Brown Pundits Browncast episode 51: Scratching the surface on Sri Lanka

Lord Ravana

Another BP Podcast is up. You can listen on LibsyniTunes, Spotify,  and Stitcher. Probably the easiest way to keep up the podcast since we don’t have a regular schedule is to subscribe at one of the links above.

You can also support the podcast as a patron. The primary benefit now is that you get the podcasts considerably earlier than everyone else. I am toying with the idea of doing a patron Youtube Livestream chat, if people are interested, in the next few weeks.

Would appreciate more positive reviews!

Today I talk to my friend “Nan”, who is a Sri Lanka Tamil American. We talked a bit about his own background, growing up in a lower SES household in the American South, but mostly about why and how Sri Lankans think they are distinctive from “mainlanders.”

This is just the beginning of trying to understand this issue in my opinion. Ergo, “scratching the surface.”

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26 Replies to “Brown Pundits Browncast episode 51: Scratching the surface on Sri Lanka”

  1. The main reason why most Sinhalese baulk at being associated with India, is because historically the Sinhalese have been fighting continuously with Indian empires to maintain their separate Buddhist identity. If Buddhism had not been wiped out in India, the situation would likely have been different.

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    1. Karan,

      Posted on June 28, 2019 by Razib Khan – 6 Comments on Brown Pundits Browncast episode 51: Scratching the surface on Sri Lanka
      Brown Pundits Browncast episode 51: Scratching the surface on Sri Lanka
      Lord Ravana

      Another BP Podcast is up. You can listen on Libsyn, iTunes, Spotify, and Stitcher. Probably the easiest way to keep up the podcast since we don’t have a regular schedule is to subscribe at one of the links above.

      You can also support the podcast as a patron. The primary benefit now is that you get the podcasts considerably earlier than everyone else. I am toying with the idea of doing a patron Youtube Livestream chat, if people are interested, in the next few weeks.

      Would appreciate more positive reviews!

      Today I talk to my friend “Nan”, who is a Sri Lanka Tamil American. We talked a bit about his own background, growing up in a lower SES household in the American South, but mostly about why and how Sri Lankans think they are distinctive from “mainlanders.”

      This is just the beginning of trying to understand this issue in my opinion. Ergo, “scratching the surface.”
      0
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      6 Replies to “Brown Pundits Browncast episode 51: Scratching the surface on Sri Lanka”

      Hoju
      June 28, 2019 at 9:57 am

      Cool episode!

      Just one correction on the area in km2 for BD & SL:
      – BD – 147,570 km2
      – SL – 65,610 km2

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      Reply
      Karan
      The main reason why most Sinhalese baulk at being associated with India, is because historically the Sinhalese have been fighting continuously with Indian empires to maintain their separate Buddhist identity. If Buddhism had not been wiped out in India, the situation would likely have been different.

      I think deep down, the Sinhalese (and Tamils) realize they would become some OBC in a Hindu/Indian dominated society.

      Like I keep repeating this is the last bastion of the Sudras in South Asia. Buddhism justifies the egalitarian ethos of Sudra society.

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  2. 1. The movie was Deewar. Which means a wall
    2. Not many people own up Chennai and its Tamil. Coimbatore tamil is said to be more respectful.
    3. For some strange reasons many Sri Lankan leaders visit the Tirupati temple.

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  3. Well for North Indians , tirupati is regarded as the biggest temple of the south. Perhaps the Sri Lankan’s also hold that view.

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  4. One interesting thing in the podcast which ‘Nan’ talked about is how both the SL tamils and Sinhalese govt colluded to throw the IPKF out of the island. A war in which neither side wanted us to be there in the first place.

    This is similar to India’s actions in Nepal during their civil war in the 2000s against the monarchy. Where pressurized by India’s left (who were in the Govt then) and headed by the Congress which always had a deep suspicion of the “Hindu” monarchy getting closer to the Hindu right in India, helped and gave refuge to Nepal Maoist and abetted the “revolution” . This abatement comes from a country which has lost more lives to Maoist violence rather than Islamic or Hindu fundamentalism every year.

    And of course, once the Maoist were in power they turned full throttle towards China.

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  5. Can we have transcripts. I forced myself to listen bcos Sri Lanka, and gave up half way. Dont like Video or audio unless music.

    Some points. Italics by the speaker
    Caste: Khastriya level caste
    All castes in Sri Lanka, Tamil or Sinhalese are Sudra. The so called highest caste (50%) of the population are Govigama (Sinhalese) or Vellala (Tamil) which is a farmer caste.

    This is common issue for Sri Lankans Sinhalese or Tamil, interacting with Indians, trying to explain to Brahmins and the like that they are some worker caste like farmers, fisher etc.

    I too had the same issue in the first year or two in Grad school. Then my native Sri Lankan exceptionalism took over.
    Indian: so are you vegetarian?
    Me: No I eat beef, pork, fish, venison and will try anything at least once (maybe except dog and cat).
    Indian: (Probably thinking to himself). Has to be a low caste tribal jungle bunny.

    I am not Hill Country Tamil
    That whole caste and class issue was reinforced by “I am not Hill Country Tamil” . Official Designation, Tamils of Indian Origin, the Hill Country Tamils, also called Estate Tamils were brought in by Brits to work the tea estates. Half of them were sent back to India in 1970. I too supported that move, but think it was unfair now. Muralitharan the cricketer is from that community.

    I suggest that the podcast speaker read some of Sebastian Rasalingams essays. Bu his own admission Sebastian is a low caste Jaffna Tamil who married a Estate Tamil
    https://www.google.com/search?q=sebastian+rasalingam

    Jaffna: Rain forests and swamps
    No rain forest, no swamps in Jaffna. It is one of the most driest part of Sri Lanka, i.e. the Dry Zone. South of Jaffna peninsula, there are scrub jungle, which are a green for a few months after monsoon rains.
    That said arid Jaffna with hard (calcium), salty ground water is probably one of the most productive in agriculture. The Sinhalese are envious in a good way and acknowledge it is the hard work of the Jaffna man (or should it be person).

    Population: All in the cities
    80% of the population in Sri Lanka is rural
    Colombo City proper: less than a Million (wiki says 752K)
    Kandy City proper: I think about 300K (wiki says 125K)

    City Population: Looks crowded, but probably not because not that many high rises/apartment (5 floors is high() complexes. The govt made some apartments in slums. Luxury apartments, i.e. has an elevator are mainly expats and diaspora investments. A few old (my age) Colombo dwellers sell their houses and move to an apartment, because they want “city” life. Most move into distant suburbs.

    Jaffna Tamil Culture shared with India
    This one of my complaints. There is nothing unique about Jaffna Tamil culture.

    Could the podcast speaker, name one tank (artificial lake) built by a “Tamil” King. Sri Lanka has not one natural lake, however 30,000 tanks/lakes most built over 1,500 years ago. The largest over 8 km wide.

    Sinhalese Buddhist Sudra Kings supported an egalitarian society. i.e Tanks/Reservoirs for the populace as against humongous Palaces for themselves. (see Coomaraswamy quote at end)

    You go to Jaffna, it looks a Tamil Nadu village with a heck of a lot of American built hospitals and schools. Every half a mile or so there is either a hospital or a school built by Americans and then the Brits. They are huge buildings, rivaling the premier Colombo schools. eg Jaffna College (Anglican) and St Patricks (catholic).

    Upper class (but not the money) North Central Sinhalese sent their children to Jaffna Schools, pre 1956. eg Maithripala Senanayake a senior Minister in the past who married a Ms. Handy a Jaffna Tamil Christian.

    A significant difference with Tamil Nadu, is that the oppressive Vellala domination of Lower castes has been eroded by Sri Lankan law.
    Read
    a) 1968 Temple entry Crisis
    b) Bryan Pfaffenberger: The Religious Foundations of Sudra Domination in Tamil Sri Lanka

    Again a suggestion for podcast speaker.
    Read the Yalpana Vaipava Malai at least the first few pages.
    The Kings of Jaffna claimed descent from Sinhabahu in Kalinga, the father of Vijaya (Vijaya did not have children)

    http://noolaham.net/project/47/4684/4684.pdf

    Language
    Since 2005 or so under Mahinda Rajapakse a law was passed where govt workers have to pass the equivalent of Tamil/Sinhala O/L (Year 11) to get promotions/salary increases.

    The podcast speaker gives the example of Aramaic speaker at a US office. A better example would be Spanish speaker.

    =====
    Finally a quote from the foreword of Ananda Coomraswamys , Medieval Sinhalese Art (1907)

    Medieval Sinhalese Art was the art for whom husbandry was the most honorable of all occupations, amongst whom a landless person was a nobody, and whose ploughmen spoke as elegantly as a courtiers.

    It was the art of a people who whose Kings were “one with the with the religion and the people” -perhaps one of the most significant phrase in the whole of that magnificent chronicle, the Mahavamsa from which I have so often quoted.

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  6. Aha Two statements by the pod cast speaker and can have an educated guess to the caste.


    a) Of Kshatriya like caste
    b) Relative of LTTE spokesman

    Possibly the LTTE spokesman was Anton Balasingham.
    Anton Balasingham was I think of Kariyar caste, possibly the Jaffna town branch.

    Prabakaran too was of the Kariyar caste and home town in the village of Velvattithurai, next to Point Pedro.

    Jaffna was the first to fall to the europeans., the Portuguese in 1500 something.
    The (old) Vellala comment that the light color of the Jaffna town folk are because of European mix, while their light color is because of high caste. It is bit of a joke among my cousins.

    Kariyar and the equal Karawe among the Sinhalese are a fisher caste about 10% of the country. That caste is not mentioned in old texts.

    There is some validity to the Kshatriya claim. Apparently the Kariyar/Karawa were brought in as mercenaries. When the wars were over they settled along the coast as fisher folk.

    Among the Sinhalese they are economically powerful. The de Soysa, Fernando etc are generally Karawa. Also over represented in the Sri Lankan army, though not allowed to become Army Generals. Probably with good reason, General Sarath Fonseka is half Karawe and after retiring he made a play to become the President.

    Below a link to the Sinhalese Karawe claims to Kshatriya origins.
    http://karava.org/home/kshatriya_maha_sabha

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    1. sbarrkum

      How much credence do Christian/Muslim/Buddhist give to caste in SL ,among themselves ? Like in marriages and all.

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      1. How much credence do Christian/Muslim/Buddhist give to caste in SL ,among themselves ? Like in marriages and all.

        The place where caste matters is the most unlikely. Ordination into the Siyam and Asigiriya Buddhist monk chapters. The main temple of both are in Kandy and one controls the Temple of the Toots (Dalada Maligawa). They both ordain only Govigama (Farmer caste) and typically monks who will join the rich land owning Buddhist Temples.

        They will on an off make some racist comment but you wont see them shouting and threatening gesture at political shindigs. They have are above that level and have far more influence.

        Marriage:
        Proposal marriage is low, generally if son/daughter is getting old (over 27+) or divorcees.

        Money, Education and family background Trump caste. In marriage proposals, will state their caste, but generally dont specify looking for same caste. I think the stating of caste, is for the minority to whom caste matter, so that they dont waste each others time.
        http://www.sundayobserver.lk/marriage-proposals

        This was an interesting ad my sent by my niece.
        “බෞද්ධ වයස 27 රජයේ ආයතනයක රැකියාවක නියුතු මනෝ විද්යා උපාධියක් සහ පශ්චාත් උපාධිය ඇති අඩි අඟල් 5′ 2” ඉංග්රීසි චතුර ලෙස කතා කරන රුවැති දියණියකි. මව සිංහල බෞද්ධ පියා ශ්රී ලාංකික හින්දු පවුලේ සැම භාවිතා කරනුයේ මවගේ වාසගමය. පියා දැන් බෞද්ධයෙකි. පී. එච් ඩී. උපාධි නැගණිය විවාහ වී සිටින්නේ පී. එච්. ඩී. උපාධි සහිත සිංහල බෞද්ධයෙකු සමගය. අප ජීවත් වන්නේ අපගේ කොළඹ අවට නිවෙසකය. කොළඹ උසස් පාසලක ඉගෙනුම ලැබූ දියණියට අප සොයනුයේ අවංක හොඳ හිතක් ඇති ලංකාවේ ජීවත් වීමට කැමති පුතනුවකුය.”

        Synopsis:
        Buddhist beautiful daughter, extremely fluent in English with post grad degree and attended a top school in Colombo. Mother is Sinhalese Buddhist, Father is a Tamil Hindu and is now a Buddhist. The family uses the mothers surname. Elder sister has a PhD and is married to a Sinhalese Buddhist with a PhD. We live in our own house in Colombo suburbs. Looking for a suitable honest person who will live in Sri Lanka.

        Note: they dont specify race or religion for the prospective groom. Everything else is laying out the cards on the table, so no surprises.

        Sounds like my an ad my relatively conservative Tamil father made for my youngest sister, who was 28 or 29 at that time. My mother didnt care less, you have an education (she was a Chartered Accountant) and a good job, why do you need a man.
        I was not in Sri Lanka at that time.

        Anyway my father narrowed the potential candidates to 3, one Tamil and two Sinhalese. He (or my sister) picked the Tamil. My father was enamored with the Tamil guy because his parents were recent christian converts from the ancestral village. A elitist comment, but they were from a completely different class, caste and outlook in life.

        The marriage was a complete disaster. My sister moved to London and started working immediately, as she had UK qualification. The husband would collect the paycheck. He had claimed to be a software engineer and was pumping gas and running around with LTTE. Even worse, she was sharing a house with two other couples. Apparently one of them had statues of Kali. For my sisters and mother those are symbols of the devil. I had pile of masks and statues and they all disappeared after a visit from my mother.

        My sister apparently wrote letters to my father saying, its all dark here, you dont hear the birds singing. I guess he did not understand what was happening. For my sisters and mother life and happiness are about going to church, pottering around the garden, bathing dogs and cats, and making sure the children are studying. They are not interested in socializing and city life in London or Colombo have no attraction.

        Anyway, my sister was back in two years with a 6 month old daughter and full blown depression. Apparently, found from other sources, the husband used to beat her.

        Anyway, things have worked out. The daughter is now just finished her first year in a UK Uni. I doubt my sisters will ever wish to live out of Sri Lanka.

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  7. Lots of discussion about the different groups in SL (SL Tamils, Indian Tamils, Sinhalese, Moors, Christians, etc.), but what about the SL aboriginals / adivasis? Would love to know more about them and their story and how they fit into SL society.

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  8. A few thoughts on the core question of why Sri Lankans, particularly in the diaspora, see themselves as a bit different from generic desis:

    – The core area of “desi” identity in the diaspora is centered on the following regions:
    + Eastern Pakistan (namely Punjab, Sindh, Islamabad, AJK)
    + Parts of Western, Northern, and Eastern India (namely Maharashtra, Gujarat, Rajasthan, Haryana, Delhi, Punjab, Jammu Division, Kashmir Valley, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Bihar, Jharkhand, Odisha, Bengal)
    + Bangladesh
    + Southern Nepal (Terai / Madhesh)

    – South India and Western Pakistan are somewhat on the margins and easily opt-in and opt-out of the desi identity because they are mainstream members of India and Pakistan, both of which are heavily desi numerically.

    – Central and Northern Nepal, Trans-Himalayan areas like Ladakh, Northeast India, Bhutan, Sri Lanka, and Maldives all tend to see themselves as being distinct. It’s not just Sri Lanka.
    + Part of this might be due to racial differences. While it’s pretty much impossible to tell apart a Telugu person from a Marathi person in a reliable way, there are definitely people in TN and SL that feel like they stick out in a “desi” crowd. There’s a feeling of being kind of a different ethnicity. Northeast Indians, Ladakhis, Bhutanese, and Central/Northern Nepali people definitely have a sense of being ethnically distinct and different-looking.

    + Part of it is due to language. Most people in the core desi area either know Hindi or can easily pick it up through exposure (friends, Bollywood) because of how similar their language is. Not so much for Dravidian languages and Tibeto-Burman languages. When everyone in the group starts talking in Hindi, it can be quite alienating.

    + Part of it is political. Without getting into the blame game of who is bad or whatever, the reality is that India being the giant in the region surrounded by relatively small countries results in a complicated relationship. The smaller countries resent India’s alleged “big brother” treatment and mentality. This tension feeds into other things. This is not to say the subcontinent is doomed; Canada and the US have a similar small vs big situation, but they are on good terms.

    + Part of it might be that, for the small neighboring countries, they feel that they need to work hard to cultivate and preserve a sense of difference and superiority to justify their existence as separate from India. They will therefore focus on the differences and magnify them. So the normal stereotypes of Indians comes into play, i.e., dirty, smelly, ugly, religious violence, etc. You see this in other places with a similar dynamic. Canadians might be a good example. The national pastime of Canada is to bitch about the US and indulge in a sense of superiority. There’s a huge focus on the small things that allegedly distinguish Canada from the US.

    + Religious differences. I find religion can play a big role in this. The “desi” religions are Hindu and Muslim. Northeast India is quite Christian / Buddhist, Sri Lanka is significantly Buddhist, Ladakh is Buddhist, etc. Of course this doesn’t explain away everything, but religion seems powerful. Even in areas closer to or within the core desi zone, people of minority religions can be rather different. I went to school with a lot of Goan Catholics, for example. They would not associate with the core desi groups. They prefer soccer to cricket. They exclusively speak English. They never wear “desi” attire, even for functions where that may be appropriate. They get along better with Christian Caribbean people of Indian ancestry.

    + Being an island seems to help develop a sense of distinctiveness.

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    1. \– South India and Western Pakistan are somewhat on the margins and easily opt-in and opt-out of the desi identity \

      The ‘optin or optout’ for south Indians is not just due to some ’emotional loyalty’ factor. What was Desh in north Indian history was called Nadu in south Indian languages. Nadu in middle ages was areas of ethnic cohesion and in modern times has included large areas like Tamil Nadu, or Telugu Nadu. The ‘burghers’ of Nadus were called Nattar . The word Desh or Desi does not have that much resonance as Nadu. Still due to Sanskrit influence, while the south Indian languages use Desam and people can use the word Desi , Nadu would have more resonance, but the latter has not been developed for modern social use .

      2+
      1. I think the use of the word nATu [nADu] in a similar sense as the Indian-American word desI applies majorly to Tamil-Malayalam speakers. I see it used in that sense in Malayalam movies all the time (saying things like JaGkaLuTe nATTil, ‘in our place’, etc. etc.). nADu in the sense of ‘place’, ‘land’ is not at all established in usage in Telugu in the first place and we have a homophone that means ‘day’ roughly and that’s what we mean when we usually use the word nADu. The sense of ‘land’ probably exists (but I’m not sure) in olden literature (under Kannada/Tamil literary influence, I suspect) and it also exists in the name of a single political organisation that I know, but people don’t use that word to mean ‘land’ in general at all.

        It may be the case that Telugu-background Indian-Americans use both the terms of “Indian” and “desi” (the actual Telugu word is supposed to be bhAratIyulu but people don’t use it much in spoken usage at all) for referring to self and perhaps also the Telugu word for ‘village’ and often in general for ‘place’, Uru. So things like “mana Uri vALLE”, ‘they are of our place only’, etc. in connection with all of India instead of just the Telugu-speaking states, etc., I think.

        Actually, now that I suddenly realise there are Pakistan, Bangladesh, etc. involved here too, it is probably the case that “Indian” and “dEsI” are not synonyms in Telugu lexicon but the former represents only the nationals of India and the latter a borrowed new word with its intended meaning of applying to all the subcontinental people irrespective of nationality.

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        1. @Santosh
          I have read that when Telugu Desam party was formed, there was a small debate whether it should be named Telugu Desam or Telugu nadu. Even the late NTR was in favour of Nadu name, but the idea did not take off.

          https://www.deccanchronicle.com/140125/news-politics/article/why-ap-was-not-named-telugu-nadu-asks-td-mla
          Why AP was not named ‘Telugu Nadu’, asks TD MLA

          Namma Naadu Kannada Naadu
          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=up2j-anrScQ

          This sentiment will make sense in all SI languages

          1+
        2. /Desi ..intended meaning of applying to all the subcontinental people irrespective of nationality./

          Yes. Desi/Desh is an Indo-aryan word. Drav equivalent is Nadu

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        3. @Santosh
          I have read that when Telugu Desam party was formed, there was a small debate whether it should be named Telugu Desam or Telugu nadu. Even the late NTR was in favour of Nadu name, but the idea did not take off.

          https://www.deccanchronicle.com/140125/news-politics/article/why-ap-was-not-named-telugu-nadu-asks-td-mla
          Why AP was not named ‘Telugu Nadu’, asks TD MLA

          Namma Naadu Kannada Naadu
          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=up2j-anrScQ

          This sentiment will make sense in all SI languages

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          1. VijayVan, I totally forgot that many ancient and medieval Telugu administrative divisions were called nADus, like rEnADu, palanADu, velanADu, pAkanADu, etc. and thus inadvertently committed omission fallacy. This may indicate that Old Telugu also inherited the nADu word from Proto-South-Dravidian-II since a lot of the other South-Dravidian-II languages like Gondi, Kui, etc. also have the word retained still in the same meaning as Tamil-Malayalam-Kannada. It may also be the case though that the Tamil (or Kannada) administrative influence like that of Cholas (or Chalukyas), etc. led to Telugu adopting this word from Tamil (or Kannada).

            But in any case, the facts about Modern Telugu do not change. Both we the colloquial speakers as well as our Modern Standard don’t use the word nADu in the sense of ‘place’. The word majorly means ‘that day in the past’ (actually veering towards the poetic and melodramatic and thus not much used in this sense in normal discourse too) (and this item is etymologically related to the Tamil-Malayalam word for ‘day’ which is nAL) and the name of the famous Telugu newspaper InADu means ‘this day’, i.e. ‘today’. It now makes sense why people may have objected to the use of this word in the sense of ‘land’ in your anecdote about TDP.

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          2. \Both we the colloquial speakers as well as our Modern Standard don’t use the word nADu in the sense of ‘place’. \

            You can’t be sure on that. There are some respectable ‘nadu’ usage like
            Telugu NADU Upadyaya Sangam
            https://www.facebook.com/pg/tnus.org/about/
            or
            Telugu Nadu Trade Union Council

            Telugunadu Community Paramedics Association
            Telugunadu Graduate Federation

            Google quickly verifies usage or non-usage of a word.

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  9. Interesting episode!
    Also, really insightful commentary by Sbbarkum and Hoju.

    I’d like to make a few comments about diasporic Sri Lankan exceptionalism.

    People pose the questions “Why are Sri Lankans more resistant to the Desi label than other American browns” and “what makes Sri Lanka meaningfully different from the Mainland?” with the expectation that the latter will explain the former.
    I don’t think this is fruitful because every answer to the latter (i.e Race, Language, Culture) will apply to Indian Tamils and Dravidians more generally.

    Here is a deflationary response: the anomalous element are Indian Tamils/dravidians and not Sri Lankans. That is to say, had Dravida Nadu been formed between the 40’s-60’s, Dravidian attitude to the Desi label would be similar to the Sri Lankan. It is because they are part of India do they go ‘out of their way’ to accommodate the Desi label–If you conjoin this with Hoju’s answer, it is evident why Indian Tamils are warmer towards the desi label than Sri Lankan Tamils.

    Also, it was genuinely uncool to be ‘Indian’ in the mid to late 2000’s (during my elementary and middle school years). Those of us who could pass for Mexican or Puerto Rican or whatever opted to call ourselves Sri Lankan (or Mexican etc) and since it took too much mental bandwidth to associate SL with India (No Apu jokes!) so there wasn’t too much of a drop in social capital. Ironically, my generation was the same generation that entered college during the apex of the SJW era and those same people who called themselves Sri Lankan or lied and said that they were from PR or MX were proud about being “Indian”(racially) during college.

    As for the question: “why are Sri Lankan Muslims so far away from Pakistanis and Bengalis despite being brown and Muslims?”

    It’s hard to answer this.

    Some observations:
    there is an attitude amongst Sri Lankan American Muslims (mostly the immigrant generation) that North Indics aren’t sufficiently religious.

    Second, and I think this matters, is that South Indics are Shafi’i and the North Indics are Hanafi. This actually manifests itself in noticeable differences–minute in the grand scheme of things but noticeable, like saying Ameen loudly after reciting the two surahs at the beginning, finger positioning at Tashahhud, additional dua during morning prayers during the middle of the prayers. Personally, the hanafi-shafii thing really incentives me to either go to the Indonesian masjid or even the Egyptian Masjid over the Pakistani/Bengali one even though they are closer.

    5+
  10. is that South Indics are Shafi’i and the North Indics are Hanafi.

    i think on the mainland only the kerala muslims (well, mopilla muslims) are shafi. the rest are hanafi if sunni (tamil, hyderabad, etc.).

    but yes, it makes a big difference. the hand during prayer positions is salient.

    2+
    1. That’s interesting.
      I was always under the impression that Tamil Muslims were majority Shafi’i.
      Are there any empirics showing this? Not that I am doubting you but I looked it up and was unable to find anything definitive.

      When I say Tamil, I mean ethnically Tamil; that is, they speak Tamil at home. This only includes Kayalars, Ravvuthars, Maraikayyars and Lebbais. Obviously, ‘vandheri’-types like pattanis (Nawab of Arcot and his followers who also speak dakhini) are hanafis.

      I am going based off what I read in this book: ‘Muslim Identity, Print Culture, and the Dravidian Factor in Tamil Nadu’ (page 19).
      1. Maraikkars are 100% shafi’i.
      2. Lebbais are a branch of maraikkars

      Hearsay:
      3. Only Rawther are Hanafis amongst Tamil Muslims.
      4. Vast majority of Tamil muslims are Lebbais (from Joshua project and random Tamil Muslim blogs but I am not sure they are reliable).

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R2YsWrL5F2w&ab_channel=PuthiyathalaimuraiTV

      Check the arms in the video ( this could be a shafi area so not definitive)

      1+
    2. I think the muslims of almost the entire west coast littoral up to bombay are shaafi. The beary, nawayaths, and other konkan communities.

      1+
  11. @VijayVan,

    But the problem with Google is it doesn’t consider correlation between the results or people who didn’t care to be online.

    Your own example Telugu Nadu teachers association is supported by Telugu Desam party. Of course they will use Telugu Nadu irrespective of regular usage metrics. Same with Telugu nadu graduate federation (with the tdp logo) and trade union council and paramedics. Perhaps you could check the ones unrelated to Telugu desam.

    I don’t know if you know enough of tollywood to remember the song “Telugu Nadu manadi ninduga velugu nadu manadi” pictured on NTR just before he stepped in to politics. Current Telugu nadu usage appears to be driven by NTR idiosyncrasy more than anything else. Eenadu (newspaper) had cartoons mocking this odd usage even as early as 80s. (And of course, they have SITG)

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