A grammar of upcountry Sri Lanka Malay by Sebastian Nordhoff.

March 10, 2017 | Linguistics | By admin | 0 Comments

By Sebastian Nordhoff.

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Particularly after the middle of the 18th century, the proportion of free Malays grew. From 1769 onwards, the free Malays had their own category for tax collecting purposes (Bichsel-Stettler 1989:9), which indicates that their number could not be neglected. This comprised discharged soldiers and descendants of political exiles. Their occupations included gardening, rattan weaving and petty trade. Some were also employed as domestic servants. These Malays counted as foreigners in Ceylon and had to perform Uliyam (soccage),4 a duty which the political exiles and soldiers were exempt from (Hussainmiya 1990:48f).

He wanted to get rid of the Malay soldiers as soon as possible. His plans were to abolish the whole regiment, but he failed even in dissolving the invalid Malays’ company, which he said to be expensive and unserviceable (Hussainmiya 1990:67,78). Not only the soldiers were affected by his resentment; he also sent back some political exiles, thus depriving the Malays of their cultural leaders (Hussainmiya 1990:79). The next lasting governor, Robert Brownrigg,8 held the Malays in high esteem. As a first action, he recruited the 150 Malays that Maitland had not cared to draft.

This influence led to recent statistics subsuming both Malays and Moors under the ethnic [sic] group “Muslims”. This makes future representation of the Malays in parliament unlikely, since their ethnic group of “Muslims” is already represented in parliament by the SLMC, even if all of the members are Moors, whose interests very often diverge from the Malays’. This arrogation of voice of all Muslims by the Moors has led to irritation within the Malay community, who do not feel that the Moors can speak on their behalf, albeit that they are Muslims (Nuhman 2007:24f).

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