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Wider public participation marks Heroes Day in Tamil Nadu

[TamilNet, Sunday, 4 December 2011 13:24 No Comment]

It became clear on the eve of Heroes Day, Sunday, that ruling circles in India join hands with genocidal Colombo in denying Tamils the right to remember their fallen freedom fighters. Yet the day was observed with a marked positive difference in Tamil Nadu this time. Public and grassroot initiatives replaced political party organized mass gatherings, and there was wider and spontaneous participation of a social cross-section: from workers and farmers to communities in business, education and professions. “If Tamils have contributed anything memorable to human civilization in their contemporary history that was the paradigm-setting stand taken by the Eezham Tamil heroes, defying injustice of all the world Establishments,” commented an 85-year-old Marxist who spent a life time for the communist movement in the diaspora and in the home country, ever since he was 16.

People at Puliyoor gather to pay tribute to Tamil Heroes on 27 November 2011

Meanwhile, commenting on the trend and on responses to challenges, a Tamil Nadu activist currently living in Europe said, “It is time for Tamil Nadu to grasp the cue and to pick up where the Eezham Tamils left it.”

“People of Tamil Nadu have to take their own stand on the independence and sovereignty of Eezham Tamils and lead their own active struggle within India, without succumbing to confusions attempted by hijacks in the diaspora, in the island and in Tamil Nadu. They should carefully note from where the hijacks originate,” the Tamil Nadu activst said.

He was responding to comments in some Tamil Nadu circles that the spirit of observing the Heroes Day in Tamil Nadu suffered by confusions articulated in the diaspora and by politics simulated in captivity in the island.

“In the given geopolitical context, involvement of the powers and in the context of the disposition of the Establishments in New Delhi and Colombo, the nation of Tamils in Tamil Nadu for its own sake has to spearhead the independence of Eezham Tamils, more than it supports the Eezham Tamils.”

“Like the Eezham Tamils, the Sinhalese are also our neighbours. We have been interacting ever since the inception of both those nations. It is equally important that we should have peaceful co-existence with the Sinhala nation as well.”

“We cannot simply watch New Delhi, America and China playing with us and the nations around us, by unjustly sitting on the national question of Eezham Tamils, by engineering genocide and annihilation of their nation and by setting people one against another in the region. Peoples of the region, especially Tamils, Malayalis, Eezham Tamil, Sinhalese and Maldivians have to rise up against what is going on,” the activist further said.

* * *

In the last minute on Saturday, Tamil Nadu government refused permission for conducting public meetings for the Heroes Day.

In the previous years, large-scale events conducted by certain political parties or movements, and joint memorial events conducted under the coordination of veteran leader Pazha Nedumaran, used to mark the day.

Tamil Nadu chief minister Ms. Jeyalalitha, while supporting war crimes investigation and sanctions against Colombo and while being non-committal on the independence of Eezham Tamils, wants to distance herself from the militant legacy of Eezham Tamils, political observers in Tamil Nadu said.

But, whether the decision was of her own, or instructed from New Delhi, it fitted into a larger picture of brutal oppression against the day by genocidal Colombo in the country of Eezham Tamils and the campaigns and confusions engineered in the diaspora to blunt concerted political mobilisation.

However, nothing could prevent wider participation of people in Tamil Nadu and in the diaspora, and silent demonstration coupled with heroic acts marking the day in the country of Eezham Tamils.

This year, many grassroot institutions, many companies of Small and Medium Businesses (SMB) sector, such as media IT companies, law firms and educational institutions widely observed the Heroes Day in their buildings and private halls.

The public has taken the ownership of the day in Tamil Nadu this time and it has acquired a genuine struggle-oriented outlook.

* * *

A significant grassroot event that marked the Heroes Day and got media attention was the unveiling of the statue of Ms. Chengkodi at the ancient city of Kaagnchipuram, organized by Kaagnchi Makka’l Theatre (People’s theatre group of Kaagnchipuram).

Thoazhar Chengkodi, who was a member of the theatre group, committed self-immolation in August, protesting New Delhi’s decision to execute the sentence to hang Perarivalan, Murugan, and Shanthan, convicted in the Rajiv assassination case.

21-year-old skilled theatre artist, Chengkodi, was a dedicated social worker and fighter of the rights of weaker sections of the society.

A Memorial Hall was also opened in the name of Chengkodi on the Heroes Day, where the statues of Thileepan and Muthukumar were place on either side.

Thileepan, an LTTE political organizer, fasted unto death in Jaffna in1987 protesting the deception of Indian peace keeping. Muthukumar committed self-immolation in 2009 protesting the genocide of Eezham Tamils in the Vanni war and demanding action from India.

The statues spoke of the synthesis of the struggling masses in Tamil Eelam and Tamil Nadu, participants of the event said.

Veteran Eezham supporters, Pazha Nedumaran, Vaiko, Kolaththoor Mani and Pannurutti Velmurugan along with May 17 movement and other grassroot groups took part in the event and in the speeches.

The Memorial Hall was opened in the morning of the Heroes Day.

Pannurutti Velmurugan lit the main flame of the event at 6:05 pm (the usual time observed by the LTTE leader Pirapaharan to light the Heroes Day Torch).

Tamil Eelam flag was hoisted at the hall and the usual traditions of the Day were passionately followed.

People congregated observed silence and paid tributes to the Tamil Heroes. Many family members and relatives of the fallen heroes from Eezham were also present on the occasion, paying tribute to their loved ones. 200 posts were placed for people to light the Torches of Sacrifice.

A band of Pa’rai, the traditional percussion instrument of Tamils, was playing for the event. Thoazhar Chengkodi was skilled in playing Pa’rai.

* * *

Another event of annual significance that was observed this year too in Tamil Nadu is a memorial conducted by an entire village in Northwest Tamil Nadu.

On the Heroes Day, people of the Puliyoor village near Ko’laththoor in Tamil Nadu flocked at the Lt. Col. Ponnammaan Memorial Hall built by them, and stood on a long queue to pay homage to the heroes by lighting candles.

In the 1980s the LTTE had a training camp in the village. The village Puliyoor itself got the name from the LTTE camp (Puli – Tiger).

Two other events of significance were held by political parties: the Viduthalai Chiruththaikal Kadchi (VCK, the liberation panthers), led by Mr. Thirumava’lavan and the Naam Thamizhar movement led by Mr. Seeman.

These two events were held in private halls as the authorities had declined permission to conduct large events at public places across Tamil Nadu, as was originally planned, the party officials said.

Meanwhile, the Madurai district secretary of Thamizh National Liberation Movement Kathirnilavan, said that the Tamil Eelam Heroes Day observed globally, has attained a global Tamil cultural significance that needed to be recognised by Tamil Nadu. Everyone in Tamil Nadu should contribute to strengthen the memorial event as a day for remembering all those who sacrificed their lives for Tamil liberation and emancipation, Mr. Kathirnilavan said while addressing the participants at the Agricultural Workers Stage of Makap-poop-paa’laiyam.



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