Tuesday, May 26, 2020 08:32:41 AM

Redefining Home: Experiences of the Jaffna Displaced

By Diotima Chattoraj - Sat Apr 28, 6:12 am

Many middle-aged displaced Tamils who have resettled in Colombo remain reluctant to return to their places of origin in Jaffna due to personal and professional reasons. This article explains how they have reconstructed their lives in Colombo, in the wake of displacement.

The ethnic violence of 1983 in Sri Lanka forced Tamils to flee their homes as well as abandon many material belongings and seek refuge in different parts of their country and also abroad. A substantial number of the Tamils from Jaffna migrated to Colombo to escape the miseries of the ongoing war and also saw the city as an easy transit out of the country. Those who ended up staying in the city experienced myriad difficulties during their initial days as they struggled to adjust to a new environment and culture. This was particularly so as Colombo is multi-ethnic, with a community comprising of Sinhalese, Tamils, Tamil-speaking Muslims, Burghers, Malays, Bohrahs and foreigners.

Eventually, the displaced managed to survive in their new locales and establish themselves. The children of these migrants, who were very young at the time of displacement, also experienced discrimination and isolation in a new city at the beginning….

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