Pirapaharan, Chapter 16:
Wresting Weapons from the Enemy

 by T. Sabaratnam

Chat Session

Now that we have progressed to some extent we must start talking.

Talking to the readers is one of the facilities the internet offers; we can talk as we progress.

The purpose of this session is not to get bouquet or brickbat from my readers.

The real purpose is to correct errors, draw out more information about Pirapaharan and to present him to future generations as the real genius he is.

My intention is not to incorporate the information I gather in these chat sessions into my series. These sessions will run parallel to this series and could serve as seed material for future researchers and authors. Pirapaharan is a phenomenon, one of world’s greatest guerrilla leaders and freedom fighters, who has to be written on, analyzed and commented.

To date I have received three comments and I will start with the third.

Ambalavanar Sellathurai from Canada has pointed out a serious slip I had made.

I am reproducing his e-mail:


In chapter 14 of the 'Pirapaharan' biography by T.Sabaratnam, it is stated that Thangathurai had recited Saint Manikkavasagar's prayer, 'Nam Yarkum Kudiyallom'and the saint's sculpture is also depicted. This prayer is by Saint Thirunavukkarasar (Appar)and not by

Saint Manikkavasagar. A correction is needed please."

Appar is the first of Tamil Hinduism’s four saints- Appar, Suntharar, Thirugnasampanthar and Manikkavasagar. I am a Hindu. These names were drummed into my head. I learnt it without getting the famous “kuttu” of our days. I don’t know how I made that error. I regret it and it stands corrected. I have been a journalist since January 1957 and to me facts are sacred.

The first comment was from the editor of Sangam. This portion is from his letter:

"Yesterday I met a gentleman at the Sangam committee meeting who has been following your series on Pirapaharan closely. His first question was, "Is this going to be published as a book when it is finished?" He then went on in detail about how much he enjoyed reading it. He said it was an unbiased, factual, articulate and thorough. He said that it made one feel like one was right there in the middle of the events. The person in question says that he is very much looking forward to reading more as the chapters come out and he is recommending it to all his friends.

It seems this person rode on some bicycle trip as a young man with Pirapaharan - it sounded like to some meeting or protest, I did not catch which one - and reading your article about these events evidently brought back many memories to him of that time."

While thanking that person who spoke to the Sangam editor I request him to write about it. We know that Pirapaharan rode in a cycle throughout the length and breadth of the Jaffna peninsula to acquaint himself with its roads, lanes and by-lanes. He cycled to political and protest meetings. An account of that trip and the conversation they engaged in would be useful. I request him to write about it. He can leave his identity out if he prefers.

The second letter is from a chemistry student from Carleton University in Canada. Excerpt from his letter:

"I really thank Sabaratnam because I got lots of information via this article, and also his writing style also excellent."

He has promised to post this series in his university Tamil Sangam’s web page.

I am pleased. Others too can follow that example.

I expect and hope many more will write. They can send their comments to "Editor Sangam" sangameditor@hotmail.com

Thank You

T. Sabaratnam




Posted October 27, 2003