Some species are better extinct

How the LTTE damaged the Sri Lankan Tamil cause

More than a generation has grown up without knowing what the Indian intervention in Sri Lanka in 1987 was all about. Shekhar Gupta does well to remind us just why there is no need to shed any tears for the LTTE:

Bipin Joshi and I had many conversations on this subsequently, particularly after he took over as army chief (and where he died, tragically, of a heart attack while still in service). He still argued he was right in his description of the LTTE. If they were not macho and irrational, he said, why would they defend Jaffna against a full-fledged army in a conventional manner, a battle they were destined to lose — which they did. No clever, well-led guerrilla force would commit such a blunder, you can’t create a Stalingrad with sneak and ambush, he would say. The LTTE’s (ultimately) disastrous defence of Jaffna, he said, was the starkest example of this cruel, macho irrationality that cared little for human life, theirs or the enemy’s.

In this moment of the LTTE’s destruction and defeat you can’t but reflect on that. What kind of people take on an entire nation’s modern army, in the face of total worldwide opprobrium to their terrorist ways and unmindful of the plight of the Tamils whose cause they professed to be fighting for? Only people driven by violent madness, militaristic fascism, the suicide-bomber cult, for whom killing is not a means to the end, but the very purpose of living. Over two and a half decades, the LTTE has killed literally tens of thousands, a majority of them Tamil. They invented the human bomb and used one to kill the one man (Rajiv Gandhi) who staked his name and reputation and his country’s might and resources to find for their fellow Tamils a peaceful and just settlement. But obviously, that is not what the LTTE and its megalomaniac supremo had wanted. All they wanted was killing, killing and more killing. For Prabhakaran, peace talks were just a cynical tactic to recover, regroup and rearm whenever the going got tough. When the IPKF, under Lt Gen Amar Kalkat, had got the better of him decisively and controlled all inhabited areas, driving him into his Kilinochchi dugout (from which the Sri Lankans have just prised him out) he made common cause with President Premadasa, one of the cruellest and most pathologically anti-Tamil Sinhala leaders ever. Together they got rid of the IPKF — with help from a sudden turn in Tamil Nadu politics after Rajiv Gandhi’s defeat and the arrival in power, in Delhi and Chennai, respectively, of a hopelessly lily-livered V.P. Singh and a Karunanidhi almost as cynical as Vaiko is now. That done, Premadasa too was blown up by a teenaged LTTE human bomb, and how bomb and target got into such close proximity is a story too sordid to be told in a family newspaper even in these permissive times. [IE]

10 thoughts on “Some species are better extinct”

  1. The signal.nationaliterest blog was quoted in a tv program on LTTE. The blog now says ‘forbidden’. Did you guys run into any trouble?

  2. Anonymous,

    Do you have the details of the TV programme? It’s nice to know an INI blog was cited.

    We’ve restructured INI Signal into an INI community forum, where we feature invited guests and interested community bloggers to write. See The Broad Mind » It has all the Signal archives. So no, this has nothing to do with TV coverage or ‘trouble’.

  3. From what I have heard from people with first hand knowledge of Tamilian Hindus life in Sri Lanka, it is pretty terrible. They are very heavily discriminated by Singhalese and their is institutionalized racism. The situation for Tamil Hindus is same as the one in Malaysia.

    In the midst of all that, LTTE was the only hope for Tamils. There is overwhelming support for LTTE among Tamilian Hindus.

    I think saying that LTTE was stupid and doesn’t deserve our respect just because they chose for fight against a might army is to deny our heritage and belittle the contributions of thousands who fight and die for worthy causes. What would you then call people like Shivaji, Rana Pratap, Lakshmibai, Rama, Krishna and Chanakya among others who dared to fight against the deadliest enemy in the face of overwhelming odds? Would you put them in same category as LTTE because they chose to fight and lead the people knowing that some of them may die?

  4. SanjeevJ,

    >>Shivaji, Rana Pratap, Lakshmibai, Rama, Krishna and Chanakya

    Why didn’t you include Mahatma Gandhi, Jawaharalal Nehru and Sardar Patel also?

  5. Obliviously, I din’t include many … but my main focus was the army and its leaders …

    Why didn’t YOU include Subhash Chandra Bose?

  6. Sanjeev,

    It is repugnant to compare a terrorist organisation that kills its own people, as well as innocent non-combatants with those great folks you cite.

    Perhaps your forget, or don’t know, what the LTTE did to other Sri Lankan Tamil leaders in Batticaloa in 1986. Since when was killing your own people a sign of worthiness?

  7. What’s the story that Sanjay Gupta finds “too sordid to be told in a family newspaper”?

  8. >>>What’s the story that Sanjay Gupta finds “too sordid to be told in a family newspaper”?

    Going by the mention of a teenage bomber I assume he’s hinting at Premadasa’s penchant for Holy Father proclivities.

  9. socal, I understand that much. What interests me is that I have never heard of this before. I wonder if anyone else has.

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