The rise & fall of the LTTE

Written by Akul Akhoury | Updated: Nov 18 2012, 06:51am hrs
Sri Lanka and the Defeat of the LTTE discusses the role and nature of the terror group, its decisive defeat in 2009 and the role played by Indian Tamils in Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka and the Defeat of the LTTE

KM De Silva

Penguin Books

Rs. 399

Pg 352

South Asia for most part has been a troubled region. Most nations in the Indian subcontinent are dealing with the problem of terror fuelled by separatist tendencies. While India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka are dealing with terror groups fanning separatist tendencies, Nepal and parts of Eastern India are dealing with Red terror that seeks to dismantle the constitutional structure existing in these places. In short, most countries in South Asia are dealing with one form of terror or the other. KM De Silva in his book Sri Lanka and the Defeat of the LTTE discusses the role and nature of the terror group in the regional safety, its decisive defeat in 2009 at the hands of the Sri Lankan Army and the role played by Indian Tamils in Sri Lanka.

Silva is an academician and had held positions in universities of Ceylon and Peradeniya, and, thus, has been in a fair position to see and analyse the political situation prevailing in Sri Lanka. He was also a foundation director and executive director of the International Centre for Ethnic Studies in Colombo. The academic background of the author is reflected in the critical analysis of the role played by political parties in Sri Lanka and Tamil Nadu, and, of course, those conditions that led to the rise and fall of LTTE.

Sri Lanka and the Defeat of the LTTE is an interesting book that deals with wide ranging subjects concerning local politics, language policy and the state-sector employment. An important element of the book is its study of the aspect dealing with the status of Sri Lanka from demilitarisation to militarisation in its efforts to combat the separatist forces. An interesting part of the book has been the study of the relation between the moderate forces in the Sri Lankan Tamil politics and Tamil terrorist groups. What emerges is a layered portrait of the dynamics of the Sri Lankan political system.

Sri Lanka and the Defeat of the LTTE is a case study that deals with the emergence, gaining maturity and eventual collapse of LTTE. There are very few books that deal with the terror group of Sri Lanka and the ways it had been brought down. The book also deals with the contentious issues of Sri Lankan policy on language change, admission in university and the consequent rivalry between Muslims and Tamils, rivalry among Tamil groups and between Tamil and Sinhalese groups. Issues contributing to the defeat of LTTE occupy prominence in the book. Silva has also tried to establish the political reasons that contributed to LTTEs defeatrole of political parties and individual politicians including the Bandaranaikes and the Rajapaksas. After the killing of Prabhakaran and other LTTE leaders, reconstruction and rehabilitation was the topmost concern of the local government. The book addresses these issues too in detail.

Silva has some words of advice for the post-LTTE political-economic development of Sri Lanka. Reconstruction of society, if not accompanied by the reconstruction of political parties, would make the entire exercise futile. He says the Tamil political parties need to adopt a more modest set of objectives than Tamil United Liberation Front (TULF) and LTTE, which would include an acceptance of their role as a minority force in the democratic process of Sri Lanka. Now that a formidable challenge posed by LTTE has waned, the Sri Lankan government can contribute towards the process of economic recovery.

Sri Lanka and the Defeat of the LTTE is a comprehensive book that tries to depict the countrys political sphere. And perhaps that could be a reason contributing towards a losing interest for those who dont know much about the country and LTTE, and their relationship. The book seems to be addressing the domestic audience in a major way and a few groups in the subcontinent. Silva does not make any major attempt to target the global audience in any major way. The book at the best may not interest an average reader, but could be valuable for students, academicians and research scholars.