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Tuesday, January 29, 2013


In the days when imperialists sailed the high seas and in their glory of conquests and subjugations, islands, apart as stopovers for rest and supplies found themselves useful as prisons-at-large or exiles for rebels, convicts, criminals, and trouble makers. Napoleon lost at Waterloo and was condemned to St. Elba. Australia started as a penal colony for convicts.

After the Birch's incident at Pasir Salak, several of the top plotters were sent to Seychelles. Al-Arabi, raised popular uprising against British rule in Egypt and was sent to Ceylon (Sri Lanka). The Netherlands East Indies (Indonesia) quelled revolts by sending many royal dissidents to Ceylon in the 1700's.  They formed the impetus of the settlement of Malay community in Ceylon apart from labourers, runaways, and itinerant sailors.

The Malays, by force or choice settled in an area allocated for them known as Slave Island not far from the fort-cum-port of Colombo (capital) on the coast promontory. They provided the workers and defence for the Dutch and later the British owners of the fort. The latter organised a Malay regiment force which the Malays called  Orang Rejimen.

Member officers and privates of the Orang Rejimen in 1800's are shown below.

As normally the case, the mosque is their centre for religious and communal activities that help retain the Malayness in their culture although infused with Indian and Arabic influences.

Adelaar KA. 1989. Some notes on the origin of Sri Lankan Malay. Kertas dibentang dalam Persidangan Antarabangsa Pengajian Melayu, 21-23 Ogos 1989, K Lumpur

Ahmad Abd Hamid. 1991. Melayu Sri Lanka dan bahasa mereka. Pelita Bahasa 3(8):34-5

Andreas, Nell. 1949. Coming of the Moors to Ceylon. Moorish Culture, Colombo

Azeez AMA. 1960. Ceylon Muslim. Encyclopedia of Islam (new edn), London

Bichsel-Stettler, Anne. 1989. Aspects of the Sri Lanka Malay community and its language. Thesis, Univ Bern

Ferguson AM & J. 1897. Mohammedanism in Ceylon. Colombo (pamphlet)

Gooneratne FE. 1924. The History of the Malays of Ceylon. Jubilee Book of the Colombo Malay Cricket Club, Ceylon Observer Press, pt 2 pp159-65

Goonewardena KW, Dr. 1959. Some notes on the history of the Muslims of Ceylon. Ann Mag Univ Muslim Majlis, Peradeniya pp82-9

Harun Mat Piah. 1986. Tradisi kesusteraan Melayu Sri Lanka dalam konteks kesusteraan Melayu tradisional Nusantara: satu tinjauan khas. Sari 4(2):63-82

Hussainmiya BA. 1976. Exiles no more. Hemisphere (Australia) 26(1):10-4
-1978. Malay manuscripts in Sri Lanka. Indonesia Circle (SOAS London Univ) no 17 pp39-40
-1981. Penemuan teks Melayu di Sri Lanka. Berita Harian 7 Dis 1981
-1982. The rise and fall of Malay literature in Sri Lanka. Paper read at Int Symp Traditional Malay Literature, 4-6 Nov 1982, UKM, Bangi
-1984. Orang Rejimen, the Rejimen people: a study of the Malays of the Ceylon Rifle Regiment, 1800-1893. Dissertation, Peradeniya Univ, Sri Lanka
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-1986b. Princess and soldiers: the antecedents of the Sri Lankan Malays. In   Shukri (ed) Muslims of Sri Lanka: Avenues to Antiquity. Beruwela, Colombo
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-1987b. Lost cousins. The Malays of Sri Lanka. Inst Bahasa, Kesusteraan dan Kebudayaan Melayu, UKM, Bangi, Dunia Melayu Occasional Paper 2
-1987c. Matinya suatu tradisi kesusteraan “pendatang” – kes kesusteraan Melayu di Sri Lanka. Dlm Pertemuan Dunia Melayu ’82. DBP, K Lumpur ms286-96
-1990. Orang Rejimen: The Malays of the Ceylon Rifle Regiment. Penerbit UKM, Bangi 185pp

Jayah, Murad. 1966. Did the Javanese exiles bring their womenfolk? Bull of CEMRO 2(Oct/Nov)
-1967. Saint Tuan Bagoos of Grande Mosque. Bull CEMRO 4(2) (mimeo)
-1969. Deed of gift of Wekande Mosque. Bull CEMRO 4(2)
-1970a. The plight of the Ceylon Malays today. Silver Jubilee Souvenir, Moors Islamic Cultural Home pp70-75
-1970b. Mohamed Murad Jayah, genealogical table. Silver Jubilee Souvenir, Moors Islamic Cultural Home pp132-3

Kekulawala SL. 1979. Kinship terminology in Sri Lankan Malay – a contribution to the study of language universals. Kalyani 1(2):207-24

Mantara CH. 1924. The Malays of Ceylon. Jubilee Book of the Colombo Malay Cricket Club, Ceylon Observer Press, Colombo pt 2 pp165-8
-1970. The Malays and the Sinhalese. Angunawela (Mimeo pamphlet)

Nuhuman MIL. 1959. History of the Colombo Grand Mosque. Committee of Management, Colombo (pamphlet)

Papas, Con. 1975. Sha’er Shaikh Fadlun, a Ceylon-Malay sha’er. BA (Hons) academic exercise, Monash Univ, Australia

Reimers E. 1924. Malays of Ceylon. Jubilee Book of the Colombo Malay Cricket Club, Ceylon Observer Press, Colombo pt 2 pp155-9

Salmah Mohsin. 1985. Wanita Melayu di Sri Lanka. Keluarga, Okt ms22-3

Said HM. 1926. Ceylon Malays. JMBRAS 4(2):266-8

Samat TMG. 1955. The Malay contribution to culture. Sunday Periodical, 15 May 1955
-1959. The Malays – glorious past but what of their future? Sunday Times of Ceylon, Colombo, 7 May 1959
-1962a. Malayan influence on local culture & life. Times of Ceylon, Colombo, 16 Jan 1962
-1962b. An aspect of Malay life on the wane – the dying strains of the panthongs. Ceylon Observer, Sunday edn, 22 July 1962
-1964. Pantuns of the Ceylon Malays. Malayan Times, Sunday 7 June1964
-1968a. Verses of the Malays. Ceylon Daily News, Colombo, 3 May 1968
-1968b. Whence came in the Malays? Ceylon Daily News, 8 July 1968

Sameer, Mohamed. 1966. Ceylon Moors; Malays and other Muslims of the past. Moors Islamic Cultural Home 21st Anniversary Souviner, Colombo

Shukri MAM (ed). 1986. The Muslims of Sri Lanka; avenues to antiquity. Beruwela, Colombo

Singasari. 1959. Bahasa Indonesia & Ceylon Malay. Suara Pemuda Melayu, Jan-July 1959. Ceylon Malay Youth League, Colombo

Suhood, Yahya Dane. 1924. The Malayan race and the Malays of Ceylon. Jubilee Book of the Colombo Malay Cricket Club, Ceylon Observer Press, Colombo pt 2 pp168-72

Sutadhara, Tapovanaye. 1991. Long vowels in Sri Lankan Malay. Linguistics Dept, Univ Hawaii

Syed Abdullah Al Attas. 1907. Kitab Bernama Miftahul Anak Kunci Ibadat. Ceylon Examiner Press, Colombo

Vincit, Veritas. 1924. Ceylon Malays & politics. Ceylon Independent, 20 June 1924.

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