Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Rajiv Gandhi and Prabhakaran

May 21,1991 was the day Rajiv Gandhi was blown up in Sriperumpudur by a suicide bomber. May 19, 2009 was the day Sri Lankan forces killed V. Prabhakaran, leader of  the LTTE.

I have been observing street posters in Chennai since 1997. I can see some patterns in the way emotions have changed this way and that way.

Till 2008, Rajiv posters were about revenge and demanding bringing the killers of Rajiv Gandhi to justice.

2009 was a difficult year. Before Rajiv memorial day, the whole state was under extreme tension as news of LTTE's defeat and Prabhakaran's killing hit the people strong. Congressmen were careful with their posters. No triumphalism.

The next 2-3 years, that is till 2012, pro-Eelam supporters out-shouted and out-matched Rajiv supporters in the poster space. It was about justice for the Sri Lankan Tamils killed in Mullivaikkal. Rajiv posters were there, but somewhat subdued.

This year, I see a shift. I see strong, bolder messages by the Congressmen, projecting Rajiv Gandhi forcefully. Pro-Eelam rallies are down, posters are fewer and the meetings cracked down by the police.

It seems to me that over the next 10 years, Rajiv Gandhi will slowly eat into the poster space, and come out as a victor.

I am not reading much into this yet. Merely voicing a very subjective, very limited viewpoint, based on extremely limited data.


  1. Its indeed too subjective ..not sure where the Pro-eelam will go. It depends on how the two dravidian parties will play the game BUT surely Rajiv will not come out as a victor for the way Congress has ruled in the last 9 years.The anger on Congress will work against Rajiv I guess.

  2. Rajiv and congress will never come victor! Pro-Eelam forces are stronger than 2009 in TN and all over the world. The diaspora Tamils have learned and start active strategically. Now more members of congress/senators and parliament are supporting and attending Tamil functions without any hesitation, which they had before 2009. I have personal experience with my congresswomen. I have met her before 2009 and after. Now she is more sympathetic and would support political solution to Tamils. Still not supporting separate Thamileelam but time (and rajapakse brothers) will change them. Tamils will get Thamileelam eventually.

  3. Congress has become a "toxic asset" in TN political space. Nobody wants to keep them in their proximity. They had a vote bank of roughly 10% which they used to supplement with one of the major dravidian parties. Now, that share has been eroded significantly due to various factors such as change in demographics and lack of convincing activities to garner new support. They become "Untouchable" (untouchable in the Indian context) after the Elam war. If G.K.Vasan and his clique decides to renew Tamil Manila Congress which I presume would happen between now and the next parliamentary election, that would be the final nail in congress's coffin in TN.