Maaveerar day

Maaveerar Naal held all over Tamil Eelam !

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Tamil nation commemorates Maaveerar Naal 2019

After weeks of preparation and threats, Maaveerar Naal was commemorated all over Mullaitivu on November 27.

Mullaitivu was the district with the highest number of thuyilum illams – cemeteries for fallen LTTE fighters – in the Tamil homeland. It is now currently the most heavily militarised district in the Tamil homeland, and organisers of Maaveerar Naal felt the consequences of the militarisation heavily as volunteers were intimidated and threatened throughout the preparation process.

The majority of the thuyilum illams were however  successfully cleared this year for Maaveerar Naal and commemorations were held in at least six different locations around the district.

Alankulam Thuyilum Illam (Mallavi)

Irattaivaikkal Thuyilum Illam

Vannivilankulam Thuyilum Illam

Mulliyavalai Thuyilum Illam

Iranappalai Thuyilum Illam

Stones bearing names of 25,000 Maaveerar erected in Jaffna !

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Stones inscribed with the names of 25,000 Tamil liberation fighters were erected in Jaffna earlier today, as Tamils in the homeland and around the world prepare to mark Maaveerar Naal.

A ceremony was held in Nallur earlier today, with the lighting of a flame and placing a flower garland around destroyed tombstones, as preparations continued for tomorrow. The stones were constructed through a collaborative project from the Tamil National Peoples’ Front and tamil civil society activists.

Novemeber 27th, which has been marked as Maaveerar Naal – or Heroes’ Day – will see Tamils across the North-East and in the diaspora commemorate fallen fighters in the Tamil struggle.

Maaveerar Naal !

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Maaveerar Naal (Great Heroes’ Day; Tamil: மாவீரர் நாள் Māvīrar Nāḷ) is a remembrance day observed by Eelam Tamils to remember the deaths of militants who fought for the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE). It is held each year on 27 November, the date on which the first LTTE cadre, Lt. Shankar (Sathiyanathan alias Suresh), is said to have died in combat in 1982.Traditionally oil lamps are lit for the three days ending on the 27 November and the Tamil Eelam flag is raised at ceremonies. The symbol for Maaveerar Naal is the karthigaipoo (Gloriosa superba), which blooms during November.

The first Maaveerar Naal was held on 27 November 1989. The date was chosen as it was the anniversary of the first LTTE cadre to die in combat, Lt. Shankar (Sathiyanathan alias Suresh), who died on 27 November 1982. On 27 November 1989 around 600 LTTE cadres gathered secretly in the jungles near Nithikaikulam in Manal Aru, Mullaitivu District, to remember their fallen comrades who at that time numbered around 1,300. In his speech LTTE leader V. Prabhakaran told the gathering that if he ever betrayed Tamil Eelam they must kill him.

Following the withdrawal of the Indian Peace Keeping Force in 1990 the LTTE gained controlled of large areas of territory in the north and east of Sri Lanka. The LTTE started developing ways to commemorate its dead heroes. They built thuyilum illam (resting place) for their maaveerar (great heroes) in territory they controlled.In 1991 the week leading up to Maaveerar Naal was declared Great Heroes’ Week. This resulted in Prabhakaran’s birthday, which falls on 26 November, being included in the commemorations. The celebration of Prabhakaran’s birthday began to overshadow the Maaveerar Naal commemorations to an extent that some even believed that Maaveerar Naal was a celebration of Prabhakaran’s birthday. This resulted in Prabhakaran banning any celebration of his birthday.Commemorations eventually started amongst the growing Sri Lankan Tamil diaspora.

Over the years the commemorations became more elaborate, involving meetings, religious rituals, processions and exhibitions with cut-outs, posters and handbills of the dead cadres being distributed widely. Every village and every school were expected commemorate their dead cadres. Families of the dead cadres would gather at thuyilum illam to mourn their dead relatives. The culmination of the commemorations was a great function at a special location at which the reclusive Prabhakaran gave a speech which started at 6.05pm, the precise time Lt. Shankar died. The highly anticipated speeches began to take on the form of an annual policy statement by the LTTE and were broadcast on LTTE affiliated radio and TV stations in LTTE controlled areas and abroad.

After the Sri Lankan military recaptured the Jaffna peninsula in 1995 they destroyed LTTE cemeteries – thuyilum illam – in the area including those at Chaadi, Ellangkulam, Kodikamam and Kopay. Following the start of the Norwegian mediated peace process in 2002 the LTTE started rebuilding their war cemeteries.[14] Maaveerar Naal commemorations were allowed in government territory. In 2004 Tamil National Alliance (TNA) MPs were allowed to light oil lamps in front of the Parliament to commemorate Maaveerar Naal. However, after the peace process stalled the Sri Lankan military started imposing restrictions on Maaveerar Naal commemorations and destroying LTTE cemeteries.

From Wikipedia,


Great Heroes’ Day
The celebration of heroism by the Government and other former IIavar movements

Great Heroes’ Day

27th November was made Great Heroes’ Day from 1989 onwards to commemorate the death of Cankar. In Tamil it is called mavirar nal, “Day of the Great Heroes”. This day was prolonged in 1990 to a whole week. The 27th takes the position of a national day in the present form of the anticipated nation­state of Tamililam. Its purpose is to channel veneration of all LTTE martyrs. It prevents commemorative rituals from being dispersed all over the year.

For a Westerner it can be shortly described as an agon of the LTTE in which the agony of the heroes’ death is commemorated and transformed into a victory. Mavirar nal, “Great Heroes’ Day”, is celebrated as elucci nal. This later expression has the double meaning of “Day of edification” and “Day of rising”. The participant may choose either, one, or better both meanings, according to his or her understanding and liking. “Great Heroes’ Day” is indeed a day of mourning, of agony, but it is transformed into a Day of edification and, or, rising.

Veluppillai Pirapakaran was very close to Cankar. There are many stories about the last hours between the two. The fact that there are so many stories about it and that 27th November has been made Great Heroes’ Day and this day even the National Day of Tamililam, indicates that the death of Cankar was a key experience for Veluppillai Pirapakaran. We have to take this experience as the seal on the determination to kill and to get killed – to the last man.

The original experience and what really happened is today overlaid by levels of reflections in retelling the same story. Sankar is made a collective focal point to re­experience the mourning experience with its predictable outcome. The outcome is clear, to create a preparedness to kill and to get killed in the very act of killing.

One LTTE text prescribes that the week of the Great Hero begins at 9 am. followed by the hoisting of the national banner (the Tiger flag). The entire Tamililam having risen and put on beauty, shall shine in fullness, says the text. The entire Tamil population is in happiness.

The flood of more than life­size posters depicting Cankar on 27th November at the crossroads of Yalppanam is more than impressive; it is overwhelming. All the media are full of his life story, that touches a fundamental mourning behaviour in a martial society.

One LTTE text says that the tupis of the Great Heroes, houses, lanes, houses of learning, public places, the whole population indeed, and all people have themselves become holy on this day. According to this same text, the land of Tamihlam shines with new fullness, having become adorned for all these Great Heroes. According to this text, this kind of commemoration of the Great Heroes should not just be an event, but should develop into a cultural monument and become a cultural element.

During maravar nal cultural performances are arranged. “Cultural performance” is an English rendering for Tamil kalai nikaleci, which literally means “performance of erudition”. It can be a drama, dance, song or all three, very often combined. The LTTE has many well­known poets writing in the spirit of the LTTE.

A dramatic performance of and together with a famous poem by Cuppiramaniya Parati (1882­1921) made into a recital called accamillayaccamillai, “fear is not, fear is not” or enru taniyaminta cutantira takam, ‘When will the thirst for liberation be quenched?”, last but not least as a teru kuttu, “street drama”, is highly appreciated. It is worthwhile to look at the public recital in 1990 at one of these two poems by Parati, because both give a contribution to the concepts of heroism, which evidently have been incorporated in a cultural arrangement by the LTTE, recorded, relayed on Cutarcan Television, which is the local television of the LTTE in Yalppanam, and sent out in many copies to the Tamils in exile.

Parati was not only an Indian patriot; his poetic themes also show concern for the poor, the welfare of the common man, adoration of the ancients, confidence in the future generation, concern for women’s liberation, children’s welfare, and human values, but above all for India’s freedom from slavery under colonial power. He became a makkal kavinar, ‘”people’s poet”. Although his poems were written in Tamil they became known in several Indian languages, and many a militant within the Tamil resistance of today knows his Parati by heart, in Tamil, of course.

Accamillayaccamillai is the name of a poem created in 1914 by Parati, and is the first part of a refrain of that poem which is part of a larger text called Mata Mani Vacakam. The poem recited in Tamil in 1990 at mavirar nal goes like this (in the translation of K G Seshadri):

  • Fear we not, fear we not, fear we not at all,
  • Though all the world be ranged against us,
  • Fear we not, fear we not, fear we not at all!
  • Though we are slighted and scorned by others,
  • Fear we not, fear we not, fear we not at all!
  • Though fated to a life of beggary and want,
  • Fear we not, fear we not, fear we not at all,
  • Though all we owned and held as dear be lost,
  • Fear we not, fear we not, fear we not at all!
  • Though the corset­breasted cast their glances,
  • Fear we not, fear we not, fear we not at all!
  • Though friends should feed us poison brew,
  • Fear we not, fear we not, fear we not at all!
  • Though spears reeking flesh come and assail us,
  • Fear we not, fear we not, fear we not at all!
  • Though the skies break and fall on the head,
  • Fear we not, fear we not, fear we not at all!

In the performance of Parati’s poem in Yalppanam in 1990, the poem speaks to the performers and listeners of the recital about liberation from slavery, implicitly, applied to the present situation, of the liberation from slavery of the Sinhala dominated administration in Tamil speaking areas. The poem is vague enough to find its implementation in a different situation than originally intended, in a different place and a different time from its origin. In Yalppanam, on mavirar nal, it was performed by actors of both sexes and all age groups on a stage, and the recital was in the rhythm of a march, indicating firm determination.

Another poet is Paratitacan (1891­1964), who contributed to the martial language of the Dravidian movement and influenced the writing of the poet Kaci Anantan, who is one of the most important living and active LTTE poets. Paratitacan was a promoter of Dravidian separatism from India.

There is a tradition of singing songs on many occasions, not only Martyrs’ Day, celebrating the martyrs of the LTTE. They are now called pulippatukal, “Tiger songs”, but they continue a tradition of parani patutal, “praising war”, i.e. a genre of songs that glorifies the hero who killed elephants. This genre was popularised by parts of the Dravidian movement.

The tiger songs are distributed by the LTTE on cassettes and CDs all over the world to Tamils in exile. The most famous ones are by the poets Kaci Anantan and Putuvai. Both are highly active at present creating “martial poetry” or “poetry of resistance”.

This constructive literary aspect of LTTE martial culture, being a kalai nikaleci, `’performance of erudition”, is often forgotten in the image of the critics of the LTTE. It is very important to identify and highlight this aspect. It is both an expression and a mobilisation of the common thinking and liking of the people with the LTTE. On this level of kalai nikalcci the LTTE enjoys the strongest support from the citizens of Yalppanam. The LTTE may fail in its military adventure and experiment, but what it has achieved by its kalai nikalcci will certainly remain and be cultivated for generations to come. It will constitute the embers of resistance that no enemy will be able to extinguish.