D. B. S. Jayaraj and the history of the Kok-aththana-kulama area.

by Prof. Chandre Dharmawardana

(June 25, Toronto, Sri Lanka Guardian) D. B. S. Jayaraj, in http://dbsjeyaraj.com/dbsj/archives/2374 writing under the title: "165 Sinhala families settled in Tamil village Kokkachchaankulam in Vavuniya", forgets, or fails to mention, the ancient history of this area. Jeyaraj says that "Kokkachchaankulam is a Tamil village in Vedivaithakallu GS div under Nedunkerny divisional secretary in the Vavuniya North Piradesha sabhai."

Kokkachchaankulam is the Tamil form of the Sinhala place name "Kok-aththana-kulama". See place-names website: "kok-aththana-kulama" for details.

The word "Kokkachchan" has no evident meaning in Tamil. However, in Sinhala, "Koku-aththana" is a type of Datura, for which the Tamil name is "Oomathai", or "Vellaiyumatti".The fruits of this type of Aththana have spikes, and hence the appellation "Koku" in Sinhala. It is possible that the "spiky" form of Attana is also called "kokkaimattai" in Tamil.

So Kok-aththana-kulam is an original Sinhala village settled by Tamil speaking people in the relatively recent past. It is hence not unreasonable that some of the kith and kin, descendants of the of the original settlers, as well as their language - the official language -- return to this area to produce the varigated cultural tapestry that is Sri Lanka.

The Sinhalese - really, Sinhala speaking Sri Lankans -may also have "traditional homelands" where even the names are of Sinhalese origin. They are not preventing the Tamil speaking Sri Lankans from settling or living in Koku-aththana-kulama. The numbers of the Tamil speaking Sri Lankans living in these areas have already dwindled a lot, while swelling the numbers in " Wellawattai, Kottachenai", and Scarborough. Indeed, there is a case for calling the latter "Iskaappurai" by Tamil residents. The word "borough" can be etymologically connect with the Indo-Sanskrit-sinhala word "pura", for "town", and "ur" in old Tamil.

Vedivaithakallu is a place known in ancient times as "Vaedavasgala", and is said to be the location of rocky caves used for meditation.

Nedunkerny was known in ancient times as "NaedunKaenna", or Naedunkurana, and has
important ruins that are associated with a stupa, remnants of a temple, and a small tank, recorded in the annual reports of the Archaeological dept., 1980-82. Around it there are many stone slabs, inscriptions etc.

Interested readers should pay some attention to the history of these areas before making claims of ethnic exclusivity. After all, what is found, even in Lewis, Gnannaprakasar, K. Velu Pillai in Yalpana Vaibhava Kaumudi etc., is instructive in this regard.

Tell a Friend