November 26th is the birthday of a revolutionary who fought for his beliefs and people. For 25 years he waged war against Sri Lanka to create an independent state for the Sri Lankan Tamil people. Yes that man is Velupillai Prabhakaran, the founder of Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, and if alive he would have turned 65 today.
To call him the enemy of Sri Lanka or the hero of Tamil Eelam is up to the people he stood for and those he fought against, but what should be remembered even after ten years of his death is that this man single-handedly united thousands of people and instilled in them the seeds of revolution for a cause.
Prabhakaran’s inspirations were Napolean, Alexander the Great and Subas Chandra Bose and Bhagat Singh. He chose armed revolution as his tool of reformation, which brought deaths to his friends and enemies alike. But for a period, the LTTE had in their hands what they wished to attain permanently. An article featured in Time Magazine says “At the height of his power, just before the 2002 cease-fire, Prabhakaran was the unquestioned leader of a de facto government that controlled more than 15,000 sq km of territory in the north and east of Sri Lanka and had its own system of taxes, roads and courts.”
He almost achieved what he believed in but things lasted the same only for a few years. In 2006 the period of truce ended and the Mahinda Rajapaksa led Sri Lanka government launched a military campaign on LTTE and it ended with Prabhakaran being killed in action. His men and his kin were killed.
Seen as a martyr by many Tamil and Sri Lankan Tamil people, even after 10 years of his death, the roar of that Tiger could still be heard. While armed revolutions should never be taken up for any cause, what we can take from Prabhakaran is his determination to go for what he believed. He remained firm in his beliefs and ideas till the very end. In this virtue, he will always be seen as a person who walked the talk.
His leadership was unquestioned by his followers and the tenacity that Prabhakaran expressed till his fall is a sign of strength. He could have given up, surrendered and lived but he fought and died. This is not to hail a man but the virtues he had and exhibited till his death.