Dry zone colonisation and myth of demographic displacement of Tamils
Sinhalese assimilated into Tamil society in Dry Zone periphery by Prof. Shantha
K. HennayakeDepartment of Geography
University of Peradeniya, Sri Lanka
It is clear the process of depopulation of the Sinhalese in sparsly populated Dry Zone had started even before the advent of the British and continued well into the early years of the 20th century. This was followed by the simultaneous infiltration of Tamils and Muslims from their populous pockets located along the eastern coast and also from Jaffna in the case of the former.
One of the most significant, yet hardly investigated or discussed facts about the changes in the ethnic population in the sparsely populated periphery is not one of spatial but sociological. It is a striking feature to observe, contrary to the popular and cultivated view held by both the Sinhalese and Tamils, that Tamils have been acculturated into the Sinhalese society, that the Sinhalese peasants who remained behind in the isolated rural villages in the Dry Zone periphery were in fact increasingly getting assimilated into the Tamil community. Then Assistant Government Agent Mr Lushington lucidly elaborated this process in his 1898 Administration Report:Continue reading “Sinhalese assimilated into Tamil society in Dry Zone periphery”