Tuesday, September 19, 2017 02:48:26 PM

The Forgotten Brew: The Struggle for rights and representation in Sri Lanka’s low-country estates

By Amalini de Sayrah and Raisa Wickrematunge - Fri Sep 08, 5:53 am

Photos by Amalini De Sayrah

It is easy to forget that Deniyaya is located in the Matara district. Many people travel here in order to trek through the Sinharaja rainforest. Few people stop to notice the sprawling tea estates they pass en route, apart from the local community.

Throughout the hill country, especially in areas such as Nuwara Eliya or Hatton, estates border each other and most of the community is Tamil-speaking. While the characteristics of life in up-country estates are vastly different to that of the nearby towns, there still exists a sense of belonging to a larger community, owed in part to being able to converse with those who speak the same language.

In the South, the estates in the Galle and Matara district are sandwiched between settlements where the majority of residents are Sinhala speaking. The majority-minority dynamics at play in these two places affect the relationship that the Malaiyaha Tamils have with their surroundings….

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