20 March 1930|
|Died||4 October 1998
|Alma mater||Jaffna College
University of Ceylon
University of London
Professor Sinnappah Arasaratnam (20 March 1930 – 4 October 1998) was a Ceylonese academic, historian and author, born in Sri Lanka during British colonial rule. Known as Arasa, he was a lecturer at the University of Ceylon, University of Malaya and University of New England (Australia).
Early life and family
Arasaratnam was born on 20 March 1930 in Navaly in northern province of Ceylon. He was educated at Jaffna College, Vaddukoddai. After school he joined the University of Ceylon in 1947 from where he graduated in 1951 with a First Class Honours BA degree.
Arasaratnam married Thanalakshmi (Padma), daughter of Selvathurai. They had a son (Niranjan) and two daughters (Sulochana and Ranjana). They have 7 grandchildren, 2 granddaughters (Lily and Meera) and 5 grandsons ( Eamonn, Arasa, Aron, Rohan and Isiah). Arasaratnam was a practising Christian who attended the Uniting Church in Armidale, New South Wales.
After graduation in 1951 Arasaratnam was appointed an assistant lecturer of history at the University of Ceylon. In 1954 he joined the University of London to carry out doctoral research and in 1956 he graduated with a Ph.D in history. On returning to Ceylon Arasaratnam rejoined the University of Ceylon as a lecturer. He was appointed lecturer in Indian Studies at the University of Malaya in 1961. He was promoted to professor of history in 1968.
Arasaratnam was appointed second professor in the Department of History at the University of New England (Australia) in 1972. He took up the post in 1973. He held the Smuts Fellowship in Commonwealth Studies, Cambridge in 1977. Arasaratnam retired from the University of New England in March 1995.
Arasaratnam was prolific writer — he wrote 15 books and 93 articles/chapters. His literary works were achieved while heavily engaged with activities such as sitting on key bodies such as the Academic Advisory Committee.
- Dutch Power in Ceylon, 1658-1687 (1958, Netherlands Institute of Cultural Relations/Djambatan)
- Ceylon (1964, Spectrum/Prentice-Hall)
- Indian festivals in Malaya (1966, University of Malaya)
- Indians in Malaysia and Singapore (1970, Institute of Race Relations, London/Oxford University Press)
- Maritime India in the seventeenth century (1994, Oxford University Press)
- Ceylon and the Dutch, 1600-1800 (1996, Variorum)
- Maritime commerce and English power (1996, Variorum)
- Beer, Don. "Obituary Emeritus Professor Sinnappah Arasaratnam". University of New England (Australia).
- Arumugam, S. (1997). Dictionary of Biography of the Tamils of Ceylon. p. 10.
- "A Tribute to Three ‘Golden Age’ Dons with Great Respect". The Island, Sri Lanka. 10 May 2009.
- Associate Professor Don Beer, Obitury, Australia in the University Newsletter, Volume 13 Number 19, 23 October 1998
- Scholberg, Henry (February 1997). "Maritime Trade, Society and European Influence in Southern Asia, 1600-1800 by Sinnappah Arasaratnam; Maritime India in the Seventeenth Century by Sinnappah Arasaratnam". The Journal of Asian Studies. 56 (1): 219–220. JSTOR 2646395. doi:10.2307/2646395.