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Guerilla poet stands guard as sentinel at Jaffna Fort

By D.B.S. Jeyaraj

True tale of a Tamil Tigress-4

After joining the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) formally the two friends Shenuka and Nirmala were lodged at the house of a widowed mother of three daughters by senior tiger leader Murali. This lady was an aunt of Bharathan Rajanayagam who was then in charge of the LTTE ‘s TV and photographic unit.

Bharathan’s father Rajanayagam master was a respected progressive citizen of Jaffna. I have been to his house in Thirunelvely a few times in 1986 to visit HN Fernando the teachers trade union activist and brother in law of former JVP leader Rohana Wijeweera.HN was a friend and one of my earliest contacts from the time I was a reporter on the Tamil daily “Virakesari”.

Comrade HN had fled Colombo to escape the Jayewardena Govt crackdown and was staying with the Rajanayagam family.

Those were interesting times when Sinhala progressives fearing the UNP regime found a safe haven in “semi-liberated”Jaffna. Tragically in 1987 this situation changed and many Sinhalese in Jaffna were killed by the LTTE in revenge for the deaths of 12 tigers including Kumarappa,Pulenthiran, Nalan and Abdullah.But HN and other Southern progressives had moved back then due to the peace ushered in by the Indo-Lanka accord.

Bharathan’s family was highly politicized. One of his sisters Kunthavai too was a member of the LTTE “Freedom Birds” .His brother Bharathi is a well –known Journalist in the Tamil media. Bharathan’s aunt in whose house Shenuka and Nirmala were staying had three daughters. Two of them bearing the noms de guerre “Chithra and Ruby” were members of the LTTE women’s wing “Suthanthirapparavaigal”(Birds of Freedom) and obtained arms training.

Meanwhile the families of both Shenuka and Nirmala were shattered by the news.Girls of their family background joining the LTTE was something new then and this development was something sensational in the circles they moved in.Many sympathized while some gossiped that the girls had “eloped”. Shenukas father working in the middle-east was informed but he could not suddenly take leave and come to Sri Lanka due to contractual obligations.


Interestingly one of the first to meet the two girls and lash out angrily for having joined the LTTE was “Razaak” who was an uncle of a classmate of the two girls at Chundikuli Girls College.Despite being a tiger himself ,Razaak wanted the girls whom he knew well through his niece to quit and return to normal life. But the two girls starry-eyed with the dream of Eelam refused and managed to get him to convey a message to their families.

The girls had not brought any spare clothes or extra under garments or toilet accessories. They had simply dropped everything and just come away. Shenuka being a bookworm had only brought some of her books along. While this was proof of their unbridled enthusiasm it was also a manifestation of their naïve, romantic idealism.

So Razaak informed their families and brought back some clothes, under garments and toilet accessories.The two mothers however rushed to the LTTE main office near the Jaffna University to meet their daughters. They were allowed to do so. In later years the LTTE would not permit new recruits to immediately meet families.They could meet only after training was over.

But in this case the LTTE in 1987 seems to have been very lenient and easy going. The mothers of Nirmala and Shenuka were allowed frequent visits to see their daughters. The meetings would take place at the LTTE main office opposite the Varsity. Cadres would fetch the two girls living in close proximity to the office. Despite maternal pleading both daughters had refused firmly to return. So the meetings became simple conversations although the reflection of sorrow in the eyes of the two mothers was clearly discernible.

It appears that the LTTE leaders of the time were somewhat reluctant to tear these two girls away from their doting families and absorb them into the LTTE as armed fighters. These daily family meetings were encouraged perhaps to discourage the new tigress recruits.

It may also have been a test to gauge the extent of their commitment and resolve. Shenuka and Nirmala in spite of the many meetings did not waver or falter.After some days these meetings ended as the girls were relocated elsewhere. Perhaps they had passed the “test” with flying colours.


During the preliminary phase of her “tigress” life Shenuka as was her nature used to ask many questions some of them rather irreverent. She was soon put in her place by Thileepan and Murali. Shenuka was told that she was now in a militant organization and subject to military discipline. She was not supposed to raise questions but simply obey orders unquestioningly. Like Tennyson’s “light brigade” hers was “not to reason why “but simply “do or die”.

It was during their stay with Bharathan’s aunt that the two SOLT (Students organization of Liberation Tigers)members interacted closely with the “Birds of Freedom” women’s division of the LTTE political wing. The “freedom Birds” co-founder and head was the be-spectacled ,matronly Gayathri known as Gayathri Akka to the girls.

Both Shenuka and Nirmala met and made new friends through their interaction with other members of “Freedom Birds” many of whom were on the waiting list for arms training. Among these new friends and comrades were Gayathri Akka,Chitra,Ruby,Mithila, Bamini and Kunthavai who was Bharathan’s sister. Both Nirmala and Shenuka were referred to by others as the “SOLT Pettaigal” (girls from SOLT)

One of the main duties of these Birds of freedom was to cook food,wrap food parcels and deliver them to LTTE cadres manning various sentry points. The food was generally puttu (pittu) and Paruppu(dhal) or Soru(rice) and payithangaai (snake beans). The parcels were delivered to sentry points at 11 am (breakfast)4pm (lunch) and 10 pm (dinner).

Apparently Shenuka who had shunned cooking at home because of her self-perception as Bharathiyar’s “Puthumaippenn”(nouveau woman)hated these tasks.The freedom birds were also given basic training in administering first-aid.


It was during this time that LTTE political commissar for Jaffna Rasiah Parthiban alias Thileepan who was in overall charge of the Birds of Freedom inducted Shenuka into the editorial board of the monthly journal “Suthanthirapparavaigal”. Apart from editorial duties she was asked to write poems for the magazine.

Holy Family Convent, Jaffna

Thileepan knew that the “Tamil Tigress” author had a flair for writing poetry.As a student at Holy Family Convent (HFC)she had won awards for poetry in 1984 and 85 and also won a Jaffna district competition for Tamil poetry in 1985. She had also won a poetry award at Chundikuli Girls College(CGC) and published her poem in the College magazine.

Shenuka had also maintained a crimson coloured notebook in which she inscribed her poems.Later this book assumed a life of its own.One of her relatives “Ravi Anna” was a medic in the Eelam Peoples Revolutionary Liberation Front(EPRLF)known as “Dr.Benjamin”. In 1986 December he had borrowed the book from her to read. Shortly afterwards the LTTE launched a fratricidal onslaught on the EPRLF.

“Benjamin” was also detained by the LTTE. Sadly he was among the scores of detenues executed in cold blood by LTTE senior commander Aruna in 1987. Aruna had gone berserk after an attack on his close friend, former Jaffna commander Sathasivampillai Krishnakumar alias Kittu. He had mowed down these members of rival groups being held under LTTE detention.

The red poetry book was seized by the LTTE from Benjamin. It was not returned to the author but kept in the LTTE media office. The author of “Tamil Tigress” as a student used to write heroic poems and drop them off in the LTTE complaints/suggestions boxes. The tigers were extremely curious about the mystery poet but were unable to find out the true identity. But now with the book in their possession the tigers were able to compare the mystery poems written in beautiful handwriting and discover the truth.

But the saga of the red book of poetry did not end there. When hostilities broke out between the Indian army and the tigers the LTTE media office was raided by the IPKF and among the material seized was the poetry book. The Indian army then came to Shenuka’s house on Rakka lane and interrogated the family. Her sister was asked to read and translate the poems into English.


It later transpired that the Indian army officer who asked the sister to translate was a Tamil by ethnicity. He later revealed he was a Tamil and that he could understand the meaning of the poetry very well. He praised the quality of the poems and said they helped make him realize the sense of oppression felt by Tamils and the reasons for their taking up arms. The poetry book was taken away by the Indian officer and may perhaps be in his possession still.

Shenuka’s creative impulses continued even after she lost the red book. She had now started writing poems in an ordinary exercise book. She wrote even during her arms training period and during the fighting with the Indian army. Once again she lost the poetry book on December 1st 1987 to the Indian army after a raid on the place she was hiding in with her comrades. What happened to the poetry book is unknown. But she stopped writing Tamil poems after that.

So it seems obvious that Thileepan got her to write poems for “Suthanthirapparavaigal” magazine with full knowledge of her creative talent. During her short stint at the editorial board she wrote three poems for the magazine.Two were published under her nom de guerre Shenuka and one as Nirmala ,her friend Ajanthi’s nom de guerre.

Two of Shenukas poems were also published in the Jaffna daily “Eezhamurasu” which had been taken over from its owner Mayil. Amirthalingam by the tigers and was being run as a LTTE newspaper.

After some weeks at Thirunelvely both girls were sent by Thileepan to stay in a very poor neighbourhood in Navaaly,Manipay. This was shortly before “Operation Liberation” was launched by the Sri Lankan armed forces on May 26th 1987. The military operation in the Vadamaratchy region did not affect normalcy in other parts of Jaffna peninsula.


The relocation to Navaaly was a test to expose the middle class girls from a comfortable background to squalid surroundings and harsh conditions. Here the two friends slept on the bare floor, washed and bathed at an open well and used a squat bucket toilet. It was a new experience.

However both Shenuka and Nirmala were regarded as “special” by their hosts and neighbours. They were referred to as “Nalla kudumbathup Pillaigal” (Children from good families) and treated like royalty. They were overfed despite protests and the overfeeding stopped only after Nirmala threw out after an “enforced” heavy meal.

During this time the girls went to a hospital in Manipay where injured tigers were being treated. The sight of maimed,limbless cadres at the hospital moved both girls immensely.

Signing of Indo-Lanka accord

It was while they were in Navaaly that India conducted “Operation Poomaalai” on June 4th 1987. Indian planes violated Sri Lankan airspace and threw down food containers over Jaffna. It was a strong signal conveyed by New Delhi to Colombo.President JR Jayewardena understood the implications and caved in to Indian pressure thus paving the way for the signing of the Indo-Lanka accord.

Shenuka and her friend Nirmala were recalled to Jaffna town by Thileepan shortly after the Indian air drop. They were now assigned sentry duty at the Jaffna Fort vicinity. The Sri Lankan army was expected to move out en masse from the Fort camp and the tigers were ever vigilant. Assigning sentry duty to the girls also gave them exposure to the frontlines.


Six girls Chithra, Sanjika, Thuvaraga,Bhanu, Shenuka and Nirmala were grouped into one unit and assigned sentry duty. They stayed at Chithra’s house in Thirunelvely and cycled to and from the Jaffna fort area. There were male tiger cadres also on sentry duty. Shenuka and the others were on duty at the Telecommunications building vicinity.

Jaffna Fort – in Jun 2010 – pic courtesy of: Gane

The duties of the girls were of a supplementary nature. The actual sentries were the male cadres. The six girls were there on a stand –by basis. They had to simply observe and wait in readiness with first –aid kits. The sentry posts assigned to them were NO 2 ,3 and 6. The six girls were placed in pairs to each sentry post. Venthan was in charge of Sentry post 6 and Muthu of Sentry post 3.

Chithra whose real name was Tharany and Shenuka were placed in Sentry post no 2. Rangan also known as Kuberan was in charge here. Little did Shenuka realize that Rangan was there for a purpose and that the God of love “ Manmathan” was firing his five flowered arrows in the midst of war and death.

Rangan whose real name was Rajasooriyar had had an “eye” on Shenuka even as a schoolgirl and tried to draw her attention many times. But she apparently was unaware of his interest. After Shenuka joined the LTTE Rangan renewed his efforts. Incidently Rangan is referred to as “Roshan” in the “Tamil Tigress” book.

Despite the strict disciplinary code forbidding intra-tiger romances, many cadres of the LTTE found ways and means of circumventing them. Not even hard core tigers could curb natural impulses and resist that “many splendoured thing called love”. Their great leader Prabhakaran too had fallen in love with Madhivadhani Erambu of Pungudutheevu and even amended the LTTE rule book to get married to her. Others like Kittu,Kumarappa, Pottu Amman, Mahathaya and Soosai had also fallen in love and married.

Rangan who had set his sights on Shenuka made his desire known to many comrades at arms.Since “all the world loves a lover”many in the LTTE began helping him quietly to woo Shenuka. Rangan who was attached to the LTTE camp on Temple road was suddenly “transferred” to sentry duty at the Jaffna Fort when Shenuka was assigned duty there. Moreover Shenuka and Chithra were placed under him at sentry post no 2.


Since Rangan had a hidden agenda his interaction with the two girls at his sentry post were different to that of his colleagues Muthu and Venthan. Shenuka unaware of Rangan’s intentions then complained that she and Chithra were not learning anything whereas their friends at no 3 and 6 were being taught new things.

Rangan then began instructing the two girls about firearms while on sentry duty. He taught them the finer points of different fire-arms and how to dismantle , assemble and load guns.They were also shown many firing positions. They would also discuss many things about different aspects of various firearms.

After two weeks, sentry duty was over for the girls. To her surprise Shenuka found Rangan too ending his sentry duty at the Fort and returning to the Temple road camp. This made her suspicious that Rangan being stationed at the Jaffna Fort while she was there may not have been entirely a coincidence. Her doubts were further strengthened by the conduct of her friends

Her comrades and friends now began to tease her about Rangan.They cracked jokes and passed hints. The biggest match-making effort was by none other than the “Suthanthirapparavaigal” head Gayathri akka herself. She and Rangan’s elder sister Rathy had studied together at the Jaffna university and were friends. Gayathri akka would often refer to their family in general and Rangan in particular while conversing with Shenuka.

Gradually Shenuka too began developing a soft corner for Rangan. But the mutual “crush” never flowered into a budding romance. There was no significant forward movement because of the LTTE code forbidding romances among cadres. Also Shenuka was inhibited by another factor. Rangan was a Hindu while she was a Christian. Since her parents were from different religions and this had caused some tensions , the girl was wary of of crossing religious lines.


Rangan however continued expressing his feelings for her in many bizarre ways . He was a good driver and would often drive LTTE vehicles. Whenever he saw Shenuka cycling on the road he would drive fast pretending to drive her off the road. He would drive at break neck speed over pot holes and rock the vehicle tooting his horn

It was Rangan who drove former tiger deputy –leader Gopalaswamy Mahendrarajah alias Mahathaya and the LTTE’s ex-political adviser Anton Balasingham to the Palaly army camp to visit the detained LTTE leaders Pulenthiran and Kumarappah in October 1987. It was then that Cynaide was surreptitiously passed to them by the Mahathaya-Balasingham duo. Their suicide was the flashpoint of tension that triggered off the fighting between the Indian army and the LTTE.

After Shenuka’s arms training period was over and she returned home for a few weeks Rangan began visiting her . He would sit in the front verandah and chat with her. Though Shenuka liked Rangan and talked to him often she did not encourage his attentions seriously. This was because of her reluctance to fall in love due to the LTTE disciplinary code and the religious factor.

There was also another incident which illustrated the depth of feeling and concern in Rangan for Shenuka. This was after the fighting had begun with the Indian army. After the abortive attack on the Jaffna University premises by Indian paratroopers the varsity was subjected to intensive artillery shelling. The LTTE also stationed many sentries in and around the campus anticipating a second assault.

Shenuka and some of her friends were also posted as sentries on campus precincts.Shenuka and Kanchana were in one building while Nihintha and Nirmala were in another. Kanchana and Shenuka were scribbling on a blackboard and having fun when a shell exploded on the building causing both to hit the ground.


None sustained serious injuries but a piece of shrapnel had struck Shenuka’s foot. The LTTE medic a 3rd year medical student named Ranjan administered some first aid putting cotton wool and a bandage.Later when Rangan/Kuberan came to see Shenuka he found blood oozing through the bandage. He got upset and frantically got down a civilian medico friend of his to attend to the wound and treat it. Rangan’s worry that day was an index of his feelings. Shenuka carries the scar on her foot to this day.

Shenuka’s final meeting with Rangan was not very pleasant. He was wearing a sarong and this irritated her for some reason at that time. So she began admonishing him and there was a heated argument. Neither one knew then that this meeting in October was going to be their last. As the war escalated both had different duties to discharge and went their separate ways.

Nearly two years later during the peace interlude when Ranasinghe Premadasa was the President , Rangan went to the up country in search of Shenuka but she was then in India. A year later after the Indian army departed and war erupted with Colombo again,Rangan quit the LTTE.He then went to India to make travel arrangements and leave for Europe. Shenuka had by then left India and gone to Australia.

While Rangan was in India making arrangements to travel abroad, fate played a nasty trick on him. The LTTE assassinated former Indian prime minister Rajiv Gandhi in Sreeperumpudhoor on May 21st 1991. One-eyed” sivarasan was the alleged mastermind. Unfortunately for Rangan while in India he had met his old acquaintance Sivarasan who had asked him to drive his vehicle on a few occasions as a favour. Rangan who was fascinated by fast vehicles obliged him.

When the Indian authorities cracked down on the LTTE in Tamil Nadu Rajasooriyar alias Rangan was also arrested.


To strike a personal note Rangan’s brother in law who is a friend of mine contacted me.He was then living in Norway. I helped in a small way by putting him in touch with Bhakthavatsalam the Chennai-based Civil rights lawyer to watch Rangan’s interests.

Rajasooriyar alias Rangan described as an “ace driver” by Indian officials was indicted for the Rajiv Gandhi murder and intitially sentenced to death. Subsequently the sentence was reduced to a term of imprisonment. After serving his sentence Rangan was released but confined to a refugee camp in Tamil Nadu for a while. Later he left India and sought a new life elsewhere.

This then is the brief tale of the “ budding romance ”between Rangan and Shenuka. It was a mutual “crush” and never ever became a serious love affair. The amorous arrows of the Roman God Cupid and Greek God Eros failed to strike bulls eye here.

Nevertheless the short episode demonstrated that love springs eternal amidst war and death and that even two legged felines cannot be insulated from experiencing romantic pangs.


DBS Jeyaraj can be reached on djeyaraj2005@yahoo.com


  1. Absolutely great Piece of Writing Agaian! But DBS is that possible this can be published in Sunday Leader, as one of your vivid reader Northern Industries Shanmugaligam eager to read your articles but he couldn’t find all of them in Sunday Leader!


    I dont write for “The Sunday Leader” now.My column appears on Saturdays in the “Daily Mirror”.

  2. Many of the accused in Rajiv Gandhi murder case were innocent or had minimum contact with LTTE. But they were all given death sentence.It was grave miscarriage of justice

  3. Thank you again Mr.Jeyaraj for this one. This series is getting to be really interesting. I happened to meet Mr.HN Fernando many years ago. He was a progressive non – racist leftist trade unionist. Quite a contrast to his ethno-populist brother in law

  4. DBS

    Although this series is about the Tamil Tigress author you have very cleverly written a short history of LTTE and a situation analysis of Jaffna . This makes it very readable. Also it gives lots of credibility to Niromi de Soyzas book

  5. fascinating DBSJ.Simply fascinating.Ranjan may have fallen in love with shenuka,but many readers of your beautiful articles of her would have fallen in love with her friend ajanthi/nirmala,whose photo you gave in the previous article.As one reader commented,she looked like mona lisa,innocent and perfect.

    I don’t know what made shenuka irritated about a sarong.Trousers are a western culture and not our dress anyway.See,mahinda went to the commonwealth summit in a sarong,so why can’t ranjan meet shenuka in a sarong. Shenuka should know that just like beauty is only skin deep and what is under the skin is what matters,the same way the sarong does not matter and what is inside the sarong is more important than the sarong itself.

  6. If the article about author is so interesting then the book by Niromi must be jolly good.When will it be available in Colombo?

  7. Those days in Jaffna were pretty hectic. Tiger sentries around the Fort used to be a familiar sight. I think PLOTE guys were manning the Main street side and TEA &EPRLF fellows were in Kottadi side. But by 1987 January it was LTTE all over

  8. a mutual “crush” and never ever became a serious love affair.


    Explained very well. This is very common in Sri Lankan context.

    You are a novelist DBSJ !

  9. jaffnese

    fellows were in Kottadi side.
    My mums ancestry can be traced to kottadi,though she was born in the south. When i saw it now only i remembered,thanks for that.I confused it with udupiddy earlier because they all sound the same to me.I have visited northeast only once when i was a schoolgirl to see the nallur festival.I remember the water tasting funny and wondering how they drank it.

  10. Maybe the love also got crushed with all the fighting going on,or was it a crush that could not develop into a love because of the fighting,i don’t know. Personally i would have been hightailing it out of that place with love and crushes being the last thing on my mind. Brave girls,these.

  11. DBSJ

    Where is Rangan now ? Was he still part of LTTE ( I mean its overseas structure ) after his release from India ?

  12. Fantastic article Mr. Jeyaraj. Simply marvelous writing. I would love to read the book but reading these articles gives more insight as to what happened outside the life of Shenuka. Please keep writing and one day gather all these articles and make it into one outstanding best seller. I hope and pray you will one day think about it for us and our children to read. Thank you once again

  13. I’m still laughing over the childish behavior exlained here in gushing terms…

    Irrespective of the amusing quality about the entire thing, the story has s strange melancholic character. I’m grateful to David’s quaint writing skills for documenting these last vestiges of primitive life for future consumption.

  14. New Year Greetings DBSJ!
    Hope you and your family are doing well, all the best to you and your family – 2012, and the blogers as well.
    Okay, article is good so please keep writing because we need you. You are a hot topic now, so knock on the wood, let’s not jinx it.

    “My personal” take on contents, yes Ragiv assasination can be much justified with the innocent tamil lives lost during IPKF tenure in Sri Lanka. To be honest and as a first hand witness, IPKF was a blunder and tactic by JR and IPKF was not a peace keeping force instead it was a F***** horny force who wanted to rape all tamil women regardless of their age as well as mass murgering force regardless of age/gender. Most disgracefull force led by experience-LESS Ragiv Gandi. So shame, I have no regrets what-so-ever this guy got assasinated. At the same time, I can understand why DBSJ was so critic of IPKF which led to his divorce with Hindu. (DBSJ, correct me if i am wrong)

    DBSJ, I would like to point out that the jain commission concluded to find the assasin, it never said it was ALL LTTE. Chandra Swamy still has to be investigated as well as Subramaniya Swamy. I doubt “RAW” will never allow that to happen. My dear southern friends, you would not know the atrocities Tamil suffered in the hands of this “so called peace keeping force” because you were kept in the dark, but trust me this force was on a raping, killing spree in North and East of Sri Lanka. It’s a shame it happened within Sri Lanka. Shame on Sri Lanaka.

    Anyways, I have been dying to read this lady’s book but it’s unavailable in Canada but please tell me if I can find it anywhere in Toronto.

    DBSJ, person question but you can choose to ignore> when were you in Jaffna College? Because that was my home school and I was there till Gr6. This was during Mr. Hon Jebanesan tenure. I must tell you that I am a mid 1980’s born and I am here (on your blog) because I am trully inspired by your writing. Perhaps you should tell my southern friends how our lower (elementry) school was bombed my SLAF – a sri lankan way of introducing super sonic – luckily it was a holiday.

    Anyways, it’s been 2 years since the war ended but there is nothing there on the table for tamils. DBSJ, I am sure how the “vaddukottai” people converse, my dad has and always been telling me that there will and never be a solution from Sinhalase for tamils? I don’t blame my old man because there is absolutely nothing there where as King MR promised 3 years ago there will be 13+. Please this was only directed at DBSJ sir, so please let him answer.

    Keep writing sir, eventhough I don’t agree with many things you state still I use your work & blog to balance my views and conclusions.

    Hopefully we’ll meet soon – on a good note!!


    Thank you and New year greetings.I was at Jaffna College from 1970 -73.Bishop Jebanesan was my class master and also in charge of the Student Cgristian Movement (SCM) of which I was the secretary.

  15. Mr DBS are you trying to resurrect and glorify the LTTE? Looks like you miss them and cannot be without them. Shame on you DBS.


    One must be dead no to be resurrected? When you look at the Defence ministry allocations, the increasing militarisation of the North and East, the pronouncements of the Defence secretary etc do you get the feeling the tigers are really no more and need to be resurrected?

    When you look at our political leaders raising the tiger bogey again and again and exaggerating the ever prevailing “LTTE threat” posed by some tiger and pro-tiger sections of the Tamil Diaspora do you get the feeling that someone like me should glorify the LTTE?

    The only sense of shame I feel is in letting riff raff like you pollute this blog with your inanities

    Pin Siddha Vechaava!

  16. I bought the book as soon as it was released in Sydney. Read it three days… very interesting book. For me it was a flashback of my days in Jaffna during the mid to late 80s. A must read for anyone reading this comment.

  17. “CHANGES introduced to some of the religious systems and introducing UNIVERSAL religious system” – Name of Book (Google)
    Believe it or not when I was a small baby itself,I was understand English,Tamil and Sinhala.(This is not a Joke)
    Due to a big problem I cannot speak since after one weak,that is on 22.12.2009 the USA send my 1st book which I send above.When I was a problem itself, the “AuthorHouse” itself also,may be think about my book (papers had been checked) and it seems they have send my book to UK and thereafter to USA and other countries,and so far they have not (speak about a little problem with my cash to poor people in……) What ever it is I am going to send my second book and this will be a very most interesting book and “Sinhala,Tamil problem also be written and money will be not used for me,and also I shall be one Tamil & Sinhala (friends) help to support to Laptop, help etc,because I cannot speak good,because I forget the real “Words”.(I speak everything but I forget real words now English and other languages. )

    The most beautiful game is “Prison Knowledge Systems”. Do you know there are so many “Prison fellows” are there in this world,just think about fellows in Colombo,Jaffna,Batticaloa,Sri Lanka and thereafter etc. If dbsjeyaraj.com (If you are from Prisons,then you must know me,the problem is 90% is correct and if 10% wrong,then what will happen ? The 10% might be the most dangers questions and if they are wrong,then what is correct ? What happen to Fort ? What happen to Police Station…After that where are they,Boy do that,Girl do that,(We do not know who are the names or people but systems are interestings may be etc.(When Fort were given,then what happen,to prison Officers.)

    LTTE,EPDP,UNP,PLOT etc,etc there are so many people are there. Do you know there are so many SLMM EU people,men,women then small boys and girls,then all are trying to go to foreign countries etc are correct.If they are 10% is wrong or bad,then what will happen to these fellows,I mean going to Sri Lanka or other countries to get Job.

    My next book will be one of the best book.”Bad Politics can write anything to get money,house,Jaffna & Colombo house etc, but Good Politics might think ten times to think a problem. If people think “CHANGES introduced to some of the religious system and introducing UNIVERSAL religious system” book is good,(People say 1 cash is for 3 books,I do not know) then my 2nd Book will be fine to stop the problems for Sri Lanka.

  18. “Shenukas father working in the middle-east was informed but he could not suddenly take leave and come to Sri Lanka due to contractual obligations.”

    Does that address the comment of Arun Ambalavanar, “Niromy’s father did not immediately return to Jaffna from Dubai when informed his elder female child had joined the Tigers. Surprising indeed!”


    I have already stated clearly that these articles are neither responses to “critics” or a book review. I am only writing what I know about her with some background and context.

    I do realise that by writing the “true tale of a Tamil Tigress” many of the false allegations and vicious attacks on the author of “Tamil Tigress”would stand exposed. Which is why low class attacks are being mounted on me elsewhere

    It is up to the readers to make comparisions and draw their own conclusions

  19. Hey Shankar, I am the one commented her as Monalisa but never found my post and thought because of my nick name. I am a good friend of Kitu and that is why I’m using his nick name. Regarding Monalisa alias Nirmala, not only innocent face but if you smile or cry looking at the photo it will do the same. That is what I found in Nirmala’s photo. Thanks to DBSJ.

  20. Nicely written true story. At that time it was difficult to join the LTTE. There were serious screening process and recommendations needed to join. Lot of them left their medical, engineering and other higher education and joined the LTTE.

    Thanks to you, the Sinhala South, which has only heard the “venomous” story “spinned” about the LTTE by the Sinhala politicians which depicted LTTE members as sarong clad, un-educated thugs will realize the true characters of them and what motivated them and what Sri Lanka has lost in the way of talents by its in transient attitude for the last 50+ years!!!

    If the Tamil problem was addressed in a timely fashion without the INTERFERENCE of outside forces, Sri lanka would have been a “Singapore” long time ago!!! All the death and destruction would have been avoided. The arms dealers and politicians made their money at the expense of the progress of the country!!

    I hope the Sinhala South would at least realise their folly now and come to a reasonable political settlement. What we lack in Sri Lanka is a LEADER who is above personal gains!!

  21. Touching….. moving….tale, thanks DBS for this great piece of writing.

    Please write about the student from udupiddy American Mission school who has got the highest score in A/L maths stream. I wonder how he managed to achieve this great honour against all the odds. How did he do it?

  22. Hi DBSJ…One of my classmates from DSS visiting from Sydney asked how old do you know is DBS? I told him I think same as ‘Thesiya Thalaivar’ according to Wikipedia info on your date of birth…My friend said…’oh he’s pretty young then’..:)

  23. Rangan’s first visit to tavel agency on August 29, 1991, in Chennai after his return from Bangalore, alerted the SIT, which had left sources in the agency.
    Rangan soon fall into the hands of the tracking team after Hollywood-style chase at a shopping complex at Adyar in Chennai, where the travel agency had its office. He had broken the showcase glass window and came out- we have arrested him.

    Senior LTTE leader Baby Subramanian funds Bhagyanathan to set up printing press here. Satanic Forces, a pamphlet cataloguing `IPKF atrocities’ printed.MARCH 1991 – Elections announced in India, slated for May.

    Muthuraja, Indian national but LTTE member, introduces Bhagyanathan and Perarivalan alias Arivu (A-18), both DK sympathisers in touch with LTTE’s political wing, to Nishanthan, LTTE intelligence man.- Page 107- Rajiv Gandhi Assassination- written by SIT chief D.R.Kaarthikeyan.

    I would take some “Indian” accounts of these matters with many pinches of salt……….DBSJ

  24. shankar are you a female bit surprising till now i was under impression that you were a male with a huge sense of humour.guy who has married you is a lucky guy he can have a boisterous laughter every day.

    Jagan,Shankar is “Arthanaareeswarar”………….DBSJ

  25. jey very interesting article.i always look forward to whenever i open your blog.there was this story on rangan and how he was sentenced to death and he was subsequently released.is a real name or nome de guerre because i had been keenly following rajiv gandhi trial.can you just clarify.

    rajasuriyar alias Rangan……….DBSJ

  26. In any story Love or Sringar adds flavour. Otherwise this LTTE story has lots of rowthram. Little bit of Shringar adds flavor.

  27. DBSJ,

    Please keep talking about the facts – some may be your recollection of the events, some may be from your recent inquiries. As the real story comes out the writers with ulterior motives would be exposed. As we say in Tamil, ‘as the Sun comes out, fog burns away’. I clearly remember your scope of this series, (a) not to review the book, and (b) not to respond to the critics of the book. Fine with me, and I am sure, many others would be comfortable. After a little bit of broader background we are biting the meat now. Keep them coming. In addition to explaining why Niromí’s father could not show up, you have covered the romance component as well. Some of the pretenders were trying to use ‘love affairs were not allowed in the LTTE’ as their argument to discredit Niromi’s book. Now that you have discussed about Rangan alias Roshan alia Rajasooriyar, you may comment on whether he went along to Palaly. Considering the connections he had at that level, it is quite possible that he was in the group that brought kuppi. It is quite possible that he drove the car for Kittu! It is quite possible, still, that Roshan told Niromi that he was in the party. Yes – as you said, let the readers make their own conclusions.


    I have already written in this piece that Rangan drove the vehicle with Mahathaya and Balasingham to Palaly camp

    “It was Rangan who drove former tiger deputy –leader Gopalaswamy Mahendrarajah alias Mahathaya and the LTTE’s ex-political adviser Anton Balasingham to the Palaly army camp to visit the detained LTTE leaders Pulenthiran and Kumarappah in October 1987. It was then that Cynaide was surreptitiously passed to them by the Mahathaya-Balasingham duo. Their suicide was the flashpoint of tension that triggered off the fighting between the Indian army and the LTTE”

  28. Thanks to DBS we get a chance to know about the boys and girls who were in the LTTE.Their stories are so much natural and humanistic.Very moving.

  29. [quote]I hope the Sinhala South would at least realise their folly now and come to a reasonable political settlement. What we lack in Sri Lanka is a LEADER who is above personal gains!![/quote]

    This is a two way street. A minority with a majority complex and a majority with a minority complex dominates everything.

    What i mean is:

    Tamils in SL like to draw inspiration,support and power from the 50-60 million supporters in Tamil Nadu hence feel they got power that just needs to be flexed.

    The Sinhalease feel that their back is against the wall and they have one toe hold on a tiny island so any concessions to the “Tamil horde” will push the Sinhalease into the sea finally; thus the impasse.

    A vicious cycle that politician and thugs on both sides have taken advantage off to further their careers and pocket books.

    Nice article DBS!

    Looking forward to your next episode.

    Happy New Year DBS from a Sinhalease reader!

    “Subha Aluth Avuruddhak wewa “……….DBSJ

  30. I dont understand why DBS is writing about the woman who calls herself Niromi de Soyza at this point of time.But its a bloody interesting read. So

  31. DBSJ

    I don’t know how you found out.At one time i was a bit of a celebrity and they put me on the web too.Here is my picture.Of course i was quite younger at that time.


    Mahesh thought i was a male because of my writing style.He underestimates srilankan women and thinks they are like his timid indian ones.He must have got a shock reading about shenuka and nirmala,and how adventourous and unafraid they were.

  32. DBS ,you are not only a journalist but a very good advocate.You’ve taken up iromi’s case and arguing it well .

  33. What’s the point in writing all these DBS?Is there some good reason?

    The heart has reasons which reason cannot understand…………DBSJ

  34. Now// you are conveniently forgetting what happened in the south.

    The educated youth took arms against the GoSL in 71 & 89. So the GoSL did act in similar manner in the south too. Without any discrimination.

  35. When racist chauvinist riffraff like Balaratne post idiotic comments just delete them DBS. Why waste time replying such vermin?

  36. Hello Jeyaraj

    Subha Aluth Avuruddhak wewa

    This series about “your Sharmila” hari interesting aney.I like to meet her no?some of my friends also want to meet her. Aiyo Jeyaraj cant you arrange it for us?Please aney. Try will you?


    Oh Nelum!Thank you for wishes appa!

    “Ungalukku enathu iniya Puthaandu Vaalthukkal”

    Happy to know you like the articles aney!

    Here Nelum if you and your friends can guarantee her safety I am sure “my Sharmila” will be happy to come there and see you all

    Can you arrange it Nelum? Aney tell will you?

  37. The last cOuple of years have been the most destructive and oppressive years the Tamils have suffered since independence. This conflict has inflicted irreparable damages in every aspect of our life – the education suffered the most. The number of school drop outs has rocketed in Jaffna and this district has now placed among the educationally underperforming districts. Against these all odds this student from Udupiddy has prevailed magnificently. His story of achievement will give us hope, strength and vision to resurrect ourselves.

  38. DBS

    This is one of your finest work in Journalism. When I read the articles I get the impression that of you having a lot of empathy for this ex-Tamil tigress.I think that is what makes the writing so movingly attractive

  39. I have known Late Mr.C.P Ranganathan who worked for the World Bank and Mrs. Saraswathi Ranganthan who is the daughter of Namakal Kavinjar. Why is Shankar joking like this with their family site?

  40. Hi Regi,

    While writing in English, there is something called “period” or “full stop”. Try to use them when you write.
    This will make others to understand what you write.

    Below is the book description of your book at amazon dot com. Please learn how to write well, before you venture to publish one.

    “The religious system which I believe and follow, if does not makes me able to acquire through my instinct a picture of my future, my Universal target, the place where I am standing now in the universal sphere, if does not indicates me as to how I should get a pardon for all the, may be bad deeds I committed at any time due to ignorance, if does not give me an opportunity to enjoy the world the way others whom I think do, if makes me to look low in the presence of others in Universe, if had made me unfortunate in all my tries, endeavours etc, etc, if makes me to be in tears for no fault of mine as per my knowledge, if does not gives me satisfaction and solace in all aspects, if makes me to bow my head to unscrupulous fellows who show their pride due to material gains they have achieved, if does not gives me the hope for a better life from now onwards or at least after my death, or makes me to fear for death which I have not experienced earlier and which confuses me with places called Heaven, Hell, rebirth, eternal bliss, purgatory, RIP etc, if does not allow me to win all challenges I encounter and live happily or if not allows me to be in solace then what’s the use of my religious system? I should of course ignore my religious system. . .”

  41. KC, a person of your caliber should be able to gage it. GENE,deternination and Hard work!!! are you numb/under anaesthesia.

  42. I lived in Jaffna in the 80s and remember that period well. But when I read these articles it is so interesting and everything is like brand new experience

    I dont know why this is but the feeling I get I have written here as honestly

  43. Each article by Jayaraj increases credibility of Niromi de Soyza. The attacks on her by three wisemen are demolished one by one in the articles by Jayaraj. I am reminded of the Hindi film I saw recently “3 Idiots” when I read these

  44. Thanks for some inside stories but the cruel side shouldn’t be ignored. Throwing grenade to Kittu had been rumored as done by Mathaya by the order of Pirapakaran. People were talking that two mangoes in one through. That means killing Kitu and putting the blame on EPRLF and killing all the EPRLF boys who were in detention.

  45. Wonderful article or articles Jeyaraj. I have envied you many times because of the style and substance in your writing. Your series on Niromi is really great.I feel she is a fascinating character worthy of your brilliant focus

  46. Been following this series with lot of interest.. have read the book during the holiday season after seeing your first post.

    All should read the Tamil Tigress for Nirmo’s writing skills, alone. She truly is a great talent..

    I also wish Mani Ratnam picks up this book and decides to make a movie.. 🙂

    All the best for the New Year… Jey.

  47. DBS J: what can I say, keeps getting better and better. Takes back to teenage days, fortunately cannot turn back the biological clock though.Looking forward to the next episode.

  48. Kittu

    Ref: Ajanti alias Nirmala (Monalisa)

    Pl. tell , which drink , one should take, to get that fantastic effect.(Ajanti portrait smiles, if u smile, cries if u cry.)

    Her look is simply mesmerisng. I stare at her portrait, whenever I am in sad mood. She stares me back. I start getting feeling that the portrait is comming to life. Kind of cheers me up. I dream of another time , another place,( Of course with a person like ajanti) where I could have been happy.

    Reality is, I can not change/escape from the present situation. Only thing , that can be done is staring at her portrait.

    I have been reading about Jaffna and other places since about 1985, but have not visited Srilanka.(But I am confident scoring alteast not less than 70% in Srilankan geography). Want to visit as soon as possibble.

    In Jaffna, my eyes ,will certainly be, looking for Ajanti.

  49. Hi DBS,
    The reason why V.Pirabakaran accepted women into the LTTE was not as much as to gaining more military strength, but rather to prove that Tamil females are very much capable of doing what males are capable of.
    He decided this in the late 1984s. I was personally next to V.Pirabakaran when he had decided this Though that may not seem believable to most of you reading this, this is the truth. The training for the females started in 1985. A cadre of 30 men were assigned to train and help the female recruits. I was a part of that cadre.

  50. me too was there till early 90’s can remember these incidents very well even though i was quite small at that time,i very well remember the Army patrols from Jaffna Fort going on patrol too till mid 85

  51. I agree with Nimalan. Niromi’s writing skills are amazing. If DBSJ’s articles take us back in time, Niromi’s book puts us there, and lets us live through it. You smell, see, hear and feel the 1980s Jaffna through that book. Thank you both.

    DBSJ, you have tied some lose ends, such as what happened to Roshan/Rangan etc .Hope you will also reveal what happened to some of the other characters in the book…awaiting next installment!

  52. Then why were women holding only subordinate positions in the LTTE, with all the top positions filled with men?

  53. east or west, decorum is important. No westerner would go to a conference in pajamas. Shenuka was right to be annoyed.
    What annoys me as much as religious fundamentalism is cultural fundamentalism that you are displaying. All cultures copy from other cultures, that is what makes them “richer”. A culture that just would not evolve (by borrowing from other cultures) by stagnating at an arbitrary point in history due to a preponderance of fundamentalists would be poorer for it. What makes you think that the sarong is “ours”? it could very well have originated anywhere it is widespread, from the horn of Africa to Indonesia. BTW the pajama too was adopted by westerners from other cultures(in west asia and north india).

  54. Why not go and see “Utchythani Muharnthall” is is beeing screened in Europe I am sure it is in Canada as well.

  55. Dear DBSJ,

    Jagan,Shankar is “Arthanaareeswarar”………….DBSJ

    I thought u r just making fun of Shankar.
    I was inclined (As usual generally) not to open shankar’s link.
    But somehow i opened the link and
    when i saw the “Arthanaareeswarar” staring at me, i almost fell on the laptop.

  56. Shankar,

    i opened ur link,

    After the initial shock of staring at the “Arthanaareeswarar” , i slowely went through
    your family website.

    Your daughter vijai is really attractive.

  57. Believe it or not, when I was an adult itself, I couldn’t understand what you were trying to say. You wrote a book? I hope you were kidding.

  58. Thanks for giving us detail background . As a reader of the book page by page, What I realised is she was a member of rebel group , and trained by the LTTE. in her life journey she was at a point realised , violent is not the way to go and openly acknowledged in the book , left the movement , turned around a life and living a successful live in Australia and contributing back to the country she was born. The book also described the issues faced by youth during the time in Sri Lanka. In my understanding , the book is not a history or political book. It is about a person’s life in the political situation. It never compromise the issues faced by minorities too.

    I was told that along with war affected children in Sri Lanka, Author Niromi contributes to the country that welcome her ( Australia) , and the war affected children in Africa. It showed clearly she value the human being , wanted to do constructively beyond race, religion and culture and influencing positively to many youths not only Australia , but also across the globe. Her book has been chosen as a reference text book in some of the schools to teach subject .

    We Sri Lankan have to be proud of her rather nit-picking . We are in this pathetic state because of this attitude . critics are good in telling the commentary. It is pretty sad.

    Thanks DBS for your writing . I am sure some of the critics will change the direction of the barrel towards you. since they do not know their direction to ahead… rather crying for the limelight by writing bad about any constructive work.

  59. Dear DBS

    Earlier I had no intention of reading her because of the criticism by some academics that Niromi de Soyza was a fraud. But I changed my mind after reading you

    I realised immediately that DBS Jeyaraj will not be writing positively about a fraud.

    I think you did a very rare thing in Tamils which is to go to the defence of an “unknown”woman being vilified by academic heavy weights.

    What is more you have changed the situation single-handedly by exposing the critics and proving Niromi’s authenticity

    As I read your articles I got so interested that I went and bought the book too. I loved it.If not for your writing I wouldn’t have bought and read it

  60. You are late once more DBSJ.

    When is the next article ?


    What do you mean “Late”? Is there some timetable or something which I have to stick to? I will write when I can.But thanks anyway for the keen interest you show in reading these articles

  61. A face that launched a thousand books.

    The difference between the photo in the earlier article and this one is that in this she is smiling.DBSJ,did you ask her to smile?Now she looks like an aussie,not a ex-tamil tigress.Aussie,aussie oi oi.

  62. Thanks for giving us a detail background. I have been waiting for the ” TIGRESS SHENUKA IN WAR WITH IPKF” ? When can we expect that master piece DBS ?

    When the time is opportune although I doubt whether it would be a “masterpiece” but thank you for describing it so………….DBSJ

  63. Yes, we, your’s/Niromi’s fans are getting a little impatient but we understand that you have much to research on this as well us other articles. So we wait patiently…but hurry please 🙂

  64. After a long gap I’m catching up with your articles.
    Determined Brave Sensible Journalist
    Amazing – Nerve breaking – Nothing missed out – Altogether lovely!!!!!!!!!

    Couple of time I needed dictionary help on line….worth doing it!
    The beautiful language and the phase of the writing has wonderfully brought the insight of the story.
    For many this is just a story. For me, you have taken me back to the Uni life! Every nook and corner, lanes, houses even steps are just in front of me reminding the days of our struggle and great escape!!!!!
    Yes Anna, as you mentioned it wasn’t easy to make “pittu” in the kitchen for a “Puthmaippenn”. How possible for us as “Palamai piththarkal” to fight for freedom when we saw those “Parathy Kannamaakkal” in the cage called “Suthanthira Paravaikal” believing in DO or DIE doctrine? After seeing Vijitharan’s abduction (1986) and Rajini miss’s death, we silently shut our mouths but our Eyes have seen and the Ears have heard.
    Of course the girls were so pretty and smart! I Could not recognise the one you mentioned as leader – Political/ (SOLT)
    May be some confusion with Jeya (Acca) who was a current student in the arts faculty doing Political science.
    Thanks again anna for the best one and true one. I think God answered the sincere cry of the parents of Niromi.
    Were you there in jaffna at the time of the Para military attack on the faculty – the narrow escape of leader VP?

    God bless you and keep you longer ………the gift of writing you have is Great!


    Thank you.Yes I was in Jaffna when the attack took place and scooped it too.Also exposed the consequent civilian killings by the IPKF in Pirambady lane area

  65. Yes Anna,
    Unforgettable memories!

    Pathetic killings, Destruction of our valuable properties books, notes, certificates and identifications…..demolition of our rental homes hostels and rooms in the surrounding of uni. We fled to escape without a single change of clothe. Reached Vadamaradchi after many hours of bare footed walking. Came back in Feb 90 to see all these horrible disasters and found nothing but ashes.
    The old recorders were still playing loudly in vadamaradchi “Urimai Ilanthom udamai Ilanthom Unarvai Ilakkalaama?”
    Interesting!! those who asked the questions “Kolkai maaralama?”themselves adjusted the policy according to their suitable needs especially for “LOVE”. Luckily we have finished our races within Jaffna. Our poor relatives and families had to run up to the final point in Mullivaykkal still believing the “Kolkai maaratha Vaaichchol Veerarkal”.
    It is so sad to see people in London, Canada, Europe and Australia are still proclaiming that their leaders are alive and will fight back to win “EElam”. Anna Have you ever seen people called “Padiththa Muttalkal”? Yes I’m seeing right now talking rubbish about “poraddam”. Let them be healed by “TIME” and come back to reality!!!!!

    Our sincere thanks for our VC at that time for his great effort to re open the uni in that difficult situation.
    The one and only asset that we took with us was our education! Of course the leaders were worried about their children’s education!

    God Bless you.

  66. Thanks for giving us the background information. When can we expect the next part DBS?

    In March…………..DBSJ

  67. I have been enjoying reading your articles. When can we expect the next part of Sharmila? I recall the days in Jaffna DBS. Thanks .


    Thanks. Hoping to write soon………DBSJ

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