Methagu Velupillai Prabakaran

Eelam Tamils´ struggle for the right of homeland – nationality – autonomy (தாயகம் – தேசியம் – தன்னாட்சி உரிமை) gradually developed since the independence of Sri Lanka from the British colonisation in 1948. However, the struggle was unconsciously anticipated when the British established three kingdoms into one united country in 1933, which forced Tamils into the framework of the minority in their own homeland.

The Soulbury Constitution gave absolute power to the Sinhalese, resulting in the oppression of the Tamils to this day[i].

The history of Eelam Tamils´ liberation struggle since 1948 has different phases. The phase of armed struggle (end 1970 – May 2009) was forced out of a failed non-violent and political struggle of Eelam Tamils[ii] for decades.

On 14th May 1976, Tamil United Liberation Front claimed Tamil Eelam (tamiḻīḻam; தமிழீழம்) in the Vaṭṭukkōṭṭai resolution (வட்டுக்கோட்டைத் தீர்மானம்). This is the earliest known politically written form of the term Tamil Eelam. The term refers to the Northeast province of Sri Lanka. Various Tamil militant groups[iii] that emerged at the end of the 1970s envisioned Tamil Eelam.

சுதந்திரத்தை வென்றெடுக்காது போனால் நாம் அடிமைகளாக வாழ வேண்டும்; தன்மானம் இழந்து தலை குனிந்து வாழ வேண்டும்; பயந்து பயந்து பதற்றத்துடன் வாழ வேண்டும்; படிப்படியாக அழிந்துபோக வேண்டும். ஆகவே சுதந்திரத்திற்காகப் போராடுவதைத் தவிர எமக்கு வேறு வழி எதுவுமில்லை.

Cutantirattai veṉṟeṭukkātu pōṉāl nām aṭimaikaḷāka vāḻa vēṇṭum; taṉmāṉam iḻantu talai kuṉintu vāḻa vēṇṭum; payantu payantu pataṟṟattuṭaṉ vāḻa vēṇṭum; paṭippaṭiyāka aḻintupōka vēṇṭum. Ākavē cutantirattiṟkākap pōrāṭuvatait tavira emakku vēṟu vaḻi etuvumillai.

If we do not achieve independence, we must live as slaves, loose self-respect and live with bowed head, live in permanent fear and tension, and gradually die out. Therefore there is no other way for us than fight for independence.

Reflections of Hon VELUPILLAI PRABAKARAN
(TRANSLATION BY PETER SCHALK & ALVAPPILLAI VELUPPILLAI)

Hon. Velupillai Prabakaran (வேலுப்பிள்ளை பிரபாகரன்), born on 26th November 1954, formed the militant group, Tamil New Tigers (TNT), in 1972. Then on 5th May 1976, wanting to form a guerrilla organisation, he created the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE). It became politico-military sustainability for Tamils in Tamil Eelam and ruled the de-facto state of Tamil Eelam (North-East Sri Lanka) from the 1990s to May 2009. Hon. Velupillai Prabakaran is also identified as the national leader of Tamil Eelam (தமிழீழத் தேசியத் தலைவர்) or Tamil national leader (தமிழ்த் தேசியத் தலைவர்) by the worldwide Tamils. His leadership stood up for the legitimate struggle for the rights of Eelam Tamils against Sinhala-Buddhist chauvinistic oppression in Sri Lanka. The armed struggle of Eelam Tamils ended with the Tamil genocide at Mullivaykkal in Tamil Eelam on 18th May 2009.

இரத்தம் சிந்தி, வியர்வை சிந்தி, கண்ணீர் சிந்தி, தாங்கொணாத் துண்பத்தின் பரிசாகப் பெறுவதுதான் சுதந்திரம்

Irattam cinti, viyarvai cinti, kaṇṇīr cinti, tāṅkoṇāt tuṇpattiṉ paricākap peṟuvatutāṉ cutantiram

By spilling blood, perspiring profusely, spilling tears and by experiencing of unbearable suffering you get independence indeed as reward.

Reflections of Hon VELUPILLAI PRABAKARAN
(TRANSLATION BY PETER SCHALK & ALVAPPILLAI VELUPPILLAI)

இலட்சியத்தில் ஒன்றுபட்டு உறுதிபூண்ட மக்களே வரலாற்றைப் படைப்பார்கள்

Ilaṭciyattil oṉṟupaṭṭu uṟutipūṇṭa makkaḷē varalāṟṟaip paṭaippārkaḷ

A people who are united and determined about its aim create history.

Reflections of Hon Velupillai Prabakaran
(TRANSLATION BY PETER SCHALK & ALVAPPILLAI VELUPPILLAI)

Mr Velupillai Prabakaran is mentioned with the title Methagu (மேதகு; mētaku) in Tamil, which means honourable or his excellency. Methagu Velupillai Prabakaran created three forces in Tamil Eelam. The air force, ground force and the navy of Tamil Eelam. His achievement is historically acknowledged as the first Tamil who created the triple forces in Tamil history. His leadership paved a path for women’s liberation, where women freedom fighters have left footprints in all three forces he created in Tamil Eelam. He brought the strength, freedom, respect, and equal rights of women into practice in Tamil Eelam at his time.

The historical interview with Methagu. Mr. Velupillai Pirabhakaran by Mrs. Anandhi Sooriyapragasam in Tamil Eelam. The interview was broadcast over the Tamil Service of the BBC´s World Service on 02nd March 1993. An English translation of the interview was published in the “Tamil Times” vol. 8, no. 3 (March 15, 1993). (Photo: Unknown)

பெண் விடுதலை என்ற இலட்சியப் போராட்டமானது, எமது விடுதலை இயக்கத்தின் மடியில் பிறந்த அக்கினிக் குழந்தை.

(Peṇ viṭutalai eṉṟa ilaṭciyap pōrāṭṭamāṉatu, ematu viṭutalai iyakkattiṉ maṭiyil piṟanta akkiṉik kuḻantai.

The struggle for the aim of the liberation of women is the child of fire born on the lap of our liberation movement.

Reflections of Hon VELUPILLAI PRABAKARAN
(TRANSLATION BY PETER SCHALK & ALVAPPILLAI VELUPPILLAI)

பொருளுலகத்தை எந்தெந்த வடிவங்களில் சீரமைத்தாலும் ஆண்களின் மன உலகில் பெண்மை பற்றிய அவர்களது கருத்துலகில் – ஆழமான மாற்றங்கள் நிகழாமல் பெண் சமத்துவம் சாத்தியமாகப் போவதில்லை.

Poruḷulakattai ententa vaṭivaṅkaḷil cīramaittālum āṇkaḷiṉ maṉa ulakil peṇmai paṟṟiya avarkaḷatu karuttulakil – āḻamāṉa māṟṟaṅkaḷ nikaḻāmal peṇ camattuvam cāttiyamākap pōvatillai.

Whatever reforms are carried out in the economy, without deep going changes in men’s mentality – in their opinion about femininity – women’s equality may not be possible.

Reflections of Hon Velupillai Prabakaran
(TRANSLATION BY PETER SCHALK & ALVAPPILLAI VELUPPILLAI)

In the evolution from militant group to guerrilla organisation to forming a de-facto state of Tamil Eelam, the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam led by Hon. Velupillai Prabakaran created well-organised social-, political-, and military structures in Tamil Eelam[iv]. The de facto structures of Tamil Eelam consisted International Secretariat, Tamil Eelam Finance Department, Medical divisions, Charity Organisations/ Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs), Media, Military divisions, Business and trading, Colleges, Community Welfare Centres, Political Department, Tamil Eelam Police and Tamil Eelam Justice division. The police and justice division of Tamil Eelam functioned with autonomy to carry out supervision on juridical breaches in both civil society and the military divisions in Tamil Eelam. It was an evolution of a de facto state of Tamil Eelam with welfare, law and order.

சுதந்திரம் வேண்டிக் கிளர்ந்தெழும் ஓர் இனம், பொருளாதார வாழ்வில் தன் சொந்தக் கால்களில் நிற்க வேண்டும்; அத்தகைய இனத்தால்தான் சுதந்திரத்தை அனுபவிக்க இயலுமென்பது நியதியாகும்.

Cutantiram vēṇṭik kiḷarnteḻum ōr iṉam, poruḷātāra vāḻvil taṉ contak kālkaḷil niṟka vēṇṭum; attakaiya iṉattāltāṉ cutantirattai aṉupavikka iyalumeṉpatu niyatiyākum.

An ethnic community that rebels for independence must stand on its own feet in economic life. It is a truism that only such an ethnic community can enjoy independence.

Reflections of Hon VELUPILLAI PRABAKARAN
(TRANSLATION BY PETER SCHALK & ALVAPPILLAI VELUPPILLAI)

கட்டி எழுப்பப்படவுள்ள தமிழீழத்தின் வளர்ச்சிக்கு ஆயுதத்தை மட்டும் நம்பியிராமல், அனைத்துத் துறைகளிலுமே வளர வேண்டும் என்பதில் நான் அக்கறையாக உள்ளேன்.

Kaṭṭi eḻuppappaṭavuḷḷa tamiḻīḻattiṉ vaḷarccikku āyutattai maṭṭum nampiyirāmal, aṉaittut tuṟaikaḷilumē vaḷara vēṇṭum eṉpatil nāṉ akkaṟaiyāka uḷḷēṉ

For the development of yet to be established Tamillam, I do not have trust in arms alone; I am very keen that there should be development in all fields.

Reflections of Hon Velupillai Prabakaran
(TRANSLATION BY PETER SCHALK & ALVAPPILLAI VELUPPILLAI)

நான் பெரிது, நீ பெரிது என்று வாழாமல் நாடு பெரிது என்று வாழுங்கள். நாடு நமக்குப் பெரிதானால், நாம் எல்லோரும் அதற்குச் சிறியவர்களே. ஏனெனில், நாட்டின் வாழ்வு எமது நிலையற்ற வாழ்விலும் பெரியது.

Nāṉ peritu, nī peritu eṉṟu vāḻāmal nāṭu peritu eṉṟu vāḻuṅkaḷ. Nāṭu namakkup peritāṉāl, nām ellōrum ataṟkuc ciṟiyavarkaḷē ēṉeṉil, nāṭṭiṉ vāḻvu ematu

May you live thinking ‘the country is great’ and not ‘I am great or you are great’. If we accept that the country is great, all of us are smaller than that. The life of the country is greater than our impermanent lives.

Reflections of Hon VELUPILLAI PRABAKARAN
(TRANSLATION BY PETER SCHALK & ALVAPPILLAI VELUPPILLAI)[v]


Endnotes and references

[i] Selvendra, S. (2019). The Subjugated Tamil People in Sri Lanka: A historical background & an appeal to Great Britain. Tholthamizh: 39

[ii] Eelam (īḻam; ஈழம்) is the indigenous/ ancient name for the whole island, known as Sri Lanka at present time. Eelam Tamils are Tamil people from Eelam.

[iii] «Examples from the early political identities: Liberation Tigers of Tamileelam (LTTE: Thamizheezha Viduthalaip Pulika’l), Peoples Liberation Front of Tamil Eelam (PLOTE: Thamizheezha Makka’l Viduthalaik Kazhakam), Tamil Eelam Liberation Organisation (TELO: Thamizheezha Viduthalai Iyakkam), Eelam Revolutionary Organization (EROS: Eezhap Puradchi Amaippu) and Eelam People Revolutionary Liberation Front (EPRLF: Eezhamakka’l Puradchikara Viduthalai Munna’ni )»

TamilNet. (2008). Eezham Thamizh and Tamil Eelam: Understanding the terminologies of identity. Retrieved from https://www.tamilnet.com/art.html?catid=99&artid=27012

[iv] Gemini, S. (2019). Structures of Tamil Eelam: A Handbook. Puradsi Media.

telibrary.com. (n.a.). Tamil Eelam de facto state. Retreived from https://telibrary.com/en/category/%e0%ae%a4%e0%ae%ae%e0%ae%bf%e0%ae%b4%e0%af%80%e0%ae%b4-%e0%ae%a8%e0%ae%9f%e0%af%88%e0%ae%ae%e0%af%81%e0%ae%b1%e0%af%88-%e0%ae%85%e0%ae%b0%e0%ae%9a%e0%af%81/. (Visited 26.11.2022)

[v] Peter Schalk undertook academic work with professor Alvappillai Veluppillai. This is a work of translating the original Tamil publication of «Reflections of Leader» published by the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) in 1995 and 2005. This work includes the original Tamil text as well as translations in German, English, Swedish and Sinhala.

Schalk, P. (2007a). talaivarin cintanaikai. Retrieved from http://uu.diva-portal.org/smash/get/diva2:173420/FULLTEXT04.pdf

Schalk, P. (2007b). Tamil Source in English Translation: Reflections of the Leader. Retrieved from http://uu.diva-portal.org/smash/get/diva2:173420/FULLTEXT06.pdf

Schalk, P. (2007c). Uppsala University Publications. Retrieved from http://uu.diva-portal.org/smash/record.jsf?amp;dswid=contents&pid=diva2%3A173420&dswid=5816

Prabakaran, V. (1995). தலைவரின் சிந்தனைகள். தமிழீழ விடுதலைப் புலிகளின் வெளியீட்டுப் பிரிவு: தமிமீழம். Retreived form https://noolaham.net/project/726/72532/72532.pdf. (Visited 26.11.2022)

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