Sri Lankan Cricketer
  • Umesh Walloopillai - Sri Lankan Tennis Star
  • Sanjeev Paramanathan- Sri Lankan Tennis Star
  • K.C.Kamalasabeson - Attorney-General of Sri Lanka
  • T.E.Anandarajah - Inspector General of Police of Sri Lanka
  • Brigadier A. Mutukumaru - First native Commander of the Army and Chief-of-Staff
  • Rear Admiral Ranjan Kadirgamar - First native Commander of the Navy
  • Sanjay Kumar – Former Chief Executive of Computer Associates
  • Clarence Chandran – Former Chief Executive of Nortel
  • Claude Selveratnam - Radio Ceylon Journalist
  • S.P.Mylvaganam - Radio Ceylon first Tamil journalist
  • Rajini Rajasingham Thiranagama - Human Rights activist and author of books
  • Taraki Sivaram - Sri Lankan Journalist
  • Bala Tampoe - Sri Lankan Veteran Trade Unionist
  • N. Shanmugathasan - Sri Lankan Communist Party Leader
  • Yasmin Tamiah - Sri Lankan feminist & lesbian author
  • V.S. Kumar Anandan - Sri Lanka's most Guinness World Record holder
  • Sonya Jayaseelan - Canadian tennis player
  • Shayam Selvadurai - Canadian author of 'Funny Boy' and 'Cinnamon Gardens'
  • A. Sivanandan - Canadian author of 'When Memory Dies", and editor of the journal Race and Class
  • Sanjayan Thuraisingam- Canadian cricketer
  • Arulanantham Suresh Joachim - Canada's most Guinness World Record holder
  • Murugan Thiruchelvam - British child prodigy chess player
  • M.I.A.- British rapper Mathangi "Maya" Arulpragasam
  • Christie Jayaratnam Eliezer - Australian Tamil recipient of Order of Australia

Eelattu Poothanthevanar; Classical Sri Lankan Poet Poothanthevanar constitutes the earliest known Sri Lankan Tamil poet and his poems were included in the Tamil cankam (sangam) poetry anthologies compiled in southern India before 250AD. A distinctly Sri Lankan Tamil literary tradition first developed in the 1940s with the works of the... // Social Conditions Arumuka Navalar the pre eminent Hindu reformer of Sri Lanka was a product of period of intense religious transformation amongst Sri Lankan Tamils. ... Balu Mahendra is a film director from South India. ... J.B. Jeyaretnam Joshua Benjamin Jeyaretnam (born 1926; more commonly known as ) was Singapores first ever opposition party candidate to become Member of Parliament (MP) in its 16 years of independence. ... Emeritus Professor Edwin Nadason Thumboo (born November 22, 1933) is a Singaporean poet. ... Philip Jeyaretnam, son of veteran opposition politician J._B._Jeyaretnam (JBJ), graduated from Cambridge University in 1986 with First-Class Honours in Law. ... Sinnathamby Rajaratnam (born February 25, 1915, Jaffna, Sri Lanka) is a former Singaporean politician. ... Professor S. Shan Ratnam (1928 - 6th August 2001) was a Gynaecologist based in Singapore. ... Tatparanandam Ananda Krishnan, or TAK, is currently Malaysias second (and worlds 138th) richest person, having a net worth estimated at 4. ... Velupillai Prabhakaran(Tamil வேலுப்பிள்ளை பிரபாகரன்) (sometimes spelled Velupillai Pirapaharan) (born November 26, 1954; Valvettithurai, Sri Lanka) is the leader of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), a terrorist movement and a rebel militia fighting for Tamil self-rule in North-East Sri Lanka. ... LTTE is an acronym or initialism for: Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam Known for their guerilla warfare forcibly killing every other independent groups aiming for seperate state. ... Human rights are rights which some hold to be inalienable and belonging to all humans. ... Human rights are rights which some hold to be inalienable and belonging to all humans. ... This article is about the United Nations, for other uses of UN see UN (disambiguation) Official languages English, French, Spanish, Russian, Chinese, Arabic Secretary-General Kofi Annan (since 1997) Established October 24, 1945 Member states 191 Headquarters New York City, NY, USA Official site http://www. ... Kadirgamar on a diplomatic visit to France, January 1996. ... Joseph Pararajasingham was a Sri Lankan politician known for his pro-Tamil Tiger views who represented the Tamil National Alliance party in the Sri Lankan Parliament. ... Russel Arnold (born October 25, 1973 in Colombo) is a Sri Lankan cricketer. ... Sanjay Kumar (born Colombo, Sri Lanka, 1962) is the Chairman & CEO of Computer Associates International. ... CA, Inc. ... Northern Telecommunications Networks, commonly known as Nortel, is a telecommunications equipment manufacturer headquartered in Canada. ... Claude Selveratnam was a popular radio announcer of Radio Ceylon - the oldest radio station in South Asia. ... // The Inauguration of Broadcasting in Ceylon Radio Ceylon is the oldest radio station in South Asia. ... S.P.Mylvaganam was the first Tamil Announcer of the Commercial Service of Radio Ceylon. ... Rajini Rajasingham Thiranagama (February 23, 1954-September 21, 1989) was a Tamil human rights activist and feminist. ... Human rights are rights which some hold to be inalienable and belonging to all humans. ... Bala Tampoe (1922 ? - ) is general secretary of the Ceylon Mercantile, Industrial and General Workers Union (CMU) in Sri Lanka. ... N. Shanmugathasan was a politicial leader in Sri Lanka. ... Communism - Wikipedia /**/ @import /w/skins-1. ... Sanjayan Thuraisingam (born September 11, 1969 in Colombo) is a Sri Lankan-born Canadian cricketer. ... the British lad Murugan Thiruchelvam was Englands youngest ever player to gain an international rating (2020 at the age of nine). ... MIA. Mathangi Maya Arulpragasam, also known as M.I.A. M.I.A., real name: Mathangi Maya Arulpragasam, (born 17 July 1977 in Hounslow, London, U.K.) is a Sri Lanka-raised rapper, singer and artist. ... C.J. Eliezer (Christie Jayaratnam Eliezer). ...

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