Sinhalese vs. Tamil


Sinhalese and Tamil races are the two predominant demographic divisions in Sri Lankan society. While there is a history of political strife between the two races, the Sri Lankan government defeated Tamil guerrillas in 2009 to stamp out the Tamil secessionist movement.

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Geographical distribution Sinhalese live in the Central, Western and Southern parts of Sri Lanka. It is alleged that in the late 20th century(and in 2002 during cease fire) , the LTTE drove out the Sinhalese population from North and East. Tamils live in the State of Tamil Nadu in India, Northern and eastern region of Sri Lanka and as Diasporas all around the world.and 2/3 of Tamil population in Sri Lanka are living alongside with Sinhalese in south and central part of sri lanka
Religion A majority of Sinhalese people adhere to Theravada Buddhism. There is also a Christian minority. A majority of Tamils are Hindus with a significant minority practicing Christianity or Islam, and a small minority practicing Buddhism, Jainism and atheism.
Population 150 lakhs (15 million) 10 crore (100 million) people speak Tamil as their mother tongue. In Sri Lanka, the Tamil population is about 5 million or about 15% of the total population.
Language Sinhalese people speak Sinhala. Tamils speak Tamil.
Traditional Dress The traditional dress of the Sinhalese people includes Sarong and Kandyan. The traditional dress of Tamil Women is sari and men is Shirt and Dhoti.
Ancient History and origin Sinhalese language and culture came from North India, probably Bengal as Mahavamsa says. But Hela ethnic groups were living on the island and are the aboriginal inhabitants. It is unclear how the Tamils came to Sri Lanka. Some suggest that they came from Southern India, while others suggest that they descend from the ancient Yakkhas and Nagas of Sri Lanka. As a Dravidian language, Tamil descends from Proto-Dravidian.

Contents: Sinhalese vs Tamil

edit Origins of Sinhalese and Tamil populations

Sinhalese people inhabit Sri Lanka and are the main ethnic group that make up about 74% of the total population of Sri Lanka. They are also referred to as the Hela, or Sinhala; the word Sinhala, meaning “lion people”. According to popular mythology, the Sinhalese people are descendants from the followers of Prince Vijaya who served exile (from 543-483 BC) in Sri Lanka and hailed from a North Eastern Indian kingdom called Singhapur (Modern day Singhur, West Bengal). Genetic studies have shown that the origins of the Sinhalese people lie mainly in West Bengal and South India, with links also to native 'Hela' tribes.

Tamils are a minority group residing in Sri Lanka (the majority of Tamils actually live in India in the state of Tamil Nadu) who predominantly migrated to the island as traders or invaders from South Indian Chola kingdom. They settled in north and eastern parts of the Sri Lankan island. Most Sri-Lankan Tamils are descendants from Chola Kingdom.

edit Geographical Distribution of Tamils and Sinhalese

The Sinhalese occupy the Central, Western and Southern parts of the island. The majority of Tamils live in the Northern and Eastern Province and there is a Tamil and Sinhalese minority all over the island nation.

edit Political Strife for a separate Tamil state

The relation between the Sinhalese and Sri-Lankan Tamils has been strained since Sri Lanka gained independence from Britain in 1948, which ensued at the time when the nation’s constitution was being drawn. The introduction of the Sinhala-only act in 1956 triggered riots in Sri Lanka. Further discrimination against the Tamil population in Sri Lanka in cultural, political, economic areas led to some Tamils harboring resentment against the Sinhalese groups and the Government.

Militant groups demanding independence for Tamils known as TNT and later as Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) formed in 1972. Since then, many Sinhalese and Tamils have been caught in this conflict and killed. The start of the civil war is said to have been in the July of 1983 with a deadly attack by LTTE on the Sri Lankan army. Many peace talks failed between the government and LTTE. From 1983 till the end of the civil war in 2009, there continued many offensive attacks both by LTTE and the Sri Lankan army. Attack by suicide bombers had become a trademark of the LTTE. This war forced many Tamils to find new homes in other countries like Canada and Australia.

In 2009, the Sri Lankan government mounted a concerted effort to use armed forces to eliminate the LTTE and their terrorism. While they were successful, there have been several allegations of human rights abuses by the Sri Lankan government. The war also resulted in thousands of Sri Lankan Tamil civilians being killed or displaced from their homes and pushed into refugee camps in other regions.[1] The rights of Tamils (refugees and otherwise) continues to be an important diplomatic issue the Sri Lankan government is dealing with.

edit Differences in Language

Sinhalese people speak Sinhala, an Indo-Aryan language also known as “Helabasa” and have two varieties, written and spoken. This language is influenced by Pali and Sanskrit. Tamils speak the language Tamil, which is a Dravidian language.

edit Differences in Religion

Sinhalese people follow the Buddhist Faith (Theravada School), which was introduced to them by Ashoka’s son Mahinda during the 3rd century BC. Though the majority of Sinhalese are Buddhists, a significant number are also Christians, due to the Portuguese, Dutch and British influence on the island. Tamils are mostly Hindus, with a significant Christian population.

edit Cultural Differences

Sinhalese culture encompasses many rituals and tradition which are greatly influenced by Buddhist festivals. A majority of Sri Lankan Tamils follow Hindu customs and traditions similar to south Indian rituals.

edit Traditional Dress

The tradition dress for Sinhalese is sarong and Kandyan for more formal occasions. Men wear a shirt with sarong, and women wear a sari (called Osari). The traditional dress of Sri Lankan Tamils is the sari, worn with a blouse and petticoat.

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Comments: Sinhalese vs Tamil

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Anonymous comments (15)

April 17, 2013, 3:18pm

In pre-ice age times Sri Lanka was an extension of Tamil Nadu. All other races came there from far and were not natives of the place. Tamils would be the closest race to the natives of the island. While Sinhalese have been there for some time, their look and make up does not resemble peoples of hot tropical island. Western history has distorted so much around the world and has caused many wars.

— 115.✗.✗.166

December 5, 2012, 7:47am

Who ever claims that Eela Tamils are from India and are Indian Tamils then i urge them to go look into genetic studies done by your own genetic experts on the island and understand that the two races are distinct from one another. I think everyone should stop basing history on tales and myths like the pali chronicles and actually examine it through the Archaeological and genetic method. Why are there Tamil temples built on the coastal regions of Sri Lanka predating the 5th century b.c? Why are there Tamil Brahmi inscriptions beside Buddhist monasteries? Is it possible maybe that the language Tamil is alone thousands of years older than the Sinhalese language? Who is to say what language the kings listed in the mahavamsa actually spoke? Open your eyes and understand things from another perspective and maybe you should realize that the Sinhalese race is ascending into Barbarism that would go against the fundamental principles of Theravada Buddhism that the great Lord Buddha himself preached. Treat your neighbor like how you would like to be treated maybe then they will treat you the same way. Let their be peace in the island.

— 134.✗.✗.12

May 6, 2012, 1:46am

Honestly, the Tamils may have many but they deserve their own state just as much as the Sinhalese. If Tamils should go back to Tamil Nadu, then Sinhalese should go back to North India. I mean, seriously, it's not like Tamils want to get rid of the Sinhalese. The Tamils just want to live in harmony in their country without external conflict and discrimination. Be fair. How do you think Tamils feel when they go back to their home country (Sri Lanka) and can't communicate or are discriminated against because of their language? Look at India, there are several hundreds of languages in India. Don't you feel ashamed? Sri Lankans can't make it work with only TWO languages.

— 122.✗.✗.128

May 28, 2014, 2:22pm

Sinhalese manipulating history true story how Sinhalese destroyed Hindu Temples. and killed Tamils in 1988 go to

— 66.✗.✗.20

November 13, 2013, 1:53am

I just want to say that I'm tamil and sinhala are stupid to kill tamils like animals

— 66.✗.✗.149

July 9, 2012, 1:10pm

How are Tamils from India? get your facts right, only a handful of Indian Tamils were brought in as tea plantation workers, the majority of us have been living in Sri Lanka since the 2nd century, there is no evidence of a Tamil Kingdom until 757 years ago but evidence suggest that tamils have been living in Sri Lanka since the second century which is way before the Sinhalese arrived. And why on earth would people from Tamil nadu migrate to northern and eastern Sri lanka which is arid and has lack of fresh water? its stupid that you people would think that, Tamils and Sinhalese can never live together because Sinhalese think they are better than Tamils and close their eyes and laugh when Tamil civilians are getting slaughtered by government soldiers.

— 31.✗.✗.110

June 5, 2014, 10:03pm

i dnt knw hw u people hv been fooled... in silapathigaram which dates 5th century bc it states abt naga people in srilanka and it says they spoke different dialect of tamil... sinhalese were the one who invaded actually nt invaded came here as refugees... if tamils only invaded by 1300 y there was tamil inscriptions dated around 3rd century bc?? hv a common sense.. u guys hv inferiority complex and afaraid of tamils...

— 117.✗.✗.153

July 29, 2012, 9:43pm

The person who wrote this is stupid ! The sri lankan tamils are native to sri lanka as well. They didn't come from south india although they have settled and mixed with the sinhalese and sri lankn tamils along with the bengalis. The sri lankan tamils and sinhalese are predominately related to the veddas. The veddas spoke elu which is a proto - dravidian language. The veddas are also related to the Dravidian race . Sri Lankans should be united, we are all human beings end of the day !

— 92.✗.✗.237

July 1, 2013, 7:53am

Tamil-nadu did not even exist in pre-ice era. Have you gone nuts?

— 165.✗.✗.60

December 9, 2012, 8:39pm

don't try to be smart or hero by profounding ..about history. by finding fast if some one able to bring world peace or personal ongoing devolopment and comfort permanant relaxtion, then it is very we are human being cleverly we have to find out why we had this life,purpose of living, what is happenning after the death...if some one is intantionally forget this three major parts his life is useless ..and those who no any sense about at all they are very one can develop some one mind it can be done by him shelf..every animals are fight to defend their lifes but they never know they have to die..they never know they born for they fight to protect "I" "me" "my" "mine" "we" "our" then they result not benefited life at all him shelf or for any other...just try to be meaningful your life...wich benefit for you and for others kill your eago..dont think your race, religion,culture or by any other narrotive way ..don't be proud or unhappy that you become a tamil or sinhaleas buddhist or hindu no one become slave or brahma in his are the one who reponsibal of your every thing dont point finger on others he bleam me he insult me..the past has left behind your way is towords on future no one able to bring past into present ...dont fight on past..when the flock of crows are digging a rubbish mountain is smelled...

— 217.✗.✗.216

December 9, 2012, 7:13pm

narrow mind or thinking result of eago as long as we are fail to comply with the law of one will live longer without harm also if some one or group wish to be owner of any plot on earth they are unprotected just like a candle-light court in wind. consider your shelf what has happend past...why the most of violators has embrece hustle death. must keep remember nature always wllingly protect innorcent those live according to nature.since i'm well knowen buddhist i never say sri lanka is buddhas land ..why...? becaous he has gave up every thing there is nothing belongs to buddha we are good buddhist we must never use this word. eago minded they always look forword of problem, they willingly create problems becaous that they dont have sense so good buddhist no longer become sensless...let any stupid tell or think any thing that is what their satisfaction in imagination so let them happy them shelf...unless humen mind is not wise enoguh he call stupid ...

— 217.✗.✗.216

October 24, 2010, 11:56pm

Terrorism is intolerable wherever it may occur and is abhorrent to civilized people.
All humans (the 5th Ape) descended from the one mother in Africa. So, we are all cross-bred products. It also means that we are all very distant relatives of one another. Depending on the proximity to the equator, pursued sexual partner and continental drift, their appearance changed or evolved to survive. Therefore the multitude of skin-pallor and appearance of present day Homo-sapiens. This creates a stronger gene-pool.
Religion was man-made irrespective of which, to create society (probably due to lawlessness, greed, bullying, rape etc in that era) which we believe separates us from animals. All wars are caused through human greed or religion. If we can be honest with ourselves, then we know that every human subconsciously or overtly believe that they are superior to other humans, be they of immediate vicinity or from a geographically different origin. Hence the need to denigrate others albeit fo

— 60.✗.✗.126

October 31, 2013, 4:11pm

I dont think you guys should be arguing about this. I am Sinhalese but, we should let the past be the past. No one own a country, after all it is a free country. I do admit that I am a supporter of the president and his actions on squashing the terrorist tamils. These were a group who wanted to rule a section of the Sri lanka even though their support was the minority. Their campaign involved violence and hatred. So i think it was moral and suitable to put the tamil tigers out, there might have been some instances of dis-hournering but that comes with every war. I think we should not compare the two races and just forget about the whole thing. After all it is modern times, and we should not be arguing about stupid shit like this in the comments.

— 86.✗.✗.209

May 3, 2012, 1:55pm

There are only 15 million of us, as apposed to a 100 million of Tamils. Yet you keep on asking for a seperate state, just please leave us alone, Sri Lanka is our only homeland, unlike you we have no other place to turn to. If you want the so called "EALAM" please just go and live in Tamil Nadu, that's your true homeland. We were first on the island and we will fight to keep it that way.

— 65.✗.✗.12

June 15, 2012, 1:29am

"Sri Lankans can't make it work with only TWO languages"
are you serious there are millions of tamils and sinhalese living together peacefully in a small confined space, and are you nuts to compare sri lanka with india, compare the sizes and amidst all of this you eelam tamils are trying to divide it. Don't you see that this is never going to work, over 30 percent of the country to a minority. Even if you do achieve it everybody in sri lanka and around the world knows that prabhakaran would not stop there, it is a historically proven fact that once someone achieves power you just keep going until it overwhelms you.

One other thing the homeland of tamils is in india, tamil nadu, not sri lanka. The tamils came as invaders or the british brought them to sri lanka. So please just leave us alone and if you want a homeland so bad go fight for it in India, i'm sure you'll have a lot more luck over there.

— 24.✗.✗.107


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Ethnicity vs. Race