By Noel Nadesan –
Former Major General Kamal Gunaratne’s ‘Road to Nandikadal’ surveys the 30-year Sri Lankan separatist war through the eyes of an Army Officer. It is a remarkable book with factual matters reported as well as laced with his reflections on the war. This book in not a history of Eelam War and his views and facts are presented together as a creative nonfiction. History books are normally written with corroborative documents to back up the author’s thesis. Creative nonfiction contains true incidents along with authors’ reflections.
This book gives an insight into the operations of Sri Lankan Army during the 30 years of war and their sacrifices to defend their country. Without them, the country would have been divided like Somalia or Afghanistan. Some Tamils would have been happy if that happened. But the consequences of that scenario would have been disastrous. With the intransigent attitude of war-lord Prabhakaran, the chances are that we would still be fighting and many more killed, more on Tamil side and may be no young men and women left in Vanni.
Looking back it is clear that it is the failure of the politicians to properly identify the issues affecting both communities that gave rise to 3 different arm uprisings from both communities. Two rounds of JVP violent episodes of Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna resulted in comparable death and destruction. Apart from destruction, both developments also resulted in foreign intervention, with India stepping in to intervene in domestic affairs. Sinhala hardliners always indulge in anti- Indian rhetoric, but they should remember that the Sri Lankan government invited the Indians in the 1971 insurgency to rescue the country from JVP.
Back to the “Road to Nandikadal”, the book gives an insight into the Army’s strengths and weaknesses during the years as well as the politicians’ inability of providing leadership to conduct the war during the years, resulting in the loss of many precious young lives from both sides of the conflict.
The army alone cannot win the war in any country. An army is always the sharp end of the arrow, but many factors govern the play of killing of the animal by an the arrow before it hits the target. This book only gives an inside view of the movement of the arrow, but many factors, including international and Indian support, intelligence, Tamils like Karuna and Douglas Devananda along with political and civilian leadership involved in finishing the LTTE are left out for others to contribute. To give an example, funds contributed by expatriate LTTErs from France and Australia came to a dead end in December 2005 after these two countries intervened to stop the flow of money. These two countries were contributing large amounts of funds to the LTTE coffer.
A majority of Tamils, a large section of Sinhalese and the international community, believed mistakenly that the LTTE could be brought to the negotiating table to discuss peace. But they failed to read Prabhaharan accurately. He was killing and torturing his own Tamil people not to make peace but to secure his position located deep in the inaccessible jungle. It was his survival and desire to hang on to power that drove him to the edge. He was not the first in the history. I can quote the UNITA leader Jonathan Malheiro Savimbi from Angola who was supported by the CIA. Even Donald Regan invited him to White House. But once America settled with Angola after the end of the cold war, he refused to give up his arms. His intransigence led to his end. He was killed in jungle like an animal and found many days later. He was survived by several wives and dozens of children the latter numbering at least 25, unlike Prabhakaran.
The 4th Eelam war was fought ferociously by both sides, in a win or lose battle. This resulted in deaths of over 5800 army personnel and 25000 injured, according to the book. Probably more died in the LTTE camps. As a father I can feel the pain of parents and family. Pain does not have any race nor linguistic or religious identities.
Major General Kamal Gunaratne had an objective appraisal of his enemies. He did not belittle his enemy. He gives credit to the enemies’ bravery and ferocity. LTTE commander Theepan was praised for his Muhamalai battle with the Army.
I have been to Sri Lanka many times and met important people who were involved in the conflict. My understanding is that the communal passions among Sinhalese and Tamils do not run deep. Nor is it unresolvable. It was generated by politicians of two generations to achieve power or to maintain a seat in parliament. Unfortunately, it is the ordinary people who paid for the ambitions of the politicians with their lives. So politicians from both sides need to rethink with an imaginative and compassionate mind.
Tamils have been wallowing in self-pity eternally. This book gives the other side of the information about the war. By reading this book, we learn that everyone is a loser and there are no winners in the war.
There are minor errors in the book like blaming Indira Gandhi for Indian peace keeping forces, but she had already passed away. Another one is about killing Uma Maheswaran which was an inside job of the PLOTE. The printer’s error of duplicating some pages is also an irritation.
There are also a few ambiguities and errors that had crept in. Example:”When asked about his beliefs, he had stated he did not believe in a God” ( Page 10). To whom did Prabhakaran answer? In another page the author says: “His (Prabhakaran’s) bleeding body was brought and dropped at my feet” (Page 2). Bleeding happens when someone is alive and within a few minutes blood clots.
Hopefully the book will be printed again, which will also give the opportunity for some revisions.
Amarasiri / May 18, 2017
Former Major General Kamal Gunaratne,———————————————————————————–
RE: Road To Nandikadal ———————————————————————————————-
//This book gives an insight into the operations of Sri Lankan Army during the 30 years of war and their sacrifices to defend their country. Without them, the country would have been divided like Somalia or Afghanistan. Some Tamils would have been happy if that happened. But the consequences of that scenario would have been disastrous. With the intransigent attitude of war-lord Prabhakaran, the chances are that we would still be fighting and many more killed, more on Tamil side and may be no young men and women left in Vanni.//—————————————-
The Road To Nandikadal came after many roads were laid after independence towards that by the racists Sinhala and racist Tamils, in the Land of Native eddah Aethho. It is a long history, of deceits, lies and what not by the Paras from India, Bharat ———————————————————–
The question is will the Para-Sinhala, Para-Tamils, Para-Muslims and other Paras settle their differences before the Para-Chinese make additional messes, along with the Para-Indians?
Native Vedda / May 18, 2017
Noel Nadesan types in praise of a war criminal ————————–
——————-“He gives credit to the enemies’ bravery and ferocity. LTTE commander Theepan was praised for his Muhamalai battle with the Army.” ————–
One praises the enemy to the hilt in order to glorify one’s own bravery and ability. One needs “good powerful” enemy to become part of the future Demela Hatana. A powerful enemy gives the state to allocate a larger defense budget to procure more arms and systems (larger commissions), recruit more war criminals which creates more jobs for Officers, commanding more respect for killing more people, demanding more priority treatment, ……………….. Noel Nadesan is missing the fundamental point, the humanity and right to life (live). Noel should ask the relevant questions ———-“who hacked VP to dead?”——– “who made the decision to kill him?”———–“who accepted VP’s surrender?” ——— “who witnessed the torture of VP the psychopath” ——“where is Pottu Amman?” ——
———Didn’t Kamal win the war single-handedly? ———-I too love fairy tales——–
Ajith / May 18, 2017
Dr. Nadesan is a animal surgeon and his thoughts are against humanity. He does not know the history of Sri Lanka. He is a Mahinda backer. The book did not mention anything about the massacre of Tamil civilians during the war, he did not mention about what happened to those who surrendered to the military at the end of the war, he did not mention about the brutal murder of Pirabhaharan’s sons and so many children. He did not speak about white van abductions and murders. It is true Animal doctor met Mahinda (he called Mahinda as an important people) to thank for massacring over 50,000 Tamils. I am sure he may be one of them who is in the paylist of Mahinda. Dr. Nadesan, Can you tell us why did you run to Australia? Why can’t you go back to Srilanka and join with Mahinda gp?
jimsofty / May 19, 2017
Terrorists leaders are not kept alive once they are caught. Pabakaran killed people execution style. LTTE killed many Tamils by tieing on to a lamp post and then shooting at the foreheed. So, Pabakaran died the same way.
He deserved it.
Abimanasingham Sitthawatthai Uthayakumar / May 20, 2017
”LTTE killed many Tamils by tieing on to a lamp post and then shooting at the foreheed. So, Pabakaran died the same way. ”
Shooting at the forehead will cause a small round hole of the bullet on the forehead. The back side through which the bullet goes out only will be a large hole. The Bullet losses its stability on entering into the head!!
soma / May 19, 2017
“Without them, the country would have been divided like Somalia or Afghanistan. Some Tamils would have been happy if that happened. But the consequences of that scenario would have been disastrous. With the intransigent attitude of war-lord Prabhakaran, the chances are that we would still be fighting and many more killed, more on Tamil side and may be no young men and women left in Vanni.”
This is what would have happened if Ranil Wickramasinghe was at the helm in place of Mahinda Rajapaksha. This is what will happen again five years after federalism is implemented. Solution to any physical conflict is the one that leads to minimum bloodshed.
Native Vedda / May 21, 2017
सोमस जी (somass ji)
नमस्ते जी(Namaste Ji) ———————–“Without them, the country would have been divided like Somalia or Afghanistan.”. You must be joking. It would be the Hindians who will have to authorize the division of the island. At a later date if Hindians realize it would be prudent or beneficial to have two or more nations in this country do you seriously think your rotten army could prevent the division of the country? ——————-“This is what would have happened if Ranil Wickramasinghe was at the helm in place of Mahinda Rajapaksha. ” ————————————- Ranil laid the foundation for the destruction of LTTE within, Norway played a key role in that process which exposed the contradiction with in LTTE. I am tired of educating you and other little islanders. However since early 2005 Hindians played a decisive role to the end. Those war criminals, Armed forces, Gotas, Fonsekas, Kamals, Jegaths, Svendras, ….. Mahindas….. were only incidental to the larger war. —————————— If you failed to include federalism in the proposed constitution when Hindians are with majority of the islanders , you will regret in a few years time when they change their mind. ———-Always remember Bangladesh experience. You think you are too smart with 21 millions, you know Hindians have nearly 1,300 millions. If you deduct 90% of smart asses from Indian population still they are left with 130 Millions smart ones. There isn’t much you could do to change the ground reality. ………………………. China, Russia, Pakistan, USA, the West don’t consider worth fighting the Hindians for and on behalf of the stupid little islanders. If indeed America needs this island, they could easily build a floating island with the available technology. However I will have problem with Hindians convincing them of the need to allocate 10 Square miles for the purpose of building your Sinhala/Buddhist ghetto.
Asoka / May 21, 2017
Native Vedda, do you remember the best guard of honor given by Sri Lanka Sailor to Rajiv Gandhi due to his double tongue and LTTE gave world’s best treatment to Rajiv Gandhi. Never ever can be forgotten to entire Indian Population, Sri Lankans, and the entire world.
Native Vedda / May 22, 2017
Asoka———————————————————————————————————— Hence you think both acts were great achievement made by the clever dicks of this island. Yet India as a country still exist.
Words / May 18, 2017
Great write up. I salute you Mr. Nadesan
Non PhD / May 18, 2017
I understand that MaRa is going to visit India ( his fatherland ) soon at the invitaion of PM Modi. I wish MaRa takes the above book as a gift to Mr.Modi.
JULAMPITIYE AMARAYA / May 20, 2017
( his fatherland IS not india,
But Malaya, history says, His Ancestry is Mallaccan !!!!!!!!!!!
Sriyani Mangalika / May 18, 2017
it is eight years passed. now we are today. We should first look what are our real problems and barriers to proceed from here./How we could come out of our grievances and back to normal life with compromise.There may be lapses by each party. We should be generous and extend our hands for peace and harmony comforting to relieve of prolonged suspicion. Faith is very important and allowed to be grown freely through our words and actions
We all should come out of this rut with great effort and dedication.
Wish the Noble Triple gem bless all Sri lankans !
We all should understand the unique values and resources we possess and harness the best out of them through respecting one another.
This is our last opportunity
max / May 18, 2017
Pro Tamil chauvinism phycos and sympathizers of separatism now take arms against the writer, but he’s done justice the book. Sorry to those with soft corner towards Prabha’s fascism and haters of Sinhala Buddhists.
Native Vedda / May 18, 2017
max Mor ———— “Sorry to those with soft corner towards Prabha’s fascism and haters of Sinhala Buddhists.” ———————————- What is the difference between VP the psychopath’s fascism and Sinhala/Buddhist fascism? His was non-state fascism and yours is growing fascist state. Therefore we could only discuss the scale, extent and reach of respective fascism and not qualitative difference.
Tamil fascists would be happy to replace VP’s vacuum with your leadership. You can appoint the saffron clad thug Gnanasara as your enforcer in chief. His madness will definitely help you.
max / May 19, 2017
The author has spoken about the book not anything else. My comment was a reaction to that. Your inability to grab what I have written is pity. As I have said in numerous times, it is easy for you to put me into the Gnansara club and attack. But It will be a “koheda yanne malle pol” situation. I never have justified any kind of fascism whether its Sinhala/Tamil/Muslim or Burger. General Kamal was instrumental in defeating Prabha the menace. I have no double standard to appreciate that great achievement. I think you too are a silent endorsee of that effort which brought you and I back a country to fight on the key board! :-) Like Shiv Shankar Menon recently said, even TamilNadu leaders were not against eliminating Prabha the menace, even though they have not openly expressed what really they wanted! Am I to believe your an exception?
Native Vedda / May 19, 2017
max Mor ———— I remember you defending the saffron clad thug’s behaviour some three years ago. —–Why would you do it unless you too have been afflicted by Sinhala/Buddhist fascism and you never find faults with the state which has been growing into a undemocratic Sinhala/Buddhist fascist state for the past 60 years or more supported by Sangha, Sinha Le, Donkey Le, Civet Le ……? ———-Unlike you I am not inclined to take s**t from the Sinhala/Buddhists, or other fascists such as , Tamil/Saivaites, Latin/Christians, Arab/Islamists, ……nor …. ———————————— ————————————————————————————“The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.” —Edmund Burke. Hence I will continue to sound out everyone in this forum.
Leelawathie / May 19, 2017
Maximoron, how old are you my child ?
Do you have ever heard about wairayen wairaye nosansindhee ? If Praba s or former JVPers, if it was real facism we have to stand against. But gone re the days specially notherners were the clutches of them. And southerners were the clutches of former JVPrs (if one would compare it the way JVPrs behaved in 89). If anyone today would take the banners of so called sinhala buddhists and make every efforts to spread hatreds, they should be taken to books. If you and the like ilk would stay conditioned, as has been sofar, not much would work towards peace. So no wonder.
So moronic boy, do you really think , can we as one nation go for parties recalling war victory ? no, since we are all srilankens. Some got hurt by the last phase of war to a manner they lost everything, while you the like ilk became so called heroes…. but in retrospect, own folks killed one ones.. and got killed.
I think no people with hearts should celebrate or name it as a victory.
Extremists painted their thoughts as that of nation – since they longed to stay in power. Truths will have to succed LET alone today.
Native Vedda / May 19, 2017
Leelawathie ———————————- “Maximoron, how old are you my child ?” ————– Do you want to know his mental or physical age? ———————– Mentally he could be your great great grand son, physically between 63 and 67. He is a good man however his loyalty is misplaced and he believes he is a Sinhala/Buddhist. Sinhala/Buddhism is a form/brand of fascism.
Leelawathie / May 19, 2017
Thank you My dear Native; Ich danke Dir viel mals.
Then he should be in the same age as our ZOOPHIL Edwin Rordigo, who has been said to be driving to Dubai today for his weekend. Meteriologist have already warned about the air would have been polluted in that part of the region due to Edwins visit. None of these men however know the least about LORD Buddhas teachings. But them to behave as if they are real buddhists is the outfit they are all wearing. So long the out cover is nicer, these men can stay in their hate mongering mode.
Edwin Rodrigo / May 18, 2017
The author says, “It was his survival and desire to hang on to power that drove him to the edge”. Wrong! It was his love for chicken curry and the overpowering desire to have a ‘last’ meal for himself that drove him in that fateful moment. The author goes on to say, “He was not the first in the history.” Again wrong. He was the first in history to have begged his executioner so pathetically to spare him, tears running down his bonny cheeks. We have to conclude that Prabhakaran was not exactly a good role model for the Tamil Rump who may be thinking of starting something again.
Nathan / May 18, 2017
Your name suggests that you are neither a Buddhist nor a Sinhalese. There are better ways to win over their respect. Why go scavenging!
Edwin Rodrgo / May 19, 2017
I am neither a Buddhist nor a Sinhalese. I am the Lord of the Jungle.
Simon De Silva / May 19, 2017
Really, not just a week ago, you yourself came with jathaka stories one behind the other…. was that the same mouth piece or it has no been replaced with the other end – anus ? Edwin, it is really typical to your genetics. Shame on you.
Thappu / May 18, 2017
It was his survival and desire to hang on to power that drove him to the edge. What power did he enjoy? What was he wanting to hang on to?
I have been to Sri Lanka many times and met important people who were involved in the conflict. Could you throw in some names and their reaction. (Just a little corroboration would be ideal.)
John / May 18, 2017
Prabakaran’s bosses were Tamil Nadu politicians.
Prabakaran killed who ever would be a threat to his leadership.
Rajash / May 19, 2017
Noel Nadesan – “There are minor errors “…”There are also a few ambiguities and errors that had crept in”……
The book is full of errors and full of ambiguities. they did not creep in, they were deliberate to mislead the reader and mislead the history
Noel Nadesan “Hopefully the book will be printed again….. which will also give the opportunity for some revisions.”
hopefully not and destined to the rubbish bin
Noel Nadesan you have doubt about the books but didn’t have the guts to condemn the book out right
we know why
Edwin Rodrgo / May 19, 2017
Hear O’Ye Tamils, Hear O’ye. You see that heroic figure of Kamal Gunaratne in the picture? Tall, lean, dark and handsome and leading up front. That is what a real Sinhalaya is and that is what a real leader is. Kamal Gunaratne, my hero! See how confidently he walks ready for anything. Now compare him to Parepaharan, the chicken curry eating ball of Thala Thel. Shot like a pig by Pvt Nimal in the Nanthikadal, begging and licking the army boots of Nimal. He lived like a pig, ate like a pig, was shot like a pig and died squealing like a pig. The only thing he led up front was his big ass.
What a fuss he made just to eat chikkken curry and fooling his wife.
Mallaiyuran / May 19, 2017
This guy another ardent support of EPDP has been writing together here. This guy had stopped once the UNHRC resolution was signed by Lankawe. Other one kept writing even as Sampanthar broke the Paravi Panchan Army barrier. He attempted to prove the Suicide jacket was an evidence of LTTE’s renewed activities. He had commented something like that he was able to have released some land for his friends and relatives, but that was hurt after Sampanthar broke the barrier. Then, as the IC pressed more the Yahapalanaya, he changed the side and wrote for few weeks and disappeared. But his guy edge a little bit above that guy stayed out continuously. Now he is resurfacing after, Sampanthar’s secret solution lost in December, UNHRC was lost in March, PTA was lost in April and GSP+ lost in May. This is telling the continuous loss of Tamils may give encouragement to the other one also to reappear.
K.Pillai / May 19, 2017
Noel Nadesan: Could not find this book in any Library. Your sagacious suggestion is “Hopefully the book will be printed again, which will also give the opportunity for some revisions’. It will take quite a few revised versions to correct the “minor” mistakes. No doubt you will launch the final version in Australia. Another book that will interest you is “Memorable tidbits and the burning of the Jaffna library” by Retired DIG Edward Gunewardene’s (EG to friends like you). EG suggests that in 1981, the Jaffna Library was set on fire by Tamil Terrorists. No no no. The two books show the excellent quality of Lankan Police and Army and are NOT chronic trends in auto-biographies. Strange your article and one each by Pitasanna and SRH H appeared consecutively. I suggest that you get lost.
Jurassic / May 19, 2017
“Sinhala hardliners always indulge in anti- Indian rhetoric, but they should remember that the Sri Lankan government invited the Indians in the 1971 insurgency to rescue the country from JVP.”
Invitation to assist does not give the right to subsequent interventions.
The Free French leadership escaped to UK, sought British assistance, returned with an allied army and liberated France from the Nazis. Does that UK or USA the right to walk into France thereafter when ever they feel like?