Midweek Review

Is Prabahakaran a Tamil?

Reading Carl Muller’s article "A hearty lunch and final solution - but was Hitler a Jew?" in the Saturday Magazine of 7th December 2002, in ‘The Island’ newspaper, my curiosity was aroused by whether Prabahakaran is a Tamil, Jaffna or otherwise?

Several articles have appeared in our newspapers from time to time regarding the purity of ethnic Sinhala, Tamil and other groups, while some others call all Sri Lankans a HOTCHPOTCH of all groups.

Let me start here with the Epic Maha Bharatha to show that Prabahakaran is not a Sri Lankan Tamil, but is only a Tamil speaking Kaurava (Karaiar) of Sri Lanka. The Epic Maha Bharatha chronicles the story of the bloody war between two Aryan cousins of the ruling races; the Kauravas and the Pandavas about 1100 B.C. at Kurukshetra in Nothern India. The Kauravas were badly defeated by their Pandava cousins. After their defeat some settled under the yoke of the Pandavas while most of them migrated to various other parts of India, Bengal, South India, Curumandel (Coromendel Coast) and even came to Lanka (Ceylon). According to a manuscript found in the Hugh Neville collection of the British Museum, OR 6606 (53) recording, "The Mukkara Hatana" (Kurukshetra vol. 11. fol. 52), during the reign of Sri Parakrama Bahu VI of Kotte, (1412 — 1467 A.D) at the request of the king about 7740 Kaurava warriors under the command of their own chieftains came from Kanchipuram, Kaveripattanam and Kilakarai, to fight against the Mukkuvas who had occupied parts of Puttalam. These warriors after losing 1500 men of their own, captured two forts and restored Puttalam to the king after annihilating the Mukkuvas. The king was so pleased with this deed that in gratitude he bestowed them land along the sea coast from Puttalam up to Negombo as their hereditary lands. In due course, these Kauravas or Karawas, (Tamil Karaiars), engaged in various occupations like joining the king’s army, cultivation trade and fishing by those closest to the sea. It is due to the last mentioned occupation that interested parties termed all Kauravas as fishers.

As time went on these people assimiliated with the indigenous population, some speaking the Sinhala language and becoming Buddhists and Christians, while some others speaking the Tamil language and becoming Hindus and Christians. Those who were Sinhala speaking went further south along the sea coast to places like Moratuwa, Panadura, Kalutara, Maggona, Ambalangoda, Galle, Matara, Devundara, Tangalle, Hambantota, Tissamaharama and Kataragama and also inland to places like Matale and Mawanella. Others who were Tamil speaking expanded to the north along the sea coast to places like Munneswaran, Chilaw, Puttalam, Mannar, Jaffna, Velvatiturai, Point Pedro and inland to Manampitiya. A few names of some Sinhala speaking who went south are the Kurukulasuriyas, Warnakulasuriyas, Arasakularatnes, Mihindukulasuriya, Lindamulages, Weerasuriyas, Peirises, de Mels, Patabendiges, Baduges, Waduges, Daluwatte, Marakkalages, etc. Some of those who went north were the Kuru-Kula Talaivans, Puvirajasinghes, Tisavirasinhes, Edirimanasinghes, Katiragamas, Warnakulasuriars, Vinasitambys, Xaviers, Martynxs’ Gnanaprakasas etc. The ancestors of the present day Prabahakaran whom the Vellalas call a fisher, is also supposed to be of the same stock and a Tamil speaking Karaiar, whose ancestors were warriors and skilled navigators, as the Sinhala speaking Marakkalages were.

The above details show that Prabahakaran from Velvetiturai is not a Tamil and his homeland is not Jaffna. He is a Tamil speaking Karaiar whose ancestors’ original home was in Kurukshetra. His ancestoss may have been those mercenaries who came to help King Parakrama Bahu VI of Kotte, from either Kanchipuram, Kaveripattanam or Kilakari in south India just as much as the Sinhala speaking Kaurava ancestors would have come from one of these same places.

This shows that most of the people in this country are now one and related to one another be they be Sinhala, Tamil, Muslim, Burgher, etc. What happened to the Tamils after King Elara was defeated at Anuradhapura by King Dutugemunu? Most of them were assimilated into the Sinhala communities at the time and are now Sinhala speaking Buddhists or Christians in the North Central Province.

They have not been treated as inferior or low caste, but what has happened to the long ago Sinhala population in Jaffna? They too, have assimilated into the Tamil community at that time, but are treated as inferior and low caste. After the wars with the Portuguese, Dutch and the British, how many of these foreigners would have married Sinhalese, or Tamils? Their offspring today are either Sinhala or Tamil speaking and Buddhists. Christians or Hindus. How about the Muslims? Did their Arab ancestors bring, Arab women ? No! They too, married Sinhala or Tamil women and their offspring are either Sinhala or Tamil speaking, though all of them are Muslims and followers of the Islamic faith. As regards the Kandyan convention signed between the Kandyan chieftains and the British, Ratwatte Dissawa and some others had signed in Tamil. Were they Tamil or not proficient in the Sinhala Language? Their generations today Sinhala speaking Buddhists or Chsistians. Coming down to more recent times prominent names some Bandaranaikes have Neelaperumal among other names, it may be they, too, had Tamil connections. Some Jayawardenes’ ancestors are supposed to have come from the Muslim Coromendel coast, they are all now Sinhala speaking and are either Buddhists or Christians. Ananda Coomaraswamy was a Eurasian, but went as a Sri Lankan Tamil. If you take Anton Balasingham who is married to an Australian and if they have any offspring he or she would be an Austro - Asian either Tamil or English speaking Hindu or Christian.

Some scholars are of the opinion that the real Buhumiputras of this island are neither Sinhalese nor Tamils. This land belonged to Kuveni’s people, the Nagas, Yakshas and Veddhas. It is their lands that Vijaya’s people (Sinhalese) and Tamils have grabbed and are fiting to possess. As shown above we are a hotchpotch of people, practically and are related to are another. How many of our Sri Lankan people have died been killed, massacred in vain due to not understanding who we are? Prabahakaran is only a Tamil speaking Karaiar and now a Sri Lankan, as much as all his people and other Sinhala speaking people are. So what are we fighting for?

Hitler had his roots in Austria not Germany, but he brought a bad name on the Germans after the Jewish holocaust. Prabahakaran is not Sri Lankan Tamil but he has brought bloodbath, destruction, devastation, genocide, massacre on all Sri Lankan people. Any similarity?
by B. D. Perera,