Work on ancient history of Batticaloa released

[TamilNet, Sunday, 10 April 2005, 13:26 GMT]
“We should write the people’s history of the northeast. It is important to discover and publish old palm leaf manuscripts such as ‘Mattakkalappu Poorva Sariththiram’ (Ancient History of Batticaloa) to bring out the history of the communities that live in this region. We have to search and preserve valuable primary sources of our history”, said Prof. S. Mounaguru, former dean of fine arts at the Eastern University, speaking Sunday at the release of a work that relates the settling and history of Batticaloa from pre-Christian times to the eighteenth century.


Prof. Mounaguru addressing the book release

The book release was held at the Mahajana College auditorium in Batticaloa town.

‘Mattakkalappu Poorva Sariththiram’, was edited and annotated by the Tamil scholar Mr. S. E Kamalanathan (Hon. D. Lit) and Ms. K. Kamalanathan with an introduction on medieval and colonial primary sources of Batticaloa history by Mr. D. Sivaram.

The definite edition was prepared by comparing several copies of the work which were found in old palm leaf manuscripts.

‘Mattakkalappu Poorva Sariththiram’ relates the origins and histories of the several dynasties that ruled the region.

It also provides an insight into the social organization and traditional customs of Batticaloa.

‘Mattakkalappu Poorva Sariththiram’ gives a version of the Vijaya Legend which differs in some critical details from the one related in Mahavamsa – the medieval Buddhist Pali language chronicle that relates the island’s ancient history.

Mahavmsa says that the first Sinhala king was the grandson of a lion that carried away a north Indian princes and begat a son and a daughter. ‘Mattakkalappu Poorva Sariththiram’, on the other hand, says that a jungle chieftan called Singan married the princess.

The kingdom of Batticaloa was established by Kooththikan, who is said to be from the dynasty of King Vijaya. The Mahavamsa, however, says that Koothikan (Guttikha in Pali) was a Chola horse trader who conquered the island in the pre-Christian era.

The work also throws light on some unknown aspects of Batticaloa history when the region was under the Portuguese and Dutch.


L-R Ms. Kamalanathan and Mr. Kamalanathan

 

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