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Title: Children of the Betel-chewing Villagers: Social Distance and Identity Dilemmas of the Sinhala-speaking People in Sri Lanka
Contributor(s): Gamage, S (author)orcid 
Publication Date: 2002
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Abstract: Sri Lanka is an island nation located at the southern tip of India. Sinhala people are the majority in Sri Lanka, comprising 77% of the population. There is a Sinhala diaspora spread across Western countries and the Middle East. Socio-economic, political and other changes during the colonial and postcolonial periods have split the Sinhala identity into two categories; the privileged and the under-privileged . There is a general feeling among the underprivileged Sinhalas that the Sinhalas in authority positions in administrative and political fields do not offer them the same consideration and attention as that is given to ethnic minorities such as the Tamils and Muslims. They feel that by and large their needs and interests are taken for granted by the politicians and bureaucrats. This has created a gulf or friction between the well-to-do Sinhalas and the underprivileged Sinhalas. I call the latter 'the children of the betel-chewing village folk' (CBCVF). This paper attempts to articulate and present the voices of the latter group, their current status and political leanings while explaining the background and sociological dynamics in operation. In essence, the paper contains a social critique from the bottom layers of Sinhalese society.
Publication Type: Book Chapter
Source of Publication: Essays on Social Development & Welfare in Sri Lanka, p. 159-188
Publisher: New Karunadhara Press
Place of Publication: Colombo
ISBN: 9558003026
Field of Research (FOR): 130302 Comparative and Cross-Cultural Education
HERDC Category Description: B1 Chapter in a Scholarly Book
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Appears in Collections:Book Chapter
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