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Were there any Brahmins in the LTTE?

Who is this Ganesa Iyer? Where was he born..How did he get attracted to the missionary controlled LTTE? This is from Quora...I will not be able to authenticate the article

Were there any Brahmins in the LTTE?

Gopal R
, Followed Sri Lankan civil war
Updated Jun 27, 2018

There is this man who writes with a name Iyer(Ganeshan).
Along with Raghavan he is one of the few surviving original(first generation) members of LTTE.

Image: Iyer, former LTTE and PLOTE member.
What is special about this man Iyer???
  1. He helped Prabhakaran in 1975 when the future LTTE chief was forced to remain outside Jaffna due to large scale manhunt in Jaffna carried out by Sri Lankan Government.
  2. He was there with Prabhakaran during the last days of erstwhile TNT -Tamil New Tigers (1972–1976).
  3. He was there when TNT was renamed as LTTE on 5th May 1976.
  4. He was the first treasurer of the newly founded LTTE.
  5. Along with Prabhakaran he worked hard in the development of the organisation for nearly 3 years.
  6. Later within LTTE he led the side which opposed Prabhakaran’s pro-military stance during it’s central committee meetings and eventual split of LTTE.
  7. He left LTTE with his group of supporters. Later he joined hands with already expelled Uma Maheswaran and founded PLOTE.
In 2012 Iyer released a book in which he shared many interesting incidents about Prabhakaran and LTTE’s early survival struggle which arises within the organization.
Book Title:
[1] : Forming Tamil Tigers with Prabhakaran by Iyer(Ganeshan).

What is special about this book??
After the end of Civil War some of the former LTTE members become authors and wrote books about LTTE. But none of them are able to give clear picture about the early days of LTTE.
Tigers of Lanka by Laxman is probably the most popular book on LTTE. Many authors quote this book as reference while writing an article or book about LTTE. But even this book is unable to give a clear picture of Prabhakaran and LTTE while both of them were still young.
So a person who worked closely with the elusive LTTE chief during its early years have many interesting things to share which you cannot find in any other book.
Another special thing about his book is that the author is neither pro-Prabhakaran nor anti-Prabhakaran. He gives credit to Prabhakaran wherever necessary and criticize him when he feels the young leader had done mistakes.

Some of the interesting things which Iyer shared in the book[2] :
Prabhakaran was like a hero for Tamil youth :
Then Jaffna Mayor Alfred Duraippah was a pro-Government Tamil politician. In 1974 the tragic Tamil conference incident took place and Jaffna Mayor was blamed for that. The anger was so much that different independent Tamil youth groups wanted to kill him.
Finally it was Prabhakaran who killed him in July 1975. Three other boys who took part in the assassination were Kirubakaran, Kalavathy and Nargunaraja. All these boys were less than 20 years old.
Prabhakaran was penniless and friendless in 1975:
After successfully executing the assassination Prabhakaran advised his group of boys to not sleep at their homes. But they all ignored his advice and two boys Kirubakaran and Kalabvathy got arrested by Police. As a result information related to Prabhakaran and his contacts were compromised. Prabhakaran had to leave Jaffna and was not in a position to get help from his loyal friends and relatives.
Meeting Raghavan :
Through Chetty (Prabhakaran’s close companion) he met Raghavan who was living at his Grandmother’s home and taking tuitions. He allows Prabhakaran to stay there.
Later Raghavan joined LTTE and remained one of the members. He was arrested along with Prabhakaran during the famous Madras shootout 1982 . Later he left LTTE in 1984. He lives in UK now.

Image: Former LTTE member Raghavan (1976–1984) who reappeared only after the end of Civil War.
Lonely Prabhakaran meets Iyer:
It was Chetty who had told Prabhakaran about Raghavan and Iyer. So after sometime Raghavan took Prabhakaran to Iyer.
When Iyer heard that it was Chetty, the infamous thug who sent Prabhakaran immediately he refused to help him. Prabhakaran was disappointed.
Few days later Prabhakaran again met Iyer. This time he was able to convince Iyer. He said “Chetty is a pro-active man and if he becomes focused I am ready to accept him as my leader.”
Iyer says” Prabhakaran was just 20years old and at the same time friendless and penniless when he first time met me. I even doubt that he had any food on that day.”​
Founding of LTTE:
On 5th May 1976 TNT was renamed as LTTE (Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam).
SL Civil War’s first Bank Robbery:
in march 1976 LTTE robbed the People’s Bank at Puttur. The total money was worth Rs.668,000 cash and jewellery.
After this robbery Prabhakaran announced that a part of the robbed money will be donated for annathanam (sacred offering of food) at a local temple. Iyer who was/is a brahmin opposed it strongly. He says that at that time left wing ideologies had strong influence on him so he opposed such things.
Eelam struggle’s first murder of a police officer :
On 14th February 1977 Prabhakaran killed Karunanidhi. He was the same policeman who arrested Kalabathy(one of the boys who took part in the Mayor assassination).
Prabhakaran went near the already dead of Karunanidhi and shot at his ear. They say it was a revenge behalf of Kalapathy. The said policeman had tortured Kalapathy in custody and multilated his ear. So as a revenge Prabhakaran shot karunanidhi’s ear.
Later on 18th may 1977 he killed two more policemen both named Shanmuganathan. All these 3 police officers were given the task of catching Prabhakaran and other militants.
Daring Chellakili:
Chellakili was Chetty’s cousin. He had grown up at Chetty’s home. He was known as a very skilled driver and multiple times helped LTTE team escape from the crime scene.
7th April 1978 the dreaded police inspector Bastiampillai, a sub-inspector and their driver surrounded an LTTE camp deep inside the forest.
All these policemen had no idea about LTTE’s member strength and underestimated that it was just a small criminal gang. But LTTE cadres distracted them by engaging them into a conversation and in a lightning moment Chellakili snatched SMG from the policeman and at the same time other LTTE cadres also took their weapons and all three policemen were shot dead.
Living a double life:
Iyer wrote that due to shortage of funds for LTTE he used to continue his brahmin works for pocket money. He was a full time militant and part time brahmin.
Prabhakaran hardly showed any interest in the political activities during the central committee meetings. He always insisted on forming a strong military and start armed struggle.
Killing of two own members disturbed Iyer a lot. He also felt that LTTE should be developed as a people’s movement rather than a military organization. As a result Prabhakaran started to ignore Iyer.
Around 1979 one day Prabhakaran said that he was leaving the organization. When he was going out another member Kannan asked him to leave his revolver as it belongs to the organization LTTE. But quickly others said Prabhakaran can keep it for his safety.
Sometime later a guy named Raja from London came to mediate between Prabhakaran and Iyer . Prabhakaran attended the meeting and a secret voting was carried out. On surface it looked as the issue was resolved but it never happened.
Later Prabhakaran left the organization but this time he was serious.
Prabhakaran become lonely again:
After leaving LTTE Prabhakaran become penniless and friendless again. Now he went back to his former mentors and fellow villagers TELO’s Kuttimani and Thangathurai. He parallely worked with them. Knowing Prabhakaran’s military skills he was appointed as the trainer for TELO[3] cadres.
Formation of PLOTE[4] :
Around 1978–1979 Iyer decided to leave LTTE with his group of supporters.
Prabhakaran: Mahattaya, Raghavan, Charles Anthony, Pulendiran, Shankar, Pandithar,etc.
Iyer: kannan, Sundaram, Azhagan, Nandan, Nagaraja,etc.
During early 1979 Kannan told Iyer that they are in contact with Uma Maheswaran(expelled LTTE member). They also said that Uma wanted to join their new group. Later they named the group as PLOTE(People’s Liberation Organization of Tamil Eelam).
LTTE was reborn (late 1980):
While working with TELO Prabhakaran contacted LTTE members who were on his side. They all joined Prabhakaran.
With the charismatic and influential leader back on board LTTE was back to business.
LTTE and TELO worked together(1980– early 1982)
Largest Bank robbery of SL history:

LTTE and TELO cadres carried out the Nirveli bank robbery. The total money robbed was around Rs.81,00,000. After this attack SL Government carried out a large scale manhunt and arrested most of the active LTTE and TELO members including Kuttimani and Thangathurai.
In early 1982 LTTE and TELO mutually agreed to work separately.
Iyer left eelam struggle and Sri Lanka:
After sometime Uma Maheswaran also started to act like another Prabhakaran. Kannan used to support Iyer during his arguments with Prabhakaran. But actually he wanted to throw Prabhakaran out so he had personal agenda to support Iyer. Soon Iyer realized this.
The same reason for which Iyer left LTTE appeared in PLOTE also. Uma and Kannan started to take the organization on a pro-military path(armed struggle). Dejected Iyer left PLOTE and started to live in different hideouts with few of his supporters. But his sufferings are far from over.
After committing crime both LTTE and TELO cadres started to dump their vehicles near Iyer’s hideouts. Iyer soon realized that it will be a matter of time before Police or Army catch him.
He decided to leave Sri Lanka through Mannar on boat and reach Rameshwaram(Tamil Nadu).
Iyer says: I have been to Tamil Nadu many times before. But this time I felt that i lost something. It was not like those days when I used to board on boats with confidence. I felt leaving behind my friends, atrocities of SL Government, my people , the path of struggle which I chose, the struggle which I built and everything on the coast of Mannar.​
Iyer wanted to develop LTTE as a people's movement first then if required they could develop it's military wing. But unfortunately both Prabhakaran (LTTE) and Uma Maheswaran (PLOTE) opposed him.
Few things he said about Prabhakaran:

  1. He says when young boys of his age were showing interest in girls and studies Prabhakaran was strongly thinking about Eelam struggle.
  2. There were many days when Prabhakaran survived with only one meal a day. He just drink water.
  3. Prabhakaran had gone through plenty of hardship but nothing could keep him away from his aim.
  4. He gives the credit to Prabhakaran for LTTE’s long survival and many victories. LTTE would have been failed without Prabhakaran.
  5. He says he himself was impressed by Prabhakaran’s perseverance. Nothing could keep him down. He used to bounce back quickly.
  6. Preservarence was the main reason Eelam.people rallied behind him. He was highly focused.
  7. Prabhakaran was a born leader and exhibits many leadership qualities at a very young age.
  8. He used to assume that the situation around him was not safe and believed that there was always a theat to his life. This allowed him to always remain alert and two step ahead of his enemies.
  9. He used to have a poor sleep. At night he used to wake up for even a small noise.
As history always chooses a performer here history chose Prabhakaran from many leaders born in Eelam because he was a real performer.

Image: From left Bhanu, Prabhakaran, Sornam and Tamilchelvan.
Tirunelveli Ambush(1983)
On the night of 23rd July 1983 LTTE ambushed and killed 13 soldiers. At that time it was the most successful attack by a militant group.
It was Chellakili who planned the highly successful ambush (1983) which eventually triggered Black July and Sril Lankan Civil War.
On 15th June 2017 former LTTE member Ramu (Kandhasamy Ganeshwaran) died in London. He was one of the last 4 surviving LTTE members who took part in that historical ambush.
One of the most interesting things about SL Civil War was that before the ambush the total strength of LTTE was just 29.
After the Black July 1983[6] many Tamil parents voluntarily brought their young children to militant offices of various groups (including LTTE) and asked militant leaders to take them and fight the ruthless Government Forces.
[1] Ganeshan Iyer’s Book on LTTE launched in Toronto: Pics
[2] ஐயர்
[3] Tamil Eelam Liberation Organization - Wikipedia
[4] People's Liberation Organisation of Tamil Eelam - Wikipedia
[5] Four Four Bravo - Wikipedia
[6] Black July - Wikipedia
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