What is Tamil Eelam?

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What is Tamil Eelam?

To the South of India and North East of Sri Lanka is a region where the native inhabitants are known as Tamils. This is an Asian community that has a deep history that is recorded from the some time in the BC era. This means that they currently have a recorded history that goes back more than 2000 years. Most Tamils practice Hinduism though there are a good number of Muslim and Christian Tamils. Due to the rich heritage and culture of the Tamils that continues to be learnt and practiced, there are those who consider them to be the last classical civilization among mankind.

Tamils have occupied the region of Southern India and North East Sri Lanka for more than the 2 millennia that their history is recorded.  After colonization by the British, the region which was previously known as Eelam became a part of Sri Lanka. After independence there was agreement to have a unified country in which all citizens would have equal rights. However those that came to power at the time choose to oppress the Indian Tamils with several disenfranchising legislations being passed. Through political pressure, members of various political parties begun by pushing to have Tamils accorded equal rights and justice same as all other Sri Lankans. This however did not bear any fruit and some of the more radical members of the Tamil community opted to take up arms and fight for an independent region which is Tamil Eelam.

Tamil Eelam is thus the independent state that the Tamil people fight for. The leading advocates in this struggle are the Tamil Tigers who over the years put up a strong resistance against the Sri Lankan government and had at some point full control of some areas in the region that they lay claim to. In these areas they established Tamil military that had army, air force and navy wings. There was also a judicial system, police force, health and education boards as well as radio and television stations. All these were operated at a very basic level due to the limited resources that the Tamil Tigers had and a lack of recognition by the international community. There was also a serious challenge posed by the Sri Lankan army which made operating these institutions a challenge.

2009 was a difficult year for the Tamil as it begun with the capture of Kilinochchi which was the designated administrative capital of Tamil Eelam. From there the Sri Lankan army went on an all out attack that continued until the 18th of May. By this time they had wiped out almost all the military and political leadership of the Tamil resistance. Those who survived this onslaught took off and continue to pressure for the independence of Tamil Eelam from their foreign bases around the world.

Tamil Eelam is still a hope and aspiration for the Tamil people and though they have suffered serious and severe physical loss in this struggle, their spirits and hopes remain strong for the day that they will celebrate an independent state of Tamil Eelam.

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