Civil war generation documents life amidst death in Vanni

[TamilNet, Saturday, 21 March 2009, 04:49 GMT]
The Odour of Death: An Account of People Devoured by War, a collection of narratives and features of personal experience expressed in the form of short stories by 1983-born T. Agiilan, is a significant example of creative writing coming from first hand impressions of a generation of Eezham Tamils that has seen nothing but war ever since birth. Another importance of the book is its documentation of war-torn Vanni of pre 2002 era from the perspectives of a person of that land.

Poar Thin'ra Changka'lin Kathai
Agiilan’s book in Tamil, ‘Mara’naththin Vaasanai: Poar Thin’ra Chanangka’lin Kathai’, brought out by E Pathippakam, Chennai, in January 2009, begins from the frames of his childhood memories at Thiru Nakar, Ki’linochchi, when a Sikh soldier of the IPKF, attempting to hold him in affection giving him a balloon to stop him crying.

He first experienced the odour of death when his father died after being denied permission by the IPKF to take him to a hospital.

The narrative continue with the killing of many of his relatives when 18 bombs of Colombo government fell at Thiruvaiyaa’ru, in Ki’linochchi district in the 1990s, a spirited girl-cousin of him and another older friend of him sacrificing lives joining the liberation fighters, people moving to Mallaavi, loss of more lives and identifying a teen-aged classmate of him as a skeleton in a mass grave when they return.

Compelled to flee to India crossing the sea, his family is abandoned at a sandbank close to coast and he loses a brother who braved to swim in order to bring in help.

The subsequent accounts in the book are hearing the deaths of dear ones including a lover who joined the ranks of the militants at home and recounting their memories in flashback.

It ends with recording the psychological trauma a generation faces, when there is no guarantee for any of the beloved ones, whether human beings, animals, nature or land – and no professional therapists either to tackle the situation.

The strength of Agiilan’s writing comes from his perception shaped by encountering death, says Ki Pi Aravinthan in the introduction to the book.

The beauty of the stories is that they didn’t fail in bringing out the spirit and thrill of life amidst encounters with death.

The fascinating human-environment relationship in the forests of Vanni, enjoyment of school days despite schools crumbling in the war and the emotional discovery of self in the adolescent love of teens, are all recorded with a creative touch of honesty and nostalgia.

A special feature noticeable in Agiilan’s writing is the spontaneity and ease with which he reflects the gender equality emerged through the struggle in the traditional society of Vanni. It is possible only for his generation.

In Agiilan’s writing, violent death and sacrifice of life are not extraordinary. They are very ordinary, inevitable part of every day life, and life goes on. The society is self-therapeutic.

The Odour of Death is not empty wailing. It is an account of people braving to live.

Contact details:
Publishers: E Pathippakam, Chennai (Vadaly)

 

Latest 15 Reports
16.01.21 11:03  
Tamil national parties demand UN to inquire into crime of genocide and set up IIIM
09.01.21 09:37   Photo
Demolition of Tamil genocide monument, fourth emblematic trauma since 1974: Rev Fr Sakthivel
08.01.21 23:51   Photo
Colombo destroys Mu'l'livaaykkaal memorial monument at Jaffna University
07.01.21 11:22   Photo
With emphasis on genocide, Suresh calls for ICC-referral, IIIM and referendum
07.01.21 00:04   Photo
Boyle prefers IIIM demand over ICC-referral, says specific reference to genocide essential
06.01.21 14:26  
Indian Minister of External Affairs Jaishankar trades off Tamils’ sovereign rights
05.01.21 07:08  
TNPF's reluctance, NGO-meddling pose challenges to formulating joint Tamil demands to UN: Shivaji
06.12.20 15:44   Photo
Colombo’s brutal suppression of Tamil Heroes’ Day counter-productive to stated objectives: Tamil MP
27.11.20 16:44   Photo
Occupied Tamil Eelam marks Heroes' Day indoors, SL military detains seminary principal
16.11.20 18:45  
China launches world’s biggest regional trade agreement without Indian participation
31.10.20 10:58  
Tamils risk Kashmir-like status revocation if Gota continues Trinco military cooperation with US
06.10.20 11:40  
Poet Pulamaipithan who championed Tamil Eelam solidarity in Tamil Nadu turns 85
28.09.20 23:19   Photo
Muslims join Tamils opposing Colombo's suppression of Thileepan Remembrance in North
27.09.20 12:05   Photo
Tamils unify to mark Thileepan Remembrance, brave Colombo's suppression of memorialisation
26.09.20 09:10   Photo
Commemorating sacrifices of Tamil struggle is an inalienable right, not a subject for ‘SL permission’
 
Find this article at:
http://www.tamilnet.com/art.html?catid=13&artid=28737