This post was written by guest contributor Hafsa.
Last summer, I was on a journey spanning the northern, eastern and the south-western parts of Sri Lanka. On the first day of Ramadan, I found myself in the heart of the country: Kandy, the site of the middle Kingdom.
Tamil and Muslim Minorities make up almost 20% of Kandy City. Most of the former are hill-country Tamils who have endured a history of discrimination. The British initially brought Tamils from India to work in the tea plantations, and since the post-colonial period this community was considered a colonial import and denied citizenship rights by the state. Later political developments restored these rights in the early 1960s.
As I spoke to some of the hill-country men and women who were working at a plantation, my first day of Ramadan was filled with stories of everyday struggles for better standards of living, and hope for a brighter future. When time came for me and my team of colleagues to leave, it started raining quite hard outside the small meeting area within the tea factory where we had gathered. We bade lingering farewells and well-wishes and dashed out to the awaiting minivan. One of the managers ran after us and gave me a bag of freshly baked goods. I was mildly surprised, since I never told anyone what day it was.
It was a few minutes before sunset; I hadn’t quite realized. [Read more...]