Encompassing Empowerment in Ritual, War, and Assassination

Tantric Principles in Tamil Tiger Instrumentalities

in Social Analysis
Author:
Michael Roberts University of Adelaide galleonroberts@gmail.com

Search for other papers by Michael Roberts in
Current site
Google Scholar
PubMed
Close
Restricted access

This study highlights the Tantric threads within the transcendental religions of Asia that reveal the commanding role of encirclement as a mystical force. The cyanide capsule (kuppi) around the neck of every Tamil Tiger fighter was not only a tool of instrumental rationality as a binding force, but also a modality similar to a thāli (marriage bond necklace) and to participation in a velvi (religious animal sacrifice). It was thus embedded within Tamil cultural practice. Alongside the LTTE's politics of homage to its māvīrar (dead heroes), the kuppi sits beside numerous incidents in LTTE acts of mobilization or military actions where key functionaries approached deities in thanks or in preparation for the kill. These practices highlight the inventive potential of liminal moments/spaces. We see this as modernized 'war magic'—a hybrid re-enchantment energizing a specific religious worldview.

  • Collapse
  • Expand

Social Analysis

The International Journal of Anthropology

Metrics

All Time Past Year Past 30 Days
Abstract Views 345 207 24
Full Text Views 29 6 0
PDF Downloads 42 5 0