Ealam means Sinhale in Tamil.
According to one of the Tamil professors...
Eealm indeed means Sinhale, so much for a 3000 years old Tamil Homeland. Not only Eelam, Ila(m), the original term from which it derived, too means Sinhale.
This is what Dr. Krishnasami Aiyanagar said on the Foreword of Mudliyar C. Rasanayakam's Ancient Jaffna (criticizing the author's attempt to reduce Ilam to Tamil origins.
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 Sihalam, 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.)
Commenting on the same subject and criticizing the opinion of S. Gnanapragasar found in his *Ceylon originally a land of Dravidians*, Prof. Kartigesu Indrapala (The first Professor of History of University of Jaffna) said,
This argument is far from logical. Presumably it rests on the fact Ilam is now used only in Tamil as a name for Ceylon. But the origin of this name , far from indicating that the island was occupied by Tamil speaking people in ancient times, shows that the people from whose name Ilam is derived were Sinhalese. The earliest occurrence of this name is in the Brahmi inscription of South India. In these inscriptions, from Tirupparankunram and Sittannavasal, occurs the Prakrit form of this name, namely Ila. Evidently it is from this Prakrit form that the Tamil Ilam is derived. It could be shown that Ila is derived from Sinhala through the Pali Sihala, or more probably through another Prakrit form Sihila... Thus, Ilam could be derived from the name Sihala and would therefore, mean the land of the Sinhalese rather than indicate that Ceylon was originally settled by the Tamils. Gnanapragasar's arguments, on this score, will become groundless.
Edited By - Mucha-linda - 19 Apr 2007 00:40:51 GM