‘Lankan Tamil women suffered due to migration to other countries’

Poet and actor V.I.S. Jayapalan addressing a seminar in Madurai on Monday.

Poet and actor V.I.S. Jayapalan addressing a seminar in Madurai on Monday.   | Photo Credit: G_Moorthy

This was because Sri Lanka Tamils had a matriarchal society: poet

Study of Tamil Diaspora literature should focus on the role of class, caste and gender in migration of people from one country to another, said poet and actor V.I.S. Jayapalan.

Speaking at a seminar on Diaspora Literature: Resuscitation of Forgotten History organised by the Tamil Research Centre of American College here on Monday, Mr. Jayapalan said that the migration of Tamils of Tamil Nadu to outside world happened among the traders first.

And under the colonial rule, the dalits were taken to the tea estates in Malaysia and Sri Lanka as working class.

“Among the poor, while others suffered only economic oppression, the dalits also suffered caste-based oppression. As the English started to treat as equal all people under the colonial jurisdiction, the dalits did not feel the caste-based oppression when they were taken out to other countries,” he said.

In Sri Lanka, while the poor Tamils migrated to Malaysia, Singapore and Australia as working class, the educated due to their English-knowledge went to the English-speaking countries to serve there as postmasters, station masters and teaching faculty in colleges.

“Migration used to happen only among the men during wars at Sri Lanka. While the upper caste men would leave first, men from other communities would follow. After they settle down in far-off countries, they would take their family members,” Mr. Jayapalan said.

“Sri Lankan Tamil women suffered due to the migration to other countries. This was because Sri Lanka Tamils had a matriarchal society where the men after marriage would go to the women’s house and women controlled the assets. But, when women migrated, they had to go to the husband’s house,” he said.

Adding that the men would chose not to help women become independent, they would force women to have children at short intervals so that they could not learn English and remain chained at home under the men’s dominance,” he said.

Principal, M. Dhavamani Christober, Head of Tamil (PG) Department, J. Sarojini, spoke.

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Printable version | Jul 5, 2020 10:45:35 PM |

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