How was life under LTTE rule in Vanni? To know that, read this book.
The writer, Ms.Malathy, is a diaspora Tamil from New Zealand. Having been out of Sri Lanka for over two decades, she chooses to come back and stay in the Vanni area of Sri Lanka that is under LTTE control and takes up some roles in some of the LTTE institutions.
She records the life and times of people in the Vanni region, the activities of the different institutions the LTTE had established, the life of the LTTE fighters particularly females, the different festivals and cultural practices in the rebel-controlled region and the gradual turn of events that end in the decimation of the LTTE in May 2009.
There is an obvious LTTE tilt to the content, but we get to know of many things that have not been known to the outside world – the day to day life in an LTTE controlled region. What caught my eye, as a Tamil, was the different Tamil names that were given by the LTTE to their schemes- Senthalir, Senchoolai, Thodarpakam etc.
The writer has done a good job of documenting the many social welfare and women emancipation activities that the LTTE had initiated and run. She even claims that the LTTE had achieved what Gandhiji, Ambedkar and Periyar couldn’t achieve in India by way of women’s upliftment and progress. However, her white-washing of the child recruitment policies of the LTTE is clear even to an untrained eye.
While listing out the reasons for the defeat of the LTTE, she carefully avoids the Himalayan blunder that the LTTE themselves admitted – the killing of Rajiv Gandhi- as one of the causes. Her assessment of the IPKF operations are superfluous and mostly based on hearsay and popular lies spread by the LTTE.
Any killing attributed to the LTTE is mentioned in a passing manner. I was taken aback at her handling of the assassination of Lakshman Kadirkamar, for instance.
The transition from being an ideal state to one of death and destruction happens in a rather melancholic manner. I was saddened by the transition, though.
The book ends rather abruptly. The human rights violations of the Sri Lankan Army that she highlights should be passed on to international agencies for a credible probe to be conducted.
A sad but nostalgic read. You can get it here.