Where do we come from?

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The current controversy on the identity and significance of the series of mounds linking Rameshwaram in India with Mannar in Sri Lanka has attained international attention due to a proposal to dig a channel though it.  It might also help address a burning question today ‘Where do we come from ?’

The environmental risks of the project were ignored in the pursuance of ‘economic expediency’ until, the tradition of the land spoke of its importance. It was the route that Rama followed in his quest to rescue Sita from Ravana. The developers suggested that these are nothing but mounds of sand, but what if science, rigorously applied, suggests that there might indeed be a historical reality to what sceptics have dismissed as myth?  That these mounds might represent a part of the southern hills of that mythical land called Kumari Kandam?

Studies of the coastline of India and Sri Lanka during the progression of the Holocene Transgression (a glacial event that began roughly 32,00 years ago and culminated about seven thousand years ago)  suggest a factual basis of the ‘ flood’ myth. This phenomenon was not uncommon in geologic time, but it was the first experience humanity had with such a global event. The ocean, at present levels, began retreating about 35,000 years ago. The level fell as the glaciation progressed culminating in the reduction of global sea levels by about 80- 100 meters. Then, about 11,600 years ago it turned, and in a series of three or more waves, spread over a period of about 4100 years, flooded the land to current levels. In eons past, the same process had occurred many times, linking Sri Lanka to India, giving rise to the related, yet different fauna and flora of the two countries. But this time, the flood created human possibilities.

Humans had been hunter-gatherers until about 32,000 years ago, agriculture, it is hypothesised, arose about this time. To practise agriculture one has to lead a sedentary lifestyle, difficult in a hunter-gatherer mode of existence. A sedentary lifestyle was possible only if one was surrounded by an overabundance of food.  About 32,000 years ago, the retreating seas created such salt marshes around the planet, with a superabundance of human food providing an opportunity to lead a settled lifestyles. For over 20,000 years the ocean retreated creating between Sri Lanka and India, new land, a’ Virgin Continent’, which is a literal translation of’ Kumari Kandam.’  A very apt name for the huge landmass that appeared literally out of the ocean. This new land, recently won from the sea would have been highly productive and a settled culture arose. Somewhere on this new land, the first sangam was established by the rising dynasty of the Pandyans.

The question before us is this; “ does the area that lies between India and Sri Lanka  really represent the drowned land of Kumari Kandam or is it merely a nodescript ocean bottom with a few sand mounds?’ The proponents of the proposed Sethusamudran channel, underwater  drilling, dredging and other mining related activities would have us believe that the sea floor is an unimportant area where dredging, drilling and construction will create no significant damage, while the opponents claim that it is a part of India’s heritage representing a geographical setting of the Ramayana, where dredging, drilling etc. would irreparably damage a valuable site with great cultural and religious significance.

The answer to the question lies in the modern work that is revealing the signs of a great cataclysm and flood in the region. The National Institute of Oceanography (NIO) in India has discovered and provided ample evidence of drowned cities off Poompuhur in the South East coast of Tamil Nadu, right within the area where Kumari Kandam has been hypothesized. The discoveries of other constructions off Mahabalipuram adds weight to the idea that the region now underwater had been once habituated by a large population. The fishermen of the area around Rameshwaram are also familiar with these sunken ruins, as this is where fish gather.  The evidence that there were cities and temples in what is now the sea between Sri Lanka and India is overwhelming.

The bio geographic work done in Sri Lanka adds further weight to the hypothesis. Research on the nature of sea levels during the last glaciation, suggest that at about 32-28,000 ybp a large landmass was formed to the north of Jaffna peninsula extending it to join with the mainland around Poomphur. Mannar Island extended into range of low hills that connected Sri Lanka with the mainland on the southern boundary of this new land.  A significant geographical feature was expressed at this time, a new riverine floodplain south of the Mannar peninsula.  This was the course of the now drowned ‘Dereniyagala Oya’. Two large rivers, now drowned but whose courses researchers have described in the 1950’s created the riverine floodplain to the north. One river was an extension of the Aravi Aru of today; the other drained the watersheds of the Kal Aru, Modaragam Oya, Kala Oya and Mi Oya.  They both joined south of Mannar.  This large river created a series of riverine flats that existed for about 22,000 years, flowing northwards to water a land that was comprised of large and small hills and whose remnants are seen as the islands and shoals of what is known as ‘Adams Bridge’ between Mannar and Ramsewaran today. The river course to the south still exists, and is visible today, the stumps of drowned forests have been recoded in this area as far back as 1950 and confirmed by divers examining the sites in the 1980’s (Senanayake 1994). Thus the evidence of a recently drowned land to the north west of Sri Lanka is a scientifically verifiable fact.

On the Northern part of the hills lay a massive area of land that comprised what is the Gulf of Mannar today. The area is still relatively unexplored due to the war, but modern research points to the possibility that this region could be one of the central areas that support the veracity of the Ramayana.  The role of this landmass in providing a historical setting for the Ramayana is seen in books such as the Rajavali complied about the fourth century AD. It speaks of an antiquarian time when ‘The citadel of Ravana, 25 palaces and 400,000 streets were swallowed up by the sea’ The submerged land was suggested to lie between Tuticorin in India and the island of Mannar in Sri Lanka’. It has been suggested by many researchers that Mannar Island is a remnant of that ancient landmass

In Sri Lanka, neither underwater archaeology nor evaluation for such a possibility has been undertaken before rushing to ‘development’ and destruction in the region. The need to create a protected site in the Gulf of Mannar has been proposed internationally, but interest from politicians has been lacklustre. This is an important work, especially as it points to the possibility that we were once a part of a large group of people who moved to high ground on both sides of Kumari Kandan at the time of inundation.  An appreciation of our common roots, could help water down the ‘insular’ mentality that has been so destructive to the national psyche for so long.

Reference:

Senanayake. R. 1994.  The Evolution of the Major Landscape Categories in Sri Lanka and Distribution Patterns of Some Selected Taxa : Ecological Implications.  In Ecology and Landscape Management In Sri Lanka pp 201-219 (eds) W,Erdelen, Ch.Preu,N.Ishwaran and Ch. Santiapillai. Verlag Josef Margraf, Weikersheim.

  • anbu

    well said. Thank you sir.

  • Wallflower

    What is the point of trying to prove possibilities, when we have forgotten where our ancestors came from.

  • Sunil

    At least for the thirst of curiocity to know of our own origin it is worth urging the UNESCO to dive deep in this region is becoming the center of attraction not only culturally but also POLITICALLY !

  • Burning_Issue

    Where does this leave the Mahavamsa?

    • http://srilankalandoftheblind.blogspot.com/ PresiDunce Bean

      @Burning_Issue

      Attempts by British rulers to write the history of Ceylon largely based on the uncritical acceptance of the local chronicles, and school textbooks on Ceylon history that are based on the Mahavamsa are now cited as the main reasons for the continuation of the Sinhala belief that they are the ‘proper inhabitants of the island.’ Professor Indrapala has argued that Paranavithana’s chapter on Aryan settlements in History of Ceylon by the University of Ceylon has prevented young academics from critically examining the theory of Aryan migration and settlements.

      In his 2005 Hero’s Day speech, Prabahakaran referred to this attitude of the Sinhalese as ‘ideological blindness’ and a ‘Mahavamsa mental structure’ which is unable to provide the space required for any solution. An English translation of that section of the speech is given below:

      ‘The Sinhala nation continues to be entrapped in the Mahavamsa mindset, in that mythical ideology. The Sinhalese people are still caught up in the legendary fiction that the island of Sri Lanka is a divine gift to Theravada Buddhism, a holy land entitled to the Sinhala race. The Sinhala nation has not redeemed itself from this mythological idea that is buried deep and has become fossilized in their collective unconscious. It is because of this ideological blindness the Sinhalese people and their political and religious leaders are unable to grasp the authentic history of the island and the social realities prevailing here.

      They are unable to comprehend and accept the very existence of a historically constituted nation of Tamil people living in their traditional homeland in north-eastern Sri Lanka, entitled to fundamental political rights and freedoms. It is because of the refusal by the Sinhala nation to perceive the existential reality of the Tamils and their political aspirations the Tamil national question persists as an unresolved complex issue. We do not expect a radical transformation in the social consciousness, in the political ideology, in the Mahavamsa mental structure of the Sinhalese people.’

      Even 7 years after this speech was made, Prabahakaran’s words ring true.

      So Burning_Issue, in answer your question, “Where does this leave the Mahavamsa?”
      Well the Mahavamsa is no different to “The Da Vinci Code” written by Dan Brown. It is a work of “faction.” Which means that it (The Mahavamsa)is a book of fiction based on fact. ;)

      • Happy Heathen

        PresiDunce Bean
        May 1, 2012 • 3:36 am

        I just had a belly laugh……

        “Professor Indrapala has argued that Paranavithana’s…..”

        Note there’s no title to Paranavithana, obviously due to “ideological” difference between Paranavithana and PresiDunce Bean.
        Indrapala is a professor because PresiDunce Bean agrees with him while Paranavithana is a layman.

        In the same comment PresiDunce Bean has the audacity to quote Prabahakaran as if he is some sort of a world recognised scholar!! Pseudo intellectualism at it best.
        If you want to quote a criminal, why not start quoting Dr. Joseph Goebbels?
        At least he is a mass-murderer with a PhD!

        “Well the Mahavamsa is no different to “The Da Vinci Code” written by Dan Brown. It is a work of “faction.” Which means that it (The Mahavamsa)is a book of fiction based on fact.”

        Unfortunately, same standards apply to Koran, Bible, Bhagavad Gita , Tora……..Like the ‘obnoxious’ Singhalese, over 75% of world population believe in these fairy tales. So it is not common to Sri Lanka.
        In fact let me give you some numbers…

        80% Americans believe in miracles
        Nearly 8 in 10 Americans believe in angels
        73.1% of Americans believe “God has a plan for me”

        So mate, you are not alone………..

      • yapa

        Dear PresiDunce Bean;

        You have started your unsubstantiated cynical narration/utterance again with your self realized truths. When will you learn to back your pure allegations and pure claims? Your practice is to when your absurd statements are countered to disappear for some time from the blog and to show your ugly face in another place with a more absurd claim or allegation. What is your agenda?, Tell frankly.

        At least try to be responsible from now on, of your statements. I think you will respond to my post with facts and evidence at east this time.

        You say (A):

        Attempts by British rulers to write the history of Ceylon largely based on the uncritical acceptance of the local chronicles, and school textbooks on Ceylon history that are based on the Mahavamsa are now cited as the main reasons for the continuation of the Sinhala belief that they are the ‘proper inhabitants of the island.’ Professor Indrapala has argued that Paranavithana’s chapter on Aryan settlements in History of Ceylon by the University of Ceylon has prevented young academics from critically examining the theory of Aryan migration and settlements.

        Answer (B):

        What do you think the basis of the British rulers should have been taken to write the history of this country, if the local chronicles were left out?

        1. Why do you say local chronicles should be left out?

        2. How do you say British rulers uncritically accepted them?, if so happened, why did they do say so? Why did they do such a favour to the Sinhalese and such a damage to the other communities?

        3. Can you show how taking Mahawansa as a source of history of this country is inappropriate and incorrect? What are the errorless historical sources that should be taken to build up the history of a nation or of a country? Can you show a better/more reliable historical source from anywhere in the world to support so ancient historical facts of a country or a nation? You may refer all the western or eastern ancient civilizations in the world and please show a history built up on better source than Mahawansa. Tell me the better historical source in ancient India, China, Greece, Egypt ….or what ever a country.

        4. How do you deny the corroboration of the information mrntioned in the Mahawansa with the material facts available in the country and abroad, as in India and Burma etc.

        5. What is the good reason you have to believe Prof. Indrapala’s opinion than paranawithan’s opinion? Do you have anything other than your aspiration/bias to support Indrapala’s view?

        Paranawithana is not the inventor of Aryan theory, if you did not know learn it now. If the view of Aryan theory inventors, the people who live in north part of India are Aryans, is correct Paranawithana is perfectly correct in his opinion. What Paranawithana meant was that there took place a exodus of north Indian people to this country in the past. Genetic tests prove this fact beyond any doubt. Indrapala must have been just dreaming in his aspirations to express such a statement, if he really did, and it also contradicts with his own findings which says that there were no Tamil settlements in Jaffna even in the 10th century.

        Do you say the belief that Sinhaladeepa as the country of Sinhalese was wrong? Denials do not cease the existence of facts. Throughout the world known about this country in the ancient time was known as the country of Sinhalese. The reason being the name used to denote collection of the different ethnic groups was “Sinhalese”. The people of this country then was not identified as Naga, Yaksa, Aryan or as Dravidian. All those ethnic groups ceased to exist after all of they form the common identity/ nation called “Sinhalese”. So, it was the country of Sinhalese, though you try to insult it with loaded words such as “‘proper inhabitants of the island.’”.

        Until the latter part of the 13th century this whole country was the country of Sinhalese. A group with a different identity started to develop in this country only after that. Do you say the Author of Mahawansa should have known about the future ethnic change, not to call it the country of Sinhalese. Really no one can deny the fact that Sinhales enjoyed sole rights in this country, before the other ethnicities were accepted to this country. None can deny th fact Sinhalese have been the prominent ethnic group throughout the history of this country. Acceptance of all ethnic groups as old as the others may be a pleasing idea. But it is not the fact. I can remember PitastharaPuthrya in this same blog was saying until the Sinhalese accept that Tamil civilization in this country is as ancient as Sinhalese there won’t be any reconciliation in this country, However, facts do not adjust according to the whims and fancies of individuals or packs of culprits. Solutions should be based on realities, not on fantasies based on the whims and fancies.

        (A): In his 2005 Hero’s Day speech, Prabahakaran referred to this attitude of the Sinhalese as ‘ideological blindness’ and a ‘Mahavamsa mental structure’ which is unable to provide the space required for any solution. An English translation of that section of the speech is given below:

        ‘The Sinhala nation continues to be entrapped in the Mahavamsa mindset, in that mythical ideology. The Sinhalese people are still caught up in the legendary fiction that the island of Sri Lanka is a divine gift to Theravada Buddhism, a holy land entitled to the Sinhala race. The Sinhala nation has not redeemed itself from this mythological idea that is buried deep and has become fossilized in their collective unconscious. It is because of this ideological blindness the Sinhalese people and their political and religious leaders are unable to grasp the authentic history of the island and the social realities prevailing here.

        (B): We can now see the cat who was hiding in the bag. Now, Prabakaran has become the source of your intelligence and moral conduct. An ideal model to follow.

        (A): They are unable to comprehend and accept the very existence of a historically constituted nation of Tamil people living in their traditional homeland in north-eastern Sri Lanka, entitled to fundamental political rights and freedoms.

        (B): are you able comprehend it? If so, can you justify?

        (A):It is because of the refusal by the Sinhala nation to perceive the existential reality of the Tamils and their political aspirations the Tamil national question persists as an unresolved complex issue. We do not expect a radical transformation in the social consciousness, in the political ideology, in the Mahavamsa mental structure of the Sinhalese people.’

        (B): I thin now you have to recap the statement in the new background created with submission of my facts.

        (A): Even 7 years after this speech was made, Prabahakaran’s words ring true.

        (B): How about his other words rings?, are they a also true? Culprit serial killer.

        (A): So Burning_Issue, in answer your question, “Where does this leave the Mahavamsa?”
        Well the Mahavamsa is no different to “The Da Vinci Code” written by Dan Brown. It is a work of “faction.” Which means that it (The Mahavamsa)is a book of fiction based on fact. ;)

        (B): Does this utterance/claim has any evidence or logic to support?

        If you have please put forward I am ready to encounter them.

        Thanks!

      • kadphises

        “Unfortunately, same standards apply to Koran, Bible, Bhagavad Gita , Tora……..Like the ‘obnoxious’ Singhalese, over 75% of world population believe in these fairy tales. So it is not common to Sri Lanka.
        In fact let me give you some numbers…”

        Why stop there? How about the Ramayana and Mahabharatha and the Sangam litterature? Themselves laden with their own fanciful tales?

        Kumari Kandam, Lemuria and Ravana’s city of 400,000 which are yet to be discovered? There isnt a shred of evidence to say they existed.

        Much of what is in the Mahavamsa has been bourne out by Sri Lanka’s archaeology and Chinese and Greek soures. Not saying the genesis myth is true. But the Sinha might have been a Ranasinghe, a Jayasingha a Samarasinghe or another of the pervasive “Singhes” sprinkled all over the country today. Like the Nagas (Cobras) the Singhes (Lions) could have been just another tribe that lived in India. Sinhalese are not predominantly North Indian genetically but there is no denying a strong North Indian cultural impulse during the early part of the nation’s history. Hence the Indo-Aryan language and close links with Magadha in the early part of its history.

        This ancient Tamil Nation in the North East also needs some explaining. Most importantly what are its borders? How come the few scattered Sinhala remnant villages in these areas are called Purana (ancient) Gam? Why were the Tamil habitations only along the coasts? Why are the abundant archaeological remains in these areas all in the Sinhala style and any inscriptions in Brahmi-Prakrit (and not Tamil)?

        Prabakaran and his predecessors wanted 35% of the country’s land for his 11.8% minority. FOUR TIMES as much land per capita as what he was prepared to yield to the Sinhalese. Hence the need to invent a historical mythical Tamil state that encompassed the entire Northern and Eastern procinces. The Jaffna Tamils wanted to control it with their greater numbers, hence the need to merge them into one. And that is the genesis of this Tamil supremacist fantasy.

        If they had only asked for equality we might have actually got somewhere under a saner regime than the Rajapakses.

      • Krish

        Dear Kadphises,

        “Prabakaran and his predecessors wanted 35% of the country’s land for his 11.8% minority. FOUR TIMES as much land per capita as what he was prepared to yield to the Sinhalese.”

        I comprehend what you are saying, except your “FOUR TIMES” logic. 11.8 * 3 = 35.4. Assuming that your numbers are true, Prabakaran’s claim was approximatically 3 times, not FOUR times as you claim. :)

      • Burning_Issue

        Dear Kadphises,

        “Why are the abundant archaeological remains in these areas all in the Sinhala style and any inscriptions in Brahmi-Prakrit (and not Tamil)?”

        Sorry; pardon my ignorance; please elaborate on the term “Sinhala Style”. When did the term “Sinhala” come into being?

        Can you distinguish the early Brahmi and Prakrit scripts into Tamil or Sinhala origin? What is the percentage of Sinhala have Dravidian origin? If you were to read Dr Indrabala’s second book, it will give answers as to how the Sinhala and Tamil societies developed separately. The Sri Lanka has much Archaeological subject matter still to be discovered. If they were to be excavated and interpreted independently, who knows what they will reveal!

      • kadphises

        Krish,

        “..I comprehend what you are saying, except your “FOUR TIMES” logic. 11.8 * 3 = 35.4. Assuming that your numbers are true, Prabakaran’s claim was approximatically 3 times, not FOUR times as you claim… ”

        If the entire population of Sri Lanka = P
        Entire land extent of Sri Lanka = L

        Per Capita land for Eelam = (L X 35/100)/(P X 11.8/100)= (L/P) X 2.97

        Per Capita land for South = (L X 65/100)/(P X 88.2/100)= (L/P) X 0.73

        So Pop Density Eelam/South = 2.97/0.73 = 4.1 (The Answer)

        If you have trouble understanding the working please request someone with a pass in O’level maths to explain it to you. ;-) ;-)

        Burning Issue,

        “Sorry; pardon my ignorance; please elaborate on the term “Sinhala Style”. When did the term “Sinhala” come into being?…”

        Sinhala style = Sandakada Pahanas, Muragalas (guard stones), Watadages, Biso Kotuwas, Beheth Oruwas that are found only in Sri Lanka and the Tamils have no names for. The Term Sinhala could have been coined at a later stage. But that doesnt mean the Sinhala people did not have ancestors in Sri Lanka. Or that they just popped out of no where with a unique language and culture. No. That language and culture evolved in this country. (unlike some significant others)

        Like every other culture in the world the Sinhalese culture evolved from other ancestral cultures. If you take the Sinhalese Language, it is predominantly North Indian, Over the ages there has been Tamil influence too and there are also supposed to be some content called elu that is neither Tamil nor North Indian and from Indigenous tribes which we know little about. (Not just Vedda, but also possibly the Megalythic people whose archaeology can be found in Pomparippu, Tissamaharama and Rambukkana.) The Evolution of the Sinhala language can be tracked through the ages due to the sheer abundance of rock inscriptions. In the early era the script was Brahmi (which was used all over India) and the Language was Prakrit (Which was used only in North India). As the Prakrit Language is a very early form of Sinhala and the Brahmi script is a very early form of the Sinhala script it can be safely inferred that todays Sinhalese are the descendants of the people who made those inscriptions. It cannot be the Tamils as Tamil has no connection with Prakrit and belongs to a completely separate language family. Over the ages these people evolved their own Language, archetectural style, dress, dance, music, musical instruments, cuisine, litterature, poetry, religious practices that are unique to Sri Lanka. Unlike the Tamils who share these with South India.

        What I meant by the Sinhala archetectural style is the Sandakada Pahanas, Muragalas (guard stones), Watadages, Biso Kotuwas, Beheth Oruwas etc. that are not found anywhere in India. Perhaps you want to claim these as Tamil. But when the Tamil Language, dress, dance form, music, musical instruments, religious practices have barely evolved separately from those in India how would their archaeology have deviated by so much??

        “Can you distinguish the early Brahmi and Prakrit scripts into Tamil or Sinhala origin?”

        You are confusing languages and scripts. Brahmi is a SCRIPT used throughout India. Both the Sinhalese and Tamils used its southern form. Prakrit is an early north Indian LANGUAGE derived from Sanskrit. Its various forms were spoken throughout the Gangetic belt at the Time of the Buddha. All of the Buddhist litterature is also in that Prakrit. It was also the early language of Sri Lanka and almost all the inscriptions upto around 800 a.d. are in that language, after which it slowly evolves into Sinhalese. So Prakrit is ancestral to Sinhalese. It is not ancestral to Tamil which belongs to a completely separate language family.

        “What is the percentage of Sinhala have Dravidian origin?”

        I dont know. Some may be 80%. Others 60%, 40% and so on. Easiest way to tell is by looking at them. I would say 90% of Sinhalese cannot be told apart from Tamils and 90% of Tamils cannot be told apart from Sinhalese purely by physical features. Which sort of implies they are of the same stock. But the 10% that can be told apart implies that there are some differences too. Perhaps some Sinhalese are more closely related to Tamils than to other Sinhalese. and vice versa.

        “If you were to read Dr Indrabala’s second book, it will give answers as to how the Sinhala and Tamil societies developed separately. The Sri Lanka has much Archaeological subject matter still to be discovered. If they were to be excavated and interpreted independently, who knows what they will reveal!”

        Yeah.. who knows?? We live in hope eh? Its a bit like the joke about the ancient Irish Mobile phone network. :-)

        B.t.w I think Indrapala’s exact words have been quoted in these pages before. From Australia he has said that his original theories (which were detrimental to the Tamil Nationalist land claim) will need to be revised in the light of new evidence. That is all. But he has NOT said what the new evidence is. In academia you cannot say “What I said earlier was all wrong. I withdraw what I said” without giving reasons and evidence. I suspect the Tamil Nationalists in Australia were leaning on him and he just threw in that sentence to keep them quiet.

        He’s never said anything about Sinhalese and Tamils deveoping separately. Infact he has said quite the opposite in his first thesis based on what has been unearthed in Jaffna.

      • wijayapala

        Dear PresiDunce

        It was rather hilarious to see you attempt to branch from your traditional role as forum “dunce” and try to sound scholarly by citing Prof Indrapala. Since it is highly doubtful that you have read anything he has written on Mahavamsa, I’ll try to enlighten you:

        “Many have been indulging in what Sudharshan Seneviratne has termed ‘Mahavamsa-bashing.’ While, on the other hand, Sinhalacentrist writers have ‘used’ Mahanama to present their own misrepresentations of history, anti-Sinhalese extremists, on the other, have ‘abused’ Mahanama without even reading the Mahavamsa…” [the last one sounds a bit like you!] – Indrapala, p.16

        Indrapala throughout his book refers to the Mahavamsa when exploring Tamil history in Sri Lanka, giving lie to your claim that the Mahavamsa is no different than the Da Vinci Code. Sorry Duncey, you really should stick to making utterances that you can’t later defend, than to play scholar!

        P.S. Brilliant citation of your Surya Theyvam, it adds volumes to your credibility. He wasn’t too bright to see the end coming, no? What are his qualifications to talk about the Sinhalese? (not too different from yours, perhaps?)

  • anbu

    The enviromental impact of digging shall also be untold. It is said without this barrier the impact of a tsunami shall be a lot worse

  • kadphises

    Equally, we must take care not to over interpret evidence in an attempt to give ourselves a greater antiquity.

    It is true that sea levels rose during the holocene. But the ice caps dont melt like they did in the movie “the day after tomorrow” It happens so incrementally that the rise in the sea levels would happen over many thousands of years. This would certanly not be seen as a flood by people living 10,000 years ago. They would have adapted and gradually relocated as it happened and would not even have noticed it as it as it would have happened over tens of generations.

    There is no evidence anywhere to imply that there were cities or even settled habitations in Sri Lanka or South India prior to 500 b.c. The earliest Sangam period is dated to around 200 a.d. by phylologists and 200 b.c. by nationalists. The earliest examples of writing from the region are between 500-200 bc. This too is very rudimentary like a name carved on pots. There is absolutely no reason to believe there are undiscovered cities at the bottom of the sea from 10,000 years ago when none exist on the land. Of course if geological features like sand dunes and sand bars are found to be concealing fabulous cities then we need to revise our view but until then lets be sober and believe they probably dont. It would be an archaeological breaktrhough if an ancient brick or statue was recovered from the sea bed. But for now, they havent.

    There have however been many remains recovered from the Aegean sea around Greece and also from Alexandria in Egypt where the sea levels have risen. But this flooding was not from the melting of ice caps. It was far more recent and caused by geological activity.

    Also, the Rajavaliya was compiled in the 17th century A.D. and not the 4th Century A.D. It contains references to kings like Parakramabahu VI who reigned in the 15th Century.

    • Ranil Senanayake

      Sorry in my delay in response as I am on the Atlantic coast of Honduras at the monent working on sea intrusion that has claimed over 2.8 kms of land in 10 years, yes it is not a tsunami , but certainly not the gradual rise that you hope for. The communities now have to relocate. This is just the beginning . The holocene transgression was much more rapid. Do check the work of the National Institute of Oceanography (NIO) and you will see for yourself when they have found. Also check the wrk of P.E.P.Dereniyagala and others for the drowned river beds that have been well described. I will be producing a note on sea level rise with photos if you need photographic evidence of the speed of the process

      • kadphises

        The UNEP projected Sea level rise for this century is given here..

        http://www.grida.no/graphicslib/detail/projected-sea-level-rise-for-the-21st-century_b9c1#

        It estimates a 20cm to 40cm rise by the end of this century. So its still going to be awhile before the waves are lapping around the World Trade Centre in Fort. Not this generation, not the next not even in 4 or 5 generations as the max rise is expected to be about a metre. Still, it will seriously impact on low lying nations like Maldives, Bangladesh and Polynesia. None of these people have yet had to relocate. However it will happen gradually over a few generations as the levels rise. There will be emigration and people will die through civil conflict as land demand increases before the waves actually take them. If the sea has intruded 2.8km in the last 10 years in Honduras it could also be due to continental tilting or subsiding. If average sea levels rose it would rise not just impact Honduras. It would rise by the same height all over the world and we will see similar effects in the other countries I mentioned as well as low lying areas of Lanka like Muturajawela and Attidiya.

        What I am saying is that the Holocene flood or the impending flood from global warming is not one where we all have to suddenly pack our bags and run. It will be one where people gradually relocate over several generations. Of course there is hardly any place left to move to, which is a separate qestion. What we will see are first the economic effects with there being less food to go around due to climate change. This will inturn cause competition between communities, religions, races etc. (as we see today) Conflict will eventually cause the population to decrease. If law and order degenerates and systems of governance collapse with disruption to food production and distribution together with social health, the decay will come even faster. In the end future historians writing about what happened (if any survive at all) will attribute the decline to social unrest and anarchy. Not to global warming. And this is my prediction ;-)

        The only feasible way to mitigate the effects would be to get our numbers down fast through statutory family planning. Telling people to fly less, walk nmore and use the bus wont help. There is no such collective discipline in the human species.

  • Herby Padmaperruma

    An extremey intrestng tropic.The conrbutors are very erudite,some their arguments are factiually correct ,when NOT attempting to be unfairly partician, and swhen not quoting authorities such as Polpot, Idi Amin,Prabhakaran etc.However the facts adduced by Yapa and Khdphises hold sustantial weight. As avid readers on this interesting subject we note since the great Defeat, recently stupid and idiotic arguments are advanced basd on unacceptable and unsubstantiated arguments on newly constructed theories on theology, history, geology,arcehology even on neo scienific theories,to urge facts based to make believe that Tamils were even the first inhabitants of Sri Lanka and the Sihnla Race is a later arrival. To quot Prabahakran out of all others to substantiate this argument is like saying the Cockbird is anexcluive gift by God to the Fox. From everey available pre historical document,it is proved boyond a semblance of doubt, the people belongig to Hela Community (Sinhala) are the hereditary owners of the Hela Diva (Island of the Hela People Sri Lanka .As long as this theory is unacceptable, there will never ever be a a racial econciliation in Sri Lanka. Why should Tami Nadu with a polulation of more than 60 times over Sri Lanka,should try to calim ownership to ao Tnny Sri LAnka.

    • http://google Yamasinghe

      Praba or no praba, the country’s hiistory goes well beyond 2500

      Aryans came to India only 5000 years ago !

      Nagas, Yakshas, Rakshas are also common to India

      Tamils are just one group, they also have some Aryan

      Ravan, Elara, Sena/Gutika have been here before 13 c.

      Ravan more likely to be Dravidian, not necessarily Tamil

      However, we share Sanskrit in both our languages and there is no difference in early (Brahmi) writing between the two.

      • yapa

        Dear Yamasinghe;

        So, what? Does it prove the ancestry of present day Tamils in Sri Lanks go beyond 13th century? Ancestry of most of the present day Tamils in Sri Lanka do not go beyond 17th century.

        Do you differ? If so please back your claim. I have no problem of countering it.

        Thanks!

    • kadphises

      Herby.. “From everey available pre historical document,it is proved boyond a semblance of doubt, the people belongig to Hela Community (Sinhala) are the hereditary owners of the Hela Diva (Island of the Hela People Sri Lanka.”

      I certainly dont agree with what you say. It is a statistical imposibility that there could be a single Sri Lankan today who could claim descent exclusively from those who lived in the Island 2000 years ago. There have been wave upon wave of migrations from South India as well as elsewhere. And they have all been absorbed and assimilated into the Sinhala polity. So we have ancestors from all these groups and not just from the early North Indians and Indegenous Lankans of that time.

      It also does not mean the country belongs exclusively to the Sinhalese. It belongs to everyone equally in equal share who can claim more than a generation or two in Sri Lanka and has no where else that they can call home. On that basis if a section of Sri Lankans want to secede peacefully they should have the right to do so being equal citizens, provided they secede only with their per-capita based share of the land around the areas they inhabit predominantly. I personally think Jaffna and Batticaloa qualify.