Ilankai Tamil Sangam

23rd Year on the Web

Association of Tamils of Sri Lanka in the USA

Some Pulp Fiction Writers

by Sachi Sri Kantha, November 17, 2007

B.Raman’s fetish is about LTTE leader Pirabhakaran’s impending mortality. He has lately developed a penchant for ‘decapitation strikes’. But most of what he dishes out in his routine intelligence analyses has the imprimatur of an already decapitated crank. One of my B.Raman favorites is that Pirabhakaran is sickly, and suffering from hypertension and diabetes.

For the past century or so, Tamils have known quite a number of distinguished fiction writers. The names of Kalki [Krishnamurthy], Mu. Varadarajan, Akilan, Sandilyan, Janakiraman and Es. Po[nnuthurai] are relished by the fans of Tamil fiction, for the splendor with which these giants weaved their imagination to produce historical novels, adventures and even mundane family sagas.

One should not be surprised that with the advent of the internet, we are being bombarded with the weekly fiction of another grade of Tamil fiction writers, whose canvas is mainly limited to the LTTE’s personalities. B. Raman, Col. R. Hariharan (Retd.), N. Sathiya Moorthy, K. T. Rajasingham and last but not the least D.B.S. Jeyaraj have been the major names in this game of fiction writing. Here are four samples from Hariharan, Raman, Sathiya Moorthy and Jeyaraj, about Thamilselvan which in my opinion tell something about the thoughts of these LTTE gossip-mongers.

(1) “Even before his death, the political head was No. 3 in the pecking order of the LTTE. The relationship between Prabhakaran and the late Anton Balasingham, LTTE’s sole ideologue and predecessor of Thamilchelvan at the negotiating table, was on a closer and more equitable plane than Thamilchelvan…” – Col.R.Hariharan (Retd.), South Asia Analysis Group, Note No. 413, Nov.7, 2007.

(2) “Thamilselvan, the presumed No.3 in the pecking order of the LTTE leadership after Prabakaran and Pottu Amman, the chief of the intelligence wing of the LTTE, was the only leader not involved in any major act of terrorism either in Sri Lankan or Indian territory…” – B. Raman, South Asia Analysis Group, Paper No. 2456, Nov.15, 2007

(3) “To a good measure, the death of LTTE political wing leader S P Tamilselvan has taken the wind out of the 'Anuradhapura attack'. On past occasions, heavy LTTE attacks on State targets -- military and/or economic -- had the knack of stalling the Sri Lanka Army (SLA) on its track. This had eventually triggered a political re-thinking on the part of the Sri Lankan State and Government, and also the southern Sinhala polity. Not this time round…” – N. Sathiya Moorthy, Director, Chennai Chapter of Observer Research Foundation (ORF), an Indian pnlicy think-tank; Colombo Daily Mirror, Nov.12, 2007.

(4) “The nickname for him among comrades was ‘Thagadu’ meaning sneaker colloquially. Former tiger colleagues say that Thamilchelvan eliminated ‘competition’ by getting potential rivals sidelined through his sneaking to Prabakharan. He was responsible for the downfall of many colleagues including Dominick a former Jaffna political commissar. Dominick apparently had cracked a joke ‘critical’ of Prabakharan among his comrades. Thamilchelvan secretly recorded it and promptly passed it on to Prabakharan….” – D.B.S.Jeyaraj, [in his web-blog on S.P. Thamilselvan], Nov.3, 2007.

This breed of fiction writers are the non-Japanese equivalents of what Japanese call derisively as ‘madogiwa zoku’ [the window-beside tribe]. The madogiwa zoku phrase is tagged to the fellows characterized by the following commonalities; (1) over 50 – nearing retirement – and ‘good for nothing’ in either productivity or performance value for companies. (2) alienated to the peripheral office space, due to their incompetence (3) thus, spend their whole time watching the window space for any external action, not excluding leaf fall, rain and snow.

Having retired from active service, B. Raman and Hariharan are in the post- madogiwa zoku phase now. And they still get their thrill in engaging in their pet peeve of hierarchy ranking. Historically, the game of hierarchy ranking was an invention of European monarchy watchers and papacy watchers. It spread to the Indian subcontinent and the Indian bureaucratic clods took to this game like the proverbial duck taking to water. The amusing point is that only those who service the passive - stagnating fields thrill themselves in this hierarchy ranking, and for the Indian bureaucratic clods, this is a holy exercise day after day. Contrastingly, in the dynamic fields (such as science, entertainment, music and sports), hierarchy ranking is a futile exercise and hardly taken seriously. The working premise here is that talent abounds and it is objectively difficult to rank many who have equal aptitude in their chosen speciality. Those who make their names in the dynamic fields know that they are ‘the best’ only as demonstrated by their performance in the most recent research paper, record, album, and game. Thus madogiwa zokus like Raman and Hariharan make fools of themselves in indulging in their pet peeve of hierarchy ranking of the LTTE, which has proved itself a vibrant institution in its short span of existence, unlike the century-old Indian bureaucracy.

B.Raman’s fetish is about LTTE leader Pirabhakaran’s impending mortality. He has lately developed a penchant for ‘decapitation strikes’. But most of what he dishes out in his routine intelligence analyses has the imprimatur of an already decapitated crank. One of my B.Raman favorites is that Pirabhakaran is sickly, and suffering from hypertension and diabetes. This dispensation is served with an illusion that Raman is the physician consultant of Pirabhakaran. Technically speaking, any man who is over 50 has a nominal probability of being diagnosed with hypertension and diabetes. Belonging to Pirabhakaran’s same age cohort, I too have been either diagnosed or warned about these two chronic maladies in the annual health checks which are mandatory in Japan for those in the work force. Afflicted with hypertension and diabetes - so what? Recently, I received a letter from journalist Sivanayagam who is facing the sunset of his life with grit and gumption. He has passed the Biblical span of three score and ten. With the biting humor he is blessed with, he had written with only a little bit of exaggeration; ‘You name the disease, and I have it.’ Sivanayagam also let me know that he is not bed-ridden.

Jeyaraj’s expertise in LTTE fiction-writing is of a special grade. His main tools of embellishment are innuendos, inappropriate comparisons and inappropriate inferences based on hearsay. In the above-cited anecdote, Jeyaraj labored valiantly to push the point that it was because of Thamilselvan’s penchant for passing an off-color ‘joke’ to Pirabhakaran, that Dominic - one time LTTE spokesman for Jaffna district - lost his clout and had to quit the LTTE.

I, for one, doubt whether this would have been the valid and sole reason for Dominic to quit the LTTE. First, Jeyaraj may have heard only one side of the story, from the grieved party. Secondly, it makes one wonder whether Pirabhakaran is such a humor-less dimwit, which contradicts the evidence presented by those who have met the LTTE leader face to face. Thirdly, it also insinuates Thamilselvan as a Nixonian type, in taping conversations secretly, without prior consent. Fourthly, if the third item has to be believed, that ‘critical joke’ on Pirabhakaran should have been repeated ad nauseam by Dominic, which would have allowed Thamilselvan to make a recording. How else one could align the possibility that Thamilselvan anticipated the ‘critical joke’ on Pirabhakaran from Dominic and quickly turned on the tape recorder switch which he had hid in his shirt pocket or elsewhere.

One thing which is common to these fiction writers is that three years ago, all of them salivated for Karuna’s ascent. Now, Karuna’s fortunes have plummeted so drastically that he has been deposed from the ‘Tamil leadership’ rank (by the clique who cheered for him for petty cash) and shunted to the leper league. I have been a strong critic of Karuna in the past three years. But, I should admit that even Karuna did one good thing. He served these fiction writers with crow and made them eat it. Though Thamilselvan is not with us now, I remember one thing which Thamilselvan mentioned about Karuna, after he was thrown out of the LTTE – that Karuna stands alone. How true it seems now!