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LankaWeb – Sinhala-Tamil were not always antagonistic

Posted on July 26th, 2021
By P.K.Balachandran  Courtesy The Daily Mirror
By the 9th Century AD, the Sinhalese kings had beefed-up their defences and had also taken to diplomacy to ward off South Indian predators.
While Pali was the vehicle of Theravada Buddhism practiced in Sri Lanka, Lankan Buddhist monks learnt Sanskrit, wrote works in it and communicated with Indian scholars in that language.
Despite wars and even during wars between the South Indian forces and the Sri Lankan armies, Sri Lanka-South India trade flourished.
Repeated invasion of Sri Lanka from South India in the ancient and medieval periods did shape the attitude of the Sinhalese towards the Tamils. But the relationship was not always antagonistic. There was ample and significant accommodation, tolerance and absorption of ideas and cultures between the two, right through. This fascinating tale of conflict and cooperation is told by Prof. Amaradasa Liyanagamage in his book: Society, State and Religion in Pre-Modern Sri Lanka (Social Scientists Association 2008).

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