The Sinhala Community

The Sinhala Community

The exact period of origin of Sinhalas is difficult to be determined. It is narrated in the chronicles written in the 4th and 5th centuries AD and copied in most of the subsequent sources that Vijaya was the leader of the first-ever team of immigrants speaking the Aryan dialect to have landed in this country.

His father, Sinhabahu happened to be a lion >he was not an animal but a member of the tribe with the Lion symbol. (The story of Sinhalese. John.M. Seneviratna) and is believed to have lived with his twin sister Sinhasivali having taken her as his consort.

Vijaya happened to be the eldest son of this Royal family. It is further stated that Vijaya, came with a retinue of 700 followers and landed in Lakdiva on the 11Prof. Malani Endgamevery day that Lord Buddha passed away in the city of Kushinagar. The actions were taken by Vijaya and his retinue to establish settlements in their own names in and around the present-day Anuradhapura and the birth of two children to Kuveni by Vijaya explain the beginning of the relationships between the immigrants of Aryan stock and the indigenous tribal people.

Therefore it is generally accepted that in and around the 6th century BC the origin of the Sinhala community in this country had taken place with the inter-mixing of the indigenous tribal people of Siv-helas composed of Yaksha, Raksha, Naga and Deva with the immigrant stock of people headed by Vijaya.It is also believed that with the identification of the Sinhalas as Helas, and Sinhala-dweepa as Heladiva later on, the community of people that had come to be known as Sinhalas at present, have originated from the mixture of the Aryan immigrants from India and the indigenous tribal communities. (The People of Ceylon- Dr N.D. Wijesekara. Colombo.1987).

The next important landmark in the evolution and the spread of the Sinhala community comes with the establishment of Buddhist dispensation in this country by the mission led by Arahant Mahinda Thero and Ven. Sangamitta Theri who visited this island in the 3rd century BC as an outcome of the close relationship King DevanampiyaTissa had maintained with the Indian Emperor Asoka.

Through this means Sinhala – dweepa was blessed with organized religion in addition to the laying of the foundation for the building of the Sinhala-Buddhist culture that is unique to this country and a highly valued treasure gifted to the World Heritage from this country. As authenticated by inscriptional evidence that can be found spread islandwide (Paranavithana.S. Inscriptions of Ceylon.1970) Buddhism spread out soon in the entire country. Therefore, the civilization that was developing from about the 6th century BC as a result of the mixing up of the communities of Aryans and the indigenous tribes, thrived under the best inspiration received from the Buddhist teachings.

As a result, there came to be a stupendous development in the fields of Arts, Architecture, Education and educational practices, Curriculum, Literature and in all the cultural fields followed by an equally swift expansion of it in the country.The bringing of the sacred Bo-Sapling a most valuable live symbol of Lord Buddha from India and its planting in Anuradhapura to be venerated and respected up to date can be considered as an utmost important event in the history of Buddhist culture in this country. In addition, here is the firm belief that it is the oldest historical tree in the world.

The accompaniment of people belonging to the 18 guilds of arts and crafts mainly associated with the rituals connected with the sacred Bo-tree can be considered as another very important milestone in the development and the propagation of Buddhism in the country since it is the beginning of the great heritage of arts and crafts that thrived in this country under the shade of Buddhist principles and teachings.

Thus the Sinhala race that originated in the 6th century BC and the Buddhist dispensation that was established here in the 3rd century BC co-existed and thrived up to about the 16th century as the principal ethnic group and the principal religion in the country without a challenge despite intermittent invasions from South India in the main. Within that nearly 2500 years long period, where ethnic conflicts and religious rivalries 12were almost unknown in the country, over 200 benevolent native rulers with the utmost support from the citizens were able to ward off even the strongest invasions directed by the Cholas, Kalinga Magha etc. until 1815 when the British through the signing of the 1815 Kandyan Convention that was never respected, took over the Kingdom of Sinhale under their rule.

The great patriotism and the deep respect for the humanity displayed by King Dutugemunu at the death of Elara, the invader, as can be seen from the highest respect the dead king was given which was considered to be equivalent to the respect that was due to a Chakrawarthi King (King of Kings). This crystal clearly proves how well mannered he had been to be so concerned about the dignity of even the worst of the enemy. This unique event is fully narrated in the chronicle Mahavansa.(Geiger.M.V. 25:71-75). Achievement of unity and reconciliation in the present-day appears to be facilitated since the way for it is already written in the history of our own country and it is our duty to gain from the experiences of the past.

The Sinhala Community Under the Imperial RuleThe Sinhala-Buddhist culture that was built up thus through a period of over 2500 years by the people who lived in harmony and reconciliation was confronted for the first time from the beginning of the 16th century with a new type of challenge. It was none other than Western imperialism. It was most difficult especially for the Sinhala Buddhists and the Tamil Hindus to face their challenges with any success. Rajawaliya (A.V.Suraweera ed. p.223) narrates how strange the behaviour of the Portuguese had been to the Sinhala-Buddhists.

The Portuguese who enjoyed all the benevolence of the local king acquired only a small area from the coastal zone of the Island of Lanka but subsequently waged several severe wars against the Independent Sinhala Kingdom that was centred around the Upcountry region of the country. These battles, namely the Denture Battle (1594), Balana Battle (1602), Randeniwela Battle (1630) and Gannoruwa Battle (1636) were all totally crushed and the gallant Sinhala Kings were able to annihilate the enemy reminding all, the fate that can befall on the ungrateful ones.

The Dutch who followed the Portuguese and continued to do the same as what the Portuguese had attempted to do, too were equally defeated by the Sinhala Kings of the Kanda Udarata. Dutch was followed by the English Imperialists. They too were forced to have a grim taste of defeat by the Sinhala heroes at the battle of Kandy in 1802-03 when the enemies were literary annihilated. However, the English were not discouraged. They used the worst war tactics and it helped them in 1815 to capture the king and annex the Kingdom of the undefeated Sinhale by intruding into the domains of the Kandyan royal courts and dwellings of the chieftains, temples and the ordinary people and spreading disunity by setting one against the other and ultimately aggravating the whole situation through the strategy of spying. The ultimate result was the banishment of the King and a large number of others and the annexation of the country by the British Imperialists in 181513

Subsequently, dawns the era when the English imperialists, contrary to the promises given, subjected the Sinhala-Buddhist culture into a broad and destructive overhauling in every possible direction. Accordingly, in place of the traditional system of King’s government which had evolved over a period of several centuries as the best way to achieve the objectives of the native Sinhala- Buddhist social system a system of government that had been evolved to suit the requirements of England namely the Parliamentary system of government was implanted here. As a result, in place of the decentralized provincial and village-based ruling bodies which enjoyed much independence in deciding their affairs, a system of Government activated on the basis of the party system and operated through a civil service system where a hierarchical line of officials, who were complete strangers to the people and their villages was introduced.

Furthermore, the Parliamentary system resulted in breaking down the exemplary unity and reconciliation that prevailed for centuries through the long history of this country. In its place came the numerous political parties which were based on different ideologies and social forces bringing up a situation of divisive political struggle based not only on the political, social, economic and cultural issues but even on ethnic and religious issues as well thus bringing about a complete disaster through the divisive and eternal quarrelsome politics encouraged by the system. The disastrous consequences brought about by them made the local intelligentsia angry. Not only the Buddhist monks led by Most Venerable Hikkaduwa Sri Sumangala Thero and including Venerable Migettuwatte Gunananda Thero and other Monks but also the lay Buddhist leaders like Anagarika Dhammapala, Walisinghe Harischandra etc. Tamil-Hindu leaders including Arumuga Nawalar and Ponnambalam Ramadan and Muslim leaders headed by Siddilebbe took the leadership in this movement and they also highlighted the urgency of initiating a campaign aimed at getting this country rid of British colonialism.

Subsequently, leaders of all these ethnic groups organized themselves as a united front to fight against the domination of the British colonialists Constitutional Reforms of 1910-1912 provided for the educated Sri Lankans the right to elect their representative to the Legislative Council. Although the majority of the eligible voters happened to be Sinhalas they with the support of the other groups managed to elect Ponnambalam Ramanathan as their choice thus informing all that they were not divided ethnically or otherwise. Reconciliation was in operation at its best.In 1919 Ponnambalam Arunachalam came forward to establish the National Congress and to take on the leadership of the Movement. His brother, Ponnambalam Ramanathan fought not only inside the Legislative Council but also went to England and took measures to make the English M.Ps aware of the things happening here thus taking the lead role to rise against the highhanded measures adopted by the English government in the Colony. Along with them, the Senanayake brothers, Arthur V.Dias, D.B.Jayathilake, E.W. Perera etc, the Sinhala-Buddhists, Tamil-Hindus, Sinhalese Christians, Muslims and all, without any ethnic or religious distinction worked in such brotherly unison that they displayed and proved that the peace and harmony which promoted reconciliation was a whole-mark of the Sinhala Nation throughout the long history of the country was still surviving unhindered even by the beginning of the 20th century in this country. 14PopulationFrom the inception of the Nation up to now, the vast majority of the population had been Sinhalas or the Sinhalese. From the Anuradhapura period, there had been intermittent visits by foreigners like Greeks, Romans, Arabs and Persians especially for trade purposes while South Indians made it both as invaders and immigrants thus adding various other groups of people of foreign origin as well into the population of the country.

With the spread of Islam from around the 7th century, Muslims too made it to this country and engaged in local and foreign trade activities. Since they had not brought women with them they married local women and this swelled their numbers in the country.Since the 16th century, Portuguese, Dutch and British communities too added their numbers to the population of this country and through the marriages between the Europeans and Sinhala women, yet another special community of Europeans known as Burghers got added to the population. The off-springs of these mixed marriages have adapted themselves according to the European culture and hence had grown up quite in contrast with the Sinhala communities. But it must not be forgotten that in the origin and the expansion of the Burghers, Sinhala women had been contributing a great share. In addition to all these new introductions to the ethnic composition, there were the introduction of various other communities of people who were brought here as slaves, hired labour, plantation workers etc by the European masters to serve in their various specialized areas.

Among them are the Malays, Kaffirs, and Tamils from South India. However, when taking into consideration the development of special intrinsic features in the political, social, economic fields and the Kings who ruled the country, the distinguished leaders etc it would be seen that from the very inception, the Sinhalas have been not only the vast majority of the population of the country they have been also the pioneers in the building of the country’s culture. The first-ever count of population and collection of population statistics in Sri Lanka had been done in 1871 and since then except for the year 1991 when the country was under wide unrest prevented the count, there had been a count of the census at every ten years in this country. In every one of the counts of the Census, it had been overwhelmingly proving that the Sinhala population had been the vast majority and claiming to have been widely scattered all over the Island as can be seen from the Table given here.15The cultivation of fruits in the home gardens and in the parks had been a custom of the Sinhalas from the ancient past. Among the fruits popularly grown are mango3, pineapple, banana4, oranges, pomegranate, etc. In addition to them Sinhalas are accustomed to make full use of the variety of fruits that grown in the jungles quite often. The variety of spices that the Sinhalas are used to add when cooking like ginger5, pepper, cardamom, chillies, nutmeg, etc are still been grown by the people of the upcountry where the native people had been using them for centuries.Animal Husbandry and more precisely, the cattle breeding too had been prevalent among the Sinhalas. The cattle known as village cows were mainly for milk and buffalos / cows for agricultural work. Until very recent times the buffalos had been used mainly in the field of agriculture for ploughing the field, threshing the paddy and other heavy works. In addition to them was the transportation. However with the introduction of modern technology the tendency for breeding animals is slowly fading away. 3 It is proved from the story found in Mahawansa about the coming of Arahanth Mahinda that mango had been cultivated in the country during the reign of King Devanampiya Tissa in the 4th century BC (Geiger: MW. 14: 16-19)4 There is a reference to say that during the time of King Dutugemunu on the occasion of the laying of the foundation to the Ruwanweli Seya there were pandals made out of Banana trees as decorations.5 In the description about the manner the required items were received Mahawansa relates about a trader dealing in ginger.18TechnologyIrrigational technology Lanka was engaged in trade not only with India but also with various other countries like Greece, Persia, Rome etc from the pre-Christian era.

As the Sinhalas originated and started to be spreading it is evident that they had been principally aligned to agricultural activities. They who got accustomed to a self-sufficient economic system based on land and agriculture had not been bent on trading activities and the income collected from the cultivated land formed the principal source of royal income too. However, the foreign trade too remained as a means of extra income of the King. Therefore there is evidence to prove that foreign trade had been in vogue from the period of the Anuradhapura kingdom and in the trading activities the King had the monopoly of it. Both import and export trading activities were executed through the intervention of the King and gold, silver, pearls, gems, ivory, elephants were among the exported products while horses, textile, sandalwood and camphor were among the main imports.

Prior to Sri Lanka going under the colonial rule of the Western imperialists the technological wisdom possessed and made use of by the Sinhalas had been of the highest level and second to none as can be well observed through the irrigational technology can be considered the major discipline in which the Sinhalas have had displayed their skills and knowledge most. The highly sophisticated irrigational technology of the Sinhalas reached the peak by the time they had The Western nations who started to spread their authority in this country from the 16th century had traded as the main objective of their visit to the East. Hence they established trade agreements with the kings and collected the trade items they wanted.

Among these items, cinnamon was the principal commodity. The trading activities of the Muslims were curtailed to some extent. Yet the internal trade remained in the hands of the Muslims. They exported the spices like cardamon, sadikka, pepper etc that they collected under the barter system from the villages. During the period of British rule since the foreign trade superseded agricultural activities, it was apparent that the Sinhala community too was leaning towards it.

However, it was only a limited number of principal families that took part in trade with the large majority of the Sinhala community remaining to be farmer’s wisdom that is displayed through the irrigational technology, architectural technology, Sculpture and Iconography, Paintings etc in addition to various other creative aspects of the Sinhalas. to face the challenge of meeting the demands of the increasing populations who required water for their survival while at the same time the need was there to increase the water supply for increased agricultural purposes.20The Wewa or TankThe tank or wewa, canal, bund, relapanawa or the breaker of waves, wana or spillover, Biso kotuwa or the Sluice gate, are all the major parts of the irrigational technology of the Sinhalas. The ancient Sinhala Kings were vested with three main responsibilities where the supply of water for the production of their food requirements was one of them6. It would be seen that almost all the Sinhala Kings from King Pandukabhaya of the 4th century BC to King Parakramabahu the Great of the Polonnaruwa period had performed a gigantic service to fulfil this responsibility. According to the historical sources which contain names of more than a thousand tanks built by our kings vouch for the fact that all the Kings from 4h century BC up to the Polonnaruwa period in the 13th century had fulfilled their responsibility with much diligence.

However not all these tanks have been identified and owing to the decline of the prosperous civilization developed by the Sinhalas with Anuradhapura and Polonnaruwa as centres most of these tanks too would have had ended up as ruins.Those giant tanks which are still in use but built in the ancient times like Minneriya of King Mahasen (275-301), Kalawewa of King Dhatusena (455-473), Paththapasana or Nachchaduwa of King Moggallana ii (531-551), Kantale or Gangathala wewa of King Agbo ii (604-614), Parakrama Samudraya of King Parakramabahu I (1153-1186) are only a few of the great tanks that stand up to now to relate the admirable Water supply and Drainage technological expertise of the Sinhalas of the past.

After the construction of the tank bund, they realized the possible danger to the dam from the waves developed in the tank that would harm the bund by way of erosion of the bund. In order to prevent this harm, the inner surface of the tank bund was covered with a layer of stones paved on the bund surface. This helped to comb out or break the force of the wave and allowing it to go back smoothly to the body of water in the tank thus preventing any harm to or washing off of the surface of the inner side of the tank.

Hence it is called the rala wave, panawa= comb that smoothens the force. The ingenious inventions by the Sinhala engineers have been accepted as proper and highly useful, successful and scientific irrigational technological innovations by even the modern scientists. This is proved from the continuation of the application of these very systems even by modern scientists. Hence it proves beyond any doubt that the ancient Sinhala Engineers had been ingenious as any in the present day and hence being second to none. Another significant feature is the construction of what is called Pitawana or the outer existence or the spill-over exist. It is constructed at the head of the tank where the incoming waterway enters the tank.

It is constructed in such a manner that when the water level of the tank reaches a point beyond which will be harmful to the bund then that body of water could be diverted from the spill gate without being allowed to add to the water in the tank. The foresight of the Sinhalas to have realized this danger and then to come out with the solution so appropriate to safeguard the gigantic construction from being damaged has proved the wisdom of the Sinhala engineers. The modern experts in the field are astonished about the ingenuity of the Sinhala Engineers. 6 The other two responsibilities were the safeguarding of Buddhism and the protection of the country and the citizens.21

Temple at Nallurwas recovered by the former King with the support of South Indian chieftains. His successors ruled for a period of 150 years until the Portuguese conquest in 1619. Apart from establishing a system of administration the Arya Cakravarttis, some of whom were highly accomplished in learning, laid the foundatiIndiaon for the development of a poetic tradition. They brought a large number of manuscripts from India, which were analyzed by scholars who later compiled texts on astrology, Ayurvedic Medicine and in other fields of learning.

The Cekaracacekaram, Pararacacekaram, Taksina Kailaca Puranamand the Irakuvamsam are some of the outstanding works among them. Cankili I (1521 – 1562) was one of the most remarkable kings of Jaffna. He reorganized the army, introduced the use of firearms and managed to defend the kingdom against major offensive operations by the Portuguese. He consistently followed an anti-Portuguese policy and persuaded Mayadurneof Sitavaka to continue the war against them for the defence of Buddhism and promised military support for this cause. His reputation was marred by his executions of the neophytes in Mannar.

In the 14th and 15th centuries, the royal courts of Kurunagala, Gampola and Kotte were receptive to Tamil influences. Mercenaries, artisans and Brahmins and traders came in large numbers and settled in the western littoral. Eventually, they were assimilated into the Sinhala society. The Tamil language and literature were subjects of study at some of the leading monasteries. The long and well-preserved Tamil inscription that was engraved in 1344 at Lankatilaka presupposes a tradition of Tamil learning at the monasteries. The Galle Trilingual Slab Inscription set up at Devinuvara by Cheng Ho in 1409 suggests the use of Tamil as a language of international commerce in the 15th century. The Tamil chiefdoms in the east came under the suzerainty of the kings of Kandy in the 17th century.

The chieftains called Vanniyanaror Vanniyar made all appointments to the posts of subordinate ranks, collected taxes and administered justice. They had military forces in proportion to their resources and capacity and were obliged to supply troops to the king in times of war. In all the wars against the Portuguese and the Dutch, they remained steadfastly loyal to the kings, to whom they paid an annual tribute in the form of elephants, wax, honey and ivory. They were also the members of the ‘Kings council’ that was summoned at the court for consultations before decisions were made on crucial matters like the succession to the throne, war and peace. In the east the Vanniyars led the armies against the Portuguese and Dutch positions in the 17th and 18th centuries.

The kingdom of Jaffna was conquered by the Portuguese in 1619 and placed under an officer of the rank of Captain-General. The architectural 67landscape was completely changed. All the Hindu temples were destroyed and whatever that remained of Buddhism faded out. Christianity was proclaimed as the state religion and the converts to Roman Catholicism remained steadfastly loyal to the churches even under Dutch persecution.

The Portuguese retained the native administration except for the positions of the highest ranks. In 1658 Jaffnapatnam was conquered by the Dutch and constituted as a Commandment, one of the three major divisions of the Dutch possessions in the island. As they remained in power for a period of approximately one hundred and forty years (1658 – 1796) they made an impact on Tamil society. This was evident in the management of economic, judicial and administrative affairs, Like the Portuguese, they retained the native hierarchy of traditional ranks in the administration, instituted a system of courts and established a Seminary at Nallur for higher education.

They codified the laws and customs of the northern Tamils and proclaimed it as a code of law, the Tecavalamai, in 1707 when Cornelis Jan Simons was the Governor. Society, Laws and CustomsTamil society traditionally consisted of a number of castes arranged in a hierarchical order, which had some regional variations. In the Jaffna peninsula, the islands and the northern Vanni the Vellalar who were numerically preponderant were at the apex of the system.

The Vellalar were an agricultural community of peasants and farmers. They dominated the villages and ran the affairs of the government. They were appointed to positions of higher rank in the administration. The Brahmins, who had no land holdings, were effectually the employees of the Vellalar and they conducted rituals at temples and domestic ceremonies. Nevertheless, most of them were educated and made a contribution to the cultivation of literary pursuits.

Until recent times they were highly respected and it was considered that their protection and maintenance was an obligation of society as a whole. Some of the other castes of people were included in the group called kudimakkal. The Koviar, Vannar, (Washermen), Ambaddar (barbers), Nalavar and Paraiyar were included in this category. Among these, the Koviar occupied the highest position and in social rank, they were next to the Vellalar. They managed the affairs in conducting weddings and funerals. They also managed the agricultural operations of the farmers and the main events in temples.

It should be noted that the Koviar had the obligation to serve the Vellalar families of high status only. The peasants could not command their services. The washermen had the facility of entering the homes of the first three castes and the temples. The barbers had the obligation to participate in some rituals at funerals and some domestic ceremonies.

The Paraiyar were so-called because they were principally drummers serving at funerals and at temples on occasions of festivals. Since the days of the Kings of Jaffna, they were engaged in weaving cloth of course texture that had a demand in the local markets.68As there was no spatial or upward social mobility marriages were confined to a narrow circle of people living in villages. The brides and bridegrooms were selected by the parents. The young men and women had no choice and were obliged to accept the decisions of the elders of their families. Once married, they got on well and toiled hard to sustain the family and improve living conditions.Weddings were conducted on a grand scale and great expenditure. In former times weddings were conducted at the homes of the brides. It was solemnized with rituals performed by Brahmins in front of an assembly of invited guests, relatives, friends and neighbours.

The thali kaddu or the tying of thali, the symbol of wedlock suspended to a golden chain was the main aspect in the whole scheme of rituals. The couple sits in a cross-legged manner on an elaborately adorned arched pavilion. They wear expensive garments and the bride is adorned with a profusion of golden jewellery, which is a part of her dowry. Garments worn by her during the occasion of marriage are part of the gifts made to her by the bridegroom. The bride wears a silk saree with delicate embroidery. The bride-groom also wears expensive silk garments and a turban. The wedding is an occasion for feasting and festivity which in former times continued for several days.7071Because of the unprecedented developments in the rate of literacy and secondary and higher education there emerged a substantial number of highly accomplished scholars.

A large number of books of vital importance in the history of Tamil literature, which was in manuscript form, were printed and published during this period. The publications aroused a great deal of interest among the people. This task, which was first undertaken by Arumuga Nalvalar was continued by C.W. Thamotharampillai and was later completed by U.V. Svaminatha Aiyar of Tamil NaduThe Tirukkural, the most comprehensive work on dharma (aram) in Tamil with the commentary of the veteran scholar Parimelalakar was published by Arumuga Navalar in 1862. C.W. Thamotharampillai was one of the foremost Tamil scholars in the 19th century. He embarked on a programme of activity that elevated him to the pinnacle of fame. While he was the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court in the state of Putukkottai, he collected a large number of manuscript copies of some major works in Tamil: Tolkappiyam with a commentary by Cenavaraiyar, Viracoliyam, Culamani and Kalittokai. The first of these books was published by Arumurga Navalar.

There was a galaxy of highly` accomplished scholars among whom Arumuga Navalar waa luminary. He had achieved what others could not and did not. He had dedicated his life and career to the cause of defending Saivism, the religion of his ancestors. He was a pupil of Revd. Peter Percival of the Wesleyan Mission and while he was a student and Tamil Tutor of Percival he had familiarized himself with the principles of Christianity and the means adopted by the Missions in their evangelical enterprise. He adopted them for his own cause-the defence of Saivism. His eloquence and masterly knowledge of Saivism and Tamil literature and courage of conviction were the essences of his charismatic personality. Scholars and the rustics were spellbound by his orations.

In 1847 he started a programme that had no precedent in the Saiva tradition. He conducted a series of lectures at the Sivan Temple at Vannarpannai on matters of religion and secular affairs, and people from all parts of the peninsula flocked to hear him. He had already caused an awakening among the Hindus when he established a school, the Saivapragasa Vdyasalai at Vannarpannai for providing an education in the Tamil medium with a Hindu orientation. He had invited the erudite scholar Sivasankara Panditar to conduct a series of lectures on Sivasiddhanta to the pupils of his school. Sivasankaran was a great scholar in Tamil and Sanskrit and knew English. He was one among the several scholars who responded effectively against the attacks on Hinduism by the missionaries.Sabapathy Navalar who later became a Vidvan of the Tiruvavaduturai Atinam, Kumarasamy Pulavar of Chunnakam and Senthilnatha Aiyar of Erlalai who had attained a great reputation as scholars had connections with the school established by Navalar either as pupils or as teachers. In 1849, Arumugam (Navalar) went to South India to purchase a printing machine. The pontiff of the Tiruvavaduturai Atinam invited him and on his request he delivered a series of lectures. The pontiff who was amazed at the eloquence of Arumugam and his knowledge conferred on him the title Navalar “the beacon of oratory”. Thereafter he was referred to as 731. Abesinghe, T.B.H, Portuguese Rule in Ceylon, 1594 – 1612. Colombo, 1966.2. Abesinghe, T.B.H, Jaffna under the Portuguese.3. Arasaratnam,S, Dutch Power in Ceylon, 1658 – 1687, Amsterdam, 1958.4. De Silva, C.R, The Portuguese in Ceylon.5. De Silva, K.M. ed. University of Peradeniya History of Sri Lanka. Vol, II (C.1500 – 1800)6. De Silva, K.M, A History of Sri Lanka, Oxford University Press, 1984.7. Goonewardene K.W, The Foundation Dutch Power in Ceylon, 1638 – 1658, Amsterdam, Djambatan, 1958.8. Indrapala, K., Epigraphia Tamilica , Vol I, Part 1, Peraderniya , 1971.9. Indrapala, K., The Evolution of An Ethnic Identity The Tamils In Sri Lanka C 300 BCE To C 1200 CE, Sydney, 2005.A Select Bibliography10. Muttucumaraswamy, Some Eminent Tamils, Department of Hindu Religious and Cultural Affairs, Colombo, 1992.11.

Pathmanathan,S, Ilankait Tamilar Tecavalamaikalum Camuka Valamaikalum, Kumaran Book House, Colombo – Chennai, 2002.12. Pathmanathan, S, Facets of Sri Lankan History and Culture, Kumaran Book House, Colombo, 2015.13. Pathmanathan, S, Hindu Temples of Sri Lanka, Colombo, 2006.14. Pathmanathan, S, Buddhism in Sri Lanka and South India; Interactions among Monastic Centres, Fourth Vesak Commemoration Lecture – 2006, Russian Centre of Science and Culture, Chennai, Tamil Nadu May 14 – 2006.81

The Muslim Community(Moors)IntroductionSri Lanka was known to early Arab seafarers as Serendib, where Muslims believe Adam fell to earth from paradise, and to European colonial powers as Ceylon, an island nation with a dominant Sinhala-speaking Theravada Buddhist majority and several religious minorities, including Hindus, Christians, and Muslims. In the Sri Lankan census of 2012, the entire Muslim religious community of Sri Lanka (combining all Muslim ethnicities and all Muslim sectarian groups) represented 9.7 per cent of the total population of 20.2 million.

Islam is the third-largest faith in the island after Buddhism (70.2 per cent) and Hinduism (12.6 per cent). In comparison, Christians (both Sinhala and Tamil) of all denominations are 7.4 per cent. Within the overall Muslim religious community (umma), the largest ethnic subgroup by far – 95 Photo of Kaleel in Bilal Emporium83Prof. Dennis B. McGilvray

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Writer and Journalist living in Canada since 1987. Tamil activist.

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