Tuesday, November 17, 2009

The beginning 4

Continued from the previous post

Prof Indrapala continued

“on the basis of the present evidence we could say that it was only by about the tenth century that permanent settlements of Tamils began…These settlements were by no means extensive but their importance lies in the fact that they formed the nucleus of the later settlements that covered the greater part of northern Sri Lanka”

“… on the slender evidence at our disposal it would be rather far fetched to claim that there were permanent or widespread settlements of Tamil trading communities in the first millennium AD.”

“But evidence for extensive settlement bearing the signs of a date earlier than the tenth century is lacking”

“On the Tamil side the chronicles that are extant are those written nearly three centuries after the foundation of the Tamil kingdom in the island in the thirteenth century.

These are the Kailayamalai, Vaiyapatul, Vaiya, Yalpana vaipava malai, and the Mattakkalappu- manmiyam......With the possible exception of the Yalpana vaipava malai, the other works cannot be dated exactly. But, as we shall see presently, certain references in those works make it clear that these were all written after the fifteenth century........The Yalpana vaipava malai is a prose chronicle of the Jaffna kingdom, as stated in its preface, when the Dutch Commandant Ian Maccara (Mekkarun) was administering Jaffna (A.D. 1736).

The sections of these works dealing with the period prior to the thirteenth century, i.e., the period during which the earliest Tamil settlements were established- are full of legendary material and are wholly unreliable. The Tamil works of South India have no notable allusions to the activities of the Tamils in Ceylon.”

After this spree of negativity a glimmer of positivity,

"…only by about the tenth century that permanent settlement of the Tamils began and the Cola conquest of the Anuradhapura kingdom in the late tenth century seems to have given an impetus to the migration of Tamils into the island.” Indrapala Early Tamil Settlements in Ceylon pp 54-55

As stated in an above quote,

“…These settlements were by no means extensive but their importance lies in the fact that they formed the nucleus of the later settlements that covered the greater part of northern Sri Lanka”

However these settlements “became fairly extensive early in the eleventh century”

Apparently this was the first phase of Tamil settlement in Sri Lanka and their location was

“…still outside the Jaffna district. Of the present day Tamil areas only the upper half of the Eastern Province and parts of the western coast had Tamil settlers in the eleventh and twelfth centuries. The main stage in the process of Tamil settlement which led to the transformation of the present Northern Province into an exclusively Tamil speaking area had not yet been reached in the twelfth century. That stage was reached with the conquest of Magha and it is doubtful that the Tamil settlements of the period before the thirteenth century would have resulted in the division of the country into two linguistic regions”

“second and most important stage of the Tamil settlements are covered by the whole of the thirteenth century”

“no genuine traditions of the Tamil settlement or invasions were preserved by the Tamils until they established a stable kingdom in the thirteenth century”

Then finally the Kingdom!

"The invasion of Magha (of Kalinga) with the help of Tamil and Kerala mercenaries was far more violent than the earlier invasions. It’s chief importance lies in the fact that it resulted in the permanent dislodgement of the Sinhalese power from north Ceylon, the confiscation of lands and properties belonging to the Sinhalese by the Tamil and Kerala mercenaries and the consequent migration of the official class and several of the common people to the south western regions. These factors more than any other helped the transformation of northern (Sri Lanka) into a Tamil region and directly led to the foundation of a Tamil kingdom there. In the second phase, with the foundation of an independent Tamil Kingdom, a deliberate policy of settling Tamils in the Jaffna district and the Vanni regions was followed by the first rulers of the Tamil kingdom. This led to a migration of peaceful settlers from the Tamil country (in Southern India). It was this peaceful migration that was largely responsible for the Tamil settlement of the Jaffna district. It was a deliberate and organized process…” Indrapala Early Tamil Settlements in Ceylon p. 62

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