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In the Shadow of a Sword

In the Shadow of a Sword
The Memoir of a Woman Leader in the LTTE

First Edition
Critical Acclaim

November 2020 | 224 pages | YODA Press SAGE Select
Thamizhini joined the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) at the age of nineteen and spent eighteen years as a combatant, educator and, for some time, head of the women’s division of its Political Wing. Her memoir, In the Shadow of a Sword, weaves back and forth between reminiscences of her childhood experiences of state violence and her decision to join the LTTE. It recounts the many projects she undertook for the civilian population; her participation in the Peace Talks of 2002; the freedoms granted and constraints placed upon her during the armed struggle; and her experiences in combat training, on the battlefield, and in political negotiations and diplomacy. It is a narrative weighted with grief and remorse yet glistening with moments of humour and thick with compassion. The memoir contains wry observations on gender roles and media manipulation in times of war and is a valuable archive that rescues female combatants from oblivion.
Foreword: Writing Life, Writing War by R. Cheran
Translator’s Preface: The Woman Who Refused to Die
The Road Opened
I Was Born into War
The Political Cadre Undergoes Combat Training
The Tamil People and the Armed Conflict
The Female Fighter and an Unchanged Society
Memories of the Eastern Soil
A False Peace and Disrupted Civilian Life
We Lay Down Our Arms
Surrender and the Prison Cell

"A searingly honest and compelling account of how a liberation movement grows and wanes, why people join it, the humanity of those who have very little to give but are ready to part with even that for the cause. The book must be read by those who want to understand society - and how to change it." 

Business Standard, 13 January 2021

“It would be wrong to term the book as a militant’s memoir. It describes a Tamil woman’s life-long encounters with an insurgent outfit from a range of perspectives… a nuanced view of the LTTE’s militancy.” 

The Telegraph, 5 February 2021


When Thamizhini was a student at the Parandhan Hindu Mahavidyalaya (1991), she joined the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE). Having acquired much combat experience even as a young woman, she later became a functionary in the women’s section of the LTTE’s political wing. As a leader, she earned the respect of LTTE chief Prabhakaran, leaders like Anton Balasingham and Adele Balasingham, and the people she served. She participated in several high-level meetings and events that happened during that period, and interacted with several national and international leaders and representatives. More About Author

Nedra Rodrigo (Translator)

Nedra Rodrigo is a co-founder of the Tamil Studies Symposium at York University, and an external researcher at the York Centre for Asian Research. She is a Spoken Word artist who has been featured at Scream in High Park, Desh Pardesh and Masala Mendhi Masti, and whose poetry has been published in various anthologies. She has translated works by R. Cheran, V.I.S. Jayapalan, Puthuvai Ratnathurai, Rashmy, Kuna Kaviyazhakan and others. Her essays have been published in the International Journal of the Humanities, Global Tensions, Global Possibilities; Human Rights and the Arts: Essays on Global Asia; Studies in Canadian Literature and C... More About Author

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ISBN: 9789353886837