Shobasakthi (46 years)
‘‘When I looked out through my cell window again, I saw the jailors Rogers, Samitharatne and Palitha leading the Sinhala prisoners, who were leaping down the stairs like fishes jumping into rain – filled pools. Death was descending. Rogers opened a cloth bundle and flung out weapons, and the prisoners grabbed at them howling ‘Jayaveva’. The whole building was filled with screams of pain, howls of ‘Jeyaveva’ and the crowing of victory. 25 July 1983 was death day.’’* – Shobasakthi reading from his novel, ‘Mmmm’
Shobasakthi speaks to us about a very important day in his life, 25 July 1983; a day that made Anthonydasan (Shobasakthi), who was in the 10th Grade at that time, a militant and later, a writer. The news of the deaths of Kuttimani, Thangathurai and Jegan who in his mind were national heroes stuns him. Based on many first-hand narrations and notes from survivors Shobasakthi pens a novel titled ‘Mmmm’ and the memories surrounding the Welikada massacre affect him even to date. He recalls villagers standing at the Alappiddy junction, which functioned like a main entrance to the island areas, waiting for their loved ones to return safely, days and weeks after the riots…
Shobasakthi, is a political dissident and critic of the Sri Lankan state and, the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) of which he was part of. He is the author of ‘Gorilla’, ‘Mmm’ (In English: Traitor) and a collection of short stories titled ‘Thesathrohihal’ or Traitors.
*Excerpt from the English translation of the book, titled ‘Traitor’
P. Vijayashanthan – Concept, Photography & Editing
Tanuja Thurairajah – Concept and Text Summaries