Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: Buraimi Oman, on the border with the UAE
Salaams All ~
The Kandyan Dynasty which was never brought to heel by the invaders neither Portuguese nor Dutch but which eventually fell to British control in 1805. There were treaties cleverly enacted by the Kandyan rulers prior to that but no takeover and no control "per se". The Kanyan kingdom comprised most of the eastern three quarters of the entire country.
In parallel the Karava dynasty, the fighting caste…was split in half; allegiance being half for and half against the Portuguese invaders.
A 19th century representation of the Karava Makara Flag. The image of the mythical creature Makara is extensively used in ancient Sri Lankan royal architecture. This flag is one of the main flags still used by the Karavas at their ceremonies. The Mukkara Hatana, an ola leaf manuscript now in the British Museum states that King Parakramabahu IV granted it to the Karavas.
Parakrama Bahu IV , came to the throne in the Saka year 1247 or A.D. 1325/6. More than 3 centuries before Portuguese involvement.
Karava (pronounced Karaava) also Karawa, Karawe, Karave, Kaurava, Kshatriya, Khatriya, Kuru, Kuru Kula, Kurukulam, Kurukulum, Kurukulather or Kurukulathar is the traditional military (warrior / Kshatriya / royal ) race, of Sri Lanka. The Karavas were one of the interconnected ruling dynasties of the Indian region. Royal succession in Sri Lanka passed on to Karava rulers during the Polonnaruwa period. Karava king Gajabahu was one of the greatest, and the Kandy Perehera and other annual pageants of Sri Lanka that end with the water cutting ceremony were initially pageants in honour of king Gajabahu's victories . The many kingdoms of Sri Lanka were thereafter ruled by Karava Kings and sub-kings until the last three kingdoms passed over from Karava royal families to Europeans; Kotte and Jaffna in the 16th century to the Portuguese and Kandy in the 19th century to the British (see Timeline of Kings)
True to their royal ancestry, the Karavas are the only Sri Lankan community to bear ancestral family names that signify royal ancestry, possess an array of ancient flags and use royal insignia at family ceremonies.
The fortunes of the Karava community has seen ups and downs over the centuries dependent on the fortunes of the leading Karava royal families and their victories, defeats and alliances with South Indian royal dynasties. European colonisation ended all native dynasties and rulers of the region and was therefore disastrous for the Karavas as well as the Kshatriya Rajputs of India. (seeTimeline of the Karava I) The post-independence period too has been particularly disastrous for the Karavas. Whatever lost wealth and power the Karavas had regained during the British period was taken away from the Karavas by Govigama dominated post-independence governments of Sri Lanka and Sri Lanka government sponsored propaganda during the 1900s has attempted to falsely portray the Karawas as the "Fisherfolk Caste" of Sri Lanka!!
As the Karavas were the traditional martial race of Sri Lanka it is not surprising to find one of their symbols, the Makara, used as ornamentation on traditional swords. Such swords are unique to Sri Lanka and not found either in India or the Malay peninsular. Compare the similarity of the Makara on the water spout with the decorative hilts on the Kastane on my post above.
I believe that whilst this does not herald "game set and match" it goes some way to supporting my theory that the Kastane is a Sri Lankan invention moreover that it may have originated in the Karava dynasty " The Fighting Caste".
Ibrahiim al Balooshi.