The run up to this year’s Mullivaikkal Remembrance Day has seen the Tamil nation express itself through various creative avenues, from marches through city centers, to choreographed dance, to haunting works of poetry.
The latest avenue of expression to be explored is the world of hip-hop. A British Tamil rapper, Ellaalan, has produced his debut rap song in collaboration with producer Santhors. The new single ‘Viduthalai Part II' , underlining the rapper’s discontent with the Eelam Tamil situation, was released on Friday.
*Warning: explicit language*
Speaking to Tamil Guardian after Mullivaikkal Remembrance Day, Ellaalan took us through his inspiration and drive.
Speaking about the origins of his name, Ellaalan said,
“The name is inspired by the fearless Tamil freedom fighters who carried out Operation Ellaalan, and were the living epitome of honour and justice. The name is also derived from the ancient King Ellaalan, who ruled Eelam over 2200 years ago and was known as the most just king in the history of the Island”
It took a chance encounter with a Tamil music producer at a protest, to spur Ellaalan to express himself through the medium of hip-hop.
“Being a hip-hop fan for over 12 years, writing lyrics came naturally to me, Hip-Hop is one of my passions. Ever since its inception, it has been a tool for the oppressed to amplify their voices, from Public Enemy to KRS one, to the modern era rappers such as Immortal Technique and our very own Lowkey. Hip-hop is more than just music, it is a way of bringing back fire to the hearts of youth. ” said Ellaalan.
When asked about his views on the current situation in the North-East, he said,
“ I feel that the current situation in Tamil Eelam is very worrying. All that I alluded to in my song, summarises how feel about the present moment. We are at a critical juncture, and it is a must that Tamils around the world mobilise en masse, in a co-ordinated, multi-pronged, self-sustaining advocacy effort for the liberation of the Tamil nation.”
Touching on his views of the second generation Tamil diaspora, he said,
“Our generation is often referred to as the lost generation but we are a generation that is well poised to address the conundrum in our host countries that led to the Tamil struggle against oppression being defamed as terrorism”
“In this respect, second-generation diaspora Tamil youth are in a unique position to exert profound influence, because we are important contributors to the societies that we reside in. The second generation youth should be encouraged to take a lead role in planning future initiatives and engaging with international actors. The reality is that we are the future.”
Ellaalan reiterated his views on the importance of the youth, declaring,
“Youth involvement is extremely important in any global initiative to further the Tamil struggle. Throughout history, youth involvement has been essential to any revolutionary movement, and we must not forget that the fight against oppression 30 years ago was spearheaded by youth. The youth of today are the supporters and leaders of tomorrow.”
Ellaalan listed his favourite rappers as ‘KRS one’ and ‘Common’, though admitting his favourite album to be Nas’s prolific album ‘Illmatic’.
Follow Ellaalan on www.thamileelam.org