Glossary: Noun. Slang, used for people from Sri Lanka
Lanker (Lankan) or Tamil?
In Sri Lanka there are two nationalities Sinhalese and Tamil. None of the ethnic groups call themselves “Lanker” (Slang for people from Sri Lanka in Norwegian).
Sinhalese are the largest ethnic group in Sri Lanka. They are an Indo-Aryan people group. They are mainly Buddhist and speak Sinhalese. They reside in the southwestern parts of Sri Lanka
Tamils in Sri Lanka call themselves Eelam Tamil. They live mainly in the northeastern parts of Sri Lanka. The Tamils speak Tamil and are Hindus, Christians and Muslims.
Why should one call oneself Tamil?
As a Tamil you are born into a people group with a great culture and history. Although Tamils in South India have the state of Tamil Nadu, we are a people group without our own country and thus have a greater role in representing ourselves.
Historically, Tamils have been a nation. In Sri Lanka, they were oppressed into a minority framework. Tamils are in a minority population both in Sri Lanka and in India, but worldwide there are around 80 million Tamil speaking people.
The meaning behind Sri Lanka
“Lanka” has become a slang term for Sri Lanka in Norwegian. The word Lanka means island and Sri is Sinhalese for something sacred. Thus, the island’s name can be translated as holy island. Ceylon was changed to Sri Lanka in 1972. The name Sri Lanka has no meaning in Tamil
The meaning behind Eelam
Tamils use the word Eelam when talking about their homeland. Eelam was already used in Tamil literature in the 1st century BCE. After the colonial period, Eelam has been used to talk about the north-eastern parts of Sri Lanka
Hentet fra Tamil Insight Norway (23.12.2021): https://www.instagram.com/p/CX0k5HHM45h/?igshid=YmMyMTA2M2Y=
Read the article at Lokalhistoriewiki.no at Norway National Library.