Survey and Digital Preservation of Upcountry Tamil Archival Records

The community of Malaiyaka Tamilar, also known as the Upcountry Tamil community, have been repressed historically, politically, and socially within Sri Lanka. However, their cultivation of a rich cultural heritage works to decolonize the narratives on their history. This project aims to document such cultural materials to preserve this history.

The Noolaham Foundation of Sri Lanka will work with the Roja Muthiah Research Library of India to survey existing archival records, commemorative publications, and historical photographs created by Sri Lanka’s Upcountry Tamils ranging since 1948. The Upcountry (Hill Country) Tamils, also known as the Malaiyaka Tamilar, are the descendants of nineteenth-century Indian laborers brought to work on the country’s British-owned tea, coffee, and rubber plantations who continue to face political disenfranchisement and state-sponsored discrimination in Sri Lanka. Despite the historical repression of the Tamil community, this project works to decolonize this history and allow Tamils themselves to be a part of their own narrative.

Project Details

Location: Sri Lanka, Southern Asia, Asia Organiser(s): Modern Endangered Archives Programme (MEAP) Project partner(s): Noolaham Foundation; Roja Muthiah Research Library Funder(s): Arcadia Funding received: $15,000.00 Commencement Date: 04/2021 Project Status: Active
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