Malaravan, aged 22, died in 1992. Nothing significant except that he was an LTTE guerrilla and this book is his diary as a fighter for 2 years.
We get to see the mind of a guerrilla from close quarters. Malaravan in Tamil stands for the one who resembles a flower. Strange as it might sound, the boy is indeed like a flower-gentle, caring, humane and on the look out for motherly love and affection while on the move, fighting.
Malaravan records his daily activities that lead up to the capture of Maankulam, a scenic town, from the Sri Lankan forces. The trials of a fighter, the daily gore that he has to face, the silly caste differences that he sees in his people’s attitude, the preparations for an attack, the loss of fellow fighters and how he felt about them et al are recorded in minute detail.
Malaravan, as we see, is a keen observer of nature. He also records the environment that he is in, the different birds and animals that he sees, the different kinds of trees and plants, the enemy fighters and their weapons, the helicopter fights and similar such details.
We also come to know that he is the son of a doctor, has doctor siblings, was doing great in school and still chose to fight and make the supreme sacrifice.
We don’t get to see any regret at all in his words. We get to hear the normal conversations of people and some longing for home life. We are also treated to some humour even when he fights alongside his comrades a.k.a. Pooralis.
He ends his diary in anticipation of another war and promises to write about that, but is killed prior to the war.
What we are left with is: Did his sacrifice and those of many thousands of young men and women achieve anything at all? The answer, as it is obvious now in 2015, is a resounding ‘No’ and that casts a deep sigh of melancholy in our hearts.
So, why did Malaravan die? I don’t know the answer to this question.