" The chances of attaining Eelam are bright because the people's determination
"The Tamil people
have been expressing their grievances in Parliament for more than three decades.
Their voices went unheard like cries in the wilderness..."The
"The world is
constantly changing; so is politics... changing circumstances will finally lead
to India's recognition of our struggle..."
Question: Mr.Pirabaharan it has been reported that all
your fighters carry cyanide capsules strung around their necks. Is this an
Answer: Yes, we adopted this
measure from the start. As a consequence many comrades have sacrificed
themselves. You won�t find people from our movement in jail, at least not many
more than you can count on your fingers, perhaps two or three persons, and even
these are people not involved in the inner circle of activity. Our fighters,
through laying down their lives, protect our sympathisers and contacts, the
people who give us support and assistance. Otherwise, the great mass of people
who support us, and their families, would be herded into jail. But that is not
the only reason for this practice. It is this cyanide that has helped us to
develop our movement very rapidly. Carrying cyanide on our person is a symbolic
expression of our determination, our commitment, our courage. It gives our
fighters an extra measure of belief in our cause, a special edge; the cyanide
has instilled in us a determination to sacrifice our lives and our everything
for our cause..."- Interviewed by N.Ram,
Editor Hindu, September 1986
struggle against the Sri Lankan state has a history stretching back fifteen
years. During this period of history, we have evolved into a huge military
force. We have been conducting a guerrilla type of warfare, and now we are
transforming ourselves into a conventional type of military structure. This
clearly indicates a massive development militarily, and it�s a significant
turning point in the history of our struggle. The Sri Lankan government has to
learn a lesson with regard to the development of the LTTE. The lesson is that
the Sri Lankan government will never resolve the Tamil issue by opting for a
Interview with Chris Morris, BBC Colombo Correspondent, 1991
" The strength of
weapons or man�power does not undermine the victor in a war. The testimony for
this is provided by the history of wars of liberation in the world. Did not the
superpowers with massive manpower and military might face defeats in Vietnam and
Afghanistan? Unshakable determination, valour and fervour for liberation are the
determining qualities for achieving victory. Our fighters and our people possess
these qualities in full measure..."
BBC Tamil Service, March 1993
"I developed a
deep attachment to the Indian Freedom struggle and martyrs like Subhash Chandra
Velicham, April 1994
Press Conference, 2002
"Conditions have not arisen to abandon an independent statehood. The struggle
for Eelam is a demand of the Tamil people. In the 1977 elections, people have
mandate to the TULF to fight for a separate state..."
your duty without regard to the fruits of action', says the
Bhagavad Gita. I grasped this profound truth when I read the
Mahabharata. When I read the great didactic works, they impressed on me the
need to lead a good, disciplined life and roused in me the desire to be of
service to the community. Above all,
Subhash Chandra Bose's life
was a beacon to me, lighting up the path I should
follow. His disciplined life and his total commitment and dedication to the
cause of his country's freedom deeply impressed me and served as my guiding
Prabhakaran, How I became a freedom fighter - Interview, April 1994
my friend. Life is my teacher of philosophy. History is my guide... Not the
existence of man, but the action of man sets the wheel of history of the
struggle in motion...History is not a divine force outside man. It is not
the meaning of an aphorism that determines the fate of man. History is an
expression of the dynamism of man. Man creates history. Man also determines his
own fate... Simplicity is born as the highest fruit of wisdom; simplicity
appears devoid of selfishness and pride. This simplicity makes one a handsome
man; a cultured man...Fear is the image of weakness, the comrade of timidity,
the enemy of steadfastness/ determination. Fear of death is the cause of
every human fear. Who conquers this fear of death, conquers over himself.
This person also reaches liberation from the prison of his mind.. Even an
ordinary human being can create history if he is determined to die for truth..."
Reflections of the Leader: Quotes by Veluppillai Prabhakaran
Translation of Tamil Original by Peter Schalk and Alvappillai Velupillai.
Published by Uppasala University, Sweden
"அன்றும் சரி, இன்றும் சரி, தமிழரின் உணர்வுகளை, அவர்களது
வாழ்நிலை அவலங்களை, அவர்களது தேசிய அபிலாசைகளைச் சிங்களப் பெரும்பான்மை இனம்
புரிந்து கொள்ளவில்லை. புரிந்து கொள்ள எத்தனிக்கவுமில்லை. புரிந்து கொள்ளும்
ஆற்றலும் அறிவுத் திறனும் ஆன்ம பக்குவமும் அவர்களிடம் இருப்பதாகவும்
தெரியவில்லை... சிங்கள மக்களின்
மகாவம்ச மனவமைப்பில், அவர்களது சமூகப் பிரக்ஞையில், அவர்களது அரசியற்
கருத்துலகில் அடிப்படையான மாற்றம் நிகழுமென நாம் எதிர்பார்க்கவில்லை. சிங்கள -
பௌத்த மேலாண்மைவாதத்தின் வீச்சும் வலுவும் தணிந்து போகவில்லை. மாறாக, அது
புதிய, புதிய வடிவங்களை எடுத்துப் புத்துயிர்பெற்று வருகிறது... " Velupillai Pirabakaran
our land, the land in which we were born, grew and live, the land which
bears the foot prints of our forefathers, the land in which our culture and
history are rooted...The LTTE will not participate in
peace negotiations imposed at the point of a gun �This is the message we
wish to address to the Chandrika regime" -
Maha Veera Naal Address -
our long journey towards liberation we have crossed rivers of fire. It is
our commitment to the cause that sustained us during these violent
upheavals. The cause we have charted to fight for the
right to self-determination of our people is right, fair and just. From
the beginning up to now, we are resolutely committed to our cause. Our
cause is our towering strength. It is because of our firm commitment to our
cause we have our importance, individuality and history" Maha Veera Naal Address -
"Our tradition of venerating martyrs as war heroes has always
irritated the Sinhala chauvinist state. ....they feel that this tradition has
become a source of inspiration to the Tamil freedom movement. Impelled by this
hostile attitude, they committed a grave crime that deeply offended the
Tamil nation. ..... The enemy forces
committed the unpardonable crime of desecration, disrupting the
spiritual tranquillity of our martyrs. Their war cemeteries underwent
wanton destruction, their tomb-stones up-rooted and flattened and
their memorials erased without a trace. ... This act cannot be dismissed as a
wanton display of an occupying army. This is a grave act of terrorism which has
left an indelible stain in the soul of the Tamil nation."
Maha Veera Naal Address -
struggle shines as a superb paradigm of women's ability to accomplish anything.
So that our race may honor humanness which is beyond masculinity and femininity,
womankind is extending its hand of love and friendship. Only when man as a
gender grasps this loving hand with deep awareness will equality between men and
women be a reality."
Women's International Day Message - March 1996
"We are a
movement fighting for liberation. We are not an ordinary group which stands
abjectly in askance of concessions...Our goal is that we should live with honour
peace, safety and freedom in our home soil, our own soil which historically
belongs to us. This is our national aspiration." Maha Veera Naal Address -
"குடும்பத்தைத் துறந்து கல்வியை துறந்து, சுதந்திரம் என்ற
இலட்சியற்காக தமது உயிரையும் துச்சமாக மதித்து போராட்டக் களத்தில்
குதித்திருக்கின்றார்கள். இவர்களை ஆயுதப் போராட்டப் பாதைக்குத் தள்ளியது சிங்கள அரச
பயங்கரவாதமே யன்றி வேறொன்றும் இல்லை"
- Velupillai Pirabaharan, Leader
of Tamil Eelam
'Perform your duty without regard to the fruits of action', says the
Bhagavad Gita. I grasped this profound truth when I read the Mahabharata.
When I read the great didactic works, they impressed on me the need to lead a
good, disciplined life and roused in me the desire to be of service to the
community. Above all,
Subhash Chandra Bose's life was a beacon to me, lighting up the path I
should follow. His disciplined life and his total commitment and dedication to
the cause of his country's freedom deeply impressed me and served as my guiding
light. How I became a
freedom fighter - Interview, April 1994
"..பயம் என்பது பலவீனத்தின் வெளிப்பாடு. கோழைத்தனத்தின் தோழன்.
உறிதியின் எதிரி. மனித பயங்களுக்கெல்லாம் மூலமானது மரண பயம். இந்த மரணபயத்தைக்
கொன்று விடுபவன்தான் தன்னை வென்று விடுகிறான். அவன் தான் தனது மனச்சிறையிலிருந்து
Velupillai Pirabaharan, Leader of Tamil Eelam
historical storm of the liberation struggle is uprooting age old traditions that
took root over a long period of time in our society... The ideology of women
liberation is a child born out of the womb of our liberation struggle... The
Tamil Eelam revolutionary woman has transformed herself as a Tiger for the
liberation of our land and liberation of women."Women's International
Day Message - March 1993
women are seeking liberation from the structures of oppression deeply
embedded in our society. This oppressive cultural system and practices have
emanated from age old ideologies and superstitions. Tamil women are subjected to
intolerable suffering as a consequence of male chauvinistic oppression, violence
and from the social evils of casteism and dowry."
Women's International Day Message - March 1992
we cherish the memory of a great martyr and salute her supreme sacrifice.
Poopathi has earned our highest esteem as one of the noble martyrs who have
become legends in the history of our liberation struggle. As a woman, as a
mother, as the maternal head of the family, Poopathi amma transcended her
ordinary life and the bonds of existential attachment in sacrificing her life
for the emancipation of her nation. ..Our people are our mountains. As long as
the power of the people is behind us, we can face any challenges"
Annai Poopathy's Fast for Freedom - Second Anniversary Message - March 1990
"நாம் இனத்துவேஷிகள் அல்லர். போர்
வெறிகொண்ட வன்முறையாளர்களும் அல்லர். நாம் சிங்கள மக்களை எதிரிகளாகவோ விரோதிகளாகவோ
கருத வில்லை. சிங்கள பண்பாட்டை கெளரவிக்கின்றோம். சிங்கள மக்களின் தேசிய வாழ்வில்,
அவர்கலளது சுதந்திரத்தில் நாம் எவ்விதமும் தலையிட விரும்பவில்லை. நாம் எமது
வரலாற்று தாயத்தில் ஒரு தேசிய மக்கள் இனம் என்ற அந்தஸ்துடன், நிம்மதியாக,
சுதந்திரமாக, கொரவத்துடன் வாழ விரும்புகிறோம்.
are not chauvinists.
Neither are we lovers of violence enchanted with war. We do not regard the
Sinhala people as our opponents or as our enemies. We recognise the Sinhala
nation. We accord a place of dignity for the culture and heritage of the
Sinhala people. We have no desire to interfere in any way with the national life
of the Sinhala people or with their freedom and independence. We, the Tamil
people, desire to live in
our own historic homeland as an independent nation, in peace,
in freedom and with dignity." - Velupilllai Pirabaharan, Leader of Tamil
"இயற்கை எனது நண்பன், வாழ்க்கை எனது தத்துவ ஆசிரியன், வரலாறு எனது
"...Mr.Pirabaharan was a frequent visitor to our house; in both
an official and personal capacity. He would come alone with his bodyguards and
on other occasions with his family. By mid 1998 we had known and lived with the
legendary leader of the Tamil liberation struggle Vellupillai Pirabaharan for
twenty years. During those years of personal and political relationship we have
been deeply involved in experiences with him that led to an understanding and
insight into one of the most complex and commanding personalities determining
the politics of Sri Lanka.
Those twenty years of relationship embraced an epoch in the
struggle during which we walked through many good times together and traversed
and triumphed over periods of adversity in both his political and personal life.
Over this span of time we had seen the ideals of freedom of a young militant
progressively transforming into a concrete reality. Parallel to the march
towards the liberation of his people, Mr. Pirabaharan has emerged as a living
symbol of national freedom and has grown in adoration to become a venerated
figure amongst his oppressed people.
Security concerns have compelled Mr. Pirabaharan to adopt what many have
mistakenly labelled a 'reclusive' life style. His secluded existence under
conditions of continued war and his inaccessibility to the media have made him
the most misunderstood and feared guerrilla leader of our times. He has, of
course, become most successful and popular in his spectacular military campaign.
His military ability has often perplexed the many professional military minds in
the world. So what is it that has earned this short, stocky, neat man so much
love from his people on the one hand, and notoriety from the world on the other?
How do we account for the contradiction in his people's
perception of him, and the vilification by the world? Mr. Pirabaharan, born in
the coastal village of Valvettiturai on 26th November 1954 was a sixteen year
old teenager when he took up arms and became involved in the political struggle
of his people. He was, in other words, a 'child soldier' if we use the language
of today. From those early days he has never lived a 'normal' life. As his
commitment deepened, he mobilised and organised a group of radical youth who
shared his views into an underground guerrilla organisation and launched an
armed resistance campaign.
His daring guerrilla attacks brought him to the attention of the
state authorities and he became a 'wanted' man living an underground life in
Jaffna. His bold armed challenge to the might of the Sinhala state earned Mr.
Pirabaharan a noble reputation and he became a heroic figure amongst his people.
The shrewdness and intelligence he successfully deployed in challenging the
state was viewed by the people as their triumph and an assertion of their pride
and identity. Mr. Pirabaharan's sustained and successful armed resistance
against mounting state oppression has earned him the mantle of national leader
of the Tamil people's struggle for freedom and independence. This noble
objective fuels his passion and dominates his spirit. The struggle has become
his life and he has become the struggle.
Although Mr. Pirabaharan would never make any pretensions to being a
theorist or an ideologue, his politics place him squarely in the camp of a
patriotic nationalist. Mr. Pirabaharan's nationalism is not a manifestation of
Tamil chauvinism or racism, as many Sinhala critics would like to argue. His
national sentiment arose from a determination to resist Sinhala racist
oppression that aims at the destruction of his people. In other words, the
racism of the Sinhala state made him a fierce patriot, a passionate lover of his
His deep love for his people, their culture and more
specifically their language, fuels his dedication and determination to secure
their survival. For him, uncluttered by abstract concepts and theories, the
problem confronting the Tamil people is clearcut and simple and the struggle for
freedom is just. His psyche is deeply rooted in the soil of his motherland, the
Northeast, which he always refers to as Tamil Eelam. He has an unshakeable view
that his people have a right to live in peace, dignity and harmony in their
historic homeland. His perception of Tamil Eelam is neither secessionist nor
For him, Tamil Eelam belongs to the Tamils and they have the
sovereign right over their territory. Indeed, he has neither demonstrated nor
articulated any aspiration to annex traditional Sinhala territory nor does he
dream of an expansionist greater Eelam as projected by some Indian critics.
Mr. Pirabaharan has always maintained individuality and creativity in
fashioning the mode of the armed struggle of the Tamil people. Though he was
familiar with the history of the national liberation struggles and freedom
moments of the other countries of the world, he did not embrace or capitulate to
any established models or theories of liberation warfare.
For him, methods of struggle should evolve from the objective
conditions unique to each struggle. He devised his own methodology of warfare
suited to the necessities and conditions of the struggle of his people. Some of
his methods and tactics of warfare have earned him severe condemnation,
particularly among the Sinhala political and military analysts. Yet he has
defended his 'ruthless' tactics as a necessary means to protect his weak and
small nation of people against a strong, powerful and ruthless enemy...."
Velupillai Prabhakaran - a
Consultant Doctor from UK and
his wife visit the Vanni , 14 October 2004
My wife and I visited Vavuniya and
Killinochchi an year ago to do some voluntary work, treating people with eye
ailments. We ran some eye camps for civilians as well as ex militant cadres.
When we were coming to the end of our visit, we were told that an 'important
person' would like to meet with us. It was only when we arrived at the place of
meeting that we realised to our pleasant surprise that the person who greeted us
was Velupillai Pirabaharan.
I felt that I should write an account of
that meeting with Velupillai Pirabaharan, his wife and son. Such a meeting was
not expected nor requested by us when we visited the Vanni but when it came,
it turned out to be a unique, pleasant and an unforgettable one.
To us Pirabaharan came across primarily as a soft spoken, deep thinking person
with considerable depth of knowledge in what ever topic we discussed, with a
keen desire to gain a proper understanding of each and every matter that he came
across during our conversation. . We kept politics and the future of our freedom
struggle totally out of the discussion not by any request but by choice. My wife
and I felt (independently) that we should use the opportunity to be free and
discuss any topic that was raised by the Pirabaharans. They were our hosts
and it seemed entirely appropriate that we should do exactly what we would do
when visiting close relatives or friends. This was not pre planned but I suppose
came naturally to us when there was no pre conceived idea as to how one should
handle such an unexpected opportunity!
Keen to gain knowledge and understanding
What ever explanations Shanthi or I gave on medical matters, as they were our
main topics of discussion, Pirabaharan and his wife as well listened with
keenness and asked very pertinent questions. Pirabaharan in particular was keen
to understand the basis of various eye disorders that became the main topic both
from a personal point of view as well as with regard to many of the patients we
saw during our short stay in Vanni.
A caring couple
We were both impressed by his desire to know details of many of the patients we
had seen; most of whom he remembered by name and asked what treatment could be
offered to improve their conditions. He was visibly moved and was very
empathetic when we described the effects of the eye injuries we came across and
emphasised the importance of good medical facilities and after care. The deep
knowledge he had of the extent of the war injuries on the youngsters in
particular and the effects of years of neglect of the health services on the
public at large, made it abundantly clear to us the commitment they both had for
the welfare of our people.
A good father
During the course of our conversation their son who would have been around 7
years played around with his father, climbed all over him, threw flower petals
on his head and Pirabaharan accepted all that despite some concern shown by the
minders saying that � let my son have fun� and asked us if we minded! We shared
our experiences as parents and the discussion often went into raising children
and the social responsibilities of parents and children. It was nice indeed to
share these ideas with a person who seems to have an image outside only as a
strong military leader. When Pirabaharan got himself excused to go and feed his
son the lunch, we saw the face of a loving father and a dutiful husband who left
his wife to discuss matters that interested her with their guests. His wife
discussed at length with Shanthi in particular the problems faced by parents, by
mothers in particular in bringing up children and they both dwelled on spiritual
matters as well as educational issues. We both were made to feel so much at home
by our hosts and felt as if we had known them for years.
At lunch our two hosts made sure that Shanthi had her vegetarian dishes and both
supervised personally the servings and Pirabaharan took a great pride in
explaining the various dishes and how many vegetables and fruits were now grown
in Vanni. He made sure all others at the lunch table ate well too. It was
typical Thamil hospitality at it�s best, showered on us by a person who could
have been very aloof and remote to the two unknown visitors but chose to be a
ordinary man doing his duties as a host as expected by our traditions and
customs, with out any effort but naturally as it would come to a brother feeding
his long lost family. There were many humorous moments as well during this
meeting and we had a glimpse of the good sense of humour our national leader
has. We both were very moved by the whole experience.
Respect and decorum
When we examined their eyes they both listened with interest and showed immense
respect to us. Pirabaharan asked me very politely, if I had the time to examine
Mr.Thamilenthy. There was no compulsion or expectation , but a kind request to
help a close associate, which I could have refused if I wanted on the basis lack
of time .We were happy to oblige. When the time came to leave, bodyguards
appeared in the scene for the first time but Pirabaharan got into his vehicle
only when it was made sure that our transport was ready to take us to Colombo
and we will get to the barrier before the closing time.
We left the visit with the feeling of meeting a nice friendly family but did not
fail to notice some of the exceptional qualities of the leader of a people.
Behind the strong, clever and able leader there is a loving husband and father,
a caring person and above all an intelligent man with an inquiring mind. Not
having once raised a military or political topic we were able to involve
ourselves totally with Mr. & Mrs.Pirabaharan and family and so can be excused
for forming an impression of them even though one feels inadequate to make a
judgement on a person who will be judged one day (if not already) by history as
an intelligent, trusted and caring leader of the Thamil Nation.
Prabhakaran's hunger strike in Tamil Nadu in 1980s