Entire population of indian origin upcountry tamil people is currently estimated as 1.5 millian. out of this .75 millian people live outside tea estates and elswhere in the country.only 50% of the people live and work at tea estates and this containes of 3800 families.in 1950 ,six decades ago 90% of above population lived and dependants of tea estates . because of lower wage and poor living conditions people are try to find works outside tea estats and distracted from tea industry.if this tendancy continues in for another five decades there going to be hardley any single workers family going to be left inside in a tea estate.

a tea estate with dwelings

a tea estate with dwelings

it is so cold

it is so cold
there is no way out

sun set pictures near galle

sun set pictures near galle


imbulpitiya tea estate near nawalapitiya from the distance

new developments

new developments
after 1972when the parliament passed land ceiling act the hill country border plantations were divided into small portions given to sinhala peasants colonnialising the plantation districts.

workers children.....it is difficult to smile

workers children.....it is difficult to smile

Sunday, March 28, 2010


In 1867 the Church missionary society (Anglican) established the Borella School for girls and in 1875 a similar one for boys. In 1923 the boys’ school was amalgamated with Christian college, kotte (now jayawardhanapura) and the girls’ school with mowbray college, Kandy, which is today a residential fee-levying school attended mainly by the daughters of estate clerks and conductors and those of similar rank. The boys’ school and its successors provided for many years not only clerks and conductors and their ilk, but also teachers, priests and trade union leaders serving in the plantation districts. It has ceased to perform this service after the closure of the Tamil stream consequent to the take-over of assisted schools in 1961. A day- school established to serve the same class of estate employees is now Uva College, Badulla, where the Tamil stream has had a similar fate; a government junior Tamil school stands on the site of the Kandy bazaar school, catering to the poorer children from the estates and the town of Kandy.

In the course of time the Christian missions established several schools, big and small, in the planting districts. Those run by the Anglicans include St Mary’s, bogawantalawa, St Andrews, nawalapitiya, Holy trinity college, Nuwara eliya and girl’s schools run by the church of Ceylon zenana mission, like the CMS girls’ school, Gampola. The Methodist contribution includes kingswood, Kandy (which closed its Tamil stream even before the ‘take-over’), Highlands, Hatton, and girls’ schools like the Badulla and Kandy high schools while the Baptists established two well known girl’s schools, Viz. Ferguson high school, ratnapura and the BMS school, Matale.

The Roman Catholics did not enjoy the patronage of the state the Anglicans did, but in course of time established schools like St Anthony’s and later St Sylvester’s, Kandy, dehiowita and girls’ convent schools like St Anthony’s, Kandy , St.ursula’s ,Badulla, and St Gabriel’s, Hatton.

Saturday, March 20, 2010


In 1825 Barnes had abolished the export duties on coffee and cotton, and in September 1829 he also exempted sugar, indigo, opium and silk from export duties. Barnes could thus be said to have sown the seeds of Ceylon’s future economic development but he was pessimistic about utilitarian ideals finding a fertile field in Ceylon. ‘’whatever Utopian ideas theorists may cherish of universal fraternity without regard to colour, religion or civilization , or whatever notorious levelers may wish to see adopted ,I am decidedly of opinion that this people cannot ,nor ought ,to have under the existing circumstances any greater share in the Government ,” he wrote in a dispatch to the Earl of Bathurst.
Colebrook and Cameron were evangelical liberals who had investigated conditions in the Cape of Good Hope and Mauritius before they came to Ceylon. Colebrook, who knew Ceylon fairly well as he had served with the army in 1805 and 1807, was a nephew of Wilberforce. Cameron visualized Ceylon as a model for other British colonial possessions. “the peculiar circumstances of Ceylon, both physical and moral,” he wrote, “seem to point it out to the British government as the fittest spot in our esten dominions in which to plant the germ of European civilization…”
There were ambiguities in the recommendations of the commission, and contradictions arose in policy decisions such as when the abolition of rajakariya (compulsory service to the state) was largely reintroduced by ordinance no.8 of 1848 which made all males between 18 and 55 liable to six days labour. However the overall structure of a legislative council consisting of official and unofficial members; and executive council of the principal officials; the divisions of the country into five provinces, and the independence of the judiciary, which commission recommended remained more or less intact in subsequent decades.
Colebrook returned into the army in which he became a general and died in 1870 at the age of 83. Cameron returned to Ceylon in 1875 at the age of 80 as a proprietary coffee planter. His wife was Julia, the renowned photographer of Victorian celebrities. Cameron died in Nuwara Eliya, the salubrious hill station in Ceylon, in1880 at the age of 85. The coffee estate the Cameron’s owned is still known as “Cameron watte” (garden).

Friday, March 19, 2010

திருச்சியிலிருந்து இராமச்சந்திரன்

இலங்கை மலையக மக்களின் துயர வரலாறு இக்கட்டுரையில் தெளிவாக புரியவைக்கப்பட்டுள்ளது. தங்களின் இன்றைய சமுதாய நிலை என்ன என்று தெரியாத, தங்கள் வராலாறு தெரியாத நிலைமையில் இருக்கும் இன்றைய மலையக இளைஞர்கள், இக்கட்டுரையின் வாயிலாக தங்களை இனம்கண்டு எதிர்கால முன்னேற்றதுக்கு என்ன செய்ய வேண்டும் என்ற முனைப்பை இக்கட்டுரை உணர்த்தும் வண்ணம் எழுதப்பட்டுள்ளது வரவேற்கதக்கதே. 200 வருட வரலாற்று நிகழ்வுகளை ஒரே பார்வையில் நம் கவனத்துக்கு கொண்டு வந்த திரு சடகோபனின் முயற்சி பாராட்டுக்குரியதாகும்.
மலையக மக்களின் வாழ்க்கையில் திரு K நடேச அய்யரின் பங்கு பற்றி நாம் அறிந்திராத சில விசயங்கள் இக்கட்டுரை மூலம் தெரிந்து கொள்ளமுடிகிறது.இந்த வலைப்பூவை (blogger ) இன்றைய மலையக இளைய தலைமுறையினர் வாசிக்கும் படியாக அவர்கள் மத்தியில் கொண்டு சேர்ப்பது முறையானதாகும் எனக்கருதுகிறேன்.
ஒருகோப்பை தேநீரின் சுவைக்குபின்னால் அடங்கிக்கிடக்கும் துயரம் தோய்ந்த ஒரு சமூக பின்னணி நாளைய அவர்களின் வாரிசுக்களுக்கு வெற்றிமாலையாக்கும் என்ற நம்பிக்கையோடு இன்றைய இளைஞர்கள் செயல்படவேண்டும். அதற்கான விழிப்புணர்வு இக்கட்டுரையாளரின் பேனா முனையில் பிறந்திருக்கிறது.
வாழையடி வாழையாக இவர்கள் சமூக நிலைப்பாடு மிகப்பின்னோக்கி சென்றதுக்கு முக்கிய காரணங்களாக நாம் கருத வேண்டிஉள்ளது
என்னவெனில் சரியான தலைமையின்மையும் கல்வியறிவு இன்மையும் தான். 200 ஆண்டுகால சரித்திரத்தில் அவர்கள் திட்டமிடப்பட்டே முன்னேறவிடாமல் தடுக்கப்பட்டுள்ளனர்
என்பது தெளிவாகிறது. சூழ்நிலைகள் காரணமாக இத்தனையாண்டுகள் கையறு நிலையில் அவர்கள் இருந்துவிட்டாலும் இனிவரும்காலங்கள் விழிப்போடு செயல்பட்டு முன்னேற வேண்டியது ஒவ்வொரு மலையக இளைஞனின் கடமையாகும்.
இம்மக்களின் விடிவுக்கு இக்கட்டுரையில் முன்வைக்கும் ஒருகாரணம் அவர்களை தேசிய இனமாக அறிவிக்கப்படவேண்டும் என்பதாகும்.
இன்று இலங்கையில் நாடற்றவர்கள் என்று யாரும் இல்லை என்றே சொல்லப்படுகிறது. வாக்களிக்கும் உரிமை ஒருவர் பெற்று விட்டாலே
ஒரு ஜனநாயக ஆட்சியில் குடியியல் உரிமை அனைத்தும் பெற்றதுக்கு சமம் என்றுதானே அர்த்தம். கட்டுரையாளரின் கூற்றுப்படி இப்பொழுது 50
சதவீத மக்களே தொட்டபயிர்செய்கையில் குறைந்த சம்பளம் பெரும் மக்களாக இருக்கிறார்கள் என்றால் அவர்களின் நியாயமான சம்பளத்தையும்,
மற்ற சமூகங்கள் வாழும் வாழ்க்கைத்தரத்துக்கு சமமான அந்தஸ்தையும் பெற்றுகொடுக்க நிச்சயம் முடியும் என்ற நிலையை வரும் காலங்களில்
நம்மால் உருவாக்க மலையக மக்களை தயார்படுதவேண்டியது பொறுப்புள்ள அரசியலார்கள்,ஊடகவியலார்கள் மற்றும் மலையக இளைஞர்களின் பொறுப்புமாகும்.
இன்று ஸ்ரீலங்கா tea என்ற காப்புரிமை பெற்று சர்வதேச சந்தையில் அதனை விற்று கணிசமான் இலாபமீட்டிவரும் இலங்கை அரசு, அதற்க்கு முதுகெலும்பாக உழைக்கும்
தோட்ட தொழிலாளர்களின் முறையான சம்பளத்துக்கு வழிவகை செய்யாமல் அவர்களை கொத்தடிமைகளாய் நடத்துவது சர்வதேச மனிதஉரிமை மீறலாகவே கருதப்படவேண்டும்.
இலங்கை தேயிலையை வாங்கும் ஐரோப்பிய மற்றும் உலகநாடுகளின் செவிகளில் நாம் சற்று உரக்க
சங்காக ஊதவேண்டும். அவர்களுக்கு இதன் பின்னணி என்ன என்பதை உணர்த்தவேண்டும்.
இன்று இலங்கை போர்குற்றம் புரிந்த ஒருநாடு என்ற குற்றசாட்டுக்கு இலக்காகி ஒரு இக்கட்டான நிலைக்கு
தள்ளபட்டதின் காரணம் நமக்கெல்லாம் தெரிந்ததுதான். இதன் காரணமாக gsp என்ற சலுகையை இலங்கை
இழந்துள்ளது. இவைகளெல்லாம் எப்படி சாத்தியமானது என்பதை கவனித்து அவ்வழியில் நாமும் செல்லலாமே.
எனவே உலக அளவிலான பார்வைக்கு நாம் நம் பிரச்சினையை கொண்டுசெல்லவேண்டும். அதற்கான
முயற்சியை இன்றைய இலங்கை மலையக மக்களின்
அரசியல் பிரதிநிதிகள்,தொண்டுநிறுவனங்கள், பத்திரிகையாளர்கள் அடங்கிய கூட்டமைப்புகள் கண்டிப்பாக செய்யவேண்டிய
நிர்பந்தம் இன்ற ஏற்பட்டு உள்ளது.
அடுத்தது தோட்டங்களை விட்டு வெளியேறிய இளைஞர்கள் தாங்கள் பெற்ற அனுபவங்களைகொண்டு சிறு நில உரிமையாளர்களாக
மாறி அந்நிலங்களில் பால்பண்ணை,மூலிகை பயிர்வளர்ப்பு, மற்றும் விவசாய முயற்சிகளில் இறங்கலாம். இதற்கான அரசு உதவிகளை
இதற்கென அமைந்துள்ள அமைப்புகள் செய்து கொடுக்கவேண்டும்.
படிப்படியாக இச்செயல்கள் அமையுமாயின் மலையாக மக்கள் காலமாற்றத்தில் தேசிய இனமாக மாறிவிடுவார்கள் என்பதில் எந்த சந்தேகமும் இல்லை.
திரு சடகோபனின் பேனா இதுபற்றி இன்னும் எழுதும் என எதிர்பார்கிறேன்.
திருச்சி தமிழ்நாடு

Saturday, March 13, 2010


The coffee “mania” as it was called, took place in the late thirties and early forties of 1840 era . Recalling those heady days sir Emerson-Tennet, the colonial secretary, wrote that “so dazzling was the prospect that expenditure was unlimited; and its profusion was only equalled by the ignorance and inexperience of those to whom it was entrusted”.

Barnes gave free grants of lands to would-be coffee planters but in 1836 a charge of five shillings per acre was introduced. Officials from the governor downwards, top ranking military officers, and religious dignitaries were among the earliest beneficiaries of this nominal levy.

The crown lands encroachment ordinance no.12 of 1840 vested ownership of all uncultivated and unoccupied lands, to which there were no claimants who could prove ownership by means of deeds or tax receipts, in the government. It was these lands that were made available to prospective coffee planters at five shillings per acre and later at one pound per acre. A British parliamentary paper of 1850 revealed that on one single day in 1840, 13, 275 acres were given to top ranking officials as follows:

Hon.w.o. Carr (judge)and Capt. Skinner, commissioner of roads…826 acres
Rt. Hon. The governor,Stewart Mackenzie……1,120 acres
F.b. Norris, surveyor- general……………………………762 cares
Hon. Turnour, (govt.agent Kandy and acting colonial secretary)…….2,217acres
H. Wright (district judge, Kandy ) and G.bird………1,751 acres
Sir.R.Arubuthnot(commander of the forces) and capt. Winslow,A.D.C..855 acres
T.Oswin(district judge)………545 acres
C.R.Buller (government agent)……………764 acres
Capt.Layard and associates……………2,264 acres
P.E.Wodehouse (government agent and asst . colonial secretary)…….2,135 acres

According to the parliamentary paper much of the land which was allocated in a day’s work was in an area for which a road had been surveyed and many of those who received land at five shillings per acre sold these lands at sterling pawn 2 per acre.

There is a popular belief, endorsed by chauvinist historians and politicians that the Crown Lands Encroachment Ordinance led to large scale appropriation of land and displacement of kandyan peasants but insufficient research has still been done into the precise implication of the grant of crown lands, or lands claimed by the crown, to coffee prospectors. “For an issue of (such) great complexity, this evidence is inadequate. A long, hard road of probing in depth is called for, and greatly overdue,” wrote Michael Roberts in 1975. On this, and many other aspects of the period of British Ceylon….has only been scratching the surface of a vast area calling for investigation”.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Even nature was cruel to the coffee workers

If history is delayed justice, then verdicts of “guilty” have to be entered against most of the governors of Ceylon in the coffee period; the kanganis, and the planters. Even nature was cruel to the coffee workers. Death rode on the frail craft in which they faced the hazards of the “black water”. Death was only a step behind the workers on the weary 150-mile walk from the hot and arid plains of the north western province of Ceylon to the cold and wet hillsides of the coffee estates. Death struck in the shape of a slithering snake in the undergrowth, or though the claws and jaws of a man –eating leopard. The writings of William knighton, C.R.Rigg, William sabonadiere, P.D.Millie, John Capper, Edward Sullivan and others on the travails of the coffee workers make chilling reading today even after the passing of a century.
Whenever the awkward question of mortality surfaced, the planters blamed the government for not providing better communications and facilities for food, drink and shelter. The governor blamed the system of recruitment though kanganis. The kangani system certainly brought out the worst in human nature. The kanganis sent on recruiting missions to south India cynically engaged greater numbers than were required because they knew a percentage would perish on the way. And they spent the barest minimum to keep their human charges alive out of the advances the planters paid them as expenses. The kanganis fattened on the profits from their human cargo. The governors in Colombo knew of the inquiries of the kangani system but were unwilling or unable to change it. Sir Henry word, an able governor, said the kangani system was based on “fraud and peculation”, and tried to change it but failed. Sir William Gregory, another capable governor, said the planters would change the system if they could, but it was based on custom, “and anyone acquainted with east knows what a barrier that word is to innovation however palpably beneficial.” And so the system continued not only until the dying days of the coffee industry but also through the birth and growth of the tea industry.

Monday, March 1, 2010


Charles Darwin did not visit Ceylon but he was impressed with the Indians he saw in Port Louis, Mauritius. “Before seeing these people I had no idea that the inhabitants of India were such noble looking men; their skin is extremely dark and many of the older men had large moustachios and beard of snow white colour; this together with the fire of expressions gave to them an aspect quite imposing,” wrote Darwin. The Indians Darwin saw at Port Louis could well have being convicts and not indentured workers, as Indian convicts were transported to Mauritius at the time Darwin visited the island. Charles Kingsley, the Victorian novelist and social worker, was as impressed as Darwin he saw at Trinidad. “ one saw in a moment that one was in the midst of gentle men and ladies’…..every attitude, gesture, tone was full of grace; of ease, courtesy self-restraint, dignity…”he wrote. The views of Darwin and Kinsley and Anthony Trollope and the rev.H.W.Cave (seen in chapter11) were in direct contrast to those of the famous British missionary, the Rev.C.F.Andrews, who was provoked by the cold, bureaucratic prose of a British official, (Mc Neil) into declaring – “I have seen these wretched, frightened, quivering, cowering Indian coolies with the hunted look in their eyes. I have heard their own stories from their own lips; Mc Neil evidently has not If he had, his pages would burn with fire, and he would understand the horror of statistical tables about convictions, suicide rates, proportion of men to women etc”.

The subjective to the nature of comments on the physical appearance of Indian workers was also reflected in the comments on their qualities as workers and their general characteristics. Governor sir William Gregory (1872 to 1877) stated that no one who knew the estate workers could fail to like them despite their faults. “Their cheerfulness, their readiness to oblige, their attachment to a kind master covers a multitude of sins”, he wrote. Gregory‘s comments on the coffee workers was very similar to that of Stanley Elkins description of atypical “sambo” as “docile but irresponsible, loyal but lazy… his relationship with his master was one of utter dependence and childlike attachment”. yet another similar assessment was made of the coffee worker by governor sir Hercules Robinson (1865 to 1872) who wrote that “the Tamil coolye is perhaps the simplest, as he is certainly the most capricious, of all Orientals with whom we have to deal in Ceylon. He is like a child requiring the sense of the strong arm of power. He must know that he is subject to parental authority