Walking past an Army checkpoint towards her house, a woman snaps at the soldiers harassing her. These soldiers have taken every opportunity to verbally accost her since she filed an official complaint against police officers stealing her property. Neighbors and friends told Murugesapillai Koneswari, a Tamil mother of four, to simply forget about the police’s crimes and ignore the daily injustices. However, her actions had already aggravated the military forces in her village. On 17 May , two months after she filed the complaint, police officers barged into her house in the middle of the night and then proceeded to gang rape and kill her. Koneswari’s story exemplifies the precarious position of Tamil women in Sri Lanka, who have been a particularly vulnerable population during the island’s half-century-long conflict. Between and , I spent a year and a half in the territory formerly controlled by the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam LTTE , documenting Sri Lanka’s human rights violations and becoming familiar with Tamil stories of suffering. I discovered that Sri Lanka’s brutal civil war had caused an erosion of societal norms that disparately impacted Tamil women. Some women had even assumed unconventional societal roles by joining the LTTE’s armed struggle for independence and fiercely fighting against the government.
Enmity between Sri Lanka’s Sinhalese and Tamils explodes into an orgy of bloodletting
A community magazine, Thamizhar Mathiyil Amidst Tamils , has been published since and has grown to several hundred apps in length. Ten alternative weekly Tamil language newspapers are distributed primarily in Toronto and Montreal. Four Tamil language radio stations broadcast out of Toronto and Montreal as well. Various political, social and religious organizations exists among the Tamil Canadian community.
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The name is derived from the ancient Tamil name for Sri Lanka, Eelam. Tamil Eelam, although encompassing the traditional homelands of Sri Lankan Tamils, does not have official status or recognition by world states. In , the Illankai Tamil Arasu Kachchi ITAK , the most dominant Tamil political party in Sri Lanka then known as Ceylon , lobbied for a united state that would give the minority Tamils and majority Sinhalese equal rights, including recognition of two official languages—Tamil and Sinhala —and considerable autonomy for the Tamil regions of the country.
However, the Official Language Act No. The act replaced English as the official language of Sri Lanka with Sinhala ; due to the lack of official recognition to the Tamil language, the act was widely viewed by the Tamils as a sign of the Sri Lanka state’s ambition of establishing a Sinhala— Buddhist nation state.
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The LTTE was established in by Velupillai Prabhakaran as the successor to an organization he had formed earlier in the s. During the s the organization carried out a number of guerrilla attacks. In , after the killing of 13 soldiers by Tamil guerrillas and retaliatory attacks by the Sri Lankan military, large-scale violence erupted between the government and the LTTE.
To fund its operations, the group engaged in illegal activities including bank robberies and drug smuggling and the extortion of Tamils in Sri Lanka and elsewhere, but it also received considerable voluntary financial support from Tamils living abroad.
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There are two groups of Tamils numbering in total some 3. Both Tamil groups are predominantly Hindu. Tamil communities are particularly well-established in the northern and eastern parts of the island. They are the descendants of labourers brought to the island by the British to work on tea plantations.
Tamil people Schools Wikipedia Selection. The oldest Tamil communities are those of southern India and northeastern Sri Lanka. There are also a number of Tamil emigrant communities scattered around the world, especially in central Sri Lanka , Malaysia , South Africa and Singapore , with more recent emigrants also found in Australia , Canada , the United States , and parts of Europe. Unlike many ethnic groups , Tamils were not governed by a single political entity during most of their history; Tamilakam, the traditional name for the Tamil lands, was only politically united for a brief period between the 9th and 12th centuries under the Chola Empire.
The Tamil identity is primarily linguistic , with Tamils being those whose first language was Tamil. In recent times, however, the definition has been broadened to include also emigrants of Tamil descent who maintain Tamil cultural traditions , even when they no longer speak the language. Tamils are ethnically, linguistically and culturally related to the other Dravidian peoples of South Asia.
There are an estimated 74 million Tamils around the world.
They are partly who migrated to India and their descendants and mostly refugees from Sri Lanka because of the concluded Sri Lankan Civil War. In general socio economically they are living below poverty line, except few people who settled in India during early times, rich businessmen, and professionals.
During 19th century and early 20th century some Sri Lankan Tamils especially from Jaffna migrated or settled in India for various reasons such as education , employment in the British Indian government, business and other reasons. Among them were Hensman family, who migrated to Chennai from Jaffna during late 19th century. In , immediately after the country’s independence, a controversial law labelled the Ceylon Citizenship Act was passed in the Sri Lankan parliament which deliberately discriminated against the Tamils of South Indian origin , whose ancestors had settled in the country in the 19th and 20th centuries.
Over the next 30 years, successive Sri Lankan governments were actively engaged in deporting over , Tamils back to India.
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Most Sri Lankan Tamils live in the Northern and Eastern provinces and in the capital Colombo , whereas most Indian Tamils live in the central highlands. Under the terms of an agreement reached between the Sri Lankan and Indian governments in the s, about 40 percent of the Indian Tamils were granted Sri Lankan citizenship, and many of the remainder were repatriated to India.
Significant Tamil emigration began in the 18th century, when the British colonial government sent many poor Tamils as indentured labourers to far-off parts of the Empire , especially Malaya , South Africa , Fiji , Mauritius , Trinidad and Tobago , Guyana , Suriname , Jamaica , French Guiana , Guadeloupe , and Martinique. At about the same time, many Tamil businessmen also migrated to other parts of the British Empire, particularly to Burma and East Africa.
Many Tamils still live in these countries, and the Tamil communities in Singapore, Reunion Island , Malaysia and South Africa have retained much of their original culture and language. Many Malaysian children attend Tamil schools , and a significant portion of Tamil children are brought up with Tamil as their first language. In Singapore, Mauritius and Reunion, Tamil students learn Tamil as their second language in school, with English as the first. Other Tamil communities, such as those in South Africa , Fiji , Mauritius , Trinidad and Tobago , Guyana , Suriname , Jamaica , French Guiana , Guadeloupe , Martinique , and the Caribbean no longer speak Tamil language as a first language, but still retain a strong Tamil identity, and are able to understand the language, while most elders speak it as a first language.
A large emigration also began in the s, as Sri Lankan Tamils sought to escape the ethnic conflict there.