Tamils - a Trans State Nation..

"To us all towns are one, all men our kin.
Life's good comes not from others' gift, nor ill
Man's pains and pains' relief are from within.
Thus have we seen in visions of the wise !."
Tamil Poem in Purananuru, circa 500 B.C 

Home Whats New  Trans State Nation  One World Unfolding Consciousness Comments Search


Home > Tamil National ForumSelected Writings by Sachi Sri Kantha > Jaffna Invictus

Selected Writings by Sachi Sri Kantha

Jaffna Invictus

12 September 2000

In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud
Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed.

'Invictus' is one of the most popular English poems. 125 years have passed since it was penned by the British poet, critic and editor William Ernest Henley (1849-1903) in 1875. The Oxford English Dictionary defines the word 'invict' as 'unconquered; never vanquished or subdued'.

In the aftermath of recent aggression of the Sri Lankan army in the Jaffna soil, I say thanks to the more than hundred foot soldiers of Eelam who gave their lives to keep Jaffna, an Invictus land. Every one of them had portrayed the spirit captured by poet Henley in his poem, 'A Thanksgiving' (written in September 1875), which according to analysts anticipated the much popular poem 'Invictus'. Let me present both.

A Thanksgiving

From brief delights that rise to me
Out of unfathomable dole,
I thank whatever gods there be
For mine unconquerable soul.

In the strong clutch of Circumstance
It has not winced, nor groaned aloud
Before the blows of eyeless chance,
My head is bloody, but unbowed.

I front unfeared the threat of space
And dwindle into dark again.
My work is done, I take my place
Among the years that wait for men.

My life, my broken life must be
One unsuccourable dole.
I thank the gods - they gave to me
A dauntless and defiant soul.

S. Sivanayagam, Eelam's counterpart of editor William Henley, wrote an eloquent editorial in the Hot Spring magazine (April 1999) entitled, 'Don't Cry for thee Jaffna'. The lines which touched me deeply in that editorial were as follows:

"Conquests are not new to Jaffna, but never in her history has this hardly peninsula suffered as much as during the four and a half year rule of President Kumaratunga....Jaffna of today [is] groaning under the heel of President Chandrika's semi-literate uniformed goons; a Jaffna that has seen the best of humanity honouring her, now being dishonoured by the worst of them."

Sivanayagam's choice phrase, 'semi-literate uniformed goons' has a charming cadence in it. I like to acronymize this choice phrase as SLUGs. Since the early days of September, SLUGs have been showering the Jaffna soil with sorties from the recently purchased multi-barrel rocket launchers (MBRLs). Chandrika's political opponents in the South have tagged this sickly exhibition of sorties as a 'political stunt'. No doubt that this is a stunt of wicked proportions carried out by a stunted brain who parades herself as a 'peace-seeker'. The Tamil guardians of the Jaffna soil provided an effective retaliation in the language which the SLUGs could comprehend.

What made the foot soldiers of Eelam to effectively repulse the attack of SLUGs, has been aptly penned by William Henley in his memorable 'Invictus'.


Out of the night that covers me
Black as the Pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
for my unconquerable soul.

In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud
Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed.

Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the Horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds, and shall find, me unafraid.

It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll,

I am the master of my fate,
I am the captain of my soul.

President Chandrika can fool the Sinhalese electorate by purchasing MBRLs and MiG-27 fighters on credit in the international arms bazaar. But what she cannot purchase in the international market for her morale-challenged SLUGs is what Henley noted as 'a dauntless and defiant soul'. Tamil Tigers are enriched with this tonic and Jaffna is blessed for that.


Mail Us Copyright 1998/2009 All Rights Reserved Home