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Chapter Summary

This prologue section provides some background information about the author. When the author was a little boy, his grandmother used to leave home every now and then in the early morning, well before dawn, with a bundle of carefully packed betel leaves. Carrying a torch made out of coconut leaves, she set out for the open-air market (pola) about two miles away. This book The Adaptable Peasant attempts to delve into the past, for better or worse, of the very landscape of the village where the author's grandmother used to grow betel leaves and to try to historicise it by using the cadastral tombos and other archival documents that he retraced in the Dutch East India Company (VOC) archives in Colombo and The Hague. Having done so, the author hope to provide the reader a closer look at the early modern landscape of modern rural Sri Lanka.

Keywords: betel leaves; Dutch East India Company (VOC); Sri Lanka



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