Hatton

Context

Hatton is a famous town, and the largest, in the Nuwara Eliya District, in the Central Province of Sri Lanka. The tea industry constitutes the main economic activity of Hatton, which is also known as the tea capital of the country. The majority ethnic group in Hatton is the ‘estate’ Tamils, who constitutes 33% of the population. Sinhalese are the second largest group, representing 26% of the population. Minority groups include the (non-estate) Tamils, and the Moors. The estate Tamils were brought to Sri Lanka during the establishment of the British colonial plantation economy in the 18th century. Following Sri Lanka’s independence in 1948, this

population was excluded from citizenship. They were granted citizenship in 1988, but their social

marginalization continued. Their progress has been stalled by extreme poverty and the lack of access to education, better jobs and health care. In their fight for equal rights for Tamils, the LTTE, too, excluded this population from representation. To date, the estate Tamils remain one of the most notably disadvantaged ethnic groups in Sri Lanka.