China urged to respect Tamil place names

[TamilNet, Friday, 19 November 2010, 09:13 GMT]
The thermal power plant China builds in the Puththa値am district is located at a Tamil village called Nuraichchoalai that simply means the grove of Nurai fruit trees (Nephelium longanum). But a corrupted and Sinhalicised form Norocholai is the one followed by Chinese official records. Even the media in India, including the media in Tamil Nadu, mutilate the name joining with Sinhalese and Chinese. Norocholai has no meaning in Sinhala or Tamil. Sri Lanka comes out with a new set of colonial names for places in the land of Tamil nation. China and India, which have cared to bring back the names of their cities such as Beijing and Mumbai from the colonial renderings Peking and Bombay should be sensitive enough for the sentiments of Eezham Tamils, urged a Tamil academic in Colombo.

Nurai Fruit
Nephelium longanum: Nurai or Mura'li in Tamil and Mora in Sinhala (Image courtesy: usda.gov]
The Nurai fruit, also called Mura値i in Tamil and Mora in Sinhala, is very similar to the Lychee fruit. The tree is native to China too.

There is one more village bearing the name Nuraich-choalai in Akkaraippattu, Maddakka値appu (Batticaloa).

Choalai is a common Tamil term for a grove.

The Puththa値am district, especially the coastal tract, was predominantly Tamil speaking a century ago. Almost all the old Tamil village names in the district are Sinhalicised today not merely because of demographic changes or by Tamils becoming 全inhalese, but by planned action of the Sri Lankan state and its institutions, the Tamil academic in Colombo said.


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