தமிழ்த் தேசியம்

"To us all towns are one, all men our kin.
Life's good comes not from others' gift, nor ill
Man's pains and pains' relief are from within.
Thus have we seen in visions of the wise !."

- Tamil Poem in Purananuru, circa 500 B.C 

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Last updated
08/06/07

Anton Balasingham: Chief negotiator for the Tamil Tigers - Barry Gardiner, 2 January 2007
Memories Of Voice of the Nation  - Video Presentation 1 - Video Presentation 2
Tamil Writers Guild - 'Voice of the Nation of Thamil Eelam' Dr. Anton Balasingham takes final Journey, 20 December 2006
Thousands throng Balasingham’s funeral held in London, 20 December 2006 also in Video
Solheim extols Balasingham's integrity, 20 December 2006
Karunanidhi praised for message on Balasingham
Vanni pays homage to 'Voice of the Nation' Balasingham
பாலாண்ணைக்கு "தேசத்தின் குரல்" கௌரவம்: தமிழீழத் தேசியத் தலைவர் அறிவிப்பு [together with English Translation  "Bala Annai has a permanent historic place in the growth and the spread of our movement. He was its elder member, its ideologue, its philosopher and, above all, my best friend who gave me encouragement and energy."]
எங்கே சென்றீர் தேசத்தின் குரலே... வெளியீடு: கனடா தமிழர் கலை பண்பாட்டுக் கழகம், எழுதி இசை யமைத்து பாடியவர்: வர்ண இராமேஸ்வரன்;
கண்ணீர் வரவில்லை ஐயா... எழுதி இசையமைத்து பாடியவர்: முல்லை சாந்தன்;
கனடா தமிழ்ச்சோலை வானொலியில் நேயர் ஒருவர் பாடிய பாடல்
Adele Ann on Meeting Anton Balasingham -  in Will to Freedom "...It all began when I married a Tamil man, Anton Balasingham, from the island of Sri Lanka, in 1978. In that union, I married the collective consciousness and history of a people: a man who embodied the Tamil psyche with all its strengths and weaknesses. greatness and failings. "
தேசத்தின் குரல் பாலா அண்ணா நினைவாக - M.Thanapalasingham
Anton Balasingham: the Articulate Bandmaster - Sachi Sri Kantha
Ana Parajasingham, Chairman Australasian Federation of Tamil Associations:  A Tribute to Anton Balasingham
 தேசத்தின் குரல் தொடர்ந்தும் ஒலிக்கும்! Sanmgam Sabesan
We've lost a friend, says Norway "Norwegian special envoy for the peace process in Sri Lanka Jon Hansen-Bauer praised late Anton Balasingam for his invaluable contribution to the peace efforts, and said Norway will miss a much valued friend. Speaking at a memorial meeting in Oslo arranged at the Tamil Resource and Consultation Centre in Oslo Friday, 15 December 2006 the Norwegian Special Envoy said that it is through Mr. Balasingham he learned much about the plight of the Tamils in Sri Lanka."
London Times Obituary - Anton Balasingham, 15 December 2006 "Journalist who became the chief strategist and negotiator of the Tamil Tigers in their struggle for autonomy"

நோர்வே தமிழர் ஒருங்கிணைப்புக் குழுவின் வீரவணக்கம்

பாலா அண்ணா! - Nathan, Geneva, 14 December 2006 "மூன்று தசாப்தங்களாக எங்களின் இலக்குக்கும் சர்வதேச செல்நெறிக்கும் இடையேயான இடைவெளியில் போர்புரிந்த போர் வீரன்"
Balasingham Death a setback to Sri Lanka peace -  Eric Solheim, IANS, 15 December 2006
On The Demise Of Mr.Balasingham - International Federation of Tamils, 15 December 2006
Anton Balasingham: The Early Years of Life - D.B.S. Jeyaraj

தமிழீழ விடுதலைப் போராட்டக் களத்தில் ஒரு மலை சரிந்தது: தமிழ்ப் படைப்பாளிகள் கழகம்

வல்வை சகாறா - காத்தாடி இவரல்ல காலா! நீ கற்றறிவாய்!

Tamil Nation Loses One Of  Its Greatest Sons - Bala Annai Passes Away - 14 December 2006 "Tamil Insight joins thousands and thousands of Tamils across the world in grieving at the irreparable loss of the Tamil Nation in the death of one of its worthiest sons, Dr Anton  Balasingham. Bala Annai passed away at 1.45pm, Thursday in London at the age of 68. Bala Annai as he was popularly addressed, remained a shining political guide and philosopher, standing steadfast by his Leader's side throughout the freedom struggle, valiantly defending the Tamil cause on international platforms, craving the recognition it rightly deserves. He represented the Tamil Nation at all Peace Talks till he was found too ill to travel. His journey in the Freedom Struggle started in the 1980s when he renounced all comforts in London and identified himself with the struggle for the emancipation of the rights-denied Tamils. He was the chief negotiator at the recent round of Norwegian facilitated Peace Talks."
Priyath Liyanage
Editor, BBC Sinhala service on Implications of Balasingham's Death, 14 December 2006
  "..Many commentators believe Balasingham was the moderating force - always on the search for a political solution - within one of the most belligerent rebel organisations in the world. He is known for his relentless attempts to bring the Tigers to the international negotiating arena. It was mainly due to his perseverance that the Tigers acquired a reputation as a progressive organisation among certain liberals in the west. He was able to live in Britain even though his organisation is proscribed by the UK government. "
Anton Balasingham passes way - Tamilnet, 14 December 2006 "Anton Balasingham, theoretician and political advisor of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), has passed away in London Thursday, 14 December 2006. Mr. Balasingham has been associated with the Tamil liberation struggle for more than 30 years and participated as chief negotiator on behalf of the Liberation Tigers in almost all political negotiations. He was diagnosed with bile duct cancer (cholangio carcinoma), a rare and aggressive malignancy of the biliary system, in the middle of November. Mr. Anton Balasingham, 68, passed away at his home in south London where he has been resting since his diagnosis last month, being cared for by his wife Adele and specialist cancer medical staff. Balasingham had diabetes for 35 years and in the late nineties developed renal disease, for which he underwent kidney transplant.

Three weeks ago, commenting on his illness to TamilNet, Mr Balasingham said that, “it is an unfortunate personal tragedy. However, when compared to the vast ocean of the collective tragedy faced by my people, my illness is merely a pebble. I am deeply sad that I am crippled by this illness, unable to contribute anything substantial towards the alleviation of the immense suffering and oppression of my people."[see also
Top Tiger negotiator Anton Balasingham dead - PTI  and  S.Lanka rebel negotiator Balasingham dies of cancer - Reuters]
Anton Balsingham on the Birth of the Tiger Movement - விடுதலை புலிகள் இயக்கம், 1983
Sorrowful departure and joyful arrival - D. B. S. Jeyaraj in The Sunday Leader, April 2002
Rajiv Gandhi assassination ‘a monumental historical tragedy’ – Balasingham, 27 July 2006
EU ban ‘will radically transform’ Sri Lanka’s conflict, 4 June 2006
Anton Balasingham responds to US Ambassador, 25 April 2003
Balasingham Statement at Oslo Conference, 25 November 2002
Anton Balasingham Speech at Inaugral Session of Peace Talks, Thailand, 16 September 2002
Negotiated Settlement Only Choice, 1 December 2002
Anton Balasingham on Ceasefires, Memorandum of Understanding, Facilitation, 18 April 2001
Sri Lanka Determined to Prosecute War - Anton Balasingham, 2 December 2000
We need India  - Anton Balasingham, 6 July 2000
Tamils will determine their own destiny - Balasingham , 1 July 2000
Anton Balasingham addresses London Heroes Day, 1999
Anton Balsingham Quotes
Balasingham’s Interview with Amarnath Menon in 1991
Balasingham’s Interview with Jon Lee Anderson in 1987
A Cheer for Dr.Balasingham - Dayan Jayatilleka  (sometime advisor to Sri Lanka President Premadasa) in the Sinhala owned Weekend Express, 16 July 2000


Velupillai Prabakaran (right) and Anton S. Balasingham at a press conference in Kilinochchi  on 10 April 2002

Books

Politics of Duplicity : Re-visiting the Jaffna Talks, Anton Balasingham, 2000
War and Peace: Armed Struggle and Peace Efforts of Liberation Tigers, Anton Balasingham,  2004 - from the back cover - "The author of this book is the political advisor, theoretician and the chief negotiator of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, the national linberation organisation spearheading the struggle for self determination of the Tamil nation in the island of Sri Lanka. Mr.Balasingham has been actively involved in the politics of the LTTE for twenty six years and is widely regarded as the authoritative commentator on the politico-military struggle of the organisation.""

One Hundred Tamils of the 20th Century

Anton S.Balasingham 


"மூன்று தசாப்தங்களாக எங்களின் இலக்குக்கும் சர்வதேச செல்நெறிக்கும் இடையேயான இடைவெளியில் போர்புரிந்த போர் வீரன்" பாலா அண்ணா! - Nathan, Geneva, 14 December 2006

பாலாண்ணைக்க"தேசத்தின் குரல்" கௌரவம்:  தமிழீழத் தேசியத் தலைவர் அறிவிப்பு, 14 December 2006...




 

உலகத் தமிழ் மக்களை உலுக்கி காலமாகிவிட்ட தமிழீழத்தின் மதியுரைஞர் பாலா அண்ணைக்கு "தேசத்தின் குரல்" எனும் மாபெரும் கௌரவத்தை தமிழீழத் தேசியத் தலைவர் மேதகு வேலுப்பிள்ளை பிரபாகரன் அறிவித்துள்ளார்.

தமிழீழ விடுதலைப் புலிகளின் தலைமைச் செயலகம் வெளியிட்ட அறிக்கை:

தலைமைச்செயலகம்,
தமிழீழ விடுதலைப் புலிகள்,
தமிழீழம்
2006-12-14

எமது சுதந்திர இயக்கத்தின் அரசியல் இராஜதந்திர நகர்வுகளில் எனக்குப் பக்கபலமாக இருந்து செயற்பட்ட எமது தேசத்தின் ஒளிவிளக்கு இன்று அணைந்துவிட்டது. ஆலோசனை வேண்டி, ஆறுதல் தேடி ஓடுவதற்கு பாலாண்ணை இன்று என்னுடன் இல்லை. இவரது மறைவு எனக்கு மாத்திரமல்ல தமிழீழ தேசத்திற்கே இட்டுநிரப்பமுடியாத பேரிழப்பு.

பிறப்பிற்கும் இறப்பிற்கும் இடையே விரியும் காலமாக மனிதவாழ்வு நிலைக்கிறது. இந்த வாழ்வுக்காலம் எல்லா மனிதர்களுக்கும் ஒரேமாதிரியாக, ஒத்ததாக, ஒருசீராக அமைவதில்லை. காலச்சீரற்றதாக ஒருவருக்குக் கூடி, மற்றவருக்குக் குறுகி, இன்னொருவருக்கு அதிகம் நெடுத்து கூடிக்குறைந்து செல்கிறது. துரதிஸ்டவசமாக, பாலாண்ணையினது வாழ்வு இடைநடுவில் நின்றுபோய்விட்டது. தீவிரம்பெற்றுள்ள எமது விடுதலைப்போருக்கு அவர் நிறையப் பணிகளை ஆற்றவேண்டியிருக்கின்ற தருணத்தில் அவருக்கு மரணம் சம்பவித்திருக்கிறது. இதனை என்னால் ஏற்றுக்கொள்ளமுடியவில்லை. துயரத்தின் சுமை என் ஆன்மாவை அழுத்துகிறது. என் உள்ளத்தை உடைத்து, நெஞ்சத்தைப் பிளக்கிறது. கட்டுக்கடங்காத காட்டாறு போல சீறிப்பாயும் உணர்ச்சிப் பெருவெள்ளத்தை என்னால் வார்த்தைகளால் கொட்டமுடியாது. மனித மொழியில் இதற்கு இடமுமில்லை.

பழக ஆரம்பித்த நாள் முதலே எமக்கிடையே ஒரு இனம்புரியாத புரிந்துணர்வு ஏற்பட்டது. அந்தப் புரிந்துணர்வால் எழும் பற்றுறவால் பிணைந்துகொண்டு, எமது உறவு நல்லுறவாக வளர்ந்து நட்புறவாகப் பரிணமித்தது. சிந்தனையாலும் செயலாலும் ஒன்றுபட்ட மனிதர்களின் சங்கமமாக அந்த உறவு மலர்ந்தது. தினம்தினம் நாம் பகிர்ந்துகொண்ட வாழ்பனுபவத்தில் வலிமைபெற்று வளர்ந்தது. சாதாரண மனித உறவுகளிலிருந்து இது முற்றிலும் வேறுபட்டது. காலத்தால் கனிந்து, வரலாற்றால் வடிவம் பெற்ற ஒரு அலாதியான இலட்சிய உறவு அது.

பாலாண்ணையை நான் ஆழமாக நேசித்தேன். விடுதலை இயக்கம் என்ற மாபெரும் குடும்பத்தில் ஒரு மூத்த தலைமகனாக பிதாமகனாக மூன்று தசாப்தங்கள் வாழ்ந்தவர் அவர். நானும் அவரை அப்படித்தான் நோக்கினேன். ஒரு குடும்பமாக ஒன்றுசேர்ந்து ஒத்திசைவாக ஒன்றித்திருந்த நாட்களில் அவர் ஒரு சாதாரண மனிதப்பிறவி அல்ல என்பதைக் கண்டுகொண்டேன். மோசமாகச் சுகவீனமுற்று தினம்தினம் சாவோடு போராடியபோதும், தாங்கமுடியாத உடல்உபாதைகளால் வருந்தியபோதும், தளர்ந்துபோகாத உறுதிப்பாடு அவரிடம் இருந்தது. அவரின் இந்த இலட்சிய உறுதி எனது நெஞ்சத்தைத் தொட்டுநின்றது. அவர் துன்பத்தால் துவண்டபோதெல்லாம் எனது ஆன்மாவும் கலங்கியழுதது.

எமது இயக்கத்தின் வளர்ச்சியிலும் அதன் இன்றைய விரிவாக்கத்திலும் பாலாண்ணைக்கு ஒரு நிரந்தரமான இடம் இருக்கிறது. ஒரு மூத்த அரசியல் போராளியாக, ஒரு மதியுரைஞராக, ஒரு தத்துவாசிரியராக எல்லாவற்றுக்கும் மேலாக எனது உற்ற நண்பனாக இருந்து எனக்கு ஊக்கமும் உத்வேகமும் அளித்தவர். ஆலோசனையும் ஆறுதலும் தந்தவர். எனது உணர்வுகளைப் பகிர்ந்துகொண்டு, எனது பழுக்களையும் பங்கிட்டுக்கொண்டவர். எமது விடுதலை இயக்கம் தோற்றம்பெற்ற ஆரம்பகாலம் முதல் என்னோடு இருந்து, எல்லாச் சோதனைகளையும் வேதனைகளையும் சவால்களையும் சங்கடங்களையும் தாங்கிக்கொண்டவர். எமது அரசியல் இராஜதந்திர முன்னெடுப்புக்களுக்கு மூலாதாரமாக, முன்னால் நின்று செயற்பட்டவர்.

ஈழத்தமிழினம் பெருமைகொள்ளும் வகையில் அரசியல் உலகிலும் இராஜதந்திர உலகிலும் அளப்பெரும் சாதனைகள் புரிந்து, எமது தேசசுதந்திரப் போராட்டத்தை உலக அரங்கில் முன்னிறுத்திய பாலாண்ணையின் மாபெரும் போராட்டப்பணிக்கு மதிப்பளித்து "தேசத்தின் குரல்" என்ற மாபெரும் கௌரவப்பட்டத்தை அவருக்கு வழங்குவதில் நான் பெருமையடைகிறேன். பாலாண்ணை உண்மையில் எம்மைவிட்டுப் போகவில்லை. அவர் எமது நினைவலைகளில் என்றும் நீங்காத நினைவுகளாக நிலைத்து நிற்பார்.

புலிகளின் தாகம் தமிழீழத் தாயகம்

வே. பிரபாகரன்
தலைவர்
தமிழீழ விடுதலைப் புலிகள்

English Translation

Head Quarters
Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam
Tamil Eelam

A source of unwavering strength in the political and diplomatic efforts of our freedom movement, and the light of our nation is extinguished. Bala Annai, from whom I sought advice and solace, is no more with us. It is an irreplaceable loss for our entire nation and for me.

Bala Annai’s life has been much too short. His death comes at a time when we needed him most, as our freedom struggle intensifies. I cannot find words to express my grief and loss.

From the beginning of our struggle, when we first met, there was a deep mutual understanding. The fondness that rose from that understanding developed into a rare friendship. We thought and acted in unison. Our friendship grew in strength through our shared day-to-day experiences. This friendship stands apart from ordinary human relationships. It matured with time and was shaped by our shared history.

I was deeply fond of Bala Annai. In the great family that is our movement he was its eldest son and its guiding star for three decades. That is how I looked up to him. During the time we lived together as one family, I came to realize that he was no ordinary human being. He was strong and unshakable even during the illness that threatened to take his life and the severe pain that illness brought him. The strength of his soul was inspirational. I grieve for him.

Bala Annai has a permanent historic place in the growth and the spread of our movement. He was its elder member, its ideologue, its philosopher and, above all, my best friend who gave me encouragement and energy. He shared my sorrows, my anxieties and my travails. He was with me from the very beginning of our movement, sharing its challenges and hardships. He was the central figure in all our diplomatic efforts.

Saluting the immeasurable service he rendered our nation in the political and diplomatic arenas and the efforts by which he put our national freedom movement on the world stage, allowing our nation to stand with dignity, I am proud to bestow the title of ‘Voice of the Nation’ on Bala Annai.

Bala Annai has not left us. He will live permanently in our thoughts.

The yearning of the Tigers is Tamileelam!

V. Pirapaharan
Leader
Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam
 
Adele Ann on Meeting Anton Balasingham -  in Will to Freedom
"...It all began when I married a Tamil man, Anton Balasingham, from the island of Sri Lanka, in 1978. In that union, I married the collective consciousness and history of a people: a man who embodied the Tamil psyche with all its strengths and weaknesses. greatness and failings. That history took me to live in the society and culture of one of the world's oldest Eastern civilisations: in the land of the ancient historical origins of his people, Tamil Nadu, the Southern Dravidian state of India.

For many years too I lived in his birthplace, Jaffna, the cultural capital of the Tamil people in tile Northeastern part of Sri Lanka, otherwise known as Tamil Eelam. I became immersed in the trials and tribulations, joys and celebrations of a people in the throes of a struggle to survive against a sophisticated manifestation of genocide. Subsequently, for the past twenty-three years of my life I have been exposed to extraordinary and unique experiences. In the first place.

I am the only foreign person who has lived with shared and witnessed the people's horrendous experience of' state oppression and attempted genocide, and the complex domains of their heroic, sustained and astoundingly ingenious resistance against what would appear to be insurmountable, will breaking odds. More than two decades of my life with the Tamil people has been an honour also, for two reasons.

Firstly, to be witness to the growth and development of the organisation spearheading the struggle for the freedom of a people - the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam - and to share in and witness the phenomenal historical struggle and the incredible sacrifices made by the organisation's cadres.

Secondly, and more importantly, this liberation movement. and the people as a whole trusted me, respected me and revealed to an 'outsider' their inner soul. That my experience with the Tamil people has been profound was probably best conveyed by a Tamil lady friend, who, in conversation under the coolness of the graceful limbs of a mango tree on her farm in Visvamadu, Vanni, suddenly referred to me as `the white Tamil'.

When I met Balasingham and fell in love with him more than two decades ago, I could not even begin to imagine my life would unfold the way it did. Undeniably the very act of marrying a man from a socio-cultural environment, which is in virtual contradiction to my own, prescribed at least a different `ordinary' marriage. So how did it come about that two people from two different cultures could meet on a common ground of marriage? It could not have been simply physical attraction: if that were so the relationship would not have been so intense and intimate. So what was it that united us and took me down such an extraordinary path with him?

Although Balasingham remains, in essence, the man I married all those years ago, time and circumstances have worked on him to make him the thinker and personality he is today. A quarter of a century ago, the man I married was what I would call a 'religious man'; a 'religious' man not in the sense of adhering to institutionalised religions and observing what he viewed as their primitive rituals and practices, but rather a man concerned with righteousness, goodness and humanism.

Bala, thirty six years of age when we first met, had read widely on Eastern philosophical thought, in particular Indian Vedanta philosophy, and he had taken a special interest in the teachings of the Buddha. Indecd, Buddhist philosophy fascinated him so much in his younger days that he visitcd Buddhist scholars in Sri Lanka for exploratory philosophical elucidations. He has also given talks on Buddhism in public forums. As a serious student of Buddhist philosophy, he became deeply disillusioned with the Sri Lankan brand of Buddhism, which, according to him, has been polluted and perverted by racist and chauvinist ideology. But it was his experience of personal tragedy which evoked tremendous reflection, and brought him into confrontation with himself and the philosophies he had so passionately pursued.

His concern for righteousness and goodness was literally put to the test when his first wife became extremely ill with chronic renal failure, ending with her requiring life sustaining haemodialysis. The emotional and mental strain of observing and caring for his beautiful young wife teetering on the brink of death by chronic disease invoked in Bala profound philosophical introspection about the self and the human world.

The disintegration and transformation of the human form as a consequence of serious physical illness. and, most importantly, the constant confrontation with death made him reflect deeply on the meaning behind human existence. Unique experiences, and reflections on those experiences, made him a wise man and rooted him in the real world as n rationalist.

Furthermore, this "as a morally challenging period in Bala's life and a test of his strength of character as he struggled to cope with severe economic hardship and meet the emotional and health needs of his terminally ill partner. The many socio-economic problems he faced and overcame throughout this chapter of his life stretched all dimensions of his being to capacity, and he ultimately came to view goodness and righteousness not as words culled from the pages of books or something indoctrinated into us, but rather, as a harmonised faculty of mind and action emanating from our essential being. Sadly, his wife succumbed to her illness after five years of haemodialysis: much of it carried out at home. It was during this highly demanding period his own mortality stared him in the face - diabetes was diagnosed.

Subsequently, out of this exploration and reflection of the dynamics of the personal self came this rather unique personality which I could only describe as `religious'. And it was this `religious' type of personality I knew I had been hoping to find in a partner.

But I prefer to use a different term and describe the man I met and who became my husband as what I called a `real' human being. Bala was, when I met him, most things I hoped the man I married would be; mature, wise, mentally strong and most importantly, caring. By wise I did not mean an intellectual and by mentally strong I did not mean 'macho', overbearing or aggressive. I was hoping to meet that exceptional human being who is humble but not weak: who is simple but yet deep; who is assertive but not egoic; who is confident but not arrogant; who was generous; who is proud but not vain; a person who is not selfish and thoughtless. That was the man I met all those years ago, and I knew Balasingham was for me within a few weeks of our first meeting.

A dimension of his `religious' bent was a lack of concern for conventional lifestyles, saving, and all those other things that ordinary folks are supposed to do. This lack of concern for material security did, of course, put us into financial bankruptcy, but somehow or other Bala always managed what little money we had so that we lived to love and enjoy another day.

In his search for answers about life and truth, Bala also consumed volumes of works in the Western philosophical tradition. But one of the major influences which counter balanced his `religious' leanings was Marxism and neo-Marxist thought, which he was well versed in, and about which he formulated his own many reservations and criticisms. That philosophy should `change the world' was one of the aspects of Marxism which did appeal to him as opposed to philosophy as the stuff of ivory tower intellects or as thought systems incomprehensible or unrealisable within the `normal' human potential.

Bala, I would say, was walking the fine line between these two apparently contradictory philosophical conceptions concerning the way forward to an elevated humanity. On the one hand Eastern philosophy prioritised individual subjective transformation as an essential condition for the redemption of human beings, which he knew to be idealistic, and on the other hand, socialist thought, with its emphasis on political praxis through collective action, appeared to offer greater potential for real transformation in the human condition.

In the interlude prior to his total immersion into revolutionary politics he attempted to marry this apparent division between subjective and objective approaches to human development by embarking on a difficult doctorate of philosophy thesis that involved a theoretical marriage between Marx and Freud.

But the demands of the revolutionary politics of the national liberation struggle of his people constantly intervened in his research and teaching. A time came when he was compelled to choose between an academic life and revolutionary politics. He chose the latter for he viewed the cause of his people as just and to serve that cause was meaningful.

So it was this progressive and mature personality I loved. It was able to cope with and was instrumental in 'filling out' my somewhat immature and unrealised personality.

Retrospectively one of the most crucial contributions Bala made to the growth of my personality was to help me to learn to put my subtle feelings and emotions into precise words. Bala's wider intelligence and personal experience, including his psychoanalytic knowledge, teased out my inarticulated 'feelings' stifled by inhibitions and brought them into cognition.

Subsequently, for the first time in my life I was able to reveal the deeper `secret' side of myself and relate on an intensely intimate, uninhibited level. This improved ability to manage language inevitably widened my potential and scope for relationships, writing and conversation.

And so my relationship with Bala deepened and generated happiness and contentment in me. Just being with him seemed to be all that was necessary and the restless, discontented person, immersed in a mundane world characterised by consumerism and materialism faded away to the priority of an enduring, intimate relationship with another human being.

Our wedding on 1st September 1978 was a simple, uncomplicated, formal affair with the five-minute ceremony officiated by a bureaucrat at the registry office in Brixton, South London. This social obligation had been delayed by one week. We decided to marry and hoped to complete the formalities the following day but we didn't have the required amount of money for a 24 hours notice service, we did have enough for the next best thing: a one week booking. Apart from informing a few close friends and relatives, we didn't mention our forthcoming wedding to anyone.

As far as I was concerned, the wedding was a private commitment between us. Nevertheless, in a community where nothing remains secret for very long, the story leaked and in the evening a crowd gathered, cooked a wedding dinner of hot goat meat curry with plenty of whisky to wash it down and kicked up their heels at a fairly rowdy party. My 'bridal' outfit constituted a brown corduroy skirt and printed blouse, which I rushed to purchase just two hours before the ceremony. In this marriage I was lucky enough to enter into a partnership with - for want of a better cliche - my `soulmate'. I suppose it was this fundamental profound relationship which smoothed over the inevitable bumpy times in our relationship.

But marrying Balasingham is one thing: getting involved in a revolutionary struggle is another. 1 could have, had I been inclined after marriage, taken a different path and attempted to sway Bala in another direction. But I didn't. So why did I opt for the political path and involvement in the Tamil people's struggle? While it is true that in our early relationship Bala helped to `stabilise' or ground me in a more serious world, I will never countenance any suggestion that I was simply a tabula rasa upon which ideas were neatly and indelibly scribed. Nor did I simply jump from London into India or Sri Lanka into circumstances beyond my comprehension, moved like a naive nymph who danced to the sweet chords plucked from the strings of her lover's serenading harp; nor did I plunge from one mindset to another.

My involvement in politics and the liberation struggle of the Tamil people involved a process of mental and emotional development and a transformation of ideas and thinking or, to be more precise, a process of personal growth. The burgeoning of my personality was certainly facilitated when I left the sheltered life behind me on the shores of Australia and entered into the 'big' world of England and Europe.

Or, as far as I am concerned, when my mind started to break down its parochial resistance. Exposure to global humanity - which one finds in England - challenged my socialised self, fed me with new perceptions, lifestyles and thoughts and ultimately radicalised my views and my perception of the world. My husband contributed to this process, anchored me in unconventionality and provided me with an unfettered emotional security in a way that enriched my life more than I could possibly have imagined or expected.

London Times Obituary - Anton Balasingham, 15 December 2006
Anton Balasingham 1938 - December 14, 2006

Journalist who became the chief strategist and negotiator of the Tamil Tigers in their struggle for autonomy

Anton Balasingham provided the intellectual framework for the violence of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam. He was the brains behind the brawn, someone the leadership could turn to for ideological guidance, philosophical justification and political explanation while the killing went on.

A forlorn-faced man, ill with a transplanted kidney, he travelled to devastated northern Sri Lanka in 2002 to act as the rebels’ negotiator in peace talks brokered by Norway. The Tigers vainly asked India to host the encounter so that Balasingham could be near a hospital in case of an emergency. Everybody feared that he would die before the best chance of peace in more than two decades could be seized.

The difficulty was how to get him to Sri Lanka without his being assassinated. So, accompanied by his Australian wife, Adele, he flew in from London to the Maldives and transferred to a privately chartered De Havilland DHC-6 Twin Otter seaplane, which landed on a reservoir in a rebel-controlled area south of Kilinochechi. The Colombo Government had ordered the airspace above northeast Sri Lanka to be kept clear of all aircraft, and the seaplane maintained radio silence throughout its journey lest hostile forces picked up the signal, revealing its whereabouts and mission.

The First Secretary of the Norwegian Embassy in Colombo was aboard. Immediately after it landed a Sea Tiger craft moved in to provide security. On the shore, the plump figure of Velupillai Prabhakaran, leader of the Tigers, could be made out standing with his wife Mathivathany, and other Tigers leaders. They were awaiting “Bala Annai” and “Auntie”, as young Tigers cadres called the Balasinghams. A house had been constructed for their stay.

This elaborate journey was a measure of the importance the Tigers placed in the one man they could trust with their destiny in what looked like being a breakthrough in talks with the Sri Lankan Government of Ranil Wickremesinghe.

Everybody underestimated, however, the determination of hardcore Sinhalese organisations like the JVP and hardline Buddhist clergy to scuttle any deal that gave the Tamils even a hint of autonomy. The peace deal failed, and Balasingham had made a life-threatening journey with no more to show for it than the continuation of a shaky ceasefire.

Under his guidance the Tigers had entered several rounds of successful talks with the Government, all brokered by Norway, watched suspiciously from the sidelines by President Chandrika Kumaratunga. In the end she used her presidential powers to scupper the deal.

Her successor, President Mahinda Rajapakse, also rejected the concepts of a Tamil homeland and Tamil nationhood. The JVP, in a previous incarnation a fanatically violent organisation but by now the third biggest political party in the country, had threatened “undiplomatic” consequences if the peace deal went through. All of this, Balasingham said with uncharacteristic understatement, represented an obstacle.

In taking the Tigers to the brink of peace, Balasingham had steered the rebels away from their earlier demand for a fully fledged independent state called Eelam. What the Tamils wanted, he said, was “a homeland and self-determination”. If that demand were rejected and the “oppression” continued, there would be no option but to fight for full statehood. Those words signalled the collapse of peace hopes.

Balasingham, who gained a PhD from South Bank Polytechnic in London (his dissertation was on the psychology of Marxism), had been the Tigers’ theoretician since the early 1990s and clearly had the full confidence of Prabhakaran. He had a British passport and in 1999, much to the Sri Lanka Government’s anger, was allowed to settle in London with his wife, Adele Wilby, an Australian citizen and former nurse he had married in 1978. She lived with him for years in Jaffna, the Tamils’ heartland, and became a leader of the Tigers’ women’s section. Australia sought her arrest for violating a law that prohibits participation in foreign wars.

By the time he moved to London, Balasingham, known among activist Tamils simply as “Bala,” was seriously ill with kidney trouble. The Tigers released a large number of Sri Lankan Army prisoners as a goodwill gesture in return for the Colombo Government ensuring his safe passage abroad. The gesture failed, and so the Tigers took Balasingham aboard one of their ships to Thailand, and from there he travelled to Singapore and on to London. No one expected to see him back in Sri Lanka.

When he did return for the 2002 peace talks the reunion with Prabhakaran was emotional. His influence over Prabhakaran was embarrassingly obvious at a packed press conference in Sri Lanka during the 2002 peace process. Balasingham knew about journalists, having been one himself for a Colombo newspaper before working as a translator at the British High Commission.

He was doubtless responsible for the image makeover of the Tigers leader. Eschewing his customary military fatigues and sidearm Prabhakaran attended the press conference in a safari suit and had even shaved off his moustache. After almost every question he would lean towards Balasingham to be primed with the reply, and for the most part Balasingham would do the replying for him. Which led one commentator to ask: “So who is the real leader of the Tamil Tigers?”

Balasingham died of cancer. He is survived by his wife.

Anton Balasingham, chief strategist of the Tamil Tigers, was born in 1938. He died on December 14, 2006, aged 68
பாலா அண்ணா! - Nathan, Geneva, 14 December 2006

பாலா அண்ணா!
மூன்று தசாப்தங்களாக எங்களின் இலக்குக்கும் சர்வதேச செல்நெறிக்கும் இடையேயான இடைவெளியில் போர்புரிந்த போர் வீரன்

பாலா அண்ணா போய்விட்டார்!

தமிழீழ விடுதலைப் போரின் மொழிக்கும் - சர்வதேச உறவாடலுக்கும் வடிவம் கொடுத்த தேசியதலைவர் பிரபாகரனின் மூத்த தோழன் பாலா அண்ணாவை சாவு பிரித்துவிட்டது!

தன்னுடலால் அழிந்து - அழியாத தமிழீழ விடுதலை வரலாற்றில் பாலா அண்ணா இடம்பிடித்துவிட்டார்.

சாவும் - இழப்பும் தமிழீழ மக்களின் சமகால வரலாற்றில் செறிவான தினசரி நிகழ்வாகியுள்ள போதும் இந்த மனிதரின் சாவு இதயத்தினுள் ஒரு இடைவெளியினை ஏற்படுத்துகின்றது.

மூன்று தசாப்தங்களாக எங்கள் தேசிய விடுதலை இலட்சியத்திற்கு உழைத்தவர்!
மூன்று தசாப்தங்களாக எங்கள் தேசியத்தின் குரலாகப் பேசியவர்!
மூன்று தசாப்தங்களாக எங்கள் தலைவரின் சகாவாக வாழ்ந்தவர்!
மூன்று தசாப்தங்களாக எங்களின் இலக்குக்கும் சர்வதேச செல்நெறிக்கும் இடையேயான இடைவெளியில் போர்புரிந்தவர்!
மூன்று தசாப்தங்களாக எழுத்தால் எங்களை புதுப்பித்தவர்!
மூன்று தசாப்தங்களாக பேச்சால் எங்களை உயிர்ப்பித்தவர்!

இந்தகைய மூன்று தாசாப்த சரித்திரத்தின் வரலாற்றுப் பாத்திரத்தை எங்களிமிருந்து இயற்கை பறித்த உண்மையை ஏற்றுக் கொள்ள இதயம் தயங்குகின்றது.

தமிழர் விடுதலைப் போரிற்கு பாலா அண்ணரின் பங்களிப்பு என்ன என்ற கேள்வி அர்த்தமற்றது. ஏனெனில் அவர் விடுதலைப் போரிற்குள் முழுமையாக வாழந்தவர் என்பதில் அனைத்துமே அடங்கிவிடுகின்றது. ஆனாலும்;, பாலா அண்ணா என்றால் அவரது ஆழமான எழுத்தும் - நிறைவான பேச்சுமே எங்கள் நினைவில் பதிவாகியுள்ளது.

தமிழர் விடுதலை இயக்கத்தின் தத்துவப் பேராசானாக அனைவராலும் அவர் மதிக்கப்பட்டார். தமிழீழ தேசிய விடுதலை தொடர்பாக 1970களில் எழுத ஆரம்பித்தார். தேசிய சுயநிர்ணய உரிமை தொடர்பான அனைத்துலக விவாதப் தேடலுக்குள் தமிழீழ விடுதலையின் நியாயங்களை இணைத்து விவாதித்தார். தமிழீழ விடுதலைப் போரின் நியாயங்களுக்குள் நிலவிய உலக முற்போக்கு விசையின் கூறுகளை எடுத்து விளக்கினார் சிங்கள அடக்குமுறையினுள் பொதிந்து கிடந்த வெறுக்கத்தக்க பெருந்தேசியவாத இருளை சுட்டிக்காட்டினார்.

தனது இயல்பான - செழுமையான அரசியல் மொழியூடாக போராளிகளையும், மக்களையும் தேசத்தையும் அரசியல் வழியில் பயிற்றுவித்தார். தேசிய மாவீரர் நாளில் தேசிய தலைவர் ஆற்றும் உரையின் விரிவாக்கவுரையை சுமார் 5 வருடங்களாக தொடர்ந்து இலண்டனில் மேற்கொண்ட போது மற்றுமொரு புதிய தளத்திற்கு புலிகள் இயக்கத்தின் புலத்து அரசியல் தொடர்பாடலை நகர்த்தினாhர்.

விடுதலைப் போராட்ட அரசியலும், சர்வதேச இராஐதந்திரத்திற்கும் இடையேயுள்ள இடைவெளியினை அளந்து - அளந்து கடந்து செல்ல பாலா அண்ணா கடுமையாக உழைத்தார்.

அமெரிக்க வெளிவிவகார பிரதியமைச்சர் றிச்சட் ஆமிர்ரெஐ;, பிரித்தானிய சர்வதேச உதவிகளுக்கான அமைச்சர் உட்பட பலர் முன்னே நோர்வே ஒஸ்லோ கொடைவழங்கும் நாடுகளுக்கான சிறப்பு மாநாட்டில் பாலா அண்ணாவின் இந்த சூட்சுமத்தின் அளவீடு வெளிப்படையாவே இருந்தது. சிங்களம் எங்களுக்கு ஏற்படுத்திய பேரழிவை அவர் பட்டியலிட்டு, விடுதலைப் போரின் நியாயங்களையும், தர்க்க விளக்கங்களையும் இராஐதந்திர வரம்புகளை மீறாது பாலா அண்ணா வெளிப்படுத்திய போது அது வரலாற்றில் எமக்கான குரலாகவும் - மைல்கல்லாக அமைந்தது.

பாலா அண்ணாவின் பயணத்தில் எதிர்ப்பட்ட முக்கிய பதிவுகள் தமிழீழ விடுதலையின் முக்கிய பதிவுகளாகவும் உள்ளன.

திம்புவில் இந்தியா தனது நலன்களை மட்டும் பேச முயன்ற போது எதிர்த்து நின்று தமிழீழ மக்களின் நியாயத்தினைப் பேசிய குற்றத்திற்காகப் புலிகளை தண்டிக்க விரும்பிய இந்திய மத்தியஅரசு 1985ல் பாலா அண்ணரை நாடு கடத்தியது.

இந்தியா இராணுவத்தின் கோரப் பிடியில் தமிழீழ தேசம் தள்ளாடிய போது சிறீலங்காவுடன் புலிகள் மேற்கொண்ட சாதுரியமான இராஐதந்திர ஆட்டத்தினை நேர்த்தியாக முன்னெடுத்து - 1990ல் இந்தியாவினை நேரடியான இராணுவ முரண்பாட்டிலிருந்து விலக்கிய நுட்பமான நடவடிக்கையிலும் பாலா அண்ணார் இருந்தார்.

பின்னர் சந்திரிகா அம்மையார் சர்வதேச சக்திகளின் ஆதரவுடன் நடாத்திய போர் தோற்ற போது, தமிழர்கள் ஈட்டிய வெற்றியிலிருந்து அதே சர்வதேச சக்திகளுடனான தொடர்பாடலை பாலா அண்ணா 2002 முதல் மேற்கொண்டார். கட்டுப்பாட்டுப் பகுதிகளை ஏற்றுக்கொள்ளும் சர்வதேச ஏற்றுக்கொள்கையுடன் கூடிய போர்நிறுத்த உடன்பாட்டினை புலிகள் தரப்பில் நின்று வரைவதில் பாலா அண்ணாவின் பங்கே முக்கியமாகவிருந்தது இருந்தது என முன்னாள் சனதிபதி சந்திரிகா முதல் விமல்வீரவம்ச வரை குத்திமுழங்கும் போது பாலா அண்ணரின் இயல்பான நக்கல் சிரிப்பில் ஒரு வியூக சிந்தனை இருந்தது.

பாலா அண்ணா வெறுமனே அரசியல் சிந்தனைகளை மட்டும் கொண்ட விடுதலைப் போரளியல்ல. அவர் மனித வாழ்வின் பல்வேறு வி;டயங்களையும் அலசிப் பேசும் அலாதியான சிந்தனையாளன். இந்திய சிந்தனையாளர் கிருஸ்ணமூர்த்தி தொட்டு பலவித வாழ்வியல் சிந்தனையாளர்களைப் பற்றிப் பேசினார் - எழுதினார். சிறந்த இலக்கியங்களைப் வாசித்தார் - விவாதித்தார். கவிதைகளை இரசித்தார். நிறைய புதியபுதிய எழுத்துக்களை வாசித்து காலத்துடன் தன்னைப் புதுப்பித்து - நடைபயில வைத்தார்.

தனக்கு சாவு நிச்சயம் என்பதை உணர்ந்த காலத்தில் கூட அவர் மக்களிற்கு இன்னமும் விடிவு கிட்டவில்லையே என்கின்ற ஏக்கத்துடன்தான் நாள்களை கடத்தினார். இறப்பதற்கு முன்னர் பாலா அண்ணர் தனது மரணத்தை பின்வருமாறு வர்ணித்தார்: ‘’18000 மேற்பட்ட போராளிகளினை சந்திக்கும் பயணத்தில் உள்ளேன்’’

இன்று எங்கள் மாவீரர்கள் பாலா அண்ணரை ஆரத்தழுவி வரவேற்று அவரது சிந்தனை அனுபவங்களை அவருக்கேயுரிய செழுமையான மொழியில் கேட்கையில் நாங்கள் அவரது மரணம் தந்த துன்பத்தினுள் வெறுமையாகி நிற்கின்றோம்.

பாலா அண்ணாவின் வாழ்வும் - தேடலும் சத்தியவேட்கை நிரம்பியது. மக்களையும் - மண்ணையும் நேசித்த மனிதனின் தேடலாகவும் வாழ்வாகவும் அது இருந்தது. அந்த மக்களின் வாழ்வை மீட்பதும் வாழ்விப்பதுதே பாலா அண்ணரின் இறுதி நினைவுக்கு நாங்கள் செய்யும் நினைவு வணக்கமாக இருக்கட்டும்.

Balasingham death a setback to Sri Lanka peace -  Eric Solheim, IANS, 15 December 2006
Norwegian minister Erik Solheim, who last met Tamil Tigers ideologue Anton Balasingham only a week ago, says his death is a setback to Sri Lanka's tottering peace process.

"He was such a towering figure in the peace process. So it will now become more difficult without him," Solheim told IANS in a telephonic interview from Oslo, saying he was deeply saddened by Balasingham's death in London Thursday.

"I feel very sad," said Solheim, who enjoyed a close rapport with Balasingham and had more than 100 meetings with him, mostly in London, since Norway began taking interest in Sri Lanka some six years ago, leading to the 2002 ceasefire between Colombo and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE).

Solheim, who for years was Norway's special envoy to Sri Lanka and still oversees the peace process, said Balasingham believed that only a negotiated settlement would end the violence in the island nation.

"He wanted to make peace. He saw the formula in Oslo in 2002 (agreement between LTTE and Colombo), exploring a federal solution, as the only way out in Sri Lanka," said the Norwegian minister.

"He was very, very sad to see that the situation in Sri Lanka had become more negative compared to three or four years ago. He was also confident that ultimately there would be a negotiated settlement.

"His wish would be that we should keep on where he left. I am clear about that. We need to remember this."

Solheim described Balasingham, who was a confidant of LTTE chief Velupillai Prabhakaran, as someone who was "very dedicated to the Tamil struggle" although "he was very much looking forward to a negotiated settlement".

Solheim added: "He was one of the persons in the peace process who never lied to me. He always spoke the truth as he saw it. I had great amount of respect for him... He was a very tall figure."

While Norwegian leaders kept in touch with their Sri Lankan counterparts, Solheim remain in contact with the LTTE primarily through Balasingham, a British citizen living in London with his Australia-born wife Adele.

Solheim last met Balasingham a week ago at his London home. By then, Balasingham, who for years has suffered from diabetes and resultant complications and had became a patient of cancer, had stopped eating and knew that his death was not far off.

Solheim said: "He told me: 'It will be a matter of weeks (for me to die)'."

Eventually he died Thursday.
On The Demise Of Mr.Balasingham - International Federation of Tamils
The demise today of Mr.Anton Balasingham, the mentor of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, has immersed the Tamil diaspora into deep sorrow and pain. For thirty long years he dedicated himself to the Tamil liberation struggle against the cruel genocidal intent of Sinhala chauvinism. His death at a crucial juncture of the struggle gives us an unbearable shock.

An exponent of the Tamil liberation struggle, he has debated the Tamil cause on various international forums and led the peace negotiation team. He served as the guide that led the team to the Thimpu talks facilitated by India in 1985, a participant in the negotiations with Sri Lanka in 1989 and 1994, and as leader of the Tamil team that took part in the peace talks facilitated by Norway from 2002 onwards. The parting of this political and diplomatic expert who clearly understood how the Sinhala governments have been deceiving the Tamil people in a deliberate and planned manner, fills us with sorrow beyond words, particularly in view of the untold hardships imposed on us today by the brutal military offensives launched by the Sri Lankan armed forces.

It is widely known that he was the most important architect of the philosophical base of the Tamil freedom struggle and toiled with unquenchable yearning that it should be recognized by the international community, bridging the gap between the just prerogatives of the Tamil Eelam struggle and the expectations of the international community.

As a philosopher he was a humanist, and a lover of literature. We recall here that as a member of the Tamil diaspora this great man gave his best to the freedom struggle and has inspired thousands of Tamils abroad to follow his footsteps in contributing towards its success.

Till he breathed his last he held on to the lesson he had learnt from experience that the political freedom and security of the Tamils can be ensured only when the sovereignty of the Tamil nation is recognized by the Sinhala state and International community. The Tamil diaspora spread over countries like Europe, North America, Australasia and Africa esteem him as their voice and believe that their tribute to him is a genuine endeavour to make his dream come true.At this time of bereavement, we express our heart-felt condolences to his wife Adel Balasingham.

For Further Contacts: ift@bluewin.ch 
(IFT is a confederation of Tamil Diaspora Organisations)

Anton Balasingham: The Early Years of Life - D.B.S. Jeyaraj 15 December 2006
Anton Stanislaus Balasingham was born in 1938. He was a blend of many strands. His father was from the East and Mother from the North. His mother was a Christian and father a Hindu. His parents were also of different castes.Though raised as a Catholic Balasingham soon became a rationalist and agnostic. Yet he was deeply moved and inspired by the teachings of Lord Buddha. Balasingham’s first wife was a Jaffna Tamil protestant. His second wife was an Australian woman of anglo - saxon extraction. He was a British citizen but yearned for his homeland - Tamil Eelam - which he believed was a state in formation.

Balasingham’s grandfather was a “saiva kurukkal” (non - brahmin priest) from Mandur in Batticaloa district. His father was an electrical foreman at the Batticaloa hospital. Bala annai’s mother was from Jaffna town and a former resident of Martins road. She was a midwife by profession and was working at the Batticaloa hospital when she met. loved and married Bala annai’s father.

She was later separated and then widowed at an early age. Balasingham along with mother and elder sister moved to the North as a child. They settled down at Karaveddy in the Vadamaratchy sector. Bala Annai’s mother worked as midwife at the “Ambam clinic” in Karaveddy near the Athulu water tank. They rented out a house near the clinic which belonged to former Palaly Training College Principal , Kandasamy.

In his childhood and early youth Balasingham was known as AB Stanislaus. He attended Sacred Heart College in Karaveddy and Nelliaddy Central College (later MMV) in Nelliaddy. Karaveddy - Nelliaddy was a leftist bastion those days. The legendary Pon. Kandiah and many other “communists” hailed from there.Young Stanny as he was known then was also subscribed to leftist ideologies. Another of his favourite pastimes was to sip tea and play cards at the tea boutique at Nelliaddy junction run by “Sangunni” who was a Malayalee from India.

One man who profoundly influenced Stanislaus those days was the doyen of Tamil cartoonists Sivagnanasundaram who ran the reputed magazine “Sirithiran”later. Cartoonist “Sundar” as he was known was famous for his “Savari Thambar”strip. He too was from Karaveddy.It was due to Sivagnasundaram’s efforts that Stanislaus was apponted sub - editor at the Colombo Tamil newspaper “Virakesari” in the early sixties.

Stanny stayed in a grandpass chummery close to the “Virakesari” those days.Former colleagues at the “Virakesari” speak of him as a man engrossed in reading most of the time. He was not concerned about his appearance and not very particular about clothes. Meals too were not at regular times. At the “Virakesari” Stanislaus was soon put in charge of foreign news. This entailed translation of Reuters copy and other articles on foreign affairs. Balasingham however was keenly interested in philosophy and psychology. He also dabbled in hypnotism.Ex - colleagues describe him as Spiritual but not religious.

Things changed soon as Stanislaus got a job as Translator at the British High Commission. There was a transformation in his appearance as he opted for smart clothes now. This was not entirely due to the new job alone. Cupid too had struck. He was enamoured of a beautiful Tamil woman at the Britiish Council adjacent then to the HC. There was a romance . They married .

But their happiness was short - lived test when his first wife became extremely ill requiring advanced treatment abroad. British authorities were very sympathetic and generous . Both were allowed to go to England. Balasingham continued his higher education in England. But his wife’s condition deteriorated. She had chronic renal failure, ending with her requiring life sustaining haemodialysis. Balasingham discovered in London that he too had diabetes.

It was a life of hardship and sacrifice then with Balasingham having to work, study and care for his ailing wife. After six years she died. By this time Balasingham had become acquainted with a trained hospital staff nurse who also a “stranger” in Britain as she was from Australia. A second romance flourished between the young widower Anton and the nurse Adele Anne. They married very simply at the registrar’s office in Brixton , South London on 1 September 1978.

Balasingham’s MA dissertation at the South Bank London Polytechnic was on the psychology of marxism. Later he began reading for his PhD on alienation under John Taylor.He never completed his Ph D. But the media generally refer to him as “Dr” Balasingham.Why did he not complete his Ph D? Adele says in her book “The will to Freedom” thus - "But the demands of the revolutionary politics of the national liberation struggle of his(Balasingham’s) people constantly intervened in his research and teaching. A time came when he was compelled to choose between an academic life and revolutionary politics. He chose the latter for he viewed the cause of his people as just and to serve that cause was meaningful”.

Both Adele and Anton Balasingham served the Tamil people to the best of their ability. While he was called Bala annai she was called “Anty” (Aunty).  In her book Adele speaks of her life with Anton in the following manner -

“…It all began when I married a Tamil man, Anton Balasingham, from the island of Sri Lanka, in 1978. In that union, I married the collective consciousness and history of a people: a man who embodied the Tamil psyche with all its strengths and weaknesses. greatness and failings. That history took me to live in the society and culture of one of the world’s oldest Eastern civilisations: in the land of the ancient historical origins of his people, Tamil Nadu, the Southern Dravidian state of India.

For many years too I lived in his birthplace, Jaffna, the cultural capital of the Tamil people in tile Northeastern part of Sri Lanka, otherwise known as Tamil Eelam. I became immersed in the trials and tribulations, joys and celebrations of a people in the throes of a struggle to survive against a sophisticated manifestation of genocide. Subsequently, for the past twenty-three years of my life I have been exposed to extraordinary and unique experiences."
 
Sorrowful departure and joyful arrival - D. B. S. Jeyaraj in The Sunday Leader, April 2002

The joyful return of Anton Balasingham and wife Adele Anne to the northern mainland of the Wanni is another triumphant indicator of the human spirit prevailing over adverse circumstances.

The publicly acclaimed arrival of the Balasinghams on March 25, contrasts sharply with their clandestine departure three years and sixty one days ago amidst sorrowful circumstances. Balasingham left the shores of the island in a deteriorating health conditions with flimsy chances of survival. The situation was further compounded by the callous insensitivity displayed by President Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga to his plight. His recovery and return therefore is of immense satisfaction to both the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) as well as its leader Velupillai Pirapaharan.

It was on August 27, 1998 that a doctor 'Suri' attached to the LTTE medical corps opined to Adele Balasingham that her husband could be suffering from acute renal afflictions caused by thirty years of diabetes.

The occasion was the wedding of a woman Tiger cadre in the Mullaitheevu district. Mrs. Balasingham a trained nurse herself had noticed certain vital signs of deteriorating health in her husband and discussed them with Dr. Suri at the wedding. A worried Adele Balasingham thereafter lost no time in getting her husband checked medically.

A major problem in LTTE controlled regions is the lack of adequate medical facilities due to the embargo imposed by the state in violation of Geneva protocols. Balasingham, a diabetic on insulin had also been deprived of sufficient quantities because of drug shortages in the Wanni.

Preliminary tests through comparatively primitive methods like heating up a test tube of urine samples for instance revealed unusual presence of protein. BalasinghamOs blood and urine samples were sent under a false identity to Colombo for further tests that revealed a crisis of acute renal failure was at hand.

Meanwhile, Balasingham's health began steadily deteriorating. A troubled LTTE leader got his cadres to acquire some insulin from India for his trusted political adviser. This helped to some extent but it was clear that unless serious medical care was provided the Tiger theoretician and political strategist was a goner.

Senior LTTE members and their families hearing of Balasingham's state were now visiting him regularly. Pirapaharan and wife Mathivathani were also attentive. Doctors in the Wanni made a collective examination and advised Pirapaharan that Balasingham had to be evacuated away from the Wanni for advanced treatment if he was to live.

The closest and most suitable place for treatment seemed to be Tamil Nadu in India. Some Tiger sympathisers invited Balasingham to come over clandestinely. But with the LTTE being proscribed in India and several political parties and media organisations adopting a hostile attitude Pirapaharan was unwilling to take a risk.

The Tiger leader instructed the international secretariat of the LTTE in London to explore avenues of getting Balasingham abroad for treatment. This resulted in Norway being willing to accommodate Balasingham.

One reason for this was that Oslo desirous of playing peacemaker to several conflicts around the world was aware of Balasingham's importance in any possible peace process. Norwegian Ambassador in Colombo Jon Westborg had been informed of Balasingham's crucial value by none other than former United National Party Minister A. C. S. Hameed. The ex-foreign minister who functioned as a government emissary to the LTTE in 1989 - 1990 had struck up a personal relationship with Balasingham. Hameed had in fact met Balasingham in London a few weeks before his sad demise.

With Norway being prepared to render assistance, Westborg was authorised by Oslo to authenticate reports of Balasingham's condition. An International Committee of Red Cross (ICRC) delegation consisting of medical personnel led by Max Hadorn visited Balasingham in Puthukkudiyiruppu and examined him thoroughly. The verdict was that he had to be moved as soon as possible.

LTTE leader Pirapaharan thereafter initiated an uncharacteristic move. He enlisted the services of the ICRC, sections of the Catholic Clergy and Norway to make a direct appeal to his arch enemy Chandrika Kumaratunga on humanitarian grounds.

The proud and unbending Tiger supremo is not one to seek favours from the other side but in this case his concern for Balasingham was so great that he opted to do so. Kumaratunga was requested to grant permission for Balasingham to travel abroad through Colombo for medical treatment.

Kumaratunga's initial response was positive. Westborg briefed her of the importance of Balasingham in any future peace process. The Norwegians informed the LTTE through the Tiger representative in Oslo that Colombo's response was favourable and that Kumaratunga was discussing the logistics of getting Balasingham out. When this news was conveyed to Pirapaharan he was overjoyed. In a gesture of goodwill aimed at reciprocating Kumaratunga's magnanimity he ordered the release of nine prisoners from the south in Tiger custody.

The course of events altered drastically after former Foreign Affairs Minister Lakshman Kadirgamar was also consulted by Kumaratunga on the issue. The first sign of things to come was when Kadirgamar vetoed a role for the ICRC in this enterprise on the grounds that the it was not to be trusted.

While the LTTE awaited a favourable concrete response from Kumaratunga, Balasingham's situation got worse. Finally, Norway informed the LTTE that the Kumaratunga - Kadirgamar duo had worked out a list of demands titled 'significant reciprocal humanitarian gestures' that were to be fulfilled by the LTTE if Balasingham was to be sent abroad with Sri Lankan governmental assistance. These conditions were of a military nature.

The LTTE hierarchy was required to guarantee the following: government administration in the north - east should not be impeded or disrupted; Government property in Tamil areas should not be attacked or destroyed; Sea and air transport of supplies to the north - east should not be threatened or attacked; Public property throughout the country should not be attacked; All persons in LTTE custody should be released; this included according to the Kumaratunga regime a charge that more than 250 persons were being allegedly held by the Tigers without ICRC knowledge; all cadres under 18 years of age were to be released also.

It was clear that Kumaratunga was seeking to exploit Balasingham's vulnerability and trying to extract major concessions in return. The Balasinghams told Pirapaharan to reject the demands outright. Balasingham reportedly stated that he was 'prepared to die with honour and self-respect rather than acceding to these humiliating demands.' Pirapaharan was furious at the demands stipulated by Kumaratunga and Kadirgamar.

Pirapaharan assured Mrs. Balasingham that he would do everything possible to send Balasingham abroad for medical treatment. A new option was pursued.

Balasingham and wife were taken on January 23, 1999 by a Sea Tiger boat personally driven by Sea Tiger Commander Soosai to a LTTE ship at mid sea. Thereafter, the ship proceeded to Phukhet in Thailand. After recovering from the strenuous journey that itself could have been fatal, Balasingham was admitted to a hospital in Bangkok for examination and treatment. This indicated that an enlarged kidney had to be removed soon.

Thereafter, the Balasinghams contacted authorities in Britain and obtained proper travel documents. They moved to Singapore and proceeded to London. After interacting with Norwegian officials, Balasingham relocated to Oslo for surgery and kidney transplant.

A young Sri Lankan Tamil in Norway 'Donald' volunteered to donate one. After recuperation and recovery Balasingham plunged in zestfully into promoting the peace process. His first public appearance in London was on December 2, at the Arena in London docklands of the Maaveerar Naal observances. He represented the LTTE in all discussions with Norway while communicating regularly with Pirapaharan.

Balasingham was primarily responsible on the LTTE side for getting the ceasefire adopted. This has caused immense satisfaction in Tiger ranks. This is illustrated by the welcome given the returning political strategist and chief negotiator. Given the sorrowfully clandestine manner in which Balasingham departed the triumphant mode of his arrival is certainly a jubilant event for the LTTE. There is no doubt that his return will be a boost to the peace process.

Almost every senior LTTE leader who bade farewell to Balasingham three years ago in Mullaitheevu was now in Kilinochchi to bid welcome. The Balasinghams, particularly Adele Anne, would miss one absent being their pet dog of fifteen years. Although a female, the puppy obtained at Chennai in 1984 was called Jimmy. It was left behind in 1999 when the Balasinghams left the Wanni. After three weeks of woeful pining for its friends the canine buddy simply died.

A Cheer for Dr.Balasingham - Dayan Jayatilleka (sometime advisor to Sri Lanka President Premadasa) n the Sinhala owned Weekend Express, 16 July 2000

"Everything I do is inevitable. 
Can we agree on that?"
- Tommy Lee Jones in 'Under Siege'

It was in their Brixton flat that I met Anton and Adele Balasingham. The year was 1983, before Black July, perhaps June, and I was on my way back to Colombo from a Student Pugwash conference at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. We had some things in common. Balasingham had published his mechanistic Leninist tract on the Tamil National Question in 1980, a year after I had serialised my mechanistic Leninist tract on the same subject in the Lanka Guardian under the pseudonym Chintaka.

He pulled down from his bookcase a pile of LGs and showed me the annotations he's made in my essay on neo-colonialism, actually the transcript of a lecture delivered at a Karl Marx Centenary celebration in March '83. Balasingham was working on his PhD thesis on alienation under John Taylor, who was to write an important book on modes of production. I preferred Samir Amin. Adele had started her study on women in armed liberation struggles, which was to turn into her notorious pamphlet. In those days, Pirabaharan used to phone Anton Balasingham from Jaffna.

Balasingham maintained his familiarity with Pirabaharan while the latter was in exile in Madras after July '83, even to the extent of criticising the first executions. But he got wise fairly soon to the new historical reality and learned to guard his tongue, making the transition from aspirant theoretician and ideologue to superb spokesperson.

As the struggle began its spiral descent into barbarism and fascism, he made a Faustian bargain, trading in his intellectual conscience and his soul to the Tamil Mephistopheles, Pirabaharan, for a small space in history.

 Others would follow, even from the rival ranks of the PLOT/DUPLE. Bit players at the big table, adopting Alice's axiom: "I don't mind being a pawn so long as I'm in the game". 

The tragedy of the Tamil intelligentsia is that the committed intellectuals of the 'romantic-heroic' decade 1975-'85 have long divided into two camps: the fellow travellers of Tiger fascism and the burnt out drop-outs; with the UTHR-Jaffna and the Tamil Times as brave and distinguished exceptions. 

Thus the tapestry of torment that is the Eelam struggle has not featured a single compendium of critical reflection by erstwhile Movement intellectuals and leading cadres, which attempts to set the record straight and make some sense of what happened, when and why. That is a basic duty the intellectuals owe the dead, the devastated, the dispersed and the dislocated. It is also a duty they owe the science of history.

Why then raise a cheer for Dr. Anton Balasingham? I do so, because his June 29th interview in the Tamil Guardian has cut through the crap (which passes for informed discussion and sophisticated analysis) in this town.

He has stated in clear, logical and unequivocal terms, the LTTE stand on the military situation, the constitutional process and the interim council proposal. The Tigers rejected the 1995 draft (and, I might add, actually went to war), so how could anyone even think that they would accept a constitutional draft which involves (an inevitable) trimming of the 1995 package? Not just the new version but the original set of proposals are non-starters in the eye of the tiger. Never mind the intrinsic merits or demerits of their position.

What is important is that it is a fact and has to be taken as axiomatic. It is truly amazing that so many people, some very significantly placed, others very expensively educated and impressively lettered; some local, others foreign, expended so much time and newsprint arguing that "the reform package should be offered to the LTTE", that "the Tigers must be brought into the process." Read Bala anna's lips. "You must be joking!" is what he's saying.

As for the interim administration, Dr. Balasingham is both rude and threatening. Perhaps most pertinently of all, while he finesses the question of Indo-US policy preferences, he states that no talks are possible until the Sri Lankan army is withdrawn from Jaffna and that the Tigers fully intend to resume the offensive with a view to retaking the peninsula.

Of course Dr.Balasingham is being wildly optimistic if he thinks that his admirably crystalline choice of words will put an end to the ludicrous, speculative musings of Colombo's chattering classes and their foreign patrons. If Mr. Pirabaharan ever were to take a bite out of his cyanide capsule, it will be due to the angst of the middle aged male in mind-life crisis: nobody really understands him. The nation that is his designated enemy, as well as the world at large, simply refuse to understand and believe him, despite his very best efforts - such as blowing up Rajiv Gandhi. It seems that nobody has figured out that there is absolutely no discrepancy between what Mr. Pirabaharan wants and what he is willing to accept. Strangely there is a 'consensus of false consciousness' that stretches from Colombo to Washington, DC.

The Sinhala chauvinists think that Pirabaharan wants Federalism - because it is "tantamount to a separate state" and anyway it's what Chelvanayagam, the First Separatist, always wanted for Christmas. (He was a Christian).

The Western liberals (like former Ambassador Teresita Schaeffer) also think that Pirabaharan wants a federal or confederal set-up, because it is not a separate state- which he knows the world community will not let him have for Christmas. Of course they're both wrong, and whatever the utility to Pirabaharan of such gross misperceptions, it's really going to get to him one of these days. And then it's going to be "good-bye cruel world!"

Meanwhile, is this place weirding out or what? Whatever was wrong with our society, it's only getting worse, and there is no evidence that it's going to get better after it gets worse. The Cricket Board elections necessitated the kind of security arrangement that only a visiting minor dignitary would require in a civilized society. A tense, ethnically-charged atmosphere prevails at Katubedde University. 2,500 Buddhist monks camp outside the BMICH awaiting the results of the Annual General Meeting of a private bank! Paranoia rules, OK? Liberals hold that if one gets on with the job of strengthening and expanding markets, the prospect and pursuit of economic prosperity will cause ethnicity to be displaced and diminished.

Economic Man will replace Ethnic Animal. Nuts. Not in L.A., not in Indonesia. Not every multi-ethnic society is an ethnically polarized one, but in one that is, all economics wind up, becoming ethnoeconomics. When Marxian radicalism was widespread, the word was that 'the bourgeoisie is a minority'. (As Toronto based Lankan poet Krishantha Sri Bhaggayadatta once wrote: "the only minority is the bourgeoisie"). Those days are gone with the Wall and what's blowing in the wind these days is an ethnic populism that inverts the Marxist thesis, holding instead that "the minority is the bourgeoisie!"

Sinhala Urumaya may not get many seats. 'SINHALA chauvinists of the world unite. You have nothing to lose but your deposits!" is the motto they may well have to inscribe on their banner after the election - that is if we are very luck. However, they have already made their impact; the damage has been done; they have released their poison into the bloodstream of the body politic. Social consciousness has been infected. Ethnic consciousness has (re) assumed antagonistic, hostile forms.

The mainstream media are on the ethnic bandwagon. A read-through of Tarzie Vittachi's Emergency '58 and the back issues of the Lanka Guardian would remind us that our society has been here before: in 1955-58 and 1983-88. It is a blessing that unlike in '58 we are not in a post-electoral situation, and as distinct from 1983 we are not (yet?) in a situation where the electoral option has been choked off. Today we are in a pre- electoral context and the opening up of the safety valves will allow much of the chauvinist steam to dissipate. But things are not quite so simple either.

The history of this island's politics in the early 20th century shows that jockeying for votes causes the whip of ethnic consciousness to be used most frequently. The predicament of the Ehud Barak administration also shows how the advance of a process of reconciliation can be vulnerable to the clout of small, zealot parties in parliament. If the next Lankan legislature contains a sufficient number of Sinhala Urumaya (and JVP) members, the entire reform process aimed at managing the ethnic crisis may come unstuck. On the other hand (as the Fiddler on the Roof used to say) delay the holding of elections and the rising tide of Sinhala chauvinism will take an armed form.

We will go the Algerian route. And we do not have a Abdelaziz Bouteflika to turn it around in the final reel. Perhaps we never will.


Anton Balasingham: Chief negotiator for the Tamil Tigers - Barry Gardiner, Tuesday January 2, 2007, The Guardian

 

Anton "Bala" Balasingham, who has died of cancer aged 68, was the negotiating voice of the people of Tamil Eelam in the north and east of Sri Lanka, leading almost every delegation for peace talks from Thimpu in 1985 to Geneva in 2006. But to understand how this unprepossessing figure of 5ft 7in became the "collective consciousness and history of a people", as his second wife once described him, requires an understanding of life as a young Tamil in 1950s Ceylon - independent since 1948, it changed its name to Sri Lanka in 1972.

 

Bala was 18 when Solomon Bandaranayake became prime minister in 1956, with a Sinhalese nationalist agenda. Born in Jaffna, in the Northern Province, Bala went from the Sacred Heart college, Karanreddy, to the leftist Nelliady Central College - where he watched civil rights legislation being dismantled as the new prime minister promised to make Sinhala the only language of administration, government and education. Riots flared up and the country experienced its first post-independence period of violence. This continued until 1959, when Bandaranayke was assassinated.

By the early 1960s, Bala was a sub-editor on Virakesari, the Colombo Tamil newspaper - and more bookish than revolutionary. He read extensively about Vedanta philosophy and Buddhism, deciding that Sri Lankan Buddhism had been polluted by racism and chauvinism.

Becoming a translator for the British high commission was a turning point. He met his first wife, a Tamil working there. Her illness brought them to London for dialysis, and six years of nursing his dying wife left its mark and deepened Bala's character.

In 1978 he remarried in London. Adele Wilby became his intellectual sounding board and "Anty" to the liberation movement. They returned to Jaffna to join the struggle as Sri Lanka erupted in rounds of mob violence, culminating in the anti-Tamil pogroms of 1983.

The Tamil liberation movement had been divided, but with the death of charismatic Tamil United Liberation Front leader SJV Chelvanayakam in 1977, the radical separatist Liberation Tamil Tigers of Eelam (LTTE), founded in 1972 by Velupillai Pribhakaran, emerged as the dominant force. Bala became its voice and political strategist. For the next 15 years he provided the intellectual justification for an increasingly gruesome civil war.

His importance to Pirabhakaran and the LTTE was evident from the extraordinary lengths they went to in 1999 to smuggle him out of the country for treatment when he suffered acute renal failure. After a kidney transplant in Oslo, Bala and Adele settled in London.

From there, Bala was much freer to conduct negotiations through Norwegian mediators, and the ground was prepared for peace talks culminating in the full-blown agreement of 2002 negotiated by the new Sri Lankan prime minister, Ranil Wickremasinghe.

I recall telling Bala a year before of Wickremasinghe's boast to me: "They want government? I'll bog them down with government." But he considered Wickremasinghe someone he could do business with. Bala had moved the LTTE from demanding statehood to insisting on self-determination in their homeland. Wickremasinghe saw the peace accord as a way of tying them up in administration while the economy benefited from a ceasefire. Eventually President Chandrika Kumaratunga, as much through her dislike of Wickremasinghe as her opposition to any devolution, used her powers to scupper the deal and the faltering ceasefire stumbled on. More than 70,000 people have died since 1983.

Without Bala, Sri Lanka's president Mahinda Rajepakse will find negotiating with the LTTE much more difficult. For 30 years Bala provided an intellectual constancy that clarified disagreement to the extent that agreement became possible. Norwegian minister Erik Solheim said of him: "He never lied to me, he always spoke the truth as he saw it."

Bala is survived by his wife.

Anton Balasingham, political activist, born March 4 1938; died December 14 2006

 

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