Open Access Te Herenga Waka-Victoria University of Wellington
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Tamil Identity in Sri Lanka: A Secular State of Becoming

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posted on 2021-11-11, 20:59 authored by Perinpanayagam, Anushka

Since the island nation of Sri Lanka attained independence in 1948, it has experienced periods of civil unrest marked by riots and government implemented curfews. In the mid-1980s this agitation erupted into civil war between two parties: the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) and the Sri Lankan government. Each is associated with a different ethnic group and a very particular nationalist rhetoric. Kristian Stokke and Anne Kirsti Ryntveit, "The Struggle For Tamil Eelam in Sri Lanka,”Growth and Change 31 (2000): 285. The LTTE, a group of militant separatists, claims to represent the Tamil population of the north and east, while the Sri Lankan government is mostly comprised of politicians belonging to the island's ethnic majority - the Sinhalese. Serena Tennekoon, "Newspaper Nationalism: Sinhala Identity as Historical Discourse," in Sri Lanka: History and the Roots of Conflict, ed. Jonathon Spencer (London: Routledge, 1990), 205.


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Date of Award



Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington

Rights License

Author Retains Copyright

Degree Discipline

Religious Studies

Degree Grantor

Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington

Degree Level


Degree Name

Master of Arts

Victoria University of Wellington Item Type

Awarded Research Masters Thesis



Victoria University of Wellington School

School of Art History, Classics and Religious Studies


Weiss, Rick; Radich, Michael