I was eating lunch today in the cafeteria when I first heard about Prabhakaran’s death. It was on TV, “Prabhakaran Dead”, written in big bold letters. I returned to my desk and immediately logged on to BBC, and there it was – Prabhakaran shot dead. I was not surprised, but I kind of felt sorry for the man and his lost cause. He fought long and hard for 37 years for a cause he truly believed in, and all he got in the end was a gruesome death, “His body was badly burnt when his armour-plated van was hit by a rocket and burst into flames.” – times.co.uk. Died like a true hero, or rather, a true villain. If it was the movies, after making his escape on foot /by car/train/plane he would be pursued by the hero who would eventually catch him and they would fight ferociously and recklessly, and since he was the villain he would die the most horrible and nausea-inducing death, he would fall off a cliff and bounce on the rocks a hundred times/would get his head blown off by a rocket or bomb/would be impaled on a sharp rock/fence/wood that would conveniently be found at the fight scene/ would get crushed by some heavy machinery / or get sucked into a huge rotating fan or wheel and blood would splatter out .... you get the picture.
When we think of LTTE the first thing that might come to our minds is Rajiv Gandhi’s assassination on 21 May 1991. I remember that day, or rather one thing about that day. A neighbor (who at that time was a politician’s wife) came running into our house blabbering “They've killed him, they've killed him.” The whole country mourned, and Rahul Gandhi so young and lighting his father’s funeral pyre must have evoked many tears. Those images and memories came back to me when I first heard of Prabhakaran’s death.
I don’t know if it is an indication of abnormality or strangeness, but dead rebels and captured terrorists/criminals always bring out the sympathizer in me. I hated Saddam Hussein like everyone else did when he was in power and he was the big bad guy, but the guy got captured and photos of him with his unkempt white beard came out, and he looked so pitiful and so like somebody’s father/grandfather. I felt a bit sad the day he was hanged, and the videos made everything somewhat sadder. Kasab, one of the terrorists who attacked Mumbai, got captured, and he looked so young and so vulnerable. He no longer looked like the machine-gun-toting bullets-spraying maniac. He looked like somebody’s son.
A few days ago some photos of Prabhakaran were published in the newspaper; in the swimming pool with his son, with his parents and wife and children. He looked very normal, like any regular family man, and if you’d seen that photo anywhere else you'd probably have thought “Oh just another South Indian family.”
In the end, we all die - no matter how good or bad we are.