Karava

The Karava Flag

This page collates and presents an extensive list of material gathered about the Karava caste, as we pursued the elusive past of our ancestors. The De Fonseka families were part of the Karava caste, and the information garnered from these sources gives us a holistic understanding of the past, and to the possible paths, the ancestors may have taken.

The material reproduced here reflect the views of the original authors and is reproduced as-is.  They have been extracted from old books, caste pamphlets and newspaper articles published many decades ago, and the relevant publications and authors, have been mentioned where known.  

The Origin Of Caste

These letters written by Mohotti Mudaliyar F. E. Gooneratna to the Ceylon Independent in 1921, gives us an interesting insight into the origins of the castes and their flags. The Origin of CasteMohotti Mudaliyar F. E. GooneratneFrom the ‘Ceylon Independent’ of 6th April, 1921 Dear Sir, In the Ceylon Independent of the 31st ultimo is

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Karava – The early history

The early historical references of the Karava in Ceylon, up to and including the Portuguese period. The Karava  people of Ceylon claim to be descended from the Kuru  refugees, who scattered after their defeat in the Great War between the Pandavas  and the Kauravas1 or Kurus, related in the Mahabharata. The Kauravas  settled in many

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Karava – The recent history

The Karava History from the arrival of the Dutch, to the British period. The Dutch came over to the help of Rajasinghe II after the treaty of 1638. The combined forces of the Dutch and the Local militia, met the Portuguese in and around Cammala in the Alut Kuru Korale around 1640. The connection between

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Rise of the Karava in the pre Plantation Economy

The rise of the Karava during a time of expanding commercial opportunities From the time of the Portuguese/Dutch rule and the early decades of the British occupation, the restrictive policies of the colonial state imposed a serious check on the enterprise and accumulation. Within this confines of this rudimentary colonial economy and given the prominent

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Rise of the Karava: The transition to a Plantation Economy

The meteoric rise of the Karava during the great economic expansion of the plantation era.   The British continued the Dutch practice of promoting a non-industrial type of capitalism in the form of the plantation system. A few Europeans ran the estates in similar style, organising the daily production of the export crop and utilising

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The Karava swords

Extract from the Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society (Ceylon Branch) Vol. XVIII of 1905 describing two inscribed swords, which have come to be known as the ‘Karava Swords’. These swords contain the first recorded use of the  name ‘Kaurava Adittiya Arasanilayitta’, the clan name which is used by the de Fonsekas. In this article

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The Karava Flag

This well researched article, written in 1921 by Lionel de Fonseka, is referred to by almost all subsequent ‘Karava’ historians. The article appeared in the Ceylon Antiquarian and Literary. The Karave Flag (see note at bottom) is a document well worthy of antiquarian attention, Its provenance has already been indicated by Mr. E. W. Perera

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Karava ‘Ge’ Names

The ‘Ge’ names of the Karava explained.  The institution of the ‘Ge’ name is somewhat slowly disappearing from the naming conventions of the Sri Lankan society. Western influences that started with the Portuguese, has made steady inroads to most aspects of the culture and society. The naming conventions too have gradually changed over time and

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Kaurava greats of Yesteryear

From the time of Vijaya to the British Period, a list of Karava greats, who had made a mark in the contemporary history of Ceylon. A partial list of Prince and Princesses as listed in the book Kurukula Charithaya Part II by A. S. F. Weerasuriya, 1960. Rama Period:        Prince and Princesses of Kururata (Ravana,

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Karava Mudaliyars and Muhandirams during the British Period.

Hon. Governor North employed a member of the Karava caste, one of the two main casts, as the chief secretary in the years 1797 – 1815.(Voyages & Travels to Ceylon, India – Valentia Vol 1 p 303) Hon. Robert Brownrigg presented Johannes de Fonseka, Mudaliyar Kalutara Totamune, and a grand son of Don Michael de

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Antonio Baretto; the Prince of Uva.

Antonio Baretto, the legend, his military exploits and bravery is mentioned in many historical books of early Ceylon. Baldaeus’ ‘Description of Ceylon’, Rev. Father Fernando Queyroz’s ‘The Conquest of Ceylon’, Paul E. Peiris’ ‘Portuguese Era’, Father S. G. Perera’s ‘Ceylon History’ and Alagiyawanna Mohottala’s ‘Constantinu Hatana’ are some of the books that describe the heroic

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The Maravar Suitor

Romance Revisited . .  . it wasn’t his bride he found.This story of romance is about a clan of Hindu Karavas, off the coast of Chilaw, that claim descent from the Kurukulather Chiefs of the Varnakulasuriya Clan.The Sunday Observer, 3rd October, 1960 In the Tamil month of Avani, which corresponds with the latter half of

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The Manampitiya Banner

Another important flag of the Karave is known as the ‘Manampitiya Banner’, since it was discovered in the Tamankaduwa area.  The image on left shows the Manampitiya Banner from the private collection of Mrs. M. G. Fernando, the author of the book ”Sri Lanka Flags – Unique Memorials of Heraldry”, 1980. The banner has been

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The Sacred Bodhi, It’s arrival and those connected with it.

The Sri Maha Bodhi, the oldest tree in the world, still venerated by millions of Buddhists, is a source of pride and joy to all in Sri Lanka. The events of its dispatch, arrival, celebrations, ceremonies and the retinue that accompanied it are preserved both in tradition and historical works. There are many classes or

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The Varnakula Addittiya Arasanilayitta Clan

A Karava Wedding Of the three great Suriya  Clans of the Kaurawa  Ethnic group, one is the Varnakula . The migration of this clan appears to be even prior to the Mukkara Hattana  as confirmed by two inscribed Ancient Singhalese Swords granted to 1). Kaurawara Aditte Kuruwede Arasanilatte Illanga  in 1143 Buddha Era (60 A.D.)

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Karava Caste Phamplets

Don Manuel D’Anderado, Mudaliyar. The Hero of’ Jaffnapattam 1658Some 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

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Caste system in Ceylon

Caste system in CeylonA Study of the Caste System prevalent among the Singhalese and the Tamil people of Sri Lanka – extracts from a Library of Congress, Federal Research Division study of Sri Lanka. Nature of Caste When the Portuguese began to trade extensively with South Asia, they quickly noticed a fundamental difference between South

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The Karava Marriage “Cartels”

A Study of the inter marriages between the dominant karava families, and the cross cousin marriages within the family. The Marriage alliances of the leading karava  families reveal the importance of family ties in business activity and the desire to keep the wealth distribution within the families. Marriages arranged with great foresight were important in

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Patangatims; The traditional sub-kings of Sri Lanka

Patabendigé  Kings, Rulers and Sub Kings.This article by Raaj de SIlva explores the role of Patangatims and the ‘Ge’ name of   Patabandige. Left: An old etching of King Rajasinghe and his court. Note the similarity of the royal symbols carried by the courtiers with those on the flag above. Of particular interest are the two pearl umbrellas,

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The ancient ‘Kaurava Pavilion’ at Anuradhapura

by Raaj de Silva The migrations of the Karava clans are mostly attributed to the Kotte period, but certain inscriptions found in Anuradhapura, dates their presence to a much earlier period. Although much is known about the Kaurava clans who migrated to Sri Lanka during the Gampola and Kotte periods, the Kauravas of ancient Sri

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DISCLAIMER

This site does not promote the cause of any race,  religion, caste or any other reason, which is generally viewed as an unethical or distasteful trait or manner of conduct. The caste information is included in this website for information purposes, and portrays the views of the original authors. The site does not in any way espouse or imply the supremacy of one race or caste over another.