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Wednesday, 2 June 2010



An annotated bibliography of Lankan Tamils

Compiled by N Selvarajah of U K, this book should be helpful to scholars like Dr Michael Roberts, Prof Nalin de Silva, Kamalika Pieris and others who write about Lankan ancient history as well; because it gives the sources of books they could benefit reading the other side of the picture. The source books, we hope, would take them a little more to form an enlightened view. An enlightened view is essential in assessing the role of the Lankan Thamilians in building up the present nation.

In the first place I should give the names of at least some of the books so that researchers and historians of recorded history of Lanka could read them if they have not read them already. Then perhaps they could form an impartial understanding of Lankan history and maybe they record in their future books of the contributions that the Lankans belonging to the Tamil and Muslim communities have made. These books are in English. I have selected only a few from the list compiled by N Selvarajah.

1. Batticalonia’ a bibliography of Batticaloa by S J Selvarajah

N. Selvarajah

2. The media and the Ethnic conflict in Sri Lanka by Thiru Kandiah

3. Sri Lanka: Witness to History: A journalist’s Memoirs by Subramaniam Sivanayagam

4 Scarred Minds: The psychological impact of war on Sri Lankan Tamils by Daya Somasundaram

5 Destruction of Hindu Temples in Sri Lanka by M Neminathan

6 Hindu temples of Sri Lanka by S Pathmanathan

7 Remembering Hindu Traditions by Sivanandini Duraiswamy

8 Islam in Independent Sri Lanka by S H M Jameel

9 Home from Home: From immigrant boy to English man by George Alagiah

10. Tamil Social Formation in Sri Lanka: a historical outline by P Ragupathy

11 Ethnic Attachments in Sri Lanka: Social Change and Cultural Continuity by Lakshmanan Sabaratnam

12. History and Imagination: Tamil Culture in the Global Context by Cheran, Darshan Ambalavanar, Chelva Kanaganayakam

13 National Language Policy in Sri Lanka: 1956 tip 1996: three studies in its implementation by R G G Olcott Gunasekera, S G Samarasinghe, V Vamadevan, K N O Dharmadasa

14. Tamil element in Ceylon culture by K Navaratnam

15 The Cultural contribution of the Tamils by C Rajasingham

16. A History of the upcountry Tamil people by Sithamparam Nadesan

17. Being a Tamil and Sri Lankan by Karthigesu Sivathamby

18. History of Ceylon Tamils by Vasantha Nadarajan

19. Primary sources for History of the Sri Lankan Tamils; worldwide search by Murugar Gunasingam

20. Sri Lankan Tamil society and Politics by Karthigesu Sivathamby

21. Tamils and cultural pluralism in ancient Sri Lanka by the Rev D J Kanagaratnam

22. Tamils in Sri Lanka: A Comprehensive History c 300 BC –c 2000 A D by Murugesar Gunasingam

23. The evolution of an ethnic identity: The Tamils in Sri Lanka: c300—Bce to 1200 Ce by K Indrapala

24. The Sinhalese of Ceylon and the Aryan Theory: Letters of a Tamil father to his son Samuel Livingstone

25. The Sri Lankan Tamils: Ethnicity and Identity by Chelvadurai Manogaran and Bryan Pfafferberger

26. The untold story of Ancient Tamils in Sri Lanka by Chelvaduuai Manogaran

27. We Tamils: A short history of the Tamils up to British period by P Sangarapillai

There are many more source books listed in this publication in English titled Nool Thettam. The listings are classified under the following main heads: in the 204 page book:

General Knowledge,

Bibliographies, media



Social Sciences,

Sociology and







Other items included are Acknowledgments, An Archive for Sri Lankan Tamils in Expatriate countries, Introduction, Country Profile: Sri Lanka Bibliography, Reources, Title index, author index, annexe: Further Books and about the author

The book as published by the ETDRC. (European Tamil Documentation & Research Centre at 48 Hallwicks Road, Luton LU2 9BH, UK.Pprice:15.00 Sterling Pounds. The ISBN is 978 0 9549440 9 4.

The compiler in his Introduction says:

“Both Sinhalese and Tamil scholars have engaged themselves in research and studies and have reached heights of distinction in their chosen areas of academic subjects. The major universities in Sri Lanka continue to produce works of high standard in various subjects based on scientific and systematic researches. Intellectuals and creative writers not within the academic institutions of the country also continue to publish works, each according to their skills and knowledge “ Another reality the compiler points out needs to be noted by impartial readers. He adds:

“The Sinhala language enjoys privileged positions in Sri Lanka due to social place attributed to it by the state. Most of the works of Sinhala authors and scholars are willingly accepted by popular publishers in Sri Lanka who afford them regular sales and distribution both locally and internationally.”

This is important:

“This benefit does not exist as far as far as the Sri Lankan Tamil authors are concerned. Most of them could be categorized as author-publishers. On the contrary they need to have their works printed with their own funds and have them released in self-organized events, selling them amongst friends and well wishers.”

This columnist for instance has written 20 books in Tamil and two in English all at his own expense.

Continuing N Selvarajah adds: “Consequently their works are denied a wider readership. They do not reach the universities involved in related studies or international libraries, seldom the libraries in Tamil regions.”

The author of this annotated bibliography of Sri Lankan Tamils should be congratulated for this noble effort.

Selvarajah is known as a librarian and bibliographer of Lankan Tamil books. He has five volumes to his credit. These books in Tamil were also titled “Nool Thettam”. He has written 27 books in Tamil and English.

It must be remembered that it is due to his pioneer work in compiling bibliographies of books in Tamil and English of Lankan Tamils and Muslims that we have some kind of document to show the world there is what is known Lankan Tamil Literature.



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