The Calcutta-born novelist Amitav Ghosh tells the tale, in his novel In an Ancient Land, of a medieval traveler by the name of Abraham Ben Yiju who conducted an import/export business from Cairo through Aden to India. Ben Yiju was a member of the Synagogue of Ben Ezra, or the”Synagogue of the Palestinians”, as it used to be known while it was still standing, in Cairo, at the end of the nineteenth century. It was in that synagogue that congregation members used to accumulate and store their papers and manuscripts. The last In an Ancient Land Revisited Trade and Synagogues in South India document that is known to have been deposited in this Genizah was a get, a divorce settlement, authorized in Bombay (today Mumbai).
Category Archives: Hinduism
Prashanth Kuganathan** whose title runs thus: “Social Stratification in Jaffna: A Survey of Recent Research on Caste”
A SYNOPSIS: Since 1983, war has dominated the perception of Sri Lanka. This has affected scholarship on the country, such that the subjects of an overwhelming number of research proposals and publications have been on the war and the prospects and prescriptions for peace. This survey paper is an attempt to locate the system of caste in transition in the Jaffna Peninsula by reviewing recent literature written after the commencement of the war. While detailed ethnographies of caste in Jaffna may have temporarily come to a halt, caste practices have not and remain a salient part of everyday life among the Tamils in Sri Lanka. As the war ended in 2009, it is therefore important that social scientists on Sri Lanka revisit the topic of caste, that is an integral part of not just Tamil culture or society, but being Tamil itself. As the study of caste is dominated by research in India, a microanalysis of Jaffna and Sri Lanka, particularly the nuances of this system in transition due to war and militancy, could contribute to the macro-study of caste at a sub-continental perspective.
Roshan Kishore, in Hindustan Times, 29 October 2021, with this title “Cricket and patriotism: What links them in India”
Pakistan’s victory over India in the ongoing T20 cricket World Cup match on October 24 has kicked up a political storm in India. First there was uproar over online trolling which targeted India’s pace bowler Mohammad Shami along religious lines. Many Opposition leaders came out in Shami’s support, and several cricketers and the Board of Control for Cricket in India also spoke up for him. Meanwhile, reports of Muslims celebrating Pakistan’s victory started doing the rounds. Those who did so will be booked under sedition charges, Uttar Pradesh chief minister Yogi Adityanath said in a tweet on October 28.
The word stub “ket,”, கேத, in the place name: Tiru-k-keteeswaram, திருக்கேதீசுவரம்
In finding a meaning for the component –ket– in Tiru-ket-heesvaram, well known Engineer Thiru Arumugam has quoted an interpretation given in 1849 by Pridham which leans on a mythological tale of Vishnu’s exlir of mortality that fell into the hands of a demon. The demon was said to be cut into two and became Rahu and Ketu (.இராகு கேது) recognized in astrology. Predham stretches his imagination very far to convert the Tamil -கேத- sound to கேது in finding an “explanation” or rationalization for the stub -கேத- found in the place name.
Thiru Arumugam, being an article presented recently in The CEYLANKAN, Journal of the Ceylon Society of Australia. No. 3, August 2021
Thiruketheeswaram is located about eight km north of Mannar Town. It is on the coastal mainland of Ceylon, near the seashore on the direct coast road from Mannar to Jaffna. It has been the site of a Temple dedicated to Siva from pre-historic times. The place name of Thiru-Kethu-Iswaram has been devised as follows. ‘Thiru’ means sacred or holy and “Iswaran” is another name for Siva. As regards ‘Kethu’, Charles Pridham in his 1849 book A Historical, Political and Statistical account of Ceylon and its Dependencies describes how the gods asked Vishnu to prepare an elixir which would make them immortal. The elixir was prepared by churning the oceans but a demon who was a bystander also managed to drink the elixir. When Vishnu realised this, he cut off the demon’s head, but he was too late as the elixir had already made him immortal. The two parts became Rahu and Kethu, which are significant planets in the Hindu astrological system. In order to propitiate his sin, Kethu (Fig. 1) wandered from place to place and ultimately reached the shores of Lanka. He performed severe penances and he was ultimately blessed with the Lord’s vision and the place where this occurred was named Thiru-Kethu-Iswaram or Thiruketheeswaram.
Grace Bains in Scoopwhoop where the title is “A Demon For Us But A Hero For Sri Lankans, The Fascinating Story Of Ravana, According To Lanka” and Chandre Dharmawardena, in Island, 11 September 2020
As we celebrate Dussehra, we recount Ramayana and the lessons that come with it. For us, the Ramayana isn’t just a story of Lord Rama winning over Ravana and rescuing Sita. It is about good winning over evil despite the many obstacles. It is the story that gives Indians hope and motivation to keep fighting for what they know is right.
But we all know that every story has two sides.
Raj Gonsalkorale, in DailyFT, 4 August 2020, with this title “The Northern Province: The centre for Tamil culture in Sri Lanka”
As much as the Sinhala Buddhist culture and its richness should be recognized, the Tamil culture, in particular the Tamil Hindu culture and its universality, too needs to be recognized. All Sri Lankans should be proud that the country has two such ancient cultures as its foundations.
Culture is the characteristics and knowledge of a particular group of people, encompassing language, religion, cuisine, social habits, music and arts. … The word “culture” derives from a French term, which in turn derives from the Latin “colere,” which means to tend to the earth and grow, or cultivation and nurture.
Daya ….. Rohan…. Shyam…. Riaz ….. what a South Asian spread! …………………. a dinkie-die curry’
I = Michael Roberts: An Explanatory Preamble Cast in May 2020
By 2004 I had retired from teaching in the Anthropology Department at Adelaide University and was proceeding with the pursuit of my research interests at my own pace within my limited resources. Sri Lanka and my connections therein was one such resource. When researching in Colombo in late November 2004 I flew to Jaffna on a wing and a prayer with the intention of exploring the Tamil Tiger “cult of suicide.” Previous contacts with two Tamil Canadians and a visit to the University of Jaffna as soon as I landed assisted me no end: partly via the invaluable support provided by the Krishnaswamy family and the readiness of their medical student son Chenthan to become my aide and guide during peregrinations within the Peninsula.
T. S. Subramanium,in Frontline, 7 December 2018, with photos by Velankanni Raj …. where the title runs “The Palaces of Chettinad”
The palatial decorated homes of Chettiars in the Chettinad region of Tamil Nadu are symbols of a colonial-era architectural heritage marked by opulence. The stately mansions of Nattukottai Chettiars of the Chettinad region in Tamil Nadu are a statement of the affluence the mercantile community enjoyed at the height of its prosperity during the British Raj. The palatial houses, with the built-up area measuring anywhere between 20,000 square feet (1,858 sq. metres) and 70,000 sq. ft (6,503 sq. m), were mostly built in the period between the early 1800s and the 1940s. The Chettiars had set up flourishing trading and business enterprises in Burma (now Myanmar), Ceylon (now Sri Lanka), Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia (including Java and Sumatra), Vietnam, Mauritius and the Philippines.