Forbidden Fruits: Niromi de Soyza’s “Tamil Tigress”, Noumi Kouri and Helen Demidenko?

The literary world is now poised on the brink wondering if the Tamil Tigress (Allen & Unwin, 2011) is going to join Forbidden Love (Random House, 2003) and The Hand that signed the Paper (Allen and Unwin, 2000) in the house of literary infamy. Has the Tamil lady who uses the nom de plume Niromi de Soyza[i] woven an autobiographical tale of lies that match those coined by Norma Toliopoulos and Helen Darville who wrote their memoirs as Norma Kouri and Helen Demidenko?

When Kouri’s book was challenged by the Jordanian National Commission for Women on the ground that it contained 70 exaggerations and errors, Random House Australia indicated that “they were satisfied with the veracity of the story, [though] names and places had been changed to protect the identities of those involved.”[ii] Their defense did not hold up for long as Malcolm Knox spearheaded the media questioning in Australia. Random House pulled the book from the shelf [iii] – but that was after the first run of this memoir had sold over 200,000 copies in Australia alone and after “enthusiastic Australians voted it among their favorite 100 books of all time.”[iv]

When Demidenko’s manuscript was submitted to the University of Queensland Press in 1993, they had rejected it,[v] but The Hand That Signed the Paper appeared in print under the masthead of Allen and Unwin in 1994. It is said that the Allen & Unwin editorial staff believed that it was essentially autobiographical, though they persuaded the author to alter the family’s name in the book to “Kovalenko.”[vi] The book won the Vogel Award for a first novel in 1994, which was followed in 1995 by the most prestigious literary prize in Australia, the Miles Franklin Award, as well as the Gold Medal of the Association for the Study of Australian Literature. When it was subsequently discovered that Demidenko had no Ukrainian background, a literary storm erupted. This furore was further exacerbated by Darville’s continued evasions as well as her manifest anti-Semitic prejudices.

The issue facing us today, therefore, is whether Tamil Tigress is going to join such ‘august shelves’ in some attic that contains Forbidden Love and The Hand that signed the Paper. The latter books are placed within the context of serious issues, honour killing in Kouri’s case and the tragedies faced by the people of Ukraine in the time of Hitler and Stalin. By their fabrication of tale both ladies diminished the agonies of those real life experiences (mostly untold) faced by some people in those settings. Tamil Tigress bears a similar potential.

In her interview with Margaret Throsby Niromi de Soyza said that she adopted this particular nom de plume in honour of Richard de Zoysa,[vii] a TV personality who was murdered by state agents during the Premadasa regime. We are told that she began writing the story 22 years ago, but only took it up again when adverse publicity emerged around the Tamil asylum-seekers arriving by boat at Australia’s shores from 2009. She considers her tale “unique” because she was a female fighter and a “child soldier” at that, albeit much like the many young Tamils who were ready to sacrifice their life for a just cause.[viii] Completing the tale, she adds, was “cathartic” for her. Thus, we could say that she presents herself as a driven force telling the world her truths.

Both in book and interviews we are told that she was a child of a love marriage between a Jaffna Tamil gentleman from the north and a lady from a merchant family from the Malaiyaha Tamil (that is Indian Tamil) peoples of the central regions of Lanka, a cross-community connection[ix] that created intra-familial tension according to her autobiographical account. This was a Catholic family, a sociological fact that is some consequence because of the type of schooling she received in Sri Lank and, subsequently, in India after she gained release from the LTTE’s ranks.

Whatever the verdict on the authenticity of the biography, Tamil Tigress is a captivating read. It is crafted with skill, with each chapter ending on a note of suspense or moment of change in her life world, so that the readers are brought in tantalising fashion to a threshold of change at the end of most chapters. All this occurs after a dramatic start where we face “The Ambush” in Chapter 1, an occasion when the neophyte teenage fighter Niromi receives a baptism of fire as her platoon is ambushed by enemy soldiers. Thereafter, de Soysa plunges her readers back in time by moving to her autobiographical family history and its various ethnic, intra-ethnic and caste tensions before bringing us back to her decision to join the LTTE and the events that followed. We are thrust back into the fight which launched the reading in “The Last Few Moments of Life” (Chapter 14) where her pal Ajanthi as well as platoon leader Muralie were killed. Thereafter we are taken through the events that moved her to extricate herself from the Tamil liberation struggle.

Through the characters in her life world de Zoysa cleverly speaks in different voices and conveys a complex body of political commentary that builds up a picture of a sturdy and resolute young woman who is alive to the faults on many sides, but stays firm in her dedication to the justice and cause of Eelam. She provides us with notable one-liners throughout her book: by way of illustration note these,

  • “bottle up your anger and let it explode” through the mouth of Pirapaharan (24);
  • “anyone who kills the voice of dissent is a tyrant” (49);
  • “I am leaving my home so my people can have a homeland” – (her departing note to her mother – 69).

So, there is much that is stimulating in this vibrant tale.

Market Pitch, Fundamental Error

The dramatic beginning via “The Ambush” is geared to the book’s market pitch. Both the back cover and the cyber-world notices advertising the book tell us that “two days before Christmas 1987, at the age of 17, Niromi de Soyza found herself in an ambush as part of a small platoon of militant Tamil Tigers fighting the government forces that was to engulf Sri Lanka for decades (emphasis mine).”[x] The appeal here highlights the pathos of her journey in life by underlining her youthfulness and placing the encounter just prior to the natal day of Jesus Christ.

But within this little tale within a biographical tale lies a fundamental error. Once the uneasy relationship of ‘alliance’ between the LTTE and the Indian government (the LTTE’s ‘mentor’) unravelled in September-October 1987, the Tigers were engaged in a guerrilla war with the Indian Peace Keeping Force (IPKF) in the northern and eastern parts of the island.  As the details below reveal, the armed services of the Sri Lankan state (GoSL) were not directly engaged in this war and did not have joint operations with the Indians on the ground. In brief, the December skirmish could NOT have been against Sri Lankan soldiers.

It is not an Allen & Unwin mistake. When de Soyza was interviewed by Margaret Throsby, she remarks “when I joined, the Indian forces had arrived and the Tigers had chosen to fight the Indian forces as well as the Sri Lankan forces.”[xi] Such profound ignorance suggests that she was not in Sri Lanka then and that her tale is a fabrication fashioned without adequate homework.

The sales appeal of Tamil Tigress, let me add, is accentuated by the presentation of photographs in one cluster in the middle. These include several of Tiger leaders and fighters. One photograph also depicts Muralie, the middle-level Tiger who features in “The Ambush.” His face is (perhaps conveniently?) obscured by the body of Amirthalngam Thileepan as the latter lay fasting on a platform beside the grounds of the revered Nallur Temple in Jaffna town during his protest against the intervention of the IPKF. This link is no accident. For one, both Muralie and Thileepan are said to have screened and finalised Niromi’s enlistment in the LTTE army. Secondly, and more vitally, Thileepan’s fast-unto-death occurred during a highly significant period for all the Tamil people of the north and east. Once war erupted in early October 1987 their main enemy became the IPKF, with the Sri Lankan state and the Sinhalese people receding into the background as the distant enemy (albeit the ultimate future enemy). For outsiders to comprehend this vital context, an outline history has to be inserted here.

Dramatic Shifts in the Year 1987

1987 opened with the LTTE firmly at the head of Tamil resistance to the Sri Lankan state after they had ruthlessly decimated the fighting capacity of two other militant Eelamist groups, TELO and EPRF.[xii] However, a major government offensive in May-June known as the “Vadamarachchi Operation” threatened the territories in the Jaffna Peninsula that were under LTTE control.

The Indian and Tamilnadu governments had participated actively in training all the Eelamist groups, with some 20,000 Tamil personnel receiving induction to warfare in India between August 1983 and 1987.[xiii] As this “investment’ was now threatened by the seeming success of the Sri Lankan state offensive, India flexed its military and diplomatic muscles in June 1987 to halt the suppression of the Eelamist movement.

In effect India browbeat Sri Lanka into accepting a dilution of its sovereignty by admitting Indian troops into the relevant parts of the island to “keep the peace.” Though motivated in part by a desire to protect the Tamil people, the principal goal in this intervention was the creation of a client state, thereby boosting India’s status as regional super-power.[xiv]

JR Jayewardene’s government accepted this imposition reluctantly. Its terms were embodied in what became known as the Indo-Lanka Accord. Rajiv Gandhi flew to Colombo to sign the accord on 29th July 1987. Indian troops comprising the “Indian Peace Keeping Force” flew into the Palaly airport in the Jaffna Peninsula even as the Accord was being signed. While violent protests erupted in the southern parts of the island, the IPKF personnel were greeted with rapture by most of the populace in the north.[xv]

Though the other militant Tamil groups welcomed the Accord, Pirapāharan had accepted the terms of the agreement “only as a temporary measure” in circumstances where he was under detention at the Ashok Hotel in Delhi.[xvi] Tiger personnel showed considerable belligerence during the first week of the IPKF’s imprint. When Pirapāharan was eventually brought back to the island by the Indians, he revealed his profound antipathy on several occasions to the disarmament enforced upon the LTTE by the agreement. This opposition as well as his ambivalence to the situation was evident to perceptive observers when he addressed a massive crowd of some 50,000 people at the grounds near the Sudumalai Amman Temple on the 4th August 1987. “We love India,” he said on the one hand, while other remarks expressed his opposition to the reduction of the LTTE’s clout in the northern parts of the country and the potential revival of militant Tamil rivals whom they had weakened by killing force in 1986/87.[xvii] In surmise one can also say that Pirapāharan was deeply embittered by the humiliations imposed upon him by the superior demeanour of Rajiv Gandhi and the other Indian “Brahmins”[xviii] in Delhi and the humiliation imposed upon the LTTE by the proposed removal of its main source of power, their weapons.

August-September 1987, therefore, was a period that saw political manoeuvres by the many parties in the political dispensation. In the east and the north these moves involved sporadic killings as the principal Tamil militant groups indulged in pre-emptive murders or reprisals at the local level.

The LTTE decided to turn the tide. Thileepan was their weapon of transformation.[xix] On 15th September he commenced his fast-unto-death. His progress to death was converted into a mass rally with his own speeches, music and fanfare working up the emotions of those around and then circulating along Tamil networks throughout the world. By the time he passed away on the 26th September, the tide of Tamil fervour for their cause under the LTTE banner had grown to tsunamic proportions.[xx]

At this point, early in October, the Sri Lankan Navy apprehended an LTTE boat making its way to India with 17 Tigers, including two senior commanders Kumarappa and Pulendran. As a political tug-a-war took place between the GoSL, the Indian powerbrokers in the island and the Tiger spokesmen, the simmering LTTE intentions of continuing their war of liberation came to the boil. The seventeen followed the leader’s command and swallowed cyanide pills that had been smuggled in by Anton Balasingham and Mahaththaya during the course of a prison visit.[xxi] This, then, became the casus belli and the final device to convince the Tamil people — its people in the LTTE conception — that the IPKF must be resisted.

Implications

The setting that I have traced above is pertinent to the embellishments in Tamil Tigress, notably the use of Thileepan’s photograph with Muralie beside him – both prominently highlighted in the book as the Tiger officers who enlisted Niromi (Tigress, 66-69), while Muralie was the platoon leader during her first experience of battle. These touches in turn provide a possible explanation for the reasons that induced de Soyza to obscure the fact that this fire-fight was against the IPKF. The alleged autobiography was finalized in 2010/11 in a context where the Western media has targeted Sri Lanka as an Ogre guilty of war crimes. To place Indian troops behind the guns that threatened her platoon would tarnish her goals.

These goals include an explicit desire to show Australians that the boat people who had begun to arrive off the coast of their continent were not economic refugees, but worthy asylum seekers fleeing persecution. She told Throsby that her tale was in line with the revelations provided by the Channel Four documentary Killing Fields and the Moon Panel of Experts. “I knew that when the Tamil Tigers were caught by the soldiers those things would happen they would be shot in the head, raped, tortured all of those things …It was nothing new.”[xxii] To complicate this propaganda pitch by placing the IPKF in the first chapter would spoil her intent.

While the government of Sri Lanka and its armies are her principal demon, de Soyza does not whitewash the LTTE. In line with the picture presented by the Panel of so-called “experts” commissioned by Ban Ki-Moon and The Cage by Gordon Weiss,[xxiii] some strictures are directed at the Tigers in both her final chapter “Afterwards” and her media interviews. As with Weiss’s line of attack, however, these criticisms are wholly overshadowed by the weight of condemnation directed at Sri Lankan state and society.

Thus, the concluding pages are straight out of the propaganda package drafted by the Global Tamil Forum that has become part of the hardened beliefs of a whole spectrum of migrant Tamils in their condition of emotional turmoil and desire for retribution. Some statements, such as the note that “journalists and politicians – both Sinhala and Tamil—have become victims of government thuggery,” carry some validity;[xxiv] but others are misleading. For someone in late 2010 or early 2011 to state that “some 100,000 Tamils displaced by the war … were held against their will in behind concentration camps where they endure primitive conditions” (Tigress, 303) and to assert that “Sri Lanka remains a very dangerous place not only for Tamils but for anyone who openly criticises the government’s anti-democratic stance” (Tigress, 303) is a combination of malicious slander and exaggeration.[xxv]

Similar criticisms were voiced in her chat with Throsby. Sri Lanka today is a place permeated by “silence” because “there is no free speech” and “the Tamils are continuously oppressed.” Such opinions are no doubt firmly held in several Tamil quarters in Australia and elsewhere. The work of the Tamil spokespersons worldwide has also convinced many educated persons in the West – to the point where Margaret Thorsby tells her listeners that during the last stages of the war in 2009 “40,000 civilians might have been massacred.”

Perhaps it is too much to expect Western media persons to seek more solid empirical information by consulting Tamil personnel in Australia and Sri Lanka with some knowledge of conditions in Sri Lanka as they have moved over time. My brief visit to Vavuniya and Jaffna in June 2010 was an eye-opener.[xxvi] The welfare work undertaken by such NGO’s as SEED, Sewalanka, Caritas, et cetera in both the IDP camps and the northern reaches should be a lesson in humility for those, like me, who live by pen rather than deed. If only people like Margaret Throsby and Philip Adams would consult such persons as Singham, Annet Royce, Thamilalagan and Kesavan  (all Tamils by the way) out there delivering aid in the countryside in the north-east, rather than relying on NGOs cloistered in Colombo or embittered migrant spokespersons for their “facts,” Sri Lanka could move forward. They would, for instance, find that Niromi de Zoyza’s picture of the IDP camps was largely a figment of the imagination. Those outsiders with honest intent are well advised to read Rajasingham Narendran’s overview of the Tamil IDPs based on interviews and visits among them when they were in transit at the rear of the battlefront in early 2009 and subsequently after unmonitored visits to some camps in the middle of that year.[xxvii]

As it happens, I have received an unsolicited note from a Lankan Australia who has just returned from aid work he has been directing in Mannar District. Jeremy Liyanage’s report was succinct: we “ran five focus groups — four with Tamils and one with Muslims, all in Mannar.  The story is now consistent over three separate periods of interviews over the past 12 months, that people are conflict saturated, that they don’t want the Tamil diaspora to speak on their behalf, that the Eelam project is a failed project, and that they want a united single Sri Lanka but with conditions (equality of opportunity and outcome).”[xxviii] This concise assessment, I stress, is for one district and should not be blindly extended to the Tamil people in other localities. It is nevertheless a suggestive pointer for the northern regions in general.

Trivial Errors? Ethnographic Howlers of Profound Import?

While it was the foundational error in describing the context of her first battle experience that raised questions in my mind about the authenticity of de Soyza’s autobiography, there are other tell-tale signs that added to these doubts – as I have remarked in my initial essay on this topic.[xxix] These were minutiae. Again, a range of minute points of error are listed by Arun Ambalavanar when he recently made the suggestion that Tamil Tigress was a “farce.”[xxx]

From recent email exchanges I gather that personnel in publishing circles in Australia treat such details as silly attention to trivia. The support for Tamil Tigress by such gentlemen as Gordon Weiss[xxxi] would seem to have been adequate ground for them to dismiss Ambalavanar’s questions as ill-founded.[xxxii] Such evaluations say a great deal about the mentality and background knowledge of Australian publishing houses. As such, one has a tangential issue that is also worth reflecting upon.

Australian publishers, and Allen and Unwin in particular, would do well to remember how Random House rejected the Jordanian protests initially – till they learned the hard way. Like the Jordanians, Ambalavanar represents an indigenous Jaffna Tamil voice. True, there is some nit-picking within his array of doubts. However, it is the cumulative implications of such “trivia” that weigh heavily against Niromi de Soyza.

Some of the questions from Ambalavanar which the publishers may regard as trivial objections have the character of “ethnographic queries” in an anthropological sense. Ambalavanar is not only a native, but a Tamil poet. He distils his allegations neatly when he says that the narrative in Tami Tigress bears a fake “accent.” When Ambalavanar tells us that the Tamil equivalents of such terms as “motherfucker” “fuck” and “boy friend” were not widely used in 1980s Jaffna, yet feature several times in Tamil Tigress, anyone with a nose for context should have paid attention to his claims.

Even though de Soyza’s main political pitch is directed against the Sri Lankan government, Tamils who are guided by their “Tamil-ness” as well as those who are Tamil-Tiger in ideology should be cautious about mounting her bandwagon. They could ask the question: “how would talaivar Pirapāharan have responded to her book?” They should then link this to a second question: “would Niromi de Soyza have written such a book if he was still alive?”

That second question would be akin to the placement of a panther in de Soyza’s bedroom. Her tale has Pirapāharan visiting her training camp at one point (Tigress, 159-60) and the great leader tasking her with the job of purchasing female Tiger clothes from a secure house at another point (Tigress, 167). Pirapāharan alive would obviously be quick to differentiate tall tale from fact. Pirapāharan alive would also react ruthlessly against any Tamil who smeared the gravity of the Tamil movement for independence with tall tales.

Concluding Remarks

Though I have not reached a definitive verdict on the issue of fabrication, my leanings are strongly in that direction. Niromi de Soyza’s answer to any such charge is within easy reach. There is no earthly reason why she cannot reveal her identity. Her assertion in interviews that “her personal safety” would be endangered is just so much nonsense, a massive conceit. Where Australians buy this argument, they only reveal their simple-minded thinking and the degree of indoctrination they have absorbed from the propaganda juggernaut of Tiger International.[xxxiii]

For one, both Tamil Tigress and The Cage are on sale in Sri Lanka. For another there is no reason why the government of Sri Lanka would target an ordinary Tiger soldier from way back in time when they had detained around 11,500 Tigers in their high security centres in mid-2009 and have since released about 8500 after what they term “rehabilitation,”[xxxiv] whatever that means. Again, the likelihood of some Sinhala Australian chauvinist intimidating de Soyza through phone calls is remote and should hardly be intolerable for a committed Tamil nationalist. If Noel Nadesan could withstand these forms of intimidation from ardent Tiger supporters in Melbourne for 13 years because his moderate stance and his editions of Uthayam angered them, there is no reason for this lady to hide behind anonymity.

In any event there is a second alternative. All de Soyza has to do is to release the real names of Ajanthi and Muralie, both long dead (and thus reborn). Those with access to the lists of Tiger māvīrar (heroes, ‘martyrs’) and their dates of death would tell us whether they existed in body and plane. Niromi de Soyza would then be vindicated.

BIBLIOGRAPHY

Ambalavanar, Arun 2011 “The Farce of a Fake Tigress,” http://www.srilankaguardian.org/2011/08 / farce-of-fake-tigress.html.

Blacker, David 2011 “The Holes in the Darusman Defence — Examining the Probable Events,” http://blacklightarrow.wordpress.com/2011/07/25/2064/

De Votta, Neil 2004 Blowback. Linguistic Nationalism, Institutional Decay and Ethnic Conflict in Sri Lanka, Stanford: Stanford University Press.

Gunaratna, Rohan 1987 War and Peace in Sri Lanka: With a Post-Accord Report From Jaffna, Kandy, Institute of Fundamental Studies.

Gunaratna, Rohan 1993 Indian Intervention in Sri Lanka: The Role of India’s Intelligence Agencies, Colombo, South Asian Network on Conflict Research.

Gunatilleke, Godfrey 2011 “Truth and Accountability: The Last Stages of the War in Sri Lanka,” http://www.margasrilanka.org/Truth-Accountability.pdf

Hoole, Rajan 2001 Sri Lanka: the Arrogance of Power. Myths, Decadence and Murder, Colombo:  Wasala Publications for the UTHR.

Jeyaraj, D. B. S. 2006 “No Public Speech Ceremony for LTTE Chief This Year?” 26 November 2006, http://dbsjeyaraj.com/dbs/archives/650.

Jeyaraj, D. B. S. 2009d “Pottu Amman and the Intelligence Division of the LTTE,” 11 Sept. 2009, www. transcurrents.com

Jeyaraj, D. B. S. 2009 “Wretched of the Earth break free of Bondage,” Daily Mirror, 25 April 2009.

Knox, Malcolm 2005 “The Darville made me do it,” Sydney Morning Herald, 9 July 2005.

Narayan Swamy, M. R. 1994 Tigers of Sri Lanka, Delhi: Konark Publishers Pvt Ltd.

Narayan Swamy, M. R. 2003 Inside an elusive mind. Prabhakaran, Colombo: Vijitha Yapa Publications. de Silva, K. M.  1993 “The Making of the Indo-Sri Lanka Accord: The Final Phase, June-July 1987,” in KM de Silva & SWR de A Samarasinghe (1993) Peace Accords and Ethnic Conflict, London, Pinter Publishers, pp. 112-155.

Narendran, R. 2009 “Internally Displaced Persons: The New Front of an Olld War,” http://trans currents. com/tc/2009/08/post_415.html.

Roberts, Michael 2006a “Pragmatic Action and Enchanted Worlds: A Black Tiger Rite of Commemoration,” Social Analysis 50: 73-102.

Roberts, Michael 2006b “The Tamil Movement for Eelam,” E-Bulletin of the International Sociological Association No. 4, July 2006, pp. 12-24

Roberts, Michael 2007“Blunders in Tigerland: Pape’s Muddles on ‘Suicide Bombers’ in Sri Lanka,” Online publication within series known as Heidelberg Papers in South Asian and Comparative Politics (HPSACP), ISSN: 1617-5069.

Roberts, Michael 2008 “Split Asunder: Four Nations in Sri Lanka,” www.groundviews.org, 13 January 2008.

Roberts, Michael 2009 “Dilemma’s At War’s End: Thoughts on Hard Realities,” www. groundviews.org, 10 Feb. 2009 and Island, 11 Feb. 2009.

Roberts, Michael 2009 ‘The Needs of the Hour,” www.groundviews.org www.groundviews.org, 1 April 2009.

Roberts, Michael 2009 “Some Pillars for Lanka’s Future,” Frontline, 19 June 2009, 26/2: 24-28.

Roberts, Michael 2009 “The Rajapaksa Regime and the Fourth Estate,” in www. groundviews. org, 8 December 2009.

Roberts, Michael 2010 “Killing Rajiv Gandhi: Dhanu’s Sacrificial Metamorphosis in Death?” South Asian History and Culture 1: 25-41.

Roberts, Michael 2010 “Aussies swallow lies & Rajapakses miss a trick,” www.thuppahi.   wordpress.com, 31 Oct. 2010.

Roberts, Michael 2010 “Omanthai! Omanthai! Succour for the Tamil Thousands,” in http:// transcurrents. com/tc/2010/08/omanthai_omanthai_succour_for.html.

Roberts, Michael 2011 “A Think-Piece drafted in May 2011,” http://thuppahi.wordpress. com/ 2011/07/23/a think-piece-drafted-in-may/#more-2998.

Roberts, Michael 2011 “People of Righteousness target Sri Lanka,” http://thuppahi. wordpress.com /2011/06/27/people-of-righteousness-target-sri-lanka/

Roberts, Michael 2011 “Another Demidenko? Niromi de Soyza as a Tiger Fighter,” http:// thuppahi.wordpress.com/2011/08/21/another-demidenko-niromi-de-soyza-as-a-tiger-fighter/

Samarasinghe, S. W. R. de A. & Kamala Liyanage 1993 “Friends and Foes of the Indo-Sri Lanka Accord,” in KM de Silva & SWR de A Samarasinghe (1993) Peace Accords and Ethnic Conflict, London, Pinter Publishers, pp. 156-172.

Tekwani, Shyam 2011 “The long afterlife of war in teardrop isle,”http://tehelka.com/ story_main50.asp?filename=Ws290811long.asp


[i] See her clarification of the factors that moved her to pen this work: http://www.youtube.com/ watch?v=FikCt-dimkE.

[ii] http://listverse.com/2010/03/06/top-10-infamous-fake-memoirs/

[iii] Ibid.

[iv] Ibid.

[v] Malcolm Knox, “The Darville made me do it,” Ibid.

[vi] “As a result of her discussions with Allen & Unwin, the author changed the names in the book from “Demidenko” to “Kovalenko” and also altered her author’s note to say: “What follows is a work of fiction. The Kovalenko family depicted in this novel has no counterpart in reality” (Malcolm Knox, “The Darville made me do it,” in the Sydney Morning Herald, 9 July 2005 – see http://www.smh.com.au/news/books/the-darville-made-me-do-it/2005/07/08/1120704550613.html.

[vii]Sinhala is phonetic and the name “de Zoysa” would be spelt in the same way as “de Soysa’, but the rise of English enabled families to distinguish their lineage through different spelling. “De Soysa” usually denotes people from the Karāva or Durāva caste, while “De Zoysa” usually indicates someone from the Salāgama caste [with the s or z in the ending being interchangeable].[viii] http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FikCt-dimkE.

[ix] When the author describes this link as “a mixed race family” (http://www.youtube. com/watch?v=FikCt-dimkE), she adopts the loose use of the term “race” that is so common in India and Sri Lanka; but she also separates two bodies of people who have strong linguistic affinities and are widely regarded as being an interlinked ethnic group.

[x] This is part of the blurb on the back cover of the book as well as notices on web presented by the publishers Allen and Unwin (see http://books.google.com/books/about/Tamil_Tigress. html?id=XQdukyYkdBcC).

[xi]  http://www.abc.net.au/classic/throsby/2011_07.htm.

[xii] To de Soyza’s credit, she refers to these actions of the LTTE (Tigress, 48-52).

[xiii] Information from Rohan Gunaratna , tel. chat, 25 August 2011. Also see Gunaratna 1993; Narayan Swamy 1993.

[xiv] See KM de Silva 1993; SWRde A Samarasinghe & Kamala Liyanage 1993; and Gunaratna 1993.

[xv] Narayan Swamy 1993: 247-48 and Tamil Tigress, 85ff.

[xvi] Narayan Swamy 1993: 244.

[xvii] Narayan Swamy 1993: 250-53. I have also profited from accounts of this momentous event from the venerable Indian journalist, PK Balachandran, in Colombo and from Daya Somasundaram in Adelaide.

[xviii] “Brahmins” is used metaphorically here to characterize the bearing of many North Indian politicians and officials in relation to people of lesser states or people from the countryside.

[xix] Thileepan carried a debilitating injury. He was also a LTTE theoretician, one with a total commitment to the cause of Eelam.

[xx] Narayan Swamy 1993: 250-53.

[xxi] In Tamil Tigress this act is attributed to Roshan, the author’s ‘boy friend.’ There is a marked propensity in de Zoyza’s story for significant events to be linked to her circle of acquaintances. Again, Pirapaharan Thileepan, Kittu and Mahaththaya, the highest in the Tiger hierarchy, every one of them, comes into touch with de Soyza in one way or another. This is truly remarkable. How it DID NOT arouse Allen & Unwin’s suspicions is as remarkable.

[xxii] http://www.abc.net.au/classic/throsby/2011_07.htm.

[xxiii] The Moon Panel’s report is both shoddy and deeply flawed; and the analytical poverty of those who deploy it raises serious questions about their capacities. For careful assessments, see Blacker 2011 and Gunatilleke 2011. Also note Tekwani 2011 and Roberts, “A Think-Piece drafted in May 2011.”

[xxiv] See http://jdsrilanka.blogspot.com/2009/08/sri-lanka-thirty-four-journalists-media.html and

http://www.bbc.co.uk/sinhala/news/story/2009/07/090722_jds_journalists.shtml; and also Roberts, “The Rajapaksa Regime and the Fourth Estate,” in www.groundviews.org, 8 December 2009.

[xxv] For info on the topic of IDP camps, see R. Narendran, “Internally displaced persons: a new front in an old war,” http://transcurrents.com/tc/2009/08/post_415.html and M. Roberts, “Aussies swallow lies & Rajapakses miss a trick,” www.thuppahi.wordpress.com, 31 Oct. 2010.

[xxvi] Roberts, “Omanthai! Omanthai! Succour for the Tamil Thousands,” in http://transcurrents. com/tc/2010/08/omanthai_omanthai_succour_for.html and Roberts, “Aussies swallow lies and Rajapaksas miss a trick,” in http://thuppahi.wordpress.com/2010/10/31/aussies-swallow-lies-rajapakses-miss-a-trick/.

[xxvii] Narendran, “Internally displaced Persons: The new front of an old war,” http://transcurrents. com/tc/2009/08/post_415.html. They will have to discount the typical intimation from Tamil propagandists who allege that there was “show camp” for distinguished visitors. Also note DBS Jeyaraj on “The Wretched of the Earth break Free of Bondage,” 2009.

[xxviii] Email dated 20 August 2011. Liyanage is of Sinhala-Burgher mix and is Australian educated. He is a key figure in the cross-ethnic group called Diaspora Lanka Ltd which runs the welfare work in Mannar.

[xxix] Roberts, “Another Demidenko? Niromi de Soyza as a Tiger Fighter,”  http://thuppahi.wordpress. com/2011/08/21/another-demidenko-niromi-de-soyza-as-a-tiger-fighter/

[xxx]Ambalavanar, “The Farce of a Fake Tigress,” http://www.srilankaguardian.org/2011/08/ farce-of-fake-tigress.html).

[xxxi] See “FUTURA BOOK NIGHT – Gordon Weiss and Niromi de Soyza,” in http://www.facebook. com/event.php?eid=137919256296979 and the notice re Niromi’s “amazing autobiography” in the Weiss website (http://www.gordonweissauthor.com/links.html). Re Weiss’s dubious presentations, see Tekwani 2011 and Roberts 2011.

[xxxii] This comment is based on email communications from Meera Govil, Nikki Baraclough and Arun Ambalavanar in August 2011.

[xxxiii] Today, the intricate network of LTTE personnel that exists world wide has been bolstered by two streams: (A) second and third generation migrants who were drawn into the LTTE cause by their Tamil-ness during the fervent emotions aroused by the demise of the LTTE as a military force in Lanka and (B) the entry into Australia, Canada and elsewhere in recent years of hardline Tigers who mingled with the civilians who reached IDP camps and then slipped out with the aid of bribes and  local networks (information from M. Sarvananthan, interview, 6 November 2010 and S. De Silva Ranasinghe, “Exclusive interview with T. Sridharan,” South Asia Defence & Strategic Review, Sept-Oct 2010, p. 47).  Grapevine information from Tamil sources in Australia indicates that some of these personnel are stirring the pot in both asylum centres and Tamil community circles in the main cities of Australia (sources withheld).

[xxxiv] Dr Safras to Roberts: “Initially there were almost 11,500 and out of all more than 8000 are rehabilitated and reintegrated, more than 2500 are presently undergoing rehabilitation” (email 29 August 2011).

###

Long Reads

Long Reads brings to Groundviews long-form journalism found in publications such as Foreign PolicyThe New Yorker and the New York Times. This section, inspired by Longreads, offers more in-depth deliberation on key issues covered on Groundviews.

  • Ramesh Thanapalan from Sydney

    Niromi de Soysa is a currently a popular personality within the Australian media and writers circles. She has completed numerous Australian Radio and TV interviews, appeared in women and week-end magazines and called to speak in various Australian writers festivals. – So far the most celebrated Sri Lankan born writer in Australia! Naturally, that has caught the attention of Michael and Arun.

    Having lived in native Jaffna during the period of 1983 to 1995 and having fully read the book twice, I believe could speak with more authority than Michael and agree with the contents of the book but admit that few minor modifications have been made to suit the story to western readers.

    Firstly, Readers are the real judges of the book and I highly recommended everyone to read the book before being contaminated by the opinions of mine and Michael’s.

    In fact, people particularly in Sri Lanka, should read this book (before it is banned in Sri Lanka!) given it is all about the events in that island and Sri Lankan readers will be able to better placed to understand the book in context than the members of the Diaspora – Me, Michael Roberts, Arun Ambalavanar and Noel Nadesan included.

    Secondly, I believe alive Pirap?haran will be more than happy to see the book becoming one of the top sellers in Australia given the mudslinging that now coming from the anti-LTTE lobby in Australia – both Arun and Noel fit this category perfectly but the Australian Tamils have not taken them seriously in the past.

    Thirdly, in relation to Michael’s point about that 11,500 LTTE were captured by Sri Lankan forces and later 8,500 released is an interesting statement, because in April 2009, both Sri Lanka’s military and government spokes people were stating that there is only 300 LTTE terrorists hiding with Pirap?haran within Vanni. How that number multiplied by 38 times within a month is beyond my maths.

    No wonder Niromi is not prepared to reveal her to identity to the Sri Lankan authorities!

    Finally, under what authority we are demanding her to release the details of Ajanthi and Muralie to cross check the identity with official LTTE “Great heroes” list?

    Is Michael [Edited out] attempting to try Niromi in his kangaroo court?

    • Joe from Sydney

      “the mudslinging that now coming from the anti-LTTE lobby in Australia” – so is this blogger unwittingly admitting that he is part of the pro-LTTE lobby in Australia?

    • Shiva

      Ramesh, Thanks for your comments.

      Is Michael is another agent of the alleged war criminal Rajapakse regime?

      Alleged criminal Rajapakse regime is spending money for lobby against Tamils and not against the LTTE. Alleged war criminals KP. Karuna, Douglas, Pullaiyan all are partners of the Rajapakse regime at present.

      Without analysing pro and anti-LTTE, a true Journalism must come from the heart of the writer that possess the norms of the civilized world. There were 34 independent Journalists were murdered under the Rajapakse regime and several were attacked and intimidated.

      Tamils are demanding for independent international war crimes and Human rights investigation in Sri Lanka and the Rajapakse regime is denying as it has committed unspeable crimes against humanity.

      Further Michael has reference to the writings of Rohan Gunaratna who never studied in a University in Sri Lanka. Is Rohan an expert or an agent who advise on war crimes and how to cover up crimes to the Rajapakse regime? How credible his or other writings are?

  • Kannan

    The Sri Lankan civil war and the ethnic struggle lasted over 50 years (going back to 1956). There are going to be multiple perspectives from different actors based on their experience. Unfortunately Michael has joint his Sinhala hardliner friends in Australia to attack any independent voice that arises among Tamils. While I believe it is the editor’s job to fact check, these books need to balance the author’s experience with the intended audience of the book. It is interesting how Michael is willing to stipulate his friends experience in Mannar as a barometer for what local Tamils want in Mannar,  and is akin to the saying of those who supported colonization in Africa (our blacks/good natives vs. the trouble makers). I for one am a Tamil who was displaced due to the 1983 ethnic riots. I don’t support the Eelam project but do believe there needs to be devolution and reforms within the political system so Sri Lanka can be a true multi-ethnic state that respects rights of all its citizens. A good start would be an impartial truth and reconciliation commission that examines the past and presents fact based solutions. The Tamil people voted for the TNA (including those living in Mannar) because they still have political aspirations. There are many individuals still detained or missing in the north. Will Michael support the call for the government to release the names of those who are detained or killed during the latter part of the conflict? Will he support the demilitarization of the north and the east and social and economic development driven by local elected officials? Will he support the Tamil people to openly grieve for their lost one’s without the interferences of the armed forces? Will he stand with the minorities against government organized colonization schemes in the north and the east?

  • Ramesh Thanapalan from Sydney

    Dear Joe,

    I have no issues in claiming that I belong to the Pro-Tamil lobby, provided others mentioned also accept that they belong to the anti-LTTE lobby.

    It is only people like you getting confused between the Pro-Tamil lobby and Pro-LTTE lobby… Are you now accepting that both are same?

    The only lobby I really belong to is the PRO-TRUTH-JUSTICE-PEACE lobby and we need more members……

    • Joe from Sydney

      Dear Ramesh,

      Please don’t try and equite “truth, justice and peace” as you put it with the LTTE. That is factually inaccurate since the LTTE itself suppressed those very concepts in single-minded pursuit of its secessionist aims, including the decapitation of the Tamil moderate leadership.

      I am as anti-LTTE as much as I am anti-Sinhala hardline, it would do you justice to view any critique of this book in a more balanced and sensible perspective.

      But maybe that is not possible given your overt bias towards the LTTE, which is still branded as a “terrorist organisation” in 30 countries.

      So if you were to put me into into the anti-LTTE category broadly speaking, so be it. I would never support such as organisation under any circumstances!

      But I am not averse to a former LTTE fighter giving their honest views on their experiences in the war, however, I am averse to attempts at frabication and distortion. The author of this book should respond to Michael’s critique in a professional manner in defence of her claims of authenticity.

    • http://srilankalandoftheblind.blogspot.com/ PresiDunce Bean

      @Ramesh Thanapalan from Sydney

      How do I join? Where do I sign up?

  • Off the Cuff

    Ramesh Thanapalan from Sydney and Kannan,

    Like other LTTE apologists you have failed to answer the Main charge made by Mr Michele Roberts.

    Did this Tamil Tigress, with a misleading Non Tamil Nome de plume, Fight the IPKF and NOT the SLA as implied in the book?

    As Roberts points out, she had made a grave error in trying to mislead the readers’ in to believing that she fought the SLA.

    But like all lies that the LTTE remnants have masterminded, such as the two CH4 films (no LTTE casualties in the only War zone hospital accessible to them and the Purported SLIPPER wearing SLA soldier detected by Dr Noel Nadesan), this time too they have tripped on their own Lies.

    SL Forces were confined to barracks during that period.

    This is what Roberts say quoting an excerpt from the book

    “two days before Christmas 1987, at the age of 17, Niromi de Soyza found herself in an ambush as part of a small platoon of militant Tamil Tigers fighting the government forces that was to engulf Sri Lanka for decades.”

    But within this little tale within a biographical tale lies a fundamental error. Once the uneasy relationship of ‘alliance’ between the LTTE and the Indian government (the LTTE’s ‘mentor’) unravelled in September-October 1987, the Tigers were engaged in a guerrilla war with the Indian Peace Keeping Force (IPKF) in the northern and eastern parts of the island. As the details below reveal, the armed services of the Sri Lankan state (GoSL) were not directly engaged in this war and did not have joint operations with the Indians on the ground. In brief, the December skirmish could NOT have been against Sri Lankan soldiers.

    The University Teacher’s for Human Rights Jaffna a Tamil source states

    “When the I.P.K.F. first arrived, soldiers expressed their surprise. Tamil Nadu Jawans observed with wonder: “This is a fertile place.” Malayali Jawans said to the effect: “This place reminds us of Kerala.” Those from North India perhaps thought that this was a strange place which was vaguely like the South. Only the shops reminded them of what is said about Singapore. For the first few weeks, the I.P.K.F. was preoccupied with the shops in Kasturiar Road. The officers bought Japanese TV sets, video recorders and 3-in-1’s. The Jawans looked for radio-cassettes, pen torches and ball point pens. As the weeks went by, some Jawans told civilians: “We thought we came to protect you from the Sinhalese. But all we see is your boys killing each other. We do not see any Sinhalese.” The colonisation problem too did not make sense to Indian soldiers. They found it difficult to appreciate the problem of state sponsored colonisation. They would say: “What is the difficulty with Sinhalese in your areas? In India we have Tamil Nadu people in Maharashtra, Maharashtra people in Delhi, Delhi people in Karnataka and so on. There is no difficulty in that!” With Thileepan’s fast, people were instigated by the L.T.T.E. to insult and humiliate Indian soldiers. Soldiers from Punjab and Rajasthan who had no stake in what was going on here, no understanding and cared even less, were ordered to put on a stiff upper lip and take it all, much against their natural impulses. Their anger is not hard to imagine: “First we were asked to come and save these people. We then find that these people were quite well off and lived much better than our people. They start killing each other and now come and throw stones at and insult us for no conceivable reason. Moreover they have the cheek to do this after eating our food.”

    Anyone would have known the consequences of the L.T.T.E.’s pushing an army smarting under such provocation into military action.

    The Ceylon Daily News of 9 October announced in its headlines that the I.P.K.F. was to launch a terminal campaign against the L.T.T.E. Few will disagree that India was called upon to act.

    Perhaps, the following comment from a university lecturer in medicine offers something towards understanding the present crisis:
    “I think the whole psychology of the Indian Army changed following the landing of commandos at Thirunelvely on 12 October. That was an area where there was a high concentration of L.T.T.E. men and the L.T.T.E. was able to mobilise effectively. Having spurned air-cover (which the Sri Lankans never did), the commandos suffered an unexpected reverse. Up to about that time the Indian Army showed concern for civilian life. Around then a convoy of Indian troops came past my house. They were at ease and were waving at civilians. The L.T.T.E. fired at the convoy and my own house became a battle ground. I had to flee with a lady and children who were with me. We were at first fired upon and, later, when they realised that were were not L.T.T.E. men, we were allowed to walk away unharmed. The army asked the people in the next house to come out with their hands up. But when they came out, an L.T.T.E. boy sneaked up behind them and fired at the army. The officer shouted asking them to get inside the house and allowed them time to do so before opening fire. There was a very real sense in which the L.T.T.E. was using civilian cover. But not in the crude sense claimed by All India Radio. During that experience, the Indian Army displayed concern for civilian life.

    “Then I feel the psychology changed and there was a deliberate decision to use terror. The intensity of killing at Urumpirai a week later was very different from what I had experienced. Shelling a large army concentrated behind a battle front is understandable. But in our context, with a small thinly spread out guerrilla force, shelling becomes a weapon of terror. It all leaves a bad taste. The Indian Army may have been disorganised in many things. But the suspicion that there was a deliberate decision to terrorize is reinforced by a remarkable consistency in the threats made. It became common-place for different companies of officers and Jawans to say things like, “I will shoot you” or “I will flatten this place.” It was a tragic step for Mahatma Gandhi’s India.”

    End extract

    Kannan,

    Over 80% of Land in Sri Lanka is PUBLICLY owned.
    Over HALF of that is located within the sparsely populated Northern and Eastern Provinces.
    The Provinces are an ARBITRARY demarcation of the BRITISH.
    On what grounds are you claiming exclusive ownership of over 50% of PUBLIC land?

    What is the JUSTIFICATION for an exclusive appropriation of PUBLICLY Funded development schemes within N and E provinces for the use of an Ethnic minority of less than 10% and shutting out a near 75% majority from it.

    Who pays MORE for such development?
    A minority of 10% or the Majority of 75%?
    Who contributes more towards PUBLIC funds?
    A minority of less than 10% or the 75% Majority?
    Is this not a Land grab similar to the LTTE’s failed Eelam project?

    What is your problem in sharing PUBLIC resources equally?
    Why can’t you agree to an INHERENTLY fair, per capita sharing of PUBLIC resources?
    That is how it is done in Singapore were the Tamils are a smaller MINORITY.

    Are you trying to go back to square one?
    Haven’t you inflicted enough suffering on the Tamils in Lanka?

    • Kannan

      Off the Cuff, Any individual who does not agree with your view of things is a tiger apologist. Long before the Tigers came to the scene the Tamils struggled for their rights. I guess these facts do not matter to you. Yes the British created the provinces. However before Sri Lanka was colonized there were independent kingdoms in Sri Lanka in the north and the east. Do you want to return to that “Demarcation”? It is interesting that you bring up Singapore. The man who built independent Singapore Lee Kuan Yew pointed to the failures of Sri Lanka to build a non-racial nation. Here is a link to one of his interviews. http://sundaytimes.lk/070902/International/i516.html

  • http://thecarthaginiansolution.wordpress.com Mango

    As someone belonging to the ‘objective truth’ lobby, the issue is really simple. Niromi’s stated often enough that “Tamil Tigress” is an autobiography/memoir. This is understood be an accurate and truthful recounting of the facts as experienced by an author. So either she experienced these events in the time-frame she says she did or she did not. If she claims to have been present at these events and mixed with the LTTE hierarchy, it’s up to her to prove it.

    There are plenty of fake Holocaust memoirs, where deeply disturbed individuals claim to have escaped Nazi persecution and eventually end up being exposed as total fantasists. e.g.Misha Defonseca’s memoir about being a young Belgian Jewish girl fleeing the Nazis, who managed to slip in and out of the Warsaw Ghetto and to live with wolves, turned out to be a product of her imagination.
    http://www.frankfuredi.com/index.php/site/article/184/

    How can Niromi claim anonymity when she’s happy to hog the media spotlight including TV interviews, appearances at literary festivals etc. How can she further claim that GoSL is ‘after her’ without providing any proof? Why would they pursue an obscure, low-ranking (alleged) LTTE cadre living in Australia?

    Readers cannot be the judge of a book’s veracity (especially if it deals with an unfamiliar country and politics) without a deep knowledge of the facts. The world is full of literary hoaxes – remember the “Hitler Diaries”? It is therefore up to historians, journalists and other truth-seekers to demand that Niromi substantiate her claims. If not Niromi will end up as Sri Lanka’s own Forrest Gump.

  • Perinbanayagam

    `1.Michael Roberts should check out a new genre of writing called “faction” produced by Norman Mailer and Truman Capote in the US.
    2. No word for “mother fucker” in Tamil?This is news to me.I can send one to interested parties.

  • Ranjan

    Pro and anti LTTE lobbies please note that this is all about the authenticity of the book. I urge both camps to read the book first before commenting. As it is a fake book do not buy but borrow from friends.
    A note for Groundviews. Ambalavanar’s original article can’t be accessed by clicking in this Page. I searched it in srilankaguardian and found and read. So couldyou please check the first one in the bibliography and fix it. Without reading Ambalavanar’s article it is hard to comprehend the whole picture.

    Ranjan

  • rrshn

    So the obvious question here is: if you think this memoir is a fake, and are so concerned that the publishers have been duped, then I assume you *must* have approached the publishers with your proof; so what did they say?

  • Off the Cuff

    Dear Kannan,

    You say “Any individual who does not agree with your view of things is a tiger apologist”

    Wrong interpretation Kannan, anyone who provides EXCUSES for the LTTE and any member of that Terror organisation is a Tiger Apologist.

    You say “Long before the Tigers came to the scene the Tamils struggled for their rights”

    And MUCH LONGER than that, the Sinhalese were struggling to obtain JUSTICE from the Tamil Lakeys of the British Colonials who were the MIDDLE men wielding the stick of the Administration. Remember the days when the Govt Depts of Justice, Post and Telecom, Electrical Undertakings, Immigration, Customs, Inland Revenue etc were dominated by Tamils? Remember the times when Sinhalese (and Tamil) peasants were sent to Jail or fined without any understanding as to why they were punished as they did not know the language of the courts?

    You say I guess these facts do not matter to you.

    Unfortunately you have not provided any FACTS.

    According to the Dutch in the 17th century the boundary of the Kandyan Kingdom was at Elephant Pass and the Dutch controlled the Jaffna Peninsula.

    Here is evidence from the Dutch National Archives.
    “During the 17th century the Company was engaged in a war of attrition with the king of Kandy, who had close ties with Ceylon’s Buddhist population. There was a narrow tongue of land at Elephant Pass a fort was built to guard the border with the king’s territory.”
    http://www.atlasofmutualheritage.nl/detail.aspx?page=dpost&lang=en&id=682#tab2

    My post was not about ANY of these.

    I questioned how you can JUSTIFY claiming over 50% of PUBLICLY OWNED LAND for the EXCLUSIVE use of the Northern Tamils, a population of LESS THAN 10%.

    Are you able to Justify that?

    The point I made relates to the main tool used by Singapore to INTEGRATE the various communities. It is called the ETHNIC INTEGRATION POLICY (EIP) and is still operative today. It is based on the principle of “PER CAPITA SHARING” of PUBLIC resources. Something that you are not prepared to do.

    Referring me to an unrelated speech by the Tyrant Lee Kuan Yew is just a red herring, because you are unable to answer the questions raised, using Logic.

    Singapore is a Quasi Police state and I am not advocating adopting that type of governance. This is what Dr P Saravanamuttu has to say about Governance.

    “As for the Singapore model, I do not think that Sri Lanka should turn its back on the democracy, however flawed, that we have enjoyed since independence. To do this would be to invite more conflict.”
    http://groundviews.org/2011/08/18/thus-spake-gothabaya/#comment-35970

    But EIP is an inherently fair policy that has the POTENTIAL of achieving Ethnic Integration in Sri Lanka too. Since you are obviously, oblivious about EIP, here is a brief explanation extracted from the following Paper.

    “Public housing and ethnic integration in Singapore”
    by Loo Lee Sim, Shi Ming Yu,Sun Sheng Han,
    Department of Real Estate, National University of Singapore,
    4 Architecture Drive,
    Singapore 117566, Singapore.

    One of the policies used by the government was the provision of public housing. The four main goals of Singapore’s public housing programmes are the provision of shelter, stakeholdership
    (home ownership),community bonding and building a vibrant community
    (Tay,2000 ).

    Thus,besides providing shelter, public housing was allocated with the aim of mixing the population to achieve a balanced mix of the different ethnic groups in every new town and housing estate.

    HDBs programme has evolved over the last four decades to meet the various challenges of increasing home ownership to creating thriving, cohesive and vibrant communities.

    Being a multi-racial society,which had experienced racial unrest and strife in the mid to late 1960s, promoting ethnic integration and racial harmony became a matter of great urgency to the government of the young Republic. Thus, beginning in the 1970s,while keeping closely to the first-come first-served basis for housing allocation, the HDB tried to allocate new flats in order to give a balanced distribution of races to different new towns (Straits Times,31 January 1989). It implemented an allocation policy to attain a racial distribution in the new towns and estates that was in line with the racial profile of the nation.

    However,a trend towards ethnic grouping in some new towns and estates forming enclaves was obvious by the 1980s. In particular,with the lifting of resale restrictions and the increasing difference in new and resale flat prices,the racial profile of residents in a block and neighbourhood can change 5 years (imposed time bar before being allowed to sell in the secondary market) on from the initial allocation. If left unchecked, the trend of ethnic regrouping among public housing residents would lead to the re-emergence of ethnic enclaves (Ooi,1994 ). To arrest this problem, the Neighbourhood Racial Limits (NRL) policy was introduced in March 1989.

    Under the NRL,it is the buyer who has to comply with the limits. This means that the buyer must belong to a race where the ‘‘ethnic proportions’’ have not been exceeded.

    Ethnic proportions in HDB estates

    For Each Neighbourhood
    Malay……………….. 22%
    Chinese……………… 84%
    Indian and others…….. 10% (Tamils fall in to this group)

    For each Block
    Malay……………… 25%
    Chinese……………. 87%
    Indian/others………. 13% (Tamils fall in to this group)

    Source: Housing and Development Board.

    The public housing programme,through its allocation and other measures,has ensured integration of the various ethnic groups by housing the different races in the same block of HDB flats. The deliberate mixing of different flat types which cater to different income groups and the interspersing of private housing developments within public housing estates have also helped to minimize the social stratification within the society,thereby achieving ethnic and social integration.

    “HDB estate is often conceived as the Singapore heartland or a microcosm of the Singaporean ethnic,religious,language,cultural and income groups” (Siddique, 1994).

    The mixing of the different ethnic groups in the housing estates and the community organizations in proportions that approximate to the general population profile has not only integrated the different ethnic groups but has also helped to maintain racial harmony as well as promote community bonding.

    End extracts

    Now that I have given you a picture of Singapore’s Housing Development Policy, here are my questions again regarding Land.

    How can you JUSTIFY claiming over 50% of PUBLICLY OWNED LAND for the EXCLUSIVE use of the Northern Tamils, a population of LESS THAN 10%.

    What is the JUSTIFICATION for an exclusive appropriation of PUBLICLY Funded development schemes within N and E provinces for the use of an Ethnic minority of less than 10% and shutting out a near 75% majority from it.

    Who pays MORE for such development?
    A minority of 10% or the Majority of 75%?
    Who contributes more towards PUBLIC funds?
    A minority of less than 10% or the 75% Majority?
    Is this not a Land grab similar to the LTTE’s failed Eelam project?

    What is your problem in sharing PUBLIC resources equally?
    Why can’t you agree to an INHERENTLY fair, per capita sharing of PUBLIC resources?

    The Tamils of Singapore are sharing PUBLIC Housing on EQUAL Terms. Why Can’t You?

    Do you consider yourself Superior and hence is entitled to a disproportionate share?

    • Hela

      Off the Cuff,

      This is a very good response.

      • Off the Cuff

        Thank you Hela.

        I believe that the “Homeland Claim” has to be demolished in order for ALL Lankans (Tamil and Non Tamil) to be realy equal.

        Exclusive Homelands are inherently UNJUST and creates a privileged class of Tamils who will end up OWNING over 50% of the scarcest PUBLICLY owned resource of all, Land and all that such land contains.

        It is significant that no Tamil, espousing an “Exclusive Homeland” including Kannan has failed to respond.

  • Ravana

    While the government of Sri Lanka and its armies are her principal demon, de Soyza does not whitewash the LTTE. In line with the picture presented by the Panel of so-called “experts” commissioned by Ban Ki-Moon and The Cage by Gordon Weiss,[xxiii] some strictures are directed at the Tigers in both her final chapter “Afterwards” and her media interviews. As with Weiss’s line of attack, however, these criticisms are wholly overshadowed by the weight of condemnation directed at Sri Lankan state and society.

    A cogent observation by Dr. Roberts. I had also read Ambalavar’s article, but the fact about 1987-ambush is perhaps the most compelling evidence. There are numerous similar mistakes in Weiss’s book as well. Or, are they “mistakes”?

    Clearly neither the LTTE nor GoSL stand to gain from these publications. Who does? If we were to consider DeSoyza and Weiss to be “agents” of another force, what could that force be?

    BTW, when it comes to Australian media (particularly the Government controlled ones) I am reminded of particular “investigative report” within two years of the “liberation” of East Timor. There was a leader who opposed providing oil rights to Australia more than necessary. It was curious that the “independent journos” of Oz, found a scandal which eventually ended by replacing the PM. That was not a surprise to me as I suspected Australian interests were at stake.

    A master chess player provides several routes to realising his/her goal. It seems that people of Sri Lanka should be resigned to their fate. If the Tamil Diaspora believe that this is about justice for them, then they remain deluded as always. I expect that the smarter among the Tamils have already realised that they have to do absolutely nothing other than ensuring their interests are protected.

  • Perinbanayagam

    What a lot of firepower on a book and, perhaps taking a lesson from the Sri Lankan army,a lot of it scatter-shot,hitting irrelevant targets!
    One can take De Soyza’s work as “faction” — a mix of facts and fiction that was composed a develop a theme.It is the theme that should be discussed, not the details of the composition.
    Surley,one is used to such “factions” in Sri Lanka.Our historians and archeologists,both the academic ones and the amateurs, have been composing them for years!

    • Off the Cuff

      Dear Perinbanayagam,

      You mean similar to the “Historical Tamil Homeland” Faction?

      That fiction eh Faction was intended as a subtle land grab to STEAL from the rest of the citizens of Lanka so that a population of LESS THAN 10% could get the other 90+% population to pay for them to live in luxury.

      You seem to be worried about LTTE propaganda back firing.

      SLA scatter shots signalled the end of the LTTE when it took out Tamil Chelvam did it not? Irrelevant target indeed.

      Lets shoot at a target and see what you can do.
      How about the Historical Tamil Homeland Fiction?

      • Perinbanayagam

        I did say,”Surley,one is used to such “factions” in Sri Lanka.Our historians and archeologists,both the academic ones and the amateurs, have been composing them for years!”
        Did I exclude any one or any writing?

        • http://thecarthaginiansolution.wordpress.com Mango

          Dear Perinbanayagam,
          There’s plenty of fiction, faction and Mervyn Silva in Sri Lanka. That isn’t the issue. Niromi has categorised her novel as a (truthful) memoir. Perhaps she’s more Sri Lankan than she realises and can’t avoid being economical with the truth, no?

      • sambar

        Dear OfftheCuff,

        “Traditional Tamil homelands” is perhaps somewhat inaccurate, however “Traditionally predominantly Tamil speaking areas” is what is meant by it.

        While it is also incorrect to speak of separate Tamil kingdoms and Sinhalese kingdoms, it is correct to refer to the areas that were from the long past predominantly Tamil speaking and whose people would identify in terms of aTamil ethnicity.

        The number game (of who/what % of people gets what % of land) is irrelevant.
        Just look around the world and you will see vastly different population densities!

        • Off the Cuff

          Dear Sambar,

          If you want to discuss about the Land grab called the “Traditional Tamil Homeland” please answer the points raised at this comment on this web page.

          http://groundviews.org/2011/08/31/forbidden-fruits-niromi-de-soyzas-tamil-tigress-noumi-kouri-and-helen-demidenko/#comment-36185

          You say “ “Traditional Tamil homelands” is perhaps somewhat inaccurate, however “Traditionally predominantly Tamil speaking areas” is what is meant by it.”

          Describing it as “inaccurate” is an understatement.

          You say “While it is also incorrect to speak of separate Tamil kingdoms and Sinhalese kingdoms, it is correct to refer to the areas that were from the long past predominantly Tamil speaking and whose people would identify in terms of aTamil ethnicity.”

          The Muslims do not IDENTIFY in terms of a Tamil Ethnicity. That is a LIE that you have been feeding the World. The term “Tamil Speaking” is a devious attempt at annexing the Muslim population to increase the NUMBERS. Hence it is a numbers game of the Tamil Separatists to hoodwink the World. Strangely, it is the Tamils who are doing the talking while the Muslims are silent about this land grab. Please keep in mind that the MAJORITY of those people who you claim to be Tamil Speaking are in fact living in Traditionally Sinhala speaking areas.

          You say “The number game (of who/what % of people gets what % of land) is irrelevant. Just look around the world and you will see vastly different population densities!”

          If it is irrelevant what stops you from dropping that pernicious claim? What stops you from sharing Lanka’s Resources on EQUAL terms with the rest of the citizenry? What stops you from SHARING PUBLICLY OWNED RESOURCES on an inherently fair per capita basis?

          Singapore has been doing that for over 3 decades (even todate) and the Tamil’s there do not ask for Traditional TAMIL Homelands.

          Do you think that Lanka’s Nothern (Jaffna) Tamils to be God’s Chosen Children and hence entitled for a disproportianate share?

          • sambar

            Dear OfftheCuff,

            Ok then, excise the Muslims from the argument and there will still be traditionally Tamil speaking areas left!

            Note meanwhile that if the Tamils decided to claim the land the was ruled by Tamil kings then that would be the whole of Lanka!

            When I referred to varied population densities around the world, I was pointing out that there is no rule that says that land should be divided up in proportion to the numbers of a community/ethnicity; if there were such a rule that humans were subject to, then there would be uniform poulation densities across the world!
            (I think you missed my point but never mind I have now explained it).

            On your point about sharing the resources of Lanka, it was of course the Sinhala-Buddhists who ruined that idea -see also my reply to http://groundviews.org/2011/08/15/abuse-violence-and-bullying-post-war-sri-lanka-is-indeed-a-peaceful-place/#comment-35729

            More specifically, the idea of sharing resources on a per capita basis is very silly (another error of the Sinhala-Buddhists who were especially envious of the educational successes of the Jaffna Tamils); rather a whole lot of factors need to be factored in when deciding how best to use and enjoy resources – its not as simplistic as per capita.

            Now as to whether the Jaffna Tamils are God’s chosen ones, you better pray hard and ask God about it! (I cannot speak for God on this!)

          • Off the Cuff

            Dear Sambar,

            You wrote “Note meanwhile that if the Tamils decided to claim the land the was ruled by Tamil kings then that would be the whole of Lanka!”

            By rewriting History?
            This is the type of superiority complex (a legacy of the colonial past) that has brought strife to this country.

            Your post at the link below which you refer to was responded to on August 20, 2011 • 1:01 am

            http://groundviews.org/2011/08/15/abuse-violence-and-bullying-post-war-sri-lanka-is-indeed-a-peaceful-place/#comment-35729

            http://groundviews.org/2011/08/15/abuse-violence-and-bullying-post-war-sri-lanka-is-indeed-a-peaceful-place/#comment-35847

            You wrote “When I referred to varied population densities around the world, I was pointing out that there is no rule that says that land should be divided up in proportion to the numbers of a community/ethnicity; if there were such a rule that humans were subject to, then there would be uniform poulation densities across the world! (I think you missed my point but never mind I have now explained it). “

            I was referring to PUBLIC property (please see the BOLD text in post September 1, 2011 • 6:21 pm ). Public property means property that has a collective ownership by ALL citizens. Land is just a part of it. I made that very clear in my post. Perhaps you did not understand it. Every citizen has an equal share of PUBLIC property. Simply put my claim to public property is equal to yours and in Sri Lanka there are 21 million others who have an equal share. In Sri Lanka, over 80% of the land is PUBLIC property.

            You wrote “On your point about sharing the resources of Lanka, it was of course the Sinhala-Buddhists who ruined that idea “

            Rhetoric is no replacement for factual argument.

            You wrote “More specifically, the idea of sharing resources on a per capita basis is very silly”

            Silly? What is your idea of EQUALITY? More for the Tamils and Less for the Non Tamils?

            You wrote “….(another error of the Sinhala-Buddhists who were especially envious of the educational successes of the Jaffna Tamils);”

            Now you are talking of JAFFNA TAMILS. So you do have a superior class of Tamils, the JAFFNA TAMILS.

            Sambar I do not wish to deviate from the current topic of Land. Suffice it to say that the Tamils do not possess an exceptional brain to surpass the Sinhalese given an equal opportunity. A study of history will establish that beyond doubt.

            You wrote “rather a whole lot of factors need to be factored in when deciding how best to use and enjoy resources – its not as simplistic as per capita”

            Make your case devoid of rhetoric. Factor in whatever you think is relevant. We are not discussing about HOW but about WHO. The letters may be the same but the meaning is not.

            You have not answered the argument presented in my post addressed to Kannan which he too failed to answer http://groundviews.org/2011/08/31/forbidden-fruits-niromi-de-soyzas-tamil-tigress-noumi-kouri-and-helen-demidenko/#comment-36185

            Please re read it and counter the argument with facts.

            Please show us, how you claim on behalf of the Northern Tamils, in excess of 50% of Lanka’s PUBLICLY owned Land for the EXCLUSIVE use of a population of 8%.

            You wrote “Now as to whether the Jaffna Tamils are God’s chosen ones, you better pray hard and ask God about it! ( I cannot speak for God on this!) “

            I wrote “ Do you think that Lanka’s Northern (Jaffna) Tamils to be God’s Chosen Children and hence entitled for a disproportionate share?”

            I hope this is not a representative example of the so called “educational success” of the Tamils you wrote about. If it is, there is nothing to envy except feel sorry.

    • http://thecarthaginiansolution.wordpress.com Mango

      Dear Perinbanayagam,
      The problem with your defence is that Niromi has explicitly stated that this is her autobiography and nnot ‘faction’. If she’d categorised it as faction, there wouldn’t be such a fuss made of the whole thing. There’s no middle ground in this particular issue. Either she’s lying or telling the truth. Which is it?

      I look forward to the day when genuine LTTE veterans publish their memoirs of their genuine experiences.

      • wijayapala

        Mango, I highly recommend the English translation of “Gorilla” written by Shobasakthi. The author acknowledges that he is writing “faction” in that names and certain details were changed, but he really was a child soldier in the LTTE very early in the war. His real name is Anthony Jesuthasan, at least according to the copy of Gorilla that I have.

        • http://thecarthaginiansolution.wordpress.com Mango

          Thanks for that, Wijayapala. I’d heard of that book. Will definitely get it.

        • http://thecarthaginiansolution.wordpress.com Mango

          Thanks for that, Wijayapala. I’d heard about that book. Will definitely get hold of it.

    • http://ratnawalli.blogspot.com/ Darshanie

      Hi Perin,
      We once met in Thuppahi and had a bit of a discussion. I trust you remember?. What a fresh perspective you bring to the selecting of a genre for Tamil Tigress. The publishers position it as ‘Memoir’, you propose that ‘Faction’ is more fitting, but I suggest that the most fitting genre label is ‘alternative history fiction’. An example of this genre is the novel “For Want of a Nail- if Burgoyne Had Won at Saratoga’’. It depicts an alternate world where the American Revolution was unsuccessful.

      Similarly, Tamil Tigress and Niromi depict an alternate world where the LTTE fought the IPKF as well as/alongside the SL forces during Niromi’s Tigress tenure (1987- 1988). I urge you to check out ‘For Want of a Nail’ on Wikipedia and while you are at it also check out ‘Tamil Tigress’ on Wikipedia and you will see that your innovative genre suggestion did not go unnoticed.

  • http://thecarthaginiansolution.wordpress.com Mango

    Two interview quotes (from 2008) by Anthony Jesuthasan, author of “Gorilla” really stand out:

    “This [Diaspora Tamil community] is a community that is defined fundamentally by its caste and cultural identities, and has deep feelings of racist hatred towards its fellow ethnic communities of the Sinhalese and Muslims; and yet is unmoved by the overt racism of the white people.” Absolutely on target.

    How has the movement held the imagination of Tamils for so long?
    “The violent oppressive measures of the racist Sri Lankan government upon Tamils force the Tamil public to tolerate the Tigers. The Tamil people in general believe that the Sri Lankan government’s anti-Tamil violence justifies the existence of the Tigers. But if an individual or an organisation attempts to provide an alternative political movement outside of what might be called the two sides of the same coin, the Tigers immediately bury them in a shallow grave, or chase them out of the country.”
    On targe, again.

    http://raote.wordpress.com/2008/03/30/buried-in-a-shallow-grave/

    I urge GV to give space to Jesuthasan to contribute.

  • Richard

    Looks like very interesting book to read and analyze on Tamil Tigress.

    Thanks Michael for bringing up the points and promoting the book.

    Any idea which bookshops in Colombo sell this book as I am very much interested in sending some gifts to my contacts in Colombo or should I do an online order?

  • Perinbanayagam

    To Darshini,and others:
    o
    Not only did I suggest that the work should could be treated as faction but that instead of nit-picking the details,it is the broader theme of the work that should merit discuusion.
    But then,I supppose that it is too much to expect in the blogosphere.
    In this new genre(“Blogofaction”?)ill- conceived, refexive and off the cuff comments as well as a fundamental incapacity to stick to the relevant issues, seems to be the rule.

    • sambar

      Dear Perinbanayagam,

      Could explain what “the broader theme of the work that should merit discussion” is?

      As far as I can see the book is an imaginative and entertainingly written piece.
      To those who do not know better it could have happened, it seems plausible as for example there are no aliens who landed in flying saucers and such like.
      However Kouri’s and Demidenko’s writings too seemed plausible to those who knew no better.

      There is however one very big plus in all this: publicity for what happened that might get some people interested.
      The big negative though is that the book gives the impression that it [the Tamil issue] is all over now and it is only a generally repressive government that, if at all, is the problem.

      But I see no broader (social political or intellectual) theme in the book itself that merits much discussion!

  • sambar

    I have had a look at the book and my conclusion too is that this ‘Niromi de Soyza’ has been very liberal and imaginative about the truth of her membership of the LTTE!

    However I don’t read any sinister Tamil diaspora conspiracy into this, I must say quite entertainingly written, book of hers. [Edited out]

    • Off the Cuff

      Dear Sambar,

      You say “I have had a look at the book and my conclusion too is that this ‘Niromi de Soyza’ has been very liberal and imaginative about the truth of her membership of the LTTE! “

      In other words you are calling her a Liar.

      You say “However I don’t read any sinister Tamil diaspora conspiracy into this,”

      Wiki has this entry

      There is thus an attempted projection of Sri Lankan Forces into her fighting experiences, from which they should in reality have been absent. A possible motive for creating this imagined context is given by by Niromi in her Throsby interview(between 35.21 and 35.54).

      “…in 2009 when the war …had ended in Sri Lanka and Tamil refugees were still arriving in Australian Shores by the boat and there was a complete misunderstanding , everyone labeling them as economic refugees because, the war had ended. But I knew different… So I thought somebody has to say something… At that time… the UN panel report wasn’t there…, the four corners documentary hadn’t been shown so I thought I needed to put this story out …despite the fact I didn’t want to…I’d felt there was a need….”

      • sambar

        Dear OfftheCuff,

        I am not at all sure how you have managed to read a Tamil diaspora conspiracy into what you have quoted. Perhaps you could explain??

        However, you may want to ask ‘Niromi’ or her representatives/supporters why, given the urgent need in 2009, she was happy to wait until 2011 and furthermore waited until after the Ch4 report and after Gordon Weiss’ book was out to put out her own book!
        Thus ‘Niromi”s purported motive would seem rather empty and flacid in fact (and even unimaginative and unconvincing)!

        ‘Niromi de Soyza”s underlying motives would be along the lines of Demidenko’s and Kouri’s: very mundane though dressed up in heroic and sellable terms.

        If anything I would see ‘Niromi’ as being counter to certain aims of the Tamil diaspora than being for.
        Perhaps she is a UN/western agent with very special plans for Lanka!

        I hope by now most people have realised that all the UN and western and Indian noises for justice are just that: Noises, but also noises meant to hide their agenda for Lanka!

      • Off the Cuff

        Dear Sambar,

        You state “I am not at all sure how you have managed to read a Tamil diaspora conspiracy into what you have quoted. Perhaps you could explain?? “

        Perhaps you were not observant.
        I reproduced a quote from the Wiki and I have acknowledged that in my post.

        You state “However, you may want to ask ‘Niromi’ or her representatives/supporters why, given the urgent need in 2009, she was happy to wait until 2011 and furthermore waited until after the Ch4 report and after Gordon Weiss’ book was out to put out her own book!
        Thus ‘Niromi”s purported motive would seem rather empty and flacid in fact (and even unimaginative and unconvincing)! “

        Unfortunately I do not know any of these people. Perhaps you could use your contacts to bring the article written by Mr Roberts to her attention and persuade her to defend her perfidy on these pages.
        I doubt that Niromi would ever agree to that, as in addition to being a liar (which you underlined in your post), she has proven herself to be a coward as well, by choosing a Non Tamil name to hide behind.

        In the first instance, you could ask her to explain why she purposely hid the FACT that it was the IPKF that she fought. Secondly you could ask her why she was pointing a finger at the SLA who were in fact confined to barracks during that time.

        Gordon Wiess, the discredited UN employee played to the gallery and minted a packet of money from a gullible Tamil Diaspora. Perhaps the Tamil Tigress decided to follow suit or perhaps, as the Wiki states, the motives were different.

  • wijayapala

    Triumph of the flag-wavers in Germany:

    TYO and LTTE: not welcomed anymore at Borussia Dortmund
    http://www.asiantribune.com/news/2011/09/05/tyo-and-ltte-not-welcomed-anymore-borussia-dortmund

    “One thing that the TYO did achieve with their crude and stupid prank: For the time being there will be no more events against right wing violence at the Westpahlia Stadium. Surely, neo-Nazis will be very grateful to the followers of the LTTE for the move, while rubbing their hands with glee.”

  • Ranjan

    Gentlemen,

    Did any JVP male or female former fighters publish memoir? I mean genuine memoir. Not the fake ones. Did lionel Bopage or Victor Ivan write anything.

  • Attentive reader

    I don’t know if Niromi de Soyza is genuine or not, but I don’t find Michael Roberts’ arguments convincing.

    It is true that there is a mistake in the blurb on the back cover. But this merely shows that the person who wrote the blurb did not read the book carefully.

    The ambush of December 23, 1987 is mentioned not only in chapter 1 (where it has been put for dramatic effect) but also in chapter 14 (its correct position in the narrative sequence).

    In chapter 14 it is absolutely clear that the soldiers who ambush Niromi’s unit are Indian. See page 227: “Our enemy, the Indian military, was now in full control of Jaffna Peninsula and it seemed that they were everywhere”.

    The book seems pretty accurate in its account of historical events. It records the crimes of the Sri Lankan government, the Indian army and the LTTE. To me it seems either genuine or fairly well researched.

  • Cheryl Fernando

    Everyone has a right to be heard, even former LTTE members. However, I wonder how the Tiger Cub got her police clearance to come to Australia? Fake identity again?

    • Chris

      If she had used her real identity, you would not see a book, but a murdered woman

      • Nihal Perera

        Not only her, but definitely her family and such relations in SL would have been threatened. There is a blacklist of expatriate Tamils which is maintained by the Sri Lankan CID, in which case it would be impossible for her to set foot on the island again without being imprisoned. Those like Michael Roberts fail to understand that freedom of expression, in the SL case, applies largely to those enjoying political patronage at the highest levels.

      • wijayapala

        By her own people?

  • yapa

    “Writing and truth:The instance of Niromi de Soyza’s Tamil Tigress
    Sept 29 (ST) What follows is not a review of Tamil Tigress (hereafter, TT) but an attempt to use it to raise and share some questions about issues such as writing, veracity and the “reception” of a text. The word “text” signifies “that which is woven” and suggests the coming together of different strands to form a composite, a whole, with its own shape and design, as in a carpet. “Context”, made up of “con” (or “with”) plus “text”, is that which surrounds and accompanies a text……”

    http://www.sundaytimes.lk/110925/Plus/plus_07.html

    Thanks!

  • Shaun

    here the truth comes out…..

    Here are the facts about Niromi…

    http://dbsjeyaraj.com/dbsj/archives/3160

    Michael Robert, Arul Ambalavanar and Mutthukrishna Sarvanantha wasted lot of their time tried hard to prove she is a fake…. shame to the critics …..

    Now we all know truth prevails…..

    Well done Niromi. you are so different from these jealous people .

    You set an example for others to follow by helping the war affected children through education.

    keep up the good work Niromi

  • roger

    I am from Jaffna. Now comfortably living in Colombo. Niromi would have been a SOLT member. But I doubt whether she was a trained cader. The swear words used by her were very commonly used in Jaffna at that time. A Tamil equivalent of boyfriend was commonly used by Jaffna girls at that time. The story may have inaccuracies but most parts seems true. I was very much involved in the process Arul Ambalavanar whom I knew as Natchaththira sevvindiyan was a self proclaimed poet who was not very much a in contact with reality at that time.

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