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Mukuntharaj Karunaratnam


I don’t consider myself as a foreigner. Occasionally there are some ignorant people who say that I don’t belong here, but then I tell myself that their perception of humanity is irrelevant for me. I would like my children to love Sri Lanka, but to feel Danish. If someone asks about the colour of their skin, I tell them to explain that their parents came from Sri Lanka, but that they are from here.

We never planned to stay in Denmark, but gradually we stopped believing that we would ever return to Sri Lanka other than as tourists. We don’t fit in any more. Society and the world have changed, and so has our mentality. Unconsciously we have let go of many things, but we also stick to some things. We are Hindus and for us, God is everywhere. You don’t have to go to a certain place to seek your God, and if you behave properly, God is with you all the time. We raise our children in the Hindu faith, but we don’t want the religion to limit them in any way. We have only few Tamil friends, but we want our children to master the language, as it is a part of us and part of them.

My wife and I met in Denmark. Our marriage was arranged through the family of my brother’s wife. For us, marriage is not just a pact between two people, but it is a pact between two families. It will be different for our children. We are not going to arrange their marriages of course. They must choose their partners themselves, but I hope that they will not choose someone with a very different background.

52 years / male / in a relationship / children / restaurateur / Copenhagen Ø / from Sri Lanka / came to Denmark in 1984 / residence permit same year

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