Pirapāharan’s Inspirations and Mind-Set

Michael Roberts … being an expanded and illustrated version of an article that has been presented in the Daily Mirror = http://www.dailymirror.lk/article/Understanding-Velupillai-Pirapaharan-s-mindset-153407.html ...where it has received 1878 hits thus far

Recent revelations on the detailed course of Eelam War IV in its last phase in 2009 made possible by Lord Michael Naseby’s extraction of the contemporary readings of the battle theatre provided by the British Military Attache in Colombo, namely Lt. Col. Gash, permits one to chart specific strands of deceit and conspiratorial design perpetuated by the Western states led by USA and Norway[1] with the implicit or explicit participation of a host of humanitarian agencies, such as ICG, AI and HRW together with several agencies in Colombo.[2]

This is a serious charge based on a series of articles that I have written over the years and recently consolidated after the Gash reports were made available by Lord Michael Naseby.[3] However, a fuller comprehension of the specific strands of criticism requires attention to the character of the de facto state of Thamilīlam set up by the LTTE in 1990 after its successful guerrilla battles with the IPKF from 1987-89 and its seizure of swathes of territory in the Eastern Province in 1990.[4]

The LTTE as an organisation in its initial phases was imprinted with the demands of a nationalist insurgency in competition with other Tamil militants – all pitted against the existing state of Sri Lanka. Central to the LTTE was the mind-set guiding one of its key founding fathers: Velupillai Pirapāharan (1954-2009). Pirapāharan was totally committed to the goal of independence for his people, the SL Tamils. He was ready to lay down his life for this goal; while demanding the same depth of sacrificial devotion from all those who joined the LTTE.  Their induction oath — adopted by all LTTE soldier-recruits in Thamilīlam — ran thus

“Our revolutionary organisation’s purified aim is for a free society to achieve Tamil Eelam

My life and soul and all this I sacrifice to our organisation’s leader, our brother, Mr Prabhakaran

We fully accept that for him we will be very faithful and trustworthy

The aim of the Tigers – Tamils’ freedom.”[5]

 Pics from BBC documentary of 1991 entitled ” Suicide Killers,”

As one of his early comrades-in-arms Raghavan has indicated, Pirapāharan was Inspired in his youth by the tales surrounding Indian nationalist heroes such as Subhas Chandra Bose,[6] Bhagat Singh, Neraji and Kattabomman.[7] Furthermore, he was an admirer of Adolf Hitler because of an erroneous belief that Hitler was the force behind the initial successes of the German Army. In the early clandestine LTTE training camps in the northern Vanni, he insisted on enforcing strict discipline in the fashion that Hitler is said to have pursued.[8] This included the Nazi salute.[9] Military manuals by Sun Tzu and Carl von Clausewitz were also among his voracious acquisitions of knowledge via translations or summaries provided by friends.[10]

As a youngster, moreover, Pirapāharan had been an addict of action movies from Tamilnadu and the West. Ganeshan Iyer, one of the early Tiger leaders of the mid-1970s, has stated that Pirapāharan admired the exploits of Clint Eastwood in his role as uncompromising executor of righteous vengeance in several cowboy films. As Iyer indicates, this meant that Pirapāharan reached for the gun whenever serious internal disputes emerged within the tiny, clandestine core of Tiger militants working underground in the late 1970s and 1980s.[11] At least two, one Michael from Batticaloa and one Patkunarajah, were killed (and he later directed one of his cadre to assassinate his former LTTE comrade, Uma Maheswaran, the leader of PLOTE).

Another early associate and friend, Ragavan, supports Iyer’s account. Pirapāharan, he says, was “a meticulous planner” and demanded total dedication from members of the TNT and LTTE. He “believed that in order to fight against evil and establish dharma, it [was] essential to eliminate one’s enemies” and that the ‘the Tamil cause needed to be united behind one single organisation.”

As several Tamil militant organisations competed for leadership of the Tamil nationalist struggle,[12] the Tiger leaders proceeded between 1985 and 1991 to eliminate or nullify TELO, EROS, PLOTE and EPRLF by forced of gun and intimidation. Once Thamilīlam was in place in 1990, Pirapāharan adhered to the same tactic. It was now more than tactic. It was tactics aligned to strategy. Eliminate all leaders (including Tamils) opposed to Pirapāharan and standing in the way of Thamilīlam.

The concepts “tactic” and “strategy” are often used interchangeably in discussions of business goals. In the military arena STRATEGY refers to “the planning and general direction of military objectives,” while TACTICS seek “to implement strategy by short-term decisions … on the field of battle.” Thus, in both arenas it is understood that the two concepts work in tandem: “strategy” defines the overall goal or goals; while “tactics” defines the minutiae of paths towards one or more  of these goals.

Defence Minister Ranjan Wijeratne’s car blown up

Neelan Tiruchelvam’s car blown up July 1999

Pirapāharan and the LTTE leadership consistently deployed one tactic: target key military and political leaders within the opposing government of Sri Lanka and eliminate them by deploying suicide assassination teams,[13] roadside bombs, snipers or in-your-face killers.[14] They refined the techniques of low-cost suicide attacks in ways that must surely evoke awe in both military and Mafia circles. They also intervened in parliamentary or presidential elections in the south by seeking to eliminate a candidate deemed less favourable to the Eelam cause.

Let me initially point to the ultra-long list of assassinations carried out so effectively by the LTTE – a roll-call so long that I point readers to Wikipedia for these details. One can also speculate on the LTTE motives by differentiating killing-acts of vengeance from those seeking to promote future short-term or long-term goals whenever such a distinction becomes pertinent.

 Assassin Dhanu (foreground with back to camera) approaches Rajiv Gandhi

The assassination of Rajiv Gandhi on 21st May 1991 is a conundrum of sorts. The killing was clearly designed to prevent the Congress Party from returning to Presidential power in the forthcoming elections in India. But it seems to have been an act of vengeance as well — revenge for the manner in which the IPKF did not meet the LTTE’s initial expectations and then resorted to a war that saw the demise of several of Pirapāharan’s original comrades-in-arms. That the Tiger supporters in Tamilnadu compiled a document entitled The Satanic Force in order to make their case against Gandhi supports this conjecture.[15]

Motives of retribution combined with tactical strike towards immediate strategic goals can be discerned in the assassination of both Neelan Tiruchelvam and Lakshman Kadirgamar. To Pirapāharan, of course, both would have been turncoats: Tamils serving the enemy.

However, there were substantial strategic gains for the LTTE in each act of assassination. Neelan Tiruchelvam of the TULF was working with Chandrika Kumaratunga and GL Peiris to frame a constitutional via media that was designed to win over moderate Tamil opinion at a stage when Presidential elections were looming in Sri Lanka at the end of 1999. The assassination was at once symbolic and tactical. Its timing in late July 1999 was a stark reminder of the July pogrom of 1983 that had terrorised so many Tamils living in the south. It was also a warning to Tamil peaceniks everywhere and a severe threat to the remnant elements of the old TULF.[16]

As a tactic Neelan’s assassination had a resounding strategic impact: it was one step in the process whereby the TULF of old disintegrated and converted into a pliant body of Tamil politicians in the south assembled under a new name, viz. the Tamil National Alliance – a body that even adopted the Tiger salute with its Nazi connotations.

   Tiger salute at the opening of Pongu Thamil pageants in GOSL space in the early 2000s …

Likewise, the assassination of Lakshman Kadirgamar in August 2005 was a tactical precursor to the renewal of war after the ceasefire of 2001. To comprehend this argument, one must step back to 2001/02.

The ceasefire brought Norway into the Sri Lankan scenario in a major way with Eric Solheim as its key diplomat and Anton Balasingham as the LTTE ‘magician.’ The LTTE moved on to the world stage as a de facto state. A media function at Kilinochchi in April 2002 was a world event. LTTE delegations visited western capitals and Norwegian ministers paid state visits to Thamilīlam.


When I visited Kilinochchi in late November 2004 to witness the maaveerar homage ceremonies held every 26th November, several Tamil public servants whom I met were feisty and keen on war. Moreover, a chance ethnographic finding provided me with definitive indications[17] that the LTTE was preparing to renew its warring path: the goal was to wrest an independent state of Thamilīlam by force of arms.

The impact of the tsunami of 26th December 2004 (on the Sea Tiger capacities in particular) delayed this move to battle. So, it was not till mid-2006 that Pirapāharan and his comrades ventured into battle. From their viewpoint the ground had been prepared in the West for a military push to finalize the international recognition they had secured as a state in the wings.

One major obstacle stood in their way on the international stage: that forceful Tamil man Lakshman Kadirgamar.[18] A consummate speaker with wide-ranging international connections, Kadirgamar was a thorn in the Norwegian flesh and thus in the LTTE body. The sooner got rid of the better. Ingenious LTTE planning and a dysfunctional Royal-College Tamil household in the heart of Colombo 7 (that of the Thalayasingham’s) enabled a Tiger sniper to eliminate Kadirgamar on 12th August 2005.

This act of killing was a tactical ploy towards the strategic goal of Thamilīlam through war – conceived with assurance and determination by the Tiger leaders as successful war.

General Fonseka’s car after attack

That success did not eventuate in Eelam War IV was in part due to the failure of two other tactical strikes: namely, the assassination attempts on General Sarath Fonseka on the 25th April 2006 and that on Gotabhaya Rajapaksa on 1st December 2006. A pregnant suicide bomber in fact penetrated SL Army HQ and wounded Fonseka; but he recovered and led the SL Army during Eelam War IV.

The Sri Lankan government’s success in containing and then squashing the LTTE in Eelam War IV (2006-09) was due to a constellation of factors. However, the organisational and leadership capacities revealed by Gotabhaya and General Fonseka were of considerable significance in producing this outcome. Thus, the failure of those two assassination strikes had a disastrous impact for the Tiger programme of war.

These two failures, ironically, support the thesis that Pirapāharan’s consistent resort to assassination was a tactic that was integral to LTTE strategy — even perhaps to the degree of serving as strategy itself.

  BODIES THAT FIGHT ON = A war memorial at Kilinochchi that pays homage to the deceased Tiger troops who helped capture the are ain the late 1990s …

  ***  ***


The list includes old readings which I have not been able to consult before the recent composition of this essay while on holiday

Asif Fuard 2006 “Three-wheeler got closer and closer and then a bang…,” 3 December 2006, http://www.sundaytimes.lk/061203/News/n102.html

Bavinck, Ben 2011 “Pirapaharan as uncompromising killer prone to vengeance: testimonies from the Jaffna heartland, 1989-91” http://thuppahi.wordpress. com/2011/11/01/Pirapaharan as uncompromising killer prone to vengeance: testimonies from the Jaffna heartland, 1989-91

Borra, Ranjan 2007 “Subhas Chandra Bose, the Indian National Army, and the War of India’s Liberation,” The Journal of Historical Review, 3/ 4: 407-439.

Chandrakanthan, Revd. A. J. V. 2000 “Eelam Tamil Nationalism,” in A. J. Wilson, Sri Lankan Tamil Nationalism. Its Origins and Development in the 19th and 20th Centuries, London, Hurst & Company, pp. 157-75.

David, Kumar 2010 “What grade would Sun Tsu have awarded Prabaharan?” Island, 16 May 2010.

Gnanadass, Wilson 2008 “Last of the Tiger Leaders,” Sunday Times, 1 March 2009.

Hellmann-Rajanayagam, D. 1994 ‘The ‘groups’ and the rise of militant secessionism,” in C. Manogaran & B. Pfaffenberger (eds) The Sri Lankan Tamils. Ethnicity and Identity, Boulder: Westview Press, pp. 169-207.

Hindu, The 2006 “The War Trap,” 17 August 2006, https://www.thehindu.com/todays-paper/tp-opinion/the-lttes-war-trap/article18458864.ece

Hindu, The 2017 “Erik Solheim. Can the ‘unknown angel’ deliver?” 15 January 2015, https://www.thehindu.com/opinion/op-ed/can-the-unknown-angel-deliver/article6789564.ece

Hoole, Rajan 2001 Sri Lanka: The Arrogance of Power. Myths, Decadence, & Murder, Nugegoda Wasala Publications for UTHR (Jaffna).

Iyer, Ganeshan 2012a “Military Training in the German Nazi Mould amidst Internal Dissension in the early LTTE, late 1970s,” trans by Parames Blacker, in http://thuppahi. wordpress.com/2012/01/30/military-training-in-the-german-nazi-mould-amidst-internal-dissension-in-the-early-ltte-late-1970s/.

Iyer, Ganeshan 2012b “My Notes on Experiences with Fellow-Fighters,” chapter 9 in My Entries on the Eelam Struggle, in ….  [as trans, by Gobi Ponnuthurai for Michael Roberts].

Jeyaraj, D. B. S. 1997 “Pottu Amman in Jaffna,” Frontline, vol. 114/25, 17 Dec. 1997.

Jeyaraj, D. B. S. 2004 “The Conflicts Within,” Frontline, Vol. 21/7, 27 March 2004.

Jeyaraj, D. B. S. 2009 “Tiruchelvam, Tigers and the Tamil “Traitor” Tragedy,” 31 July 2009, http://dbsjeyaraj.com/dbsj/archives/973

Jeyaraj, D. B. S. 2009 “Prabhakaran: Powerful Symbol of Tamil Armed Struggle,” 29 May 2009, in http://www.transcurrents.com.

Jeyaraj, D.B.S. 2011“Sivaji Ganesan: A doyen among actors in Tamil cinema,” 20 July 2011, http://dbsjeyaraj.com/dbsj/archives/2586

Kaarthikeyan D. R. and R. Raju 2004 The Rajiv Gandhi Assassination. The Investigation, New Delhi: New Dawn Press Inc.

Kadirgamar, Ahilan 2009 “Interview with Ragavan on Tamil Militancy (Early Years),” http:// kafila.org/2009/02/16/interview-with-ragavan-on-tamil-militancy-part-i/.

Mani, A. and P. Ramasamy 2006 “Subhas Chandra Bose & the INA,” Southeast Asian Papers, Seminar organised by the ISEAS, India Club, Singapore.

Montgomery, A. 1994 “Subhas Chandra Bose and India’s Struggle for Independence,” Journal of Historical Review, March-April 1994. 14/2: 2-5.

Narayan Swamy, M. R. 1994. Tigers of Sri Lanka, Delhi: Konark Publishers Pvt Ltd.

Narayan Swamy, M. R. 2003 Inside an Elusive Mind. Prabhakaran, Colombo: Vijitha Yapa Publications.

Narayan Swamy, M. R. 2009 “Prabhakaran: from Catapult Killer to Ruthless Insurgent,” IANS, 18 May 2009 – see http://twocircles.net/node/148596 [reprinted in The Tiger Vanquished, pp. 165-67].

Narayan Swamy, M. R. 2010 The Tiger Vanquished. LTTE’s story, New Delhi: Sage Publications.

Peiris, Gerald H. 2009 Twilight of the Tigers. Peace Efforts and Power Struggles in Sri Lanka, Colombo: Vijitha Yapa Publications.

Pratap, Anita 2003 Island of Blood, Penguin Books.

Ragavan 2009a “Interview with Ragavan on Tamil Militancy (Early Years),” http://kafila.org/2009/02/16/interview-with-ragavan-on-tamil-militancy-part-i/

Ragavan, 2009b “Prabhakaran’s Time Keeping. Memories of a Much-Mythologised Rebel Leader by a Former LTTE Fighter,” Sunday Leader, 24 May 2009.\ http://www.thesundayleader.lk/archive/20090524/memoir.htm

Ragavan 2018 “Young Pirapaharan’s Inspirations and Ideology: Ragavan’s Incisive Memoria, May 2009,” 9 August 2018, https://thuppahi.wordpress.com/2018/08/09/young-pirapharans-inspirations-and-ideology-ragavans-incisive-memorial-in-may-2009/#more-31113

Rajasingham, K. T. n. d. “Sri Lanka: The Untold Story, Rajiv Gandhi’s Assassination,Asia Times, http://www.lankalibrary.com/pol/rajiv.htm.

Ramaswamy, Sumathi: ‘The Nation, the Region and the Adventures of a Tamil ‘Hero’,” Contributions to Indian Sociology, 1994, n.s., 28: 295-322.

Reuters 2007 “Chronology – Assassinations of Political Figures in Sri Lanka,” https://www.reuters.com/article/us-srilanka-assassinations-idUSCOL15928620061110

Roberts, Michael 1994 Exploring Confrontation. Sri Lanka: Politics, Culture and History, Reading: Harwood Academic Publishers.

Roberts, Michael 1996 “Filial Devotion and the Tiger Cult of Suicide,” Contributions to Indian Sociology 30: 245-72.

Roberts, Michael 2004 Narrating Tamil Nationalism. Subjectivities & Issues, Colombo: Vijitha Yapa Publications.

Roberts, Michael 2005 “Saivite Symbolism, Sacrifice and Tamil Tiger Rites,” Social Analysis 49: 67-93.

Roberts, Michael 2005 “Saivite Symbolism, Sacrifice and Tamil Tiger Rites,” Social Analysis 49: 67-93.

Roberts, Michael 2005 “Tamil Tiger ‘Martyrs’: Regenerating Divine Potency?” Studies in Conflict & Terrorism 28: 493-514

Roberts, Michael 2006 “The Tamil Movement for Eelam,” E-Bulletin of the International Sociological Association No. 4, July 2006, pp. 12-24 [reprinted in Roberts, Fire and Storm, Colombo, Yapa, 2010, pp. 203-18].

Roberts, Michael 2006 “Pragmatic Action & Enchanted Worlds: A Black Tiger Rite Of Commemoration,” Social Analysis 50: 73-102.

Roberts, Michael 2007 “Suicide Missions as Witnessing: Expansions, Contrasts,” Studies in Conflict and Terrorism, vol. 30 (10): October 2007, pp. 857-88.

Roberts, Michael 2007 “Blunders in Tigerland: Pape’s Muddles on ‘Suicide Bombers’ in Sri Lanka,”  Heidelberg Papers in South Asian and Comparative Politics available at http://hpsacp.uni-

Roberts, Michael 2009 Confrontations in Sri Lanka: Sinhalese, LTTE and Others¸ Colombo: Vijitha Yapa Publications.

Roberts, Michael 2009 “Realities of War,” Frontline, 26/10, 9-22 May 2009.

Roberts, Michael 2010 Fire and Storm. Essays in Sri Lankan Politics, Colombo: Vijitha Yapa Publications.

Roberts, Michael 2010 “Self-Annihilation for Political Cause: Cultural Premises in Tamil Tiger Selflessness,” in Roberts, Fire and Storm. Essays in Sri Lankan Politics, Colombo: Vijitha Yapa Publications, pp. 161-201.

Roberts, Michael 2010 “Killing Rajiv Gandhi: Dhanu’s Metamorphosis in Death?” South Asian History and Culture, 1: 25-41.

Roberts, Michael 2010 “Hitler, Nationalism, Sacrifice: Koenigsberg and Beyond … Towards the Tamil Tigers,” in https://thuppahi.wordpress.com/2010/03/19/hitler-nationalism-sacrifice-koenigsberg-and-beyond-%e2%80%a6-towards-the-tamil-tigers/.

Roberts, Michael 2014 “Inspirations and caste Threads in the Early LTTE,” in Roberts, Tamil Person and State, Essays, Colombo, Vijitha Yapa Publications, 2014, pp, 1-43.

Roberts, Michael 2014 “Hero figures and Hitler in Young Pirapaharan’s Thinking,” in Roberts, Tamil Person and State, Essays, Colombo, Vijitha Yapa Publications, 2014, pp, 69-89.

Roberts, Michael 2014 “The Induction Oath of Tamil Tiger Fighters at their Passing-Out Ceremony,” 23 June 2014, https://thuppahi.wordpress.com/2014/06/23/the-induction-oath-of-tamil-tiger-fighters-at-their-passing-out-ceremony/

Roberts, Michael 2015 “Targeting Sri Lanka by playing ball with Tamil Extremism,” 24 July 2015, http://groundviews.org/2015/07/23/targeting-lanka-playing-ball-with-tamil-extremism-2008-14/

Roberts, Michael 2016 “Saving Talaivar Pirapāharan,” 6 April 2016, https://thuppahi.wordpress.com/2016/04/06/saving-talaivar-pirapaharan/

Roberts, Michael 2016 “Revelations in Britain: Lord Naseby undermines the Received ‘Wisdom’,”  12 November 2017,  https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/revelations-in-britain-lord-naseby-undermines-the-received-wisdom/

Roberts, Michael 2018 Where USA sought to arm-wrestle Sri Lanka in March-April-May 2009,” 11 May 2018, https://thuppahi.wordpress.com/2018/05/11/where-usa-sought-to-arm-wrestle-sri-lanka-in-march-april-may-2009/

Sabaratnam, Lakshmanan 2001 Ethnic Attachments in Sri Lanka: Social Change and Cultural Continuity, London: Palgrave.

Sabaratnam, T. 2003 Pirapāharan, [a biography in chapter segments] serialised in http://www. sangam.org/index_orig.html.

Sabaratnam, T. 2003b “The Split of the LTTE,” chap 21.

Sabaratnam, T. 2009 “Beginnings of Violence,” draft chapter from his book in press — kindly sent to me.

Sangam, The n. d. “The Satanic Force”= Compilation of Material on IPKF,”http://sangam.org/compilation-material-ipkf/

 Schalk, Peter 1997a “Resistance and Martyrdom in the process of state formation of Tamililam,” in Joyce Pettigrew (ed.) Martyrdom and Political Resistance, Amsterdam: VU Press, 1997, pp. 61-84.

Sivaram, D. P. 1992a “Tamil Militarism – The Code of Suicide,” Lanka Guardian June 1992, 15: 13-16.

Sivaram, D. P. 1992b“Tamil Militarism,” Part 6, Lanka Guardian, 1 Aug. 1992.

Sunday Times 2009 “Neelan: Why did the LTTE kill him,” 27 July 2007, http://www.sundaytimes.lk/070729/Plus/pls15.html

Tekwani, Shyam 2009 ‘The Man who destroyed Eelam,” http://www.tehelka.com/home  /20090523/default.asp.

Thottam, Jyoti 2009 “Prabhakaran: The Life and Death of a Tiger,” Time, 19 May 2009, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_assassinations_of_the_Sri_Lankan_Civil_War http://www.time.com/time/world/article/0,8599,1899590,00.html.

Van Creveld, M. 1982 Fighting Power: German and US Army performance, 1939-1945, Westport: Greenwood Press, 1982.

Wikipedia n. d. List of assassinations of the Sri Lankan Civil War,” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_assassinations_of_the_Sri_Lankan_Civil_War


[1] See Roberts “targeting,” 2015; “Saving Talaivar Pirapāharan,” 2016 and “Where USA sought to arm-wrestle Sri Lanka in March-April-May 2009,” 11 May 2018, https://thuppahi.wordpress.com/2018/05/11/where-usa-sought-to-arm-wrestle-sri-lanka-in-march-april-may-2009/

[2] We are badly in need of a careful, fair-minded appraisal of the funds received from abroad by a host of local NGOS from CPA to NPC, ICES, Transparency International et cetera. I confess to ignorance on the topic – as there may well  be some data in this field.

[3] See Roberts, “Reflections,” 2018 … https://thuppahi.wordpress.com/2018/04/29/reflections-interpreting-the-gash-files-iv/#more-30031

[4] See Roberts, “Thamililam,” South Asia Review.

[5] These details are taken from the BBC documentary Suicide Killers” composed in 1991 in LTTE territory –a film which records the induction of a group of Tigresses with Adele Balasingham as one of the Tiger officers in the background: see Roberts, “Induction Oath,” 2014.

[6] For bio-data on Bose see Borra 2007 and Mani & Ramaswamy 2006. Note that accounts of Subhas Chandra Bose’s life written in Tamil  were available in Tamilnadu from the immediate post war years.

[7] The re-working of the tales of the robber Virapandiya Kattabomman of the Madras Presidency times into tales that rendered him into an anti-British resistance fighter included a popular film in 1959 in which Shivaji Ganeshan played the lead role. See Ramaswamy 1994: 3111-3 and Roberts, 2014, pp, 74-75

[8] For a discussion re “The Meaning of Hitler for Young Pirapaharan,” see Roberts, “Hero Figures,” 2014, pp. 77-84. Also se Kadirgamar 2009.

[9] See Iyer 2012a. https://thuppahi.wordpress.com/2012/01/30/military-training-in-the-german-nazi-mould-amidst-internal-dissension-in-the-early-ltte-late-1970s/

[10] Bio-data on Pirapaharan have been culled from Narayan Swamy’s several works on the Tiger leader; Ganeshan Iyer’s two articles; Raghavan’s recollections in two pieces presented in 2014 and T. Sabaratnam’s essays. Ganeshan Iyer and Raghavan were both comrades of Pirapaharan in the early LTTE of the 1970s and Raghavan did not move away till circa 1984.

[11] Iyer’s full account can be found I at http://inioru.com/?p=12399 [not consulted b me as yet]. A Brahmin born in the Vellalar village of Punallaikatuvan, Iyer was evidently atheist and Leftist in leaning and became the first Treasurer of the LTTE when it was formed in May 1976. He joined Uma Maheswaran;’s faction when the split occurred later (circa 1980?).

[12] See Hellmann-Rajanayagam 1994 and Narayan Swamy 1994 for details on the various Eelamist organisations.

[13] Even where the killer was a single person, it is likely that s/he was set up and assisted materially by a clandestine network.

[14] The LTTE displayed considerable ingenuity and technical capacity in the various forms of hidden paraphernalia to mount and detonate explosives – whether belts, vests or bodices.

 A denim belt-bomb fashioned by the Tigers

[15] See my interpretation of the process involving the assassination of Rajiv Gandhi and how the LTTE role became known to the world — Roberts, “Killing Rajiv Gandhi: Dhanu’s Metamorphosis in Death?” South Asian History and Culture, 2010, Vol 1: 25-41. Also see Karthikeyen & Raju 2004 and Narayan Swamy 2003: 222-31

[16] For useful interpretations, see Sunday Times 2009 and Jeyaraj 2009.

[17] O the 27th November 2004 I was introduced to Ramesh. The Commander of the LTTE Propaganda Wing; and our chat was brief and convivial. About a fortnight later the friend who introduced me sent me unsolicited note which said that Ramesh had gone to the Tiger HQ area in Mullaitivu to prepare for war.

[18] In early 2005 a Tamil friend of Tissa Jayatilleka told the latter that Kadirgamar would be assassinated (info conveyed to me later by Tissa during a chat at the Orient Club in Colombo).


Filed under accountability, american imperialism, anton balasingham, atrocities, governance, historical interpretation, Hitler, Indian Ocean politics, insurrections, island economy, landscape wondrous, law of armed conflict, legal issues, life stories, LTTE, modernity & modernization, nationalism, politIcal discourse, power politics, prabhakaran, Rajapaksa regime, Rajiv Gandhi, self-reflexivity, Sinhala-Tamil Relations, sri lankan society, suicide bombing, Tamil Tiger fighters, terrorism, the imaginary and the real, truth as casualty of war, unusual people, vengeance, violence of language, war reportage, world events & processes

2 responses to “Pirapāharan’s Inspirations and Mind-Set

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