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From Shenuka to Niromi: True tale of a ‘Tamil Tigress’

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by D.B.S. Jeyaraj

Niromi de Soyza

“Tamil Tigress” is a 320 page book released this year by the Australia –based publishing house, Allen& Unwin. The book has a picture of an armed female guerilla fighter on the cover along with the strap line “My story as a child soldier in Sri Lanka’s bloody civil war”. It is written by a former member of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam(LTTE)under the pseudonym Niromi de Soyza.

The book has reportedly made quite a splash in Australia and New Zealand where it is available at book shops. The Australian Ministry for the Arts and the Australian Arts council have selected it for their 2011 “Get Reading! Campaign” as one of the 50 Books “You Can’t Put Down”! It is earmarked for a second edition soon and is likely to be distributed world-wide.

While the book has been enjoying brisk sales the author herself has been the subject of interviews by Radio, TV, journals and newspapers. She has also addressed breakfast meetings, seminars and public discussions. Some see the author being gradually turned into a minor celebrity.

Many reasons may be attributed for the book’s success, down under, at this point of time.

AUSTRALIA

Firstly there is wide interest over Sri Lanka within mainstream Australia right now. Earlier Australia’s predominant interest in Sri Lanka was whether our Murali was a chucker or not or whether Murali will overtake Shane Warne in wicket taking. But currently this interest has extended beyond Cricket.

Large numbers of asylum seekers are arriving in ships seeking refuge. If the war is over in Sri Lanka then why are there refugees now? is a question puzzling many Aussies. Hence there is an urge to know more.

This curiosity has further increased due to the release of a controversial book on Sri Lanka by another Australian Gordon Weiss who served in Sri Lanka during the war years as an UN official.Weiss has written about his experiences in a book named” The Cage:The Fight for Sri Lanka and the Last Days of the Tamil Tigers”. This book and the screening by Four Corners of a documentary”Sri Lanka:The Killing Fields” made by British Channel 4 TV has whetted the Aussie appetite for further information about Sri Lanka.

In that respect the “Tamil Tigress” provides information and insight into a hitherto uncharted area. This is the first time that a former member of the LTTE has written a book in English based on his or her experience in the movement. This pioneering effort is of tremendous significance as it gives the reader a glimpse of the Sri Lankan past from a uniquely different perspective.

The book also makes a fascinating read. It is written dramatically and incisively from a first person’s point of view and grips the readers attention from the first chapter. The narrative is tight and the narration racy. It is primarily written for a “non-South Asian” audience and transports the reader to another place and another time. It is indeed “unputdownable”.

“Tamil tigress” is also a tale of negated idealism and lost innocence. It is about a girl in her teens who joins the LTTE willingly in a spirit of romantic idealism and then gets disillusioned as realization dawns through experiencing bitter reality.

REDEMPTION

The book is also a personal story of redemption and renaissance as the protagonist quits the movement, reunites with her family, seeks safety abroad and relocates finally to Australia. She forges a new life for herself in her land of adoption where she gains post-graduate qualifications and becomes a lecturer. She also marries and is the mother of two daughters.

It is a classic immigrant success story that makes countries such as Australia proud. In this case the “new immigrant”is one who has turned around her child soldier past and is now courageous enough to write about it openly and lucidly. This is a welcome feature. The author’s sophisticated appearance and suave articulation enhances this appeal.

These are the reasons then for the book’s impact and success. This success and fame have evoked a negative reaction too. There is a school of thought within some Sri Lankans and those of Sri Lankan origin that the author bearing the nom –de –plume “Niromi de Soyza” is not whom she claims to be.

This school of thought comprising Academics, researchers,writers and journalists evince doubts that the author had at any time been a “Tamil tigress” as she claims to be in her book. They point out some alleged mistakes, errors and discrepancies in her book and on that basis cast aspersions on her authenticity. “Fake tigress” and “counterfeit guerilla” are some of the expressions used to denigrate her.

Then there are the “conspiracy” theorists. This is a breed that flourishes in Sri Lanka and elsewhere among those with a Lankan connection. The timing of the book release and some of the alleged errors in the book are perceived as being part of a deep-seated international conspiracy to undermine Sri Lanka. The “Tamil Tigress” author had an unpleasant experience in Melbourne a few months ago while signing copies of her book when some “patriots” mobbed her and called her a “fake tigress”.

CHARGES

Some others have a different take on this. They allege that the book is a literary forgery with an ulterior motive. The see it as a ruse by sections of the LTTE and pro-LTTE Tamil Diaspora to garner funds for the tigers. In that process, unfair, unsubstantiated charges have been made against a respectable organization engaged in worthwhile activities to better the life of affected people in Sri Lanka.

The only reason why these charges are being laid is due to the fact that the author of “Tamil tigress” has pledged publicly to donate part of the proceeds from sale of her book to the work of this organization. The organization concerned has issued rebuttals to these charges.

The “Tamil tigress” author however has not responded to the many accusations against her. This silence baffles many.

This deliberate silence to me is quite understandable. There is indeed no reason that she should respond to these accusations. If one were to start responding to charges such as these there would be no end to it. Besides it would be demeaning for any self-respecting author to reply critics who doubt her very existential reality.

Some of these critics are known to me personally and I do respect a few of them for their scholarship and merit but I would not blame the author if she suspects these critics or some of them to be part of an orchestrated campaign to denigrate her. Whatever their individual motivation, these critics like the assassins of Julius Caesar seem to have “drawn their knives separately and struck jointly”. Indeed the venom and intensity sustained by at least one of the critics makes one suspect a hidden agenda in this exercise.

Moreover the charges themselves do not seem to be grounded on sound basis. Mistaking is not faking. Blunders and errors of minor detail are signs of sloppiness not fraudulence. The discrepancies and doubts pointed out do not in anyway affect the structure and content of her book. They are not basic or fundamental mistakes that drastically alter the scope and scale of what has been stated.

CREDIBLE

It must also be remembered that a memoir like “Tamil Tigress” is not an auto-biography where meticulous attention needs to be paid to every point or fact mentioned. Accuracy is essential in a historical account. This is not so in a memoir. In this case the book seems to be of a mixed genre. It is in memoir format with characteristics of a realist novel.

However there is no denying that if there is indeed a credible challenge regarding an author’s identity or authenticity then there is an obligation on the part of those challenged to clear their name. In this instance I do not think there is a credible challenge because the challengers are yet to present strong evidence in support of their charges.

There is also another dimension. The author has said openly that the name Niromi de Soyza is a pseudonym. Her real name is something else. If she reveals her name and more personal details explicitly much of the criticism would lose vigour. She is however unwilling or unable to reveal her real name.

This could be to maintain the privacy of the author and her loved ones. It could also be due to concern for the safety of family, relatives, friends etc. This may be the reason for her using different names for some of the characters and places in her book. Whether this device would help her in the long run is debatable but her intentions in this need to be respected.

Undoubtedly this stance places the author at a disadvantage. While some of her critics try to goad her into divulging her identity and more details the author remains silent. This silence lends credence to the charges of “fake” and “counterfeit” in the eyes of the average reader. The author of “Tamil tigress” is as vulnerable as a wounded tigress surrounded by a hyena pack.

GENUINE

It is against this backdrop that I want to write about this “Tamil tigress” author. My intention is not to write a review of her book or examine the charges of “fake,forgery or fabrication”leveled against her. I do not want to analyse and dissect the allegations and accusations concerning her book and argue for or against or even remain neutral.

This is because I know with certainty that she is the genuine article and not counterfeit as alleged by her detractors. Her nom de guerre in the LTTE was Shenuka!

When I know that she is truly a real person and has indeed experienced what she states in her book there is no need for me to delve into the criticism of her book.Incidently some of these charges are now translated into Tamil and is fuelling another controversy in the Tamil media.

The famous French Film director Jean – Luc Godard who along with some like minded “auteurs”pioneered the new wave in French cinema made in 1967 a masterpiece “Two or Three Things I Know About Her” (2 ou 3 choses que je sais d’elle).

As far as the author of “Tamil Tigress” is concerned there are not two or three , but many,many things that I know about her. Also I know people who know more things about her like family members, relatives, neighbours, classmates, schoolmates, colleagues and erstwhile comrades at arms.

Moreover I am also familiar with the time in which the bulk of her narrative is set in.Also with many of the places, persons and events she describes so vividly in her book.

I have been covering the so called “war” for decades and have frequently visited the north during those times. I lived in Jaffna for many months while working as Deputy –editor of “The Saturday Review” in 1986. I was also in Jaffna when the war erupted between the Indian Army and LTTE on October 10th 1987. I was arrested and detained at the 4th floor and later produced in courts due to my reporting on that outbreak of war.

PSEUDONYM

It is that context in which I want to focus on the author of “Tamil Tigress” in this column. I want to write her story so that people realize she is not fake or counterfeit as charged. I hope to set the record straight about her to the best of my knowledge.

While writing what I know about her and about some events of the past I also hope to provide some background and context to an era when Tamil youths flocked to the militant movements to fight for the lofty goal of national liberation.

Richard de Zoysa

Niromi de Soyza is a pseudonym or nom de plume adopted by the author of “Tamil tigress”. Niromi is the name of an old schoolfriend and a name she liked. De Soyza is for Richard de Zoysa, the well-known journalist, TV announcer,screen and stage actor who was abducted and killed by “state terrorists” in February 1990.

Richard was immensely popular in Jaffna those days as a TV Personality. So his dastardly murder was a shock to the author .Selecting Richard’s name as her nom de plume was both a tribute to his memory and a manifestation of solidarity with media persons victimized by state terror. Richard’s name was a symbolic choice.

This choice of pseudonym too is viewed with suspicion in some circles. Although de Soyza is Portugese in origin it is perceived as a Sinhala name in Sri Lanka. So, some see it as a diabolical ruse by a Tamil woman writing under a Sinhala name while others suspect a Sinhala woman of pretending to be an ex –Tamil tigress.

So what then is her real name? Who is this person whose nom de guerre in a previous avatar as a militant was “Shenuka” and her nom de plume in her new avatar as author is “Niromi”?Much as I would like to reveal her full name publicly and dispel doubts about her identity, I do not want to do so at this juncture due to a constraining factor.

“SHARMILA”

Rightly or wrongly the author of “Tamil Tigress” has certain reasons for not divulging her real name. Even if one diagrees or agrees with her reasons one must respect her position on this. In my code of ethics exposing her name against her wishes is simply “not done”to use a phrase that is now going out of vogue in language and in conduct. Until and unless “Shenuka-Niromi” is ready and willing , her real name will not be disclosed by me. I do think that the disclosure of her full name would be inevitable at some point of time.That decision is entirely up to her.

Let me be a tad facetious here and play a word game supplying a few clues. She has three names in all. Her first name is of North Indian origin but widely used by Tamils.;the second is of Irish origin but widely used by the English, Scottish and Welsh people. The third or maiden name which is her father’s, is a Sanskritised Tamil name.

I have coined a name that has the first letters of all three names – “Sharmila”. It is by this name that I intend referring to her in this article up to the time she teamed up with the tigers. In the meantime if anyone wants to guess her real name in full then please be my guest!

The “Tamil Tigress” author called “Sharmila” was born in Kandy in the Central Highlands some weeks before Neil Armstrong set foot on the moon in what was described by him as a “small step for a man” and “giant leap for mankind”.

“Sharmila” was the eldest of two daughters. The second is younger by three years and is referred to in the book as “Shiranee”.

Her father is an “Ilangaithamizhan”(Sri Lankan Tamil)of Jaffna while her mother is an “Inthiya vamsaavazhithamizhachchi”( Tamil woman of Indian descent)from the up country.The father is a Catholic and old student of St.Patricks College in Jaffna. Her mother was a Hindu who converted to Christianity after marriage. Incidently both her paternal and maternal grandfathers had been station masters in the Railway department.

ENGINEER

The father who is an engineer worked at the Electricity board for many years and was stationed in up country areas. It was then that he met and fell in love with “Sharmila”s mother who was then working in a Govt department.Later she took to teaching.

The family moved from place to place living in different houses at different times.While they were living in Dunbar Road, Hatton “Sharmila” studied at St.Gabriels.

After the 1977 anti-Tamil violence the parents decided to send the eldest daughter to Jaffna for studies in 1978. She stayed with her grandmother at 3rd cross street in Jaffna town. Her father’s family was originally from Veemankaamam in Thellippazzhai but was residing in Jaffna town

After a while her father opted to seek lucrative employment abroad. He went to Dubai. The mother and sister then relocated to Jaffna. They left the 3rd cross street residence and moved to 4th cross street. Later they moved to a house in Rakka lane, Jaffna.

“Sharmila” studied for some years at the Holy Family convent in Jaffna. Later she moved to Chundikuli Girls College, Jaffna. After passing her General Certificate of Education (GCE)Ordinary level examination with four distinctions and four credits she began following Bio-Science subjects (Botany, Zoology, Chemistry,Physics) for the GCE (Advaned Level) classes She did not complete her A-levels as she later joined the tigers.

Jaffna then was in a state of semi-liberation. The armed forces were more or less confined to barracks and the Police had ceased functioning. The various militant groups were in “control”. The danger was from artillery shelling and aerial bombardment and strafing. On ground the different Tamil groups were ruling the roost. The LTTE was the dominant entity among these.

MURALI

The LTTE had a student organization then called SOLT(Student Organization of Liberation Tigers). The person in charge of it in Jaffna was Murali also called “Kaliviyankaadu Murali” because the SOLT head office was in Kalviyankaadu.

Murali whose real name was Veluppillai Ratnasingham was born in Aavarankaal on October 10th 1957. As head of the students organization Murali interacted with University, Technical College and College students.

Since there was freedom of movement and easy access ,Murali and other SOLT operatives used to visit various schools and Colleges and address students. This was aimed at enticing potential recruits for the LTTE. The tigers then did not conscript or forcibly recruit but wooed students through systematic propaganda

One day Murali himself came to Chundikuli Girls College and addressed Students. The school was regarded as an elite institution in Jaffna somewhat similar to Ladies and Bishops Colleges in Colombo. Getting “Chundikkulip pettaigal” (Chundikkuli girls)into the movement would have been a prized feather in Murali’s cap.

After listening to Murali’s rousing speech four students from the Advanced level class volunteered to join the LTTE student organization. This apparently was a first for “Chundikkuli” as the school was generally referred to. This was in mid -1986

Among the four were “Sharmila” and her classmate and best pal Ajanthi (real name). Both were inseparable friends having studied together at the Convent and then shifting to Chundikuli Girls College. Ajanthi’s family living on Swartz Lane,Jaffna was also Catholic. Hailing from Mullaitheevu district they had lived in Colombo for years before moving to Jaffna. Ajanthi’s father like her friend’s father was an old Patrician.

THILEEPAN

If I may strike a personal note I too was living on Swartz lane around this time in 1986. I was then working at “The Saturday Review” housed at 4th cross street and living at my friend “Raga”s house on Swartz lane.When thinking of the atmosphere and mood that prevailed in Jaffna then, one can easily understand why youths and students attached themselves to the various Tamil militant organizations.

In the case of “Sharmila” and her friend Ajanthi it was initially a feeling of romantic idealism and perhaps adventurism that impelled them to join the SOLT. After engaging with SOLT as student activists for a while they came under the sway of Rasiah Parthiban alias Thileepan who was then the chief LTTE Political commissar for Jaffna district. Sathasivampillai Krishnakumar alias Kittu was the LTTE military commander and overall chief for Jaffna.

The woman’s division of the LTTE political wing was called the “Suthanthirapparavaigal” or “Birds of freedom”. This was because they published a monthly journal by that name.

The woman’s division of the political wing was a brainchild of Thileepan who was also referred to jovially as “Amirthalingam” by fellow cadres. This was because there existed within the highly militaristic organization like LTTE, a contemptuous attitude towards democratic politics and politicians.

Thileepan and the political wing were the butts of several intra-LTTE jokes as a result, Dubbing Thileepan as “Amirthalingam” was one such joke as Appapillai Amirthalingam , Tamil United Liberation Front (TULF) secretary-general and former opposition leader was the foremost Tamil politician of that time.

The author of “Tamil Tigress” used to write Tamil poetry and quite a few of her poems were published in “Suthanthirapparavai” and also the daily “Eezhamurasu” that had been misappropriated through force by the LTTE

SHENUKA

After about a year of working as an activist in the Student and Women outfits both friends decided to join the LTTE formally and obtain military training. What influenced them in this was “Operation Liberation” launched by the Sri Lankan armed forces to regain control of areas in the Vadamaratchy region in Jaffna.

Upon being accepted as military trainees both girls quit studies and went to a camp in Thenmaratchy region for arms training.They were given the option of choosing their nom de guerres. Ajanthi chose her mother’s name Nirmala while”Sharmila” chose Shenuka.Unfortunately most of her comrades mispronounced the name as “Saenuhaa”.

Both girs in their teens were technically “child soldiers”.It was as a fresh recruit of the first batch of “tigresses”to receive military training in Jaffna that Shenuka got an opportunity of meeting ,one to one, the LTTE supremo Veluppillai Prabhakaran.

TO BE CONTINUED

DBS Jeyaraj can be reached at djeyaraj2005@yahoo.com

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214 Comments

  1. Nice work. The point about mistakes not being a sign of deception needs to be drilled much deeper in the Tamil community. It’s quite an annoying tendency we have. I do disagree about her need to respond, however. Unfortunately, more people will read reviews of the book than the book itself and the flurry of responses the book has produced require(d) a response. But, I was left scratching my head about the “nature” of the response she should write. With your article, it is probably no longer necessary.

    Best,
    Amar

  2. hmm very interesting. I know of this lady very well too DBSJ. I was also in Jaffna during that period. Cannot wait for the rest of the story! It is good when one knows the truth and then compares that to a jurnos version. For a mere mortal like me it’s once in a life time experience.

    “Some of these critics are known to me personally and I do respect a few of them for their scholarship and merit but I would not blame the author if she suspects these critics or some of them to be part of an orchestrated campaign to denigrate her.”

    DBSJ, you should name these scholars. These fellows make a living out of surfing on other people’s success, by knocking them down.

    Raffboy

  3. thank you jey yet again for a great story.when you write on some topic i feel educated i can understand how much efforts you have put to get this story.great work and keep it up.

  4. Her intention seems to explaing the root cause of the Tamil refuges to outer world.
    Before I have read her article, her view mostly within the organisation how she joined, how she given up and how some individual decision effet other individual and the whole organisation. Kind of ‘self realisation’

    Another child soldier become “chief minister” within Srilanka is ‘Pillayan’ . He might write his story in near future. However Tamils story for their rights,secure land and freedom of life is very long and have multi diomenstion.

  5. DBSJ,

    Absoloutely brilliant in giving us an insight to this lady Sharmila – Shenuka.
    Also the picture in the blog adds colour – may I say?… hmm.
    Cant wait to read the rest.

    irritating sometimes when you stop halfway – more like ‘ And the winner is….. ‘ and there goes a commercial.

    By the way ,I hope you have written to Santa and not being to much naughty this year.

  6. HI DBS,

    Pl listen to the clip”one with the mix race family” ? could you please explain to the reader your explanation”Her father is an “Ilangaithamizhan”(Sri Lankan Tamil)of Jaffna while her mother is an “Inthiya vamsaavazhithamizhachchi”( Tamil woman of Indian descent)from the up country.”

    DBSJ RESPONDS:

    I dont have to “Explain an explanation “about nit-picking queries like this.

    Just for the record what is meant by mixed race is mixed heritage in this .The father is a Ceylon/Jaffna Tamil and the mother is an Indian/up country Tamil. The father is a Christian and mother a Hindu. Using the word ethnicity may have been more appropriate

    No Comprende?

  7. Bit more background.

    At the end of the war and in the aftermath the author wrote a few columns in SMH and the Australian, they can still be read.

    The timing of the book release was probably done by her publisher. Her views became much more sought after during 2010. This is of a change in the immigration policy of the current Labor govt. Previously under the Liberals (John Howard) arrivals by boat were which is the bulk of illegal immigrants or refugees, were processed offshore in a small island called Nauru instead of on the Australia where they received more rights. Under this policy the arrival of illegal immigrants via boats trickled to only very few in number, however Australia accepted their full quota of asylum seekers from UN camps, these refugees would be brought from Sudan predominantly and many other countries.

    The left side of politics disapproved of this measure as they saw it as infringement on asylum seekers human rights. The right side of politics saw the policy as a major success as it:
    – Stopped illegal immigration via sea
    – Was winning them votes in the nationalistically inclined section of the electorate

    After Labor won govt in 2007, the offshore processing policy was canceled. As a result the arrival by boat of illegal immigrants rapidly increased. In this space the policy was one of the key issues that divided the parties in the 2010 election. Many of the arrivals were Sri Lankan Tamils, an ethnic group that had until this time not been arriving in large numbers as illegal immigrants/asylum seekers.

    In such circumstances Ms. de Soyza’s views as an ex combatant were sought after, particularly in the left leaning media to justify that the Sri Lankan Tamils that were arriving were genuine refugees as opposed to illegal immigrants that were motivated to come to Australia not to seek asylum but for economic reasons. Being articulate and having written a novel she got much more space than the usual old time pro-ltte and anti-ltte tamil figures who are neither as articulate orally nor as photogenic.

    Australia of course has a large intake of skilled immigrants as well as business immigrants. Many of whom come from Sri Lanka each year, both Tamil and Sinhala.

    My own opinion is the offshore processing policy was unethical for a number of reasons. On the other hand it did stop a the illegal immigration that occurred via sea and thus stopped many of the illegal immigrants that come to Australia for economic reasons and are not genuinely seeking asylum. For example during the period where the policy was in place many refugees from Sudan were accepted into Australia, whereas when the offshore policy was not in place Sudanese illegal immigrants were few and far between as many did not have the means to come to Australia via boat. Labor has lost and will lose many votes regarding this policy. Australians punish governments who introduce failed policies, luckily for Labor the policy does not affect the economy that much. Unfortunately for Labor the policy is a hits a nerve amongst the anti immigration section of the population. There concerns are driven by many things such as:
    – Cost of living, particularly housing, where immigration adds to the demand for housing
    – Change in the culture of Australians as a population
    – Racism towards those not from a white background. Muslims suffer from this more than any other group for obvious reasons.

    The skilled immigration program however which is the vast number of immigrants does not face that much opposition as it is seen as a economic advantage for Australia.

    Thanks DBSJ for the information about the Author. It clears up a lot of the grey area surrounding her claims.

    I have to say though that at times she can be a bit ingenuous, for example she states a lot of the abuses done by soldiers that she was fighting against in certain interviews. Fails to mention if they were IPKF or Sri Lankan govt soldiers however.

  8. DBSJ

    She says she is from a mixed race family.Is she sinhalese too?This is typical of what would have happenned for 2000 yeras on this island,with the same people branching out as tamils while others retain their sinhalese identity.

    DBSJ RESPONDS:

    What is meant by mixed race in this is mixed heritage.The father is a Ceylon/Jaffna Tamil and the mother is an Indian/up country Tamil. The father is a Christian and mother a Hindu. Using the word ethnicity may have been more appropriate

    As for mixed race are we not all mixed races if we trace our lineage far back?

  9. Can’t understand why she had to use a Sinhala Name???????

    Understanding was never your forte no?…………DBSJ

  10. Excellent article Mr.Jeyaraj. You have provided a penetrating insight into the author of “Tamil tigress”. Reading your article makes me want to buy the book when available at US chapters

  11. You seem to be knowing quite a lot about her DBS.I am sure she is well known to you as a close relative or friend

  12. “It was as a fresh recruit of the first batch of “tigresses”to receive military training in Jaffna that Shenuka got an opportunity of meeting ,one to one, the LTTE supremo Veluppillai Prabhakaran.”

    – I thought she was of the second batch and not the first ?

    DBSJ RESPONDS:

    I have said “first batch of tigresses to be trained in Jaffna.The first batch was trained in India.This batch was the first batch to be trained in Jaffna which is what I have written.

  13. Congratulations Niromi or should I say Sharmila.

    As Jeyaraj annan points out it is very creditable for a former member of LTTE to write this kind of book in English on the tigers

    You are very brave and brilliant to write such a book. Forget those attacking you and write the next book

    Jeyaraj annan ust be thanked for supporting you and explaining to all by the article

  14. DBSJ

    Thanks for writing about this book and I am tempted to buy and read this book along with the book by Nedumanaran on Prabhakaran . These 2 books are on my list of “books to read in 2012” . Eagerly waiting for your next piece about this book as you have left this article at a very interesting point .

  15. DBS

    I know why you named her Sharmila. She is dark but resembles “Aradhana” film actress Sharmila Tagore. Especially the nose

  16. Great write up. Good to set the record straight. People like Michael Roberts and Muthukrishna Sarvananthan, who made vicious attack on the author of the book, stand exposed. This was hardly the first time for them. Both took up cudgels for the GoSL during the war and made unwarranted and ludicrous attacks on NGOs that estimated a high number of civilians trapped in the Vanni. They also maligned upright members of the Tamil Diaspora who sought to do something for the IDPs back home.

  17. two of my cousins joined LTTE woman fighter unit and got killed.When I read DBS article I cried.Very happy Shenuka escaped and has new life in Australia

  18. DBS

    I think like your 4 part KP interview this tale of tigress is one of your best articles. use this chance to write in detail about Sharmila, LTTE, Jaffna and the war

  19. My wife who is a Singaporean Chinese read this book. She was never interested in what was happening in North & East. After reading this book, she commented “Now I know why you guys lost the struggle”. This booked achieved it purpose.

    It was very well written, no doubt there are some errors/factually incorrect statements. On the whole, it was an excellent work by Niromi.

    R Maran

  20. I think the writer of book was in first batch girls getting arms training in LTTE. I think I know her then by picture in artical but not very sute now as many years ago that I saw her

  21. DBS

    When I read this very informative piece about Niromi de Soyza whom you call Sharmila I get the impression that you have intimate knowledge about her.I mean that you know all about her

  22. Hi DBSJ

    The LTTE has ruined Tamils.VP is a traitor.Dont write about this people. Write about Devananda and EPDP

  23. Now, you should read the DBS article in full and then you would’ve picked up why she’s using ‘de Soyza’…duh…

  24. I read the book here in Darwin. It was good to read but I had doubts whether it was authentic. After reading DBS I have no doubts because I trust him so much. Now I will -re-read book with fresh interest

  25. To be attending the prestigious Chundikuli Girls School and then getting recruited to LTTE is certainly a feather in the cap of the fellow who recruited her but again school children has very little insight at that stage. I am also not sure whether Chundikuli girls school would ever allow a LTTE recruiter to come and do such business.

    What I have heard is, when she joined LTTE, the LTTE hierarchy did not expect her to hang on for very long. She was deemed to be coming from a privileged back ground. However, her story is looked at with scepticism by some Tamils who say there are many half truths and lot of spin. They also say it has been very difficult to independently verify her version of events because many of the key players in the story have died, others have vanished and some are only known by pseudo names.

    I can remember a guy who used to always say, he fought with Montgomery’s 8th Army in North Africa and used to tell his heroic tales at the pub until one day one of his friends came up and said he was only a cook in the unit!!

    DBSJ RESPONDS:
    Machang Don George,

    Who are these “Tamils” machang who are in a position to “verify” if given more info?And how do they know some are “half-truths and spins” if they are unable to verify? Looks like some “tamils” are giving you “half lies and spins” machang if what you are telling is the truth? Also about your “anecdote” about Monty’s cook? Can you tell me how to “verify” that?

  26. I think I seen this author in Jaffna those days she was much young and too dark but when i see her picture here i remember her little by little. she went to school in cycle in narikkundu area i think with freinds.i heard those days she went to ltte i thought she dead but happy to see she is living and happy in Australia

  27. There is no ‘excuse’ for anyone to keep writing in the guise of ‘scholarly’ work, undermining the situations of the plight of Tamil asylum seekers. While the nations have to implement their immigration laws, Asylum seekers continue to confront several factors, national politics at home and abroad in the adopted countries as well as geo politics. Many of them, why even almost all Tamils lead a peaceful quiet life, contributing to the new home in adopted countries they love in.

    Sri Lanka scorched earth tactics and continual of earning a livelihood and deliberate uprooting of people from their habitats and traditional jobs are Sri Lankan plans. Let these scholars for their marathon research on ‘terrorism’ not paint a picture that the plight Tamil refugees is untrue.

    Thanks for Niromi De Soyza for the book and DBSJ for clarifying matters.

  28. Niromi de Soyza dosn’t understand why LTTE start fighting, this story waste of time and showing not clear understand suffering tamil in North and East by Singalese people and government. Racist toward tamil. Should ne banned.

  29. THANK YOU MR dbsj.
    This is another master piece of your great work. Many Diasporas forget MURALI. He is the man organize the CARNIVAL Show in St Patricks College (1986 August) He is well talented person, but very sad he killed with Indian army battle in Uralu.
    Big thanks to Niromi…… Good luck.

  30. I saw attacks on Niromi de Soysa by many people in grounviews and felt sorry for her. I was waiting to see who will come and defend her.

    I never thought DBS Jeyaraj will come and do that.I was really surprised. I am thrilled to read the article

    Very good DBS

  31. DBS,
    I hope one of these days you will have the time to write something about the book by Shehan Karunathilake, Chinaman- The legend of Pradeep Mathews. This is one of the best English books to have come from Sri Lanka without a doubt. Absolutely brilliant, he explores Sri Lankan society, ethnic relations and a host of other things about Sri Lanka through cricket. Has been getting rave reviews all over the world.

    Heard about it Ranjan but didn’t read yet…………..DBSJ

  32. Excellent write-up DBS, will wait for the next.

    Probably Sharmila was able to foresee what was in the pipeline for LTTE, and understand what LTTE was up to. A quick leaner, Sharmila was able to pull the pin quickly and cleverly that saved her live. Maybe the 1 to 1 meeting was the trigger. There were several joined LTTE like her, for various reasons, including romantic ideology but weren’t able to severe the tie with LTTE. Really happy for her to do what she does now.

  33. HI DBSJ

    Whenever you write it is brilliant inside story.

    First my point is if the author wants to use the book money to uplift Sri Lankan poor and neglected Northern students, it is highly commendable.

    Lots of people earned lots of millions of dollars using and in the name of Northern people, even some went to west and Australia America Canada using and in the name of those poor neglected people. What things they are doing to them collectively mainly.

    Where are those dollars? But they still use Northern poor people use them and they like those poor stay poor, as long as those poor children suffer they are happy because they can use those poor people for their advantage and earn more money.
    I am asking those so called NGOs what happened to those money that they collected from people for tsunami victims

    I do not think anyone who is well settled in western countries would send their children to educate in Northern Area schools.

    Alex

  34. Sinhala Name?

    De Zoyza is a Portuguese name and Niromi is a North Inidian Name.

    Just as same as your name. Kalu is a North Indian word (Bengalease also use the same word with same meaning)taken by Sinhala language and should I say more about Albert?

    By the way what is your heritage Kalu?

  35. Kalu Albert, if DBS ask you back about the name “de Soyza” is really a sinhalese name? then you could be speechless.. don’t you.. 🙂

  36. It’s a great thing for an “ex-tigress” to boldly write about her past. Some male chauvinists are unable to stomach that and are putting her down as a fake and counterfeit

    I am very proud of her guts for coming out openly like this

    And I am very very thankful to DBS for having the guts to challenge the critics and defend Niromi de Soyza so openly and so brilliantly

  37. There is a reference in the article to ‘a wounded tigress surrounded by a hyena pack’. To the best of my knowledge and belief, these animals do not occur in the same geographical regions.

    However, there are plenty of instances where two legged tigresses have been savaged by two legged hyenas.

    DBSJ RESPONDS:
    Obviously the figurative expression refers to “tigress” and “hyenas” in human form.

    Also ancient Tamil literature refers to the landscape in Tamil Country as Thinai and says there are five .Kurinchi(hills)Mullai(forests)Marutham(agricultural)Neithal(coast) and Paalai(desert)

    Nowadays we speak of an “Aaraam Thinai” or sixth region. This is the “Pulam” or countries to which Tamils have migrated to from their traditional homelands. All areas inhabited by the Diaspora is one great “landscape” defying traditional geo-political boundaries

    In this “aaraam thinai” tigers, hyenas live side by side. Camels and Penguins are together. Elephants and Polar bears are together.Its all topsy-turvy now

  38. Names,names,names!

    Niromi, Shenuka and now Sharmila the
    name given by DBS. and you say she has two or three other names.

    Why all these names?whats her name DBS?

    DBSJ RESPONDS:

    Why bother about “names” Giri? Isn’t a “rose by any name as sweet? A rose is a rose by any name. So is the author.

  39. Niromi wrote about an incident in Neervelly.

    While fleeing from IPKF, group LTTE members reached Neervelly and waited in front of a temple. Upon hearing that LTTE members are in the vicinity of the temple area people gathered and pleaded LTTE to leave the place.

    An elderly man pleaded with LTTE. “You have destroyed everything; you will ruin everything that was left. Finally when you go down, you will take us with you”. How accurate this elderly man predicated what would be our fate if LTTE continues with its actions unchecked. This elderly man was much wiser than our self proclaimed “Sun God/National leader”.

    R Maran

  40. MR’s regime goes about complacently with the feeling “victory” over the Tigers in May 2009 the Tamil “problem” is solved for good. Many Sinhalese believe this too and voted him thereafter and will do so again. It is this complaceny, I suspect, that makes them move lukewarm in the matter of developing the Tamil areas to the level of most of the South. But the fact is the LTTE was a marginal minority faction whereas the vast majority of Tamils – more in the NEP – only yearned for peace, security, a quiet life via the development of their areas.

    One of the handicaps of the Tamil side is the quslings holding positions in the Govt telling the latter everything is hunkydory with the Tamils. The other regrettable drawback are those Tamils – opposed to the emerging political togetherness and unity – singing the praises of the regime while hiding the present excesses of both the army and the regime. Their swang song is pricking holes on the TNA and trying to gain popularity among the Sinhalese thus. The Govt has set a few of them to create confusion and disunity within Lankan Tamils and the diaspora. I believe the Tamil people are far too politically mature to fall for this naivette.

    The alleged Anuradhapura sadistic attacks on over 60 political prisoners on Nov 27 and the capture, near-torture and release of the Jaffna University student on the same day and the abduction of Tamil money-lender Christopher at Jampettah Lane in Colombo Central a few days again by men in Police uniform coming in a van – are all indications that give the lie to the Govt’s contested claim “normalcy has returned in the Tamil areas and among all Tamils” The regime should be aware this delay in their continuing to fool the Tamil people and the perfidy of their talks with the TNA now with the clause it is subject to the TNA being part of the PSC – have re-created a further impetus in the powerful diaspora. The current round of talks is, after all, a continuation of many such feeble efforts in that manouvre of delaying tactics by the regime to gain time and nothing more.

    The regime is not unaware iIn one venue alone in the Toronto/Canada area over a lakh braved the rain for an entire Sunday (Nov 27) to send a message across to the Rajapakse Govt they should move more objectively to bring back normalcy, investments and development to the Tamil areas. Events held on the same day in nearly 30 other cities all over the world indicate the diaspora Tamils have hardly forgotten their kith and kin within the Island.
    They are not for Eelam or against the Sinhalese or the Govt. They only want the Govt to honour its words with deeds. They are not enamoured with the few projects here and there in the Tamil areas – most given to Contractors and friends in the South ignoring the local know-how waiting for jobs and opportunities. 3 years is long enough for that. Worse news for the Govt should be the re-emerging interest in the Lankan Tamil issue in Tamil Nadu. Mahaveerar Day being celebrated widely in the State – despite many restrictions by the TN Govt – is clear proof Tamils in TN have much more than VP/LTTE in their minds. These protests and demos there are to ask GoSL to be more serious in their priorities in settling the Tamil issue.

    Interest in this book will only bring to center stage and further internationalise the Lankan Tamil issue. It is left to the Rajapakse regime to help itself, the Tamils and the Govt by moving more resolutely and courageously in solving the National Question once and for all.

    ISS

  41. You should read it. Once you start on it, you simply can not put it down. I have given it to many of my “Canadian” friends and they are astounded that something like that came from Sri Lanka.

  42. Hi Desj,

    I think I have read this article; it was reproducing in some website.
    Correct me if I am wrong is there a incident.
    These two girls wanted to leave and VP has arranged them to go free.
    Thilina

  43. Also VP has said it could be hard to work with them because of their upbringing at the time of joining the LTTE

    Can you get Don George to

    verify this please?……..DBSJ

  44. What a beautiful girl. She is not hiding her face. I don’t know why she hiding her name only. We read DBS Jeyaraj , by his name he is popular but never know how he look like.

    If she genuine she should donate some to the ex-Tigress returning normal life after the civil war and voice for their issues facing in the society and the hand of the Srilankan army as being Tamil Girls, like ‘Koneswari’ ‘Krishanthi’ and ‘Isaipiriya’.

    DBSJ RESPONDS:

    Kumuthini,I am not Helen of Troy with a face capable of “launching a thousand ships” but if you do want to gaze on my “ugly mug” read the “Daily Mirror”on Saturdays where they have a logo with my face in my weekly “DBS Jeyaraj column

  45. Very happy to read your article and know the truth. It is unfortunate that the PhD holders like Dr.Muthukrishna Sarvananthan write against follow moderate tamils without substantial evidence. Earlier he wrotes against M.I.A. about the figures of the trapped people inside the war zone. Later Sri Lankan government itself confirmed that M.I.A s figures were not wrong. If a person come to a good position after hard work will not easily accuse others. I hope that atleast after reading your neutral writing, the people like Dr.Muthukrishna Sarvananthan will stop accusing others unnecessarily.

    At this moment, I would like to mention that there is one very successful doctor (Umeswaran Arunagirinathan) in Hamburg (Germany) has written a book in German (“Allein auf der Flucht”) few years back. The book is about how he fled Sri Lanka at 12 years and travelled Singapore, Dubai.. Ghana,Lagos, Nigeria then how he reached Frankfurt after months of painful journey. It has also got some good publicity in Germany. Unfortunately, because the book is not in English didn’t get publicity in other countries. If someone intereste can see this youtube link
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RzKdhyJa9WU

    DBSJ RESPONDS:

    I think I have made it clear that this is not written against any one.It is not a reply to any article.

    It is only about the author of “Tamil tigress” who is a very real person and neither a “fake”nor “counterfeit”. I am writing what I know about her.The truth.I stand by the truth.

  46. Dear DBS Jeyaraj

    I have been reading you since your “behind the cadjan curtain” days in the 80’s

    I always found you able to provide fresh information and unique insights in your articles

    This article too is one of your best.Its brilliant and I cant wait to read the rest and the book

    But somehow I cant help noticing that there is some difference in this writing. I feel you know the author Niromi de Soyza and maybe her family personally for a long time. There is a sense of intimate personal knowledge. I also think you know much more about her but not writing to protect her

    Am I right DBS?

    Do you know her and family well?

    Just curious DBS nothing else.

    DBSJ RESPONDS:

    Thank you Gloria for being a reader from those days.

    You are also very perceptive.

    As for your curiosity haven’t you heard it said about “curiosity killing the cat”? (just kidding Gloria,take it easy)

  47. After reading DBS article my doubts about Niromi vanished. Good you wrote boldly and cleared her name DBS. very interesting article. Waiting for next one

  48. IT looks like, a must to read book only. There are many inside stories of movements participated in this freedom struggle. There are many unfolds secrets about PLOTE,TELO and EPRLF. All these must be written as books for the future Tamil generations to refer.

  49. I have not read the book “Tamil Tigress”, Just read your article, You are very closer to me as I am johnians studied St.John’s college but the period you are describing here was my primary schooling. I’ve called to my eleder brother who was in the O/L at the period he confirm the events that you are describing here. My eleder brother said he does not aware that any one joint to Tigers in 1986 from Chundukkuli girl’s College ( My brother from J/Hindu college). Anyway he said he will read the book to identify the people in the book (As you know that most of the active LTTE leaders in the period was Jaffna Hindu college) I will also read the book once I get the copy.Cheers!

  50. I have written most of the details about Devananda and EPDP, We have even seen the fact from wikileaks, So what else you need brother!

  51. RAHAVAN,

    Why is EPDP and Govt. still making people flee from North-East? What is the need for Grease devils? and why Prof Hoole and recently even Asst. Editor of Uthayan Kuganathan, earlier assaulted in Jaffna has fled the country?

  52. Hello DBS!
    Are Richard De Soyza and Pakiasothy Sarvanamuththu relatives?

    Yes. Richard’s mother was a Saravanamuttu………..DBSJ

  53. Hi DBS

    glad to see you defending “Niromi de Soyza”publicly against critics. As usual fighting for those in trouble. Way to go David!

  54. “Thilina says:

    December 10, 2011 at 11:51 am

    Also VP has said it could be hard to work with them because of their upbringing at the time of joining the LTTE”

    Was it b’cause the previous experience with Rajani Thiranagama by VP??

  55. DBS Jeyaraj in Canada writing so positively about Niromi de Soyza in Australia?wow!

    I guess you’ll anger all her critics by your detailed article proving she is genuine DBSJ.But angering others by writing truth is nothing new to you eh?

    She’s really lucky to have you writing like this about her David.

  56. DBS,
    Your face may not launch a 1000 ships, but your writing launches a thousand comments. You should be proud of yourself.

    Thank you fellow Torontonian………..DBSJ

  57. Makes sense. I agree with most of what you have to say about her and the book. She may have exaggerated some things a bit, but to call her otherwise is ridiculous. I have heard nasty attacks on her from both the Tamil and Sinhalese side(the hardliners) but the reality is that she brings to life the story of women in LTTE, very little talked and heard. Great article, as always.

    I will be interested to see you write about Gnasekararan and his boys in India now and the future/role of EPRLF towards the future.

  58. I recognize the author Niromi now from the picture.Knew her long time ago at YMCA camps. She used to sing well. Lively girl whom we all liked

  59. Roy, Sri Lankan (Jaffna) Tamils rarely marry Upcountry Tamils. They are brainwashed by the caste system. For Tamils in Jaffna, Tamils of Indian origin are space aliens. Sinhalese will marry anyone of them. Surprised?

    Do you remember Helen Demidenko’s (aka Darville) “Hand that signed the paper”? Tweny years ago it won some awards. Have you read “Anna and the King of Siam” by Margaret Landon? Add Ms.De Zoysa’s book to that list.

    Number of Tamil young women have some forward with great yarns in last two years. For me this proved only one point. There are lot of pretty women in Jaffna. All these women who came forward were exceedingly attractive. We are witnessing another well planned attack to discredit Sri Lanka.

    DBSJ RESPONDS:

    Leo Fernando, I hear you were in the group of patriots who mobbed Niromi while signing books in Melbourne.Is this true?

  60. Without even knowing the personal details of the author, it was obvious that the book was written by a person who has had intimate knowledge of what happened on the ground, at that time. If there is any criticism to be made of the book, it is because that some people think that the author is light on LTTE’s or her own personal responsibility in the violent incidents which occurred. It may be so; but the author’s tale obviously was coloured by her own experiences and views. But, what this book and the author’s personal journey clearly demonstrates is that most people caught up in this conflict, if provided a fair opportunity by the Governments of Sri Lanka, would have risen to great heights, helping the country to progress. As a Sinhalese, I feel that her flight from Sri Lanka, like that of many others in the Tamil Diaspora was Sri Lanka’s loss. It is a pity that the majority in Sri Lanka still fails to see the many advantages of fair, merit based systems adopted by the western societies. Obviously, the ruling politicians are against such systems, as they would expose the widespread corruption!

  61. I was in Ltte 1st batch woman tiger batch train in india. came to mannar then jaffna then vanni.now living in oslo

    i did not yet read book still. but i read dbs artical.I remember Nirmala and Senuka well. Nirmala dead in December 87 with Murali anna and Kanthi anna in fight with IPKF

    Happy to see Senuka escaped and is living in Astralia. good she wrote book too

    nallai irungo thangaichi!

  62. Thanks for the brilliant article. So pleased some one steps in and writes with courage( both Niromi and DBSJ)
    Love your description of pulam too

  63. The book has a picture of an armed female guerilla fighter on the cover along with the strap line “My story as a child soldier in Sri Lanka’s bloody civil war”.

    Was she child soldier?

    DBSJ RESPONDS:

    Cape Town Principles, adopted at an international conference on child soldiers
    held in South Africa in 1997, have been widely accepted by child protection agencies,
    non-governmental organizations and United Nations agencies, including
    UNICEF and the World Bank.
    The definition of ‘child soldier’ that was adopted reads: A child soldier is “any
    person under 18 years of age who is part of any kind of regular or irregular armed
    force or armed group in any capacity, including but not limited to cooks, porters,
    messengers, and anyone accompanying such groups, other than family members.
    The definition includes girls recruited for sexual purposes and forced marriage.”
    Thus, ‘child soldier’ does not only refer to a child who is carrying or has carried
    weapons. The definition is intentionally broad so as to extend protection to as
    many children as possible and to ensure their inclusion in demobilization and reintegration
    programmes.

    The Optional Protocol to the
    Convention on the Rights of the Child on the involvement of children in armed
    conflict2 – entered into force on 12 February 2002 – is a milestone in the campaign,
    strengthening the legal protection of children and helping to prevent their use in
    armed conflict. (See Annex I for the full text of the Optional Protocol.)
    The Optional Protocol raises the minimum age for direct participation in hostilities
    to 18 years from the previous minimum age of 15 years specified in the Convention
    on the Rights of the Child and other legal instruments. The treaty also
    prohibits compulsory recruitment by government forces of anyone under 18 years
    of age, and calls on State Parties to raise the minimum age above 15 for voluntary
    recruitment, and to implement strict safeguards when voluntary recruitment of
    children under 18 years is permitted. In the case of non-state armed groups, the
    treaty prohibits all recruitment – voluntary and compulsory – under age 18.
    The Optional Protocol’s entry into force represents a great achievement

  64. I read the book and liked it. Now I read DBS article and loved that too.

    Why dont you write a review of the book DBS? I am sure it will be comprehensive and wonderful to read. That way all the negative reviews will be overwhelmed

    Thanks Bhavani,but not at the moment……….DBSJ

  65. There is a big influential clique out there targeting Niromi de Soyza as a fraud who was never in the LTTE and is writing the accounts of other tigers as her own. When this orchestrated campaign went on I didn’t see any person who knew her coming out to defend her. So I too thought she was counterfeit guerilla.That is until you came out openly and set the record straight Jeyaraj. I think you are uniquely courageous in taking up her issue and stating the truth however inconvenient it may be for some other “fake” academics and “counterfeit”researchers

  66. But, pakiasothy is no where near richard

    Obviously.Richard is no more while Sara is among the living……………..DBSJ

  67. I could not agree you more. It is a pity that many good people do not see this way, going on with “yes, prime minister” until it come to a stage where irreversible damage has been done to the country. To me, the opportunity dawn after the civil war to unite all and move forward has been missed and could see the frustration from people, particularly from the main stream. To quell this, the option GoSL has is, to go inflame racial tensions, resulting unnecessary arrest and killing making SL Tamils extinct from SL.

  68. Appoi Jeyaraj

    Meka super article ekak ne aney? I just read and read three times Jeyaraj. Aiyo Jeyaraj ,how do you get all these details aney? tell will you?

    Niromi de Soyza hari lassanai. I am so happy for her

    DBSJ RESPONDS:

    Aiyo Nelum, Cant tell these things no aney? you know no?Anyway article still not ivarai. Wait will you please.

    So Nelum thinks Niromi is lassanai. So sweet of you kella

  69. Yes, I also read part of her story (Tamil version) last year or so may be @ yarl.
    Happy to hear that she was able to escape from her own deadly mistake and now she is doing good. She might have lived in Jaffna only in her late teens and early twenties so it’s not a big deal for not to know all the places in Jaffna inside out.

  70. There is no free meal in LTTE.
    Many middle class parents ‘bought’ their children back from LTTE in late 80s and early 90s
    especially after Premadasa ‘handed over’ Jaffna back to them.
    From some of the comments and the video clip, it appears that Senuka left the movement and the country twenty years back after the death of her best friend Nirmala, but lied low and refrained from criticizing it according to their release conditions. The book itself is another prove that LTTE and their leader is no more.
    Looks like she was in the movement only for about 5 or 6 years but must have gained load of experience to write a 320 page book. She must be very bright to gauge the situation within that short period and that can be evidenced by the fact that she got two degrees afterwards. We can only feel sorry for the thousands of other bright youngsters who could not escape.

  71. I salute you for selecting a Sinhala name as your nom de guerre Niromi de Soyza.

    Even though you fought for the LTTE I am broadminded enough to forgive you and extend my compassion as a proud Sinhalese.

    As a token of my compassion I am willing to fall at your flowery feet and

  72. I am ready to prostrate and worship Niromi de Soyza and put flowers on her pretty feet. I will also kiss her dainty toes a 100 times a

  73. Shoba sakthi has written novels and short stories in Tamil based on his experience in the LTTE. But DBS is right. This is first time former LTTE cadre has written in English. Creeditable!

  74. Whatever her LTTE past she has changed herself and is contributing to society positively. Writing this book is creditable

  75. I think this girl calling herself Niromi studied for 1 or 2 years only at Chundikuli Girls college.Most of the time she was at Holy family convent. She is not a real,authentic product of Chundikuli

  76. Great article DBS. I’m impressed by this woman. Would love to know how she re-invented her life in Australia after such a controversial history

  77. I heard her speaking. She said she is passionate about the cause, but is a bit disappointed about a certain group of people trying to ‘own’ it. I saw her partner (husband?), sister and mother as well.

  78. Dear DBS,

    Please consider commenting specifically on the issues raised by Arun Ambalavanar and Michael Robert. Persoally, I could see the nit-picking of AA with Lantana and Fig trees, and questions like the months of palmyrah season, and TELO-PLOTE attack of the LTTE. MR’s ‘academic’ sounding writing concludes along,’Though I have not reached a definitive verdict on the issue of fabrication, my leanings are strongly in that direction’. Then, the Economics Expert Muttukrishna Sarvananthan wrote a piece, which he called a ‘research note’, with hardly any substance, other than dragging SJC87, an initiative by the St Johns College Old Boys.

    There are too many agendas and the fatc is lying somewhere in the bottom. Your decision to shed sme light is very much appreciated.

  79. OJ Simpson murdered the wife and was aquitted. Then wrote a book how to do a perfect murder. His wife’s parents incensed sued him and won the case and sent him bankrupt.

  80. Dr.Muthukrishna Sarvananthan,Still lives in Mahinda’s Srilanka and works in an area under Douglas’s watch what els he is allowed to write???

  81. Balappu, Thank you for your fair minded comment but whar=t action you have taken towards rectfying this siuation?

  82. I tried to find this on the web but unable to do so.
    As I recall this was not about Rajini Thiranagama and her sister.
    As you have mention In this article after her O/L she has manage to hear about the LTTE movement and she manage to meet Prabakaran, at first he has said to her that it could be hard to a girl similar to her upbringing, actually she manage to go with another girl of hear age and her society. Later both of them manage to get higher ranks after some time she had got weary about the struggle then wanted to leave, at that time Prabakaran has allowed her to leave. Other girl has managed to because a high ranking person in LTTE, at the time of the war with the SL government she had been killed.
    This is what I remember but can’t find the link.

    Thilina

    DBSJ RESPONDS:

    Please be careful about posting carelessly.Your memory may be playing tricks on you.Refresh your memory,find the link and then post. By the way this article is continuing…….

  83. DBS,Why don’t you write a LTTE memoir like Niromi de Soyza?

    How to when I was never in the LTTE?…………..DBSJ

  84. The convention on children defines anyone under 18 as a child

    States were allowed to recruit children over 15 who volunteered

    15 is only the legal age to enable recruitment. It does ot make a child below 18 an adult
    So even if one was legally reruited they were child soldiers until they were 18

    This applied then to states only. Non-state actors like LTTE had no right to recruit at all

    It was only the optional protocol that defined non -state actor recruitment

    The LTTE pledged to Otara Otunnu UN sp rapporteur they would abide by the protocol

  85. I am a Muslim woman from Sri Lanka. Reading DBS article I think I am few years older to author writing as Niromi. I haven’t read her book yet but will do. I just want to endorse what DBS says and think she has done a good thing in writing this book.It will be inspiration to all women in Sri Lanka

  86. Niromi de Soyza’s voice is the voice of exploited women everywhere. The LTTE used to boast that women were emancipated under their rule. But as Niromi’s narrative says it was a case of being given guns and ordered about by male commanders. Women really had no say

    We can also see how some well-known male chauvinist “academics and researchers” are pouncing on Niromi and belittling her as a fraud. WE express solidarity with our sister. Don’t you give in to these bullies!

    And thank you Mr.Jeyaraj for supporting her.We love ya!

    I love you too Sistahs……………….DBSJ

  87. And you are? Have you ever wondered why Tamils are so screwed?
    Isn’t this something you should be proud of as an CGC old girl?

  88. Balappu, please continue teaching. Never mind the inordinate demand of bell po3. Good teachers like you are rare these days.

    It takes a good teacher to manage bad students.

  89. .
    “……Thus, ‘child soldier’ does not only refer to a child who is carrying or has carried
    weapons. The definition is intentionally broad so as to extend protection to as
    many children as possible and to ensure their inclusion in demobilization and reintegration
    programmes…..”

    Interesting…… how about children sent to religious schools (to become monks)?

    🙂

  90. “Niromi” claims her mother founded the Mothers Front in 1988 during the occupation of IPKF (p. 299). You know as well as I do, who founded the Mothers Front in 1984 when Sri Lankan army made mass arrests of young men in VVT and Karaveddy areas.
    This factual error cannot be classified as “blunders and errors of minor details”. Author cannot be forgiven for making such false claims. Exaggerating her own experiences or making false claims about her experiences is one thing. Cooking up stories claiming that her mother founded Mothers Front in 1988 is not a responsible act by an author of a book. When such false statements are made one begins to doubt many incidents in the book.

    DBSJ RESPONDS:

    The late Gamini Navaratne who edited “Saturday Review” at one time related an interesting anecdote to Ajith Samaranayake and myself about how he (Gamini) was responsible for getting the Mothers Front started. Gamini said that despite many attempts the Mothers were not getting their act together and squabbling with each other. So Gamini said he wrote a news item that a procession –demonstration by the Mothers carrying broomsticks will take place on a particular date. Thereafter the Mothers had no choice other than to stage the demo (without broomsticks) and this was the Mothers front baptism of fire. It was so interesting Ajith wrote about it.If I find it I think I will post it.

  91. I think non-state actors like LTTE have no rights to even willingly recruit child soldiers. Any one under 18 is a hild and if in the army a child soldier

  92. Thanks DBSJ,
    Yes we can see this was some 2 years back. As a sinhalese I was browsing the web to get an insight about the other side of the story. I think I saw this in a blog anyway as you say it could be my mind since I read some considerable amount of information there could be many similar stories.

    Thanks again,
    Thilina

  93. Most of the brilliant students from Chundikulli Girl’s college is not a authentic product as per your definition, as my wife also from Chudukulli but she was from Convent as well. Period was in 1950s.

    Regards,
    Ratnam

  94. Kumuthini

    We see DBS face every Saturday when we read his column DBS Jeyaraj in Daily Mirror. But if you want to see a better picture e-mail him and ask

  95. Good point,

    All Fernandos, De Silvas. Rodregos,Medes etc should get together and demand a separate deal when the APC goes into business.

  96. good of you to explain but the tigerish nitwits trying to nitpick will never appreciate this.whether legally recruited or not child soldier is a child soldier if under 18. Even with retrospective effect

  97. Well done Mr Jeyaraj, great article! Although I see what Rohan is saying, is there any point wasting your time on these nit-pickers’ childish ‘research’ and ‘reviews’ Mr Jeyaraj? Their bad pieces speak for themselves and intelligent people can see through them easily.
    I have read Niromi’s amazing memoir. I wonder how many of us can recall everything that happened to us in our teenage years with 100% accuracy, especially one that is as traumatic as Niromi’s, while making the reader feel as if they are there with them by describing the sights, smells and sounds? I hope Niromi’s story encourages many to come forward and tell their story too. It can help us heal.

  98. Ilaya Seran Senguttuvan says:
    abduction of Tamil money-lender Christopher at Jampettah Lane in Colombo Central a few days again by men in Police uniform coming in a van –
    ——————–
    Dear friend,

    Although he is money lender, he is not a tamil but a SINHALEES.

    Any way Jumpatta lane should be propely clean up because there were more incedences occured in this place. As an example The bomb lorry which attacked to central bank parked here.

    It is no concern wether they TAMIL OR SINHALEES TERORISTS ARE TEREROSTS. THEY SHOULD BE WIPE OUT.

    samarasekara

    samarasekara

  99. Well done DBS. It’s baffling to me that Sri Lankans should submit to having their time and intellectual energies wasted by tomfool academics and scurrilous journos. The ‘controversy’ over “Tamil Tigress” is simply a bad joke. However I must complain that “The Cage” is not about my experiences in Sri Lanka. To the contrary, I went to considerable effort to write a relatively dispassionate but readable treatment of Sri Lanka’s troubled times. You’ll be able to judge for yourself when the US/Canada edition is published in 2012. The Tamil-language version will be launched alongside Arandhati Roy’s new book in Tamil Nadu on 7 January.
    Gordon Weiss

    DBSJ RESPONDS:

    Thank you Gordon. Looking forward to reading your book when released here.

    Also congratz on the Tamil version. If its out on Jan 7th then maybe I’ll get to read it here before the English original

  100. What is meant by ” authentic” product of Chundikuli? after meeting Niromi in person , listen to the TV , watch her video clips and her profession tells tell her who is she?

    She is bold enough to come out and tell the true story … that is what authentic … means!

  101. How her mother searched for her daughter without loosing hope….!

    You must read the book Asela . Whole chapter is about…. it is a therapy for the parents who experienced the similar situation.

  102. You are right, from Niromi’s book and Jeyaraj’s article its very clear she went to 4 schools, St Gabriel’s, HFC, CGC and a Boarding School in India. She’s an authentic product of all these schools and that’s what makes her bold, different & broad-minded. Any school would be proud to claim her as their own.

    Not only was she willing to sacrifice her life for her people (and her friend did), she also then turned her life around and done something positive and is now giving back to the same people, in both documenting our history and giving part of the book’s proceeds. I wonder how many so-called ‘authentics’ can say that about themselves?

  103. Ranjan,

    DBSJ writings makes 1000s mind thinking , 1000s mind more educated, more important than launching 1000 ships,(which is afterall , a metaphor.)

  104. I heard this Niromi’s interview with Margaret on ABC.Her 1st song selection was a Sinhala one

    She took a Sinhala journalist Richards name as hers

    I think she has no racism in her but I am puzzled how a girl like that can join LTTE

    I think maybe our govt at fault for pressing Tamils so badly that they took up fighting?

    Bodhi I think you are on the path to enlightenment without meditating under a Bodhi tree……………DBSJ

  105. I was struck by DBSJ’s phrase “Jaffna then was in a state of semi-liberation”. If that means life in an ethnically cleansed militarist society, give me chains any day. God rot all tigers.

    The “meaning you’ve attributed is yours not mine…………..DBSJ

  106. You are right, from Jeyaraj’s article its very clear she went to St Gabriel’s, HFC, CGC and a Boarding School in India. She’s an authentic product of all these schools and that’s what makes her bold, different & broad-minded. Any school would be proud to claim her. She’s turned her life around and done something positive with her life and also giving back to her community. I wonder how many can say that about themselves?

  107. Hi David,
    I did not have a chance to read this book yet. I knew both these girls. her friend was killed during the Indian Army battle. I did not know this girl came to Australia. I was living in Nallur that time.They did not go training through Thileepan or Kittu. they went straight through VP’s group. that time Kittu did not like to recruit women for soldiers. but VP wanted to recruit them. there was a bit of conflict between VP and Kittu on this issue.

    Was there conflict?I dont thik so……DBSJ

  108. Better to hear different views about any popular topic. It is possible to project some ulterior motive to any activity. Even going through DBSJ’s site can be considered as an activity of rejuvenating Tamil nationalism or even Tamil militancy. It can also be viewed as an attempt to eradicate Tamil nationalism or a way to enhance Tamil traitorisation. There can’t be anything without criticism.

    Tamil Tigress reminds me the work done by Dr.Sarmila Bose (grand niece of Subash Chandra Bose). Bangaladesh war (or Indo Pak war of 1971) is perceived by many (at least most of the Indians) in a over simplified way. Bengalis are the protagonists and Punjabis are the antagonists and India helped the protagonists in their liberation war. Sarmila Bose in her works describes the other side of the Bangaladesh war. She claims that what was enacted by the Pakistani army in East pakistan is not a genocide. It is a military action to restore the law and order in the troubled areas of East Pakistan.

    Sarmila Bose also talks about the way in which Muslim Bengalis of East Pakistan (present Bangaladesh) massacred Hindu Bengalis and Hindu Biharis during the troubled period. She claims that Muslim or East Bengalis were extremely xenophobic in their approach towards other linguistic and religious groups. East Bengalis had a lot of hatred against the Hindu Bengalis of West Bengal and to some extend the muslims of Kolkatta also.

    Even western writers like Mark Tully expresses similar views regarding Indo-Pak war of 1971. Even I feel there is truth in Sarmila Bose’s view. An ordinary Bangaladeshi has alot of anti-Indian mentality rather than having a pro-Indian mentality inspite of the help rendered by India in winning his/her freedom.

    Let us welcome writers like Sarmila Bose, Sharmila (Niromi de Soyza) to know about different sides of sensitive and controversial issues.

    DBSJ RESPONDS:

    Yogesh

    Can you send me details of Sharmilasw book& her e-mail if possible.Used to know her& brother Sumanthiran when she was at Harvard in the 80’s

    my email

    dbsjeyaraj@yahoo.com

    Thanks

  109. I feel sympathy for this girl who made new life for her after being in LTTE. I am happy Jeyaraj annan is writing nicely about her when others are attacking her

  110. Dear Mr Samrasekera:

    Tamil dailies reported Christopher was a Tamil money-lender. Jampettah Lane/Street is only a few yards from the
    reknowned St Anthony’s Church (Kochchikade, Cbo 13) The people down the area are mostly Tamil Catholics.
    Those 300 + who demonstrated in the street calling for the abductee’s release were clearly Tamils.
    Whether Sinhalese or Tamil people being adbucted illegally – more so by State actors coming in unnumbered vehciles – must be condemned by all right thinking people – something with which you might agree. The temptation of abducting Tamil businessmen seems to be so lucrative now it has begun to affect Sinhalese money-lenders as well – as we read from last week’s Thorana Handiya incident at Kelaniya.

    No one will dispute your advise Terrorists must be wiped out. I agree with you – except that “Terrorism” being defined
    sometimes becomes long dawn. For instance, a writer whose superbly constructed pieces are read with great interest here draws attention between Terrorism and Nationlism in these pages. Academics in the great learning institutions of the world are still arguing if Palestinian militants are terrorists or Nationalists. And so with Shining Path in Guatemala and the PKK in Turkey, Iraq and Syria.

    It might be best you advise the regime`and the Big Boss of your new found idea because many seem convinced at some point doing “business” with Terrorist chiefs to win elections via bribery was considered a done thing – if you refresh
    the 2005 electoral history of this land of yours and mine.

    ISS

  111. Wow, not sure what about her that makes you to distance your school from her. Would you pls specify the minimum number of years to be spent before to get the “a real,authentic product” status mam.

  112. I agree with you. Anyone under 18 is a child and if inducted as a soldier or guerilla is a child soldier. some pro-LTTE idiots will never understand

  113. Tamil Nadu should consider a scheme of granting dual citizenship to Sri Lankan Tamils. TNA should be encouraged to initiate discussions with the Tamil Nadu government in this regard.

    Internationalization of the Tamil issue will be a good thing to the Sinhalese. It will offer the Sinhalese an opportunity to educate the international community on the demographic distribution of the TAmil speaking people within the small island and convince them that any separate ethnic enclave for Tamils should absorb all Tamil speaking people distributed throughout the island leaving the Sinhalese alone. Sinhalese may also request for protection from the threatening 60 million Tamils (as indicated in the above comment) just 20 miles across the island.

    A related subject area the IC should take up for study is how the Tamils during the last 200 years expanded into Africa, Malaysia, Fiji island, hill areas of Sri LAnka, Canada and other western counties and the various techniques they adopted in the process including the 30 year most ruthless terrorism the world has ever seen. Any fool in the IC will instantly realize that some mad Jaffna Tamils (supported by a few kallatonis living in Colombo) are asking for the moon.

    You are Moonstruck………..DBSJ

  114. Thank you for this valuable information. Some fools are trying to whitewash LTTE by saying a child is not a child.not enough the damage done y LTTE these idiots still trying to support

  115. All my doubts about Niromi being a fake got cleared up after reading this article. I dont agree with some of DBS views but I know he always writes truth even if people attack him for it. So if DBS says Niromi is real then that is more than enough for me

  116. Philip Fernando – While what you said of marriages between Lankan Tamils and those of recent Indian origin is generally right, the equation has begun to change from the mid-1980s. While the incidents of such alliances at the general level is on the increase, of the more prominent ones I can remember is the marriage of the daughter of former Minister M. Tiruchelvam QC (Neelan’s father) to a Madras Tamil working here at an Indian Bank. A daughter of the late Park Nadesan married into a Vaniga Chettiar family in Colombo 7 – an educated giant in the business world. In recent years the daughter of a prominent senior TNA leader married also into a Madras family (Malayalee?)There are many such happy society marriages.

    The change I believe, is largely because of the change in the image of the “Indian Tamils” in the Island. While till about the 1970s they were identified only with the working class in the Estates since then a new class in the community has emerged. They are now in the frontline of Business, Commerce and Industry; the Professions (Varsity Dons, Lecturers, Doctors, Engineers, Accountants, Senior Managers, Architects etc) Many are coming into the political leadership – whereas it was only the late Mr Thondaman at one stage. The other contributory factor was the giant strides in education and industry industryIndia has achieved post-1980.

    The close affinity between the Tamils on both sides of the Straits since the post 1980 period will only increase the numbers. Seeman – the well known TN political and actor is looking forward to or in the process of marrying a Lankan lass is widely spoken of.

    ISS

  117. If you join an army volantaraly or involantraly weather you are a women ,man, gay ,sinhala,Tamil,libaration army or government army you have to obay the orders of the commanders.

  118. being a student at Holy family Covent does not make that she was not student at CGC, She studied at your school as many others did. She was genuinely old girl of CGS. Please don’t bring your status centered mind to public forum, keep it within your alter ego.

  119. Good to hear that our Indian Tamils are reaching par with Jaffna Tamils especially in the most important area of marriage..

    I like to hear whether any of these high society marriagesso far has involved any of our Estate brethren?.

    With the current boom ,surely the asset rich and moneyed Tamil people regardless of their origin will be on top soon.

    Hopefully the poor, especially the Tamil people from the Estates and Batticolao will also reap some benefits so that they can educate their offsprings to become doctors ,engineers, accountants and the new area of Business executives that the current Economic boom is craeting.

    These young generations then,will surely help break the High and Low class barriers in a prosperous Srilanka.

    If the current trends continue it won’t be that far away.

    By the way is Mr Seeman , an Indian Tamil?.

  120. Dear Ilaya Seran Senguttuvan,

    An organisation becomes terrorists by the type their actions , not by their origin. Certainly in no part of the civilised world, there is difference of opinion or dedate about terrorist actions such as suicide bombing in crowded places, puttings explosives in passenger aeroplanes, forced recruitment of child soldiers etc. do not twist the matter. can u justify your bombastic claim ” Academics in the great learning institutions of the world are still arguing if Palestinian militants are terrorists or Nationalists. And so with Shining Path in Guatemala and the PKK in Turkey, Iraq and Syria”

  121. DBSJ,
    Title of the book Dead Reckoning: Memories of the 1971 Bangladesh War, Hurst and Co. and Columbia University Press, 2011

    Thank you……..DBSJ

  122. Soma, you are suffering from Mahavamsa mindset fever similar to mad cow disease.call an ambulance and get admitted to the nearst hospital before it is too late.

  123. J.Muthu says: December 12, 2011 at 6:23 pm Dear Gordan,Do you really beleive tamils of ealam and sinhala moronic srilanka can live together??
    —-
    I hundred [ercent agree with you. Certainly SINHALEES are fool,otherwise they chased tamils away from the country as MYANMAR,AND UGANDA DID.

    samarasekara

  124. Asela

    They were overjoyed. Ancient tamil custom of giving their children for battle and blessing them on their way to death.You should have seen the film veera pandya kattabomman.

  125. Kalu Albert Sir, Have no worry, the caste systems within Tamils (as they are with the sinhalese), shall soon be the past.

  126. The Tamil people abroad and in Sri Lanka should be aware that the likes of Gordon Weiss are not genuinely shedding tears for the Tamils in Sri Lanka. No wonder the UN is such a waste of money that could not protect the innocent Tamil civilians in 2009.

  127. Historically that is not the case. Many people with low caste origins try to tell they belong to high caste once they get wealth. I see that in Canada! So the caste is not dead!

    In 1830 Vellaala population was only 4% in Jaffna but that became 90% in in the 60s. How?

  128. Once again, Very good article DBS. Thanks for that.
    During that period, I was studying at St.Johns and I have heard about “Ajanthi”.
    We also had lot of meetings from SOLT Murali.

    Defiantly it is true story and I love read her book.
    Not sure where I can buy?

    Another to say is that in our Tamil community, there are lot of people are willing to criticise anything.
    But unfortunately there are only very few people to appreciate.
    Well!, That’s what our community and that is the reason we are like this.

  129. samarasekera

    Sinhalese did try it in 58,77 and 83,but it backfired didn’t it? the reason is unlike myanmar,the tamils in srilanka have been there for more than 2000 years.In myanmar they mostly went with the british to help them in the administration of burma like the tamils who came to srilanka to help the british with the tea plantations.600000of those were already repatriated by the sirima shastri pact.The remaining were kept because the tea estates were the main exports and these people were needed to work in them.

    Anyway the examples are myanmar and uganda with srilanka is stupid. See what has happenned to those countries and their standard of living.See what happenned to zimbabwe after chasing the white farmers out.When you do these things you should be careful not to throw the baby out with the bathwater.An exodus of hardworking people and their capital and brains will make everyone poorer.

  130. [unlike myanmar,the tamils in srilanka have been there for more than 2000 years.]

    Straight out of VP’s history book.

  131. Hello Mr.Jeyaraj

    I am a close friend of a close friend of “Niromi Soyza”family.My friend tells me her parents are so very happy that you are writing truth about their daughter so clearly and boldly. They were feeling sad and dejected I hear about the cruel attacks on her in the media saying she was a fake tigress.Your unexpectedly writing about her authenticity is greatly appreciated by the family

    I thought I should let you know how the parents feel and also congratulate you for writing the truth and defending her when so many academics and researchers were trying to destroy her. But then courting trouble by writing truth has always been your trademark

    Thank you very much…………DBSJ

  132. When Niromi and her friend wanted to join the LTTE (due to their misplaced, teenaged romanticism), Thileepan tried to dissuade them (and possibly test their commitment).

  133. When I look gloomily at all the bright lives extinguished all across Sri Lanka (across both linguistic groups) for the most trivial reasons over the past several decades, it is rare stories of people like Niromi (who realised the futility of war and escaped with their lives) that are like silver linings in the cloud. I pray that Thiru Murugan may bless all the people in Sri Lanka and in the Diaspora to forget the past, heal their wounds and come to their senses to live amicably ever after.

    Let us all work together and turn Colombo into Silicon Valley and Jaffna-Trincomalee-Batticoloa into the Silicon Triangle. 🙂

  134. There were many Mothers Fronts in Jaffna those days. Different people formed in different places in different times.I think Gamini N is talking of the one started in Jaffna town only

  135. No frames

    Out of the mahawamsa,iam afraid,unless you want to dispute the great historical record and be labelled as a sinhalese traitor.
    It says that elara ruled the country for 44 years about 2300 years ago.He directly ruled north of the mahaweli while two sub kings ruled south of the mahaweli,of which one was kavantissa,the father of dutugemunu.You think he would have ruled this country for 44 years without bringing a substantial number of tamils,and also a tamil influx of settlements as is usually happens during a long rule.Even before him sena and guttilla,two tamil horse traders ruled the country for 22 years.Even velu sumana the great army commandr of dutugemunu,was given that name because his father vasaghamba had two close friends velu and sumana,velu being a tamil horse trader.The influence of tamils in ancient srilanka is indisputable through your own mahawamsa,not prbhaharans history books.Even vijaya and all his 700 followers brought tamil pandya brides,who would have also brought many more to serve them.That is the reason the pandyas always sent armies to help the sinhalese ward off the cholas even thousand years later.

    When it comes to the mahawamsa you guys start clapping when you read that dutu beat elara in battle,but try to deny its abundant evidence of tamil influence and inhabitation in ancient srilanka.In fact Dr.mervyn silva even now claims he is a descendent of dutu and rode a elephant in a film and fell off it and badly injured himself. He made the mistake of not choosing a descendent of kandula,the famous dutu’s elephant that was mainly instrumental in him beating elara in single combat. Mervyn went out of the country for awhile after that because astrolegers told him he was havinga bad period and has to cross the ocean.

  136. Jeyaraj
    enjoyed reading this.Good of you to write what you know about her and inform us of the truth.Eagerly waiting to read next instalment of your article and also the book by Niromi

  137. sivananthan mudali

    Many people with low caste origins try to tell they belong to high caste once they get wealth. I see that in Canada! So the caste is not dead!
    ——————————————–
    So what is wrong with that.Caste was a aryan concept based on work that you do.Only difference between then and now is the labour mobility.At that time if you were a farmers son,you have to continue to be a farmer.Now you can become a doctor.Same way if you were in a caste which you describe as low caste,for example weaving,now since you are not doing your ancestors job of weaving,then why call yourself a member of that caste?It is not like when you are born there is caste written on your forehead or something,it was merely a aryan system of job segregation,which cannot be continued with the advent of free markets and labour mobility.Like the dinosaur it is bound to become extinct.

    An example is a vellala caste guy could go to canada and open a fish market.Then he will be neither a vellala or a karayar,but a trader and now belong to that caste of traders,and has every right to say so if he wishes.Or if he becomes a money lender he can call himself of the chettiyar caste,or if he becomes a priest in a temple in canada,because they could not find brahmins,he can call himself a brahmin.

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  139. Aiyo Jeyaraj

    Why no Tamil tigress article 2nd part aney?Very disappointed no ?I opened Daily Mirror early morning itself to read but no article no Jeyaraj?searched your blog and web also but nothing aney? Aiyo what happened tell will you?

    DBSJ RESPONDS

    Aiyo Nelum Samawenda aney! Couldn’t write last week. So sorry appa!Will write this week.Wait for Saturday will you

  140. Aiyo nelum,jeyaraj is going so fast now,we can’t keep up with him aney.He is like the bear,hibernates for months and then goes like a express train.

  141. Niromi or Shenuka has given a voice to all the girls who joined LTTE and fought as tigresses. Thanks DBS for writing her true tale

  142. What is her next step.Should it be to follow the footsteps of rasika sitsebesan and become an MP in the australian parliament.For that she has to move to a suburb that has a lot of tamils.Ideally tamils should have 3 women members in the UK,canadian and australian parliaments for the long term viability os a)to show that tamils are now a international force to be reckoned with b)at least at the international level tamils have ditched gender bias and moved into the modern world.

  143. It is terrible the way in which Groundviews website has been trying to prove Niromi de Soyza a fraud through disgusting articles by half-baked critics and then promoting a low class controversy dragging you also in Mr.Jeyaraj

    I know from my daughter who is also from Chundikuli that this girl is real person who joined LTTE then

    It is good that you write in defence of her Mr.Jeyaraj and defy the vicious campaign against her by Groundviews

  144. No..No… Shankar….

    Since she is committed to helpd the children and orphans in the war affected Sri Lanka in her own money , and make a great difference than enjoying the poor tax payers money and enjoy the global trip in the name of the ambassador or parliamentarian. Leave those jobs for born politicians who dump the reserved money. We have a bunch of fellows there.

    I do not think she will run after the popularity at the expense of the tax payers money . She never did it in the past.

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  146. When I read the attacks on Niromi de Soyza in the Groundviews and read DBS Jeyaraj’s article I get the feeling that a systematic campaign is being done against the author and the book.

    Reading the book was refreshing. All the criticism in Groundviews seems childish conjecture

    Hats off to DBS for writing truths and facts about author instead of speculating wildly with malice motive

  147. I concur with your views whole heartedly PT.

    Niromi’s critics first said she was a fake and counterfeit who was never in the LTTE or was not even a Tamil. All the evidence they had was her mistakes in the book.

    After DBS wrote about her and proved clearly that she was authentic and genuine they change track and nitpick on her so called mistakes and attribute ulterior motives

    I know Ratnawalie is really that nut case Natchathiran Sevvinthian who has a personal problem

    But I lost all respect for Michael Roberts after this.

  148. It is amazing to see how some people are viciously attacking Niromi de Soyza finding faults where there are none

    One self -styled pundit says St.Johns College principal was not Anandarajan as Niromi says. How wrong this idiot is. His name is Anandarajan. This is well-known but this loony says it is not so. Other geckos lap up the looney tunes

    Waiting for 2nd part DBS

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  150. I have no idea how accurate her book is or who she really is, but it strikes me as strange that she wants to protect her identity so she hides her name, but she is willing to have her face splashed everywhere.

  151. I picked this book at an airport waiting for my flight.. As a sinhalese girl who grew up in kandy in the 70/80’s, this was a very interesting read. I never understood why the tamil tigers felt they needed to go to war … I wish Niromi had explained the reasons better in her book, which I see as a deficiency in the book. I can feel how and why she got involved though… in her prime of youth and wanting to make a difference …. I also could not put the book down till the end
    Niromi .. I see you as an individual who made choices in life , which you later realised werent the best choices but brave enough to admit that and move on….
    I only hope that whatever situations that made organizations like tigers start, be addressed in Sri lanka so the future has a better outlook
    Good luck Niromi..

  152. Thanks for the article DBS.You have provided few missing pieces of jigzaw puzzle.Niromi’s book is great as she has discussed the issue very openly and honsetly. The root causes for the ethnic problem has been identified clearly in her early chapters and she has bravely criticized fascist dictatorial nature of the Tamil tigers.Her memoir has missed the tiger brutality of killing bus loads of innocent civilians and hacking of poor border villagers to death and the massacres of Aranthalawa and Anuradhapura which happened during the period when she was a Tamil tigress.Otherwise no criticism about her book which is a rare opportunity to grasp the ground realities of otherwise secretive Tamil tigers.I wish all the Sri Lankans could read this book.As a Sinhalese I admire her bravery.If army soldiers are asked to read this book they will feel that the tigers and them are the two sides of the same coin.We have lost many like Niromi from both sides and this meaningless war has robbed valuable lives which could have been very productive for the betterment of the country.

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