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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
15/09/07

Thileepan Remembered: 2007 - 2006 - 2005 - 2004 - 2003 - 2002 - 2001 -1998

Thileepans Fast to Death, 1987
 தமிழர்களின் போராட்டத்தின் ஒரு குறியீடு – திலீபன்! Sanmugam Sabesan,  15 September 2007
யாழ். கோட்டைக்கு முன்பாக 1987 ஆம் ஆண்டு தியாக தீபம் திலீபன் ஆற்றிய வரலாற்றுச் சிறப்புரை
நன்றி: புலிகளின்குரல்
லெப். கேணல் திலீபனின் ஒளிப்படத்தொகுப்பு

Thileepan Blogspot  "ஓ..என் நண்பனே..! மாவீரனே..! மண்ணோடு நீ கலந்து
மலராகிச் சிரிக்கின்றாய்
விண்ணோக்கி நான் பார்த்தால்
விண் மீனாய் ஒளிர்கின்றாய்
வாள் ஏந்தும் வீரருக்கு
வேராக நிற்கின்றாய்
விடிவு தேடும் மக்களுக்கு
விடிவெள்ளி நீ தானே."
more

Jyotindra Nath Dixit, Indian High Commissioner in Sri Lanka 1985/89 on Thileepan's Fast  "...Thileepan -- an idealistic and committed LTTE leader -- commenced a fast unto death in one of the main temples of Jaffna, taking the stand that the Indo-Sri Lankan Agreement did not fulfill Tamil aspirations and that India was not doing enough even to implement the provisions of the Agreement. The situation was becoming critical just about five weeks after the Agreement was signed..." more
Thileepan - an Epitome of Sacrifice & Detemination
Biography of Lt.Col.Thileepan
We Salute Thileepan - at Tamil Canadian

Martyr Thileepan 
by Professor Kopan Mahadeva, 
Hot Spring October 1998 

He passed away in full view of 
a hundred thousand or more 
pairs of tear-filled eyes, 
Fasting in steadfast defiance 
of violence of seventy thousand 
misguided gun-toting guys, 
Consuming not even water 
for eleven whole days, not just his rice, 
Bettering the Gandhian device 
to recapture human liberty 
through self-sacrifice. 

His nation had tried for forty years 
not once, not twice, not thrice 
but umpteen times to entice 
the oppressors with compromise plans, interim pacts, sensible advice, 
but all these were frozen like inert ice. 

Thileepan’s was pacifism against vice, 
with arms withheld as a last resort, 
as the ultimate face in the political dice. 
He exhaled national fire in slow breaths 
and passed vigour and fierce velocity to Tamil cubs, 
once timid and shy as mice, 
And now lives as the sinew and blood 
of armies of pouncing tigers 
pursuing national pride and peace and a national paradise. 

 

MaaVeerar - மாவீரர்
அணையாத தீபங்கள்

Lt. Col. Thileepan

"மக்கள் புரட்சி வெடிக்கட்டும்!
சுதந்திரத் தமிழீழம் மலரட்டும்"


Lt. Col. Thileepan was in charge of the LTTE's political wing in Jaffna during the mid eighties. He worked relentlessly to mobilise the Tamil public and became a popular figure. He was also a courageous fighter and his conduct under fire inspired the Tiger troops. 

When the Indian and Sri Lankan governments signed the Indo-Lanka accord in mid 1987, the Tamil people were undecided as to whether the treaty was to their benefit or not. 

Many Tamils subscribed to the idealistic view of 'Mother India' looking after their interests, yet were perplexed by the LTTE's reservations. 

When large numbers of Indian troops arrived on the island, the Tamil people initially viewed them as 'liberators' from the excesses of the Sri Lankan army, even though the Indo-Lanka accord was primarily aimed at securing Indian strategic objectives in the region and the ending of Tamil nationalism on the island. 

Many Tamil concerns guaranteed by the Indian government (such as the Sinhala colonisation of the Tamil homeland) continued to persist and the Tamil people started to realise that things had not improved. 

However, many were fearful of challenging the mighty Indian state and in any case, the Tamils believed that India would protect their interests in the end. 

In an effort to persuade the Indian government to honour its obligations (or perhaps to force Delhi to reveal its hand) Lt. Col. Thileepan began a fast-unto-death on 15 August 1987 in the grounds of the Nallur Kandaswamy temple. Notably, as well as refusing to eat, Thileepan wouldn't drink water either. 

His demands were that the Indian and Sri Lankan governments withdraw Sinhalese army camps from Tamil areas, stop the continuing Sinhala colonisation in the Tamil homeland, suspend all rehabilitation work until the formation of an interim (Tamil) government for the Tamil homelands, halt the setting up of Sinhala manned police stations in Tamil areas and release all political detainees. 

The Sri Lankan and Indian governments ignored his protest. As the days went by, the Tamil people watched Thileepan grow weaker and weaker. Within days, public concern had turned to alarm, though most Tamils felt that there would be a last minute gesture from the Indian government. 

On 26 August 1987, Thileepan died. His death sparked widespread anger across the Tamil homelands which translated into zealous support for the Tamil Tigers. A few weeks later, the LTTE went to war against the Indian government, which was now viewed as collaborating with the Sinhalese regime in Colombo. 

Despite deploying over 100,000 troops on the small island (as many as the Soviet Union deployed in all of Afghanistan), the 4th largest army in the world was forced into a retreat after 3 years. The LTTE, which was two thousand strong when the Indian forces arrived, had over five thousand men and women under arms when the Indians withdrew. 

Thileepan's death was significant as he almost single-handedly united the Tamil people behind the LTTE by highlighting the Indian government's lack of concern for the Tamils' rights in pursuit of its strategic interests. The Indian government's contempt for a Gandhian-style protest won more hearts and minds for the Tigers than they could have envisaged. 

The reasons for Thileepan's fast were the LTTE demands:

withdraw Sinhalese army camps from Tamil areas, 
suspend all rehabilitation work until the formation of an interim (Tamil) government for the Tamil homelands, 
stop the continuing Sinhala colonisation in the Tamil homeland, 
halt the setting up of Sinhala-manned police stations in Tamil areas and 
release all detainees held under the Prevention of Terrorism Act.

Each year, the Tamil people mark the anniversary of Thileepan's death. Sports events, literary contests, science and art exhibitions and other public events take place across the Tamil homelands in his honour. Some people fast in remembrance and many others undertake voluntary work. The Tamil expatriate communities across the world also mark this period.

It is also a time during which the LTTE strengthens its 'grass roots' support in the Tamil homelands and abroad, building on Thileepan's last words: "Let the Tamil peoples' war erupt".  (Courtesy: Sangam.Org)

Thilleepan Remembered....
2007..
Pirapaharan pays homage to Thileepan on 20th anniversary
[TamilNet, Saturday, 15 September 2007]

The Leader of Tamil Eelam, Velupillai Pirapaharan, paid homage to Lt. Col. Thileepan (Rasiah Parthipan), at an undisclosed location in Vanni Saturday. Thileepan, LTTE's political wing leader for the Jaffna district, who fasted unto death in a twelve days' campaign putting forward five demands to the Indian government to meet the aspirations of the Tamil people soon after the signing of the Indo-Sri Lankan agreement in 1987.


Tamil Eelam leader paying homage to Lt. Col. Thileepan [Photo: LTTE]

Lt. Col. Thileepan began his fasting on 15 September 1987 in front of the Nalloor Kandasamy temple and he passed away on September 26, 1987.  The five demands Lt.Colonel Thileepan put forward to the Indian government were:

  1. All Tamils detained under the Prevention of Terrorism Act should be released.
  2. The colonisation by Sinhalese in Tamil areas under the guise of rehabilitation should be stopped.
  3. All such rehabilitation should be stopped until an interim government is formed.
  4. The Sri Lankan government should stop opening new Police stations and camps in the Northeastern province.
  5. The Sri Lankan army and Police should withdraw from schools in Tamil villages and the weapons given by the Sri Lankan government to 'homeguards' should be withdrawn under the supervision of the Indian army.
     
2006...
Thileepan Day observed in Jaffna, 26 September 2006

Jaffna University students Tuesday observed the Memorial Day of Lieutenant Colonel Thileepan who led a fast to death campaign protest demanding the withdrawal of the Indian Peace Keeping Forces (IPKF) from Northeast, said student union members who organised the event at the Jaffna campus.

Despite the heavy deployment of Sri Lanka Army (SLN) troops and police force in anticipation of student unrest on the Thileepan Day, events commemorating the day were held in several schools and temples in the Jaffna peninsula peacefully.

The Thileepan monument located at Nallur in a public place was garlanded and lamps lit at its dais early at dawn by local residents.

Thileepan, Shankar commemorated in NorthEast, 26 September 2006

The nineteenth death anniversary of Lt. Col. Thileepan, a political leader of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, who fasted unto death in 1987, and the fifth death anniversary of Col. Shankar, a senior commander and the founder of the Tiger air-wing, who was killed in a Sri Lankan Deep Penetration Unit triggered Claymore mine in Vanni in 2001, were commemorated in NorthEast on Tuesday. Hundreds of people took part in token fasts. Temple and church bells were rung at 10:48 a.m. The leader of the LTTE, Mr. V. Pirapaharan, paid homage to Thileepan and Shankar at a commemoration event. Lt .Col. Thileepan fasted in front of the Nallur Temple, in Jaffna district for 12 days sacrificing his life on 26 September 1987.

Remembrance events were held at the District Secretariat compounds in Kilinochchi, Iranaimadu, Mankulam and in Mullaithivu in Vanni.

Political Head of LTTE's Women Wing, Thamilini, Jaffna District Political Head C. Ilamparuthi, Head of Tamileelam Judiciary E. Pararajasingham (Para) and Head of Tamileelam Heroes Secretariat, Pon. Thiyagam, addressed the audience.

"In the history of our liberation struggle, year 1987 witnessed a series of major challenges. Among the challenges, Thileepan marched forward with confidence and stood up for the policy. With his ultimate sacrifice, he shaped the political thinking of the whole people and strengthened the willpower of the Tamil nation," Mr. Para said in his address.

"The military psy-ops, propaganda, counter-insurgency tactics and thousands of paramilitary cadres of a superior military power, skilled in warfare, could not destroy Eealm Tamils willpower that sustained the struggle and multiplied our ability to resist the Sri Lankan state as a result," he further said.

In Batticaloa, LTTE's Political Head of Batticaloa District Daya Mohan, addressing the audience at Moonkilattu heroes cemetary for Batticaloa-Amparai war heroes in Udayarkattu, remembered the Thileepan's non-violent fast-to-death campaign before a war broke out between the Tigers and the Indian forces.

"Tamileelam national consciousness was strengthened by the non-violent sacrifices of Thileepan and Batticaloa mother Annai Poopathy in a unique way," Mr. Daya mohan observed. Tiger Commander Umaram lit the traditional flame and the flame of sacrifice was lit by Nalan, the administrative head of the elite commando Jayanthan Brigade of the Tigers.

 

தியாகத்தின் செய்தி - Sanmugam Sabesan, 18 September 2006

பத்தொன்பது ஆண்டுகளுக்கு முன்பு நல்லூர்க் கந்தசாமி கோவில் வீதியில் ஓருயிர் தன்னைத்தானே சிலுவையில் அறைந்து கொண்டது. தனது மக்களின் விடிவுக்காக, தனது வாழ்வைத் தியாகம் செய்து, தனது சாவைச் சந்திப்பதற்காக அந்த உயிர் தன்கையில் எடுத்துக் கொண்ட ஆயுதம் அகிம்சை என்ற அழைக்கப்பட்ட கோட்பாடு ஆகும்!. பத்தொன்பது ஆண்டுகளுக்கு முன்னர் பல்லாயிரக் கணக்கான மக்கள் பரிதவித்துப் பார்த்திருக்க தன் உடலையும், உயிரையும் துடிக்கத் துடிக்க தற்கொடையாக்கிய ஒரு மாவீரனின் தியாகம் நமக்கு சொன்ன, இன்னமும் சொல்லி வருகின்ற செய்தி என்ன? more

2005...
Thileepan's 18th anniversary commemorations begin, 15 September 2005 

"...Preparations to commemorate eighteenth death anniversary of Lt.Col.Thileepan (Rasaiah Parthipan), who fasted to death during the occupation of Indian Peace Keeping Force (IPKF) in Jaffna, have begun in several parts of NorthEast with red and yellow flags symbolizing the Liberation Tigers being flown at main roads, key junctions, business premises and Government buildings, sources said. Thileepan passed away two weeks into his fast after placing five demands to the Indian Government. Leader of Liberation Tigers, V Pirapaharan, paid floral tribute to Thileepan's framed photograph in an undisclosed location in Vanni..."more

2004...
Thiyaga Theepam Thileepan -  தியாக தீபம் திலீபன் - Sanmugam Sabesan, 20 September 2004

"..தியாகி திலீபன்சொன்ன- செய்தி என்ன?  "இந்த இனம்- இந்தத் தமிழினம் அடங்காது! அது போராடும்! ஆயுதம் இல்லாவிட்டாலும் அது போராடும். புல்லையும் எடுத்து அது போராடும். அடக்கு முறைக்கு அது வளைந்து கொடுக்காது!. பேரம் பேசாது-விட்டுக் கொடுக்காது. ஆயுதம் இல்லாவிட்டாலும் -உணவு இல்லாவிட்டாலும் இந்த இனம் தலை வணங்காது! அது தொடர்ந்து போராடும். தன்னுடைய விடுதலைக்காக-நியாயத்திற்காக- நீதிக்காக -அது எந்த சக்தியையும் எதிர்த்துப் போராடும்." .. more

Thileepan memorial day observed in Jaffna, 26 September 2004 

 "The final day of the seventeenth death anniversary of a senior leader of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) Lt. Colonel Thileepan was observed Sunday throughout Jaffna district. The main event was held Sunday morning at Nallur Kandasamy Temple premises where Lt Colonel Thileepan passed away after two weeks fasting unto death putting forward five demands to the Indian Government." more

கனடா கியூபெக் மாநிலத்தில் நடைபெற்ற தியாகி திலீபன் நினைவு நாள் படத்தொகுப்பு,  24 September 2004
2003...
Jaffna shuts down as thousands honour martyr 26 September 2003 

 "..Jaffna came to a standstill Friday as thousands gathered at the Nallur Temple grounds to observe the sixteenth death anniversary of Lt. Col. Thileepan, the LTTE leader who fasted unto death in 1987 when the Indian army was in occupation of Jaffna and most parts of the northeast. Shops, offices and workplaces were closed to mark the final day of the weeklong remembrance..."  more

2002....
Lt.Col Thileepan death anniversary concludes in NE, 26 September 2002

"The Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam have begun peace negotiations with the United National Front government sincerely and with confidence that we can achieve full autonomy based on Tamil nationality, Tamil homeland and the right of self determination" said the Head of the LTTE's Judiciary Mr. Pararajasingham addressing the concluding ceremony of the week long observance in honour of the Tiger martyr Lt.Colonel Thileepan in Poonthottam, Vavuniya Thursday morning..." more

2001...
Thileepan commemorated in areas under SLA 26 September 2001

"The commemoration of Thileepan, a senior member of the Liberation Tigers who fasted unto death on 26 September 1987, was observed Wednesday in many parts of the northeastern province of Sri Lanka which are under the control of the Sri Lankan army.Undergraduates of the Jaffna University lit a lamp before a portrait of Thileepan in the morning. Posters commemorating Thileepan were put up in many parts of the Jaffna town. Posters and decorations came up in several parts of the Batticaloa districts too. Some of these were put up near army camps and Police stations. .." more

1998...
Thileepan remembered 26 September 1998

 "The final day of the Thileepan remembrance week was marked with fasts held all over the areas in the north-east that are under the control of the Liberation Tigers. Reports from Batticaloa said that thousands of civilians had joined the fast in Kokkaddicholai, west of Batticaloa today. Sources said that at least one person from each household in the area took part in the fast and that there will be a major cultural function tonight in the village..." more

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