Eezha Thamizh Jyothi(18-MAY-2009 - till SUN and MOON exists)
Experts from the Leader's interview on Sept' 1986:
From my boyhood, the struggle that attracted me most was the Indian freedom struggle. The role of Netaji attracted me very much. I was brought up in an environment of strict discipline from childhood. I was not permitted to mingle freely with outsiders. I used to feel shy of girls.
Great store was laid by personal rectitude and discipline. My father set an example through his own personal conduct: He would not even chew betel leaves. I modelled my conduct on his, he was a government officer, a district land officer. A very straightforward man. People say in our area: "When he walks, he does not hurt even the grass under his feet, but his son is so" ven while criticising me, they marvel at the fact that such a son was born to such a father! He was strict, yes, but also soft and persuasive. In my own case, he reasoned rather than regimented and his attitude was that of a friend. he would give me certain pieces of advice and discuss things with me. As I said, I grew up as a shy boy. especially in the matter or mingling with girls.
The life of Subhas Chandra Bose attracted me specially. Even as a boy, I would delve into Gandhiji's books on experiments with truth, on celibacy and so on. Subhas attracted me particularly since even as a boy he went in search of spiritualism and, finding the life of a recluse dissatisfying, returned (laughs). Yet repeatedly he retreated into spiritualism during moments of great difficulty and crisis. T followed this history and these stories with fascination. He became my special hero and some of his orations gripped me. For example: "I shall fight for the freedom of my land until I shed my last drop of blood." These words used to thrill me whenever they came to me. Then the story of Bhagat Singh fascinated me.
In other words, the biographies and histories of those who hit back at the perpetrators of injustice, those who counterattacked (the unjust foe) were my special favourite. Because in our land, the Sinhalese behaved so cruelly towards us. we would hear stories about this and read about these cruel acts in books and newspapers. Later I read about this particular episode that took place during the 1958 attacks on Tamils. They broke into a temple at Panadura, found a Brahmin priest sleeping, tied him to his cot, poured petrol over him and burnt him alive. Ours was a god-fearing society and the people were religious-minded. The widespread feeling was: when a priest like him was burnt alive, why did we not have the capability to hit back? That was one atrocity that made people think deeply. In another episode, they threw a child into a drum of boiling tar. This left a very deep imprint on my mind and in the minds of those around me. If such innocent lives could be destroyed, why could we not strike back?
In such moments, these heroic examples and models from the Indian freedom struggle came to me. Magazines retold these stories on special occasions such as India's Independence Day celebrations. this practice continues. Consider another example. Tiruppur Kumaran — in his ahimsa there was a steely determination. If I was attracted by the experience of armed struggle against injustice, I was drawn by the moral force of ahimsa as well. I was inspired by examples of grit and determination. I began to think along these lines early in life: why can't we follow their example, why can't we start an armed struggle?
I used to read books on the rise of Napoleon and his exploits. this kind of history held special appeal in the Mahabharata, the roles of Bhima and Karna were specially attractive to me... the spirit of sacrifice appeared crucial. People respond to characters in the Mahabharata in various ways. I value the character and role of Karna the most, on account of his readiness to make the ultimate sacrifice. I read some of Vivekananda's sayings and the urge grew in me to work towards a strong youth force. I plunged into this line of thinking. At what age? These feelings and ideas began to take shape when I was 16 approximately. I used to listen to the religious discourses of Kripananda Variar. I used to go to all these events. those connected with religion. I would go and observe political meetings-attend dramatic performances. in my place, they used to enact plays on Socrates and so on.
So quite early on, we absorbed all these influences and the feeling grew in us that we must do something! Looking at our historical background, we had to take up arms to fight for our rights. The lesson was that they could do all this because we were defenceless and disarmed. Why should we remain so? We should take up violence to counter and overthrow their violence. Only after that did I engage in this movement.
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