There are today two groups of Tamils in Sri Lanka. The first are the Sri Lankan Tamils, who either descend from the Tamils of the old Jaffna kingdom or who migrated to the East coast. The second are the Indian Tamils or Hill Country Tamils, who are descendants of bonded labourers sent from Tamil Nadu to Sri Lanka in the 19th century to work in tea plantations. Sri Lankan Tamils mostly live in the Northern and Eastern provinces and in the capital of Colombo, whereas hill-country Tamils largely live in the central highlands. The Hill Country Tamils and Ceylon Tamils historically have seen themselves as separate communities. In 1949, the United National Party Government, which included G. G. Ponnambalam, a leader of the Tamil Congress and of the Sri Lankan Tamils, stripped the Indian Tamils of their nationality, including their right to vote. Prominent Tamil political leaders such as S. J. V. Chelvanayakam and his Tamil opposition party opposed this move.
Under an agreement between the Sri Lankan and Indian governments in the 1960s, around 40% of Hill Country Tamils were granted Sri Lankan nationality, and many of the remainder were repatriated to India. However, the ethnic conflict has led to the growth of a greater sense of common Tamil identity, and the two groups are now more supportive of each other. By the 1990s most Indian Tamils had received Sri Lankan citizenship.
Read more about this topic: Indian Tamils Of Sri Lanka
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“Culture is the name for what people are interested in, their thoughts, their models, the books they read and the speeches they hear, their table-talk, gossip, controversies, historical sense and scientific training, the values they appreciate, the quality of life they admire. All communities have a culture. It is the climate of their civilization.”
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