The Passion of Muralitharan

The Economist, a British magazine laced with reason, currently has a correspondent reporting from Sri Lanka. Most of the daily updates make for depressing reading — war, death, resigned fates — but the journalist added a little variety with a mention of Muttiah Muralitharan, the bowler extraordinaire, and his local reception.

Have a look at it. In the cricket world, Muralitharan remains a polarizing figure, with the two sides often sadly defined more often than not by skin color and race: Westerners must mention his bowling action (even if only to clear it), while Asians tend to leap to his defense early and often. In Sri Lanka, however, Muralitharan abides chiefly as a unifying figure, bridging the divides between the Singhalese and Tamil sides.

I also didn’t know that he is an “Indian Tamil,” which apparently exists as a distinction in Sri Lanka.


3 thoughts on “The Passion of Muralitharan

  1. Ottayan says:

    LTTE is fighting for these Indian Tamils.

    BTW, Muralitharan has married a Chennai girl.

  2. duckingbeamers says:

    Ottayan, Indian Tamils apparently constitute only 5% of the Tamil population in Sri Lanka. The term refers specifically to Indian laborers brought into the island by the British, not to the more ancient genealogical claims of the majority of Sri Lanka’s Tamils.

    Not that I want this blog to become a space for debate about the LTTE and its methods. I am only saying the following: we are keen to impose categories of Tamil v. Singhalese — I did it myself in my post — but that binary is a mere constructions; “Tamils” include “Indian Tamils” and “Sri Lankan Tamils,” and “upper-class” Tamils and “lower-class” ones. Murali, by the sheer force of his spin and talent, somehow transcends these boundaries; he stands apart from and above them. And that’s why he is claimed by all sides in the conflict.

  3. Guru says:

    Yes Murali is an ‘Indian Tamil’ and not a Sri Lankan Tamil. Indian Tamils in Sri Lanka have nothing to do with the LTTE. Their representatives are in the Sri Lankan government. Sri Lankan Tamils actualy look down on Indian Tamils.

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