Sadly, it did not end with India. More nations took an interest in Sri Lanka and sought for its territory. In 1505, the Portuguese landed in the country which led to increased interests from Europe. By 1833, the entire nation was under British rule. The colonizers attacked from Indian territory and made its way to Ceylon. In 1948, Ceylon is set free. 24 years later, Ceylon changes its name to Sri Lanka to remove all traces of Britain from their being and start anew. This resolve did not last long.
By 1983, the civil war between the Sri Lankan government and the Tamil Tigers (rebels from Tamil, India) had begun. The tension had initially been raised between these two parties because of a conflict regarding Indian workers being disenfranchised in Sri Lanka. The war lasted for 26 years with casualties amounting to 80,000 people. Sri Lanka won the battle but lost more than it had bargained for. The country had never been in a state of peace for too long since its existence. Now, it is ready to grow far and wide as a nation fully in control of itself.
Sri Lankans: Turning Strangers Into Family
Sri Lanka is home to many ethnic groups making it a diverse bunch of people. How many people in that specific bunch? About 21 million, making it quite densely populated. Majority of this number lives in poverty and settles in rural areas. All the wars have done its damage and Sri Lanka is slowly but surely getting back up on that ladder. Though there are little means for proper living, it does not get in the way of the people’s spirit.
The population comprises of three major ethnic groups: Sinhalese, Tamil and Muslim. The Sinhalese people make up of 75% of the population. The Tamils are either descendants from India that have settled in the nation ages ago or Indians that migrated to Sri Lanka during the colonization of Britain. 1% of the population is aboriginal people and residents originating from Western India.
Sri Lankans are known to be one of the nicest people on earth. They do not shy away from foreigners nor do they judge. They accept people from different ethnicities and cultural backgrounds and treat them as their own. Though resentment within the border is high between the Tamils and the Sinhalese, they understand that compassion and growth go a long way.
Culture and Religion: Sri Lanka’s Great Range of Diversity
Sri Lanka is known to be quite multiethnic. This entails that there is an intermingling of different religions at play here. They are Buddhism, Hinduism and Islam. Dominantly, it is a Buddhist country. In fact, it has been said that the soul of Buddhism lives vehemently in this land. Different temples and mosques dedicated to different ways of living coexist in harmony and respect.
India has had such a big cultural and historical impact on Sri Lanka, coming through in various fields of art, literature, music, astronomy and medicine. Regardless of its affinity with India, Sri Lanka has grown to develop its own identity. The biggest example of this is the overwhelming presence of Buddhism— something that had faded in India. Sri Lanka preserved the qualities that were truly meant for them. And now, they encompass all historical influence and come into their own being.
Don’t even get me started on the grub. Sri Lankan cuisine features rice, meat, fish, vegetables and fruits. The national dish is Kiribath (milk rice) and it’s made essentially with rice and coconut milk. It isn’t just a dish though. It represents the simplicity and rawness of the nation as a whole. And the sweetness? That speaks for itself.
Sri Lanka has had a long difficult journey to peace. And though it is relatively small, Sri Lanka packs a big punch. What are you waiting for? Go ahead and get lost in heaven.