‘The child you threatened once, the young shoot you stepped on, the Tamil you teased, is standing with a gun in front of you.’ This short diary was recovered from Malaravan’s kit after he was killed in action in 1992, when barely twenty. In it, he recounts his unit’s journey to Maankulam, the island’s granary, to fight a critical battle where they routed the Lankan military. The LTTE’s planning and tactics, the fervour and camaraderie of the young Tigers, and the actual combat are minutely chronicled. As a foil to the violence, Malaravan brings out the beauty of the Tamil forest and countryside and the humanity and support of the common people for them, despite their suffering under army rule. Bittersweet, fresh and lyrical at times, War Journey is a testament to the Tamil longing for a homeland and the wider conflict that once engulfed the island.
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