Michael Roberts, late March 2010 [posted earlier but disappeared — now partially inserted, one more photo to follow. Again the machines have disorted the footnote citations so that has to be sorted out]
On 7 June 1975 as the Sri Lankan cricketers, minnows in the universe of cricket, took on the mighty Australians under Ian Chappel at the Kensington Oval in London in the early rounds of the first-ever World Cup in limited-overs competition, a small band of young Sri Lankan Tamil men invaded the centre-field and displayed placards as they lay down in protest.
Sporting encounters that attract large crowds have occasionally been utilised for symbolic political statements. One of the most striking moments was when the American sprinters Tommie Smith and John Carlos mounted the podium to receive their medals for the 200 metres at the Mexico Olympics in 1968 wearing one black glove, black socks and no shoes as the American anthem was played and then proceeded to give the Black Power salute. This graphic statement “was designed to highlight the oppression of black people [in USA] over the years and was headline news throughout the world.”[i]
Though intrusive, such actions are peaceful political expressions which differ from explosive assaults that have claimed the lives of athletes or bystanders. The occasion when Palestinian militants from the Black September group held Israeli athletes hostage at the Munich Olympics in early September 1972, resulting in the death of 11 athletes, one German policemen and 5 assailants during a series of fights, is perhaps the best known incident of the latter type. More recently, as we know, on 3rd March 2009 a body of Islamic militants attacked the convoy bearing Sri Lankan cricketers and ICC officials to the stadium at Lahore. [ii] The Palestinian grievances and motivations are too well-known to require rehearsal here. Even now, we have few specifics about the perpetrators of the Lahore attack: information on this topic seems as murky as the murkiness of Pakistani politics writ large. It appears that the band of assailants was directed by jihadist thinking of the Salafi kind that is also favoured by the Taliban. Take this illustration of their possible line of thought: in Zarb-e-Taiba, a Lashkar-e-Taiba magazine, it was asserted in April 2004 that “we should throw [away] the bat and seize the sword and instead of hitting six or four, cut the throats of the Hindus and the Jews” (quoted by Praveen Swami 2009).
The Sri Lankan convoy did not quite represent a Jewish or Hindu target and it is possible to follow Ranil Abeynaike in speculating that the attackers shot to miss.[iii] Only a few policemen died and the cricketing personnel emerged mostly unscathed even though they were sitting ducks and plump targets. One can therefore surmise that local political projects arising from the dismissal of the provincial administration by central fiat prompted a symbolic statement of a peculiar Pakistani kind. I remain open to new evidence and alternative conjectures. But we are constrained by the peculiarity of this assault: as far as I know, no political association claimed responsibility and no placards or messages accompanied the action.
That then is the political significance of protest demonstrations. The activists bear placards, statements of purpose, expressions of their thinking. The Black Power salute was (is) a condensed message that did not require words because the American context that had spawned this defiant expression had filled the salute with meaning. Likewise, the Tamil Tiger Eelam flag carried by Maiyooran, the young Canadian Tamil who burst unto the cricket grounds at St. Georges, Grenada on 16th April 2007 when Sri Lanka played Australia during the 2007 World Cup, was replete with meaning for all those familiar with the Sri Lankan political scene.[iv]
It is because they embody vibrant political currents that such demonstrations demand attention from those engaged in political analysis. They provide raw material for one’s deciphering work and clues to the sociology of protest/resistance through information on the activists. In the first instance, therefore, the protest at Kensington Oval can be placed alongside other Sri Lankan Tamil demonstrations at cricketing venues around the world in our journey of comparative analysis, a journey that is still rudimentary in character.
I limit myself to three other moments because photographic evidence serves as basic data for juxtaposition. Besides (A) the demonstration at Kennington Oval on 7 June 1975, we have ….
(B) the lone ‘streaker’ Maiyooran at the World Cup in Grenada on 16 April 2007;
(C) the demonstration mounted by red-shirted Tamils at Manuka Oval, Canberra on 12 February 2008;[v]
(D) the line of Tamil demonstrators with placards and flags on the roads leading to the cricket ground at Toronto when Sri Lanka played Pakistan on 12 October 2008.[vi]
As befitting the 1970s perhaps, the modalities of expression at the Oval were conventional and relatively ‘primitive’: the tactics involved bodily incursion into ‘sacred space’ with message-on-placard and a cyclostyled broadsheet (or maybe several … now lost?) distributed to members of the public. The Tamil activists of 1975 apparently had neither the capacity to print sophisticated pamphlets nor the requisite networks to incorporate the international media into their propaganda operation as affiliates in the manner in which Channel Four, Sky and The Times of London in England, and SBS in Australia, have been drawn into their campaigns by ‘Tiger International’ during the years 2009 and 2010. Likewise, their use of a leaflet seems ‘primitive’ in comparison with the innovativeness of those Tamil patriots who hired a sky-sign pilot to outline a message in the skies during a cricket match at Sydney(?) on one occasion (I forget the date and other details).
I do not have much information on those involved in the demonstration at the Oval and this essay should also be seen as a fishing expedition seeking more information from those with pertinent data.[vii] But we must take note of the currents of revolutionary thought coursing through Left-oriented radicals and militant Arabs among the large and diverse migrant population in London. The migrants included a number of Sri Lankan Tamil youth, mostly from the Jaffna Peninsula or Colombo, who had moved there in search of jobs or educational advancement. Many brought with them the political ferment that had emerged in the Jaffna Peninsula in particular from the late 1960s.[viii] This thinking was promoted by a conviction that the Sri Lankan polity discriminated against Tamils and did not adhere to the canons of merit in recruitment to either the public services or the universities.
One ground for grievance was the gerrymandering of university admissions in the prestigious science courses by the new ULF government of 1970 in Sri Lanka as a form of positive discrimination in favour of rural districts and a reduction of the extraordinary numbers of Tamils securing such spots.[ix] This programme hit the aspirant middle and lower middle classes among the Tamils the most. It was mostly from this social background and in such circumstances that many of the Tamil youth entered Britain to further their professional qualifications.
I was fortunate to receive information on these circles from Nalliah Suriyakumaran in Canberra/Melbourne who was himself in London from 1971-81. From a trade union background, Suriyakumaran was among those who founded the General Union of Eelam Students (GUES) in London (a strand which eventually contributed towards the development of EPRLF).
In the 1970s London hosted other militant groups from all over the world. There was debate and mutual inspiration derived from exchanges with each other, with the Palestinians being among the most admired. Some young Tamils also found the Libyan embassy welcoming. These young men were dedicated to their cause and a few even assembled at Balham Commons in the twilight hours of the morning for physical drill.[x] Their emphasis on armed struggle led them to believe that Marxism was an essential ingredient for their future paths; but most of these students were from science or professional backgrounds so that their adoption of Marxism was of the most vulgar kind.[xi] However, in Eliyathamby Ratnasabapathy several young men found a father figure who could further their interest in revolutionary Tamil thinking.[xii] Ratnasabapathy was a key figure in the emergence of the Eelam Revolutionary Organisation of Students (EROS) in London in the 1970s. It was EROS which used its Palestinian links to gain military training in Lebanon in the latter part of the 1970s for Tamil militants from several different Eelam groups.[xiii]
It is from within this environment that a body of young Tamils, including the TULF leader Amirthalingam’s son Kandeepan according to unverified tale, mounted the demonstration against the Sri Lankan state at the Oval cricket grounds. We are indebted to the political sensibility and archival instinct of S. S. Perera, “Chandra” to his friends, for the survival of one leaflet distributed by these militants (see Roberts and James 1998: 91). Here then is the type of historical ‘fact’ that normally disappears into the dust, that overwhelming heap of facts that never enters the store of historical documents.
This broadsheet reads thus:
SEND BROWN “RACIST” SRI LANKA CRICKET TEAM TO PLAY WHITE SOUTH AFRICA
Sri Lanka’s crimes against the Thamil Minority are worse than those of South Africa
2. Five young men, including Poet Kasianandan were arrested on the same day for distributing leaflets against the Infamous, Anti-Minority Constitution of 1972. Kasianandan was kept in solitary confinement for months, the last time he was arrested.
3. The Sri Lanka Cricket Team was not picked on merit. There was discrimination against prominent Thamil players of international standard.
SOUTH AFRICA was banned from the International Cricket circuit because of its APARTHEID.
in racialist countries.
Remember Black Power Salutes in the Mexico Olympics! OR The Master Racist Hitler, who in 1936 Olympics refused to shake hands with the great Negro Athlete Jesse Owens, who won 4 Olympic Medals in one afternoon.We DO NOT wish to spoil your enjoyment of the game of cricket. But can we stand by and watch the SINHALESE play while 2.8 million Thamils are being deprived of their birthright?
The British Press and TV have reported on the near starvation of the Plantation Yorkers in Ceylon — where Thamil children are being sold in the streets.
Why doesn‘t the British Press also report the atrocities committed by the Ceylonese government against the Thamils?
We are forced to protest at the “Test” matches, to inform the World. We also love and play Cricket. But we do not want rank racists — whether they be brown or white – to play in the United Kingdom as representatives of a country where the rule of terror prevails. We want the world to see the injustice in Ceylon.
1. The attempted decimation of the Thamil nation’s identity – an identity which has survived from pre-historic times!
2. The denial of the use of the richest language in Asia – THAMIL – which has its very own vocabulary and can stand its ground in literature and language perfection. We want all the people who live here to know that Ceylon Tea is produced by people reduced to the position of slaves.
We want the United Nations to take note of the Denial of Basic Human Rights to the THAMILS OF CEYLON, who have lived there for over 2500 years.
WHITE SOUTH AFRICA = SINHALA SRI LANKA
Distributed by: Boycott Racist Sri Lanka Cricket Team Action Committee,
OXFORD. 7th June, 1975.
Review of Leaflet
Documents such as this, of course, cannot be accepted as a presentation of definite truths. Rather they provide access to the minds behind the work. These minds, clearly, are engaged in persuasive propaganda and are themselves interpreting the world around them in order to move people towards their cause. Whether this purpose encourages the instrumental manipulation of ‘facts’ as against, or in combination with, the expression of heartfelt sentiments has to be deciphered in each instance. This is rarely an easy task and involves conjecture on the analyst’s part.
In this instance, clearly, the composers deployed some of the contemporary interests in liberal circles in the West to the advantage of the Sri Lankan Tamil cause. The plight of the plantation labourers, who were mostly Tamils, as a result of the government’s Marxist programme involving the nationalization of tea plantations — was an issue in the years 1972-75 and one dear to British hearts attuned to their cup of tea. So this motif entered the leaflet’s brew.[xiv]
So too did the theme of apartheid. A movement with its engine-room in Britain had secured a fusion of several political forces (including USA) that had recently imposed a sporting boycott of South Africa. This motif is utilised as the masthead for the Tamil protest so that the Sri Lankan state is depicted as “racist” and placed in the same pariah category as the Afrikaaners and Adolf Hitler. Specific Sri Lankan events, such as land settlement policy and the arrest of those protesting the new constitution, add further grist to this mill.
The leaflet presents a tale of Tamils in Sri Lanka being “deprived of their birthright” and in the process of having their identity obliterated. These wrongs are all the greater because they, “us Tamils” from the authorial position, have a rich literature and language and have a greatness that harks back to antiquity extending over 2500 years. In minting the age, and thus the venerable character, of the Tamil people, the composers of this leaflet seem to have been blissfully unaware that they were inscribing a trope, the figure “2500,” which is an integral part of the Sinhala conceptualisations and naturalizations of their (hegemonic) claims to the island.[xv] Conflict does seem to encourage replications of each other by opponents at the poles.
As the pictorial reproduction and words indicate, the phrasing and formatting of this leaflet was not marked by either elegance or correct syntax. That matters not one jot. What counts and what does emerge is the imperative in the ‘speech.’ This broadsheet was coined by persons impelled, by persons driven by a sense of grievous wrong.
This does not make all their claims valid as historical truth in the approximate sense that honest historians may reach, with luck as much as assiduity. Persons impelled by a cause are given to exaggeration. Seeking support from a wider international public is an exercise in propaganda so that force of sentiment can be directed by opportunistic advantage. Veracity of fact may not be a dominating yardstick in such compositions.
The hint of genocide in the past through the word “decimation” is just one wisp of bloated imagery in this document. But perhaps the worst instance of their very own act of gerrymandering comes within their verbal excursions into the cricketing arena.
Having been brought up in a cricketing environment these Tamils were fully alive to the hallowed status of the game in Ole England. So their demonstrative intrusion is wrapped in velvet: they love cricket, they play cricket, they insist; it is because they wish to highlight racism that they intrude upon the verdant green of cricketing Englishmen. After all, not only is the Sri Lankan state racist, its cricket selectors have ignored merit and discriminated against Tamil players. So proclaimed this leaflet created by protesting Tamils.
Moreover, their leaflet could not lie: it was coined in Oxford. Oxford is not consonant with lies. But lie it did on cricket (and maybe even about its alleged place of minting).
The Cricket Sideshow
Sri Lanka was not a fully-fledged member of the International Council of Cricket. Its participation in the Prudential World Cup of 1975 was made possible by the grace of ICC and MCC though perhaps assisted by the display of capacity that its cricketers had displayed in the field against high-level competition at various levels in the years 1963-75.[x]
The squad for the World Cup was captained by Anura Tennekoon of SSC and S. Thomas’ College and was composed of the following: Dennis Chanmugan,[xvi] Ajit de Silva, D. L. S de Silva, D. S. de Silva, Ranjit Fernando, David Heyn, Lalith Kaluperuma, Duleep Mendis, Tony Opatha, H. S. M. Pieris, Anura Ranasinghe, Michael Tissera, Bandula Warnapura and Sunil Wettimuny. The two players in the larger training squad who missed out on selection were Roy Dias (St. Peter’s) and Sarath Fernando (Prince of Wales).[xvii]
Gajan Pathmanathan (of Royal College) may have been a possible contender.[xviii] He had been selected for the tour of Pakistan in March 1974, but not been outstanding and was dropped for the second test. He was attending Oxford University in 1974/75. With an outstanding crop of batsmen available at home who had gained experience against Pakistan, India and the touring West Indians in the early 1970s, with many of them in the runs,[xix] the selectors clearly decided to restrict themselves to this crop of players for a prestigious tour providing experience of different conditions. This tour, note, began in May and involved training camps prior to that – a period when Pathmanthan was playing for Oxford but also facing end-of-year examinations.[xx] There was plenty of batting talent available: any squad that omitted such a promising player as Roy Dias must be strong in batting.[xxi]
Cricket at the highest levels in Sri Lanka during the 1940s to 1960s had been dominated by players emerging from the duumvirate of Royal and S. Thomas’ Colleges and the Christian denominational schools of St. Peters, St. Josephs, Wesley, St. Benedicts, St. Anthony’s and Trinity (the latter two in Kandy). A fair sprinkling of Tamil men from these schools had been among those representing Sri Lanka in this period, the only Jaffna lad who did so being C. Balakrishnan who made his mark in the 1960s as a medical student playing for University of Ceylon.[i]
By the late 19760s, however, the prominence of the Westernized set from these elite schools was being challenged by the emergence of good cricketers from Prince of Wales and St. Sebastian’s in Moratuwa and the Buddhist schools Ananda and Nalanda in Colombo, Dharmaraja in Kandy and Mahinda in Galle. Thus, significantly, the 1975 touring squad included as many as seven from this cluster, while Ajit de Silva hailed from the relatively unknown school of Dharmasoka in Ambalangoda. As vitally, most of these seven were among the youngest players in the sixteen. While cricket administration was still dominated by the Royal-Thomian personnel in the 1970s, the selections for the pool for the 1975 tour indicate that they did not permit elite bias to prevail.
Favouritism can always bear on cricket selection in any country. In Sri Lanka four lines of favouritism could be identified as potential influences: (1) favouring someone from one’s old school, that is, alumni partiality; (2) favouring a player from one’s club; (3) that peculiar Sri Lankan phenomenon of an ‘uncle’ showing partiality to a young protégé he has adopted as his own and (4) partiality on “communal” lines, that is, favouring one’s ethnic group. Where one or more of these lines fuse, the force of partiality would be greater. But perhaps the greatest danger is not favouritism so much as strong dislike and vindictive action against a particular player evinced by a powerful selector or powerful captain with clout.[ii]
At present I do not have details on the Selection Committee who decided on the squad to tour England in summer 1975. But I do know that the preparations were exemplary and included a training stint in Nuwara Eliya for acclimatization. From my personal knowledge of cricket in the decade 1966-75 from a location in the hills of Peradeniya[iii] and occasional matches at the fringes of club cricket, the fourteen players listed above seem imposing, that is, of star quality.
So, the Thamil Action Committee’s allegation that “there was discrimination against prominent Thamil players of international standard” is simple concoction. This type of claim, I add, is not uncommon. Though I have not kept notes I have occasionally come across similar allegations from Tamil spokespersons in the 1990s and 2000s with no specifics to back the claim.[iv] I recall, however, that on such occasions these allegations either betrayed ignorance or sought to capitalise on the ignorance of the audience to which the remarks were addressed.
Such recent claims are either malicious lies or beliefs founded on colossal ignorance about the transformations in the domestic cricket scene in Sri Lanka since the mid-1980s. One development has been the decline in the degree to which Tamil youth in Colombo pursue sports and cricket at the top level in their schools. In the result one of the striking phenomenon of recent times has been the minute proportion of Tamil men playing cricket at the highest club level: one would be hard put to count a half-dozen Tamil club cricketers at any point in the 1990s and 2000s (Roberts 2006b, 2007 and 2009a). One can therefore surmise that those, whether Tamils and attentive outsiders, who peddle such claims are people who have heard this allegation as earnest assertion from another earnest Tamil. In the context of Tamil patriotism and their own body of prejudices, as well as concrete evidence of some discrimination suffered by Tamils in the recent past in fields of employment, such a tale is absorbed hook, line and sinker. Believer of concoction then turns into earnest retailer. That is how the lines of grievance-politics spiral. Thus do new generations take to the streets in demonstration on cricket ground.
Alas, that is also the modality of dangerous and malicious tale about alleged atrocity by an Enemy Other. That is how rumour spreads and swells and promotes ordinary individuals to become assailants in “riots.” This power has been documented by Kannangara, myself, Tarzie Vittachi and Tudor Silva with reference to the Sinhala pogrom directed at Moors in mid-1915 and the mini-pogroms against Tamils in 1958 and 1977.[v] Ultimately, it could be said that those Sinhalese, whether state agents or ordinary-Silvas, who became assailants in the mini-pogrom directed against Tamils in mid-1977 and the horrendous pogrom of July 1983 did more for the Tamil cause[vi] in the international arena than the little band of Tamils who ventured to protest at Kensington Oval on 7 June 1975.
De Silva, C. R. 1974 “Weightage in university admissions: standardisation and district quotas in Sri Lanka,” Modern Ceylon Studies 5: 152-78.
De Silva, C. R. 1979 “The impact of nationalism on education: the schools takeover (1961) and the university admissions crisis, 1970-1975,” in M Roberts (ed.) Collective identities, nationalism and protest in modern Sri Lanka, Colombo: Marga, pp. 474-99.
Hopps, David 2009 “The Sri Lankan players’ reaction to their ordeal has shown how cricket can cope,” The Guardian, Wednesday 4 March 2009.
Kannangara, A. P. 1984 “The riots of 1915 in Sri Lanka: a study of the roots of communal violence,” Past & Present No. 102, pp. 130-65.
Narayan Swamy, M. R. 1994. Tigers of Sri Lanka, Delhi: Konark Publishers Pvt Ltd.
Praveen Swami 2009 “Jihadists no fans of cricket,” The Hindu, http://www.hindu.com/ 2009/03/05/stories/2009030560961000.htm
Ragavan 2009a “Interview with Ragavan on Tamil militancy (early years),” http:// kafila.org/ 2009/02/16/interview-with-ragavan-on-tamil-militancy-part-i/
Ragavan, 2009b “Prabhakaran’s timekeeping. Memories of a much-mythologised rebel leader by a former LTTE Fighter,” Sunday Leader, 24 May 2009.
Roberts, Michael 1994 “The agony and ecstasy of a pogrom: southern Lanka, July 1983,” in Roberts, Exploring Confrontation. Sri Lanka: Politics, Culture and History, Reading: Harwood Academic Publishers, pp.
Roberts, Michael 2006a “The Tamil movement for Eelam,” E-Bulletin of the International Sociological Association No. 4, July 2006, pp. 12-24.
Roberts, Michael 2006b Forces & Strands in Sri Lanka’s Cricket History, Colombo: Social Scientists’ Association.
Roberts, Michael 2007 “Landmarks and threads in the cricketing universe of Sri Lanka,” Sport in Society, January 2007, vol. 10 (1): 120-42.
Roberts, Michael 2009 “Wunderkidz in a blunderland: tensions & tales from Sri Lankan cricket,” in Dominic Malcolm, Jon Gemmell and Nalin Mehta (eds.) Sport and Society, vol. 12, nos. 4/5, special issue on Cricket; International and Interdisciplinary Approaches, 2009, pp. 566-78.
Roberts, Michael 2009a “The Lahore atrocity: our cricketing ambassadors,” Island, 14 March 2009.
Roberts, Michael 2009b “Cricket and Lahore: atrocities, shambles, miracles,” Baggy Green, vol. 11, no. 2, pp. 7-9.
Roberts, Michael 2009d “Marakkala kolahālaya: mentalities directing the pogrom of 1915,” in Roberts, Confrontations in Sri Lanka: Sinhalese, LTTE & Others, Colombo: Vijitha Yapa Publications.
Roberts, Michael 2010a “Ideological and caste threads in the early LTTE,” unpubd. Mss, awaiting adjudication.
Roberts, Michael 2010b “Understanding Zealotry,” http://thuppahi.wordpress.com/, 6 March 2010.
Roberts, Michael 2010c “Encountering extremism: biographical tracks and wists,” http://thuppahi.wordpress.com/, 6 March 2010.
Roberts, Michael & Alfred James 1998 Crosscurrents. Sri Lanka and Australia at cricket, Sydney: Walla Walla Press.
Sabaratnam, T. 2003 Pirapāharan, [a biography in chapter segments] serialised in http://www. sangam.org/index_orig.html.
Sabaratnam, T. 2009 “Beginnings of Violence,” draft chapter from his book in press — kindly sent to me.
Silva, K Tudor 1980 ‘Katakatā, opādhupa saha Lankāvē janavargika kälabimba’, Samāja Vimasuma ?? : 47-69.
Sivarajah, A. 1996 Politics of Tamil nationalism in Sri Lanka, New Delhi: South AsianPublishers.
TamilNet 2007 “Tamileelam flag on pitch prompts paper’s ire,” 18 April 2007 http://www. Tamilnet.com/art.html?catid=13&artid=21917
Vittachi, Tarzie 1958 Emergency 1958, London; Andre Deutsch.
Wilson, A. J. 2000 Sri Lankan Tamil nationalism. Its origins and development in the 19th and 20th Centuries, London: Hurst and Company.
 See Roberts 2009a and 2009b Praveen Swami 2009 and Hopps 2009.
 Personal communication from Abeynaike during quiet chat at the SSC pavilion, May 2009.
 See TamilNet 2007; http://www.asiantribune.com/index.php?q=node/5382 and https://cricketique.wordpress.com.
 See https://cricketique.wordpress.com/wp-admin/ photographs courtesy of Lal Samuel.
 See https://cricketique.wordpress.com/wp-admin/ photographs that dropped into my email box from on high.
 See Ragavan 2009a and 2009b; Roberts 2010a and Sabaratnam 2009.
 See C. R. de Silva 1974 and 1979 and A. J. Wilson 2000. Also see Roberts 2006 for a summary of the factors inspiring the Tamil struggle for Eelam.
 Skype Interview with N. Suriyakumaran, 19 July 209. Suriyakumaran was in London from 1971-81 and was active in Tamil and Left politics in the late 1970s. He was among those who organised a cultural festival with the aid of funds given by the Libyan Embassy.
 Information from Suriyakumāran Also see Sivarajah 1996: 136-38.
 Information gathered from VaradaKumar and Visahan of the Tamil Information Centre in London during conversations, March 2007. Also Narayan Swamy 1994: 30, 91, 97-98, 100-02.
 The training was provided by PLO and PFLP. Among those who received such training were Ratnasabāpathy, Suresh Prēmachandran, Pathmanabhā, Douglas Dēvananda, Arular, Shankar Rajee, Shānthan, Uma Māheswaran and Viswēswaran. Prēmachandran, Pathmanabhā, Shānthan and Dēvananda helped found EPRLF subsequently. Māheswaran and Viswēswaran were members of LTTE and went as to Lebanon as part of a deal between EROS and the Tigers which broke down mid-way (email memoranda from Dayan Jayatilleka and Ragavan, 4 July 2009). Also see Narayan Swamy 1994: 60, 100-05.
 They did not tell the English public that the plantation workers mostly resided in the hill-country districts and were relatively recent migrants who had separate political parties. nor did they mark the status gap between most SL Tamil and these “Indian Tamils” (to use an archaic census category) which was the foundation for this broad differentiation—albeit differentiation that was partially modified by language affinities and their respective status as “minorities.”
 One may recall that such different individuals as President Chandrika Kuamratunga (in a speech in South Africa) and Arjuna Ranatunga wielded this trope of “2500 years.”
 See Roberts 2006b and 2007.