MALAYS WERE IN CEYLON BEFORE RECORDED HISTORY

MALAYS WERE IN CEYLON BEFORE RECORDED HISTORY

By Paulinus Tambimuttu

(The Ceylon Daily News, Saturday, November 13,1965)

For the first time in history a Malay Mr.M.D Kitchilan has been appointed to the Senate. Prominent Malays have recently made statements to the effect that the Malays only came to Ceylon in the 15th century.

 Dr. S. Paranavitane has stated in his paper "Ceylon and Malayasia in Mediaeval Times" published in the Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society that the people of Ceylon and Malays were in contact with each other from very ancient times. I have .adduced further evidence to prove that the Malays were in.Ceylon before recorded history in the Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society (C. B.)Vol. VII page 257.

Dr N.D.Wijesekera in his work "The People of Ceylon" which he wrote on the material he gathered while assisting J.R.de La Haule Marett in the ,Ethnological Survey of Ceylon states that there is a faint trace of Mongoloid features in the modern Sinhalese population and an alveolar prognathism

He also states that the Polynesian word for canoe is 'oruwa’ in Sinhalese and that there are other similarities in the masks,mode of wearing the sarong etc of the Sinhalese and the people of the Indonesian Islands .I have found similarities between Polynesian and Sinhala e.g.in Polynesian "Nan mai e Kai" is "Come. and eat" Kai being similar to Sinhala "Kanda",

Professor Sylvain Levi has stated that about 1000BC.the seafaring Proto-Malays gave India a pre-Dravidian civilization still to be traced in place-names and outrigger boats.Therefore the proto- Malay would have reached Ceylon long before recorded history.

Dr.Paranavitarne states that the name Hambantota and other names of places beginning or ending with ‘ Malala" do not appear to be of recent origin
Dr R. Winstedt in his "History of Malaya" states that some thousand years before Christ, the proto-Malay knew enough of seamanship and stars to find 'his way to India in outrigger boats.Dr, K,W.•Goonewardene, Professor of History,University of Ceylon in the same journal of Royal Asiatic Society referred to above states as follows:
'I feel that it is worth noting that a number of Sinhalese family names suggests a Malay connection e.g. Malalage, Malalasekhara and Malalgoda and the fact that many people bearing such names have remarkably Malayan features may not be altogether accidental"
(Vol. VII pt. 2 p. 257)

Invasion
In the reign of Parakrama Bahu II(1236-1271 A,D) the Malays under their king Candabahu landed in Ceylon under the pretext that they too were followers of the Buddha.
The Culawamsa reports “All these wicked Javaka soldiers who invaded every landing place and who with poisoned arrows like the terrible snakes, WIthout ceasing. harassed the people whomever they caught sight of,laid waste, raging in their full Fury all Lanka. Just as flashes of lightning with floods of water visit a place destroyed by lightning with flames of fire so Lanka which had been harassed by Magha and others was ravaged anew by the Javakas,Then the king sent forth his sister's son the heroic prince Virabahu with soldiers to fight the Javakas The fearful Rahu namely Virabahu with his terrible appearance completely destroyed Canda- bahu in battle, He placed his heroic Sinhala soldiers here and there and began to open fight with the Javaka soldiers.The good Sinhala warriors sure in aim, the archers shattered in pieces with their sharply pointed arrows in the battle the countless number of arrows whizzing against them with their poisoned tips which were shot swiftly one after the other,by the Javaka soldiers from a machine. Going forth to the combat like Rama, Prince Virabahu slew numbers of Javakas, as Rama slew the Rakshases. The Verarnbha wind namely Virabahu possessed of great vehemence shattered again ,
and again the forest wilderness namely the Javaka f'oes..
After thus putting to flight the Javakas in combat, he freed the whole region of Lanka from the foe".
According to the Rajavaliya, however, Candabahus army consisted of Tamil soldiers.

Tennent
Even a century ago,Sir Emerson Tennent stated that there was a school of thought which held that the Malayan type which extends from Polynesia to Madagascar and from Indo-China to Tahiti may still be traced in the configuration and in some of the immemorial customs of the people of Ceylon.
He also stated that the outrigger canoes and double canoes used by the Ceylonese are never used on the.Arabian side of India but are peculiar to the Malayan race in almost every country to which they have migrated viz. Madagascar and the Comoros Islands, Sooloo, Luzon and Society Island and Tonga.
The Portuguese historian Ribeiro refers to the legend that Ceylon was first inhabited by the Chinese. This has been omitted in the English translation by Dr.Paul E.Pieris. According to the French translation, Ribeiro states as follows:"If we are .to believe Portuguese historians,the Chinese were the first to inhabit the Island and they arrived in the following manner.
These people were masters of commerce in the whole of the East, and some of their ships reached this place".
Two or three thousand years ago, the Malay prahus carried their produce e.g., to Madagascar,the African coast the Persian Gulf and the.Malabar and Coromandel coasts of India. Hambantota which is derived from the Malay "Sampan" and Galle were their ports of call.

Place names in Ceylon provide a clue to the places where the Malays settled.Chavakachcheri in Jaff'na, Jagoda in Gangaboda Pattu of Galle, Jakotuwa in Galle.Jaela near Colombo Jawatte in Colombo Jawela in Galle etc.,
Many Malays became Christians and the Dutch gave them 28 acres of land at Wolvendhal (Minutes of Council of 8. 9. 1660). Malay Kings and Princes were banished to Ceylon by the Dutch.

In 1706 Susuna Man Kurat Mas ex-King of Java was banished to Ceylon. In 1723 forty four Malay Princes and chiefs who had rebelled against the Dutch were banished to Ceylon. In 1734 Danurage,first Minister of the Court of Java was banished to Ceylon. Malay royalty found it difficult to accept the sudden change for at home according to the Dutch historian Valentyn, the King's household consisted exclusively of 10,000 women from whom were also recruited a double cordon of household guards harem attendants and,the Staff.

Astounded
A company of amazons armed with muskets and spears was in constant attendance on the King while other girls carried his jewelled water cooler, his tobacco and smoking equipment, his slippers, writing implements and umbrella of State.

The frugal Dutch were also astounded at the spread of fifty dishes which formed a single meal of the Malay aristocracy.
The loyalty of the Malays is proved by the example of 
Capt. Noordeen who was promised high rank and a "Nindagama" by the Kandyan King but refused it saying he had already sworn allegiance to the British and was executed with his brother.Some years after their banishment to Ceylon,the Malaya Princes were permitted to return to Java.Only a few accepted the offer and the majority have preferred to make Ceylon their home.

(The Ceylon Daily News, Saturday, November 13,1965)
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