Sri Lanka, the ‘Teardrop Isle’, has been under international attention for more than two decades for its ethnic conflict and civil war, and recently, under intense media scrutiny for what seems like a decisive end to the civil war. While the ethnic conflict and the civil war have been the subject of numerous academic and non-academic studies in both the East and the West, there has been no significant research on nationalism, particularly Tamil nationalism, as it manifests itself in Sri Lanka.
Pathways of Dissent: Tamil Nationalism in Sri Lanka endeavors to fill this important academic gap through its collection of ten in-depth essays that present a wide perspective of the subject. The book holistically portrays Tamil nationalism from various disciplinary perspectives like history, political science, international relations, art, literature, sociology, and anthropology. In doing so, it tries to understand the nature of nationalism as it emerges in these areas and adds to the richness and complexity of the problematic.
The significance of this collection is not only its breadth of vision, but also the origins of the hypotheses. The essays cite primary sources from Tamil society and culture that are not usually referred to. It is the first multi-disciplinary collection of essays exploring the state of Sri Lankan Tamils and their nationalistic moorings. The book succeeds in adding further scholarship to the academic debate centered on nationalism, politics, sociology and ethnic conflicts. Academics and readers with a focus on ethnic conflicts, peace studies, nationalism, Tamil politics and society and South Asian history will find the book to be an essential reference source.
Chapter Three: Brides as Bridges? Movements, Actors, Documents and Anticipation in Constructing Tamilness
Brides as Bridges? Movements, Actors, Documents and Anticipation in Constructing Tamilness
Scholarly studies on Tamil nationalism in Sri Lanka have been few and far between. This may be an unfortunate reflection of the marginalized status of Tamils in Sri Lanka. The studies that have been done tend to be somewhat conventional.
The narrative of Tamil nationalism articulated in some such studies emphasizes and analyzes the ‘defensive and reactive’ nature of Tamil nationalism (Pfaffenberger 1990, 1994a; Wilson 2001: 5) and focuses mainly on the victim-hood of Tamils (Gunasingam 1999; Nithyananthan 1987; Wilson 2001). Other scholars have chosen to outline the transformation of Tamil nationalism from victim-hood to heroism and valour, leading to the re-invention of the glory ...