India urged to help tracing transfer of sovereignty document

[TamilNet, Saturday, 15 October 2011, 10:32 GMT]
Like the Kandyan Convention signed between the British and the chieftains of Kandy in 1815, which is a legal document for the transfer of sovereignty, the Portuguese signed a treaty with the Muthaliyaars of Jaffna after their conquest of the Kingdom of Jaffna in 1621. Earlier historians have cited the availability of a copy of the document in Goa, the former colonial headquarters of the Portuguese in the East. Whether India that proposes to help developing a museum in Jaffna would help tracing the document and similar Portuguese documents on Jaffna for the display of copies in the proposed museum, ask academics in Jaffna.

Jaffna historian Rev. Gnanapiragasar, who knew Portuguese, has outlined the provisions of the treaty document in his writings in the early 20th century.

A Jaffna researcher who met Dr. Shirodkar, the former director of Goa Archives in the 1980s, was told by him of the availability of such a document in the archives. Dr. Shirodkar at the time was prepared to help if officially recognized translators, who were given access to the documents in the archives, could be arranged by meeting government-stipulated payments.

From the status of Union Territory, Goa has later become a full-fledged State. But the Goa Archives is a national institution under the Centre.

The Government of India could help very much to the heritage quests of Eezham Tamils by assigning its own researchers in the Goa Archives or by training Eezham Tamil researchers to work in the Archives to trace documents on Jaffna, Mannaar, Trincomalee and Batticaloa, the Jaffna academics said.

Similarly they also requested the Netherlands government that is now funding Colombo in dealing with the heritage of Jaffna and the Portuguese government to directly help Eezham Tamil academics to learn Old Dutch and Old Portuguese.


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