Wednesday, 20 May 2009


The rise and fall of Prabhakaran

By M K Bhadrakumar
Asia Times Online

The Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam supremo Velupillai
Prabhakaran's death circa May 19, 2009, in circumstances we
will never quite get to know, concludes a morality play.

As the curtain comes down and we leave the theater, the
spectacle continues to haunt us. We feel a deep unease and
can't quite figure out the reason. Something rankles
somewhere. And then we realize we have blood on our hands.

Not only our hands, but our whole body and deeper down, our
conscience - what remains of it after the mundane battles
of our day-to-day life - are also dripping with blood.

Prabhakaran's blood. No, it is not only Prabhakaran's, but
also of 70,000 Sri Lankan Tamils who have perished in the
unspeakable violence through the past quarter century.

All the pujas we may perform to our favorite Hindu god,
Lord Ganesh, for good luck each morning religiously so that
we march ahead in our life from success to success cannot
wash away the guilt we are bearing - the curse of the
70,000 dead souls.

Our children and grandchildren will surely inherit the
great curse. What a bitter legacy!

A long time ago, we created Prabhakaran. We picked him up
as an urchin from nowhere. What we found charming about him
was that he was so thoroughly apolitical - almost innocent
about politics. He was a simpleton in many ways, who had a
passion for weapons and the military regimen. He suited our
needs perfectly.

Which was to humiliate the Junius Richard Jayewardene
government in Sri Lanka and teach it a hard lesson about
the dangers of being disrespectful to India's status as the
pre-eminent power in the Indian Ocean. Jayewardene was too
Western-oriented and behaved as if he never read about the
Monroe Doctrine when he read history in Oxford. We didn't
like at all his dalliance with the Israelis and the
Americans in our very backyard. So, we fostered Prabhakaran
and built him up as a prick on Jayewardene's vanities -
like Sikh leader Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale of the Deccans.

Then, as time passed, we decided that he had outlived his
utility as we had come to develop an entirely different
outlook towards the pro-Western orientation of the Colombo
government by that time. Our egotistic leader in Delhi who
detested Jayewardene was no more in power and the new
soft-spoken leader didn't share his predecessor's strong
political antipathies.

So, we arm-twisted Prabhakaran to tone down and fall in
line with our changed priorities. But we didn't realize
that by then he had become a full-grown adult.

He resisted our blackmail and pressure tactics. When we
pressured him even more and tried to collar him, he struck
back. He dispatched assassins to India and killed our
beloved leader. And he became our eternal enemy.

Yet, we couldn't do anything to harm him. He had already
become so strong - an uncrowned king among his people. So
we waited. We are a patient lot. Who can match us in
infinite patience, given our 5,000 years of history? Our
cosmic religion gives us a unique wisdom to be patient and
stoic and to bide our time.

And then, the opportune time came. We promptly moved in for
the kill by aligning ourselves with Prabhakaran's enemies.
We armed them and trained them in better skills to kill. We
guided them with good intelligence. We plugged all escape
routes for Prabhakaran. And then, we patiently waited as
the noose tightened around Prabhakaran's neck.

Today he is no more. Believe it or not, we had no role in
his death. How and when he died shall forever remain an
enigma wrapped in a mystery. We will of course never
divulge what we know.

All that matters is that the world woke up to the death
only after the May 13 polling in the southern state of
Tamil Nadu. Otherwise, the parliamentary election results
may have gone haywire against us. Strange are the ways of
the Indian democracy.

We have had our revenge. Nothing else matters for the

What lies ahead? We will continue to make noises about a
"political solution" to the Tamil problem that Prabhakaran
championed through violent means.

Of course, let there be no doubt that we will periodically
render humanitarian assistance to the hundreds of thousands
of Tamil civilians who have been herded into camps and may
languish there till the dust settles down. We will
demonstrate that we are indeed capable of the milk of human
kindness. After all, the Sri Lankan Tamils are part of our
historical consciousness.

But we must also be realistic. We know in our heart of
hearts that the scope for a political solution in the
fashion in which our leaders seem to suggest publicly is
virtually nil.

The Sinhalese will never allow the world to dictate to them
a political solution. More so, they will promptly and
conclusively rebuff any attempt by us to seek a role in
what they will now onward insist as strictly their internal

Always remember that Sri Lanka is one of the last bastions
of Theravada Buddhism and preserving that legacy is the
Sinhalese people's precious tryst with destiny. At least,
that is how they feel. We have to accept the weight of
their cultural nationalism.

They see Sri Lanka as the land of the Sinhalese. How could
they allow us Indians who wiped out Buddhism with such
ferocity from the sub-continent interfere with their keen
sense of destiny as the custodians of that very same great
religion? Never, never.

If we try to pressure the Sinhalese, they will approach the
Chinese or the Pakistanis to balance our pressure. They are
capable of doing that.

The Sinhalese are a gifted people. We all know few can
never match their terrific skills in media management. They
have always lived by their wits.

Equally, they are fantastic practitioners of diplomacy. We
suspect that they may in fact have an edge over us on this
front, for, unlike us who are dissimulating from day to day
as if we're a responsible regional power, and dissipating
our energies in pastimes such as hunting down Somali
pirates in distant seas, they are a highly focused lot.

They have the grit because they are fighting for the
preservation of their country's future identity as a
Buddhist nation.

Only last week, they showed their diplomatic skill by
getting the Russians and the Chinese to stall a move in the
United Nations Security Council to pressure them.

The Europeans fancy they can try the Sinhalese for war
crimes. What naivety!

We asked the Sinhalese in private many a time how they
proposed to navigate their way in the coming period. They
wouldn't divulge.

But we know that it is not as if they have no solution of
their own to the Tamil problem, either. We know they
already have a blueprint.

See, they have already solved the Tamil problem in the
eastern provinces of Trincomalee, Batticaloa and Ampara.
The Tamils are no more the majority community in those

Similarly, from tomorrow, they will commence a concerted,
steady colonization program of the northern provinces where
Prabhakaran reigned supreme for two decades. They will
ensure incrementally that the northern regions no more
remain as Tamil provinces.

The Tamils will be made into a minority community in their
own northern homelands. They will have to live among the
newly created Sinhalese settlements in those regions to the
north of Elephant Pass.

All this will indeed be within Sri Lanka's "federal
structure". Sri Lanka will continue to adhere to
parliamentary democracy.

Give them a decade at the most. The Tamil problem will
become a relic of the bloody history of the Indian

The Sinhalese are good friends of India. Our elite and
their elite speak the same idiom. We both speak English
well, play golf and like chilled beer. We should,
therefore, wish them well.

As for the blood on our hands, true, it is a blessed
nuisance. But this is not the first time in our history
that we're having blood on our hands.

Trust our words. No lasting harm will be done. Blood
doesn't leave stains.

Ambassador M K Bhadrakumar was a career diplomat in the
Indian Foreign Service. His assignments included the Soviet
Union, South Korea, Sri Lanka, Germany , Afghanistan,
Pakistan, Uzbekistan, Kuwait and Turkey.


The Warrior Poet said...

Through out history we can find cases like this. People always need to fight for something that is theirs. some achieve it, some just get buried along with their desires. Its sad how many civilians were killed in the process.

Maxine said...

Too right, warrior poet. Glad you are following my trail here - this site rocks!