Facts and surprises


When looking at the grass roots of the 30 year conflict in Sri Lanka, we see that the language barrier was one of the causes. In school, we were taught Tamil up to grade 9, but I’ve forgotten much of it by now; blame it on our neural connections which follow the “use it or lose it” principle. So I set myself the task of refreshing my knowledge of the Tamil language. Wasn’t I in for a pleasant surprise? The author of the book from which I was learning confirmed my views in the introduction. He says that nearly 70% of Tamil words are similar to Sinhala words, either because it is a Tamil word or because both languages “borrowed” the word from the same language. Even the very first word most babies utter, “Ammaa” (meaning “mother”), is common to both tongues (àÈ´$ or அம்மா)

Few more examples:

Sinhalese word and pronunciation
Tamil word and pronunciation
English meaning
àæßæ$(akkaa)
அக்கா ( akkaa)
Elder sister
´$´$ (maamaa)
மாமா (maamaa)
Uncle
à½ûõÚ (adhipathi)
அதிபதி (adhipathi)
Administrator
àÈýÙ´ (ambalama)
அம்பலம்( ambalam)
Wayside resting place
à{‘æ$Ø×(ahangkaraya)
அகங்கரம்(ahangkaram)
Pride

 

 

           Another cause for the conflict was people who declared that the country “belonged” to a certain ethnic and religious group. I would like to kindly ask those persons to check the “Mahavamsa”(a historical record written by a Buddhist monk, by the way). What was the country from which Prince Vijaya came? Wasn’t it India? If we could say that Sri Lanka belonged to any particular group considering the people who lived here from pre-historic times, then the “Yaksha” and “Naga” tribes would be the righteous owners. Even the “Veddhas” are said to be descended from Vijaya and Kuveni’s offspring; thus being half Indian. Of course, my facts may be wrong because historical sources are not 100% accurate. Even in that scenario, the land belongs to the one who created it; us being mere temporary inhabitants who’ve been given the privilege of living on this beautiful planet; a pale blue dot.

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5 thoughts on “Facts and surprises”

  1. Love the Zen Pencils illustration!About Kuveni and Vijaya. Every one, including the Veddas are forgetting that they have Indian blood running in them. Which isn't as bad as it sounds because India, Sri Lanka, Europe, these were all just land. And we can't claim ownership of land or water. Don't we still pay a tax for living on 'our' land? We are humans, and before we walked this earth, the animals did, various species. and before that plants too. So as you put it very well, we are simply temporary inhabitants.And yes, Tamil and Sinhala have so much in common. The letters, how words are pronounced, words themselves, language rules… Sadly, even I've forgotten my Tamil, and know very few words. Yet, I know that if m Tamil was as good as my Sinhala, living in this country, talking with people, will be much much easier

  2. Thanks a whole lot for the ideas you contributed for this post Shailee!Ah! All of pay taxes-good point!…Wow! Now that you said it, I remember the supercontinent pangaea which broke into pieces to form the continents we have today. So Sri Lanka, India and all the other countries were together!! Ages ago, dinosaurs roamed the Earth. We evolved from apes, didn't we? :)I should've mentioned that Sinhalese and Tamil have similar language rules too :)…Yes, knowing Tamil will be very useful…

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