Wednesday 11 November 2020


Gajalakshmi Paramasivam

11 November  2020




Remembrance Day in Sri Lanka

Today, here in Australia we remember the soldiers who died in war. In Sri Lanka, 18 May is Remembrance day to those influenced by the armed war. Within the Tamil community – some ‘remember’ war heroes on 18 May. But it is not ‘common’ because one side considers it a victory day and the other as the day of defeat.   The question then arises as to the significance of 27 November which was celebrated by LTTE as Great Heroes Day.

In 2012, 27 November was also Lord Muruga’s day and some students of the University of Jaffna used that to celebrate Great Heroes Day. In his Sri Lanka Guardian article ‘Taking Jaffna University back to where it all began?’ Mr N. Sathiya Moorthy highlighted as follows:

[Close to a month after the controversial police action against an equally controversial “Heroes’ Day” observances, the students of Jaffna University in the North have refused to return to their classes. For a change, Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s personal intervention seems to have failed in restoring normalcy on the campus. With sympathetic teachers standing by, the Tamil students are protesting ‘excessive police action’ when they were observing the memorial day for their fallen men through the four ‘Eelam Wars’, and the continued detention of three of their friends arrested in this connection………

Not a Tamils’ Memorial Day

Sections of the Tamil society and polity, the TNA in particular, seek to make out November 27 as martyrs’ day being observed by the community for souls that departed in the past for the Tamil cause. It is far from the truth. Anyone remotely familiar with the ethnic issue, war and violence in the country would recall November 27 only as “Heroes Day” of the LTTE. It was nothing more, nothing less.]


I fully identify with the above. I believe also that by indiscriminately mixing Lord Muruga’s celebrations with the celebrations  of LTTE Heroes  - the youth lost the plot. This happens when one lacks belief in the purpose. One needs to bring about closure within one’s circle of belief to make one’s contributions ‘eternal’ in value. From then on we are led by that eternal Energy.


In the case of the LTTE, which claimed to fight for armed pathway to independence, to the extent it came out of that circle – it was attacking and hence failed to complete the core purpose. Majority Tamils in Sri Lanka are Hindus and as Hindus most would have had Prince Arjuna as their ancestral war-hero. Prince Arjuna was known for his focus on the target, to the extent he saw nothing else. Towards this he got the blessings of his elders and gurus even when they were his opposition. That is the parallel of Mr Joe Biden seeking the blessings of George W Bush in the recent American elections.


LTTE in contrast killed its seniors and thus stunted its own growth in politics. Its first political assassination was Mr Alfred Duraiappah – a Tamil politician whom the LTTE claimed to have killed at Varadaraja Perumal (Vishnu) Temple  in Ponnalai. The reason given was that he was SLFP member.


Given that it was murder of  Democratically elected leader – to the extent he followed Democratic processes his positions through those processes were damaged. To identify with the root causes one needs to use the belief based pathway which was strongest as a Mayor in the case of Mr Duraiappah . Mr Duraiappah was succeeded to that position by Mr Rajah Viswanathan – the father of LTTE’s legal advisor and political heir Mr Rudrakumaran who is the Prime Minister of the  de facto government in exile – the Transnational Government of Tamil Eelam.  Any de facto partnership needs truth as its basis to be successful.


The ghost of Mr Duraiappah is confirmed through the instability in that position through the assassinations of Mrs Sarojini Yogeswaran by the LTTE which killed also her husband about a year later. In between they killed Mrs Sarojini Yogeswaran’s successor and the mayoral nominee Mr Pon Mathimugarajah. Mr Raviraj acted as de facto mayor but was assassinated later. He was awarded the great soul title by the LTTE.


But that could not save his family’s investment in the recent elections where his wife even though she polled highest in the local area of Chavakachcheri due to this area losing its electoral identity through district based electoral system introduced through the 14th Amendment to the Sri Lankan Constitution. This effectively blocks the pathway of natives who are not connected to urban leaders. Like in the case of popular vote – the Chavakachcheri voter would have expected to see her/his leader in Parliament. The process of law denied that through the district based proportional allocation.


This effectively negates the militant power which was based largely in remote areas that were unregulated by common law.


But Mr Jayawardene whose Energy brought about the 14th Amendment as Opposition to the 13th Amendment, left the Presidential voting system unaltered. The unrefined popular vote continues to be the ruling power in Presidential elections.


Each time we complete the cycle of truth – we empower ourselves, the system concerned, the place and time. Hence Memorial services.   

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