INVASIONS, VIOLENCE, ATROCITIES AND PLUNDER
CHARACTERIZE TAMIL/DRAVIDIAN INVOLVEMENT
IN SRI LANKA FROM 230 BCE
Dr. Daya Hewapathirane
Recorded history states that Sri Lanka was invaded as much as seventeen times by South Indian Dravidian Tamil speaking invaders since 230 BCE. Coming with armies of Tamils from South India they ruthlessly wiped out entire Sinhala villages along their way to Anuradhapura and Polonnaruwa the royal capitals of the past. These highly prosperous Sinhala Buddhist capitals were ransacked and plundered and the people subject to untold atrocities. They killed Sinhala Kings or forced them to the retreat to the south. These Tamil invaders sat on the Sinhala throne and ruled over the Sinhala people for about 170 years at different times.
The Tamil threat to the Sinhala Buddhist kingdoms had become very real in the fifth and sixth centuries CE. Three Hindu empires in southern India--the Pandya, Pallava, and Chola, were becoming more assertive. Tamil ethnic and religious consciousness matured during this period. In the meantime, in India, Buddhism was becoming vulnerable to pressure and absorption by Hinduism and its influence was receding. It was during this time that Chola, Pallava and Pandya Tamils were instrumental in repeated invasions and threats to our Buddhist Sinhala rulers.
Our country experienced terror in its worst forms never known in our land before, during the invasion and rule of the Dravidian Kalinga Magha and later in recent years under the Tamil terrorist Prabakaran. The crime-prone rule of Kalinga Magha prevailed for 21 years from the year 1201. The Tamil Pandyan and Tamil Nayakka intrusion into Sinhala royal families led to our traditional royalty going into disarray after the 13th century, and the eventual decline of the stability and magnanimity of the Sinhala Buddhist nation.
Some Tamils came to our country as mercenaries. Propensity to violence and criminal activities is not a recent development among Tamils. The history of Tamil involvement in our country is marked by excessive violence. This characterizes the history of Tamil invasions and involvements in our country from early times. This makes one think whether violence has become a part of the mental and psychological structure of the average Tamil.
Whether the outrageous and violent attitudes of Tamils in general, towards Sri Lanka have changed in recent times is questionable when one learns of the atrocious public pronouncements of Tamil leaders of the Tamil Nadu - the Homeland of Tamils. It was as recent as May 2009 that Jayalalitha called for Indian troops to invade Sri Lanka to help create a Tamil state. This dim-witted woman is a former Chief Minister of Tamilnadu, the current Leader of Opposition and Leader of one of the largest Tamil political parties in India.
FIRST TAMIL INVADERS SENA AND GUTTIKA (22 Years)
The first invasion around 230 BCE, was by two brothers who ruled on the Sinhala throne over the Sinhala people for 22 years till they were killed by a Sinhala prince from the south. The first reported account of South Indian Tamil rule in Sri Lanka was during the period 237-215 BCE by the horse dealers. SENA and GUTTIKA. who killed the Sinhala king Suratissa and usurped the Sinhala throne and occupied the throne at Anuraadhapura for twenty two years. In 215 BCE, Sinhala king ASELA, the brother of Surastisssa and brother of King Devanampiyatissa regained the kingdom from Tamil invaders and ruled from 215 to 205 BCE.
TAMIL ELARA (44 Years)
Ten years later, a Chola Tamil South Indian invader named Elara, came and slew the legitimate Sinhala king Asela, and ruled Rajarata from Anuradhapura. He held the Sinhala throne for 44 years (205-161 BCE). This Tamil invader was slained by Prince Dutugemunu and the entire country was unified under his rule.
WAR WAGED BY SEVEN TAMILS
Valagambahu became the king of Anuradhapura Kingdom in103 BCE. Five months after becoming king, he was overthrown by a Tamil invasion from South India. Seven Tamils waged war against king Valagambahu - Pulahatta (or Pulahatha), Bahiya, Panaya Mara, Pilaya Mara, Dathiya. In 88 BCE these Tamils were deposed by Valagambahu ending Tamil rule. Valagambahu I (89-77) BCE restored the Dutugamunu dynasty.
SIX PANDYAN TAMIL INVADERS (428 - 452 CE)
There was a twenty-four year period from 428 to 452 CE, when six Pandyan Tamil invaders ruled the country- Pandu 428-433, Parinda 433, Khuda Parinda 433-449, Tiritara 449, Dathiya - 449-452. King Dhatusena defeated the last two of these Tamil usurpers and ruled our nation from 452 to 470 CE.
PANDYAN AND CHOLA INVASIONS IN THE 9TH CENTURY CE
By the middle of the ninth century, the Pandyans had risen to a position of ascendancy in southern India, invaded northern Sri Lanka, and ransacked Anuradhapura. During the period 846 to 866 CE, Pandyan Tamils invaded and plundered Anuradhapura.
TAMIL VIOLENCE LED TO ABANDONMENT OF ANURADHAPURA -THE ROYAL CAPITAL OF 1400 YEARS
In 993, the Chola Emperor Raja raja-I invaded Sri Lanka, forcing the then Sri Lankan ruler Mahinda V to flee to the southern part of the country. Rajendra I son of Raja raja -I, launched a large invasion and Mahinda V was captured and taken prisoner to India where he died in 1037. Mahinda V (917-1007), was the last Sinhala king to rule from Anuradhapura. These Cholas ransacked the city of Anuradhapura and moved the capital to Polonnaruwa and subsequent Sri Lankan rulers who came into power after the Chola reign continued to use Polonnaruwa as the capital, thus ending the Anuradhapura regime.
TAMIL PLUNDER OF ANURADHAPURA
Rajadhiraja Chola II (1166-1178 C.E.) who was a Chola king in India had serious disputes with the Pandyans and the Sinhala rulers on the opposite side, bringing untold misery to both sides. This civil war that resulted between the Cholas and Pandyan Tamils brought power to Pandyans resulting in invasions and plunder of Anuradhapura.
ROYAL CAPITAL RELOCATED IN POLONNARUWA OWING TO TAMIL INVASIONS AND VIOLENCE
CHOLAS OUSTED FROM POLONNARUWA
VIJAYABAHU- I (1045-1095 CE) ousted the Chola Tamils from Anuradhapura and regained the Rajarata Sinhala kingdom. He chose Polonnaruwa as his capital. It is also significant that Hindu Devale’s were respected and Tamil soldiers were maintained in the service of the king. King Vijayabahu had Leelavati as his chief queen, but also married a princess from Kalinga Royal Family as his second wife. From her he had a son named Vikrama Bahu and a daughter named Ratnavali. His sister, Mitta, was given in marriage to a Pandyan Prince who had three sons, the eldest of whom named Manabharana, became the husband of Ratnavali. Their son was Parakrama Bahu. I.
PARAKRAMA BAHU- I (1140-1173 CE) Grandson of Vijaya Bahu- I, a Prince of Royal Blood, of Pandyan descent, as the son of Manabharana and Vijaya Bahu’s sister Mitta. Parakrama Bahu- I became King in 1140 and reigned for thirty three years leaving behind no heir to the throne. This led to the nomination of
VIJAYABAHU II as king (1173-1174 CE) He was Parakrama Bahu’s sister's son
NISSANKA MALLA (Kirti Sri Nissanka) 1174-1183 CE was a Kalinga Prince and his reign was followed by a period of utmost political instability resulting in downfall of the Rajarata kingdom and the former glory of Polonnaruva.
TAMIL INVASIONS DURING POLONNARUWA ERA
During the reign of Queen Lilavati 1197-1198 CE the Widow of King Parakrama Bahu a South Indian Pandyan Tamil invader deposed her and became the king and ruled for three years.
KALINGA MAGHA INVASION (1201-1222 CE)
In 1201 Sri Lanka was invaded by MAGHA a Dravidian Kalinga prince who took the king captive, tortured him and robbed him of all riches. He ruled for 21 years until 1222 CE. The ferocity, cruelty and barbarism of Tamils were unprecedented. These Tamils ransacked the kingdom, killed man and beast, broke images, destroyed temples, viharas, tortured the rich of their wealth and gave land to Cholas. The Tooth and Bowl relics were hidden. Kalinga Magha tyrannized the inhabitants of Raja Rata and extended his invasion to the south of the country where he was counter-attacked by the Sinhala and this Tamil terrorist escaped death and ran back to India with some of his soldiers.
These Tamils ransacked the kingdom, killed man and beast, broke images, destroyed temples, viharas, tortured the rich of their wealth and gave land to Cholas. The Tooth and Bowl relics were hidden. Kalinga Magha tyrannized over the inhabitants of Raja Rata and extended his invasion to the south of the country, but was compelled to retreat by the forces of Vijaya Bahu-III of Maya Rata (1222-1226 CE) and was killed by the Sinhala on his way back to India.
INSECURITY BROUGHT ABOUT BY TAMILS A MAIN REASON FOR RELOCATION OF CAPITALS
VIJAYA BAHU -III (1222-1226 CE) who expelled Magha the Tamil invaders from Maya Rata, moved the seat of government to Dambadeniya. He had two sons named Parakramabahu and Bhuvaneka Bahu.
PANDITHA PARAKRAMA BAHU- II (1226-1257 CE) the eldest son of Vijaya Bahu- III became the king after his father Vijaya Bahu- III. The new king was known as Panditha Parakramabahu - II, on account of his great learning.
Chandra Bhanu the Tamil, who claimed to be a ruler of Jaffna, went to war with Panditha Parakrama Bahu and was defeated mercilessly.
Although Panditha Parakramabahu was crowned at Polonnaruwa he ruled at Dambadeniya. He reigned as king over the whole of Lanka for thirty five years and upon his death was succeeded by his son, Vijaya Bahu who ruled for two years and political instability followed with several kings who ruled for short periods of time.
REPEATEDLY INVADED BY INDIAN TAMIL FORCES
BHUVANEKA BAHU- I ascended the throne in 1259 and ruled until 1270. During the early part of his reign our country was repeatedly but unsuccessfully invaded by Indian Tamil forces. He initially ruled from Dambadeniya and later shifted his capital to Yapahuva. The life of Yapahuva as the capital of Lanka lasted only till the death of King Bhuvaneka Bahu- I, when it was subjugated and despoiled by another Tamil invasion.
INVASION OF TAMIL PANDYAN ARMY
PARAKRAMA BAHU III, the nephew of Buvaneka Bahu- I, became king in 1270 and ruled for five years in Polonnaruwa. During his reign the island was invaded by a Pandyan army led by one Chakravarti. The invaders succeeded in capturing the forces of Yapahuva and carrying off the sacred Tooth-Relics to India. The Sinhala king succeeded in bringing it back to Lanka and placed the relics in Polonnaruwa.
BUVANEKA BAHU - II (1275-1277CE) Son of Buvaneka Bahu- I, cousin of Parakrama Bahu- III who had a Pandyan connection ruled from Kurunegala.
PARAKRAMA BAHU - IV (1277-1301 CE) son of Buvaneka Bahu II proclaimed himself king against the Pandyan Emperor Kulasekera. Kulasekera came himself to avenge the killing of his nephew Parakrama Bahu- III by Buwanekabahu -II. He invaded Yapa Patuna Kingdom and captured it.
(This is a mere chronological outline to highlight Tamil invasions and violence in the past. I have refrained from enumerating the atrocious nature of these events Dr. Daya Hewapathirane).