Tamil Christian epitaph of significance found in Kayts

[TamilNet, Sunday, 21 June 2009, 02:15 GMT]
An interesting early 19th century Tamil epitaph found on a tomb in Kayts, off Jaffna, evidences the usage of the word ‘Aariyar’ in Christian context, says Professor P. Pushparatnam, Head of the Department of History of the University of Jaffna, who brought the epitaph to notice and read it. According to local media reported his finding, the tomb of one Ales Francis Cruz, died in 1827 was found behind the old customs building at the Kayts port.

The text of the epitaph, which is in Tamil and read by Prof. Pushparatnam follows:

Tomb epitaph in Kayts
The tomb located near the old customs building of Kayts port
Tomb epitaph in Kayts
The epitaph found on the tomb
“1827 (in Tamil numerals) Thai month 27th date (in Tamil numerals and symbols for month and date) Naakapad’nam Aariyar Ales Piraagnchis Kurus”

It was a tomb of a Christian, Ales Francis Cruz, from Naakappadinam in the Coromandal Coast of Tamil Nadu who died on the 27th date of the Tamil month Thai (Jan-Feb) of the year 1827.

According to Tamil dictionaries made in the 19th century, one of the several shades of meaning for the word Aariyar (Arya in Sanskrit) is a foreigner or a person of a foreign faith.

The epitaph comes out with the title ‘Aariyar’ for the deceased probably to indicate his Christian faith, priesthood or to indicate that he was a Christian of foreign (European) origin even though coming from Naakappaddinam.

Cruz (written as Kurus in Tamil) is a common title even today, especially among the Catholics of Mannaar.

Following the old tradition of Tamil writing, as seen in inscriptions and palm leaf manuscripts, dots on consonants are avoided in the epitaph.

The location of the tomb is believed to be a burial ground for war or epidemic victims of the by-gone centuries, as locals remember seeing large number of skeletons in collective burials when the place was cleared sometimes back, Dr. Pushparatnam said.

Kayts, Oorkaavat-tu’rai or Ooraath-thurai was an important harbour in ancient and colonial times. The celebrated Saint, Francis Xavier, visited the harbour in mid 16th century and introduced the faith, according to Catholic traditions.

 

Latest 15 Reports
17.05.21 19:23   Photo
Ananthi blames war criminal Silva for blocking collective memorial at Mu'l'livaaykkaal
23.03.21 12:41   Photo
No focus on Tamil genocide, geopolitics gets played out in Geneva in favour of QUAD formation
21.03.21 13:34   Photo
Navi Pillay explains ‘human rights’ limitations in Geneva on Tamil genocide
15.03.21 20:36   Photo
Deceived Tamil activists in UK falsely claimed ‘substantial changes’ to Zero draft
09.03.21 21:34   Photo
UK repeatedly wronged Tamils says hunger-striker, demands genocide justice
26.02.21 11:53   Photo
Tamils witness false dilemma in Geneva as geopolitical formations pit against each other
19.02.21 14:02   Photo
UK not prepared to push for ICC option in new UNHRC Resolution
07.02.21 23:16   Photo
Unprecedented P2P uprising paves the way for rights-oriented politics of Tamils and Muslims
22.01.21 08:01   Photo
Gotabaya sets up deceptive COI citing ‘sovereignty’ and ‘non-aligned’ foreign policy
18.01.21 23:44   Photo
Tamil activists resisted three sources of outside influence while drafting demands to UNHRC
16.01.21 11:03  
Tamil national parties demand UN to inquire into crime of genocide and set up IIIM
09.01.21 09:37   Photo
Demolition of Tamil genocide monument, fourth emblematic trauma since 1974: Rev Fr Sakthivel
08.01.21 23:51   Photo
Colombo destroys Mu'l'livaaykkaal memorial monument at Jaffna University
07.01.21 11:22   Photo
With emphasis on genocide, Suresh calls for ICC-referral, IIIM and referendum
07.01.21 00:04   Photo
Boyle prefers IIIM demand over ICC-referral, says specific reference to genocide essential
 
Find this article at:
http://www.tamilnet.com/art.html?catid=13&artid=29624