A Comprehensive History (C. 300 B.C. - C. 2000 A.D.)
By Dr Murugar Gunasingam
ASIN: B00KAU5PK0 (Kindle)
This book is a comprehensive history of the Sri Lankan Tamils, their territories,
their politics, religion, language, socio-economics, art, literature and culture.
Until the publication of this book, based on historical evidence, the Tamils' struggle
for freedom has not been understood in its true light by those engaged in research,
the majority of academics, politicians and ordinary people.
The existing primary sources were not sufficient to write such an historical work.
The author, in order to gather incontrovertible evidence, visited various archives,
libraries, state institutions and university research centres located in the countries
that are closely related to the history of Sri Lankan Tamils. These include India,
Portugal, the Netherlands, Britain and the United States of America. This invaluable
material has been compiled for the first time in this book.
Dr Murugar Gunasingam
Dr Murugar Gunasingam has written four research books including the critically acclaimed
'Sri Lankan Tamil Nationalism: A Study of its Origins' and 'Tamils in Sri Lanka:
A Comprehensive History (C. 300 B.C. - C. 2000 AD)'. Gunasingam gained a Ph.D in
History from the University of Sydney, under the Australian Post-graduate Scholarship
Award. He also received a Masters degree from the University of London.
Gunasingam currently works as a research fellow at the South Asian Studies Centre,
Sydney. He has also served Charles Stuart University, the University of Western Sydney
and the University of Jaffna throughout his career.
This book by the Australian Tamil academic sets out to provide a comprehensive history
of the Tamils of Sri Lanka from 300 BC to 2000 AD. Philip Guedella, the British history
writer has said that "Historians repeat each other". Dr Gunasingam has avoided this
by using primary sources of information as far as possible, instead of repeating
what other historians have already written.
To obtain this primary source information, Dr Gunasingam spent nearly a year travelling
to many countries such as USA, UK, Holland, France, Portugal, India and Sri Lanka.
He visited leading Libraries, Universities and archival collections and obtained
microfilms and microfiches of colonial records relevant to the history of the Tamils
of Sri Lanka. The net result is a book which contains a wealth of primary source
information, much of which has never been published previously.
Eric Hobsbawm, was one of the world's leading historians of the twentieth century.
He was President of Birkbeck College, which is a constituent college of the University
of London, until he died at the age of 95 years, two years ago. In his autobiography,
written about ten years ago, he says "Historians should not write only for other
historians". He goes on to say that "Understanding history is as important for citizens
as for experts". Dr Gunasingam's work exemplifies these dicta. The book can be read
at two levels. For ordinary readers it can be read as the simple story of the history
of Tamils of Sri Lanka. On the other hand, it is a valuable source book for any historian
or student of history who wants to further study the many questions that are raised
in the book. There are a total of about 1300 cross references on page after page
where Dr Gunasingam refers to matters which require further investigation and study.
Dr Gunasingam has repeatedly stated in his book - that there are many unknown chapters
in the history of the Tamils of Sri Lanka that require further research and study
by present and future generations of historians and archaeologists. This book, written
in clear English, is commended as a valuable addition to the bookshelf of all those
who are interested in this subject.
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