20 October, 2017

Gunaratne’s Road To Nandikadal

By Charles Ponnuthurai Sarvan

Prof. Charles Sarvan

Prof. Charles Sarvan

Book Review – Major General Kamal Gunaratne, Road to Nandikadal: True story of defeating Tamil Tigers, Colombo, 2016.

Epigraph: Those who have power in the present, control the story of the past; and those who control the past, shape the future. ~ (Adapted from Orwell’s dystopian novel, Nineteen Eighty-Four.)

As readers well know, the word “prejudice” comes from to pre-judge; to judge or form an opinion without first independently examining the evidence. Going by what I had read about this book, I confess I was prejudiced but, having gone through it, my former opinion was confirmed. “Pre-judice” became “post-judice”, an instance of postjudice confirming prejudice. (Or is the latter – consciously or subconsciously – conditioning the former? After all, as Heidegger noted, even objectivity is judged by a subjective self.) To express it bluntly, I think this on several counts is a very poorly produced work. Yet it has proved popular with the first-printing of the English translation being immediately sold out – a reaction not without its significance in what it suggests about the reading-public. In what follows I attempt to explain the grounds for my opinion, fully accepting that it is only one, fallible, “reading”; that others will have different approaches and evaluations: disagreement and the resulting variety of readings are to be welcomed.

Road to NandikadalTo begin with, there are many grammatical mistakes, lapses in expression, not to mention linguistic infelicity. However, the responsibility here is not that of the good Major General but of his translator. No doubt, the work would have benefitted from editorial oversight. (How the text reads in the original ‘Sinhala’, I don’t know.) The author’s excursions into figurative language result in absurd images such as Indian fighter-jets being seen as hooligans raping Sri Lankan airspace: raping airspace? This leads me to another regrettable feature, that of the author’s emotionalism: I could feel hot blood coursing through my body like an electric shock (p. 107). I would have crushed the aircraft and flushed them down the toilet. (Again: flush aircraft down a toilet? It’s ludicrous.) Wasn’t this “a rape of our beloved Motherland”? (p. 108); driving a dagger through the hearts of Buddhists (p. 421) etc. One wonders whether the Major General had in mind a particular segment of Sinhala-readers who would admire and applaud such an inflammatory, vulgar, style. If so, it’s not a compliment to them. His emotionalism leads to an extreme and simplistic contrast between the LTTE (the most brutal terrorists, ruthless, cruel, barbaric murderers, maniacal attackers) and his soldiers who go into battle with a loaded weapon in one hand and a book on human-rights in the other (p. 2), “the finest and most gallant soldiers on earth”. No doubt, there’s loud applause, and the heedlessly galloping Major General needn’t pause to clarify with which other armies, world-wide, the comparison is being made, nor the criteria for his comparative evaluation. Readers are not expected to stop, reflect and scrutinise independently but to be swept along with the tide of high patriotic passion.

To make a minor but not insignificant point, Major General Gunaratne who makes clear his fervent commitment to Buddhism writes: “I lit the traditional oil lamp at an auspicious time given by my wife who had consulted an astrologer” (p. 644). This is nothing but primitive superstition. (“Primitive” is here intended in the sense of “primordial”.) Superstition is the product of human ignorance and fear. In turn, the emotion of fear spawns hatred and cruelty. But Buddhism (besides compassion for all beings) rests on pillars such as rationality and morality. Belief in astrology is ‘primitive’ superstition, part of the weeds, stones and cobwebs the Buddha attempted to clear away. The question prompts itself: Is the Major General a true Buddhist or does he remain a prisoner of superstition, and of empty ritual, however fervent?

But more is at stake here than lapses in language, style, emotionalism and primitive superstition. Nandikadal can be seen as a Mahavamsa of the Eelam War: I use the indefinite article “a” because there must be other Mahavamsa-type works on the war in Sinhala being enthusiastically received. Scholars (most of them Sinhalese) have investigated the Mahavamsa and established that it is an imaginative construct – which Nandikadal surely isn’t. So the comparison I suggest between the ancient and recent text is based on factors such as bias, one-sidedness, anger, hatred and, above all, the effect the work will have on the beliefs and feelings of the populace. Even those who admit that the Mahavamsa is a story are affected by it subconsciously. (Gunaratne refers to Vihara Maha Devi, the mother of King Dutugamunu, as “the greatest heroine in our history”, confident readers know the story and will respond appropriately.) Stories from the Mahavamsa are related to children at home, in school and in the temple. (I recall a Tom Paxton Vietnam ‘protest-song’: “What did you learn in school today, dear little boy of mine?” The son answers he learnt that our government is always right, and that war is good.) The uncritical will read this book, particularly in Sinhala, and will carry its marks on their mind. To use in quite another context words from the poem ‘Missing Dates’ by Ezra Pound, “Slowly the poison the whole blood stream fills… / The waste remains, the waste remains and kills”.

Gunaratne is innocent of historical cause-and-effect; of actions and consequence, and makes not even passing mention of what might have led to the emergence of the Tigers. They are suddenly there, gratuitous and wicked. To the best of my recollection, Commodore Boyagoda in his memoir, A Long Watch (reviewed by me in Colombo Telegraph, 18 November 2016) doesn’t once use the word “terrorist” while Major General Gunaratne constantly deploys that pejorative term. “Terrorist” is currently the term of political abuse. The following is from my Public Writings on Sri Lanka, Volume 2, pp. 53-4:

“The ‘Final Report’ presented to the UN Secretary General on 13 November 2006 by the ‘High-Level Group’ points out that state terror has done far more damage than that unleashed by terrorist groups. To their list of the Holocaust, the Stalinist repression, the genocide in Cambodia, the Balkans and Rwanda (3.12) one can add the two World Wars, North Korea, Burma under the military junta, certain dictatorships in Africa and South America, China under Mao – the list is long, and the destruction and death caused by governments is much more gross (the word “greater” is inappropriate here) than that carried out by “terrorists”. Indeed, there is no comparison. In the First World War, 15% of the casualties were civilians; in the second, it reached 50%. This destruction of life was caused not by terrorist groups but by states. And yet, it is not state terrorism but that carried out by individuals and groups that make the greatest impact. The reasons are several…”

This is not to defend the reprehensible but to attempt to view it in some of its complexity. Abuse generates much heat (emotion) but produces no light (understanding). Margaret Trawick in her Enemy Lines: Childhood, Warfare and Play in Batticaloa (California, 2007) writes that terrorism is repugnant but goes on to add that some of the worst acts of terror have been “committed in the name of my own country, the United States”. But Major General Gunaratne seems incapable of dealing with complexity, taking instead the simple way of seeing things in sharply contrasting categories: good versus evil; the brave versus the fanatical; the dedicated versus the brainwashed. The state is always good and right; its opponents, bad and wrong. Terrorists unleash haphazard violence, not on those in uniform but on innocent civilians. However the author, either unaware of or indifferent to the definition and meaning of words, uses the term “terrorist” even when fighting the Tigers as “ a professional standing army” (p. 408). He writes that during the July ’83 anti-Tamil pogrom many Sinhalese and Tamils lost their lives (p. 38), turning a bland eye on the appalling horror that was unleashed on thousands of innocent Tamils women, children and men. Prabhakaran, killed, is found not to be wearing a cyanide capsule, as was required of his soldiers, both men and women. Gunaratne’s explanation is immediate: cowardice. I have no idea but perhaps Prabhakaran was confident that his bodyguards would shoot him, and so prevent his capture and humiliation? After all, the Major General himself had asked his “buddy” (sic) to finish him off if he were wounded and unable to commit suicide (p. 232). In the absence of an explanation, one shouldn’t rush to conclusions but be content with the discontent of not knowing. “Ignorance more frequently begets confidence than does knowledge” (Darwin).

Prabhakaran, the LTTE leader, is demonised as the one who terrorised the “great” and “beloved motherland” for almost three decades. (Here again, there is facile assumption and easy assertion: “beloved motherland” therefore, ipso facto, “great”, with no attempt to substantiate the “greatness”. This is not to deny Sri Lanka’s greatness but to draw attention to vacuous rhetoric.) Given to easy, emotional, exaggeration the author writes that Prabhakaran instilled terror in the mind of “every” Sri Lankan (p. 11). The high point of the Major General’s life was when his soldiers dumped Prabhakaran’s bleeding corpse at his feet like that of a dog. The weaker the enemy was, the less your victory; conversely, the more formidable the enemy, the greater your triumph. And so, to cast greater glory on “his” victory, credit is paid to the terrorists. They were well-trained and excellent fighters, with a lot of patience and endurance (p. 51); “motivated, brave ad committed”. The diabolical “terrorists” invented their own devices: anti-personnel mines, hand grenades and rifle grenades. They were even capable of entering our camps stealthily, and helping themselves to food from our kitchens (p. 539). They were not “a bunch of cowards” (p. 133), and the Indian army, one of the largest armies in the world, suffered its worst humiliation ever in “their proud history”. (One would think the defeat was at the hands of the Major General and the Sri Lankan army.) On reconnaissance missions, the terrorists would “swim across the lagoon, creep through the defence lines stealthily at night, hide during the daylight hours and survey the camp at night”. Recovered notebooks reveal that their note-taking was “meticulous and professional” (pp. 327-8). In order to criticise the decision to establish “a sea-faring battalion within the army”, he lavishes praise on the Sea Tigers: see, p. 393. I know full well that contradictions can, and do, co-exist but the author does not draw attention to them; seems to be unaware of them. So too we read that though Prabhakaran was evil, a veritable devil, he was no religious fanatic. Given the adulation accorded him, female LTTE fighters would have readily gone to bed with him but though he “had ample opportunity to exploit such a situation to the fullest, he was not known to be a womanizer” (p. 17). He neither consumed alcohol nor put away millions for his personal use (Gunaratne). Sitting “deep in wanni jungles”, Prabhakaran “beautifully orchestrated” a trick whereby weapons destined for the army were loaded onto an LTTE ship (p. 411).

Undiscussed contradiction is there also in the presentation of the Sri Lankan army. They are generally held up as being brave, patriotic, noble, fired by sacrificial love for their great and beloved “motherland”. But on the other hand we read that it was “sheer economic necessity” (p. 25) which drove them to enlist. They were mostly children from remote, rural, villages whose parents were very poor. It was economic desperation, rather than love of country and people. The rate of desertion was high (p. 234) and recruitment difficult (p. 237). Failing repeatedly; experiencing many defeats (p. 297), the army was in danger of falling apart (p. 287). There was much corruption (p. 303), and those soldiers who were wounded and had no ‘influence’ were neglected (p. 304). Soldiers who had served their mandatory years and were entitled to an honourable discharge we forcibly kept on (pp. 402-3). There was outright deceit: soldiers who had left after 12 years of service, and those who had retired after 22 years of service, were invited to join “with an assurance they would not be deployed in operational areas and duties (pp. 404-5). Hundreds enlisted but “these promises were cast aside”. The government and the supine, sycophantic, media “disseminated utter lies and then covered it up with more lies” (p. 415).

The ‘Just-War’ theory, studied by ethicists, historians, theologians and military leaders, has three criteria: the grounds for going to war; secondly, conduct during war and, thirdly, the morality or otherwise of post-war settlement and reconstruction, known as jus post bellum. Major General Gunaratne confines himself largely to the second, and that too, from a military and not from an ethical perspective. Fair enough: he was a frontline commander, and shares his experience, thoughts and feelings. One understands but still regrets the limitation and the silence.

It’s also outside the aims of Nandikadal to pursue what might otherwise be interesting aspects. For example, there is the case of (Tamil) Captain Daya Nadarajasingham, and his younger brother, Captain Lakshman Nadarajasingham, who trained “hundreds of snipers” (p. 199) to kill Tamil Tigers, and later changed their name to Rajasinghe. Prior to the establishment of the State of Israel, there were Jews who deplored being born Jewish; denied and distanced themselves from all things Jewish. They were known as “self-hating Jews”. Chinua Achebe wrote that white imperialism projected inferiority onto the African – but the real damage was done when Africans began to accept and internalise this negative image of themselves. In Okot p’Bitek’s Song of Ocol we have this defeated, despairing, cry:

Mother, mother

Why

Why was I born

Black?

Were the Nadarajasingham brothers self-hating Tamils? “Mother, mother, why was I born Tamil?” Or is it a matter of survival? “Absurd as it may seem, life or death can hang on a vowel or consonant. Tamil names, for example, Rajaratnam, tend to end with a consonant; Sinhala names with a vowel: Rajaratne” (Sarvan, Sri Lanka: Literary Essays & Sketches, 2011, p. 186).

In her study, Shadows of War, Carolyn Nordstrom quotes what an army commander told her in a private conversation. If a Sinhalese soldier is killed or wounded by a Tamil Tiger, the others go berserk. “They open fire on everyone, they destroy everything in sight, they rape and torture… they lob bombs into homes and schools…We can’t dismiss them – we’d have no army if we did” (University of California Press, 2004, pp. 71-72). The Report of the International Truth & Justice Project titled A Still-Unfinished War, July 2015, reports that soldiers kicked and stepped on the dead bodies of dead LTTE cadres, and sexually humiliated the corpses, particularly those of women (Report, p. 49). Gunaratne was undoubtedly courageous in battle but he lacks moral courage to face the entire truth – as do those Tamils who refuse to admit that the Tigers made grave mistakes; committed grievous crimes and “sins”. Kamal Gunaratne has the utmost contempt for those who stand up for human rights and justice: where were they when the Tigers were carrying out terrorist attacks? (pp. 75-6). As I have written elsewhere, one wrong does not cancel out another. No, the world is left with two wrongs, and made all the more a sadder place for it. He remarks that LTTE cemeteries were “beautifully constructed and landscaped” (p. 52) but does not mention that in a vindictive and wanton act of sacrilege, they were bulldozed.

The victorious Duke of Wellington surveying the carnage after the Battle of Waterloo commented that nothing except a battle lost can be half as sad as a battle won. Devoid of the honesty born of moral courage, Major General Gunaratne also lacks imaginative, human sympathy: indeed, bravery takes many different forms. He repeatedly draws attention to grief and sorrow on one side but doesn’t pause to note that such extreme and excruciating pain is endured on the other side as well: they are also human; equally sentient human beings. During a visit on 7 December 1970 to a monument marking the Warsaw-Ghetto Uprising, German Chancellor, Willy Brandt, having laid a wreath, knelt in a gesture of remorse and penitence. Since all LTTE leaders, including those who had surrendered, were slaughtered (they were mad dogs and there’s no cure for rabies, is the explanation offered by the good Major General: p. 18) none is left of the leadership on that side to express regret. On the other side, Gotabaya Rajapaksa is thought to be the one who licensed and incited crude and appalling cruelty. It’s most unlikely that he’s visited by belated conscience and compassion: quite the contrary!

A vainglorious (excessively boastful) work, the book is splattered with pictures of the author, either by himself or in the company of others. The dustjacket alone, front and back, has four pictures of him. What is embarrassingly immodest are the pictures under the caption, ‘Immortal leaders of the final war’: the first of 16 portraits is duly that of the Commander of the Army but the second is that of our hero who thus bestows immortality on himself. The very next set of pictures titled, ‘Close-knit band of the 53 Division’, begins with one of the author, and ends with a group- photograph where he is again present. Subtly and not-so-subtly, the impression is conveyed that much of the credit for the final victory goes to him. The restraint and self-effacement of Commodore Boyagoda come to mind but I am sure it is Gunaratne’s work that will be popular; that will be accepted as one of the authoritative accounts. One recalls Orwell’s words: those with power in the present write the story of the past; will create History. For a more nuanced study one must turn to other books, such as Total Destruction of the Tamil Tigers by Paul Moorcraft (reviewed in my Sri Lanka: Paradise Lost?)

War is failure. Irrespective of cause, responsibility and blame, all wars are a sign of failure, the human failure to co-exist with our fellow human beings without degenerating into, and resorting to, violence. Yet, as Barack Obama pointed out at Hiroshima (27 May 2016), violent conflict appeared with the very first man. On every continent, the history of civilization is filled with war, whether driven by scarcity or greed; nationalist fervour or religious zeal. We justify violence in the name of some higher cause, observed Obama but, sanguine as ever, he also added that we can learn; we can choose to tell our children a different story, one that describes a common humanity, one that makes war less likely, and cruelty less easily accepted. Road to Nandikadal does the opposite.

If I may be permitted a personal note, I was glad to come across the name Tilak Ponnamperuma (p. 309). So long ago it seems a previous birth, he and I shared a room at Ramanathan Hall, Peradeniya. My mother (died 1988) told me that during successive anti-Tamil riots (prior to the pogrom of July 1983), Tilak would drop by to check on her. Finally, I thank Nadarajah Suseenthiran of Berlin for lending me a copy of this book. Of course, the shortcomings are all mine.

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    This comment was removed by a moderator because it didn’t abide by our Comment policy.For more detail see our Comment policy https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/comments-policy-2/

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      Words

      Thank you for your brilliant words.

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    This comment was removed by a moderator because it didn’t abide by our Comment policy.For more detail see our Comment policy https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/comments-policy-2/

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      javid

      Brilliant

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    5

    More roads are needed to Nanthikadal.

  • 23
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    It is quite apparent the author is somewhat irked by the writings of the Maj.General. I don’t comment on the grammar of the English translation given that i read the Sinhala one :)

    1. Kamal Gunarathna is an infantry man. He is a born soldier a warrior type who fought the LTTE terrorists in battle field witnessing the brutality of LTTE. While Boyagoda spent his time playing badminton and cricket with the LTTE cadres. Therefore it is immature to expect Kamal to write about the LTTE in the same way Boyagoda does. It is the experience that makes a man’s perception. Remember what happened to the Army soldiers in Muhamalai who went to meet LTTE cadres in the opposite post for a friendly chat as they used to do during CFA? The new guys in the LTTE post shot and killed the soldiers. So don’t come with Kamal is not looking at terrorists as Boyagoda does. Because Kamal witnesses what LTTE really is.

    2. No matter how much the Tamils in general and LTTE supporters worldwide like to venerate the LTTE, the real truth is in tactics and in its behavior LTTE proved to be terrorists. There is no other word that sufficiently describe the LTTE, other than terrorist tag. There is no ethnic bias for calling them terrorists. If you read the book again, Mr.Sarvan will realize Kamal G calls JVP cadres as terrorists as well.

    About that comment on ‘rabies’

    Mr.Sarvan has deliberately misinterpreted what Kamal has stated with the analogy of a dog infested with rabies. He simply says as a dog infested with rabies cannot be saved other than killing it, a terrorist organisation cannot be cured. He specifically refers to Prabhakaran. Is not that correct? After humiliating CFA by RW and couple of peace talks by the government is it not more than obvious that Sri Lankan state and its people had no other option other than killing Prabhakaran and decimate the organisation?

    Actually that point reached way back in 1990 when LTTE massacred 750+ surrendered policemen. It is wrong of the government to initiate any dialogues with such a despicable organisation after such a massacre. Premadasa let LTTE cadres domiciled inside Hilton Colombo to leave safely even after these policemen were executed by the LTTE. Actually Sri Lankan government bent too much to appease the terrorists. So KG’s claim is hundred percent right.

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      sachooooooooooooooooo the stpid II

      ” Kamal Gunarathna is an infantry man. He is a born soldier a warrior type who fought the LTTE terrorists in battle field witnessing the brutality of LTTE. “

      And was hiding behind VP’s bump when IPKF landed on this island.

      Must be a brave man who could only be brave fighting his own innocent people but wouldn’t fight foreign invaders.

      What a strange brave man.

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        Why should SLA intervene when IPKF was massacring the LTTE? I know you enjoyed offering your women to IPKF but still why should SLA intervene and save LTTE?

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          sachoooooooooooooooooo the stupid II

          Where was sovereignty when Tuplovs and Mirages violated the skies of this island.

          The Sangha and Sri Lankan security forces were supposed to be the guardians of this island. IAF penetrated mother Lanka. Didn’t it amount to mass rape?

          Go fetch Nuisance’s padikkama.

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            of course India violated by supporting LTTE terrorists..but at still why should we fight the IPKF which ultimately fought the LTTE? I guess SLA was enjoying the moment…

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              sachoooooooooooo the stupid II

              Hindians raped mother Lanka by penetrating their Tuplovs, Mirages, …

              Did you find the experience exiting?

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                Areeee ‘Native Vedda’ Banku not Bankum

                All of India and IPKF had romantic sex with VP on his many visits to India, They loved him so much they even Armed and trained him, Then Vp the Tart was paid by MGR for all the pleasure.

                It was nice to see the Lovers fight it out, Aree Front row bollywood show in SL…. Loved it. But the poor Tamil Lankan citizens suffered for this Madras talkies and Bollywood show. Still you would have been lining up in the cold to collect your unemployment check when all the fun was happening here. Hail Kaml for giving us a good account not even Anton could do that, he was probably with the same queue to with u. areee yaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaarrrr

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                when you type india raped mother lanka…do you get any mental satisfaction? Given that you are down at the moment due to ar$e rape Prabhakaran received, i guess you can make your self contended with it. poor soul

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                actually india pre occupied themselves with the Jaffna tamil women

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          sach when sinhala government was making agreements to bring IPKF, it was the tigers who fought against them. in other words, they were more patriotic toward their land than sinhalese were.
          as for offering women, it was during the jvp era in the south that IPKf enjoyed the generosity of sinhalese that they left their footprints.

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            anaconda

            sachooo is so repulsive no one would touch her. She laments, she had failing relationship to complain about. She will remain a bitter spinster until she kicks the bucket. Until then she will continue to sit on her brain.

            She is safe from molestation, even by Sri Lankan armed forces.

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            if the sinhala government’s agreement caused ltte to fight with ipkf, then that is a master stroke ne….why should we worry then?
            LTTE has nothing to be patriotic of..:)

            and what has JVP, tamil women and ipkf have got to do?

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              no wonder they call your kind modaya. was sri lanka’s territory not violated when your leaders were signing off pacts to bring IPKF? in comparison the ltte defended their territory and refused to toe their line. tamils were busy fighting them while sinhalese were busy offering their women to ipkf during the jvp era.

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                anaconda

                Timeline.

                Hindian Airforce violated Sri Lankan airspace, dropped chappati flour.

                Scared the hell out of brave Sinhala/Buddists and their warriors.

                Then Mani Dixit the Indian Viceroy to Sri Lanka got a deal with the old fox.

                IPKF landed.

                Already Indian Air Force had pricked the pride of the Sri Lankan armed forces and virginity/sovereignty of this island.

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                  nv,
                  sovereignty of this island has for long been leased out to india, china, US, etc by sinhala political elites at different times. to be fair, the ltte has done a better job defending it. very often the sinhala elites and those who depend on it for supper i.e. some phd holders and supposed leftists have been whipping up this story of tamils threatening this imaginery sovereignty. it is needed for their survival and the gullible sinhala masses swallow it.

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          Sach’ithanandam, Why should SLA intervene when IPKF was massacring the LTTE???? hahahahaha, you are dumb boy!!!!!!!!!!

          Actually the LTTE massacred the IPKF with 2500 IPKF dead and thousands wounded. One of the IPKF generals said to Gandhi, get us out of this place before this becomes our Vietnam.

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            Tamil from the north

            IPKF: 1,138 killed, 2762 Wounded

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              Hey NV, casualties of war are always misreported. But the fact of the matter is LTTE slaughtered the IPKF in the north and the IPKF ran away in shame. I am no supporter of the LTTE and cannot stand the bloody buggers, but credit goes to them for fighting back and chasing away these hoodlums from India. But Sach is war hero who fights all his wars from the Keyboard of his computer. He is a real warrior. At one time he was a 5 star General of the NATO Computer special forces.

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                Tamil from the north

                “But Sach is war hero who fights all his wars from the Keyboard of his computer”

                sachooo the stupid II and Nuisance the stupid I are female keyboard warriors. When one gets tired the other comes in, both I suspect are close allies of the racist from down under, the puppet master or one and the same.

                While the Sri Lankan armed were hiding behind their women folks/VP’s bump, VP fought a war (stupidly of course)against an invading army and packed them home.

                Not a Sinhala/Buddhist army managed to do it in the past 480 years. Sovereignty of this land was saved by VP.

                I would have thought the main responsibility of the armed forces is to protect the country and its people from invasion and subjugation.

                The armed forces are made up of brave men as long as the enemy is not foreign.

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                  NV, I hate racists from all sides. Sinhalese are not the only racists in this beautiful country, but it is filled with racists on the Tamil side as well. When is this fiasco ever going to end? Live and let live.

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                  How does it matter what organs i or anyone who comments here have down there? Does not this show your inability and intellectual deficiency to answer what I say and engage in a debate. What a failure you must be

      • 4
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        Native Bankuuuu

        ‘brave fighting his own innocent people’

        Innocent people went bang, Bang, bang bang bbbang, Boom Boom and khaboomm

        not dishum dishum

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          malik

          “Innocent people went bang, Bang, bang bang bbbang, Boom Boom and khaboomm “

          And Kamal went sh*tty sh*tty bang bang all the way to the nearby bush, didn’t come back until the invaders left.

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      Do not waste time with this book. It was written for the Sinhala gallery by a war criminal. It has no academic value and fit for the dust bin. If there was fair legal system in Srilanka, the author would be languishing in jail for the crimes he committed on Tamils. Time has now come to save Tamils from Sinhala terrorism and very soon it will happen.

      • 0
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        If tamils have a sense of gratitude they will worship the likes of Kamal Gunaratne.

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          I will pay respects to his dead body when he is hauled before the international court of Justice in Hague and hung by the executioner.

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            The only people who will be hung for war crimes in SL are the real war criminals like Suren Surendiran, Emmanuel and the rest of the war criminals in west who funded terrorism in Sri Lanka…

            Tamils should hung a picture of KG OVER that Shivlingam and light a lamp for KG for making an environment for them to live today.

  • 16
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    Prof Sarvan

    When you suffer from Cancer, You have no choice to think about the side effects of the cancer drugs, You have no time to think about the small ailments in your body, Sri Lanka as a nation fought off a cancer, It is unfortunate that it left few scars here and there, But if you go to the country and see, operation is successful and all the kids go to school instead of carrying out a war for diaspora Tamils!

    War is ugly and no country go to war with the human rights book in hands, All those who preached us human right only wanted to save tigers and prolong the war. This is why people in SL has no faith in human rights! After all HR has not filled their tummies, send their kids to school or give them a roof to live.

    Mahinda Rajapakse gave them unprecedented development to north, Yet Tamils head screwed with racism did not see the values of those expenditure!

    They expect everything given to them by the govt, and the last thing in this wish list is a merged North and east with a federal constitution so they can have the facist tamil state.

    Grow up guys, Teach your kids to get along with Sinhalese, Maybe one day my son marry a Tamil girl from London!

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      srinath.gunaratnam

      “When you suffer from Cancer, You have no choice to think about the side effects of the cancer drugs,”

      When you suffer from paranoia you would not know there is a beautiful world outside your demented head.

      “All those who preached us human right only wanted to save tigers and prolong the war.”

      To the contrary all those whom you think saviours of LTTE are in fact the ones who encouraged, helped, ….. and later saved MR from Human Rights violation. Still they do.

      The war was won by VP for MR with huge support from Hindia and USA.

      Dutta Gamini also developed Mahaweli project. In the process he also became a very rich man in South Asia, according to disgruntled JR.

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        Native Vedda..

        DID YOU KNOW THE FIRST ARMY IN THE WORLD TO DISCOVER THE NON VIOLENT MOVEMENT is the UNITED states Armed Forces..

        • 2
          4

          Malik Kafir

          Wasn’t it Malik Kafur of Delhi Sultanate who first discovered non violent movement within armed forces and then taught their Sri Lankan counterparts to fight holding a UN Human Rights Charter in one hand and the other being tied back?

    • 6
      2

      Well said…

  • 5
    2

    No mention of then general Fonseka credited by helping hambantota filth as greatest general until he opposed them?

  • 13
    6

    Kamal Gunaratne has attempted to outdo Mahanama,the Monk who authored the Mahavamsa.At the book launch Sarath Fonseka the commander of the Army was not even invited! A reader without the background of the 2009 end of the war at Nandikadal could also form the impression that the war was won by the single-handed effort of Brigadier Kamal Gunaratne who led the 53rd division.According to him his soldiers brought the body of the bleeding Prabaharan and laid same at his feet! Thus he imagines that he is the Prince of Denmark.
    To most Srilankans,he may appear to be a War-Hero,all the more so ,because of his subjective account of Nandikadal; But there are also others who view him as a War Criminal.

    Prof:Sarwan has said it all…..A vainglorious[excessively boastful] work….!

    • 6
      3

      when he writes his memoir, he writes what he did with his team..and not what others did..

      • 6
        4

        sachoooooooooooooooo the stupid II

        “when he writes his memoir, he writes what he did with his team..and not what others did..”

        Why has he left out nearly 50 odd Indian military personnel who were permanently stationed in Vanni area?

        Is it because this war criminal single-handedly won the war?

        • 5
          4

          Areee Native Vedda Ji

          ‘Why has he left out nearly 50 odd Indian military personnel who were permanently stationed in Vanni area?’

          Why didn’t you ask Anton anna when you guys were in line waiting for the unemployment check, even he would have told you

          adeeeeee stupid VP said to IPKF all lankan soldiers must be in barracks as part of indo lankan deal.

          that’s why yarrrrrrrrrrrrrrr kamal and rest saw no action.

          you and Anton must have been freezing back in the days

        • 3
          3

          Idiot he has written about it…first read and then comment

  • 11
    9

    lol.. Prof. praises Boyagoda because he did what LTTE wanted. Attack KG because he stood firmly against LTTE’s brutality and gave them what they deserved. Is it because learned prof has a soft corner towards Tamil chauvinism?

    • 4
      5

      max moron

      How are you?

      Did you have a good Maattu Pongal on Sunday?

      • 4
        6

        Mattu pongal is for species like you noh.. NV. I had a good pongal session with my colleagues at work, 1st working day after the TP.

        What have you done in the Pongal Week end? Must have gone through the Manouri Muttettu report and join with GTF to push the yahapalanaya to get it executed.

        • 4
          3

          max moron

          “What have you done in the Pongal Week end?”

          My friend from village celebrates Maatu Pongal as “max pongal” day in honour of all morons.

          Next year I will take you there.

  • 14
    11

    Uncle Charles, come back to Sri Lanka and spend your money rehabilitating poor Tamils. The fact is your LTTE boys got their asses whupped and thrashed and we are all glad they died. Fonseka got his extension because of Gota.

    Fonseka was brilliant and could think outside the box. He came in and said “fuck the books” this is how we will do it and he created the US based training approach(where he got help); 8-member deep penetration teams that US used in Vietnam with great success even though they lost the war there. Vietcong were so scared of these deep penetration units and special forces. Also Fonseka deployed Snipers to smash the thick skulls of the stubborn tigers very effectively. Hundred of battlefield Tigers ate dust at the hands of brave sniper teams.

    Those 8 member teams wreaked havoc on the supply lines of the Tiger thosais. They were self sufficient and were able to call in Artillery and airstrikes from behind enemy lines. So by the time the standard formations moved forward the damage was already done. We are so glad Tiger leaders were wiped out despite Hillary’s desperate attempt to save them. No more terrorism. Fonseka’s problem was his ego and his desire to only promote himself but he did inspire true soldiers like Kamal Gunaratne. Stop being so one sided and admit that your Tiger boys got their asses handed to them. Enough. End of story Uncle. Come back and have some Vadai and masala thosai at Greenlands with me.

  • 8
    5

    We have many professors of your caliber , that is why we are still struggling as a nation

    • 5
      3

      hela

      Every Sri Lankan believes he/she deserves a Nobel Prize, in every category, every year, including yourself

  • 9
    5

    Sarvan, why don’t you write about the shattered dreams of the Tamil Youth & Children who were abducted from their parents and engaged in a senseless war you people financed from overseas.

    Anguish of the parents who lost their children, wives who lost their husbands, whom did Sarvan loos? Any of your children ?

    Children have returned to school in the North & East Mr. Sarvan.
    Sarvan…. look over your shoulder now and again as retribution is everywhere, and each one has to pay for their wrong deeds here in this world.

  • 8
    5

    Since independence in 1948, successive GoSL ignored the grievances of Lankan minorities. The infamous war was inevitable.

    Major General Kamal Gunaratne’s book “Road to Nandikadal: True story of defeating Tamil Tigers” does not address the reasons which led to the war. It is yet another document inflaming the baser human instinct.

  • 10
    7

    Prof. Charles Sarvan:

    Your article so how baised you are. YOu are so prejudiced[Edited out] It is simply Tamil hatred towards army winning. for winning the war.

    You think, writing the book to prinint the book was all one person’s work. I say you are an racist idiot because, you do not need to think when a publisher publishes a book how many people involve in editing the book and how the final version changes from the begiining. I say because you complain against no of photos with the author.

    You simply don’t want to think that Pabakaran did not settle for anything other than his wish. YOu don’t want to acknowledge hundreds soldiers who scarificed because of civilians hostages. For me, you are just Tamil scum.

    I think it is not worth writing more about the article. Anyway, you people got free education from Sri lanka and now want to destroy Sri lanka. As your name implies, understand what would be your life if you were to live in Tamilnadu.

  • 6
    3

    Thaipoison

    Thosa Maattu Pongal Greetings

    Gota won the war single-handedly

    Fonseka will say in his forthcoming book, he won the war single-handedly.

    There are hundreds of Army war criminals ready to appropriate the victory to themselves.

    “8-member deep penetration teams that US used in Vietnam with great success even though they lost the war there. Vietcong were so scared of these deep penetration units and special forces..”

    Aren’t you reading too many “The Nam” comics? I think you haven’t recovered from Rambo myth.

    Success has many fathers, while failure is an orphan.

  • 6
    1

    Brilliant commentary. Not only does Sarvan highlight its shortcomings but puts the work in both a historical and moral context.
    Gunaratnes’s historical myopia and moral blindness is matched only by some of these comments.
    And quotation from Orwell in the opening section is wonderfully appropriate,

  • 9
    3

    I think many of those who write these hostile comments are missing point of this review: It is really not about the war as such but the morally questionable and vainglorious depiction, a depiction with neither nuance nor doubt, without, discipline and judgment, and by a general.
    To quote Sarvan: “Nandikadal can be seen as a Mahavamsa of the Eelam War”.
    Marvelous!

  • 5
    10

    What are the reasons led to war?

    1) Deceiving Tamil masses by their politicians starting Tamil Arasu Kachchi in 1933 giving flase promises on ethnic lines. Division started there.

    2) Vaddukodai resolution by Amirthalingam led gang of politicians.

    3) Kallathony thinking rather than as Sri Lankans at any time of history being came to Sri Lanka as invadors, plunderers, smugglers,brought by British as slaves and captured during invasions, they have genetically kallathony mind set.

    The above mind set led to war and Tamil masses were decieved over the years, brainwashed for seaprate state, which will never happen and only one can day dream about it.

    Therefore, do not blame others and blame yourselves and if you or any politician or any other talked or agitate about federalism, mergers, police powers, land powers will get the same fate. However, we are sure that no politicians can deceive once more on these unrealistic, day dreams ever.

    • 6
      2

      Nimal Wijetunga

      Here we go again.

      “Kallathony thinking rather than as Sri Lankans at any time of history being came to Sri Lanka as invadors, plunderers, smugglers,brought by British as slaves and captured during invasions, they have genetically kallathony mind set.”

      Are we talking about Vijaya and his 700 goons here and those converts now claim to be the super patriotic Sinhala/Buddhists?

    • 6
      0

      Kulatungan Vijayatungan etc are typical Tamil Pandian names. Shows your own Kallthoni origins from Tamil Nadu, just like the vast majority of the present day Sinhalese, descended from recent immigrants from Tamil Nadu and what was then Tamil Kerala, now speaking Sinhalese converted to Buddhism or Catholicism and beating the anti Tamil drum.
      Gunaratne is another Tamil origin name. You do not find these names amongst North Indians or even amongst Telugus and Kannadigas

  • 6
    2

    Accounts of war are described by the victors and the vanquished.
    Both differ always.
    Kamal Gunaratne apparently has not described why those who surrendered were killed and even stripped naked, by the army.

    http://white-flags.org/

    • 0
      0

      justice,

      “Kamal Gunaratne apparently has not described why those who surrendered were killed and even stripped naked,”

      Was that not because they might be booby trapped?

  • 8
    3

    Prof Sarvan said it all in detail. But we can’t expect English grammar even from English teachers in Sri Lanka let alone military personnel. It’s a foreign language. But the military is well known for its abuses as 108 Sri Lankan soldiers engaged in UN peace keeping in poor Haiti abused (to say the least) underage girls and were sent back for further investigation. The UN does not investigate soldiers of member countries. None of them was properly investigated or punished but all were sent to north. We knew what happened after the war in May 2009, scores of women surrenders were raped and killed and their bodies were left near their camps. Who cared?

    The then government and the head of defence guaranteed impunity to all those engaged in torture, rape, shooting and bribery to let some wealthy detainees escape abroad as asylum seekers.

    Yes, it was claimed that Human Rights book were carried in one of their hands while shooting, no wonder they shot and killed many babies and mothers in Mullivaykal. How were the surrenders killed? why cannot the military hierarchy hand over the list of surrenders to the courts?

    Why is that the LTTE commander to whom 500 policemen surrendered in the east were made a minister in the then government and given 20 luxury cars and women ? If the government or military cared for those innocent policemen why was the case not investigated and the culprits punished? Still the perpetrator is at large, why no action was taken against him?

    Why is that racism is institutionalised and the ethnic minorities are hunted down. For every one man job FIVE persons are over employed. 99% of the police force and stations have no Tamil translators. Why do they take down the religion and ethnicity of the complainants and ask them to sign reports they do not understand the language in which they are written. Aren’t they all Sri Lankans or foreign visitors? Isn’t it racially motivated for discrimination?

    This Major General is the product of such racism and Mahavamsa mindset. He has no knowledge of Lord Buddha or His noble teaching. The Sinhala Buddhists do and practice against Lord Buddha’s teaching. Of course, there are gems and intellectuals but most of them either keep quiet or ignored by those who lead the country for their own self interests.

  • 4
    1

    The article has attracted the usual mindless comments. I wonder how many hits each article gets and whether it’s only the airheads who rush to comment. Sarvan’s comments relate to what’s in the book. If the major general comes off as a Don Quixote, then it’s because of the major general’s statements, reproduced within quote marks, and the captions he’s supplied to photos. We read fiction never expecting characters like Don Quixote to rise up in real life. But often we are surprised. The major general comes off as a sarong-hoisting Wanathamulla sort – kassipu drunk with raised fist, bellowing about what a fearless thug he is.

  • 7
    0

    Sharing well-known, oft-quoted lines from a poem by Yeats:

    “The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
    The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
    The best lack all conviction, while the worst
    Are full of passionate intensity…

    And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,
    Slouches…”

    Sarvan

    • 1
      0

      Prof. Sarvan

      The Ceylon/Sri Lanka you left decades ago is dead. Nay! it was killed by pseudo Nationalism and bogus majoritarian “patriots” The quality of English you learnt at St. Thomas’ Guru and other is a thing of the past. Now it is the variety proudly proclaimed by Kamal Gunaratna, Sarath Fonseka et al – a pathetic display to the world. A recent CJ could not express herself in English properly. Neither can the man who dispenses justice here now – who was, by jove, once the President of the once venerable BASL. That is, inter alia, what has happened to Mother Lanka. The best you hear now is a diluted version of Singlish

      I am not suggesting perfect English is the panacea of all our ills. I will not elaborate further. Everyone knows what I mean to convey.

      Backlash

  • 6
    1

    You just have to read the above reviews majority of which pretty much reflect the same as the major general.not a surprise, thank you author for trying best to keep out of bias.

  • 6
    0

    Prof Sarvan,

    Congratulations for the brilliant analysis of the book by Major General Gunaratne in a no holes barred manner.The author MUST bear responsibility for the mistakes in the translation even though you gently lay the blame on the translator.After all he is the dam author.

    The mistakes reflect the anger with which people like Gunaratne pursued the war and the terrible pain they inflicted on innocent civilians.The English that appears in the book is a perfect reflection of the mind set of Gunaratne but also the odious and murderous Mahinda and Gothabahaya Raajapakse.They did speak English this way too, as they were really Chena cultivators with no more than a modicum of education leave alone English speaking or writing skills.Yes if possible they would have flushed the Indian aircraft “down the toilet”.May be their toilets were as big their bloody egos.Now for their crimes they will be flushed down the toilet of history and this is why they are shit scared.

    • 0
      0

      lol

  • 4
    0

    If there was a proper unbiased legal system, this man and many of other officers, should have been court martialled and tried for genocide and war crimes, instead of this he is writing a fairy tale boasting of his exploits, that will be avidly read and appreciated by a racist xenophobic Sinhalese population, ironically largely descended from fairly recent low caste South Indian immigrants.
    In no other so civilised country the perpetrators of the deliberate calculated killing of more than 70000 civilians, killed in the pretext of fighting terrorism, will be considered war heroes or brave. They would have been arrested court martialled and tried for war crimes. Only in racist Sri Lanka, that has racist xenophobic Sinhalese population and an opportunistic backstabbing Muslim population, that despite being ethnically Tamil, will do everything in the name of religion, to destroy the Tamil language and culture and worship anything Arab

    • 0
      1

      SIva Sankaran Sarma

      for that purpose, most unbiased court system is now defunct Vanni EELAm-court system.

  • 2
    0

    Seriously,did you guys buy this villain’s book and put a few rupees in to this murderers pocket?You all are insane.The book is fit for use as toilet paper nothing else.

  • 0
    0

    EVEN SINHALA COURTS FAILED, “BAD KARMA” FOLLOW THEM ALL TO GENERATIONS!
    THEY HAVE TO PAY THE HIGHEST PRICE WHATEVER/ WHOEVER DID INHUMAN ACTS!
    GOD PUNISH THEM ALL SOON! NO ONE COULD ESCAPE THE FINAL JUDGEMENT BY GOD!

  • 2
    0

    I wonder if people here have read the reports in Lanka e news about Kamal Gunaratne’s alleged attack on a schoolboy.

    • 2
      1

      Manel Fonseka

      Thanks, when was this report published?

    • 1
      1

      Manel Fonseka

      Thanks, I found the report

      Major General Kamal Gunaratne seized me by the neck and assaulted me while threatening to break all my bones’

      http://www.lankaenews.com/news/1789/en

  • 0
    1

    Who says Sri Lanka history or civilization begun since Vijaya has come to Sri Lanka?

    This suggests that the very history this country is not known to Kallathonies as it is not a surprise as well. Since they do not belonging to this country, and therefore, they do not know the history of Sri Lanka.

    It is very simple to understand the reality. That is more you do bickering over Separatism, federalism, police powers, land powers and more you make noise on these the majority will go away from you there will not be any reconciliation. One thing you all need to understand is if anybody tries to do any harm to the country Unitary Sri Lanka and the Buddhism as religion, do not expect us to perform maithri bhavana.

    You made those noises based on those unreaalistic day dreams with political agitations since 1933 and finally fought a terrorist war and the result was known to everybody. Hope that bankrupt politicians may not be able to deceive the Tamil masses once again to go down once again the same destructive path as same as the elimination and annihilation of Tamil Terrorist LTTE.

    • 2
      2

      Nimal Wijetunga Scatter Brain Historian

      Here we go again

  • 2
    3

    Charlie,

    The root of the Tamil problem is the lies and myths of never existed Tamils homeland (Eelam Garbage Nadu), as part of devide and rule strategy British fed the then Kallathonies and Coolies with mythical Tamil Ealam Garbage Nadu.

    Yor review of the book is very bad, find another job.

    • 1
      2

      Johnny Boy

      Somehow you have found your way into this forum. About 48 hours late.

      You typed the same stupid contents elsewhere day before yesterday. Too much Grass is not good for your health.

    • 1
      1

      john, you have to give credit to this prof.
      this book is written by a sinhalese for the fellow guillible sinhalese masses to swallow – full of patriotic flavour and dehumanizing the vanguished. he took the time to read and review this, which would otherwise serve as an alternative to toileet paper. had LTTE remained a guerilla force and not a conventional army, this man would still be running around with the tail between his legs.

  • 0
    0

    It appears that some sections wants tamil terrorism once again in accordance with the comments those carried beneath the surface, if anybody wants, we welcome it.

    But, one thing is clear that Tamil masses are much more prudent with historical lesson they have learnt by following the unrealistic and non existant day dreams bestowed on them for petty political gains by their so called leaders.

    The Tamil masses as well as everybody in Sri Lankaknows that what is required is the development to create opportunities to get the basic requirement as living beings.

    I am confident that howsoever tried, Tamil masses will never follow the destructive path once again.

    • 1
      0

      Nimal Wijetunga

      Please give us a break.

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