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Tamil Studies in Ceylon

A review essay of 1968 by S. Vithiananthan

(Reader, Department of Tamil, University of Ceylon, Peradeniya)

What Vithiananthan has boldly stated in this review, “Almost all the books dealing with the history of Ceylon have not depicted impartially the events that took place in the north and east and other parts of Ceylon where the Tamils lived. The Sinhalese historians have not been interested in events that would prove the non-Sinhalese origin of cultural trends and historical events in Ceylon. As a result, the history books written by some of these scholars have been blinded by prejudice; they are partisan and are made to serve the interests of the major community…” remains a fact even after 40 years. With the exception of a few early trend-setters like Paul E. Pieris and M.H.P. Silva, the likes of historians Senarat Paranavitana, and Kingsley Muthumuni de Silva and their successors have succumbed to political Comstockery in favor of Sinhala-Buddhist sentiments.

Front Note by Sachi Sri Kantha

Last January 22nd marked the twentieth death anniversary of Professor Suppramaniam Vithiananthan (1924-1989). He belonged to the intellectual pedigree of professors who adorned the Tamil professor chair at the then University of Ceylon from 1940s to 1960s. His predecessors include Swami Vipulananda, K. Kanapathi Pillai and V. Chelvanayakam. Many who have known Professor Vithiananthan in personal and professional capacity still live amongst us. As for me, my only interactions with him included facing him as a young applicant for a couple of job interviews held at the University of Jaffna and a few letter transactions in 1981. But I have one special identity with him. Professor Vithiananthan and I share the same birthday (May 8) – but not the birth year.

Prof. S Vithiananthan
Prof. S Vithiananthan

Since this year marks the 85th birth anniversary of Professor Vithiananthan, I reproduce below a solid and lengthy review essay of 13,645 word (on the English medium scholarship of Tamil studies) he had authored in 1968, that contained over 210 references. These references cover the period of literature published from 1831 to 1966 – a span of 135 years. Unfortunately almost all of the cited references in journals are devoid of page numbers. References to the now defunct Tamil Culture journal are devoid of publication year detail as well. But as volume and issue numbers are provided, this won’t be a problem for the students who are interested in checking the original citations. Vithiananthan mentions in his review that “Tamil is the first Indian and Ceylonese language in which books were printed.”, referring to the descriptions made by Fr. Xavier Thani Nayagam on the Tamil manuscripts found in the European libraries. One of the earliest Tamil books to be printed was the Tamil-Portuguese dictionary, published by the Jesuit Press in 1679. Since then, 330 years have elapsed.

What Vithiananthan has boldly stated in this review, “Almost all the books dealing with the history of Ceylon have not depicted impartially the events that took place in the north and east and other parts of Ceylon where the Tamils lived. The Sinhalese historians have not been interested in events that would prove the non-Sinhalese origin of cultural trends and historical events in Ceylon. As a result, the history books written by some of these scholars have been blinded by prejudice; they are partisan and are made to serve the interests of the major community…” remains a fact even after 40 years. With the exception of a few early trend-setters like Paul E. Pieris and M.H.P. Silva, the likes of historians Senarat Paranavitana, and Kingsley Muthumuni de Silva and their successors have succumbed to political Comstockery in favor of Sinhala-Buddhist sentiments. For the uninitiated, the dictionary defines the noun Comstockery (still with a capital C) as ‘censorship of anything considered immoral or obscene in literary, artistic or broadcast material’ derived from Anthony Comstock (1844-1915), the leader of the New York society for the suppression of vice. In pre-independent Ceylon, political Comstockery raised its head with Hitler’s Aryan nation campaign in Europe during the 1930s, and certifying anything Aryan and Buddhist became trendy among the Sinhalese chauvinist historians.S. Thanayarajasingam

I took an interest to prepare this text, to pay tribute to two other Eelam Tamil scholars – namely Rev. Hyacinth Singharayar David (1907-1981) and Sabaratnasinghe Thananjayarajasingham (1933-1977) – whose studies have been cited in this review by Vithiananthan. It should be noted Rev. David died on June 2, 1981 from the shock incurred from watching the Jaffna Public Library vandalized by the unruly Sinhalese elements instigated by Cyril Mathew and his coterie. Thananjayarajasingham’s premature death in his forties in 1977 was an irreplaceable loss to research on Tamil linguistics. A final thought: the quality of the contents of this extensive review by Vithiananthan becomes evident when one checks a sloppy, half-baked attempt contributed by Karthigesu Indrapala (in only two pages!) to the History of Ceylon, vol.3, edited by Kingsley M.de Silva in 1973. In his academic debauchery, Indrapala makes no mention of this particular Vithiananthan review of 1968 in English. As a foot-note to the title, Indrapala makes a passing mention to a previous Vithiananthan study Ilakkiyat-Tenral of 1953, in Tamil!

The body of this lengthy review by Vithiananthan consists of following six sections.

1. History and culture of the Tamils in general

2. History and culture of the Tamils of Ceylon

3. Religion and Philosophy

4. Tamil literature and history of Tamil literature

5. Linguistics

6. Lexicography and journalism

In the original texts, cited references are provided in each page. For convenience, I have re-formatted the references at the end of the text. Note that among the 210 references, citation for reference 194 is missing in the original text.

Tamil Studies in Ceylon; a review essay of 1968

by Professor Vithiananthan

[source: Tamil Studies Abroad – a symposium, edited by Xavier S. Thani Nayagam, International Association of Tamil Research, Petaling Jaya, 1968, pp. 146-203]

Ceylon, the ‘Pearl Island’, Milton’s ‘India’s utmost isle, Taprobane’, is the homeland of over two and a half millions of Tamil speaking people. A language is always a mirror of a people’s genius. The Tamil language has been spoken in Ceylon for over two thousand years. The poems composed by the Tamil poets of Ceylon are found in the works of the Sangam Age [1]. The Tamil spoken in Ceylon is said to represent the Sangam period with its ancient morphological and grammatical forms and with words which have become obsolete for centuries in South India. The development of Tamil in Ceylon has not been hampered by the extraneous influences to which South India was subject – this is evident from the fact that Ceylon Tamil speech and phonetics are as found in the earliest Tamil grammars.

The Tamils of Ceylon have produced a literature of great worth. When the Arya Cakravartis came into power in North Ceylon in the thirteenth century a good number of Tamil works were published. A college of literati called ‘The Tamil Sangam’ was established. During the nineteenth and twentieth centuries the scholarship of the Ceylon Tamils was held in such high esteem that they won fame and recognition in South India. The great revivalist movement in Tamil and Saivism owes a great debt to Arumuka Navalar who was given the title of ‘Navalar’ or ‘Orator’ by the South Indians. His scholarly edition of old literary and grammatical works is still acknowledged as outstanding. He was the first great scholar to print classics without government help. He is also great as a translator and as the father of modern Tamil prose. He also made endowments in South India for Tamil studies.

C.W. Thamotharampillai of Siruppiddy, Jaffna, was a lecturer in Tamil at the Presidency College, Madras, from where he sat for the B.A. examination conducted for the first time by the Madras University in 1857. The two candidates who sat for the examination were both Ceylon Tamils – C.W. Thamotharam Pillai and his teacher Carrol Visvanatha Pillai. Both passed the examination with distinction but Thamotharam Pillai came first in the pass list beating his teacher who came second. He was a pioneer editor of Tolkaapiyam and of the ancient classics. His edition of Kalittokai has been a model for subsequent editors.

V. Kanagasabai Pillai, the author of The Tamils Eighteen Hundred Years Ago earned a name for Ceylon Tamils in India by his researches in the history and culture of the Tamils. Kanagasundaram Pillai from Trincomalee also made his mark in South India. He edited some important works and served as professor of Tamil in South India. Swami Vipulananda of Karaitivu, Batticaloa, immortalized his name in South India and outside by the discovery of the greatness of the ancient Tamil music and musical instruments of the Tamils. He was invited to be the first professor of Tamil at the Annamalai University.

Besides these great pioneers who crossed the Straits and were recognized as scholars of outstanding merit, the American Missionaries in Jaffna made a useful and very important contribution to Tamil language by translation of modern sciences. Another branch of knowledge to which Ceylon made a distinct contribution was Tamil lexicography. The best of the early lexicons produced in Tamil was by missionaries in Ceylon and by other great scholars from this island. In this field, Rev.J. Knight, Winslow, Percival, C.W. Kathiraivelpillai, N. Kathiraverpillai and Mootatampi Pillai are still held in high esteem.

Tamil Studies in English

The contribution of Ceylon to Tamil studies in the English medium has been really outstanding. Ceylon showed the way to South Indian scholars in many fields of Tamil studies in the English medium since a high standard of English education was maintained in Ceylon.

  • Scholars trained in the American Mission Seminary

To the American missionaries is due the praise of being the earliest and most enterprising pioneers of western education in Ceylon. They started the Batticotta Seminary in 1823 with the main object of giving the youth of this country a thorough knowledge of the English language. This was in institution of a university grade and the universities of India were not started till the middle of the nineteenth century. The course of instruction embraced English grammar, arithmetic, algebra, Tamil grammar, English language and literature, natural philosophy, mental philosophy, logic, history, chemistry, European and Hindu astronomy, law and other subjects. Scholars trained at this institution – Daniel L. Carrol, C.W. Thamotharampillai, Newins, C.W. Kathiraivelpillai, Arnold and many others – have made pioneer contribution to Tamil studies in the English medium.

  • Public Servants

There is also another band of Ceylon scholars, who while being in the service of the Government of Ceylon and South India, contributed to the study of Tamil literature, history and culture in the English medium. V. Kanagasabai Pillai and C.W. Thamotharam Pillai mentioned earlier, are two of those who built up a high reputation as scholars while serving in India.

There are also instances of many public servants in Ceylon whose lives were marked by intense literary and intellectual activity. Foremost among them is Simon Casie Chitty whose activities extended over a wide field, displaying a keen insight and study of oriental languages and historical research. He compiled the first Gazetteer on Ceylon while holding the appointment of Mudaliyar of Calpentyn. He is one of the greatest among pioneer orientalists and antiquarians in the English medium.

Sir Paul E. Pieris is one of those few public servants of the Ceylon Civil Service who has contributed to our knowledge of the archaeology, history and culture of the Ceylon Tamils. He occupies a pre-eminent place in this field. Another civil servant who made use of his leisure time and took an abiding interest in the place of his sojourn is J.P. Lewis who made a study of the archaelogy, the customs, the popular tales, the traditions and the history of the Tamil-speaking people. Mudaliyar C. Rasanayagam is another distinguished public servant who has made very valuable contribution in English to the study of the history of the Tamils of Ceylon.

(c) Other Distinguished Scholars

Several other individuals well versed in the Tamil culture and with a mastery of western languages, philosophy and culture have by translations and original works and articles interpreted Tamil poetry and Tamil art to the West. Outstanding among these scholars are Dr. Ananda K. Coomaraswamy, T. Isacc Tambyah, J.V. Chelliah, Sir Ponnambalam Arunachalam, Kalaippulavar Navaratnam, C.S. Navaratnam, Rev. Gnanapragasam and others.

(d) University of Ceylon

The University of Ceylon has contributed in a great measure to the advancement of Tamil studies in English. Swami Vipulananda, the first professor of Tamil of the University of Ceylon, who by his deep researches into the ancient and scientific music of the Tamils earned an undying name in the history of the Tamils and their culture, has contributed thought provoking articles in English on the literature, religion and music of the Tamils. Dr. K. Kanapathi Pillai who succeeded him in 1949 and built up the Tamil department, was the first to make a study of the language of the Tamil inscriptions. His thesis entitled A Study of the Language of the Tamil Inscriptions of the seventh and eighth centuries A.D. is still a standard work, quoted by others who have worked in this field. He is an authority on the Jaffna dialect of Tamil and on the Tamil inscriptions of Ceylon. He has contributed articles in English on the Jaffna Tamil dialect and has also edited a number of Ceylon Tamil inscriptions. He has contributed articles in English on the Jaffna Tamil dialect and has also edited a number of Ceylon Tamil inscriptions.

Mr V. Chelvanayagam who was appointed professor of Tamil in August 1965 and who has written two recognized books in Tamil on the history of Tamil literature and the history of Tamil prose [2] has written an article in English on the dates of Cilappatikaaram and Manimekalai.

The writer of this article, a senior lecturer in Tamil, worked on Dravidian civilization for his Ph.D degree. This thesis, Pattuppaattu – a historical, social and linguistic study, has been reviewed as a ‘rich contribution to the history of Tamil civilisation’. This deals in a ‘sound and scientific manner with the earliest history of the Tamil people as depicted in the Pattuppaattu’. This thesis has served as a model for others who worked in this field later and has been quoted by various scholars. He has also done active research on the folklore of the Tamils of Ceylon and is due to publish a book in English on the Folk Drama of the Tamils of Ceylon. He has contributed articles in English to various journals on this subject and on Ceylonese Tamil writing.

Dr. A. Sathasivam has specialized in the study of the ancient Tamil grammar and has read papers at Conferences on this branch of study. He is at present engaged in research on affinities between Sumerian and Dravidian.

Mr. S. Thananjayarajasingham has made a critical study of some of the Dutch Tamil records in Ceylon. His thesis on these Dutch records is a pioneer work of great merit in this field. Besides contributing articles on Tamil linguistics he has published research articles on the various Tamil dialects of Ceylon. He is now engaged in collecting material for a much needed book on the Tamil dialects of Ceylon.

Dr. A. Veluppillai is a linguist who has followed up the work started by Professor K. Kanapathi Pillai. He is a doctor of philosophy of the University of Ceylon and of the University of Oxford. He has made a study of the Tamil inscriptions of the Chola period and is now working on the Tamil inscriptions of Ceylon.

Mr. K. Kailasapathy, assistant lecturer, is away in Birmingham working for his Ph.D. degree on the heroic age of the Tamils.

Rev. Dr. Xavier S. Thani Nayagam, who was for a long time attached to the University of Ceylon as a lecturer in education, is now the professor of Indian studies at the University of Malaya. He is the ambassador of Tamil language and culture abroad and is to a large extent responsible for building up an interest in Tamil studies abroad. He is the founder and chief editor of the Tamil Culture, the only English review of the general field of Tamil studies. He has made a special study of nature in Tamil literature and has done research on educational thought in ancient Tamil literature. He has contributed a number of articles on Tamil culture and literature.

There is a Department of Tamil at the Vidyodaya University of Ceylon. Mr. M.M. Uwise, the head of this department, is the first to write a comprehensive book on the contribution of Muslims to Tamil literature. This is a pioneer work in this field. Mr. K. Sivathamby, his assistant, is working on the Tamil drama for his Ph.D. degree.

The Tamil departments at the University of Ceylon and at the Vidyodaya University are growing in strength gradually and have, within a short period, contributed substantially to Tamil studies, both in the English and in the Tamil medium.

A detailed analysis of Tamil studies in Ceylon – English medium scholarship – may be made under the following main six sections:

I. History and culture of the Tamils in general

II. History and culture of the Tamils of Ceylon

III. Religion and philosophy

IV. Tamil literature and history of Tamil literature

V. Linguistics, and

VI. Lexicography and journalism.

I. History and culture of the Tamils in General

The pioneer work in the history of the Tamils and their culture was written by V. Kanagasabai Pillai who opened up a new horizon to many a foreigner with his book The Tamils Eighteen Hundred Years Ago which was first published in 1904 [3].  This book threw a flood of light on the life of the ancient Tamils. Earlier writers were not familiar with the most ancient classics of the Tamil language like the Sangam works. Most of the ancient Tamil works saw the light only then and this book is a distinct contribution to the study of those works. It helps us to recapture the life and glory of those ancient times and cherish the value of the great characteristics of Tamil culture. The author, after discussing the ancient Tamil literature published during his time, first describes the geography and foreign trade of the Tamil land, the various Tamil races and tribes and then gives an account of the Chola, Pandya, Chera and other princes and chiefs of that period. The social life, the systems of philosophy and religion are discussed at length. A long account is given of Tirukkural, Cilappatikaaram and Manimekalai which are also taken to be Sangam works. Kanagasabai Pillai has also written an article on the conquest of Bengal and Burma by the imperial Cholas [4].

Simon Casie Chitty, a talented and learned author who even in his day was considered a man of versatile genius, was an ardent antiquarian who published the first Gazetteer on Ceylon. One of his distinguished works is The castes, customs, manners and literature of the Tamils[5]. This deals with the origin and country of the Tamils, the division, subdivision and mixture of castes, the customs and habits, rites and ceremonies, religion and superstition and language and literature of the Tamils. The book was published after his death by his granddaughter, Mrs. Gardiner.

The writer of this article in his thesis, The Pattuppaattu – a historical social and linguistic study, establishes that Tolkaappiyam, Cilappathikaaram, Manimekalai and the eighteen minor works including Tirukkural belong to a period later than the Sangam age [6]. He maintains that only the Pattuppaattu and Ettuttokai collection should form the basis for analyzing the civilization of the Sangam age. The culture and civilization of the Sangam age is presented in this thesis with the Pattuppaattu as the basis of the study. The early Brahmi and Tamil inscriptions have been examined wherever necessary. The accounts of Western writers on the foreign trade of the Tamils have also been included. The historical background of the Pattuppaattu, the kings and chiefs eulogized in those poems, their dates, the government and administration of that period and the religious and social life of the people have been dealth with in great length. The last part of the thesis is a linguistic study of the poems. This is the first attempt to present in a scientific method the history and culture of the Tamils of that period as depicted in the poetry of that age.

E.S.W. Senathi Rajah in his article ‘Glimpses of ancient Dravidians’ discusses who the ancient Dravidians are and then gives an account of the conditions of Tamil society with porul literature as basis [7]. V.J. Thambi Pillai, in an article written by him, establishes that if any remnant of the old solar race should exist in India it would be found, not among the northern races but among the Dravidian population of the south [8].

Dravida by E.L. Tambimuttu (with maps and illustrations) presents in a short compass the history of the Tamils from prehistoric times to 1800 [9]. This book, which was published with a foreword by K.A. Nilakanta Sastri, tells the story of the Tamil countries and their civilization in a readable and interesting manner. This is the first work which deals with the history of South India as a whole and not merely of any single dynasty or of a particular period. Earlier works of historians like K. A. Nilakanta Sastri, Rajagopalan, Minakshi and others dealt with only the history of particular dynasties like the Cholas, Pandyas, Pallavas and others. It was only after the publication of Dravida that works like History of South India by K.A. Nilakanta Sastri appeared [10]. Dravida was considered so important that it was translated into Tamil also [11].

R.R. Crossette Thambiah, former solicitor general of Ceylon, in his work Tamils: Ancient and Modern has developed the theme that the Tamils are a very ancient people, entitled in their own right to high precedence in the annals of civilization [12]. He shows that Dravidian civilization is one of the oldest civilizations of the world and discusses the contribution of Dravidians to civilization, the origin of this civilization and the extent of the contribution of the Dravidians to the totality of Indian culture. He also refers at length to the culture of the Tamils of Ceylon and to their contribution in the field of religion, arts, architecture etc.

Rev. Thani Nayagam in his thesis submitted to the University of London for the degree of Ph.D. discusses the educational thought of the Tamils as found in their ancient literature [13]. This thesis is a work of rare merit in this field. In his article ‘Earliest Jain and Buddhist teaching in the Tamil country’ he shows how Tirukkural maintains the poetic tradition of education and its development along humanistic links and how Cilappatikaaram and Manimekalai represent the religious education of the philosophic stage of development [14]. The education of ancient Tamil society is examined in three other articles on this subject written by him – ‘Ancient Tamil literature and the study of ancient Indian education’[15], ‘The educators of early Tamil society’[16], and ‘Ancient Tamil poet-educators’[17]. Rev. Thani Nayagam was the first scholar to point out that the Tamil contribution to the culture of South east Asia has not been sufficiently studied and that the available material has not been satisfactorily interpreted. In his article ‘Tamil cultural influence in South east Asia’ he points out that scholars like K.A. Nilakanta Sastri have failed to assess the Tamil influence on the social life, institutions, customs, art and architecture of South east Asia and suggests the lines on which investigations regarding this question should be made [18].

Mr. S.J. Gunasegaram follows this up with a booklet Early Tamil Cultural Influences in South east Asia where he analyses the contribution made by the Tamils to the arts, architecture, religion, literature and administration of Ceylon, Burma, Siam, Cambodia, Malaya and the islands of Sumatra, Java, Borneo, Bali, Celebes and Philippines [19].

R. Chelvadurai, proctor, in an article published in the Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society (Ceylon branch) shows that at a remote period of Tamil history there was an awakening of a passion for locality and furnishing it with an impetus for good life by means of architecture which included selecting sites for designing and constructing houses, villages, towns and cities, alignment of roads and streets, sculpture, painting etc.[20].

Swami Vipulananda in two articles, ‘Harps of the ancient Tamil land and the twenty two srutis of Indian musical theory’[21] and ‘The harp with a thousand strings’[22] presents for the first time a description of the ancient musical systems of the Tamils and of their musical instruments. Dr. Ananda K. Coomaraswamy in his book History of Indian and Indonesian Art touches on Dravidian art of the Pallava, Chola and Vijayanagar periods of Indian history and also refers to the influence of Dravidian on Ceylonese and Burmese art [23]. C. Nagalingam of the Department of National Museums, Ceylon, in his article ‘The Pallavas, their origin and their title Videl-vidugu’ traces the history of the Pallavas and discusses their origin [24]. K.P. Ratnam, formerly a lecturer at the Government Training College, Colombo and now a member of parliament has, in an article entitled, ‘Education in ancient Tamil countries’ dealt with the history of the Tamils in South India and Ceylon, the origin of the Tamils and their culture and civilization [25].

II. The History and culture of the Tamils of Ceylon

The history of the Tamils of Ceylon has still not been properly worked out. Almost all the books dealing with the history of Ceylon have not depicted impartially the events that took place in the north and east and other parts of Ceylon where the Tamils lived. The Sinhalese historians have not been interested in events that would prove the non-Sinhalese origin of cultural trends and historical events in Ceylon. As a result, the history books written by some of these scholars have been blinded by prejudice; they are partisan and are made to serve the interests of the major community. This has given room to gross errors and misleading judgments in the writing of the history of the Tamils of Ceylon and the exposition of Ceylonese culture. The activities of the Department of Archaeology have not been conspicuous in the Tamil districts. ‘This department lacks either the will or the means or possibly deficient in both’. The department does not, perhaps, realize that the Jaffna district is a gold mine for archaeological research as well as for antiquities.

The history of the Tamils of Ceylon has also been written by the Tamils themselves. In the case of the older generation of writers in this group, prejudices and pleasing theories pass for canons of criticism and tests of accuracy; racial and personal vanity have marked their judgment. In the case of many others, they have let their patriotism get the better of their judgment. In spite of these defects, we have a large amount of literature on the history and culture of the Tamils of Ceylon.

(a) History of the Tamils of Ceylon

In the year 1736 AD, at the request of Jan Maccra, the then Dutch governor of Jaffna, one Mayilvaakana Pulavar of Matakal composed in Tamil prose the Yaalppana Vaipava Maalai, the earliest history of Jaffna [26]. His authorities were certain earlier writings such as the Kailaayamaalai, Vaiyaapatal, Pararajacekarar Ula and Raaja Murai. The Vaipavamaalai is therefore the earliest faithful account of all that was available at that time and is considered as one of the authorities for the writing of the history of Jaffna. Kailaayamaalai was translated into English by A. Mootatamby Pillai in 1908 [27]. Yaalpaana Vaipavamaalai was translated into English by C. Britto in 1879 [28]. This translation has added an appendix and glossary which are useful for a better understanding of the history and literature of the Tamils. Some of the historians of Jaffna since 1879 have mutilated, altered and amended the Vaipavamaalai according to their whims and fancies so much so that there are now but few who acknowledge its historical value. On the contrary, the belief seems to be gaining ground that it is only a compendium of ancient folklore, women’s tales and mythological anecdotes.

Of the books written in English on the history of Jaffna since the translation of Vaipava Maalai in 1879, mention may be made of A Handbook of the Jaffna Peninsula by S. Katiresu, proctor, Jaffna [29]. This book deals with the origin of Jaffna, the Tamil kingdoms, Jaffna Tamil poets, newspapers and magazines, industries, local customs and games etc.

Dr. Paul E. Pieris has given an account of the administrative organization of Jaffna of the Portuguese period in his book The Kingdom of Jaffnapatam [30]. The information for this book was derived from a manuscript preserved at the Bibliotheca Nacional of Lisbon, Section Archivo de Marinha e Ultramar. ‘Nagadipa and Buddhist remains in Jaffna’ are two papers read by the same author before the Ceylon branch of the Royal Asiatic Society [31]. In these papers he first outlines the intimate connection which existed through eighteen centuries between the Sinhalese and the Tamils and then gives evidence for the Sinhalese occupation of the North of Ceylon. This is followed by an account of Nagadipa and the Buddhist remains in Kantarodai, Mallakam, Mahiyapiti, Uduvil, Puloly and Chulipuram. These remains include lithic Tamil inscriptions, coins and metals like copper, iron, lead, pottery etc. He concludes that these remains suggest that North Ceylon was a flourishing settlement of the Tamil centuries before Vijaya was born – at least before the commencement of the Christian era.

Notes on Jaffna by John H. Martyn records what has taken place in Jaffna since it came under the European sway [32]. It is a unique work containing chronological, historical and biographical information relating to Jaffna. It contains a mass of facts laboriously and assiduously collected and brought together into as brief a compass as possible. The first part consists of a detailed chronological table of events from 1505 to 1920 covering 134 pages. It is a synopsis of the history of Jaffna during the Portuguese, Dutch and British periods. The ‘Notes’ which follow and cover 229 pages contain historical and biographical sketches relating to public institutions and literary enterprises. The authorities bearing on these notes have been quoted in every case. The volume is provided with a good index which enhances the value of the book for purposes of reference.

Ancient Jaffna by Mudaliyar C. Rasanayagam (with a foreword by Dr. S. Krishnaswami Aiyangar) embodies a great amount of labour and intensive research resulting in the bringing together of a volume of material much of which is hardly known outside of Jaffna and a considerable part of which would completely disappear if not put on record and utilized for purposes of history [33]. The vast material is marshaled and preserved in a form to make the chequered history of Jaffna read something like a connected narrative. Rasanayagam exhibits in this work much critical acumen and judgment. Though he allows his patriotism to get the better of his judgment on occasions (as in the case of his efforts to identify place names mentioned in Tamil literature and by classical geographers with places in Jaffna) the work is a definite contribution to the study of the history of Jaffna and affords a lot of material to those who are interested in this field.

Swami Gnanaprakasar, the eminent historian and philologist from Nallur, Jaffna, has left behind a number of unpublished manuscripts. One of them entitled The Kings of Jaffna with sidelights on the history of the Tamils in Ceylon from the earliest era was written towards the end of his life. Some of the chapters have been reproduced in the Tamil Culture. In the chapter ‘Ceylon originally a land of Dravidians’ he maintains that at the earliest times, Ceylon was occupied, at least in the main, by a Tamil speaking people and that the successive waves of early immigrants of South India mingled one with another in the course of centuries and they were all of the same stock and spoke the same dialect of Tamil [34]. The chapter ‘The Tamils turn Sinhalese’ establishes the theory that the Sinhalese are Dravidians in origin [35]. He maintains that the Tamils turned Sinhalese in the course of few centuries and that the new language created by the super-structure of the Indo-Aryan became settled in the course of time, the new words having been assimilated to the old Tamil dialect by giving them a twist comfortable to it. In the chapter ‘Beginnings of Tamil rule in Ceylon’ he traces the history of Tamil rule in Ceylon till 1215 [36].

Swami Gnanaprakasar has also contributed articles on the history of Jaffna to the Ceylon Antiquary and Literary Register. The separate coinage in North Ceylon under the Singai Ariya Chakravartis of Jaffna is described in the article ‘The forgotten coinage of the Kings of Jaffna’[37]. The Kailaaya Maalai, Vaiyaapaatal, Pararajacekaran Ula and Raja Murai, the sources of the chronicle Yalppaana vaipavamaalai, are described in his article ‘Sources of the Yalppaana Vaipava Maalai’[38]. ‘Some ruins in Jaffna’ is another article by him which gives particulars of a few ancient objects found in the Tenmaradchi division of Jaffna in Chavakachcheri, Verakkadu, Talvalai and Sankiliya Thidal [39].

Other scholars have also contributed articles to journals on various subjects of the history of the Tamils of Ceylon. Mention must first be made of a very scholarly paper read by Simon Casie Chitty at a meeting of the Ceylon branch of the Royal Asiatic Society in 1847 [40]. In this paper Casie Chitty gives a comprehensive account of the history of the Tamils of North Ceylon from the earliest times to the Dutch conquest of Ceylon. ‘Jaffna, past and present’ is the subject of an article by S.H.T. Taylor [41]. He traces the history of Jaffna from the time of the first settlers to the present day, dealing in detail with literature, education, industries etc. J.P. Lewis, while being the government agent of the Northern Province, made some notes on archaeological matters relating to the Jaffna peninsula and Mannar [42]. He has also given an account of the Portuguese forts in the Jaffna islands [43].

Another civil servant, Horsburgh, wrote an article to the same journal giving evidence from place names to show that the Sinhalese occupied the Northern portion of the mainland [44]. This was followed by more articles on the same subject by other scholars. Swami Gnanaprakasar added to the names given by Horsburgh the names of smaller village divisions and those of particular fields and gardens [45]. J.P. Lewis posed the question whether these Sinhalese village names found in Jaffna were older than the first Tamil settlements [46]. In reply Horsburgh added more suffixes of village names [47]. S.W.Coomaraswamy gave a list of place names in Jaffna ending in –pay [48].

The Sir Paul Pieris felicitation volume carries an article by M.D. Raghavan where he traces connection between the Tamils of Jaffna and the people of Malabar basing his findings on the comparison of the habits, ways of life, dress, food habits, ornaments, customs, place names, laws of the land, traditions etc. [49]. In an article appearing in the Journal of Royal Asiatic Society Ceylon branch, Dr. S.C. Paul examines how far it could be proved correctly that Jaffna exercised an overlordship over the whole of Ceylon in the thirteenth, fourteenth and fifteenth centuries [50].

A translation of Kavi Raja Varothayer’s poem which gives an account of the origin and history of the Hindu temple at Trincomalee was done by Simon Casie Chitty in 1831 [51]. W.J.S. Boake of the Ceylon Civil Service read a paper in 1887 giving an account of the temple of Siva at Tirukkethiswaram [52]. In the Orientalist, a monthly journal of oriental literature, arts and sciences, folklore etc. edited in Ceylon by William Goonetillekke of Kandy, Dr. Covington gives an account of the location, architecture and origin of the Hindu temple at Katragama and describes the festivals celebrated there [53]. M.D. Raghavan has made a study of the traditions and legends of Nagarcoil, a seaside village in the Vadamarahchi division of Jaffna [54]. He describes the annual festival of the boat held at the temple of the king of snakes – Naga Tambiran and gives the boat song along with translation in English.

Besides these early writers and articles which gave an account of the history of the Tamils, especially the history of the Tamils of Ceylon, there is a publication by C.S. Navaratnam which gives a comprehensive account of the history of the Tamils in Ceylon[55]. Tamil influence in Ceylon in agriculture, irrigation, trade, religion, social customs etc. have also been discussed.

J.P. Lewis has analysed the archaeology of the Vanni district in an article read in 1893[56]. He also explains the meanings of the place names of the Vanni district in another paper[57]. Swami Gnanaprakasar has made a study of a Tamil ola of 1781 conferring the title and privileges of Mudaliyar for an Udaiyar of Vilankulam[58]. Lieutenant Thomas Nagel has also written an article on the Vanni district[59]. The only book on Vanni is that written by C.S. Navaratnam which gives a history of the Tamils of Vanni and assesses their contribution to national culture[60].

It has often been said that the district of Batticaloa has ‘marked time’ for many years in spite of the opening up of coconut estates and the repair and improvement of irrigation works. Very few books or articles have been written about the history of this district. The Monograph of the Batticaloa district of the Eastern Province of Ceylon by S.O. Canagaratnam gives the social and economic history of the district including religion and education, irrigation and industry, administration, customs and ceremonies and feasts and festivities[61]. Portions of the manual deal with old time customs, many of them now obsolete. D.W.N. Kadramar of Batticaloa has printed a book containing six articles by various authors published in journals[62]. These deal with the traditions as to the origin of the people of Batticaloa, the kammalas of Batticaloa, Batticaloa 116 years ago, coconut industry and the singing fish of Batticaloa. ‘Seerpaadam of the Eastern Province’ is the title of an article written by M.D. Raghavan[63]. In the eastern province of Ceylon are a number of groups, little known outside their village bounds. One such is the Seerpaadam – a community with a tribal structure and an integrated socio-economic organization. The kalvettu collected at Tiruneelaavani is included in the article with a free rendering in English.

The ethnology of the Moors of Ceylon forms the subject matter of a paper read by Sir Ponnambalam Ramanathan at a meeting of the Ceylon Royal Asiatic Society[64]. According to him the history of the Moors of Ceylon proves them to be Tamils. The social customs and physical features and the language spoken by them even in remote Sinhalese districts are adduced as proofs of this inference.

There are few articles and books on the history of Ceylon which also deal with the history of the Tamils of Ceylon. Sir P. Arunachalam’s Sketches of Ceylon History was first published in 1906[65]. While dealing with the history of Ceylon from very early times to the conquest of Ceylon by the British, he also refers to the history of the Tamils of Ceylon.

Dr.S. Arasaratnam, formerly lecturer in history at the University of Ceylon and now senior lecturer in Indian studies at the University of Malaya has written a book on the history of Ceylon from 1658-1687[66]. Here he also analyse the impact of the Dutch rule on the social, religious, educational and economical life of the Tamils of Ceylon. In the series ‘The Modern Nations in Historical Perspective’ he has written a book on Ceylon[67]. Chapter 3 and 4 of this book give an account of the Tamils of Ceylon and of the Muslims of Ceylon.

(b) Culture of the Tamils of Ceylon

There has been a tendency on the part of some writers on cultural subjects in Ceylon to ignore the contribution of the Tamils to the cultural content of Ceylon and to maintain that the culture of Ceylon is purely a product of the Sinhalese, because they form the majority of the population.

A timely publication to counteract this narrow communalism which is denying the Tamils their rightful place in the cultural life of Ceylon is the book Tamil element in Ceylon Culture by Kalaippulavar K. Navaratnam[68]. The author, a self made scholar, endowed with the gift of an analytical and discriminating mind, had rendered a distinctive service by providing a well authenticated book where he has traced the antiquity of the Tamils and their contribution to the cultural evolution of Ceylon. Copious references have been given to impartial observations and conclusions of many scholars. It sets forth in correct perspective the relative contributions of the Sinhalese and Tamils to the social, cultural and religious life of Ceylon. The influence of the Tamils on the Sinhalese in the fields of religion, art and architecture, language and literature, dance and music, social structure and legal systems are dealt with at length.

Arts and crafts of Jaffna is a book written by Navaratnam in 1953[69]. Weaving, dyeing and printing, brass and iron works, gold and silver work, sculpture, carpentry, palmyrah products and fine arts are subjects treated in this work. Development of Art in Ceylon is a booklet which embodies a lecture delivered by the same author at Zahira College Hall, Colombo, under the auspices of the Tamil Cultural Society, Colombo, in 1955[70]. This booklet deals with the Pallava, Chola, Vijayanagar, Nayaka and Madura style of architecture of Ceylon.

Earlier Dr. Ananda K. Coomaraswamy in his book Medieval Sinhalese Art referred to Tamil influence on the art and customs of the Sinhalese[71]. J.P. Lewis of the Ceylon Civil Service has contributed many articles dealing with various aspects of Ceylon Tamil culture. The use of conventional language when engaged in the various operations of paddy cultivation prevailing among paddy cultivators, both Sinhalese and Tamil, were noted by him in a paper submitted to the Royal Asiatic Society, Ceylon branch[72]. The volume in which this paper was published carries another article by him where he compares the Tamil customs and ceremonies connected with paddy cultivation in Jaffna with those practised by the Kandyans and Low Country Sinhalese[73]. This article also carries notes on astrology in agriculture, Ceylon ploughs and charms. Customs etc. as regards paddy cultivation in Batticaloa have also been noted. In an article to the Orientalist he shows many points of resemblance between the Sinhalese and Tamils as regards terms of relationship – words, idioms and modes of expression[74]. The music of the Sinhalese and Tamils are described by W. Sathasivam in the Ceylon National Review[75]. Social and domestic customs and ceremonies prevailing in Jaffna form the subject of an article by C. Arumugam[76]. Following this article, Swami Gnanaprakasar writes about customs and ceremonies of the Jaffna district[77].

As regards the folklore of Jaffna, J.P. Lewis contributed a paper on this subject to the Ceylon Antiquary and Literary Register in 1917[78]. The writer of this article, who has collected and published the folk songs of Batticaloa and Mannar[79] and edited two Ceylon folk dramas[80], has read papers and written articles in English on Tamil folk drama. The article ‘Tamil folk drama in Ceylon’ published in the Tamil Culture gives a comparative study of the Sinhala and Tamil folk plays and describes the various types of Ceylon Tamil folk plays[81]. The writer discusses in detail how the techniques and conventions necessary for the modern theatre can be evolved out of the elements existing in the folk drama.

M. Ramalingam of Vaddukoddai has collected and edited the folklore for over thirty five years. He is recognized even outside India as an authoritiy on Tamil folklore. He has to his credit three collections of Ceylon Tamil folk songs[82] and has written two articles in English which have been well received. The article entitled ‘The folklore of Jaffna’ explains some folk songs, with translation[83]. In the other article, ‘Folk songs of the Tamil speaking peoples of Ceylon’ he maintains that the folksongs which is a part of folklore, has not suffered in any way by impact of modern science and technology on them[84]. M. Raghavan has given a description of the conventionalized form of the musical kite of Jaffna in his description of folk sports in the Journal of the National Museums of Ceylon[85].

The popular cults of the Jaffna district were noted by J.P. Lewis in article in the Ceylon Antiquary and Literary Register[86]. Swami Gnanaprakasar commented on this article in the same journal[87]. The Pattini cult as a socio-religious institution is discussed by Mr. Raghavan[88]. Professor K. Kanapathi Pillai, in an article entitled ‘Popular religion among the Ceylon Tamils’ describes the worship of rivers, mountains, sun, moon, trees, elephants, coins, bulls, cobras, and mother Goddess as prevalent among the Tamils of North and East of Ceylon[89].

M. Raghavan in his book on Ceylon describes the cult of Goddesss Pattini, Katragama god, the Vanni and the Vanniyars, the castes of Jaffna and Batticaloa etc.[90]. Dr. W. Balendra has made a study of the Trincomalee bronzes[91]. He gives a description of these bronzes and the Konesar temple at Swami Rock.

Dr. Arasaratnam discusses the trade and agricultural economy of the Tamils of Jaffna during the latter half of the seventeenth century in an article published in Tamil Culture[92]. The status of Tamil in Ceylon is analysed by Mr. K. Nesiah, an educationalist of international fame and formerly a lecturer in education at the University of Ceylon in an article in Tamil Culture[93]. He argues that till Tamil is given the status of an official language throughout Ceylon, education will lack the incentive that comes from using in school the language of administration and maintains that a positive nationalism will promote the study of each other’s language and culture as an indispensable means of welding a multi-group society into a strong nation.

Mr. A.M.A. Azeez is one of the few Muslim scholars in Ceylon who is well versed in English and Tamil. He has contributed substantially towards the advancement of education and culture in Ceylon and exerted a great influence on current Muslim thought in the country. He has contributed an article in English on the culture of the Ceylon Muslims[94] and written a book on ‘Islam in Ceylon’[95]. His recent book The West Reappraised contains two articles, one on Arumuga Navalar and the other on Siddhi Lebbe[96]. Arumuga Navalar, the father of Tamil renaissance and the leader of the Saivite reformation, is portrayed here as a pioneering hero in the transition from the age of submergence to the age of survival, a significant period in the short chapter on modern Ceylon, in the long history of the cultural relationship between the East and the West. M.C. Siddhi Lebbe is shown as a pioneer of Muslim education in Ceylon.

A few books have been written on the law of the Tamils of Ceylon. H.W. Thambiah, Q.C., now a judge of the Supreme Court of Ceylon, in his book The Laws and Customs of the Tamils of Ceylon gives a systematic exposition of the Thesawalamai with a historical and critical approach[97]. This is an excellent treatise which reveals a thorough and enthusiastic research of all the literature available on the Thesawalamai. The first part of the book deals with the origin, history and application of Thesawalamai. The second contains the law of Persons. The third describes the law of Property and the fourth treats the law of Obligations. The Hindu law of Temporalities is discussed in the appendix. For ready reference the Thesawalamai ordinance and other important ordinances dealing with the Thesawalamai have been added. The author has also contributed two articles to Tamil Culture on the Thesawalamai. These deal with the origin and applicability of Thesawalamai[98] and give an outline of some of the topics dealth with by Thesawalamai such as slavery, caste, marriage, adoption, succession, servitudes and contracts[99]. T. Sri Ramanathan, proctor and lecturer at the Ceylon Law College, has also written a book on the laws of the Ceylon Tamils. Thesawalamai…The Laws and Customs of the Inhabitants of the Province of Jaffna, speaks of the origin of Thesawalamai, sources of Thesawalamai, applicability of Thesawalamai, slavery and caste system among the Tamils, marriage and guardianship and other subjects[100].

‘Tamil culture – its past, its present and its future with special reference to Ceylon’ is the text of a public lecture later published as an article by Rev. Father Thani Nayagam[101]. He traces the antiquity of Tamil culture in Ceylon and the literary output of Ceylon authors. He then analyses the present state of Tamil language in Ceylon and suggests how Tamil literature and language could be fostered in Ceylon.

III. Religion and Philosophy

Many standard books on the religion and philosophy of the Tamils have been written in English by Ceylon scholars. The Jaffna Tamils were versed in Saiva siddhanta philosophy that the heads of certain monastries in South India requested Jaffna scholars to expound this system of philosophy.

(a) Studies in Hinduism in general

Kalaippulavar K. Navaratnam, an earnest scholar and a man of deep faith, in his book Studies in Hinduism gives an exposition of Hindu religion, philosophy and mysticism[102]. In this book he has expounded the many sided nature of Hinduism with penetrative insight and lucidity of expression. Saiva siddhanta, the most popular philosophy of religion followed by the Tamils and a unique gift of Tamil culture to the world, is explained in detail, in the early chapters. Yoga mysticism of the siddhars and devotional mysticism of the Saiva and Vaisnava mystics are dealt with in two chapters. The last chapter describes the moral and ethical philosophy of the Tamils.

Cultural history and principles of Hinduism is a book in two parts by C. Sivaratnam, a retired doctor of Manipay[103]. Part I discusses the origin, spred and development of the Dravidian race, the Aryanisation of the Dravidians, the primitive Dravidian religion and philosophies of Hindu and the bhakti movement. Part II describes the structure of temples, the role of temples, festivals and the historical temples of Ceylon.

There are two books on the history of Hinduism in Ceylon. The earlier of these by Rev. James Cartman and gives an account of the objects of worship, temples and temple rituals and festivals and pilgrimages[104]. He also describes the beliefs, practices and customs as observed in Ceylon. A Short History of Hinduism in Ceylon by C.S. Navaratnam is a book which deserves special mention[105]. The history of Hinduism during the pre-Vijayan, Anuradhapura, Polonnaruwa and post-Polonnaruwa periods is traced in the first four chapters. Ancient temples to Siva, Visnu, Ganesha, Murukan, Pathini and Aiyanar have been described and the Hindu festivals noted in detail. The contribution of Cholas, Cheras and Pandyas to Buddhist shrines and institutions in Ceylon is assessed. The Hindu revival and Hindu influences on Buddhism are also mentioned at length. He has stimulated much fresh thinking about Tiruketheeswaram, Koneswaram, the Siva and Visnu shrines at Dondra, the unusual Arthanariswara figure found at Kahatagasdiliya and Berendi (Bairavar-Andi) kovil at Sitawaka.

(b) Studies in Savia Siddhanta and Vedanta

Saiva siddhanta as a religious system occupies a very important place in the history of religious thought in the world. As a system of religious thought, as an expression of faith and life, Saiva siddhanta is by far the best that the Tamils possess. Essentials of Hinduism in the light of Siva siddhanta by S. Sabharatna Mudaliyar places before the public in English a succinct account of the Hindu religion as propounded by the Siddhanta school and in a form suited to modern tastes[106].

The Saiva School of Hinduism by S. Shivapathasundaram, retired principal, Victoria College, Jaffna, is a well written, popular and accurate account of Hinduism based largely on Sivagnana Bodham and Sivagnana Siddhiyar[107]. The agamic method of proceedings from facts of experience to general principle have been followed here as much as possible. The same author  wrote An Outline of Shivagnanabodham at the request of Somasundaram Thambiran of Dharmapuram adhinam to refute the theories of Violet Paranjoti of Isabella Thoburn College, Lucknow, as put forward in her thesis Saiva Siddhanta in the Meykanda Sastra, submitted for the Ph.D. degree of the University of Madras[108].

The elements of Saiva Siddhantam is an introduction to the study of Sivagnana Siddiyar by ‘a science graduate’[109]. The same author has written The Genesis of the Sivagnana Bodham[110] and Vedanta Moola Saaram or the essence of the Upanishads[111]. Vedanta Moola Saaram presents a systematic and detailed survey of the contents of the vedantas to substantiate the statement that saiva siddhanta formed the cream or essence of the Vedanta.

The Saiva Siddhanta theory of Knowledge by Dr. V. Ponniah is perhaps a very valuable contribution in this field[112]. He has given a lucid presentation of the central problems of epistemology and shown how these have been tackled by saiva siddhanta. He has compared the views of the siddhantin with those of other Indian darsanas and western systems of philosophy. He has presented saiva siddhanta in its true light and evaluated it from a realistic stand point. This latter aspect together with the critical considerations and comparisons of the views of some alien thoughts on most of the topics treated constitutes the original contribution of the book.

(c) Studies in the religion of the Tamils

K. Ramachandra, managing editor of the Religious Digest, an internationally recognized magazine, has brought out a book entitled Religions of the Tamils – past and present[113]. It is a reprint of the paper read at the International Congress for the History of Religions held in Japan. The Message of Saint Tayumaanavar is the reprint of another read by him at the International Congresss for the History of Religions, held at Marburg University, Western Germany in 1960[114].

Sir. P. Arunachalam, in an article to the Journal of Royal Asiatic Society Ceylon branch, gives an account of the Nataraja and other saiva bronzes found at Polonnaruwa with an explanation of their symbolism and their relation to the saiva siddhanta system of philosophy[115]. In another article to the same magazine he describes the worship of Muruka along with an account of an ancient Tamil lyric in his praise (Tirumurukaarruppatai) and sidelights from Greek religion and literature[116].

IV. Studies in Literature and History of Literature

This section may be divided into three subdivisions; (a) translation of poems and works, (b) studies in literature, (c) studies in history of literature.

(a) Translation

Due credit must be given to those great Tamilians of Ceylon who translated and interpreted Tamil poetry to the West. These scholars who were familiar with European thought and proficient in the English language have by their translations and critical studies interested the rest of the world in the literary and cultural heritage of the Tamils.

Some of the saiva siddhanta works were translated for the first time in Ceylon in 1854 by Rev. Henry H. Hoisington with an introduction and notes[117]. Rev. P. Percival, a missionary who worked in Jaffna for a long period, has published over 6,000 proverbs with their English translation[118]. The first edition was printed in Jaffna during the Christmas of 1842. The second edition was published in Madras in 1874. Mr.C. Srikanta has translated the epigrams of Auvaiyar into English[119]. This translation is prefaced with an introduction about the poetess. Dr. Issac Tambyah’s beautiful and scholarly translation of Taayumaanavar is a work of outstanding merit[120]. It is a Christian layman’s endeavour to understand a great Hindu poet saint. The introduction which alone covers 89 pages treats in full the fundaments of saiva siddhanta. The life of the poet, his religious experiences, the literary influences, the lofty spiritual excellence of the saint, his mysticism etc. are treated at great length. In his interpretation of Tayumaanavar the author maintains the historic sense and the literary judgment undermined by either religious inclinations or racial sympathy. The production of the book cost him over fifteen year’s study. It is the very first work of its kind, containing a translation of 366 psalms.

Sir.P. Arunachalam has given the world a collection of translations from ancient and medieval Tamil literature including his exposition of Manickkavasagar., Tayumaanavar, Nakkirar and others[121]. This book consists of a series of essays, some dealing with the worship of Devi and of Skanda and some setting out selections from the poets mentioned earlier. He has elucidated their phraseology and introduced us to their thoughts, forms and their aspirations.

N. Narayanan, who was a lecturer at Jaffna Hindu College about thirty years back, has paraphrased in Tamil the Tirumurukaarruppatai, translated the full poem and written notes on it[122].

The Pattuppaattu, or Ten Tamil idylls, has been translated into English prose by J.V. Chelliah[123]. Though the translation of the book was approved by the Annamalai University, the Madras government refused to supply paper for publication of a book by a Ceylon author. However the Karantai Tamil Sangam of Tanjore undertook to publish it at the request of Swami Vipulananda. It was eventually published in Colombo in 1946. Swami Vipulananda, in his preface, speaks very highly of the translation. Thiruvilankar Canagarayar has translated into English the Sivagnana Bodham, the most important of the saiva siddhanta classics[124].  We have earlier referred to the first translation of this book by Rev.H.R. Hoisington, American missionary who was attached to the Batticotta Seminary in Jaffna. Another translation was made in 1895 by J.M. Nallaswami Pillai. Canagarayar’s translation is the third one and gives the Tamil text as well as a translation and commentary in English. The introduction contains a historical outline and also describes the saiva siddhanta literature and the metaphysics of this philosophy. In the elucidation of the text and the original commentary, he has followed the excellent commentary of Sivagnana Yogi. The notes he has added will be of use to the ordinary reader in understanding the text.

Translations of Tamil poems by Ceylon writers have appeared in various journals. Mooturai[125] and Nalvali[126] by Auvaiyar were translated by Rev.E. Strutt of the Wesleyan Mission. The Tamil proverbs current among the Tamils were studied by Rev.H. Horseby with a translation of those proverbs[127]. Hon.P. Coomaraswamy in an article entitled ‘A half hour with two ancient Tamil poets’ gives a translation of Kurincippaattu by Kapilar and Porunaraarruppatai by Mutattaamakkanniyaar[128]. He has added a note on the authors and the kings celebrated by them.

(b) Studies in Literature

Many scholars have made special studies of certain Tamil works and poets. Hon. P. Coomaraswamy excited interest in Tamil literature by reading a paper on Cilappatikaaram at a meeting of the Ceylon branch of the Royal Asiatic Society[129]. Most of the works of the Sangam period were being published during the latter half of the nineteenth century. It was Hon. P. Coomaraswamy who induced Swaminatha Aiyar to undertake the task of collecting and publishing Cilappatikaaram which otherwise would have been utterly lost to the world as several hundreds of equally valuable Tamil works have been lost. Cilappatikaaram was published by Swaminatha Aiyar in 1892 and within one year Hon.P. Coomaraswamy wrote this article which gave a short account of the author, the period at which he lived and the work itself. Cilappatikaaram was of particular interest to the people of Ceylon as it was the only Tamil work of antiquity which referred to Ceylon after the period of Ravana, and the only one which recorded the history of Pattini, whose worship is more largely prevalent in Ceylon than anywhere else. This study of Cilappatikaaram, therefore, was a very valuable contribution in the field of Tamil studies in English.

Professor Chelvanayakam discusses the dates of Cilappatikaaram and Manimekalai in a research article written to the Ceylon University Review[130]. He assigns Cilappatikaaram to the fourth century AD and Manimekalai to the sixth century AD. S.J. Gunasekaram, the editor and founder of the journal Tamil, has made a study of Manimekalai in an article written by him in the Tamil Culture[131].

Simon Casie Chitty in a thought provoking article entitled ‘An outline of the Tamil system of natural history’ makes a study of the Tamil nigandus[132]. Long before natural history as a science had engaged attention in Europe and Aristotle had written his Historia Animalium the Tamils had cultivated it to a system by naming and classing all objects in the animal, vegetable and mineral kingdoms as far as they were known, into different genera or families, according to the mutual affinities which are indicated by their external characters. Casie Chitty gives an outline of this Tamil system of natural history drawing his materials from the nigandus.

Kamban and his work Ramayanam are analysed in an article written by A. Mailvaganam to the Ceylon National Review[133]. S. Sabharatnam Mudaliyar discusses the deity of the Tamil Saivite saint Sambandar, his spiritual eminence, his method of work and his hymns in a book called Life of Thiru Gnana Sambanthar where he has translated his life story as narrated in the Periyapuraanam, a prose version of which was given by Arumuga Navalar[134]. Francis Kingsbury in conjunction with G.E. Phillips discusses the hymns of the Tamil saivite saints and their significance[135]. A short history of the four saints and a translation of a few hymns of each of these saints is given in this book. Mrs. Ratna Navaratnam in her book A new approach to Tiruvasagam, which formed the subject of her thesis for the degree of Master of Letters of the Annamalai University, applies the principles of western criticism to Tiruvasagam[136]. The first two chapters serve as an introduction to the subject. Then she outlines the contents of the poems and examines them in the light of well known canons of literary criticism.

Father Thani Nayagam, in a study of Tirukkural, examines the Greek philosophers (Plato and Aristotle) and Tirukkural[137]. He shows that the former write and discuss as philosophers while the latter enjoins maxims and reflections like a practical moralist. But a great deal of high philosophy and speculation are supposed and are basic to the maxims of Tiruvalluvar. Rev. H.S. David has made a critical appreciation of the Tamil books of proverbs, Pazhamoli Naanooru[138]. This work is one of the eighteen minor classics. The author of the article discusses the peculiar diction compared to the sangam works, the common structure of the stanzas, their arrangement, and gives an appreciation of the proverbs.

Father Thani Nayagam has made a special study of nature in Tamil poetry. His book on this subject published in 1963 is a comprehensive study of the nature poetry of the classical Tamil literature[139]. It is a general survey of the Tamil nature poetry belonging to the classical period. Beginning with an analysis of the geographical influence on the character, language and culture of the Tamil people, the book goes on to describe the close relationship of nature with the daily life of the Tamil people. It discusses the concept of nature and gives a historical, ethical and religious interpretation of nature poetry in Tamil. The author compares the nature poetry in Tamil with other classical poetry, such as Sanskrit, Greek, Latin and English poetry. This is the only book which treats in a satisfactory manner the concept of nature among the Tamils and is an outstanding contribution in this field of literary criticism.

In his article, ‘The ethical interpretation of nature in ancient Tamil poetry’, Thani Nayagam shows that sangam poetry is one fourth ethical if you consider didactic poems as well as those that personify and illustrate virtuous deeds and allude to virtuous persons[140]. In another article in the Tamil Culture he refers to the Tamil people as a nation who were intimate with nature and who were encouraged in their enthusiasm for nature by what the poets wrote[141]. There are many indications in sangam literature of the highly developed state of the fine arts among the ancient Tamils and these include several references to the influence which a love of nature exerted on the architecture, painting and music of the Tamils. The author’s article on ‘Nature and the natural in Kaliyana Sundarar’ is also worthy of mention[142].

Several other scholars have also made a study of Tamil poets and writers. Philip de Melho is an oriental poet and biblical translator who lived during the Dutch period (1723-1790). Born of a well-known family in Colombo, he brought out a Tamil version of the New Testament. He also wrote an elaborate work in Dutch under the title of ‘The Triumph of Truth’ and himself rendered this work into Tamil. He also composed panegyrics in Tamil. Simon Casie Chitty has written about this poet and translator in the Ceylon Literary Register[143]. About Simon Casie Chitty himself there are two articles. The earlier of these two articles is by D.P.E. Hettiaratchi in the Journal of Royal Asiatic Society Ceylon branch[144]. The various works of Simon Casie Chitty, a pioneer orientalist, are mentioned in this article. The other article by F.X.C. Nadarajah is about the scholarship of Simon Casie Chitty and is based on the former article[145]. K.S. Arulnandhy, a retired deputy director of education and formerly a lecturer in education at the University of Ceylon, has made a study of Somasundara Pulavar of Navaly, Jaffna – a brilliant poet, an unobstructive social reformer, a great teacher and an ardent devotee in the Tamil culture[146]. S.J. Gunasegaram has contributed two articles to the same journal, one on Akattiyar[147] and the other on Bharathidasan[148].

(c) Studies in history of Tamil Literature

Ceylon has done pioneer work in the writing of the history of Tamil literature, both in English and Tamil. To Simon Casie Chitty is due the praise for writing the outstanding pioneer work on the history of Tamil literature. His Tamil Plutarch has been the authority for later works on this subject[149]. Dr. Caldwell in his Comparative Grammar of the Dravidian languages acknowledges Chitty’s work as an authority. This work has been referred to also in the Encyclopedia Britannica. It is difficult to believe that Simon Casie Chitty could have written such a book in an age when easy reference to the lives and works of the poets was not possible and when most of the ancient works had not been edited and published. The Plutarch is a summary account of the lives of poets of South India and Ceylon from the earliest times to 1859, with select specimens of their compositions. This first book of its kind was published in 1859. It was reprinted in 1946 with a foreword by Swami Vipulananda. Earlier in 1848 he read a paper at a meeting of the Ceylon branch of the Royal Asiatic Society on ‘A catalogue of books in the Tamil language with the names of the authors, the subjects and dates’[150]. The Tamil books are treated under the following sections: philology, mythology, history and biography. He also contributed two articles to The Ceylon Magazine, one on the Tamil philosophers and poets[151] and the other on the language and literature of the Tamils[152].

Hon.P. Coomaraswamy in his article ‘Gleanings from ancient Tamil literature’ first gives a list of the poets whose odes are contained in Puranaanooru and a list of the persons to whom the odes were addressed[153]. He then gives an account of the Chera king Cenkuttuvan as gathered from Tamil literature. In an article published in the Orientalist he adduces proof to show that Tamil possesses the richest store of indigenous literature.

Swami Vipulananda in his article ‘Origin and growth of Tamil literature’ traces the original home of the Tamil people and the linguistic connections of the Tamil language and the development of Tamil literature from the sangam period to Subramaniya Bharati[155]. Professor K. Kanapathipillai has worked out the chronology of some poets of the sangam period in an article published in the University of Ceylon Review[156]. He has also made a study of the contribution of Ceylon to Tamil literature in the same journal where he has assessed the value of the works of poets and writers from Ilattu Poothan Tevanar to Swamin Vipulananda[157].

The contribution made by Muslims to Tamil literature is the subject of a dissertation by Janab M.M. Uwise, head of the department of Tamil, Vidyodaya University of Ceylon[158]. In this pioneer attempt to analyse the contribution made by Muslims to Tamil literature he first gives a brief survey of the political history of the Muslims in the Tamil country. Muslim Tamil literature is discussed under four main heads (i) literary forms, (ii) prose works, (iii) mystical writers, (iv) works on theology and ethics of Islam. The literary forms peculiar to Muslim Tamil literature – like pataippoor, and those known as Arabic and Persian names such as munaajaat, macaalaa naama are treated at length. He has also written an article to the Tamil Culture on ‘Islamic poetry in Tamil’[159]. If not for his book and article the contribution of Muslims to Tamil literature would not have been properly assessed.

The writer of this article in his contribution to the Community has traced the Tamil literary activity in Ceylon from the beginning of the Christian era and the birth of Ceylon Tamil literature[160]. He has analysed the growth of Ceylon Tamil literature after independence, the influence of newspaper and the increase in Ceylon literary output. Sillaiyoor Selvarajan in an article contributed to the same journal has analysed the growth and development of the Tamil novel in Ceylon and concludes that with Ilankeeran the novel proper has been born for the Tamil writer in Ceylon[161]. In the same journal K.S. Sivakumaran has reviewed a novel by Ilankeeran[162].

The contribution of the Catholics to the Tamil literature of Ceylon is exhaustively dealth with in an article by Rt. Rev. Dr. Edmund Pieris[163]. ‘Regional nationalism in Twentieth Century Tamil literature’[164] and ‘Philosophic stage of development in sangam literature’[165] are subjects of two articles contributed by Father Thani Nayagam to the Tamil Culture.

A few more articles, which do not directly deal with the history of Tamil literature, may be noted here. Swami Vipulananda in his article on ‘The gift of tongues’ in the Prabuddha Bharata writes about the study of languages for better understanding of literature[166]. Professor K. Kanapathi Pillai’s article on ‘Tamil publications in Ceylon’ deals with Ceylon Tamil publications from the earliest times to the modern period[167]. This is a pioneering work in this subject. He has traced the art of writing in the Tamil land and the history of printing in Tamil in another article[168]

Rev. Thani Nayagam has made a study of the Tamil manuscripts in European libraries especially those found in Portugal, France and the Vatican City[169]. Tamil is the first Indian and Ceylonese language in which books were printed. Rev. Thani Nayagam has written an article giving an account of the first books printed in Tamil[170]. The first Tamil dictionary to be printed is the Tamil-Portuguese dictionary, compiled by the Jesuit Antao de Proenca who died in the Ramnad district in 1666. The dictionary was published posthumously by the Jesuit Press in Ambalacot on 30th July 1679. Father Thani Nayagam has given us an account of this dictionary[171]. He has, along with Edgard C. Knowlton translated into English the preface to this dictionary[172]. The entire dictionary itself has been now published.

V. Linguistics

Of those who have worked in this field, Swami Gnanaprakasar and Professor Kanapathi Pillai have achieved international fame. Swami Gnanaprakasar has established his reputation for comparative philology. In the New Review published by McMillan & Co. Ltd, he establishes radical relationship between the Dravidian and Indo-European languages[173]. Another published study on the same subject has been reproduced in Tamil Culture. This article entitled ‘Linguistic evidence for the common origin of the Dravidians and Indo-Europeans’ represents the basis on which he compiled his Etymological and Comparative Lexicon of the Tamil Language[174]. He enumerates and explains the principal laws of Dravidian etymology such as verbal determinatives, variation of the formative reduplication and nasalization in the Journal of Oriental Research[175]. He discusses the place of Tamil in the science of language in the Journal of the Ceylon branch of the Royal Asiatic Society[176]. In the Ceylon Literary Register, he establishes that Dravidian roots throw a flood of light on the word formation of other families[177]. In the article on ‘The Dravidian element in Sinhalese’ he shows that the grammar and syntax of Sinhalese are mainly Dravidian and that we have to recognize a radical connection between these two ancient families of languages[178].

Father T.C. Closset goes a little further and asserts that the Sinhalese are Dravidians. According to him the origin of the human speech and its construction can be traced in the Dravidian languages amongst which he includes Sinhalese, first because the construction of the sentences in Sinhalese is essentially Dravidian; secondly because many of its words, even the most elementary, are of Dravidian origin[179]. Dr. M.H.P. Silva, lecturer in Sinhalese, University of Ceylon, in his thesis Influence of Dravida on Sinhalese gives authoritative proof for the influence of Dravidian on the Sinhalese literature and language[180].

The pioneering work in the study of the inscriptions in any Dravidian language was done in Ceylon. Professor K. Kanapathi Pillai, one of the earlier Dravidian philologists, made a study of the language of the Tamil inscriptions of the 7th and 8th centuries AD[181]. This was the first attempt to make a linguistic analysis of the Tamil inscriptions. The grammar and language of the inscriptions are discussed at length. The text of the inscriptions is given with critical notes and variant readings. There is also an index of all the words found in the inscriptions.

The study of the language of the Tamil inscriptions was continued by Dr. A. Veluppillai under the direction of Professor K. Kanapathi Pillai. He submitted a thesis for the Ph.D. degree of the Ceylon University on the Tamil inscriptions belonging to two Pandiya kings[182]. Some of the new features in this thesis are the sections dealing with the formation of nouns, simple and causal verbs, appellative verbs, honorific particles and phonemic variations. In his thesis submitted to the University of Oxford he has made a study of the inscriptions of the period 800-920 AD[183]. 176 inscriptions have been studied in this thesis. These inscriptions of the Pallava, Pandiya and Chola rulers and also inscriptions of their feudatories. The new features in this thesis are found in the sections on compounds, adjectives and verbal classifications. Dr. Veluppillai has also written an article to the Oriental Art reviewing Indian Paleography written by A.H.Dani where he criticizes the author for unsatisfactory treatment of South Indian and Ceylon paleography[184].

Professor Kanapathi Pillai has also contributed many articles on Dravidian philology. The group of words in the Dravidian languages in which the vowel endings u and a occur are discussed in an article published in the University of Ceylon Review[185]. In the same journal he analyses the various changes the palatal nasal sound n has undergone from the earliest times to the present[186]. In an article contributed to the Annamalai University silver jubilee journal he shows that the forms of some Tamil words which existed in the days of Tolkaappiyam were not the same as those which existed in the pre-Tolkaappiyam days[187].

Professor Kanapathi Pillai is the only person who has made a study of the Tamil inscriptions found in Ceylon. There is a Tamil inscription from Panduwasnuwara in the Kurunegala district, written on the stone slab in the Tamil script of the 12th century AD, with granta characters mixed here and there. A description of this inscription and the text and translation of the inscription are given by Professor Kanapathi Pillai in the University of Ceylon Review[188]. Professor Kanapathi Pillai is a pioneer in another field also. He was the first to record the Jaffna dialect in book form and to analyse its features. One of his articles on the Jaffna Tamil dialect was published in the Indian Linguistics[189]. Here he analyses the phonological features of the Tamil dialect spoken in North Ceylon.

Mr.S. Thananjayarajasingham of the University of Ceylon is continuing the work started by Professor Kanapathi Pillai in the field fo dialectology. In the University of Ceylon Review, he describes some of the phonological features of the Tamil language as spoken in the Jaffna dialect[190]. Wherever possible he establishes the commonness as well as the points of difference between the Jaffna dialect and the South Indian dialects of Tamil. The allophonic distribution of the phoneme K/ in the Jaffna dialect of Tamil is discussed in the Dr. Surya Kumar Bhuyan commemoration volume[191]. The phonological, morphological and semantic features of the verbal noun in the Jaffna dialect of Tamil are described in paper read at the XXIInd All India Oriental Conference[192].

To S. Thananjayarajasingham belongs the distinction of being the pioneer in the study of the language of the Tamil Dutch records of Ceylon. His thesis on this subject, besides a historical introduction, deals with phonology, morphology and syntax[193]. In the appendix there is a dictionary of all words found in documents. The text of the Tamil plakkaats are given in Tamil. These Tamil plakkaats afford an invaluable source of material for a linguistic analysis of the Tamil language in the 18th century in Ceylon. A phonological and morphological study of a plakkaat issued in the time of Governor Petrus Vuyst, dated 17th May-June 1727, is made by Thananjayarajasingham in Tamil Culture[194]. He is now actively engaged in bringing out a book on the Jaffna dialect of Tamil and we look forward to more publications in this field from this prolific writer.

Dr.A. Sathasivam, lecturer in Tamil, University of Ceylon, has done research work in classical Tamil. His thesis on The Structure of the Tamil Verb has been well received and quoted by scholars in this field[195]. In an article in Tamil Culture, he takes for consideration the adverbial form ending in cin, and indicates in what manner the finite verbs functioned in early Tamil[196]. He read a paper on ‘Syntactic Analysis’ at the summer school of linguistics held at the University of Sagar, India, in May 1961 and on ‘Tolkaappiyam – a comparative study in technique and system’ at the annual general meeting of the Linguistic Society of India, held at Poona in June 1961. Another paper on ‘Syntax of Old Tamil’ was read by him at the All India Oriental Conference held at Kashmir in October 1961. He presented a paper on ‘Current status of Dravidian historical and comparative studies’ for the Ninth International Congress of Linguists at Harvard in 1962. At present he is working on the theory of affinity between Sumerian and Dravidian, a subject which has been treated at length by various scholars earlier.

Father H.S. David, director of Oriental Studies and History, St. Patrick’s College, Jaffna, establishes connection between the Egypto-Minoan culture and the Indian cultures and then discusses the contacts between Sumerian and Egypto-Minoan civilizations in an article which he contributed to the Tamil Culture[197]. In another volume of the same journal he establishes some further connections between the Egypto-Minoan and the Indo(Dravido) Sumerian culture[198]. In another article, he traces the exact connections between the Harappan and Sumerian cultures[199].

In an article entitled ‘The Earliest Tamil poems extant’, Farther David discusses the dates of some early poems[200]. From historical background, obsolete diction, the old grammatical pattern of the nominal system, the peculiar adverbs, the archaic verbal system, the ancient-syntactical and other features he concludes that in Kuruntokai we possess the earliest poems extant in Tamil, with the exception of some poems of Puranaanooru and Akanaanooru and the Narrinai occupies an intermediate position as regards the time of their composition. Father David submitted a thesis on A critical study of Tolkaappiyam with special reference to the Eluttatikaaram[201]

Dr. Poologasingham of the University of Ceylon returned to Ceylon recently after obtaining the D.Phil. degree of the University of Oxford. He worked on the language of Kalittokai.

There are three books written in English on Tamil grammar. A. Mootatamby Pillai in his book Civilian’s Tamil Grammar treats all rules regarding combination as simply as possible and illustrates them by giving as many examples as are necessary[202]. He has omitted many obsolete and rare combinations as they are not met with by the ordinary reader. In etymology he has treated nouns and verbs fully, pointing out here and there other parts of speech also. Syntax has received as much treatment as was required for this work. A. Barr Kumarakulasinghe’s book A Handbook of Tamil Grammar[203] is an excellent work for the study of Tamil grammar through the English medium. A Handbook of Tamil Language and Grammar[204] by the same author is even better than Dr. Pope’s book on Tamil grammar. So far there is no other book prepared on the same lines as this. This book presents in English briefly the essentials of the Tamil grammar and language without sacrificing thoroughness or accuracy to compactness of contents.

(VI) Lexicography and Journalism

(a) Lexicography

The development of Tamil lexicography owes much to the work of Ceylon scholars. As this article deals only with English medium scholarship it is not necessary to deal here with Tamil-Tamil dictionaries. For purposes of this article, we may consider lexicography under the following heads (i) Tamil-English dictionaries, (ii) English-Tamil dictionaries, (iii) English-English-Tamil dictionaries, (iv) Dictionaries of technical terms.

(i) Tamil-English Dictionary

It is a known fact that the first Tamil-English dictionary was published by Johann Philip Fabricius in 1779. After this, about 1883, the American Mission in Jaffna planned the compilation of a Tamil-English lexicon, an English-Tamil dictionary and a Tamil dictionary. Rev.J. Knight, a church missionary at Jaffna, assisted by Gabriel Tissera and by Rev.Peter Percival, collected the material for these publications. The work had to be suspended in 1838 owing to the death of Rev.J. Knight. Before the American Mission could bring out its Tamil-English dictionary, Rotler’s Tamil-English dictionary appeared; Part I in 1834 and Part II in 1836-1838. This dictionary was however limited in its vocabulary and deficient in astrological, mythological and scientific terms. It did not include much that was in good use in Ceylon.

The material collected for the larger Tamil-English lexicon by Rev.J.Knight and M. Tissera and added to by Rev.P. Percival, Rev.L. Spaulding and Rev.S.Hutchings, was edited by Rev.Winslow and published in July 1862. This is known as Winslow’s Tamil-English Dictionary. This comprehensive Tamil-English dictionary embraced both the common and the poetic dialects of the Tamil language and included the principal astronomical, astrological, mythological, botanical, scientific and official terms as well as the names of many authors, poets, heroes and gods. It comprised many more words than any previous Tamil dictionary and it contained information on the philosophy, the religion and the customs of the Tamils. This dictionary compiled by Jaffna scholars proved to be a great work and enjoyed deserved popularity.

After this dictionary, the ‘Classical Tamil-English Dictionary’ was published in 1870 under the authority of the Director of Public Instruction, Madras. Some years afterwards, in 1888, Mr. Visvanatha Pillai of Jaffna, then translator to the Government of Madras, brought out a revised and enlarged edition of this useful work[205]. This dictionary is still in popular use.

Reference may be made here to the Etymological and Comparative Lexicon of the Tamil Language compiled by Swami Gnanaprakasar of Nallur, Jaffna. Only a few fascicles of this lexicon have been published.

(ii) English-Tamil Dictionary

The first English-Tamil dictionary was published by the American Mission in Jaffna. Rev. Samuel Hutchings worked on this dictionary and this was published in 1842 by Rev.M. Winslow and revised by Rev.L. Spaulding in 1852[206].

(iii) English-English-Tamil Dictionary

The first English-English-Tamil dictionary was also compiled by a Jaffna scholar, A. Mootatamby Pillai in 1907[207]. All dictionaries in use till then were English-Tamil dictionaries. None of them possessed the advantage of this work which gave the meanings of English words in both English and Tamil, so that one using this dictionary to find the Tamil meanings of English words did not need the recourse to an English dictionary to find their English meanings as well.

There were more words in this work than in any English-Tamil dictionary which existed at that time and all the meanings of each word were given when a word had more than one meaning. Another important feature of this work was that explanations of many English phrases were given at length in Tamil in addition to their English meanings – an advantage possessed by no other dictionary.

(iv) Dictionaries of Technical Terms

When the Madras Province Tamil sangam set out to compile technical terms in Tamil, it was Swami Vipulananda of Batticaloa, Ceylon, who was asked to be the chief editor of this work. Under his direction was published the work Kalaiccorkal which contained the Tamil equivalents of English terms in mathematics, physics, chemistry, botany, zoology, physiology and hygiene, geography, history and chemistry[208].

There are two books, one containing mathematical terms in English and Tamil[209] and another anatomy terms in English and Tamil[210], compiled by S.R. Muttukumaru of Punnalaikkadduvan, Jaffna. These are in manuscript form at the Jaffna College library. They do not appear to have been printed but they are of very rare value.

(b) Journalism

There are four Tamil journals which have contributed to Tamil studies in English. To the American Ceylon Mission goes the credit for publishing the first Tamil newspaper in Ceylon when the Morning Star ‘devoted to education, science, literature, government and religion with a summary of important news’ appeared as a bi-monthly Anglo-Tamil journal under the editorship of Henry Martyn, with whom was associated Mr. Seth Payson, a licensed preacher of the American Mission. This is the second oldest paper in Ceylon, still in current issue and contributing to Tamil studies in the English and Tamil media.

The Jaffna Catholic Guardian was started as an Anglo-Tamil fortnightly in 1876. It was issued weekly from 1876 to 1893. In 1896 further enlargement took place and the journal still publishes articles on Tamil studies.

The Hindu Organ was started on September 11th 1889 as a fortnightly Anglo-Tamil newspaper, converted into an English weekly on 5th July 1899 with a separate fortnightly Tamil edition, enlarged in size and form on 11th July 1906, and published bi-weekly from 10th July 1913 with the weekly Tamil edition. It is still a leading Hindu journal in which articles on Tamil culture and literature are published regularly.

The only journal which now caters to Tamil studies in India and abroad is the Tamil Culture which was started by Rev. Father Thani Nayagam of Ceylon in 1952. Within the last fourteen years this journal has grown in strength and today is one of the leading academic journals of the world. Rev. Father Thani Nayagam is still the chief editor and the strong force behind this outstanding journal of Tamil studies in the English medium.

We have so far made an attempt to present, as briefly as possible, the contribution of Ceylon to Tamil studies in the English medium. This attempt is by no means exhaustive. The writer is fully aware that there are many omissions, due mainly to non-accessibility of material and partly to non-availability of enough time for fuller reference in libraries in Ceylon and abroad. The writer is greatly indebted to the librarian and assistant librarian of Jaffna College, Vaddukoddai for allowing him to go through the very rare books in their library. The librarians of the Jaffna Public Library was also very helpful in many respects.

The Tamils of Ceylon are proud of the contribution they have made to the study of Tamil language and literature and to the study of Tamil culture. In many fields the Ceylon Tamils have pioneers. They look back with feeling of the noblest pride upon their achievements and have confidence that in the future the Ceylon Tamils will continue to make outstanding contributions to Tamil culture.

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