The Pirabhakaran Phenomenon

Sachi Sri Kantha
[26 July 2002]

The Paradigm Shifter

Gen. Muttukumaru versus Pirabhakaran

While analyzing the professional quality of Sri Lanka’s ‘paper Generals’, one cannot bypass the name Gen. Anton Muttukumaru (1908-2001). Comparison between the professional record of Gen. Muttukumaru and Pirabhakaran is inevitable to evaluate latter’s success in establishing a legitimate, albeit small, Tamil army.

Gen. Muttukumaru was an anomaly in the Ceylonese military history, since following the ethnic cleansing procedures instituted in the post-1962 period, he would remain as the first and the last ethnic Tamil to hold the topmost rank in the island’s armed forces. To cite from a published profile about him,

“a lawyer by profession, [he] joined the Ceylon Defence Force as a volunteer officer in 1934 and was commissioned in the Ceylon Light Infantry (CLI). He was mobilized during World War II, and commanded one of the battalions of the CLI. When the new Ceylon Army was inaugurated in 1949, he was selected to be the Chief of Staff under the command of Brigadier the Earl of Caithness. He was also entrusted with the formation of the Army Act. He assumed duties as the first Sri Lankan Army Commander in February 1955 and served up to December 1959…” [Hiranthi Fernando, in Sunday Times, Colombo, Oct.10, 1999]

What was missing in this puff piece are the clear details of Gen. Muttukumaru’s professional achievement during the Second World War. Where did he command the battalion of the CLI? What was the strength of his battalion? Were there any memorable outcomes of his battalion’s engagements?

In 1949, the total budget for Ceylon was only 557 million Sri Lankan rupees and the army’s allocation 0.24 percent amounted to a mere 1.34 million rupees. This number is nothing but ‘peanuts’ compared to the army’s allocation of 52 billion rupees (approximately US$ 700 million) in 2000. 52 billion is equivalent to 52,000 million. Thus, in 51 years, the military budget in Sri Lanka had magnified to nearly 50,000-fold in terms of Sri Lankan currency. Of course, Sri Lankan rupee has been devalued considerably. In 1949, one US dollar was worth for 3.50 rupees; but in 2000 nearly 90 rupees were needed to purchase the same US dollar. With these figures in background, I quote what Gen.Muttukumaru had reminisced as his major achievement:

“I consider the greatest contribution I made to the Army was to establish Field Artillery, an Armoured Corps and Field Engineers…at the start, our army was a small force of about 2,500 men.” [ibid]

Considering the human power and quality of the current LTTE army, amounting to nearly 10,000 men and women, one could easily infer that what Gen. Muttukumaru handled during his period of command in the second half of 1950s was nothing but an equivalent of Chicken Co-operatives. Thus, Gen. Muttukumaru - with all his touted professional experience in the farmer’s league of the Second World War - was incapable of comprehending the functioning of Pirabhakaran’s LTTE. Despite this lack of expertise, Gen.Muttukumaru made a fool of himself by prattling to his interviewer in 1999,

“the terrorist forces [as he had referred to the LTTE] were not trained or organized to fight a well prepared army in the open field. ‘That is why, when they lost Jaffna, they took to the jungles,’ he said.” [ibid]

It had escaped the senile Gen.Muttukumaru that given the cumulative strength of Sri Lankan army (with a cumulative number of Active Forces 118,000-123,000 men; Reserves 4,200 men), Pirabhakaran was not foolish to waste his resources with a numerical handicap between 10:1 and 15:1. I should add that what Pirabhakaran achieved since 1996 in the military front, after losing Jaffna, against the Sri Lankan army, did not merit any response from the first ‘paper General’ of Ceylon. But an anonymous ‘retired General’ had whispered the following comments:

“…Generals must think of the country and not only of themselves and repeating ‘Yes men’ who remain in their positions doing nothing useful. Our politicians and top brass have wrong notions. Whenever there is a rare success in battle, they take it as winning the war. Winning a battle is certainly not winning the war. A case in point is the capture of Jaffna.

…Yes men are not the answer. The government through the security forces will have to win the hearts and minds of Tamils. Whilst doing so they must not lose the confidence of the major ethnic group, the Sinhalese. This is rather a tall order...” [The Island, Colombo, June 28, 2001]

The fact that this retired General, undoubtedly a Sinhalese, who had written such a sermon was spineless to identify himself openly tells something about the confidence-challenged stature of the top brass of Sri Lankan armed forces. Cynics may wonder, if he cannot identify himself to his prime Sinhalese audience for reasons known only to him, how could he propose an agenda of winning the ‘hearts and minds of Tamils’. I lack military experience of any kind, but I had anticipated the thoughts expressed by this retired General of the Sri Lankan army on the 1995 ‘capture of Jaffna’. Here is a complete text of my 1995 year-end rebuttal letter to analyst Mervyn de Silva’s comments on the ‘fall of Jaffna’. The pronoun ‘you’ in the letter refers to the editor of Lanka Guardian.

Prabhakaran’s Retreat

[Lanka Guardian, Dec.15, 1995]

“I do not want to spoil the party line you have presented that LTTE received a drubbing in the recent military offensive in Jaffna (LG, Nov.15). Since one of the mission statements of the LG is to present the ‘other view’, allow me to be the devil’s advocate. Why is it that when the army hits Jaffna with missiles and bombs, the suffering of commoners is cast aside as ‘collateral damage’ in the international press release, but when the LTTE retaliates in the East or in Colombo, the attack is called ‘terror campaign’ and Prabhakaran is projected as a ‘blood-thirsty Dracula? (vide, your co-authored report with Tony Clifton in Newsweek, Nov.13, 1995). Is it because the definition of terror is different for those who hold nominal power and those who challenge the status quo?

The party line that the ‘LTTE and its senior commanders fled [Jaffna] city’ may definitely give a morale boost to the battered and accident-prone image of the army. It will also probably ‘strengthen President Kumaratunga’s case’ in the political stage. But as the old adage says, ‘Don’t count your chicken before the eggs are hatched’.

Like how ‘the Army has been able to pursue its own strategy on its own terms’, as you have stated, Prabhakaran also is using the war on his own terms. He was not foolish to sacrifice resources in a frontal combat, though the spin of the defence pundits that LTTE fled Jaffna city has the Madison Avenue trademark. Prabhakaran gave his cadres a few weeks of ‘field experience’ and then tactically retreated, by borrowing a page from Mao’s book on the Long March, to choose his next strategy. The Generals who celebrated their success over Mao’s retreating forces later lived to lick their wounds.

Since you have mentioned Muhammad Ali in your commentary, I would add that Prabhakaran also has proved on numerous occasions his adherence to Ali’s manthra in the boxing ring: ‘Float like a butterfly and sting like a bee’. This explains the commando-style attack on Kolonnawa oil depots, which exposed the soft underbelly of the national security forces.

Now a comment about the much-touted ‘army’s resources’. Can you be more specific about these resources in terms of cash? I hardly find any real figures mentioned about the defense expenditure related to military offensives in the pages of LG. Does the Army generate its own resources? Someone (not the 67% of the survey sample who favor a military solution, but the international donors) is paying for the army’s resources and everyone knows that Sri Lanka is not blessed with gold mines and oil fields. If you put a moderate guess, such as one million dollars per day as operational expenses in Jaffna, then one can easily guess that the Army’s resources are not unlimited. There lies Prabhakaran’s strategy.

You may be correct in stating, ‘Just as it administered Jaffna successfully enough to believe that it had established a government, the LTTE felt it could take on an army frontally’. Now flip this point to arrive at an answer to the question you have posed in the cover, ‘When Jaffna falls what next?’ Just as they have taken the LTTE frontally, can the Army and the President feel comfortable that they can establish a government in Jaffna? This will be akin to the mental peace of a guy who pretends to sleep in the tiger’s den.”

I appreciated Mervyn de Silva’s magnanimity in publishing my letter in full, without any deletions or mangling, though my letter was critical of his expressed opinion. I guess that he accepted the merits in my rebuttal. Now after a lapse of over 6 years, with a defence-operation budget of more than two million dollars per day, Pirabhakaran had taught a lesson to some of the decision makers in the Sri Lankan military ranks and sensible Sinhalese politicians that LTTE cannot be militarily decimated. This is why I consider him as the foremost paradigm shifter in the military history of Tamil nationalism for the past 500 years. This is not a hyperbole since I have established my evaluation criteria in the previous chapter (see, Pirabhakaran Phenomenon – part 38).

The Paradigm Shifter

First, I wish to introduce the terms ‘paradigms’, ‘paradigm shifter’ and ‘paradigm pioneers’. In science, the term ‘paradigm shift’ gained prominence following the publication of historian Thomas Kuhn’s path-breaking book, The Structure of Scientific Revolutions’ in 1962. To quote from a readable brief commentary on paradigm, paradigm shift and paradigm shifter authored by physician Jeffrey Schwartz,

“Paradigms are sets of rules and regulations that establish boundaries for successful work. As a paradigm changes, the game itself changes. New rules apply. Failure to keep up with change can cause problems – even failure. Since change is inevitable, and paradigms are constantly changing, watching for these changes enables growth. A paradigm shift occurs when a problem is discovered that cannot be solved by the existing set of rules.” [in Inside Emergency Consultants Inc. Newsletter, Winter 2002, vol.4, no.1]

Eelam Tamils faced a paradigm shift in 1956. For subsequent two decades, the then Tamil leaders tested the established rules, regulations and boundaries – such as parliamentary debates, extra-parliamentary agitation by non-violent methods and pilgrimage to the power-outlets in India – to disastrous consequences. I titled the chapter 11 of this series as ‘Paradigm Shift in Eelam’ referring to the year 1987. The person who shifted the paradigm in Sri Lanka (and India) was Pirabhakaran. Three of his Tamil rivals who led other Tamil militant groups in the early 1980s - TELO (Sri Sabaratnam), PLOTE (Uma Maheswaran) and EPRLF (Padmanabha) – having misread the nefarious minds of Sri Lankan and Indian manipulators failed to click and fell victims to their shortsightedness. More about this will follow below, since anti-LTTE propagandists have tried to create martyrs out of cowards who deposited their brains to the Sri Lankan and Indian operatives working against the interests of Eelam Tamils. With foresight and humility, V.Balakumar - the leader of EROS - had joined his group with the LTTE.

To quote Jeffrey Schwartz again,

“A paradigm shifter is someone who asks you to forsake your investment in the present paradigm to move towards a new paradigm. They are able to see new solutions in old problems. Paradigm pioneers are the first people to follow what the shifters have uncovered. Paradigm pioneers bring the brains, brawn, time, effort and capital to help create the critical mass necessary to drive a new paradigm forward.” [ibid]

Brains, brawn, time, effort and capital were the ingredients Pirabhakaran needed to push a new paradigm. This is how, the Economist magazine had summarized the growth of LTTE in the past 15 years. That the cited unnamed ‘military analyst’ is Rohan Gunaratna is not difficult to identify.

“Since 1987, when India unwisely intervened to keep a ‘peace’, the Tigers have evolved from a band of 1,000-2,000 cadres into a force of 7,000 capable of operating ‘at all five spectra of conflict’, according to a military analyst. They have a field army equivalent to three brigades, armed with artillery, armour, radios with encryption devices and other paraphernalia, which now fights on the Jaffna peninsula. They have a 1,000-cadre guerrilla force in the Eastern Province, which specializes in ambushes and mortar attacks. They have a terrorist outfit, which sends suicide bombers to Colombo and blows up electricity transformers. They have a global propaganda network of websites, broadcasters and newspapers, and a diplomatic wing. All this is paid for with contributions, mostly from expatriate Tamils, and profits from businesses, such as restaurants and shipping. The [Sri Lankan] government guesses that the Tigers take in $80 m[illion] a year.” [Economist, Oct.7, 2000; p.26]

A purse of $80 million per annum?

The guestimate figure of $80 million as an annual purse for LTTE operations cannot be verified easily. But if it happens to be true, it can be inferred that to maintain an army of 10,000-strong motivated cadres, on a per head basis, LTTE spends the equivalent sum drained by the Sri Lankan defence establishment (i.e., $850 million defence budget for an army of over 100,000 active personnel: according to analyst Alastair Lawson, BBC News of Nov.10, 1999). Financing a war need ingenious strategies. Even if the figure of $80 million per annum generated by the LTTE is a hyperbole and the real figure is merely one-tenth of it (i.e. $8 million per annum), generating such an amount largely from a constituency of Eelam Tamil Diaspora who are known for their frugal means deserves credit. And Pirabhakaran and his advisors are paradigm shifters in this aspect as well.

To highlight the value of this angle on economic ingenuity, I reproduce a lengthy segment of critical commentary authored by journalist S.P.Amarasingam in the aftermath of 1983 riots against Tamils. In this biting commentary providing a synopsis of the period from 1900 to 1980, Amarasingam had faulted the previous generation of politicians and businessmen among the Eelam Tamils who fattened their purses by contributing to the development of the southern and hill-country regions of the island to the detriment of Eelam region. Amarasingam wrote,

“…The question that has not been answered is why (at least from the time of Independence and even earlier) the Jaffna Tamils did not develop the North and the East. It is not that they did not have the capital for such development. It is not that they did not have skills. But the fact is that the kind of education imparted by the colonial administration and the missionary societies had made them prisoners of a thought-process that fitted them only to be cog-wheels in a government administrative machine. The Jaffna Tamils were taken by the British as clerks and subordinate officials to Malaya and elsewhere starting from the closing decades of the last [19th] century.

With the cash they earned, the Jaffna Tamils did nothing more than establish what has been called a money order economy in the Jaffna peninsula and also create a pensioner’s paradise for old age residence. With a little of this expatriate capital, market gardening was streamlined and made profitable in Jaffna. This had brought good profit for a small coterie of farmers but it was only a fraction of the remittances received. The bulk of the population depended on employment in the public and private sector in Sri Lanka and abroad, and the only industry was education to fit them for that kind of employment. Later, from being clerks and pen-pushers the newer generations went into the professions and the new technocracy.

In the thirties and forties of this [20th] century, when emigration to Malaya had dried up, Jaffna Tamil agriculture was extended to the Iranamadu Tank area in Kilinochchi, a part of the Jaffna district. But the investment was meager and the development was marginal. With greater private capital investment in agriculture, agro-industries and even industries, the Kilinochchi district could have become an economic miracle a long time ago. But the Jaffna Tamil considered such investment as risk capital. All the surplus Jaffna Tamil capital, however, was invested in Colombo and the already developed parts of South Ceylon. [Italics, as in the original].

There was further exodus of Jaffna Tamils for employment to the developed countries of the West, Africa, Australia and elsewhere after Independence and more especially after 1956. After the oil boom of 1973, many Tamils found employment in the Gulf States. But the surplus expatriate capital that flowed into Jaffna in the [nineteen] sixties, seventies and eighties, apart from jacking up the price of land in the Jaffna Peninsula (mainly for residential purposes) to dizzy heights of uneconomic absurdity, it was, like before, invested in the South, mainly in fixed deposits in State Banks or finance companies. A sizeable portion went into real estate in Colombo and the suburbs and a smaller portion into the new ‘tax holiday’ industries like tourism, travel, hotels, export industries and the like. Very, very little or hardly anything was invested in the North or the East – the so-called traditional homelands of the Tamils.

There were no legal or any other restriction to prevent this investment. Only the infrastructure in these areas was less than marginal. No doubt the areas were in jungle. There was malaria, elephants and snakes. It had to be a pioneer’s existence – a far cry from the semi-urban calm of Jaffna or the flesh-pots and urban amenities of Colombo. It was also easier to collect interest on fixed deposits in arm chair comfort than toil and sweat in new ventures in the undeveloped areas.” [Tribune, Colombo, Sept.17, 1983, pp.2-3]

I appreciated the above lines from Amarasingam. They tell how much the LTTE cadres had endured in the jungles of Eelam to establish the vibrant Tamil army, by leading a pioneer’s existence. The arm-chair critics of LTTE belonging to the upper crust of Sinhalese, Tamils and Muslims – the quasi literate scribes, analysts and journalists - live in the flesh-pots and urban amenities of Colombo. Two additional paragraphs from Amarasingam’s commentary deserve self introspection:

“But what has disappointed many is that a Jaffna Tamil who talks so much about ‘Tamil areas’ and who could have done much to develop them did nothing to switch his investments from the South to these areas in the North and the East. If this had been done, the accusation that the Jaffna Tamils were seeking to swallow up Colombo and other southern areas would not have come. Furthermore, the Sri Lankan Tamils could easily have developed agriculture and industry and homes for themselves in the North and East. A very large number who had obtained lands under various schemes, especially in the years after 1956, failed to make the necessary investment in them to make them economically viable. Instead the available Tamil capital was invested and re-invested in Colombo, in the upcountry and other areas in the South. A tea estate in Talawakelle or an oil extraction plant in the Coconut Belt was a more attractive proposition that an investment in agriculture or industry in the North or the East.

One does not know whether the present [1983] holocaust will bring a change in the thinking of the Sri Lankan Tamil. Many argue that such investment in the North and East would be feasible only after a political settlement. Those who indulge in such casuistry are silent when asked whether they did not think that a political settlement would have been easier if such development had taken place. Nor do they have an answer as to why they put all their investments into one basket in the South which some of them regard as ‘alien territory’…” [ibid]

When I re-read these lines now, I could hear the sneering voice of Amarasingam which I listened to rapturously in the days following the post-1977 riots, while seated in front of his desk at the Tribune office in Colombo. He had a visceral distaste for the business entrepreneurship of G.G.Ponnambalam and Chelvanayakam. Not only Ponnambalam and Chelvanayakam, but also Gunaratnams, Sellamuthus, Thambiaiyahs, Gardiners, Pages and Maharajahs reaped obscene amount of capital wealth by investing and re-investing in the South Ceylon, which hardly benefited the Tamil folks residing in the North-East regions of the island. Viewed in this angle, LTTE’s business ventures during the past 15 years in the territories beyond Sri Lanka deserve a pat in the back. It was a paradigm shift indeed.

Critics may carp loud but paradigm shifting has been a difficult and dirty job. Science has numerous names in its honor roll to prove it; Galileo, Darwin, Wright brothers and Einstein suffered rejection, ridicule and ostracism for their paradigm shifting efforts. Thus Pirabhakaran cannot be an exception.

Geld, Geld, und nochmals Geld (money, money, and once more money) was an old slogan in German language extolling the need for money to raise an army and wage war. Pirabhakaran’s acumen in understanding the double significance of this adage has been under-appreciated. Among his Tamil militant competitors, only Pirabhakaran established the vital links of earning money by legitimate business ventures to support an army. Simultaneously by exploiting the weaknesses in egos, strategy and incompetence of his professional rivals, he also made sure that the defence expenditure of his prime adversary to sky rocket and bite the treasury coffers. One will be hard-pressed to deny the label that Pirabhakaran is a shrewd manipulator. Of course he is. Eelam Tamils badly needed a commander who cannot be manipulated.

Intransigence trait of a Paradigm Shifter

The word ‘intransigence’ is being continually tagged on Pirabhakaran as a ‘dirty word’ by critics like N.Ram. But, intransigence is a trait of paradigm shifters in every sphere of expertise. ‘Not losing focus of one’s aim’ is a positive interpretation for the word ‘intransigence’. For four decades, Mahatma Gandhi was intransigent in his objective of eliminating the servile mentality of Indian nationals to the white-skinned rulers. He did not find the white-skinned individuals as despicable. In fact, he had quite a number of white-skinned friends who treated him as an equal. He detested only the servile mentality (of the Indians) and the dominance attitude (of the white-skinned rulers). Thus, his strong-willed personality reflected an intransigence trait of a paradigm shifter. Only the weak-willed persons who posture as leaders allow themselves to be manipulated.

In psychological terms, Pirabhakaran leads a cohesive group. His rivals for Tamil militant leadership led only ad hoc groups. A cohesive group is a close knit group, as defined by the sum of the attractions of a group to its members. Contrastingly, an ad hoc group is a group created to perform a single, time-limited function; once this function is completed, such an ad hoc group dissipates. While LTTE became a cohesive group, others like TELO, EPRLF and PLOTE were tuned out to be ad hoc groups by the Indian Intelligence operatives. When these groups were trained in the Indian soil, the RAW personnel and the puppeteers manning the Sri Lankan desk in New Delhi had only a single, time-limited objective for them; to be of nuisance value to the then J.R.Jayewardene’s regime so as to elicit responses from Sri Lankan government which were thought to be favorable for India’s then policy objectives. Pirabhakaran’s brilliance was in carving out his own strategy against the designs of India’s then policy puppeteers like J.N.Dixit and their journalist lackeys like N.Ram.

I provide two available records relating to the phoney leadership qualities of two of Pirabhakaran’s rivals who were assassinated by the LTTE; one is about TELO’s Sri Sabarattinam and the other is about EPRLF’s Padmanabha.

The first is from Narayan Swamy. In the final chapter of his book on Tamil Tigers, he had observed,

“When RAW began training Tamil militants in 1983, it created chasms between the various groups. The LTTE was sore that RAW was resuscitating groups which were as good as dead… The TELO, for example, was encouraged to think that it was the most favoured group in New Delhi. In the process, TELO chief Sri Sabarattinam consulted RAW on every military operation. He would, according to his former colleagues, even want to know from his RAW advisers the number of guerrillas needed for an attack. But when the D-day came, the RAW simply washed its hands off TELO, letting its members be killed like stray dogs at the hands of LTTE. When surviving TELO members became destitutes in Tamil Nadu, they were not cared for – until the time came when the remnants were found useful to be heaped up to form a proxy militia (TNA) in 1989…” [Book: Tigers of Lanka, 2nd ed., 1996, p.326]

The second is from Dayan Jayatilleka. Ten years after the assassination of Padmanabha, he had let the secret out that EPRLF was willing to ‘join the Sri Lankan army and fight against the LTTE’. Jayatilleka has spoken as follows:

“…Had he [Padmanabha] lived, I am quite convinced that we would have connected up again because the [EPRLF’s] Central Committee meeting which was to be held in Madras was to discuss a particular subject. I refer to the Central Committee meeting at which 13 of EPRLF leading members were present in Madras, but the meeting was never held because of the mass slaughter carried out by the LTTE. EPRLF MP Yogasangari flew from Colombo for that meeting. He had earlier communicated to Pathmanabha a proposal of the Sri Lankan Government of that time – the Premadasa administration – that the EPRLF should join the Sri Lankan Army and fight against the LTTE. The LTTE had resumed the war ten days before, on the 10th of June 1990. The initial response from the EPRLF was positive in principle, but they had one problem. Ranjan Wijeratne was insisting that EPRLF fighters wear Sri Lankan Army uniform and Pathmanabha was reluctant to allow his cadres to do that…” [Ceylon Daily News, June 19, 2000]

I repeat the sentence, “The initial response from the EPRLF was positive in principle.” This means that Padmanabha was willing to turn the EPRLF as a mercenary arm of the Sri Lankan army. In the same feature, Dayan Jayatilleka unintentionally exposed the sham of Padmanabha, as follows:

“We must always remember that in the name of EPRLF you do not find the term ‘Tamil Eelam’ unlike the LTTE. But the EPRLF stands for Eelam People’s Revolutionary Liberation Front. Nabha deliberately dropped the term Tamil. Because he wanted to keep that open. For him the Eelam struggle finally meant a struggle of the people of the North and East for liberation…” [ibid]

The decision-making qualities, as illustrated by the above descriptions, show that Sri Sabarattinam and Padmanabha led only ad hoc groups, as opposed to the LTTE led by Pirabhakaran. When Sri Sabarattinam was killed in 1986 and when Padmanabha was killed in 1990, there were much breast-beating about the ‘ruthlessness’ of LTTE. The authors of Broken Palmyra book led this oppari (loudly-sung funeral lament) in 1990. But it takes years for the truth to leak out on the activities of pimps who postured as Tamil militant leaders. It is worth to ponder the question, suppose if the militant leadership had passed into the hands of either TELO’s Sri Sabarattinam or EPRLF’s Padmanabha, what was the guaranty that they would not have pawned the future of Tamils for sovereigns or personal privileges. However agonizing were the assassinations of Sri Sabarattinam and Padmanabha, one has to score them as LTTE’s ‘pre-emptive strikes on behalf of self-defence’. This may not be convincing to LTTE’s critics, but so was the Truman defense for the use of two atomic bombs against innocent Japanese in Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Truman used the atomic bombs to save the lives of American soldiers which he considered more worthy than the defenceless Japanese civilians.

Geld, Geduld, Geschick und Glück

Kiyoshi Shiga, the discoverer of Shigella dysenteriae – the dysentery bacteria, while studying in the laboratory of Paul Ehrlich (1854-1915), the great German bacteriologist, picked up the motto of his life from his mentor: the significance of four Gs, geld (money), geduld (patience), geschick (skill or dexterity or aptitude) and glück (luck or ‘good breaks’) for one’s success in research or any worthy activity in life. Herman Pincus, writing in the Science of Dec.5, 1957, observed that of these four Gs, the two central Gs (geduld and geschick) have to be instilled by the person himself or herself while engaged in the worthy activity. To apply these two Gs, one needs geld, and be in the look out for glück.

It is my impression that Pirabhakaran’s rivals for militant leadership (Uma Maheswaran, Sri Sabarattinam, Padmanabha, Varatharaja Perumal and Douglas Devananda) were distinctly lacking patience and dexterity, though they went after money and luck. I have to state a harsh truth on another two individuals: Kadirgamar and Neelan Tiruchelvam. These two were shamelessly paraded as the Tamil leaders in the second half of 1990s by Chandrika Kumaratunga and the journalists scribbling to the Hindu group of Chennai. They had abundant money and luck; but were paupers in patience. Also their dexterity was that of pimps and not of leaders. Contrastingly, Pirabhakaran has been blessed with patience, dexterity and luck. His critics sneer at his efforts to earn money for keeping his army in form. But unlike Gen. Anton Muttukumaru who led a chicken cooperative equivalent of a Ceylonese army in the 1950s, Pirabhakaran’s army has demonstrated itself as combat worthy since 1987. (To be continued)