My political class teacher would often claim Fredrich Engels’ claim that Marx died when Jenny died. When I searched for Marx-Jenny’s biography with curiosity, I was amazed at the immense love between them. Born in Germany, Jenny was exiled from her home country for her husband Marx’s political ideas and was a close companion to her husband despite being a refugee in Paris, Brussels and London. Lovers united by ambition, made history beyond the trials that befell them in the name of the same ideal.
The stories of many who, like Marx and Jenny, were united by ideals and eventually lived and died apart, are epicly recorded in our soil. I am writing this post from memories of that soil.
In the 1970s, Balasingham Mahendran, a young man from Valvettithurai, the northern tip of the island, and Vinitha Samarasinghe Gunasekara, a young woman from Matara, the southern tip of Sri Lanka, were leaving their respective villages to join the Sri Lanka Police. After police training, they are recruited in the Colombo city area.
Involvement with left-wing movements, the game of rugby, the adventures of the drum, the love blossoms between the vibrant young Mahendran and Vinitha, who worked as a female telecommunications officer. In a country like Sri Lanka, which is divided by social identities, there was a lot of courage for their love that flourished across all barriers of race, religion, language, caste and region.
Vinita’s side reacted very harshly. Eventually, under the patronage of Vasudeva Nanayakkara, a comrade of a left-wing movement, their marriage took place in a simple manner. Their beautiful life began in the South.
Tests begin …
When the July 1983 ethnic riots engulfed the entire island of Sri Lanka, divisions between the Sinhala and Tamil communities intensified. Mahendran Vinitha is a couple who have to make a decision. Eventually the two decided to move to Jaffna with their child. Mahendran, who went to Jaffna, got a job at the Jaffna Chief Police Station. At the same time, contacts were made with the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), one of the liberation movements operating in Jaffna.
The Jaffna Chief Police Station was attacked and destroyed by the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) on the night of 11/04/1985. Mahendran, who was on duty there at the time, joins the LTTE. Mahendran becomes Nadesan. The period then revolved around the imprisonment of the Indian Army for some time in between the vigorous operations. She was also known as Vinitha during her husband’s crisis.
Vinitha, affectionately and respectfully known as aunty, was another mother who was given to the fighters and staff. Nadesan’s house in Puthukkudiyiruppu will always be like a Garrison / barracks. Aunty will prepare and serve food to all who stand there. If we go to their house to meet uncle (Nadesan) for some reason, he will warmly welcome and serve food. Vinita aunty is very simple. She will only come in the vehicle with uncle for any important events related to the movement. At other times she would travel with her daughter, on a bicycle, or in a rickshaw.
The final days of the war were a testing time for him. At dawn on May 18, 2009, the day the LTTE was overthrown. Nadesan, who was one of the top leaders in the LTTE, lost everything and stood alone as a failed man. Despite the handcuffs, Vinitha aunty sided with Nadesan. According to the data available so far, the stories of that deadly moment are heartbreaking. Vinita was witnessing the preparation to kill Nadesan before her eyes. She argued in Sinhala with the Sinhala soldiers standing there and tried to save her husband. An angry Sri Lankan soldier shot and killed Vinitha Aunty as he shouted “Sinhala dog”.
In the epic Satyavan-Savithri story, Savitri saves her husband by arguing with Iyaman who came to take his life. Expect mercy even from Iyaman, but one can expect blood-sucking bullets, instead of pity, from Sri Lanka’s cowboys. Uncle and aunty fell on the shores of the Nandi Sea.
Those who were united in life also joined in death. Their ideal love is respectful. Uncle-Aunty I pay my respects to you.
Respect for love