Immolation ignites, not just the self but the social order in which it occurs. Whatever be the tributes (heaped in hindsight), it is a suicide, albeit an altruistic suicide!
When muthukumar died in the flames that he ignited on himself, in support of Tamil Eelam, it was painful to know and even more painful to reflect. He died for a cause. He is not going to get any part of the promised money that politicians would like to present, he is not going to see Tamil Eelam, he is not going to win an election, he is not going to see his statue which is the first stupid thing that a crafty politician is going to commission, he is not going to even see that the youth are agitated and angry and demanding. He is not going to be; he is gone. All those instantly printed images of his face are going to fade just a little while before his name becomes another affordably-forgettable trivia. (How many remember the names of those who died in 1965, in the same manner, for a similar (?) cause?)
I have been reading blogs written about this in the past week, and even serious and sensitive writers- vinavu in tamil and meena kandasamy in English- have been swayed by the emotional impact of the immolation.
Yes, he had dared to do what most of us fear- embrace death for a cause espoused. Yes indeed, he has achieved what he perhaps wanted- the youth to awaken. At this moment, just a few days after the death, it may even appear vulgar to discuss him. It would be unfair to ascribe motivations of self-interest to him. It will certainly be cheap and false to reduce his act to the psychological phenomenon of attention-seeking. I understand the pain. I feel sorry for him, but I feel more sorry for his death which I am afraid is not going to do much for much longer. I am afraid about idiots and immature people trying to imitate him. I feel even more sorry for him as I know how short-lived are the emotions that flare without deeper understanding of reality.
There are going to be politicians who would like to use his death to further their interests. There would be cheap writers who earn by writing about him. There would be half-baked intellectuals who would try to discuss dispassionately over dinner on the death of an individual. There would be interviews, columns, serials and even films on this event. Is that what he wanted? Is that what he died for?
How many of those young men and women who went to pay tributes to him know about the reality of Eelam? There is a genocide. It has been happening for nearly a generation. All those young and angry minds were infants or un-born when this started. That is the reason why political traders are selling them lies. The most unworthy of all lies being the projection of prabakaran. It pains me to see youth thinking that prabakaran is a leader in the `Che’ mould. This is the right time for a shrewd, conscienceless businessman to make Tshirts with prabakaran’s image. It hurts when he is being eulogized to this level- just because one muthukumar burnt himself to death and declared that LTTE have a great leader unlike the people of tamilnadu. It is true that there are NO leaders in this state which has politicians aplenty.
Just because we do not have a good leader should we accept a bad one? Let us not be led astray. Even friends and comrades when they were talking to me over the last one week lamented that since no one is there to fight for tamil-eelam, we have to put up with prabakaran. Are the angry youth aware that they have to ‘put up’ with him because no one else is fighting? And are they aware why there is no one else in the fray? Have they been informed if not educated about how those who fought for the same cause were killed because this one man wanted to reign supreme? Do they know of EPRLF and EROS?Were these young minds not idiotic enough just a few weeks back to stand in the rain and form a human chain because karunanidhi wanted to play his political game? One man wants you to stand in rain and get wet as he waves a promise from his motorcade- he was always that way, it is just now that he gets more and more exposed since his reflexes have become slower with super-confidence. As his alternative is the projection of a self-centered person who even now would not dare to face a match stick that might burn him- he needs innocent and unwilling people around him as a shield! Is this what muthukumar wanted?
Just because muthukumar died and declared so, it does not mean that prabakaran and LTTE are the only hope and promise for Tamils in Srilanka. Just because one man burnt himself to an agonizing death does not mean that we have to stop thinking. So what can we do?
Think and make others think. As Indians, we have very little option. We can shout and scream, so can Obama and Hillary; we can cry so can the politicians of the state, we can write—and?
I do not know what we can do as a country. maybe as some learned men say India should not offer assistance to srilankan army. but the stealth of international politics is more complex for such a simple solution. there are many who want an end to this problem, but what is going to be the end? Death of millions? it is happening and after all the deaths, laments and political theatrics, there is going to business potential in the destroyed area. I am aware that there are monsters waiting to rebuild the non-existent bridge and do business with the singhaleese. it hurts.Yet I as an individual cannot do much. I can only offer food and shelter realistically and thoughts and words idealistically to those who get displaced from the terror region.
I can even write poems on the miserable state of affairs- but would this be better than what muthukumar did? There is one difference- I can live to take care of atleast one suffering refugee which would matter more to those who flee from terror than my death.
as some friends have asked me after reading this, i have to say what i feel could be a solution-1.srilankan government must be made to see reason2. innocent lives have to be protected. THIS CANNOT BE DONE WITHOUT INTENSE POLTICAL AND ECONOMIC PRESSURE ON THE GOVERNMENT, but we cannot allow another IPKF, any american intervention will only mess the situation further,britain would just clone america. french will not. china/japan? i honestly do not feel any military intervention is going to do good. if India can squeeze srilankan government by not offering even silent/sly support a solution is possible…hopefully
On immolations and the psycho-social history of Tamils in this regard later.