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Damiḷā

The name of a people (Tamils) whose home was in South India. The Ceylon Chronicles (Mhv., Cv., and Dpv., passim) contain records of invasions of Sri Lanka by the Damiḷā, the most noteworthy being that which was repelled by Duṭṭhagāmaṇī. The Damiḷa leader on that occasion was Eḷāra. Other Damiḷā mentioned by name in the Mahāvaṃsa are Sena, Gutta, Pulahattha, Vaṭuka and Niliya. Large numbers of Damiḷā settled in Sri Lanka, chiefly in the north and east of the Island and, in due course, gained possession of that part of the country. They were employed as mercenary soldiers by some of the Sinhalese kings and many were brought as captives (e.g., Cv.lxx.230; lxxv.20, 69; lxxviii.76, etc.) The Damiḷa bhāsā is mentioned among the eighteen non-Aryan languages (e.g., VibhA.388; it was full of consonants, AA.i.409). In the Akitti Jātaka (J.iv.238) the Damiḷaraṭṭha is spoken of as including also the region round the sea-port (paṭṭana) of Kāvīra, while in the Petavatthu Commentary (p.133) it is spoken of as part of Dakkhiṇapātha.

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