Guerilla outfits the world over have their moment in the sun. The Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam had a fair share of it, dominating the politico-security theatre of Sri Lanka for nearly two-and-a-half decades. Under its dictatorial supremo, Prabhakaran, it turned itself into one of the world’s most ruthless and disciplined rebel outfits. It became the lone arbiter of the Tamil ethnic minority in the island.
The LTTE’s most important legacy in urban warfare was perhaps the human bomb. Over the years it cost many Sri Lankan leaders and army commanders their lives. It was a human bomb which killed Rajiv Gandhi in May 1991. The LTTE’s devastating use of the human bomb inspired other rebel outfits elsewhere to adopt the tactic.
Nitin Gokhale’s book tries to piece together the strategy the Sri Lankan government adopted to finally decimate the LTTE. Bringing his journalistic skills into play, Gokhale shows why the earlier tactics of the Sri Lankan government failed, while those it adopted for “Eelam War IV” succeeded. There are interviews and quotes from many key players involved in this ‘historic war’, but these are mostly from the Sri Lankan government and army. There’s hardly anything from the Tamil Tigers to show where they went wrong. But the book is a useful document for those who want to know the chain of events that finally ended one of Sri Lanka’s bloodiest wars.