Formation of Malay Community in Sri Lanka

The Malay community of Sri Lanka is formed of a number of people arrived in Sri Lanka at different periods of time, on different reasons and from a diverse region of eastern islands that included Malay Peninsula, Java and other Indonesian islands. They are popularly known as "Jaminissu" among the Sinhalese community and "Jamanusar" among the Tamil community meaning "People from Java" in both languages. The term "Javaka" we found in the Culawamsa also has a similar meaning: "Person from Java" (Java+ka) (Java+person) while the Malays call them "Melayu" in Malay language. How did they form the Malay community?

 There are several factors that helped form the Malay community of Sri Lanka. Firstly, the formation of a separate regiment for Malays in the British military played an important role towards the formation of the Malay community. By the time of Governor North's departure from Sri Lanka, he had laid a foundation for a future Malay community of Sri Lankan style. During his tenure of 10 years as Governor, he persuaded 75% of the Malays that included exiles of various class and people come from different islands in the East living in Sri Lanka to join the British military service. During his administration, North recruited Malays from all over including locals and those from the Malay Peninsula. He set up a separate military regiment for Malay soldiers, formed a Boy's company to give prior training to the children of the Malay soldiers and formed an Invalid Regiment to help them find alternative jobs. North set up Malay settlements and provided jobs. He even looked after the children and wives of those soldiers who died in the battle.

The Malay regiment played a central role in promoting welfare for the Malay soldiers and communicating with other Malays and settlements in cities and villages in the island. On top of that, the Malay Military mosque, primarily set up to serve the spiritual need of the soldiers, also attracted the Malays living around the area. The mosque served as a center promoting friendship among the Malays came from different places of origin.
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