On the night 31 May 1981 the renowned Jaffna public library in northern Sri Lanka, which held many rare historical Tamil palm leaf documents, was set alight by arsonists from the ruling Sinhalese majority and members of the United National Party with the assistance of the state police. Overnight a repository of more than 97 000 Tamil archives and literature was burnt to ashes and lost forever. It is considered an immense cultural loss among the Tamil community and an act of cultural genocide.
Although the Jaffna Library was rebuilt in later years the valuable and historical content pertaining to the hundreds of years of Tamils identity on the island of Sri Lanka is no more. In recent times of conflict further direct and indirect damage and destruction to Tamil historical sites and artefacts across the island has added to the loss. In early 2020, at the behest of the Buddhist clergy, the Sri Lankan president formed an exclusively Sinhalese Select Committee on Archaeology which has been viewed as an attempt to categorise Tamil historical sites in the north and east of the island as Sinhalese in origin.
Online historical sources and records of the Tamil political struggle and history are also being systematically erased.
It is in this backdrop and on the 40th anniversary of the burning of the Jaffna public library that the Tamil Diaspora have launched this initiative to form a non-politically aligned online library and resource centre relating to all aspects of the Tamil cultural, historical and political identity.
We welcome all visitors to the site to help add to this online repository as well as provide suggestions via Telibrary.firstname.lastname@example.org on improving the neutrality of the site.
We hope you enjoy the site and find it useful.
We will learn our History!
We will save our Race!
Thiruvalluvar is a global symbol of the Tamil Language and its ancient and rich hertitage. His work has been translated into many languages and the Thirukurals cover all aspects of life!
The Tamil Language is what unites 77 million Tamils and we have given the Tamil letter அ an important position here because we see this website as a starting point just like அ.
Knowledge is the ultimate platform as shown by Thiruvalluvar being seated above a book, underlined with the red of revolution to show the struggle we have ahead of us in securing our rights.
This is all surrounded by the fire that destroyed our Jaffna library in 1981; an act of genocide we must never forget! It simultaneously represents the Tamil people’s passion to preserve our identity and pass on the flame of knowledge to the next generation via this virtual library.
We have intentionally chosen earthly colours to represent Tamil tradition and culture relating to nature, the Motherland and the richness of our soil.