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Old 11th October 2012, 04:59 PM   #48
Ibrahiim al Balooshi
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Originally Posted by Prasanna Weerakkody
Ibrahim, Still am a bit puzzled by some of the Sri Lankan History you present. I have never heard of a Karawa kingdom in My country. Karawa as far as I know was only a “cast” of Sinhalese; I would say they were a minor portion of the population and particular to the coastal districts primarily on the Western and Southern Sea boards. Except for being part of the web site I am not too sure if all of it can be equally upheld as true. The information that caste Karawa influenced the Sinhalese design to such an extent is very new to me, Swords or otherwise.

Vandoo curiously my personal belief is that the original Makara was a Cetacean- Probably a Pilot whale or Sperm whale. incidentally Sri Lankan waters are also a global hot spot for Marine Mammals. (being a marine environmentalist on the side makes this very exciting to me) But delving on that is another long story entirely.

The possibility of the name Kasthana being influenced by the Portuguese is real as it is a word that does not seem to have a direct meaning in Sinhala or have too many similar words to accompany it. Curiously the only other similar term that (comes to my mind) that may also shed a little light on this is the “Patisthana” spears; being of the same class as the Partisans. The similarity between the terms “Kasthana” or “Patisthana” seem obvious. The only difference being the presence of a much more ancient form of spear known in literature as the “patissa” which is most probably ancestor to the “Patisthana”. It is known that the Sinhala elite of the era was quite conversant with Portuguese and the use of the language had become wide spread and stylish as a secondary language in the Country. even today there is a rather large number of words of Portuguese origin amalgamated within the Sinhala language.

Salaams Prasanna Weerakkody ~ Thank you for your post. (see notes below for the other variants in pronunciation and you will find Karawa listed.) For ease of look up I have placed the reference below. ( I make no apologies for hammering in the large quantity of detail so far but add that I have cautioned forumites that there is no need to plough through it all unless they want to of course ... but that it is there for reference.

Please do read the notes below however for the 7 point plan goes some way to proving my theory.

The Karava were a major fighting class at the time and it is easy to see that they may have some grievances if they are, as it is reported, been down graded to fishermen. What is very relevant as the story unfolded was who the Portuguese recruited to fight their battles for them. They co-opted the Karava dynasty; the fighting caste…which was split in half; allegiance being half for and half against the Portuguese invaders.

Where we need to focus~ is on the time period before the Portuguese involvement in Sri Lanka i.e. before 1505 ( i.e. when Don Lourenço de Almeida, son of the Portuguese viceroy in India, was sailing off the southwestern coast of Sri Lanka looking for Moorish ships to attack when stormy weather forced his fleet to dock at Galle.) ~ although the Portuguese made their big move in the late 1600s they had been very much involved and a closer look into that time frame could be revealing.

My questions are~

Are there any Kastane (Kasthane) which predate the Portuguese involvement that we may get a picture of?
How did the blades morph into short and medium sizes and why?
Were they banned from being worn in public?
Is there any influence from Moorish, Portuguese, or from other Nations on the design of the Kastane (Kasthane)?
Is there a link between the words Casao and Kasthane? It seems obscure and we have seen such puzzles come to nought before ?

Ibrahiim al Balooshi.

1.See this thread #14 photo 3, for A 19th century representation of the Karava Makara Flag.

2.The image of the mythical creature Makara is extensively used in ancient Sri Lankan royal architecture.See the water spout also at #14.

3.This flag is one of the main flags still used by the Karavas at their ceremonies.

4.The Mukkara Hatana, an ola leaf manuscript now in the British Museum states that King Parakramabahu IV granted it to the Karavas.

5.Parakrama Bahu IV, came to the throne in A.D. 1325/6. About 2 centuries before Portuguese involvement in the Indian Ocean.

6.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.

7.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.
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