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THE SUNDAY TIMES
Independent day special Story
 Sunday, February 04, 2018

Bharathas

- By Kaveesha Fernando and Oshani Alwis

 Family of V.X.B Fernando, Vembaru
The Bharathas are a trading community who hail from Tuticorin (Thoothukudi) in Tamil Nadu, India. The Bharathas are Roman Catholic, and the festival of ‘Our Lady of Snows’ from Tuticorin celebrated at St. Philip Neri’s Church, Pettah in August is a significant event. The closed economy during Sirimavo Bandaranaike’s regime affected the community as most of them were traders and businessmen. Some Bharathas still own family businesses which have been passed down from generation to generation.

Then in her early 20s and engaged to be married, Therese Motha was invited to the independence ceremony in 1948 as her father I.X.Pereira was an eminent member of the State Council. “It was really crowded at Independence Square. I could vaguely remember that the ceremony lasted around an hour and I wore a saree,” recalls Therese.

Therese Motha
Her family was registered as citizens of Sri Lanka in 1949 and she is still a ‘citizen by registration’ even though she was born in Sri Lanka. During her schooldays at St. Bridget’s Convent, Therese was recognized as of Indian origin but there was unity despite ethnic diversity. “There was lot of fellowship among students and I had friends from all the races,” she says.

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