Thileepan fasted to death putting forward five demands and he died on the 26th of September 1987. The resulting outpouring of grief and the mass mobilization of Eelam Tamils was unprecedented. This is what the majority of Eelam Tamils know. There is another equally outstanding achievement of Thileepan that has got buried in the history of the LTTE, known only to a few LTTE members of those early times.
Eelam Tamils also know the popular words of Thileepan: “Let there be a people’s revolution and let Tamil Eelam flower from it.” Hidden in these words is the other side of the work Thileepan achieved. A lot of events took place soon after Thileepan’s death that had resulted in this other achievement of Thileepan being pushed to the back stage. Times have changed since and on this 30th anniversary of his immortalization, it is now the right time to take forward his work.
In his own words, these are: Equality based Socialism and elimination of all forms of “oppression”, both at individual and societal levels.
The conduits Thileepan used to take forward this struggle are women and students, namely Suthanthira Paravaikal (SP) and Students Organization of the Liberation Tigers(SOLT). Later on the name SP morphed into a monthly magazine and SOLT also lost its revolutionary character. During Thileepan’s times both were vigorous movements taking forward the struggles to eliminate all forms of oppression. What were goals of this struggle:
- Collective rather than individualist. A few things follow from this style of living.
- Overt display of wealth has no meaning in this lifestyle. This includes grand parties, weddings and the like; Excessively grand housing, clothing and other accessories for living; grand temple related affairs etc.
- Being proud of our roots and proud to be an Eelam Tamil. Thileepan through his work made people redefine who is an Eelam Tamils. This task today is with the young people who need to discuss and internalize this. This does not mean fascism where all other cultures are seen as inferior.
- Meaningful life is not in showing one has more than others. Rather it is in the togetherness of Eelam Tamils.
- A deep understanding of this style of living, this culture, also naturally leads to a form of discipline that one found among the members of the LTTE and the society that existed under them.
- Eliminate all forms of oppression in the Eelam Tamil society, as an individual and as a community including: Women empowerment; Empowerment of the alternatively abled; Elimination of: Caste consciousness, Valuing lighter skin color; Regionalism; Looking up to the west as superior; Hindutva etc.
- Standing in solidarity with all the other oppressed people of this globe.
This will be linked to “What the women said”