Karava Caste Phamplets

Don Manuel D’Anderado, Mudaliyar. The Hero of’ Jaffnapattam 1658
Some Karava caste pamphlets of 1940’s debating a newspaper article on Don Manuel D’andrado’s exploits in Jaffna.


The name of Don Manuel D’Anderado still lives in fact and fiction. Though he figured nearly three hundred years ago, the prowess of this ancient warrior chief finds a place in the writings of our present generation. Irresponsible playwrights of the 18th century have ingeniously weaved up a story regarding the doings of Don Manuel D’Anderado at Jaffna. Their fabrications, however, are not compatible with authenticated history. Although the incongruities of their version have been several times challenged and proved to be false yet occasionally we hear these unjust stories.

Early last year a misinformed gentleman wrote to the Ceylon Observer regarding this much criticized story as contained in the Yalapana Vaipava Malai. He too was silenced without much effort and compelled to view matters from historical evidence. This year too another dramatist puts before the unsuspecting public this same story with many variations. Unkind make-beliefs of this nature should for charity’s sake be stopped before it takes root and foster communal friction. The Editor of the Ceylon Observer very frankly commented on this subject under the caption of Ancestors (Vide C. O. 11th February 1940).

To meet these arguments and to present to the reader the facts of the case, it is fitting to sketch a brief history of Don Manuel D’Anderado. It is traditionally believed that the ancestors of Don Manuel whose full name is Varnakula Aditta Arasa Nlla-Itta Don Manuel D’Anderado came over at the invitation of the Sinhalese kings to fight in their wars. It is recorded that the Varnakula Aditta clan first migrated to Lanka in the middle ages.

An old Sinhalese account narrates that when Sri Parakrama Bahu Maha Raja was reigning at Kotte (Jayawardhanapura) a hostile people named the Mukkara landed’ in Ceylon and got possession of Puttalam. At the request of King Parakrama Bahu, the Rajahs of Kanchipura, Kavaripattanam and Kilakkare (settlements of Kuru refugees in South India) sent 7740 warriors who defeated the Mukkaru and recaptured the fort of Puttalam. One of the eight chieftains who came to help Parakrama Bahu was Arasa Nila-itte Mudali. On his appointment as commander of the army he was granted a sword in 1416 A. D. along with the Patabendi name of Maha Nagate Rajasinghe.

The translation of the inscription on this sword reads thus:

In the year of Buddha 1959, at Jayawardhanapura, the Lord of Lanka, Sri Sangabodi Sri Parakrama Maha Raja, decreed and granted to Kaurawa Additya Kuruweera Arasa Nila=Itta Maha Nagate Rajasinghe the Office of Chief of the army and this sword with the inscription in Wesak Tuesday at Sri Wardana Wasala.

Two similar swords were granted to two other Kaurawas appointing them sub-kings. The dates of these swords are 1791 and 1792 Buddhist Era and the grantors were Kuda-Akbo and Sahisthiya Pandita Parakrarna Bahu respectively.

These swords were in the possession of the late Gate Mudaliyar Ambrosius de Rowel of Pitigal Korale South. In March 1905, a paper was read before the Roayl Asiatic Society (C. B.), by the late Mr. C. M. Fernando on the first two swords. The late Mr. H. C. P. Bell and Dr. Paul E. Peiris to whom the two swords were submitted for report by the Committee of the Society accepted the genuineness of the swords and the inscriptions thereon. Mr. Bell also mentions having seen the swords twenty years earlier (J1. B. A. S. XV II) Mudaliyar F. E. Gooneratne a reputed antiquarian on Ceylon history recognized the authenticity of the three swords and refers to them as the heir-looms of the Varnakula Additya Arasa Nila-Itte families of Chilaw. Two of those swords are preserved in the Colombo Museum, though centuries old yet the inscriptions can be deciphered and the flags of the Kaurawa Vanse – the Sun Banner and Moon Banner – are still perfectly visible. Besides these two banners, this sword bears a full-hooded cobra ready to strike.

With the conversion of the clan, several branches of the Varnakula Arasa-Nila-Itte seem to have formed according to the names adopted, the principal three being Rowel, Lowe and D’Anderado. The district where these Kuru chieftains settled down was at Alut-Kuru-Korale. The original home of this clan (Varunakula Adittya) was at – Cammala. When the Dutch came over to the help of Rajasinghe II after the treaty of 1638, the combined forces of the Sinhalese and Dutch met the Portuguese at Cammala in 1640 and the connection between the Dutch and the D’Anderado’s began, and they (the D’Anderados) assisted in many wars on behalf of the Hon’ble Company (Old Dutch Ms of the family & also Sees. paper 9-1933). The Anderado’s when they joined the Dutch settled in Calutara and later settled down in Colombo.

In Calutara the D’Anderado family displayed the same warlike spirit of their ancestors. In 1656 we see Don Manuel D’Anderado, Mudaliyar (regarding whom this pamphlet is written) guarding the pass of Calutara with his lascarins. His skilful management of affairs at Calutara earned for him a place of command in the expedition to Jaffna against the Portuguese where he “signalised himself before Jaffnapattam” (Baldaeus). After the complete annihilation of the Portuguese in 1658, the reorganization of the country commenced, and the Dutch Governor Adrian Amaral Vander Meyden being pleased to appoint him First Secretary.

I reproduce two letters concerning “The vain and fruitless” attempts of the Vellalas to make a hero of Don Luis Poothathamby at the expense of casting a stigma of derision on the fair name of Don Manuel D’Anderado. These letters appeared in the “Ceylon Observer” last year refuting certain gross misstatements in the contribution entitled “The Revenge of a Spurned Suitor”. Despite the fact that the theory of the drama immortalized in the “Poothathamby Nadagam” and the story in the “Yalapana Vaipava Malia” have long been exploded and proved to be “mere poetical fancy” and historically untrue, still we hear these accusations. Besides the other high offices held by Don Manuel D’Anderado he was entrusted to superintend over the Vellalas in the collection of paddy (of Instructions. P. 98)

The two letters referred to are reproduced below.

  • That Tale of Ancient Jaffna by Gustavus Jayewardene. Moratuwa Feb 6th, 1940.
  • Manuel D’andrado by R.A.E (Errol) De Fonseka and F. B. de S. A. Jagath Wijaynayaka, James Place, Kalutara, Dec 9th, 1941.

That Tale of Ancient Jaffna.
The Editor “Ceylon Observer”

Sir: The article by Mr. P. R. Sittampalam in last Sunday’s Observer in which he tells a tale of ancient Jaffna revives an old controversy in which the efforts of many earlier disputants eager to make a hero of Luis Pooth­athamby of Jaffna were in the end found to be vain and fruitless.

In the course of this pious endeavor two Tamil works supposed to treat of the career in Jaffna of Mudaliyar Don Manuel D’Anderado saw the light of day, the authenticity and historical value of which have been severely criticised and their pretensions unmasked. They were written about seventy-five and hundred and forty years respectively after the event and the imaginative author of the so called history and the drama evolved new aspects of Andrado’s career in Jaffna which are unknown to contemporaries and the eye witness of his actions.

Mr. Sittampalam’s article does not rest on a careful examination of well-known documents such as Dutch Gov­ernment Records, Minutes of Council, etc. In writing history the best evidence is always to be found in the works of eye­witnesses.

The Rev. Philip Baldaeus whose testimony is supreme gives us first hand information of what took place about three’ months after the capitulation of Jaffna. This Minister of the Word of God says that Portuguese soldiers and a large number of prisoners of War who were in the Castle together with the natives, formed a conspiracy against the.Dutch. The intention of the conspirators was to kill all the head officers present at the service while Rev Mr. Baldaeus preached out­side the fort, and to master the fort itself.

It so happened that during the sermon ‘Don Manuel Andrado, a Sinhalese Captain and a Mudaliyar in the service of the noble Company” together with his attendants stood before the entrance of the church, as he suspected a Portuguese rising.

A few days after, the whole conspiracy was discovered by Jacob Van Rhee and the conspirators were strictly kept to meet in time their due punishment. Shortly after (after they had been carefully examined and the truth had been heard from their own mouths) they were condemned to be hanged, beheaded and put on crosses. The leader of this impious conspiracy was a native of Mannar, together with a Don Louis and five Portuguese.

A Father named Calderoe was beheaded for having con­cealed this plot the knowledge of which he received through a letter addressed to him by these rascals. He did not approve this impious purpose but as he could not betray his own countrymen he had to pay for his silence with his death (Baldaeus, Ceylon (1672) ch. 44 p159.)

Let us compare this account of an eyewitness with Vaipawa Malai written about three quarters of a century after these events and with Puthathampi Nadakam a more recent work. To point out some instances: According to Balda­eus, Andrado was a Mudaliyar while the other was only a Don Luis. But the Vaipawa Malai refers to them (Andrado and Poothathamby) as Co-Mudaliyars of the Dutch and the Nadakam calls Poothathamby, the second Mudaliyar.

The Nadakam says nothing about the dinner, the blank paper and the signature, though the Vaipawa. Malai does refer to them. Then again your contributor takes it for gran­ted that the forged letter was addressed to King Raja.Sinha of Kandy offering to betray the fort to him.

On the other hand the Vaipawa Malai shows that the setter was sent to the Portuguese and the Nadakam mentions a letter sent to Kirti Sinha, King of Kandy who lived about hundred years after the events described therein.

The Rev. P. Baldaeus distinctly says that the letter was addressed to Father Calderoe but not to the Portuguese in general nor to any King of Kandy and that the lelter was sent by six others beside Don Luis.

Baldaous, further states that the execution of the conspirators took place a few days before September the 15th, 1658, on which latter date he held a thanksgiving service. Mr. Sittampalam tells us that immediately after this, Antonio Amrali and his friend Andrado were both ordered to proceed to Colombo to defend themselves, each of whom on their way hither met with a tragic death.

Antony Amral was the last Captain General of Jaffna and Mannar under the Portuguese. Anthony Pavilioen was the Commandeur of Jaffna who received instructions from Admiral Ryckloff Van Goens dated 31st Oct., 1658. It appears from these instructions that the Court at Jaffnapatam included the Commandeur and Mudaliyar Andrado. The Secretary is referred to as Harmen Heesters.

There is no evidence to show that Poothathamby was the Brahmin referred to in the private, letter addressed to Governor Adrian Van Der Meyden at Colornbo in 1658. The Admiral further makes a note to the effect that Sabandaar Don Manuel Andrado must be consulted in all cases in which natives are concerned. Don Manuel Andrado Adigar is refe­rred to in other correspondence (for instance in a personal letter addressed to Ryckloff Van Goens dated 6th February, 1659 as Principal Secretary to the Court of Jaffnapatam.

It is worthy of note that Warnakula Aditta Arsanilay­itta Don Manuel D’Andrado was guarding the pass at Kalutara with his lascoreens (Pieris vol. 1.454). He than became Mudaliyar of Kalutara. He was sent to Jaffna in the expedition of Admiral Ryckloff Van Goens and rendered signal services in 1658.

One year after the suppression of the conspiracy we find Don Manuel D Andrado very much alive and having been appointed a Member of the Dutch Political Council of Ceylon. His name appears in the Minutes of Council dated 11th Sept­ember, 1659. In the Memoirs of Admiral Ryckloff Van Goens. dated 26th December, 1663 reference is made to him as well as to his cousin Louis D’Andrado, Adigar of Wallallawltte Korale. ..

Several historical inaccuracies have crept into Mr. Sittampalam’s article. However, it would be interesting to know what he has to say about what may be described as the resurrection of Mudaliyar Andrado of the Kürukula caste.

Yours etc.,

GUSTAVUS JAYEWARDENE.

Moratuwa, Feb; 6, 1940.

Note: P. R. Sittampalam mentioned in this letter was the secretary of the Royal Asiatic Society. His work was severely criticized by the Karava of the era as these letters indicate.


Manuel D’andrado

The main facts about Manuel d’Andrado are these: He was Mudaliyar of Calutara ( old Family Documents ); in 1656 he was defending the Fort of Calutara with his lascarins (Baldaeus). He accompanied the Dutch in their expedition of 1658; took part in the fighting off the Coromondel Coast (old family Documents), and signalised himself before Jaffnapattam (Baldaeus). He was appointed Sabandaar and a member of the Dutch Council of which the Governor was the Permanent President, and in his absence the Commandant of Jaffna ( Instructions from the Governor General and Council of India to the Governor of Ceylon 1656-1665, p. 95; and old Family Document ). He was the only Ceylonese member, and according to Instructions (p. 95) he had to be consulted in all matters in which the people of the country are concerned; also in Instructions (p. 91) it is said the counsel of Don Andrado should always be followed. though there is the limitation so far as it agrees with our own principles.

In his article last Sunday, Mr. P. R. Sittampalam has taken a liberty with a date. He gives an extract which he say is from a secret dispatch dated 28 July, 1658” sent by Don Manuel d’Andrado to Governor Vander Meyden in Colombo. Actually this extract is from a personal letter written by Don Manuel d’Andrado to H. E. Admiral Van Goens who had returned to Colombo from India, and is dated Jaffnapattam Februray 6, 1659, A copy of this letter from the translations made for the India Office, Whitehall, from copies. of the original documents preserved at The Hague, appears in Dr. Paul Pieris’s The Dutch Power in Ceylon (p 275)

 Sittanrpalam makes much ado about this extract which, he tries to make out was actuated by Manuel d’ Andrado’s jealousy of Pooththamby. But the date stands in the way. As the letter is dated February 6, 1659, the Brahmin referred to there cannot be Pooththamby who was executed in September 1658. So he alters the date from February 6, 1659 to July 28, 1658. If Mr. Sittampalam cannot find ‘dispassionate evidence, he will at least create it!

The framework for his narrative, Mr. Sittampalam has obtained from the Yalpana Vaipava Malai. This is a sort of history of Jaffna written in the eighteenth century, and translated by Mr. C. Brito in 1879. No mention is made there of the picturesque details which brighten up Mr. Sittampalam’s account.

In order to show readers how Mr. Sittampalam has given free rein to his imagination the account from the Yalpana Vaipava-Malai is reproduced:

In respect of the civil Government they (i. e. the Dutch) appointed Puthaththumpi to be Muthali for the revenue branch of the Government and Manuel Anthirasu, a man of the Kurukula caste to be Muthali of the writing branch. (Parenthetically, Kurukula according to the Dictionary of the American Mission – Jaffna. 1842, and the Dictionary of the European Mission – Pondicherry, 1856, is synonymous with Kaurawe and means a descendant of the race of Kurus)

An intimacy sprang up between the two Muthaliman and Anthirasu being one day at Piithathamp’s on an invita­tion for dinner happened to have sight of his host’s wife, a woman of transcendent beauty and was inflamed by a violent passion for her. She was a sister of Kayilasi Vanniyan and had inherited the haughty spirit and stern morality by which her ancestors were distinguished among the nobility. She received Anthirasu’s wicked proposal with indignation and displayed her resentment by subjecting his messenger to the ignominious punishment of being lashed with a broom. The spurned suitor meditated revenge and planned a diabolical ‘one—‘.

Then follows the story of the faked letter, and that Anth­irasu was summoned to Colombo to defend himself and on his way was trampled and killed by a wild elephant. All this is repeated by Mr. Sittampalam under the heading ‘Dying Curse Fulfilled’. But unfortunately for the author of the Yalpana Vaipava Malai and for Mr. Sittampalam and his sense of poetic justice, authentic refutation of this is found in The Memoir of Ryckloff Van Goens 1663 (Reimers’ Tr.p. 19). Van Goons recommends to his successors in office Don Manuel d’ Andrado and Don Louis d’Andrado. This is what­ he writes of Don Manuel: Don Manuel d’Andrado is lately, returned from Jaffnapattam, and although he has not acquitted himself to my entire satisfaction, Your Excellency may well employ him again on account of his knowledge of Pasdun Korale, but he is prodigiously arrogant.

R. E. A. (Errol) De Fonseka


Don Manuel D’Anderado, Mudaliyar, a native of Calutara and of the Kuru-Kula caste – in Sinhalese Kaurawa Vanse and in Tamil also known as Kuru Kulam or Kuru­Kula-Rasa Vansam – was indeed a great hero. As this leaflet is specially written for the enlightenment of our Northern students and to rectify certain self conceited notions in the minds of some misinformed writers, a short note on the Jaffna Kurukulams will be relevant. They form the Tamil speaking section of the Kaurawa Vanse and like their kinsmen in the Sinhalese districts have retained their ancient customs and still possess those characteristics peculiar to this Race of people.

In 1618 A D Chankili, the last Arya Chakravati King of Jaffna was harassed by his rebellious subjects. He applied for assistance to the Naik of Tanjore who sent an expedition to Jaffna under the command of Varna Gulatta (Portuguese rendering for Varnakula-Additta,. Queyroz terms him the Regulo of Tanjore Careaz, the most warlike race in the Naique’s dominions. This chief reappeared again in 1620 having being appointed by the Naique of Tanjore, Governor of the Kingdom (Jaffna) which they expected to conquer.

Friar Sousa refers to him as The Chem Nayque, that King of the Carias who had previously come to Chankili. Some of his descendants the Varnakula Aditta De Fonseka, inter-married with the D’Anderados and a great many families exist to day. Others have taken on different names on their conversion.

In the 18th century, a Vellalan poet of Tellipalai Don Philip, speaks of his patron Don Deago Varnakula Suriya Arasunilavitta Mudallyar as the highest native functionary of Jaffna. He held the high and responsible post of Respadore corresponding to the Censor and Tribune of the Roman Government. The poet terms him the distinguished ornament of ‘Kurunadu’ and Prince of ‘KuruKulam.’ the high caste In this world, (Gnananatha Puranam)

A Group of Ancient Kaurawa Emblems, being a facsimile of a 52 year-old illustration. Several patterns of these exist in different places. They are the Trident, Muttukuda, Alawattana, Sword, Irahanda-Kodiya, Makkara-Kodiya, Thamrnattama (Kettle-Drums), Bugle and the Davula.

The symbols in the illustration are those daily used by the Kurukula people from Chilaw toTangalle. Besides these there are a large number of banners and symbols which are not so frequently used. Two torches or two lighted candles often used at funerals etc. not shown in the illustration. The blare of the conch is still heard even at Christian weddings in Jaffna among the Kurukulams.

The KuruKulams of Jaffna and Batticoloa were entitled to all the hereditary honours of the Kaurawas in t.he Sinhalese Districts. They too held slaves; Don Nicholas Tissaverasinghe Mudaliyar, the highly respected Thombu holder of Jaffna Kachcheri, claimed.as part and parcel of his deceased wife’s dowry, a number of slaves of the Nalava and Covia castes from his father-in-law Thomupillai Anthonipullai (Muttu Krishna’ Thesavalamai).

One of those who registered two Covia and one Nalava slaves in 1819 was Bastianpulle Constantine of Jaffna Town. He is called a Sarthrian (Kshastriya or Raja-kula in Sinhalese). The Anderados and their kinsmen had slaves (Vide Sess. Paper 9-1933 p 13) Don Manuel D’Anderado had also his personal retinue of thirteen men. Don Manuel D’anderado’s cousin Don Louis Anderado who was Adigar of Calutara and Walalawita was granted a gold chain for his services at the siege and capture of Cochin also an honorarium of 80 rix dollars (cf C. D. R. Council Proceedings V. 3. p. 22 V 13 p 417).This was in 1663: He was awarded a silver sword by Governor Van Goens for conducting with distinction in the Campaign of 1665 against the rebel subjects of Rajasinghe II. His son Sinco d’Anderado acted for his uncle as Adigar of Jaffna. He settled in Jaffna. His son Don Joan d’Anderado was Mudaliyar and Respadore in Jaffna (Act of Appointment 27-8-1763- C. D. R. 2443 p 502). A perusal of the Dutch records 2673 D found in the Government Archives will convince any student of History. This volume has been recommended by the Historical Manuscript Commission for translation, we shall then for certainty see the mighty deeds of this Kuru-Kula Chieftain and his descendants.

In conclusion I may state that there are variations of the name (Kurawa) among the various people of the same blood to be met with in different places in India and Ceylon. Kaurawa or Kaurs in Central India (Dalton) Kaorwa in Raja­putana (Tod) elsewhere Karwar and here in Ceylon Kaurawa, Kurukulam, Kurukulathar, Karawa and Kaurlas and Carear in the Dutch writings. Kuruland was the original home of the Carear. (Nighandn)

F. Berty de S. A. Jagath Wljayanayaka.
James’ Place, Kalutara. 9. 12. 41.