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Selected Writings by Sachi Sri Kantha

The Pirabaharan Phenomenon
[part 54]

5 March 2003

Time Out: Number Two & Afterword



A Message to the Readers 

‘A writer’s greatest pleasure is revealing to people things they knew but did not know they knew’, wrote one of my favorite humorists Andy Rooney, an American icon. In the Pirabhakaran series, I have tried my best to follow this dictum of Rooney. What I have written about Pirabhakaran is ‘known’ to all the readers. But, as Andy Rooney had noted, I had tried to shed light on Pirabhakaran’s skills which have escaped the glance of many. 

I first took a time-out for this Pirabhakaran series in early 2002 for three months, after writing 33 chapters. Now, after continuing for another 20 chapters –altogether with 53 completed chapters - I take a second time-out for another three months. The titles of 53 completed chapters read as follows: 

1. Premature Obituary in the Madras Hindu 

2. What is Leadership? 

3. Learning from Mistakes 

4. Humor in anti-Pirabhakaran polemics 

5. Pirabhakaran – the Morale Booster 

6. A Brando in the Battle Front 

7. Violating the Seventh Commandment 

8. Pirabhakaran as a cash-cow 

9. Four Musketeers of UNP 

10. Civil War Leader for Tamils 

11. 1987 – Paradigm Shift in Eelam 

12. In the eyes of Foreign Journalists 

13. Pirabhakaran and Duraiappah 

14. Casualty Breakdown in Eelam Civil War 

15. Demand of Discipline 

16. Colombo Beggars in the bin Laden Bandwagon 

17. Emerging Truth in the ‘Terrorist’ Label 

18. A Ramanujan in Military Science 

19. Repercussions of Rajiv-Jayewardene Accord 

20. Implications of Indo-LTTE War 

21. ‘Pol Potist’ Label: Facts and Fantasy 

22. 1989 – The Year of Indian Intrigue 

23. Standing-up Against India’s Imperial Itch 

24. Surviving the Plots of RAW and Premadasa 

25. Rajiv Gandhi Assassination: Wading through the Paper Maze 

26. Rajiv Gandhi Assassination: the forensic science angle 

27. Rajiv Gandhi Assassination: the political angle 

28. Rajiv Gandhi Assassination: the judicial angle of Justice Quadri 

29. Rajiv Gandhi Assassination: the judicial angle of Justice Thomas 

30. Rajiv Gandhi Assassination: the judicial angle of Justice Wadhwa 

31. Rajiv Gandhi Assassination: the jigsaw puzzles in the Judicial Angle 

32. Rajiv Gandhi Assassination: The Conspiracy Angle 

33. Rajiv Gandhi Assassination: The Sinhalese Angle 

34. Rajiv Gandhi Assassination: The Tamil Sentiments and V.P.Singh’s 

Views 

35. Rajiv Gandhi Assassination: International Links 

36. Rajiv Gandhi Assassination: One Spoke in the South Asian Wheel of 

Intrigue 

37. Why is He Loved by the Tamils 

38. The Quality of Sinhalese Military Competition 

39. The Paradigm Shifter 

40. Valveddithurai’s Gift 

41. Biographer’s Interlude 

42. Even Grass is a Weapon for the Courageous 

43. Prime Antagonist to Brown-skinned Buddhist Aryanism 

44. Countering the Fangs of Brown-skinned Buddhist Aryanism 

45. The Scenario at the Eastern Front: D.S.Senanayake’s notorious 

Lebensraum (Living Space) Strategy : a synopsis 

46. Torment in the Eastern Front: Predicamentsof Scenario Sketchers 

47. Nuda Veritas on the Muslim Factor 

48. Projecting Tamil Power 

49. Analyzing the Tamil Victims of LTTE’s Power 

50. Thwarting the Careers of Closet Tamil Operatives 

51. Is Pirabhakaran a deviant and a merchant of death? 

52. Eelam’s Karma – The Good, The Bad and the Ugly 

53. Being a Tamil Hero 

Among these 53 chapters, recently I have packaged chapters 25 to 36, covering the Rajiv Gandhi assassination, as a book manuscript and submitted to a London publisher for a review. I wait for the publisher’s response. The remaining 41 chapters and the forthcoming, still-yet to be written chapters, will constitute another book – a provocative and sympathetic biography on Pirabhakaran, for which I’m in the search for a responsive publisher. 

Five main books, which have covered Pirabhakaran’s deeds in some detail so far, have followed the chronological format in contents. These are, Rajan Hoole et al’s The Broken Palmyra (1990), Rohan Gunaratna’s Indian Intervention in Sri Lanka (1993), Narayan Swamy’s Tigers of Lanka (1994), J.N.Dixit’s Assignment Colombo (1998) and Adele Balasingham’s The Will to Freedom (2001). But none have provided an in-depth look on the ‘Pirabhakaran Phenomenon’, as covered in my 53 chapters. If one grades these five main books into pro-, neutral and anti- categories, the books of Hoole et al. and Gunaratna belong to the anti-Pirabhakaran category. The books of Indian scribes Narayan Swamy and J.N.Dixit belong to the neutral category, and the autobiography of Adele Balasingham is of pro-Pirabhakaran category. 

Since Pirabhakaran is still living amongst us, and even younger than me by 18 months, I specifically chose the non-chronological format when I began this series. This format has enabled me to interpret the events of past three decades enthusiastically (I presume!) like a narrator, keeping in suspense to the reader what will be the next chapter. Roger Lewis, recent biographer of acting legend Laurence Olivier, has said it aptly in his preface, what I had felt when I began this series in 2001. To quote Lewis, 

“Biography, the science of who we are, of what we ought to be, needn’t come across as gossip or monumental alabaster; and the traditional cradle-to-the grave approach can be paradoxically patternless and antiseptic, like the reconstruction of the plot of a play that has not survived. For where are the epiphanies? The digressions and curlicues? The vivid signs and smells and tints that we cherish about a man? In real life, the intensity of recall is not sequential, and yet the long scholarly biography, with its Newtonian laws of action and reaction, beginning with genealogy and concluding with cuttings from obituaries, diligently charts careers, as if for a newsreel, and quite misses colour and tone. There is no suspense, going year by year from obscurity and childhood to early success, to fame, to illness and death. That is not an interesting narrative…” [Book: The Real Life of Laurence Olivier, Century, London, 1996] 

Unless something happens drastically and also, contrary to the cynical quips from Colombo commentators, my focus of interest is still in his prime. Thus, I need another time-out to recollect my thoughts; to dig, sort and re-read the published materials I have collected; and to continue the writing. Though I have received a couple of opinions that it’s time to wrap up this series, I still have quite a distance to cover, especially on the controversial themes such as suicide bombers, child soldiers. Anti-Pirabhakaran literature emanating from the University Teachers for Human Rights (Jaffna) as well as journalists from Colombo, Chennai and elsewhere deserve to be dissected and exposed for their bias and deception. I need time to digest this brand of literature. 

Though entitled as ‘Pirabhakaran Phenomenon’, it is also the recent history of Eelam Tamils. To achieve my aim, I had to incorporate in my writing few of the puppet side-shows and freak tricksters who lived and still live by pouting Pirabhakaran’s name and deeds. Unlike other paid journalists and regular contributors to the press, I write this feature as a labor of love. I’m fortunate that I don’t have to earn a living in the dog-eat-dog world of pedestrian journalism. Thus, I also eliminate the monetary bias which I believe strongly influence and pollute the contents of prose authored by long term LTTE-watchers like Barbara Crossette, D.B.S.Jeyaraj, Rajan Hoole, K.T.Rajasingham, V.S.Sambandan and V.Suryanarayanan. 

I ask for the patience and understanding of the readers. Thanks. I can be contacted at the following link. kanth[email protected]

 


Afterword : On ‘The Pirabhakaran Phenomenon’: A Message from Sachi Sri Kantha, 16 June 2003

It has been four months since I took the ‘Second Time-Out’ for my Pirabhakaran Phenomenon series, after completing 53 chapters. Following my announcement, I received over ten appreciatory messages from Tamil readers (in USA, UK, Canada, Australia and of course Eelam) via email and phone, informing me about how they wished me to continue the series. My thanks to all those who took the time to contact me. One even wondered whether I had been worn out by that demon ‘writer’s block’. I can assure all that I have not been a victim of ‘writer’s block’. But during the past few months, I have been continuing to re-charge my battery and focus my thoughts by reading the recent publications of Pirabhakaran’s critics. 

Meanwhile, I welcome the entry of veteran journalist T.Sabaratnam into the field of Pirabhakaran biography. In part 41 of my series [entitled, Biographer’s Interlude], I had specifically identified Mr.Sabaratnam as one of the competent nine writers who are capable of contributing well to Pirabhakaraniana. So, its my pleasure to see him as a fellow biographer of Pirabhakaran. I know Mr.Sabaratnam personally well. His wife Padmavathy Sabaratnam was my physics teacher at the Colombo Hindu College, Ratmalana. I had taught flute to his son Saseenthiran in the 1970s. 

Since Mr.Sabaratnam has begun his Pirabhakaran biography, it provides me with some relief that my time-out can be extendedf urther without incoveniencing the readers. I will return to describe my hero in due course. I believe that it will be in the best interests for the readers to taste the rendering of Pirabhakaran story by one author in one time slot. Thus, I gladly leave the podium to Mr.Sabaratnam. Of course, there will be differences in interpreting the deeds of Pirabhakaran and his LTTE. Mr.Sabaratnam’s portrayal would be that of a ranking journalist who had kept his ears close to the politicians and pundits of Colombo, while my view has been from that of a detached scientist unaffected by the ‘hot air’ and cacophony of Colombo. Both presentations have their merits and demerits. But I feel that Pirabhakaran’s story is large enough to be covered from more than one angle. 

I wish to let the readers know that, while I extend my time-out on my Pirabhakaran Phenomenon series, I like to contribute to another vital area; i.e, archival transfer of important academic materials on Eelam history from the paper print medium to the electronic medium. This is a vital job which I feel appears neglected and anyone with interests and documents has to do urgently, since the electronic medium has turned into the motherlode of mud on the history of Tamils in Eelam. Major contributors of such mud are the websites of Colombo’s parochial press, and expatriate Sinhalese partisans. The websites maintained by India’s muddled think tanks (especially of note is South Asian Terrorism Portal) as well as incompetent historians and vision-challenged commentators (which include the notorious University Teachers of Human Rights-Jaffna) also present twisted facts relating to the Eelam Tamil history. Thus, I wish to post in the Sangam website at regular intervals, quite a number of historically relevant academic papers contributed by Eelam Tamils which are in my personal collection, with introductory notes. 

 


 

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