Tamils - a Trans State Nation..

"To us all towns are one, all men our kin.
Life's good comes not from others' gift, nor ill
Man's pains and pains' relief are from within.
Thus have we seen in visions of the wise !."
Tamil Poem in Purananuru, circa 500 B.C

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Tamils - a Nation without a State


[see also - Ronit Ricci Comparative Literature - "Islamic Literary Traditions in Javanese and Tamil" and Hindu Javanese Temple Sculpture - Kristine Marx]

[courtesy info-indo.com] "The Tamils were brought in by the Dutch in the early build-up of the plantation industry, probably in the 1830s. Agents visited villages in the Drawidia Kingdom in South India and tempted poor uneducated Tamils to come to 'Tanah Deli", which then was more known to them than "Sumatran". In order to convince these people they used amazing stories about the riches of 'Tanah Deli" and were promised easy work with good pay, for example to guard sugar from being eaten by birds. Some were even told that there picking tress on which money grew and that the Tamils would work with hasty and most of them had to take the decision instantly and where taken to the harbors to wait for a sailing ship.

The majority left without even telling their families. After the arrival in the harbor Labuhan Deli in 'Tanah Deli" the reality was different from the stories told in India. The Tamils were used for hard labor and housed in simple huts. Most of them worked for the Dutch company deli Maatschappij under harsh conditions. A part of the Tamils were brought back to India after the contract. In the end of 1940s many Tamils got an opportunity to return back and left, but maybe 5000-10,000 Tamils stayed on in North Sumatra, mainly in Medan, but also in Binjai and Lubuk Pakkam. Today the Tamil population in North Sumatra is approximately 40,000. Not until the last two generations did they star to intermarry with other ethnic groups.

After World War II and the independence from the Dutch, many Tamils left the plantations and they often used a cow cart to do that. These vehicles became their tools for making a living. Some even bought abandoned Japanese military vehicles, which they used to transport sand and building material for building projects. This occupation has been inherited through the generations and still today one can see many Tamil waiting with their pick-ups and lorries for charters on Jl. Iskandar Muda and in Sunggal. Other Tamils have specialized in spice trading at the markets and a few become contractors or government officials.

The Tamils have remained in North Sumatra except for a few hundred families in Jakarta and Tamils that went to Sigli in Aceh in an early stage. Most of the Tamils are Hindu, but Islam and Christianity are also represented amongst them. The Tamils have always had a harmonious relationship with the original ethnic groups in North Sumatra, as the cultural and economic background and their fate do not differ too much. The word Kelling is in North Sumatra a somewhat derogative word for people with dark skin and used for Indians, especially Tamils. However, originally it was used for Javanese from the Kingdom of Kalingga in central Java, but due to Dutch mispronunciation it became Keling."

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