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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



the ancient inhabitants of Ceylon, who played an important role in the formation of its modern ethnic composition. They live mainly in the eastern regions of the island. Population is approximately 800 people. They speak the Sinhalese language, although some speak the Tamil language. They have become highly assimilated with the Sinhalese and the Tamils. The ancient beliefs have disappeared, and they now profess Buddhism and Hinduism. Most of the Veddas are engaged in slash-and-burn farming and fishing, supplementing these with hunting and gathering. Exogamous tribal groups, or “Waruge,” and survivals of matriarchy are preserved in the social organization of the Veddas.


Narody Iuzhnoi Azii. Moscow, 1963.
Kochnev, V. I. Naselenie Tseilona. Moscow, 1965.
Seligmann, C. G., and B. L. Seligmann. The Veddas. Cambridge, 1911.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
Seligmann, The Veddas (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1911).
Like many anthropologists of their era they were looking for 'older strata' in current populations and considered the Vedda of Ceylon as a more ancient race than the surrounding Sinha or Tamil people.
The indigenous stratum supposedly consisted of foragers of "Australoid" or "proto-Australoid" racial affinity, with the "Veddoids" (represented by the Veddas) sometimes recognised as a distinct component.
The fourth analysis compares male average measurements and indices of South Asians, including the Veddas of Sri Lanka based on previously published data [5, 7], with those from other parts of the world.
To place the craniometric differences between northern and southern Indians in context, this section compares the averages for male Indians with the averages recorded for other series, notably by Howells [17] but also byWarusawithana-Kutilake [7] for Veddas, supplemented by Veddas' simotic index from Woo and Morant [5].
The languages spoken in the Indian subcontinent are divided into four main families: the Indo-Pacific, spoken mainly by the descendants of the first modern human settlers, such as the Negrito local race; the Dravidian languages, including Telegu, Tamil, Malayalam, and Kanarese, mostly spoken by the descendants of the probable introducers of the Neolithic into India; the Indo-European, including Hindu, Bengali, Marathi, Urdu and Gujarati, introduced by the descendants of the Indo-Iranians and also spoken by the Veddas, although they are descended from the first settlers of the region (an example of linguistic substitution); and the fourth linguistic family is the Sino-Tibetan, spoken by populations in the north of the country.
283 The Vedda people, such as this family in Sri Lanka, are descendants of the first modern human settlers of the Indian and Ceylon monsoon region and speak the Dravidian languages that still survive in the region.
Hutton, William Wyse Professor of Anthropology in the University of Cambridge,(his Report to the Indian Census of 1931 and his book "Caste in India" (1946), from their knowledge of lift irrigation techniques which made them claim superiority in India) not only brought their slaves but exterminated the Veddas (that is the memory of their tradition) and reduced to slavery and to sub-castes, the original Sinhalese population who formed the peninsula's principal population even under Ariya Cakravarti rule (Ariyacakravarttis ruled with the support of the Tanjore army).
Even if one were to overlook the fallaciousness of such make-belief stories, the fact remains that in the 6th century BCE Sri Lanka was inhabited by other people, e.g., the Veddas (who has close physical resemblance with people of South India), with different set of beliefs than Buddhism.
The Vedda Chief told that the present that the Indigenous People living in the coastal areas called coastal Veddas, were under the clutches of the LTTE terrorists in the recent years, and they were also forcibly enlisted for terrorist activities.
The chief of Sri Lanka's Indigenous people known as the Vedda People, Uru Warige Wannila Eththo, met with President Mahinda Rajapaksa yesterday at Presidential House in Kandy, and invited him to attend the National Indigenous Day to be held in Sallativ, Vakare, in the Eastern Province to mark the World Indigenous People's Day celebrations.
The Vedda Chief mentioned that all indigenous communities scattered around the country will be involved in this year's Indigenous Day celebrations.