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Non-Martial and Martial Methods to an Ultimate Political Goal of the Tiger Movement in Sri Lanka

Summary and Keywords

The Tiger Movement had one ultimate political goal, and two main alternating methods to reach this goal, which was to obtain recognition by world community for the right of self-determination for a group of people living in the northern and eastern provinces of the island of Sri Lanka (in accordance with UN A/Res/42/159, from 1987). These people were Tamil speakers. Self-determination implied the right to secession and to the establishment of a separate and sovereign state called Tamilīlam. Peaceful methods to reach this goal were negotiations, diplomacy, lobbying, conferences, workshops, and above all mediatation; Gandhian methods like hartal “strike” (closing down of shops) and satyāgraha “holding onto truth” (non-violent resistance like sit-downs) have also been used during the period 1956 till today. The Tiger Movement has promoted the non-martial method of fasting to death in protest, but this was not in the orthodox Gandhian way, which did not make a choice between martial and non-martial acts dependent on the circumstance. All non-martial methods could be militant, but not violent.

Depending on the circumstances, alternate methods, closely related to each other and to the goal, were used. The non-martial methods were used transnationally, the martial methods nationally, only on the island of Sri Lanka, with one exception—the assassination in 1991of Rājiv Gāndhi, which was executed in Tamiḻnāṭu.

Vēluppiḷḷai Pirapākaraṉ was conscious of several methods to reach the goal, but there was only one goal. In 2003, however, the Tiger Movement for the first and only time, suggested a temporary suspension of this goal, an interim regional autonomy instead of separatism for a period of trial of five years. This did not change the ultimate goal, but suspended its realization in time to create space for negotiations. The government of Sri Lanka (GoSL) rejected this proposal, called Interim Self Governing Authority (ISGA); The GoSL already had an ultimate goal, the preservation of the constitutional and centralized unitary state. This rejection threw both sides back to their starting point.

The martial method to reach the ultimate goal consisted of several different forms of armed struggle, which were parallel with the non-armed struggle; each time the non-armed struggle failed, the martial struggle gained momentum, from the 1970s to 2009. We count today four periods of war from 1983–2009, separated by truces and cease-fires, but not by peace. Combatants made extensive use of the martial method of voluntary death, which in media language goes under the name of suicide attack, belt bombing, etc. The media has made this an identity-marker of the Tiger Movement.

The Tiger Movement’s martial methods comprised assassinations squads, whose task was to assassinate VIPs related to the GoSL, guerrilla attacks, martial methods of a standing army with specialized brigades, and attacks by deep penetrating units, often ending in voluntary death. The motto for all methods related to its ultimate goal was “the task of the Tigers is (to establish) Tamiḻīḻam.” The combatants’ determination was to act according to the norm do or die, which might end up as do and die—as it did in May 2009, the end of the Tiger Movement.

The leader of the Tiger Movement, Vēluppiḷḷai Pirapākaraṉ, held the firm view that methods may change (continuously), but the goal does not. He held the same ultimate goal, which was political, to establish Tamiḻīḻam based on the right of self-determination of a people. It was universal, he emphasized. He also referred to legal forms of violence in a national struggle for liberation from colonial and foreign domination (according, for example, to the United Nations General Assembly Resolution A/RES/33/24 of November 29, 1978).

The reason for actualizing the right of self-determination for Tamil speakers was the result of political, social, and economic discrimination, including 171 massacres, well documented by the North-East Secretariat of Human Rights (NESoHR). [NESoHR, Massacres of Tamils 1956–2008 (Chennai: Manitham Publishers, 2009). There is a German edition, which also contains the massacres by the Indian Peace Keeping Force (IPKF). NESoHR, “Damit wir nicht vergessen …” Massaker an Tamilen 1956–2008. Mit einer Einführung von Professor (em) Dr. Peter Schalk (Heidelberg: Draupadi Verlag, 2012)]. These massacres amounted to genocide in the interpretation of the Tiger Movement, performed by the government of Sri Lanka from 1956–2009, and by the Indian Peace Keeping Force (IPKF), during 1987–1990, with the assistance of deliverance of arms by India, the United States, the United Kingdom, China, and Pakistan. The Tiger Movement was well aware of geopolitical reasons why the United States and India would not allow Tamiḻīḻam to emerge. The unarmed and armed struggles by the Tiger Movement were to counteract a deeply felt injustice. The two methods were closely related to the ultimate goal, which gave the Tiger Movement a moral justification, though the world outside did not necessarily agree.

Today we see that both methods were unsuccessful and the ultimate political goal was not reached. The GoSL suppressed the peaceful methods, and the martial methods earned the Tiger Movement the classification of “terrorists” by the United States, the European Union, India, Sri Lanka, and several other states. The end of the Tiger Movement came in May 2009, but Tamil speakers still cultivate its ultimate political goal, especially in the worldwide, transnational diaspora.

The Tiger Movement (puli iyakkam) was only one half of the organization known as Liberation Tigers of Tamil Ealam (LTTE), founded in 1972 and reconstructed in 1976. The other half was known as the People’s Movement (makkaḷ iyakkam). In an environment of lasting peace, we could speak of a military organization that was subordinated to a civil society, but in a war environment, the hierarchy was reversed. The People’s Movement became supportive of the Tiger Movement in many ways. Civil tasks, like political administration, police, the judiciary, and the financial sectors were under the Tiger Movement in a de facto state, which was not recognized by any state.

GoSL based its claims for unity and the recognized sovereignty and integrity of its state on recognition by the United Nations and on a Constitution from 1972 and 1978. It insisted on the preservation of a centralized state-formation characterized as a unitary state, which made separatism, even non-violent agitation for separatism, illegal.

The ultimate goals of both parties, the recognition of the right of self-determination of a people and the preservation of the sovereignty of a state were incompatible. Confederalism and federalism were also rejected by the Tiger Movement, because they were too little, and by the GoSL, because they were too much.

Keywords: Black Tiger, cyanide, GoSL, Great Hero, life as weapon, LTTE, martial feminism, self-rule, Sri Lanka, Tamiḻīḻam

Martial Methods of the Tiger Movement

The following descriptive account of the Tiger Movement is based mainly on the writing by Vēluppiḷḷai Pirapākaraṉ and by the Government of Sri Lanka (GoSL).

Vēluppiḷḷai Pirapākaraṉ (1954–2009), who appeared in the early 1970s on the political stage, did not radically distinguish between waging war and making politics in the way Mahātma Gāndhi did, and which democratic and liberal-minded politicians do today. His view looks similar to that of Carl von Clausewitz1 (and Carl Schmitt) who in war saw an extension of politics. Vēluppiḷḷai Pirapākaraṉ said: “The liberation war (viṭutalai porāṭṭam) is a blood shedding revolutionary method of politics (araciyalpātai).”2 The hierarchy of the Tiger Movement consisted of (a) The Leader (Vēluppiḷḷai Pirapākaraṉ), (b) The Central Committee, (c) The Head office, and (d) six Departments. Of these, two are of special interest.

  1. 1. The Army Department, rendered as a “military wing” by GoSL. It was the center of the standing army of the Tiger Movement. In the GoSL model of the Tiger Movement’s organization, the terminology demonstrated that militarism dominated the whole structure.

  2. 2. The Intelligence Department was feared by GoSL. This department was not financially dependent on the other sections. It had finance, an administration, and a military organization of its own. In the GoSL model, this department was placed directly under Vēluppiḷḷai Pirapākaraṉ,3 making the Intelligence Department totally independent.

Vēluppiḷḷai Pirapākaraṉ divided the area under his control into five districts. Each district was administered by a messenger of the centralized administration, with Yāḻppāṇam/Kiḷinocci as the title commander. We can characterize these commanders, who were handpicked by Vēluppiḷḷai Pirapākaraṉ, as regional leaders.

From 1991, the Tiger Movement established a conventional army to counteract the massive force of the Sri Lankan Armed Forces (SLAF), but also to appear as a state, which could transfigure its irregular guerrillas into regulars.

The outlook for a combatant, depending on his position in the hierarchy of ranks, was limited. The rank of a combatant was not visibly indicated, but each combatant knew, of course, who were her/his superiors. Only after death was the rank of each combatant made known. The ranks, in English, were brigadier, colonel, lieutenant colonel, major, captain, lieutenant, second lieutenant, and Tiger Hero (private).

The Tiger Movement tried to imitate a standing army by connecting rank with command over a predefined number of combatants, but this did not work out as planned. A rank hierarchy was sometimes crossed by a seniority hierarchy or by a hierarchy of merits of individuals.

A predefined number of combatants belonging to each military group existed. The following numbers for each group were sometimes ideals. The Tiger Movement used terms in English:

  1. 1. The squad was the smallest unit, consisting of six combatants.

  2. 2. Two squads were one section consisting of twelve combatants.

  3. 3. The platoon included the platoon leader and two or more sections.

  4. 4. The company included the company leader, and two or more platoons.

  5. 5. The battalion included the battalion commander, and approximately three to five companies.

  6. 6. The brigade included the brigade commander and approximately three to six battalions.

What a combatant learned was filtered through censorship and by a special value system of the Tiger Movement.

As for fighting, the image of ideal combatants given by Vēluppiḷḷai Pirapākaraṉ, who had classified his combatants as idealists [rather than mercenaries], is actualized in battle. Idealists should be fearless, successful, and determined, but above all they should be altruistic by giving their lives for the many. This is the vīraccīlam “virtue of heroism” of a combatant.

Numeric Strength

The number of combatants in the Tiger Movement was kept secret. When commentators declare numbers, the reader should be skeptical. They do not tell how they got this information. We are dependent of the estimate made by GoSL. At the start of 2008, GoSL estimated that the Tiger Movement maintained approximately 30,000 cadres in its ranks.4

GoSL does not mention how many soldiers were on its own payroll, but Paul Moorcraft does. In 2009, there were 20 divisions, 71 brigades, 284 battalions, and 230,000 soldiers.5 The confrontation was uneven: 230,000 Lankan soldiers against 30,000 Īḻattamiḻ combatants. The unequal proportion is, of course, one reason for the defeat of the Tiger Movement in 2009.

The training period of five months was very important in the life of a combatant-to-be within the Tiger Movement. He had much to learn from and about the Tiger Movement and the People’s Movement organizations, about Vēluppiḷḷai Pirapākaraṉ, about self-discipline, about the use of arms, and also about the imagery of the martyrs created by Vēluppiḷḷai Pirapākaraṉ, about the martyrs whose example he was expected to repeat mimetically. A recruit has to learn not only to survive, but also, and above all, to kill to survive. This is often forgotten in presentations of the Tiger Movement by sympathizers. It is this killing, not his tiyākam “abandonment [of life],” which alienated global human rights’ activists, above all Tamil Christians, from becoming a Great Hero, a martyr in modern Christian style, like Maximilian Kolbe. He was Catholic priest, who chose to die vicariously for another prisoner in Auschwitz, in 1941. Maximilian Kolbe was an innocent victim. Victimization and innocence has no place in the Tiger Movement’s concept of heroism of the Great Heroes. Kolbe was canonized by the Catholic Church in 1982, and he is presented to the world as an ideal Christian non-martial and non-political martyr.

While learning how to survive in battle was never ending, there was a formalized end of the training period, marked by taking of an oath of allegiance, which technically is a non-religious affirmation. This period was followed by five-year periods of fighting as combatant.

In some documented cases, there was a long period of hesitation as to whether or not to join the Tiger Movement, not because of one’s own political or moral scruples, but because of refusals by the parents. The candidate was torn between his own wish and that of parents, who wanted to hold her or him back.

Most recruits could explain to themselves and others why they joined. The training period intensified what was already framed in their mind. They were aggrieved persons who had experienced many massacres of civilians by GoSL’s SLAF, and by India’s IPKF. They had gone from grief to wrath. They were all mourners, who had experienced suppression or the death of a beloved being. During the training period, they learned how to channel their wrath and how to overcome incapacitating melancholy. In the language of GoSL and critics of the Tiger Movement during this period was characterized by a period of indoctrination. “Indoctrination” like “terrorism” was part of the war of words from both sides.

The training period within the Tiger Movement included studies in the nationalism of the Tiger Movement. It comprised the three “Ts,” the interpretation of the national flag, and of the tiger flag, and the content of self-discipline. The three “Ts” summarize what Tamil nationalism should be according to the Tiger Movement. The teaching of Tamil nationalism by the three “Ts” made an already existing diffuse and sentimental thinking about the Motherland at the time of recruitment more precise. The three “Ts” appeared in political pamphlets and connect Īḻattamiḻs in the diaspora still today.

  1. 1. The concept tāyakam, “motherland,” is an emotional expression of historical origin and of descent within a given territory, in this case of Tamiḻīḻam.

  2. 2. Tēciyam, which is conventionally translated into English as “nationhood,” is derived from tēcam, “territory,” “land,” or “country.” It is nationhood, not without, but with land, with a well-defined territory.

  3. 3. Taṉṉāṭciyurimai is the “right of self-determination,” which implies theoretically the possibility of integration into a unitary state, a federal state, a con-federal state, or a separate state.

In the given context, only the last possibility is relevant. The three “Ts” go back to the Vaṭṭukōṭṭai Resolution of 1976, but also to Vēluppiḷḷai Pirapākaraṉ, who endorsed them fully. He interpreted his role of guiding one nation, Tamiḻīḻam, through a war against another nation, Sri Lanka. We have a typical example of what is called a nation as zone of conflict, which may end up in a reversal of civil values.

During the training period, a study of the qualities of Vēluppiḷḷai Pirapākaraṉ was taken up in the teaching. His self-confidence, his ability to look into the future, and his care for cadres were emphasized. The relation to him was characterized by the concept nampikkai “trust,” and he is named vaḻikāṭṭi “pointer to the path” or “guide.” His military planning was studied with the assertion that terrorism was alien to the Tiger Movement. The Tiger Movement was projected as a liberation movement, which fought for the right of self-determination. Tamil culture, language, history, and arts were also important parts of this study in Tamil nationalism.

Vēluppiḷḷai Pirapākaraṉ did not include religion as part of, or in addition to, Tamil culture. This is remarkable, but significant, for the Tiger Movement’s evaluation that religion was of no concern during a period of military operations. The combatants should have political, not religious goals, which should be achieved by non-martial and martial methods.

From the viewpoint of GoSL, the training given by the Tiger Movement for its land, fighting groups could be broadly divided into three categories:

  1. 1. Basic Training: Civilians and newly recruited youth underwent basic training at Tiger Movement bases, which were established in almost every village under its control.

  2. 2. Refresher training: Members serving in the various fields of operation, and specialists of the Tiger Movement’s different regiments, were expected to follow refresher courses.

  3. 3. Special Operations training: This training was given to selected groups of cadres and dealt with attacks on specific targets, which included Black Tiger operations on land and sea, as well as deep penetration attacks throughout the country.6

There was another group of selected cadres forming small, irregular squads They were called Leopards. Leopards and Black Tigers could co-operate. The Leopards were protected by an impenetrable secrecy, but the Black Tigers were Vēluppiḷḷai Pirapākaraṉ’s public pride.

The problem was that GoSL also established deep penetration units. One was known as maha sohon balakāya, or “power body of Maha Sohonā.” Maha Sohona is a demon in Sinhala folklore, who is said to haunt cemeteries. These units were part of a rapid deployment Long Range Reconnaissance Patrol (LRRP) force, which according to Paul Moorcraft contributed to the “total destruction” of the Tiger Movement.7

In this GoSL classification of the training, I am missing an explicit reference to ideological intellectual training by the Tiger Movement, which was outlined above. The teaching of nationalism created an intellectual and emotional resilience resulting in determination for fighting. This determination was expressed individually by repeating an oath or affirmation of allegiance to the ultimate goal, every morning and evening during the camp life as recruit. In this oath, the recruit promised to die for Tamilīlam and to trust Vēluppiḷḷai Pirapākaraṉ. Contrary to some commentators’ information,8 this oath (affirmation) did not demand that they die for Vēluppiḷḷai Pirapākaraṉ. The combatant is expected to die, not for a person, but for Tamilīlam.

Tamil nationalism gave the combatants a rational explanation for fighting: Suppression feeds (violent) resistance and a desire for autonomy. This went against GoSL’s image of the Tiger Movement, which was depicted as a bunch of irrational terrorists without any valid reason and moral justification of their goal and methods.

Martial Methods

We come now to the martial methods, which should be related to the ideological background. An enlisted member carried a metal badge. In battle, a combatant carried not one badge, but three, one around his neck, one around his wrist, and one around his waist in case his body was dismembered. On the badge of metal was written tavipu, which is a contracted form of tamiḻīḻa viṭutalaip pulikaḷ “liberation tigers of Tamiḻīḻam.” The combatant’s number and blood group were given on the badge. Vēluppiḷḷai Pirapākaraṉ had the number 1 and the blood type B-. There was no name on any badge.

Each combatant was known by his movement name, which functioned as nom de guerre.

Each combatant was placed into a hierarchy of rank, into a brigade, which indicated his special military function, and into a locality. After his death in war, his rank was raised one step. The knowledge of this may have given the warrior a certain satisfaction in lifetime. The Tiger Movement promised nothing by way of personal and individual resurrection or rebirth. The warriors’ reward was to be classified as “immortal,” but only in the memory of the coming generations. Before dying, he or she might feel a deep satisfaction that her or his death has brought Tamiḻīḻam closer. Facing death, she or he may fall back on her or his Caiva, Christian or Islamic beliefs from childhood about next life, but this was his or her own concern and was not initiated, supported, or rejected by the Tiger Movement. The Tiger Movement left a private space for actions, as long as these were adiaphorous to the Tiger Movement.

Self-killing: As a combatant promised to die if necessary for Tamiḻīḻam on the battlefield, his death caused by an enemy could be classified as a special form of “self-killing.” The possibility of being killed as combatant by the enemy was included in his oath taking.

There are two other more concrete forms of self-killing: taking cyanide, and using “life as weapon.” For the first, let us look closer into the code of conduct called cūya oḻukkam “self-discipline,” which ordered the taking of cyanide. Discipline was interpreted as self-discipline. Rank climbing depended on the performance of this discipline. When the recruits affirmed their faith to Vēluppiḷḷai Pirapākaraṉ, it was implied that they would comply to his code of conduct, which he had created.

The rules were not formulated as orders (“though shalt …”), or as promise (“I promise to …”), but as information about which characteristic is needful for a combatant to acquire during her/his career; this information functioned semantically as order, of course.

We are here only interested about number four of the six: “When caught alive by the enemy, the person should be capable of self-destroying (taṉṉai aḻittuk koḷḷakkūṭiyavarāka), by taking cyanide or by other means.” “By other means” may refer to voluntary death by a belt bomb, shooting, cutting, etc., or by mercy killing (asking a friend to kill her/him).

In May 1984, the first cyanide case of a member of the Tiger Movement initiated a series of suicides by cyanide. Media sometimes identified another young militant man, called Civakumaraṉ, who had taken cyanide in 1974. He was not a member of the Tiger Movement, but he may have been a source of inspiration.

The epitaph of the first cyanide case—in my translation from Tamil—looks like this:


[Military grade missing]

Celvam Pakīṉ

Aṉṉaliṅkam Pakīrataṉ, Maṇṭaitīvu

[Note about residence missing]


Having been surrounded in a hide-out in Valveṭṭittuṟai by Sri Lankan soldiers, and having swallowed cyanide (cayaṉaiṭ arunti), [then occurred his] death of a hero (vīramaraṇam).9

As for this kind of self-killing through cyanide, there is no reference to any Tamil historical paradigm. The Tiger Movement chose cyanide, but in the beginning it experimented with all kinds of instruments, following the Indian National Army (INA) of Cupās Cantira Pōs (Subhash Chandra Bosh, d. 1945), which had provided all members with a dagger and a pistol.10 The risk of becoming crippled instead of attaining death by a dagger or pistol was, however, great.

In the beginning of its activities, the Tiger Movement used plastic containers for hair shampoo, which they filled with cyanide after cleaning. In the 1980s, the cadres used glass vials, made in Eastern Germany. (I never found out why Eastern Germany.) These vials were not made specifically for the use of the Tiger Movement. They were just small test tubes that the Tiger Movement made use of. The cyanide was bought separately, in India, and poured into the vials, which were closed with a cork tip. After some months, it discolored and had to be changed.

We normally regard this self-killing as an action of one person. A fighter on the battlefield might have become seriously wounded, bleeding slowly to death, and could not move. He became an obstacle for all others. There was no possibility to save him. All believed that GoSL made no prisoners in furious battles. In such a situation, a wounded combatant might kill himself by shooting himself, by pressing an exploding hand-grenade to his body, or by taking cyanide. The wounded took the role of the enemy-killer when killing himself. Therefore, the killed combatant was a martyr, which is the Tiger Movement’s explanation, not translation, of the title māvīrar. It means Great Hero. Great Heroes and Abandonors (tiyākikaḷ) are known as martyrs in English. A global use of the concept of martyr, accepted by the Tiger Movement, implies that the killer was separated from the killed person. The mourners of the killed fighter might have felt that GoSL or the Indian Government had driven the fighter to commit self-killing, to take the role of a killer against himself. Mourners make GoSL or the Indian Government responsible for the self-killing.

There is another important point. We might classify in this specific situation self-killing as an escape from captivity, torture, or other negative consequences, but in the idealization of warrior-hood as proposed by the Tiger Movement, it is an attack, because it deprives the enemy of his triumph, the capture and torture of the combatant, and knowledge of the war plans. The cyanide-death is a kind of active sabotage and guerrilla technique. The cyanide death is not an escape from life in disgust or a sign of fatigue, but it is a last act of offensive sabotage.

This kind of self-killing by cyanide is regarded as an anticipation of death, which will be afflicted by the enemy in any case. It is not regarded as self-killing in the strict sense. Especially Catholic and Caiva cadres needed these distinctions to overcome scruples about this suicidal practice. The word taṟkotai “self-gift” is a neologism that was coined by the Tiger Movement to counteract and replace another word sounding like a homonym, taṟkkollai, and “self-murder.” Every time we say self-killing; the Tiger Movement ideologue says “self-gift” or “gift of oneself,” which is a euphemistic interpretation of self-killing.

A special case in this connection is mercy killing. There were reports that, in some cases, members of the Indian National Army (INA) killed their wounded comrades as an act of mercy, when the comrade was too weak to kill himself.11 The same was told by the Tiger Movement itself about their mercy killings of wounded comrades who could not kill themselves. The expression “mercy killing” is, of course, a Western term. There is no Tamil term coined by the Tiger Movement.

The explanation for taking cyanide is pragmatic. The enemy shall be deprived of getting information through torture. Vēluppiḷḷai Pirapākaraṉ introduced another aspect, preserving the honor of a warrior. “We prefer to die honourably (kauravamāka) than live to get into the hands of the enemy.”12

Each combatant had a vial on a string around their neck, but here I shall give a testimony by a Black Tiger woman. If women were caught by t GoSL or IPKF, they had to reckon with gang rape and sexual torture before they were killed, and with following necrophilia, which is documented in the documentary film Sri Lanka’s Killing Fields sent by the British Channel 4 in 2011. This necrophilia took the form of sexually abusing the dead as expression of racial hate, I presume.

Access to cyanide became desirable, especially for women. A Black Tiger woman told in a documentary film, in 2007:

Whenever we close our eyes, we dream of battles. We have our cyanide capsules. Once you put it into your mouth and bite it, the glass breaks and cuts your tongue. Then the poison goes into your blood. If we are injured and cannot bite the capsule, we break it and pour the stuff into the wounds. When the poison mixes with your blood—that’s it.13

“We were encircled. This is the end we thought. So we put the capsules between our teeth and kept on fighting. It did not come to that [defeat], but we kept the cyanide in our mouths all the time.”14

The cyanide self-killings of the Tiger Movement have no precedents in a Tamil martial tradition. We know that its self-killing practice was developed ad hoc and went through a period of trial and error. When established, it was rationalized by the tiyākam concept—like the use of life as weapon.

Life-as-Weapon: We now come to the uyirāyutam “life as weapon,” which has become the signature for the Tiger Movement. It is popularized by media and academic studies as suicide-attack.

The execution of life as weapon was connected with the Black Tigers, which is correct, but it was never forbidden for other combatants to use their life as weapon. Already during their training period, recruits learned how to handle a jakaṭ, which is a jacket prepared with a bomb. Moreover, to become a Black Tiger and act as one did not imply a determination to die. A Black Tiger could do many successful actions without dying. Death itself was no victory; to survive in battle to kill is a victory.

According to GoSL, the Black Tiger Wing consisted of an elite group of cadres specialized in suicide operations. These cadres underwent specialized training for suicide operations in groups or as individuals. These trainings included reconnaissance training, language instruction, training on handling weapons and explosives, training on driving vehicles, training on piloting boats, training on maintaining supplies, as well as mission-oriented training on a replica of the target. In addition, extensive indoctrination ensured that the cadres remained motivated and focused on the task.15

This description by GoSL is correct, but its language using “indoctrination” is part of its war of words. It is not a term that is used in the scientific study of learning. The Black Tigers were utilized in offensive operations against Security Forces, according to GoSL. Cadres were also attached to infiltration teams to conduct sabotage operations. The Black Tigers regularly targeted civilians throughout Sri Lanka. According to a public declaration by the Tiger Movement, a total of 274 male suicide bombers and 104 female suicide bombers died in action between July 5, 1987 and November 20, 2008. In addition to cadres who perished while attacking Security Forces, these figures include cadres who assassinated numerous VIPs and civilians. Each attack was unique, and most were meticulously planned; for example, the suicide cadre who assassinated President Ranasinghe Premadasa was effectively embedded in his circle of associates for more than two years. Other victims of the Black Tigers included Opposition Presidential Candidate Gamini Dissanayake and former Indian Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi.16

We can confirm the conclusion by commentators that using life-as-weapon was targeted at the assassinations of political figures to change the political status quo (many Tamil speakers were assassinated), and that life-as-weapon was an effective battering ram to pierce well-defended army installations otherwise virtually impenetrable.17

The Tiger Movement did not explicitly target civilians, as groups like Al Qaeda, Islamic State, or Boku Haram, did, but collateral damage was accepted, when planning an attack against a military or political target. This was a crime. The Tiger Movement also arranged some massacres of civilians as acts of revenge, and it recruited child soldiers, sometimes forcefully. The United Nations accused both parties, in September 2015, of grave violations in Sri Lanka between 2002 and 2011, strongly indicating that both sides of the conflict most likely committed war crimes and crimes against humanity.18

The first suicide attack by the Tiger Movement occurred in July 1987, several years after Hizbu’llāh had started with suicidal attacks, in June 1982 and again in June 1983, when a car packed with explosives twice destroyed Israeli military headquarters in Tyre. The Tiger Movement’s attack by the first Black Tiger Millar on June 5, 1987 was also a truck loaded with explosives. It seems, therefore, that Islamic suicide attacks had incited the Tiger Movement, but the historical truth is more complex. Vēluppiḷḷai Pirapākaraṉ was well informed about the INA, which had already acted out suicide attacks in 1943–1945. There was a South Asian “domestic” tradition of these attacks.

There was a long process of reflecting by a combatant before the decision is made to apply to Vēluppiḷḷai Pirapākaraṉ to become a Black Tiger. This reflection was a mental process of grief, from deep, ongoing experiences of loss, to reflections on justice, and to the decision to take up arms in accordance with what was done by the preceding fighters, known as martyrs. They explained their actions as the concept of tiyākam “abandonment.” Abandonment from life was an īkam “gift” for the benefit of the living and for approaching the liberation of Tamilīlam. Acting as a combatant in the Tiger Movement and using one’s own life as a gift appeared deeply meaningful. The recruits learned about martyrdom and exemplary martyrs by listening to dozens of stories about them. The martyrs of the Tiger Movement were resilience-generating examples of warriors to be imitated by the combatants.

The martyrs were not objects of intercession by the Tiger Movement, but were kin in the People’s Movement, which saw the combatant not as combatant, but as brother, sister, son, or daughter, who might follow Caiva, Christian, and Islamic forms of intercession.

Now we focus on the imagery of the model martyrs, created mainly by Vēluppiḷḷai Pirapākaraṉ. The combatants in training camps learned that the imagery of dead combatants consisted of five transfigured notions:

  1. 1. The māvīrar “great hero,”

  2. 2. The tiyāki “abandoner [of life],”

  3. 3. The maṟava “the wrathful,”

  4. 4. The cāṭci “witness,” and

  5. 5. The martyr (in English).

The first four, elaborated by Vēluppiḷḷai Pirapākaraṉ, are from a retrieved Tamiḻ past. Each of the four was classified by him as idealist, which was incompatible with a mercenary. An idealist does not consider his own welfare, but considers only the welfare of others. I briefly characterize here numbers 1, 2, and 5.19

The fifth and last notion, the martyr, was used by the Tiger Movement translators and commentators and was taken from Christian traditions, stripped of the religious context. Each one of the four Tamil imageries has a special connotation, but when the Tiger Movement commentators used English, all these culturally determined connotations disappeared, to be replaced by the English concept martyr. Therefore, reading only English texts reduces the complexity of the idea of martyr.

This martyr-ology by the Tiger Movement does not create images of the dead as dead, but of the dead during their existence, as fighters, before they died in a collective memory.

Let us look closer at the most frequently used imagery of the martyr, the Great Hero. He is not a hero who is contrasted to a lesser hero, but he is a hero who has died. All other anti-Government Tamil movements up to 1987, the People's Liberation Organization of Tamil Eelam (PLOTE), the Eelam People's Revolutionary Liberation Front (EPRLF), and the Tamil Eelam Liberation Organization (ENDLF) used other imageries for their dead heroes. Dead and living combatants alike were known by them as tolai “comrade”. The Great Hero was an icon specific of the Tiger Movement. These other groups affiliated with GoSL in 1987, after fatal confrontations with the Tiger Movement, which did not compromise one bit from its ultimate political aim, which was to divide the country into two states.

Vēluppiḷḷai Pirapākaraṉ, of course, had only good things to say about the Great Heroes.20 These Great Heroes died for the liberation of the people,21 the country, and for the life of the national community in independence.22 No religious aim was given. He stated that the Great Heroes did not die.23 He said explicitly that they live on in the memory (of the mourners), and they remindus that the fire of the ultimate goal that cannot be put out. This imagery can be coupled with the often-recurring simile of the dead as seed.24 He comforted parents of fallen combatants by saying these had become “history,”25 and in that way lived on. The presence of the Great Hero was also suggested by the simile that they are the breath of the national awakening.26 An often-quoted statement by supporters of the Tiger Movement is tc 36:4: Death of the Great Heroes has been the driving force of history, a life breath of the struggle, and a guiding force serving as incentive for the determination of the Warriors. Vēluppiḷḷai Pirapākaraṉ has de-religionized animism and spiritualism into psychology. He transferred the religious belief in spirits of the dead from religion into a non-religious scientific field of study, which is psychology. He gave a rational explanation.

To classify the Great Heroes as “incentive” was, of course, a challenge for GoSL, which classified these martyrs correctly not only as incentive, but also as incitement; GoSL therefore introduced a total disenfranchisement of mourning of the dead combatants of the Tiger Movement.27 For us, it is of interest to see that Vēluppiḷḷai Pirapākaraṉ de-religionized a spiritual relation between the spirits of the dead and the living to a psychological one by classifying them as incentive and by making their existence dependent of the memorialization of the living.28

For Vēluppiḷḷai Pirapākaraṉ, the seeds of political independence had been sown in the minds of men, and the blood of the Great Heroes would make this seed grow into a tree.29 These imageries were formulated as similes: The Great Heroes were not seeds, but they were like seeds, which in his de-transfigured and de-religionized language became an “incentive.” I add: an incentive for mimetic repetition.

The Abandoner. We now come to the epithets tiyāki and tiyākam, which were in use long before the emergence of the Tiger Movement. We find it in Caivam, Buddhism, and Christianity. We find it also in the modern period in colloquial use, without any religious content. It is not of Tamil origin. The Sanskrit root tyaj- means “leave,” “abandon,” “quit.”

The word tiyāki [Sanskrit tyāgi] can be traced to the eighteenth section of the Bhagavadgītā, where Arjuṇa is depicted as the ideal tyāgi. He has abandoned all self-interest, which in a martial situation implies no interest in preserving one’s own life. The word was revitalized by the fighters in the struggle for independence against the British and was extended to refer to an abandonment of life itself. After independence, surviving fighters received a tyāgi-pension from the Indian state. This martial use of tiyāki was taken over by the Tiger Movement.

Christians took up this concept of tiyākam, interpreting it, in English, as martyrdom

The Tiger Movement was exposed to influences from Caivam, classical Hinduism, Buddhism, and Christianity, but there was a non-religious influence also through colloquial uses of tiyākam, which reduced abandonment to generosity, but of a radical form. The tiyāki is a giver who gives/dedicates himself as a gift. In tc 12:2, Vēluppiḷḷai Pirapākaraṉ connects īkam “gift” with the adjective “human.” “In unarmed war as well as in armed war, our liberation war has created world records. It has reached the peak of human gift.”30

īkai revolves around human gift, or better, around gift of a human. This is unusual; the donor of the gift is identical with the gift. The message is if you give, then give not only a part of you, but give yourself completely.

Vēluppiḷḷai Pirapākaraṉ referred to Captain Millar, the first Black Tiger, who on July 5, 1987 was the first who used his life as a weapon:

A “Black Tiger Era” started with Captain Millar. A tiyākam paṭaiyaṇi “regiment (of Warriors) abandoning (life)” never before seen or contemplated in the world rose in Tamilīḻam.31

Millar was no belt bomber; he rammed a truck full of explosives into a military camp of the enemy. The ways that Black Tigers risked their lives are manifold. It is wrong to monopolize belt bombing for them.

In this connection, I must add that the Tiger Movement has a special word for gift of life, namely taṟkoṭai “gift-of-oneself.” koṭai “gift” belongs to a worldly context when a well-to-do person distributes gifts to the needy or when nature distributes its treasures (tc 63:2).32 taṟkoṭai is also part of a pun. By a small change of the grapheme to taṟkollai “murder-of-oneself,” sui-cide is achieved. German has Selbstmord. It is a pejorative word and is therefore avoided and replaced by a euphemism. Anyone who sees taṟkoṭai “gift-of-oneself” should think: The Black Tigers of the Tiger Movement do not commit suicide, but gave themselves as a gift. This way in which the Tiger Movement used the term facilitated participation in mortal combat, especially for devout Catholics and Caivas with moral concerns about suicide. The widely critical classifying of the Black Tigers as “suicide killers” was noted with surprise and alienation by Tiger Movement ideologues in conversations with them.

This gift of oneself was given for others. An abandoner (tiyāki) died for the people, but it was not made explicit that he died instead of them. Indirectly, all forms of uyirāyutam could be seen as vicarious dying, but without any context of atonement, as in Christianity The concept of martyrdom in the Tiger Movement was not connected with intercession, atonement, and non-martial, obedient patience in suffering, like Christ, which alienated the Tiger Movement from the idea of the modern Christian martyr. There was no expectation of a resurrection to heaven and no reward for an individual existence beyond its worldly presence. The martyr of the Tiger Movement was not just political, modern, and martial; his heroic death was interpreted as non-religious too. The Tiger Movement has been persistent with its non-religious stand, but some Tamil Christian clergy have had difficulties in respecting that. They wanted the Tiger Movement martyr to be more like the Christian martyr.

When I use “non-religious,” I envisage what the Tiger Movement envisages—“non-Caiva,” “non-Muslim,” “non-Christian,” and subsequently, “non-transcendent.” This implies that what is non-transcendent is beyond the dichotomy of the worldly and the other worldly.

There are lively discussions going on, which ascribe hidden religious agendas to the Tiger Movement, agendas that might ascribe to the Tiger Movement the view that a Great Hero is a martyr, who has acted in imitation of Christ, or that an active combatant is like a Caiva ascetic.33

Vēluppiḷḷai Pirapākaraṉ often used the word “sacred,” but this had no reference to the divine or to the transcendent. For Vēluppiḷḷai Pirapākaraṉ, it had a strong emotional surplus in the deeply religious culture in which he was active. Considering his non-religious perspective, he preserved the emotional part of religious terms like sacred, which we would call ultimate, absolute, etc. We can replace all occurrences of sacred with ultimate in his context. This was his way of radicalizing his message.

The reference to the transcendence, of religious terminology, is redirected to something else, namely universal human rights. He made them an ultimate value, despite neglecting them in his own political performance.

Vēluppiḷḷai Pirapākaraṉ’s dependence on the bombastic and pompous language of heroic traditions of the Dravidian movement, of the radicalization of the choice of words in war, and the temptation to exploit the surplus of religious terminology drove him to borrow from religious vocabulary, but not always. He could get along without those borrowed words, as in this reflection, which is directed to Western diplomats, politicians, and human rights activists as ideal readers:

On the moral level (tārmīka aṭippaṭaiyil), we stand on a decisive fundament. Our aim of the struggle is just (niyāyamāṉatu). It is in accordance with international ethics of humanity (carvatēca maṉita aṟatiṟkku icaivāṉatu). Our people have the right of self-determination (taṉṉāṭci urimaikku). They are eligible to found a state of their own (taṉiyaracu). According to international law (carvatēca caṭṭatin), this right cannot be rejected by anybody. (tc 24:2 and tc 63:4)

To sum up, the deviation in the language of Vēluppiḷḷai Pirapākaraṉ from a religious to a non-religious field was developed in a situation of total war and in a specific cultural environment in which religious concepts still had a cognitive reference and an emotional excess. As a result of the defeat in the war, his linguistic juggling with bold concepts failed, but not his goal, which is now pursued non-violently by a Tamil transnational resistance.34

The final explanation by the Tiger Movement for engaging in armed struggle was not that it followed the demands of a religion, but that it wanted to establish the right of self-determination for the Īlattamils, which had been refused them in negotiations. Vēluppiḷḷai Pirapākaraṉ regarded this right as universal.35 The Tiger Movement was a model case of a non-religious national armed movement in the world. Religion was of no concern; the Movement taught a non-religious, political, martial martyr-ology to its combatants. An important document for that non-religious view was the Tiger Movement’s oath of allegiance, which is an affirmation. There is no “In the name of God I swear …,” and there is no “So help me God.” There is nothing but the determination of the combatant to fight. Affirmation in Tamil is rendered as uṟutimoḻi “word of determination.”


Commentators—sympathizers of the Tiger Movement and of GoSL, journalists, human rights activists, and independent scholars—have put forth questions about the methods and goal of the Tiger Movement, but have answered them differently. I shall formulate some questions here and leave it to a new generation of commentators to answer them.

  1. 1. Is the choice of martial methods rooted in a martial tradition of the Tamil speakers, or is it a result of a provocation of decades of political, social, and economic discrimination?

  2. 2. Is the Tiger Movement a national liberation movement or a terrorist organization?

  3. 3. Is the use of a human life as a weapon unique for the Tiger Movement, or is it falling in line with Hamas, Al Qaeda, Islamic State, and Boku Haram?

  4. 4. Is the Tiger Movement a political, a religious, or a political cum religious movement?

  5. 5. Was the participation of women in armed struggle successful for attaining gender equality in the People’s Movement?

  6. 6. Compare the armed struggle of the Kurdish Workers’ Party (PKK) with the Tiger Movement. What is the result?

  7. 7. If the right of self-determination by the Tiger Movement is not sanctioned by religion, how else is it sanctioned?

Primary Sources

It can be difficult to find primary sources in English. As for the martial methods used by the Tiger Movement and by GoSL, refer to the United Nations Human Rights Council, Annual Report of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Report of the OHCHR Investigation on Sri Lanka (OISL) from 16 September 2015. Find suicide (attack, assault, and bomb).

As for the political goal of the Tiger Movement, a student should read official documents pertaining to the conflict in Sri Lanka, including India. They are collected in volumes, especially in Volume 3 of India-Sri Lanka Relations.36

There is a website for getting historical and comparative overviews of the total Tamil Resistance Movement, called It includes Tamil resistance movements other than the Tiger Movement.37

The Tiger Movement has described its training of recruits and military actions in written form and in many videos and films in Tamil, including one English translation of a combatant’s experiences. He has described his own actions in his diary until the moment in 1992, when he himself was killed. He has witnessed a case of “life as weapon.” It is a self-biographical, authentic description of the life of a Tiger combatant.38

GoSL, too, has published, in 2011, a summary of what it knew about the Tiger Movement’s actions and what it wants the world to know about its own military operations.39 For information on military equipment, including land, sea, and air tactics and training, that reflects and is based on SLAF knowledge of the Tiger Movement, Paul Moorcroft’s presentation is descriptive.40 He was close to the military elite within the SLAF, which gave him information about the SLAF’s military performance on the battlefields too.41 Recently, Joanne Richards has collected from secondary sources, in English, information about the Tiger Movement as a military organization.42 Paul Moorcraft and Joanne Richards have not made use of available sources in Tamil.

In 2007, I issued a critical edition of talaivariṉ cintaṉaika “reflections of the leader,” first published by the Tiger Movement in 1995, and again in 2005 and 2015. My edition contains the Tamiḻ text, a translation into English made by me and Āḷvāpiḷḷai Vēluppiḷḷai, a translation into German and Swedish made by me, and a translation into Sinhala. An introduction by me is prefaced. The book Reflection of the Leader contains central statements by Vēluppiḷḷai Pirapākaraṉ from the 1980s until 1995. It is a treasure for the study of the concept of martyrdom and is a book for political edification among combatants and Īḻattamiḻs. For Western students, it is a primary source book for learning the fundamental terminology of martyrdom of the Tiger Movement.43

In English, two works from insiders are available in English—Anton Balasingham44 and Adele Balasingham both describe the history of the Tiger Movement activists. Adele Balasingham focuses on the woman fighters.45

Since 1995, TamilNet spread daily information about the military and political advancements of the Tiger Movement and the People’s Movement from on the Internet from Oslo, Sweden, and has remained active after 2009. TamilNet keeps a clear line of political principles in the footsteps of the Tiger Movement ideology; it is decidedly anti-populist by not giving way to popular demands for political compromises. It has published detailed articles from the battlefields. It has a large archive available on online and has an unusual and professional interest for this kind of political magazine in the history of the Tamil speakers. Its main language of presentation is English, but its documentary zeal embraces Tamil documents too. Its sharp political and verbal profile is countered by critical articles in the GoSL paper The Ceylon Daily News and by Sinhala ethnocratic articles online at Lankaweb News & Forum.

Further Reading

When the Peace Research Institute Oslo (PRIO), published its first bibliographies on the conflict in the 1980s, no academic project was registered about martyrs or suicide bombing, albeit the latter had started officially on July 5, 1987, under the name of uyirāyutam “life as weapon.” In the 1980s, the memorialization of the Great Heroes had been developed by the Tiger Movement, reaching a peak with the introduction of Great Heroes’ Day in 1989. It was disseminated into a worldwide diaspora. By this time, the Tiger Movement media had already published a flood of videos, audios, booklets, journals, and pamphlets on “life as weapon” theme in Tamil, and some even in English. These can be classified as materials for research, though they have been left unexploited by researchers up to the 1990s. After 9/11, in many universities in the Western world, courses on global terrorism included a section on “suicide bombing” by the Tiger Movement and other groups classified as terrorist. Enticing for Western female academics were research projects about the martial feminism of the Tiger Movement, combined with suicide attacks by female actors.

Hassan, Riaz. Life as Weapon: The Global Rise of Suicide Bombings. London: Routledge, 2010.Find this resource:

    Hellmann-Rajanayagam, Dagmar. Fleschenberg Andrea, eds. Goddesses, Heroes, Sacrifices: Female Political Power in Asia. Wien: LIT-Verlag, 2008.Find this resource:

      Pape, Robert. Dying to Win: The Strategic Logic of Suicide Terroism. New York: Random House, 2005.Find this resource:

        Pedahzur, Ami. Suicide Terrorism. Malden: Polity, 2005.Find this resource:

          Pettigrew, Joyce, ed. Martyrdom and Political Resistance. Amsterdam: VU University Press, 1997.Find this resource:

            Thiranagama, Sharika. In My Mother’s House: Civil War in Sri Lanka. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2011.Find this resource:

              Trawick, Margret. Enemy Lines: Warfare, Childhood, and Play in Batticaloa. Berkely: University of California Press, 2007.Find this resource:

                Wilson, A. J. Sri Lankan Tamil Nationalism: Its Orgins and Development in the 19th and 20th Centuries. London: Hurst & Company, 2000.Find this resource:


                  (1.) Carl von Clausewitz, Vom Kriege: Hinterlassenes Werk. Ungekürzter Text. 4. (Auflage, München: Ullstein, 2003 (1980), 44 [=1:24]: “Der Krieg ist eine bloße Fortsetzung der Politik mit anderen Mitteln.”

                  (2.) tc 18: 1. [= talaivariṉ cintaṉaikaḷ, in Peter Schalk, ed., trans., Die Lehre der Befreiungstiger Tamiḻīḻams von der Selbstvernichtung durch göttliche Askese: Vorlage der Quelle Überlegungen des Anführers (talaivariṉ cintaṉaikaḷ). Tamil, Deutsch, Englisch, Schwedisch, Sinhala. Ediert, übersetzt, kommentiert und herausgegeben under Mirarbeit von Āḷvāpiḷḷai Vēluppiḷḷai et al. Acta Universitatis Upsaliensis, Historia Religionum 28. Uppsala: Uppsala University, 2007.

                  (3.) Paul Moorcraft, Total Destruction of the Tamiḻ Tigers. The Rare Victory of Sri Lanka’s Long War (Barnsley, U.K.: Pen and Sword Military, 2012), 92.

                  (4.) Ministry of Defense Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka, Humanitarian Operation. Factual Analysis. July 2006–May 2009. Social Democratic Republic of Sri Lanka (Colombo, Sri Lanka: Ministry of Defense, July 2011), 13.

                  (5.) Moorcraft, Total Destruction, 71.

                  (6.) Sri Lanka, Humanitarian Operation, 16.

                  (7.) Moorcraft, Total Destruction, 53f.

                  (8.) Bruce Hoffman and Klaus Kochmann, Terrorismus—der unerklärte Krieg. Neue Gefahren politischer Gewalt (Bonn: Fischer-Taschenbuch-Verlag, 2007), 227. See also R. Ramasubramanian, Suicide Terrorism in Sri Lanka. IPCS Research Papers August 2004. (New Delhi: Institute of Peace and Conflict Studies, 2004), 10; and Jillian Manekas, “The Invisible Enemy: Suicide Terrorism in Chechnya and Sri Lanka” (Masters Diss., Tufts University, 2005), 47.

                  (9.) māvīrakuṟippētu (I), Diary of Heroes, 27.11. 90, no. 10. [Martyrology, language Tamil, issued by the Tiger Movement in Ceṉṉai] for Great Heroes’ Day on November 27, 1990.

                  (10.) Oral information by an ex-member of the INA, Tiruvanantapuram, Kerala, January 1994.

                  (11.) Oral information by an ex-member of the INA, Tiruvanantapuram, Kerala, communicated to the author, January 1994.

                  (12.) tc 68:3.

                  (13.) Morten Daae and Beate Arnestad, My Daughter the Terrorist. A Beate Arnestad Film (Oslo, Norway: Oslo Dokumentarkino, 2007).

                  (14.) Daae and Arnestad, My Daughter the Terrorist.

                  (15.) Sri Lanka, Humanitarian Operation, 22.

                  (16.) Sri Lanka, Humanitarian Operation, 22.

                  (17.) Ami Pedahzur, Suicide Terrorism (Malden, MA: Polity, 2005), 72f.

                  (18.) United Nations. Human Rights Office of the High commisioner, Report of the OHCHR Investigation on Sri Lanka.

                  (19.) For more about this imagery, see Peter Schalk, “Images of Martyrdom among Tamils,” Oxford Handbooks Online (New York: Oxford University Press), January 2016.

                  (20.) tc 13:3, 50:3, 51:3, 58:5, 66:4, 67:2, 67:4.

                  (21.) tc 51:3.

                  (22.) tc 58:5.

                  (23.) tc 13:1.

                  (24.) tc 9:5, 39:6, 71:3.

                  (25.) tc 50:3.

                  (26.) tc 67: 4.

                  (27.) Peter Schalk, “Ilattamils’ Defying GoSL’s Disenfranchisement Of Mourning After May 2009,” Colombo Telegraph, July 3, 2015.

                  (28.) Peter Schalk, “Memorialisation of Martyrs in the Tamil Resistance Movement of Īḻam/Sri Lanka,” in Ritual Dynamic and the Science of Ritual. 3: State, Power and Violence, ed. Axel Michaelis (Wiesbaden, Germany: Harrassowitz Verlag, 2010), 55–73.

                  (29.) tc 9:5.

                  (30.) tc 12:2.

                  (31.) tc 40:5.

                  (32.) tc 62:3.

                  (33.) William Harman, “Violent Disciplines: Militant Ascetic Traditions of India and Sri Lanka’s Tamiḻ Tiger Indurgents,” in Introducing Hinduism, ed. Pratap Kumar (London: Equinox, 2011).

                  (34.) Peter Schalk, “On Resilience and Defiance of the Ilamtamil Resistance Movement in a Transnational Diaspora,” in Dynamics in the History of Religions between Asia and Europe. Encounters, Notions, and Comparative Prespectives. Dynamics in the History of Religions, ed.Volkhard Krech and Marion Steinicke (Leiden: Brill, 2012), 391–411.

                  (35.) Peter Schalk, “Semantische Devianz religiöser Metaphern in der Sprache Vēluppiḷḷai Pirapakarans,” Devianz und Dynamik. Festschrift für Hubert Seiwert zum 65. Geburtstag, ed. Edith Franke, Christoph Kleine, and Heinz Mürmel (Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 2014), 150–171.

                  (36.) Avtar Singh Basin, ed., India-Sri Lanka Relations and Sri Lanka’s Ethnic Conflict-Documents-1947–2000, Volume III (New Delhi: India Research Press, 2001).

                  (37.), accessed April 10, 2015.

                  (38.) Malaraavan, War Journey. Diary of a Tiger. Translated and introduced by N. Malathy (New Delhi: Penguin Books, 2013).

                  (39.) Sri Lanka, Humanitarian Operation.

                  (40.) Moorcraft, Total Destruction, 93–103.

                  (41.) Moorcraft, Total Destruction, 47–85.

                  (42.) Joanne Richards, An Institutional History of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Ealam. The Centre on Conflict, Development and Peacebuilding. CCDP Working Paper Number 10, 2014.

                  (43.) tc [= talaivariṉ cintaṉaikaḷ, in Peter Schalk ed., trans., Die Lehre].

                  (44.) Anton Balasingham, War and Peace. Armed Struggle and Peace Efforts of Liberation Tigers (Mitcham, U.K.: Fairmax, 2004).

                  (45.) Adele Balasingham, The Will to Freedom. An Inside View of Tamil Resistance (Mitcham, U.K.: Fairmax, 2001).