Ilankai Tamil Sangam

28th Year on the Web

Association of Tamils of Sri Lanka in the USA

Sri Lankan Tamil Struggle

Chapter 10: Parallel Growth of Nationalisms

by T. Sabaratnam, October 3, 2010
A journalist who reported the Sri Lankan ethnic crisis for over 50 years

When the profitability of the coffee plantation was realized British, Scottish, Irish and Welsh entrepreneurs rushed to Sri Lanka to invest in coffee plantations. There was a rush for new land especially in the Kandy and Matale districts. The British administration decided to alienate crown land at the very cheap price of 5 shillings per acre. Vast acreage was thus alienated without taking into consideration the customary ownership rights of the Kandyan people. To give legality to these alienations the Waste Land Ordinance was enacted in 1840. Under this law all lands for which there was no proof of ownership or possession were regarded as waste land or Crown land. This bred dissatisfaction among the Kandyan peasants which was the major cause for the 1848 rebellion.

Beginning of Buddhist Revival

By 1850 the Hindu Revival Movement had stabilized itself. Navalar and his colleagues Vengadasala Iyer and Kumarakarthigeya Iyer were engaging the Christian missionaries in religious debates. Vidyaanubalana yantra sala, the press established by Navalar had begun printing anti- Christian propaganda material and text books and Saivapiragasa Vidyakayam had begun to teach Saiva doctrine and explain the meaning of its practices.

By 1850 the environment necessary for Buddhist revival had emerged.  As the American Ceylon Mission was not permitted to work in the Sinhala areas Wesleyan, Church Missionary Society (CMS) and Baptist missionaries conducted their religious activities there. Like in Jaffna, the missionaries realized that their progress was slow.

As noted in Chapter 8 Christian missionaries from England and America arrived in Colombo and Jaffna during the second decade of the 19th Century. The Baptist Mission, the smallest of them, established its headquarters in Colombo in 1812 and extended its activities eastwards establishing its stations in Hanwella in 1819, Matale in 1835 and Kandy in 1841.

The Wesleyan Mission which arrived in 1814 extended southwards along the coast by establishing its main stations in Colombo, Galle and Matara. They also established within the next two decades stations at Moratuwa, Panadura, Kalutara, Ambalangoda and Weligama. The Church Missionary Society which arrived in 1818 moved inland to Baddegama near Galle and Kotte near Colombo and Kandy. The Dutch Reformed Church and the Church of Scotland too had their branches in Colombo. Thus by 1850 the three main Christian missions had effectively spread their presence to the entire Sinhala region.

The missions built their churches in these stations and established primary schools near them. By the 1830’s the missionaries intensified their religious conversion activities. They had by then realized that their efforts had failed to bring in sufficient results because, like in Jaffna, the people of the Low Country were returning to their original religions: Buddhism and Roman Catholicism. In the Kandyan region too there was reluctance to embrace the new religion because the British had given a guarantee to safeguard Buddhism under the 1815 Kandyan Convention.

The initial response of the Buddhist monks and the Buddhist laity to Christian missionaries was not unfriendly. Kithsiri Mallalgoda in his work Buddhism in the Sinhala Society 1750- 1900 says Buddhist monks even gave Christian preachers permission to preach in their temples. He says that the monks did so because Buddhism had always accommodated Hindu deities into its fold. As such they viewed Christianity as another view of religion. Rev. Daniel John Gogerly, the foremost Anglican Bishop, acknowledged that attitude of the Buddhist monks in 1850 when he said they held Christianity “with respect, and its founder with reverence.”

The Buddhist laity was also accommodative and receptive to missionary preachers. The public which was used to listen to the preaching of the Buddhist monks listened to the Christian preachers. To most of them the Sinhala sermons by ‘white men’ provided amusement and entertainment.

During the 1830s the missionaries in addition to preaching from street corners and market places visited villages and the homes of the villagers. The people received them with respect and listened to what they preached. From the records of the preachers there were instances where the villagers requested payment or arrack to bring other villagers for their meetings.

The Wesleyan mission established a printing press in 1818 and printed and distributed the Bible and pamphlets explaining the Christian doctrine. The Sinhalese translation of the Bible was first printed in the 1820s. But it was full of errors. The preachers then obtained the assistance of learned Buddhist monks to go through their translation. An improved version was published in 1834 and by 1850 an acceptable version had been published. Thousands of copies of the Bible were printed and widely distributed. The missionaries believed that when the people read the Bible they would be convinced that Christianity was the true religion.

Initially the missionaries concentrated on publishing tracts and pamphlets telling the story of Jesus and the doctrine and philosophy of Christianity. By the 1830s they were frustrated with the slow progress of their conversion effort.  They decided to intensify their activities. In 1831 Rev. Gogerly, then manager of the Wesleyan mission press, reflected the impatience of the missionaries when he wrote,

It is by means of the press that our principal attacks must be made upon this wretched system…we must direct our efforts to pull down this stronghold of Satan.


The following year (1832) Rev. Gogerly launched the periodical Mãsika Thägga containing biblical stories which is considered the first Sinhala periodical in Sri Lanka. The Kandy Sinhala Tract Society published Lankã Nidhãnaya in 1840.Several other Sinhala publications produced by the Christian missionary press emerged during the next few years, including the Uragala (1842), Vistrakarannã (The Commentator) in1844, Sãstra Nidhãnaya (1846) and Lankã Pradeepaya (1846).

The missionaries were not happy about the impact these pamphlets produced. Thereafter they decided to go on the attack. The first pamphlet critical about Buddhism was published by Gogerly in 1849. It was titled Christian Pragnapthi. In it Gogerly called Buddhism “a dark superstition”. It took another 13 years for Buddhist revivalist Migettuwatte Gunananda to reply to Gogerly with the publication Durlabdi Vinodimi.

The environment for Buddhist revival had been created by 1850 in other fields that touched the lives of Buddhists: education, gradual diminishing of the protection afforded to Buddhism by the state and the emergence of the plantation industry and the economic development associated with it.


As already pointed out the British administration did not evince interest in education during the first two decades of its rule. The missionary societies established schools as soon as they arrived in Sri Lanka. By1832 about 235 missionary schools were functioning in the country. About 10,000 students attended those schools. The medium of instruction was English and Sinhala in the Sinhala area and English and Tamil in the Tamil region. There was no uniformity or supervision of these schools.

The traditional Pirivena or the Buddhist temple schools were functioning in the Sinhala region during this period. By 1827 the number of missionary schools exceeded the number of Pirivena schools. There were 96 schools managed by the Christian clergy while 94 pirivena schools existed mostly in the Kandyan provinces.

The Colebrooke Commission on Reforms which was in Sri Lanka in 1831 found several missionary organizations and Buddhist and Hindu temples were involved in the field of education and that there was no proper supervision or administration. The Commission praised the missionary schools and dismissed the education provided by Buddhist and Hindu temples as ‘scarcely meriting notice’. It called the government schools extremely defective and inefficient.

The Colebrooke Commission recommended (a) the appointment of a commission to manage education, (b) English should be the medium of instruction in all the schools, (c) a college should be started to train teachers for English education, and (d) English educated youths should be given government jobs.

The Colebrooke Commission recommendations were implemented in 1834. A School Commission was appointed to administer all the schools in the country. It appointed subordinate committees in Kandy, Galle, Jaffna and Trincomalee. These committees disbursed the government funds allocated for educational purposes.

The School Commission controlled by the Anglican Church gave grants to the missionary schools saying they were worthy of encouragement and assistance and closed down the existing government schools as new missionary schools were opened in those areas. The Archdeacon was the head of the School Commission.

As a result of this policy of encouraging English missionary schools, English schools were opened in all the main cities of the country. Sinhalese and Tamil medium schools were gradually closed down.  In 1836 only two Buddhist schools were left in the country – in Panadura and Dodanduwa. Only 246 children attended those schools.

Buddhist and Hindu dissatisfaction over the Anglican monopoly over education and the closure of Sinhala and Tamil schools resulted in the appointment of the Central School Commission in 1841 with a broadened membership. Methodists, Presbyterians and Catholics were given membership.  The Assistant Secretary of State was appointed the chairman and the Chief Inspector of Schools the secretary. A system of primary schools, bilingual Schools and vernacular schools was started. Central schools and girl’s schools were opened in the main towns like Colombo, Galle, Jaffna and Kandy. The Colombo Academy which was opened in 1836 to train teachers (now Royal College) was turned into a boy’s school. When the chairman of the commission returned to England, a priest of the Church of England was appointed in his place and the schools once again turned out to be institutions for teaching Christianity.

Withdrawal of Safeguard to Buddhism

While strengthening their religious propagation activity through education the missionaries made strenuous effort to get the British administration to withdraw from its commitment to safeguard Buddhism given under the Kandyan Convention. The fifth clause of the Kandyan Convention signed in 1815 guaranteed the protection of Buddhism and its places of worship. The missionaries felt that commitment stood in the way of their religious conversion efforts. The missionaries exerted pressure on the Governors through the Colonial Office.  

Even before the missionaries exerted pressure through the colonial office the British administration had begun to move away from its obligation. In the proclamation issued after the 1818 rebellion the British while promising to protect Buddhism dropped the world ‘inviolable’ which appeared in the fifth clause of the Kandyan convention thereby indicating their desire to distance themselves from the guarantee about the protection of Buddhism and the Sangha. In addition, the British Government declared Sunday a public holiday on April 6, 1817 thereby cancelling the Poya day holiday enjoyed by the Buddhists since 242 BC.

Beginning in the mid- 1830s the colonial government decided to encourage missionary activity. The appointment of Stewart Mackenzie as governor in 1837 and the dispatch the Colonial Office sent him on October 2, 1837 instructing him to encourage missionary activities as an important part of his duty completed the process of the withdrawal of the traditional state patronage accorded to Buddhism.

The consequent loss of precedence and prestige for Buddhism and the Buddhist Sangha created deep resentment among the Buddhists. K.M. de Silva, in his review article Religion and Nationalism in Nineteenth Century Sri Lanka: Christian Missionaries and Their Critics considers that resentment as an essential part of the background for the resistance to Christianity.

De Silva says,

Buddhist opinion generally refused to acquiesce in the decision to sever the link between the colonial state and their “national” religion. Activists regularly urged the reconsideration of this decision and pressed the need for some sort of link between Buddhism and the state.

He adds that the British were not prepared in the 1840s to restore the formal link between the state and Buddhism.

Arrival of Indian Tamils

The arrival of Indian Tamils can be traced to the period of the East India Company. Administration of the Low Country Sinhala territory and the Tamil region was placed under the Madras Presidency and most of the officials and traders who came from there were Tamils. One of the important communities that came was Nattukottai Chettiyars. As there were no commercial banks at that time the Chettiyars established themselves as bankers with the backing of the British administration and formed the bedrock of the money system. They operated closely with the banks in Britain. Sections of the trading community controlled most of the import trade especially food items, textile and building materials.

Another section that arrived was the plantation labour community. I have related their story in my first book Out of Bondage- The Thondaman Story published in 1990. It is now out of print but is available on the internet.

The Thondaman Story by T. Sabaratnam story of the Indian Tamils is intertwined with Sri Lankan plantation industry’s history. Cinnamon was Sri Lanka’s major export commodity during the Portuguese and Dutch periods. They monopolized the cinnamon trade. Britain also monopolized that trade for some time but relaxed its hold in the mid-1830s when cinnamon's importance declined. The British then began to experiment with a variety of plantation crops. Within 15 years coffee became successful and transformed the country’s economy from subsistence to plantation agriculture.

The first coffee plantation was opened  by the de Soysa family and Lt. Col. George Bird, Commander of Kandy, at the instance of Governor Sir Edward Barnes (1824- 1831) in the royal lands of Sinnapitiya in Gampola in 1824. Barnes encouraged Bird to open a large plantation and gave him 400 acres and a tax-free loan. Bird started the plantation in Peradeniya in 1825. Barnes also encouraged coffee plantations by lifting the coffee export duty and by granting exemption from the land produce tax. By the mid-1830s that coffee cultivation became widespread and highly profitable. When slavery was abolished in the West Indies in 1833 and coffee production there declined Sri Lankan coffee exports soared.  

The Colebrooke Commission recommended the encouragement of the coffee plantation industry by the creation of a laissez-faire economy, support for free trade, granting of land for coffee plantations and the abolishment of the rajakariya** system. The commission recommended the abolition of Rajakariya not only because it was immoral but also because it allowed the villagers to work on the plantations and related development projects like road building.

When the profitability of the coffee plantation was realized British, Scottish, Irish and Welsh entrepreneurs rushed to Sri Lanka to invest in coffee plantations. There was a rush for new land especially in the Kandy and Matale districts. The British administration decided to alienate crown land at the very cheap price of 5 shillings per acre. Vast acreage was thus alienated without taking into consideration the customary ownership rights of the Kandyan people. To give legality to these alienations the Waste Land Ordinance was enacted in 1840. Under this law all lands for which there was no proof of ownership or possession were regarded as waste land or Crown land. This bred dissatisfaction among the Kandyan peasants which was the major cause for the 1848 rebellion.

Forest clearing done by Col. George Bird before planting coffee in 1824

The coffee plantation system faced serious labour shortages. Among the Sinhalese, a peasant cultivator of paddy land was called govia (vellala among Tamils) and given higher status in society than a landless laborer. The peak season for picking coffee berries coincided with the paddy harvesting season. And the low wages paid to hired workers failed to attract the Kandyan peasant. Thus the planters found it difficult to get labourers.

Coffee planters solved their problem by employing workers from South India, especially Tamil Nadu where there was surplus labour. At first Tamil labourers were employed during coffee picking season. They returned to their villages in South India after the season was over. The immigration of these Indian Tamils began as a trickle in the 1830s and became a regular flow a decade later, when the government of India removed all restrictions on the migration of labour to Sri Lanka.

The abolition of slavery by England had deprived the British West Indian planters of their cheap labour supply. They looked to South India as an alternative. Similar demand came from planters in Mauritius, Fiji, South Africa and other countries. Planters from those countries employed recruitment agencies to obtain their labour. The British India government stepped in to regulate the recruitment system. The indentured labour system thus came into existence.

Under the indentured labour system the labourer and the employer enter into a contract which binds both parties. The employer was bound by the contract to provide food, housing and health facilities to the labourer. He had to pay the cost of passage. The labourer was bound to serve the employer for the agreed period set out in the contract. He had the option to return to India after the expiry of the indenture period. If a labourer failed to work without reasonable cause during the indenture period he was liable for arrest and punishment. Thus the labourers were not permitted to desert their employers and seek employment elsewhere.

Most of the Indian Tamil labourers who came to work in the coffee (later tea) plantations in Sri Lanka did not come under the indenture system. They came as immigrants and were free to leave their employment whenever they wanted. Whenever the employers wanted labourers they sent their enterprising and energetic workers to India to bring the number of workers they needed. They usually brought their relatives and villagers. The group of people they brought was called a gang and those who bring them kangarnis.   The kanganis were the leaders of the gangs. They lived with the workers and supervised their work. In Sri Lanka the kangarny system was most prevalent. By 1850 the kankarny system was fully developed and most of the Tamil workers were brought under that system.

The kankarnies usually went back to their villagers and tempted the people there to join them promising regular employment and handsome pay. The gang they thus collected was taken to Rameswaram and from there by boat to Mannar or Pesalai. The labourers walked from there to Anuradhapura and then to Matale or Kandy where the coffee estates were started. 

Between 1830 and 1850, coffee held the preeminent place in the economy and became a catalyst for the island's modernization. In 1849 over 50,000 acres were planted with coffee in 1215 plantations. The number of Indian Tamil labourers had exceeded 50,000 by 1850. Most of the British officials, from the Governor on downwards, took to coffee cultivation. It was said during that time the British officials were more interested in coffee plantation than in the administration of the country. 

The greater availability of capital and the increase in export trade brought the rudiments of capitalist organization to the country. The Ceylon Bank opened in 1841 to finance the rapid expansion of coffee plantations. Since the main center of coffee production was in the Kandyan provinces Kandy was linked to Colombo by road and rail ending the isolation of the Kandyan territory. The coffee plantation system thus served as the economic foundation for the unification of the island.

A worldwide depression in 1846 temporarily checked the rapid development of the plantation system. Falling coffee prices caused financial disruption, aggravating the friction that had been developing between the static traditional feudal economy and modernized commercial agriculture. The government, to make up for lost revenue,  imposed on July 1, 1848 a series of new taxes on firearms, dogs, shops, boats, carriages, and bullock carts. All of these taxes affected Sinhalese farmers. A land tax and a road ordinance of 1848 which required six days' free labour on roads or the payment of a cash equivalent were the other measures that alienated the Kandyan people. Alienation of temple lands for coffee plantations antagonized the Buddhist priests.

The 1848 Rebellion

On July 26, 1848 dissatisfied Kandyan Buddhist monks and the dispossessed peasants rebelled against the British administration. A mass movement had been developing for some years among the monks who were dissatisfied with the withdrawal of state patronage for Buddhism and the takeover of the temple lands under the Waste Lands Ordinance. Kandyan peasants who were affected by the taxes imposed in July 1848 and the ordinance which introduced compulsory labour for the construction of plantation roads ignited the revolt.

The masses were without a leadership because the King had been deposed in 1815, the chiefs were crushed during the 1818 rebellion and the remaining chiefs were collaborating with the British administration. Thus the leadership of the Kandyan people passed for the first time into the hands of ordinary people

The leadership was provided by Gongalegoda Banda and Veera Puran Appu. They were workers from the Low Country married to Kandyan ladies. Gongalegoda Banda was the leader. He was born on March 13, 1809 as the second son of Wansapurna Dewage Sinchia Fernando. His name was Peliyagoda David. He was 35 years of age. He was engaged in transport work on the Kandy road and went to reside at Gongalegoda, Udunuwara and became a popular figure among the Kandyans.

Veera Puran Appu whose name was Veera Hennedige Francisco Fernando was born on November 7, 1812 in Moratuwa. He left Moratuwa at the age of 13 and stayed at Ratnapura with his uncle Marcellenus Fernando, the first Sinhala proctor. Between 1842 and 1844, he became famous in the Uva province as a fearless person.

Twenty days before the rebellion broke out Banda led a protest march against the new taxes from the Temple of the Tooth to the Kandy Kachcheri. Banda, a powerful Sinhala orator and Puran Appu, a colourful personality, who had won the support of the people and the village headmen of Matale entered the historic Dambulla Vihara at 11.30 a.m. with about 400 supporters. The head monk of the vihare consecrated Gongalegoda Banda as the new king of Kandy.

Banda took the name Sri Wickrama Siddapi. He asked the people assembled there whether they were on the side of the Buddhists or the British. They shouted back, “We are with the Buddhists.” On the same day Dines, his elder brother was declared the sub-king and the uncrowned king of the Sat Korale. Vera Puran Appu was appointed the prime minister

The ‘king’ and his ‘army’ then left Dambulla via Matale to capture Kandy from the British. They attacked government buildings including the Matale kachcheri and destroyed some of the tax records. Simultaneously, Dines instigated attacks in Kurunegala. Governor Viscount Torrington (1847–1850) declared Martial Law on July 29 in Kandy and on July 31 in Kurunegala. The British army shot and killed eight people in Kurunegala.

Puran Appu was taken prisoner by the British troops and was executed on August 8. Gongalegoda Banda and Dines escaped and went into hiding. Gongalegoda Banda lived in a cave at Elkaduwa, 13 kilometres from Matale. Torrington issued a warrant for his arrest with a reward of £150 for information on his whereabouts. He was arrested on September 21 and taken to Kandy where he was kept a prisoner.

Gongalegoda Banda was tried before the Supreme Court sessions in Kandy on November 27. He was charged with high treason for claiming to be King of Kandy and waging war against the British. He pleaded guilty to all the charges. The Supreme Court condemned him to be hanged on January 1, 1849.

Gongalegoda Banda appealed against the death sentence. It was amended to flogging 100 times and deportation to Malacca (Malaysia). The sentence instilled in the people of Kandy a permanent fear but the Kandyan rebellion sowed the seed of national resurgence and pride among the Sinhala people.

The British Parliament appointed a Select Committee to investigate the causes for the rebellion and the conduct of the Governor and his military officials. It recommended the repeal of the taxes and criticized the conduct of the military officials.

The rebellion generated anti- British and anti- Christian sentiments among the Sinhala people. During 1849 and 1850 a series of localized incidents of opposition to Christian missionaries occurred. The Wesleyan missionaries in the Kalutara District reported about the resistance organised by the bhikkhus against them. The centre of opposition had been the village of Waskaduwa and from there it had spread to the neighbouring regions of Panadura and Moratuwa.

CMS station at Kotte also reported the emergence of resistance. The report said that the resistance was led by “a few influential families who decided to oppose the progress of Christianity among the people...” The opposition was directed at the CMS which tried to build the station church at Etul Kotte. This, the CMS reported, “...seems to have roused the Buddhist party to far greater activity than [we] have ever seen in them before….” This opposition was not confined to Kotte. It existed in other parts of the Western Province as well.

Unitary Constitution

While Hindu and Buddhist consciousness were emerging a constitutional structure that later damaged that healthy parallel development was imposed on them by the British through the Colebrooke Commission recommendations. The need of the British rulers at that time was the prevention of any revolt by the Kandyans, Low Country Sinhalese and the Tamils against their rule. They felt that keeping the three sections separately would give them the opportunity to revolt.

The task given to the Colebrooke Commission was to end the separate administrative structures the Low Country Sinhalese, the Kandyan Sinhalese and the Tamils enjoyed. They were tasked to bring the entire country under one uniform administrative system. The Colebrooke Commission did that task. (Refer to Chapter 6)

The Commission recommended measures to unify the three groups of the population under common political, administrative, judicial and educational systems. It recommended the establishment of a common system of courts, the introduction of a unified administration, the creation of provinces as the units of administration, the adoption of English as the language of administration, courts and education and the establishment of Legislative and Executive Councils.

These recommendations were implemented in 1833 without any resistance from the Tamils or the Kandyans. Tamils, in fact, cooperated with the British. This is what S.J.V. Chelvanayakam said in his inaugural address when the Federal Party was formed on December 18, 1948:

The British and the local reformists failed to realize the basic fact that Ceylon was not a homogenous state. It is a country inhabited by two separate nations- the Sinhalese and the Tamils. The British model of unitary system  imposed by the colonial rulers is totally unsuited.

The instruments of government recommended by the Colebrooke Commission - the Executive and Legislative Councils - were established in 1833. The Executive Council comprised: Colonial Secretary, the Officer commanding the Military Forces, the Attorney General, the Auditor-General and the Treasurer. The duties of the Council were advisory and the Governor who presided consulted them but was at liberty to disregard their advice.

The Legislative Council consisted of 16 members including the Governor, who presided, and the five members of the Executive Council, four other official members including the Government Agents of the Western and Central provinces and six unofficial members nominated by the Governor – three to represent Europeans (British residents) and three to represent Ceylonese. The nominated or unofficial members were to be chosen from the Sinhalese, Tamils and Burghers. They had no right to initiate legislation; they could only contribute to discussion.

The Governor nominated Arumuganathar Pillai Coomarasamy (1783-1836), a Vellala Hindu from Garudavil, a village near Point Pedro, as the Tamil non-official. Coomarasway’s father Arumuganathar Pillai was an immigrant from Tamil Nadu who came and settled in Garudavil. G. P. Panditharatne, a Govigama Anglican Christian, was appointed as the Low Country Sinhalese and J.G.Hillebrandt, as the Burgher member.

In 1808, Coomaraswamy served as an interpreter to Governor Thomas Maitland and rose to the position of Governor’s Chief Interpreter. He belonged to a family that lived an orthodox Saiva way of life. Panditharatne was from the land owning Sinhala family that adopted the Western style of life. Though the role given to them was giving advice to the Governor on matters concerning their communities the difference in their outlook had an impact on the historical development of Sri Lanka, especially when members of their families succeeded them.

The old Legislative Council Building, Colombo Fort today houses the the External Affairs Ministry

Panditharatna’s successors James D Alwis and J. C. Obeysekera had the interests of the British at heart and generally supported the British administration. James D. Alwis went to the extent of supporting the grains tax introduced by the British whereas the Tamil representative opposed it. Thus the Tamil representative reflected the demands and interests of the Sri Lankan people as a whole.

Coomaraswamy died on November 7, 1936, and he was succeeded by Mudaliyar Simon Cassie Chetty (1807- 1860), a Roman Catholic from Puttalam. He was a Colombo Chetty and a recent migrant. Cassie Chetty was a pioneer of the Tamil national movement. He was the author of The History of Jaffna which highlighted the heights to which the Jaffna Kingdom grew and was a regular contributor to The Ceylon Gazettee and, Tamil Plutarch and brought to light the greatness of the Tamil and Dravidian civilizations. He read papers on Tamil history at the Royal Asiatic Society of Ceylon. Thus his activities in the Legislative Council reflected the national interest of the people of the country, especially the Tamils whom he represented. Cassie Chetty resigned from the Legislative Council in 1845 to join the judiciary and Mudaliyar Edirmanasingham, brother-in-law of Coomaraswamy, succeeded him.

Hindu and Buddhist nationalisms consolidated themselves in the next five decades, the second half of the 19th Century. And in the last two decades of that century signs of discord  between the two nationalisms also emerged.

** traditional system of land tenure in Ceylon (now Sri Lanka) until the early 19th century in which land was granted in exchange for services rendered. The services expected were of two kinds: (1) public works, such as road and bridge building or, in earlier days, the construction of irrigation works, and (2) special services elicited on the basis of a person's caste-related occupation. [1995 Encyclopedia Britannica]

Next week: Consolidation of Nationalisms




Chapter 1: The Context

Chapter 2: Origins of Racial Conflict

Chapter 3: Emergence of Racial Consciousness

Chapter 4: Birth of the Tamil State

Chapter 5: Tamils Lose Sovereignty

Chapter 6: Birth of a Unitary State

Chapter 7: Emergence of Nationalisms

Chapter 8: Growth of Nationalisms

Chapter 9: Religious Revival

Chapter 10: Parallel Growth of Nationalisms

Chapter 11: Consolidation of Nationalisms






Printer-friendly version