In April this year, when Rajani’s colleague Rajan Hoole was about to launch his book ‘Palmyra Fallen: From Rajani to war’s end’ and tried holding a discussion around it, a similar response came from the University of Jaffna, where Rajani was heading the Anatomy department until she was gunned down, yet again bringing to focus the concern many share about the lack of space in the University.
University Teachers for Human Rights (Jaffna) member Rajan Hoole writes about his late colleague and friend Dr. Rajani Thiranagama, on the 25th anniversary of her assassination.
“Her actions were about integrity in the commitments she had undertaken rather than popularity or fame. She sought to work among the outcasts of society, whose sufferings were good for nationalist propaganda, but not to identify with and find common cause. She worked with women who had been abused and traumatised. Once politically motivated and able to stand up for themselves, they could become a bastion of strength within society to change people’s outlook and attitudes. As part of their education they were encouraged to learn from experiences and struggles in other societies. She felt a deep sense of solidarity for struggles everywhere, particularly the plight of hill country Tamils and the Sinhalese rural folk caught up in terror and counter-terror during her last years. It stands testimony to her character and sense of mission that she returned from England with her two little daughters into the web of the very organisation whose inhumanity she had come to detest.”