From all evidence the map of Eelam is a myth

by A. Denis N. Fernando
Fellow National Academy of Sciences


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Map 3 Political boundaries in Sri Lanka During The Late Portuguese Major Part of The dutch Periods 1635—1766

Details obtained from the original manuscript in the University of Leiden indicating the Territories of King Senarath (who died in 1635 during the Portugese Period). This same map with identical details but with corrected spelling and better caligraphy rendered with an array of plans of Dutch forts surrounding this map with the characteristic Dutch Cartouche was published in 1751 indicating no change during this period. The next change of boundaries took place in 1766 with the signing of the treaty between the Dutch and King Kirthi Rajasinghe, but was abrogated by the King as the Dutch did not conform to the treaty.

1. Introduction: This is a subject I have studied in depth over a quarter century based on ancient maps and documents available in most libraries and achieves all over the world, I was fortunate to visit. Using these authentic documents and information I have logically processed them presented them to several journals both local and foreign as well as in the daily press which have been well received. At this crucial juncture when the future of our country is under debate it is necessary to inform the public as well as the Government of the FACTS before they take any decision as it would have a very great impact on the future of our country.
We have a number of professional lawyers both in the government as well as in the opposition though they may be competent in the law, they would have to be briefed of the facts of the case, otherwise due to nonavailability of the FACTS, the lawyers would loose the case, however brilliant the lawyers could be. It is in this context that these facts are presented.

2. Peninsula Jaffna: Historically with the incursions of Kalinga Magha and Chandrabanu with the fall of the Vijayanagara Empire they made a foothold in Sri Lanka. However with the fall of our hydraulic civilization in the 13th century due to a natural catyclymic natural change in the river course of the Mahaweli Ganga, these foreigners settled themselves in the sparsely populated areas of the Jaffna Peninsula occupied by the Sinhalese from ancient times.

With the pirating of the north western seaboard by the Mukkuwas and a threat to the Sinhalese Kingdom under Parakaramabahu VI, he sent his forces and brought this area under his control. He thereafter sent Prince Sapumal with his warrior forces to subjugate the remnant forces of Kalinga Magha in Peninsula Jaffna. This he did and was made Governor of Jaffna as well as that of Vanni. He built the Nalur Kandasamy temple and even to this day Sanskrit rituals mentions his name as Buwanakabahu, under which name he subsequently reigned as King over all Sri Lanka after the demise of Parakramabahu VI.

When Prince Sapumal returned to Kotte as King, Buwanakabahu VI, the Chieftains under Sapumal who were of the Singhe Dynasty took over Jaffna Peninsula and ruled, while the Vanni was governed by Th. Vannias. It is of importance to note that the two sons of Donna Catherina and King Senarath - Prince Wijepala and Prince Kumarasinghe married the two daughters of the legitimate Chieftain of Jaffna as they were considered Kshatriyas and eligible to marry Royalty according to custom. The Jaffna Chieftains as well as others were designated as subkings both by the Portuguese as well as the Dutch. In short there was mutual trust and understanding by the King and Chieftains in those times and there was intermarriage between them.

3. Map showing the political boundaries in Sri Lanka during the late Portuguese and major part of the dutch periods 1635 to 1766 namely from the time of King Senarath up to the time of the Dutch treaty of 1766 under Kirthi Sri Rajasinghe, which is indicated in the accompanying Map. The details of this map was obtained from the original Manuscript in the University of Leiden indicating the territories of King Senarath as well as that of the Dutch. This same original map with corrected spelling and better calligraphy and an array of plans of Dutch Forts surrounding this map with the charastic Dutch Cartouche was published in 1751 indicating no change during this period.

This map is very significant as it indicates the area of occupation of the Portuguese as well as the Dutch later. The area on the western seaboard included the areas from Walawe ganga to the Maha oya. Under Jaffnapatam included all islands together with the Peninsula as well Karetje categorized as Elephant pass, and the Dutch officer in charge of the outpost of Mannar also looked after Dutch interests in Mantotte, Nanatan and Moesley.

While the lands under two Vanni Chiefs paid tribute of Elephants and special types of timber to the company namely those of Panengamo, Karnawelpattoe, Meelpottoe, Poedockoeditripoe, Moeliawale, Karika-tomoela and Tennamarawadie.

The rest of the country was under the Kingdom of Kandy with warrior chieftains stationed as Dissawas, who were governors in the different Dissawanies and Korales directly responsible to the King of Kandy. However there were two Portuguese/Dutch forts along the eastern seaboards and constructed in its immediate vicinity within gunshot range distance.

The maritime area held by the Dutch Treaty of 1766 was abrogated by the King of Kandy in 1769 as the Dutch did not comply with the terms of the treaty. These areas were held by the Dutch de facto and were considered sulu Korales of the Kandyan Kingdom when the 1815 British Treaty was signed.

4. The Eelam Map. Whilst I visited the Library of Congress in Washington. I was shown the Map of Eelam produced by Mr. C. Sunderalingam together with the accompanying manuscript that indicated the hypothesis based for that claim. This map was based on a corupted version of the map of Ptolemy (circa 150 A.D), which interpretation has no rational basis as the traditional homelands of the Tamils. In fact Peninsula Jaffna was indicated as "Post que est Borem Prom" or the northern most promontory but had not indicated who inhabited it nor any harbours in its vicinity. Even Idrisi (1150 A.D) had not indicated Peninsula Jaffna no any harbors in its vicinity indicating that it was not of any importance. As stated earlier Peninsula Jaffna came into prominence in the 13th century with its occupation by Kalinga Magha and Chandrabanu. It must be reiterated here that the original settlers of Peninsula Jaffna which was sparcely occupied by ancient Sinhales and was overrun by the foreigners who came with Kalinga Magha with their displacement from the Vijayanagara Empire. After Sapumal had overcome them, he was appointed Governor of Jaffna as indicated earlier. Subsequently with the Portuguese conquering Jaffna Peninsula and the introduction of tobacco and its further enhancement by the Dutch with people from the Coramandal (better known as Maaba), using their technology of dugwell and shadaff, brought prosperity to Jaffna and the Jaffna cigar like the Cuban cigar became famous in these parts of the world. There small tobacco plots were owned by the new immigrants of Jaffna Tamils who were known as Vellalas with their slave labour and became very prosperous, and dominated the social structure. This social change placed the earlier settlers of the Singha dynasty and the warrior community at a disadvantage in the social order. This resulted even in the political division of the TULF and the LTTE.

Though the Elam Map of Sundaralingam adopted by both the TULF as well as the LTTE have no claim whatsoever to the lands outside the Peninsula, the inclusion of the Vanni is in question, as it was only recently with the help of Redbana and other NGO intermediation that after this area was settled by the government providing lands to the middle class clolnists which brought in displaced Indian estate labor from the plantations as well as illicit immigrants from India into the Vanni. Whilst the area under the Kandyan Kingdom have been settled by the British as well as after independence progressively settling both Sinhales, Tamils, as well as Muslims which is once again not the traditional Homelands of the Tamils as claimed by Mr. C. Sunderalingan and those who repeat his hypothesis that have no basis for such claims by the TULF and the LTTE. Thus it is blatantly clear that the Elam Map of the so called Tamil homeland have no basis as it is a myth.

5. Conclusion: This analysis clearly indicates that so called Elam Map of Mr. C. Sunderlingam adopted by both the TULF as well as the LTTE has no basis. This is clearly established from historical evidence as well as the maps provided by the Portuguese as well as the Dutch. Apart from the western seaboard and the Jaffna Peninsula the surrounding Islands and a few areas in the Vanni, the rest of the island was under the suzerainty of the Kingdom of Kandy. The Tamil Homeland concept based on the Elam map is therefore a Myth without any historical basis.