Lanka Newspapers

Sri Lanka News Updates with Discussions

Lanka NewspapersThivya's Home PageThis Page




Evolution of an Ethnic identity- The Sinhalese and the Sri Lankan Tamils are descended from common ancestors who lived in that country in prehistoric and proto historic times and have a shared history going back to over two thousand years.

Friday, 6 March 2009 - 9:27 AM SL Time


Historians have tended to base their writings on the assumption that the people of the Island at the dawn of history were Sinhalese and that at a later time the Tamils and other communities came to share the country. Sri Lankan historiography of the 19th and the early 20th century is responsible for this OVER SIMPLIFICATION of the ancient history of Sri Lanka .

The deeper one delves into Sri Lankan history, the more will one find how much the Tamils and Sinhalese have shared history and culture and common descent.

Through a process of language replacement (a theory popularized by the archaeologist Colin Renfrew) the north Indian Prakrit dialects spread among the vast majority of the people paving the way for the evolution of Sinhalese while Tamil became the dominant language in some parts of the island leading to the emergence of Sri Lankan Tamil. In historic times, Buddhism and Saivism played significant roles in shaping the evolution of the two major ethnic groups. Buddhism, though at first common to both groups (and to others in the island), later became a religion associated with the Sinhalese.

The success of the Saiva religious movement in south India in the eighth and ninth centuries led to Tamil Buddhism finding a sanctuary in Sri Lanka for some time. The rule of the powerful Tamil Cola dynasty in the eleventh century, however, paved the way for the rise of Saivism among the Tamils (and even among some Sinhalese) in the twelfth century. In the end, BUDDHISM DISAPPEARED COMPLETELY AS THE RELIGION OF SRI LANKAN TAMILS and SAIVIS,ASSUMED DOMINANCE AMONG THEM. The result was that addition to of identity.

The evolution of the Sinhalese and Sri Lankan Tamil identities is seen as a process that continued until modern times with various south Indian (Telugu, Kerala, Kannada and Tulu) as well as Southeast Asian (Malay) elements contributing to both groups, apart from elements from each group getting assimilated with the other.

This research covers the period up to 1200 by which time the process of evolution had more or less stabilized and the chance of one absorbing the other eventually had receded, although the assimilation of elements of one group into the other continued.

This research lends support to the views of Prof. Sudharshan Seneviratne (Professor of Archaeology, University of Peradeniya) that `we cannot argue in favour of an `exodus` of either `Dravidian` Megalthic - BRW communities from South India or `Aryans` of north west/east India, who arrived en masse with a mission to `civilize` Sri Lanka` (1984: 293), although `community movement from Peninsular India did take place at an early date to Sri Lanka` and this included some who `belonged to clan groups under the leadership of the Velir chieftains and introduced the Megalithic - BRW techno-cultural complex to Sri Lanka around the 7/6 century B.C(1992:113). (The Megalithic - BRW complex, in the words of Prof. Seneviratne, `was the earliest techno-cultural matrix formed in Sri Lanka during the Early Iron Age prior to any dominant impact of the northern Indo Aryan culture 1992:105)

Further the historian in him says:

My aim here is to explore the past in order to understand how the Tamils of Sri Lanka (as well as the Sinhalese) came to be what they are. Their political claims that led to the current conflict are to be judged in terms of accepted universal Human Rights and not in terms of their past in the Island.

... ... ... This book is written for the purpose of drawing attention to some of the important aspects of Sri Lanka `s past. It is written for the Sri Lankan audience, and for this reason detailed notes and quotations have been included, as articles in International Journals as well as foreign publications are not easily accessible to the average reader.

He REJECTS the colonial historical writings that identified the Sinhalese with the Aryans and the Tamils with the Dravidians, and thereby nullifies the `purity` of races.

It is fascinating how the eight chapters in the book are titled from ancient times to 1200 AD - showing the birth, growth, and development of the two ethnic groups.

1. The Common Gene Pool
2. Conception and Birth
3. Imaginary Ancestors
4. Two Little Siblings
5. Growing up
6. Emerging Personalities
7. Reaching Adulthood
8. The Joint Achievers

According to the above chapters, the Tamils and Sinhalese have descended from common ancestors and through a process of language replacement (a theory popularized by archeologist Renfrew) the `North Indian Prakrit dialects spread among the vast majority of the people paving the way for the evolution of the Sinhala language, while Tamil became the language of the North, North West, and East of the Island leading to the emergence of Sri Lankan Tamil.` Both could not have happened simultaneously - Tamil is an ancient language with a rich literature by the time the North Indian Prakrit dialects spread in the country. Therefore it is the older of the two this should have been emphasized.

The last chapter aptly titled `Joint Achievers` clears many a historical misconception. The author proves the harmonious relationship that existed between the Tamils and the Sinhalese during the Polannaruwa Period (11th and 12th century) when they jointly achieved great heights in architecture, sculpture, hydraulic engineering, trade, literature, and the fine arts. According to him, The reign of Vijayabahu ushered in a period of remarkable partnership between the Sinhalese and the Tamils. And there is no room for interpreting the war against the Colas as a Sinhalese-Tamil conflict.`

It is interesting to read about the very close relations that had existed between Tamil Buddhism and Sinhalese Buddhism from very early times and the benevolent religious policy of the Cola Emperors for the Tamil contribution of Buddhism in the Island . There is evidence to show that Tamil was taught at all the Pirivinas and Buddhist monks were very well versed in both Tamil and Sinhala. The author continues to explain how at a much later period when Saivaism became the religion of the Tamils and Buddhism of the Sinhalese, religion, in addition to language, became a marker of ethnic identity.

While tracing the growth of the two ethnic groups he concludes,

A complete bifurcation of the Island into Tamil speaking and Sinhala speaking areas would have taken place only after 1200, especially with the fall of Polannaruwa and the establishment of a new centre of Sinhalese power in the South West.

In this book, the narration of the historical development leading to the emergence of two separate ethnic identities ends in 1200. But the story does not end there the dawn of the 13th century marks the beginning of the political separation of the two groups

`The manner in which history is being used in fighting contemporary issues is a matter for concern`, is this historian`s regret.

Source(s)
Evolution Of An Ethnic Identity - The Tamils in Sri Lanka- C 300 BCE to 1200 CE - Dr. K. Indrapala

 Post a reply to this

 E-mail this to a friend




Thivya
Senior Member

Joined: May 2006
Posts: 14464
Member Profile
LK Information  6 Mar 2009 03:28:17 GMT  Report for Abuse  

Picture: Chola Bronzes from Tamil Nadu.
AndyLau
Joined: Oct 2006
Posts: 12389
Member Profile
LK Information  6 Mar 2009 03:41:05 GMT  Report for Abuse  
Stop Complaining...

Let the Makkal padayans suffer..

We Party :))

Who cares about your worries??

This is how Berty Anna celebrates :)

My friends, we respect each other and when we get together or meet we don't get involved in discussing Politics or LTTE.
I have utmost respect for my friends.

BTW, there are only 5-10 SL Tamil Families in HK. and HK does not get involve in any protests that much..We all get togther for parties and play cricket together.


Party and Play Cricket :)))

Only Tamils could do such thing when their kith and kin suffer in Vanni :(((

Ungrateful Nation!

Edited By - AndyLau - 6 Mar 2009 03:42:03 GMT
AndyLau
Joined: Oct 2006
Posts: 12389
Member Profile
LK Information  6 Mar 2009 03:46:52 GMT  Report for Abuse  
According to the above chapters, the Tamils and Sinhalese have descended from common ancestors and through a process of language replacement


Sinhabahu honda weda karayek wage...

Demala baduwakatah kotuwak panela :)))
impartial
Senior Member

Joined: Dec 2007
Posts: 11973
Member Profile
LK Information  6 Mar 2009 04:20:39 GMT  Report for Abuse  
Thivya baby
tamils,tamils ,tamils,genocide ,genocide,human rights,human rights,our lands ,our lands?????????
Rambutan
Joined: Sep 2008
Posts: 2238
Member Profile
LK Information  6 Mar 2009 04:39:32 GMT  Report for Abuse  
Thivya this article is grossly flawed !!

How can Sinkaleeches share a common identity with Tamils, when they are descendents of a tryst between a Lion and a Vanga princess :))
CholaPandyan
Joined: Jul 2007
Posts: 2613
Member Profile
LK Information  6 Mar 2009 05:18:13 GMT  Report for Abuse  
Thivya,

I am surprised that you have come up with Dr. Indrapala's book. In many of your previous posts, you kept on bashing Dr. Indrapala even after I tried to correct you but why suddenly changed???

I will recall one example,

Udawatte must be out of his mind to present Indrabala's unpublished research paper as his proof. I have provided quotes from the world renowned Sinhala Historians like Sir. Paul E Pieris but Udwattte likes to quote Indrabalan. Indrabala is not a well known, recognized world renowned historian, look for someone else. He didn't even publish his research paper and they are not scrutinized or challenged by other Historians. If you only want to express your racist views towards Tamil here, you can stick with Indrabala's essay. Indrabalan is obviously of that camp of Tamils, who luckily grow fewer in number each day, who believed in buttering the powers-that-be in order to earn their daily bread. We know the Sinhalese love this type of Tamil.


This is what I wrote as a reply to both Udawatte and you:

Since you have drawn the name of a well renowned and well recognized Archeologist/Historian/Epigraphist, the former History professor of the Jaffna University, Dr. Karthigesu Indrapala, and unknowingly Thivya is also bashing Dr. Indrapala for no good reason, let me say a few words about him.

For the last 40 years, the Sinhala Buddhist Chauvinists, the Pseudo-Scholars and Charlatans have built up a very strong love and affection towards the Tamil PhD student K. Indrapala due to his 1965 PhD thesis which was not in favor of the Tamils of Sri Lanka. On the other hand, a few Tamil Chauvinists and Pseudo-Scholars hated him without knowing him.

When Prof. K. Indrapala retired from his profession after 30 years of research as a Senior Archeologist/Historian/epigraphist and a University Don, he settled down in Australia.

All these Sinhala Buddhist Chauvinists, the Pseudo-Scholars and Charlatans who kept on using his 1965 PhD thesis as a guide in all their writings must have had a heart attack when they read the book what Prof. K. Indrapala published in 2005, 40 years after his 1965 PhD thesis.

In his book, he says,
I was planning my postgraduate research, the late Prof. W.J.F. LaBrooy, my revered teacher and, at that time, Head of the department of History at the University, advised me to research into the early history of the Tamils of Sri Lanka for my doctoral dissertation, as he considered this aspect to be a serious gap in the known history of the Island.

The thesis was completed with the material that was available in the early 1960s.
As long as excavation work remains undone, I pointed out, much that is relevant to our study will be wanting... Even the inscriptions and literary works that we have used have proved to be inadequate in the reconstruction of a satisfactory history of the settlements and in the solution of many important problems.

The thesis was presented as the first major attempt to bring together all available evidence on the subject. THE FACT THAT IT WAS IN NO WAY A COMPLETE STUDY WAS ADMITTED. In view of these limitations and difficulties, while we may claim to have added something to our knowledge of the history of the Tamils of Ceylon, the account presented here is inevitably incomplete and not always definite. We have often been led to state our conclusions in hypothetical terms.

NEEDLESS TO SAY, THAT DISSERTATION IS NOW COMPLETELY OUT OF DATE. MY OWN PERSPECTIVES AND INTERPRETATIONS HAVE CHANGED SINCE ITS COMPLETION.

More importantly, significant developments, both in terms of archaeological research and changing historical perspectives, have taken place in the last four decades.


Dr. Karthigesu Indrapala also says that even he does not have a copy of his 1965 PhD thesis what he wrote 40 years ago as a PhD student.

The biggest joke is, the Sinhala Buddhist Chauvinists, the Pseudo-Scholars and Charlatans are still quoting the PhD student K. Indrapala s 40 years old research which today Prof. Indrapala (after 30 years of research in Archeology/History) himself is saying is obsolete.

Unfortunately, even people like Thivya, due to their ignorance is still following the old writings of people like E.A.V.Naganathan (who criticized him without knowing) and blaming Dr. K. Indrapala without any valid reason.


Even after I wrote the above you kept on bashing Indrabalan, why this sudden 180 degree turn???
Thivya
Senior Member

Joined: May 2006
Posts: 14464
Member Profile
LK Information  6 Mar 2009 14:01:29 GMT  Report for Abuse  
Even after I wrote the above you kept on bashing Indrabalan, why this sudden 180 degree turn???


I wasn't aware of this book. :))
CholaPandyan
Joined: Jul 2007
Posts: 2613
Member Profile
LK Information  8 Mar 2009 07:21:03 GMT  Report for Abuse  
Thivya,

The above book by Dr. Karthigesu Indrapala and the following book by Dr. Murugar Gunasingam

*Tamils in Sri Lanka A Comprehensive History (C.300 C.2000 AD)*

are the latest books written on Sri Lankan Tamil history. Both these books are a *must read* and a very good reference. Every Tamil should read these books to know their actual history and the actual history of their partners the Sinhalese.

I suggest that you place an order to buy these two books if it is not available in the nearest library, it is really worth that money.
indeewar99
Joined: Sep 2008
Posts: 18
Member Profile
LK Information  18 Mar 2009 12:25:50 GMT  Report for Abuse  
U idiots are hiding all facts prof indrapala said ,he says there was no independant tamil kingdom until 13th century,& even after that only jaffna peninsula was governed by tamil arya chakravarthi(how ironic 2 use arya),furthur sinhalese ancestry in jaffna completly wiped out by sankili & tamil surname system
CholaPandyan
Joined: Jul 2007
Posts: 2613
Member Profile
LK Information  20 Mar 2009 16:38:48 GMT  Report for Abuse  
U idiots are hiding all facts prof indrapala said ,he says there was no independant tamil kingdom until 13th century,& even after that only jaffna peninsula was governed by tamil arya chakravarthi(how ironic 2 use arya),furthur sinhalese ancestry in jaffna completly wiped out by sankili & tamil surname system


Could you tell us in which page he has mentioned the above in his book???

Who was Sena & Guttika??? Were they not Tamils???
Sinhalese never ever lived in the North & East until independence in 1948.

If the Sinhalese lived in NE where is evidence???

Edited By - CholaPandyan - 20 Mar 2009 16:40:35 GMT
Page | 1  |
 Post a reply to this      E-mail this to a friend



(C) 2000-2013 www.lankanewspapers.com - Sri Lankan News & Discussions - Contact Us - RSS Feed - News Archives - src - FAQ  Google+