“Arbeiten, arbeiten, arbeiten – und dann?” by Tagesanzeiger.ch

“Das Kastensystem gibt es leider noch. Ich bin jetzt 24 Jahre alt und ich habe Kolleginnen, die sich in einen Tamilen aus einer anderen Kaste verliebt haben. Dieses Familientheater! Wahnsinn. Familien sprechen nicht mehr miteinander, die Kinder müssen ausziehen und werden ausgeschlossen.”

[ English Translation: “The caste system unfortunately persists. I’m now 24-years-old and I have a female colleague who fell in love with a Tamil from another caste. The drama that followed! Insane. Families stop speaking to each other, children are forced to move out and are banished.” ]

via: http://www.tagesanzeiger.ch/leben/gesellschaft/Arbeiten-arbeiten-arbeiten–und-dann-/story/22218491

Tamil Students Initiative – Unrestricted: Caste and Religion, on 18TH March 2014, with Sinthujan Varatharajah as guest speaker


UNRESTRICTED is a series of talks created by TSI with a simple aim: to start talking about things that have been brushed under the carpet. It is an opportunity to start conversations on real but all too often avoided or unseen issues impacting countless Tamils today.

In this second instalment of the UNRESTRICTED discussions we will discuss the effects of caste and religion within the Tamil community. It is sponsored by TCHA and TRAG and organised by Imperial College London.

In this discussion, we hope to explore the origins of the caste system and the effects it has had within the Tamil population.

We are proud to announce Sinthujan Varatharajah as our guest speaker: a PhD Candidate in human Geography at UCL. He specialises in migration and refugee studies and has done extensive research into caste. We hope to explore Sinthujan’s research findings and understand what it means to be discriminated based on caste.
Sinthujan is also the the co-founder of the Check Your Caste Privilege tumblr page. More recently, he has founded Roots of Diaspora, a project dedicated to detailing the never told stories and hardships of migrants around the globe.

Here at TSI, we believe that it is important to create a space to talk openly about our thoughts, ideas and opinions in a comfortable environment, in this spirit the discussions are open to students only and are designed to be enjoyable yet thought provoking.

Join us at Imperial College London in South Kensington and enjoy scintillating conversation over some drinks and snacks.


VENUE: G16, SAF Building, Imperial College London, South Kensingston, SW7 2AZ

TIME: 6pm – 8pm


Students ONLY

source: https://www.facebook.com/events/608263785921833/?ref_newsfeed_story_type=regular

Tamil Students Initiative is a student-led union with the intention of bringing together Tamil Societies in Universities all over the UK.
The purpose of this organisation would be to aid, develop, and unite Tamil students, while also engendering a greater sense of community amongst the youth.

The key goals of this union would be to:

GROWTH – Encourage growth of Tamil culture

SOCIETY DEVELOPMENT – Aid the development of Tamil Societies within all universities

YOUTH DEVELOPMENT – Provide students with a platform to help their progression through higher education

COMMUNICATION – Create a forum for Tamil youth to communicate and develop their personal portfolio

COMMUNITY – Allow the youth to express their individuality amongst their peers and become part of a growing Tamil fraternity

TSI, while a student initiative, also aims to be representative of all Tamil youth, providing opportunities to develop skills needed within the corporate world.

“Social Stratification in Jaffna: A Survey of Recent Research on Caste” by Prashanth Kuganathan (Sociology Compass)

In its last release, Sociology Compass has published the article of Prashanth Kuganathan, PhD candidate at Columbia University, on : “Social Stratification in Jaffna: A Survey of Recent Research on Caste”.

The can be bought at: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/soc4.v8.1/issuetoc


Since 1983, war has dominated the perception of Sri Lanka. This has affected scholarship on the coun- try, 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 lo- cate 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.

reference: Prashanth Kuganathan, “Social Stratification in Jaffna: A Survey of Recent Research on Caste”, in Sociology Compass, Volume 8/Issue 1 (2014): 78–88

“Complexities of Sinhalese Ethnicity and Community: Caste, Kinship and Religion” by Dr. Siri Gamage

The Sinhalese society is constructed on the basis of several key hierarchies. These include the party-political, religious (including Buddhist and deity worship), caste, bureaucratic-administrative, professional (e.g. educational, medical) and the military. Understanding how these hierarchies are formed and they way they operate is one way to approach this subject. In doing so, one has to understand the nature of those who hold positions within them. There are also layer upon layer of ‘interconnecting relationships’ based on the hierarchies mentioned here.

Via http://groundviews.org/2014/01/30/complexities-of-sinhalese-ethnicity-and-community-caste-kinship-and-religion/

source: Groundviews

“In Need of Translation: An Analysis of Sri Lankan Tamil Dalit Literature” by K. A. Geetha

“The number of Tamil Dalit writers and their literary output has increased in recent years. However, with the exception of literary works of writers like Bama, Imayam, and Sivakami, English translations of the works of other Tamil Dalit writers are very rarely available. (…) The various contexts and heterogeneous experiences of Dalit communities make their literary work a rich source of Dalit culture, tradition, and language. Heterogeneous Dalit cultures have resulted in multifarious plots and characters. To reach global audiences, literary works such as Sri Lankan Tamil Dalit literature must be translated into English”

To read the article online: http://www.ariel.ucalgary.ca/ariel/index.php/ariel/article/viewFile/4251/4022

Reference: Geetha, K.A., 2011, “In Need of Translation: An Analysis of  Sri Lankan Tamil Dalit Literature”, in ariel: a review of international english literature, Vol. 41 No. 3-4, pp. 33–44


“Socio-Religious Desegregation in an Immediate Postwar Town Jaffna, Sri Lanka” by Delon Madavan (Carnets de géographes)

The cease-fire agreement of 2002 between the Sri Lankan state and the separatist movement of Liberalisation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), was an opportunity to analyze the role of war and then of the cessation of fighting as a potential process of transformation of the segregation at Jaffna in the context of immediate post-war period. Indeed, the armed conflict (1987-2001), with the abolition of the caste system by the LTTE and repeated displacements of people, has been a breakdown for Jaffnese society. The weight of the hierarchical castes system and the one of religious communities, which partially determine the town’s prewar population distribution, the choice of spouse, social networks of individuals, values and taboos of society, have been questioned as a result of the conflict. Indeed, the town of the immediate post-war has a different structuring and functionality model from that of before the war. Identity-based segregation, associated to belonging to a caste, is thus in phase of disappearance. However, the end of the caste system (discriminations, socio-economic interdependence) does not prevent the persistence of the caste reality (endogamy, the bonds of solidarity by caste). At the same time, the existence of a large diaspora is the source of a new factor of segmentation in the society. Their support plays a leading role in the reconstruction, economic development of the town and the upward mobility of people. Finally, if inhabitants live in large majorities in neighborhoods traditionally occupied by their caste, the process of space desegregation seems to be engaged.

Keywords : Urban segregation, Territory, Identity, Caste, Religion, Jaffna, Tamil, Sri Lanka

To read the article please click the link: http://www.carnetsdegeographes.org/carnets_recherches/rech_02_04_Madavan_eng.php 

 To quote this article:
MADAVAN D., (2011), «Socio-Religious Desegregation in an Immediate Postwar Town Jaffna, Sri Lanka» in Carnets de géographes, n°2, mars 2011, Rubrique Carnets de recherches http://www.carnetsdegeographes.org/carnets_recherches/rech_02_04_Madavan_eng.php