This book would appeal to people who want to know more about the Sinhalese - Tamil conflicts in Sri lanka. The first few chapters are about the Tamil people in Sri lanka, their culture, language, religion and way of life. Their caste structure is explained in detail. I would have loved to see more about their history and the kingdom of Jaffna. The next few chapters are about the political developments of Tamil parties in Sri lanka. Here we come to know about the Ponnambalam brothers, G.G. Ponnambalam, S.J.V Chelvanayakam and other Tamil leaders who fought for Tamil rights in a peaceful manner. The last few chapters deal with the violence that became synonymous with Tamil nationalism starting from the 1970's.
Written by a Tamil, this book is definitely sympathetic to the Tamil cause. The author points out a number of anti Tamil incidents perpetuated by the Sinhala state that sowed the seeds of the present conflict. These range from political repression, such as higher qualifications for Tamil students to be admitted to universities, to barbaric such as the burning of Jaffna public library resulting in the loss of precious Tamil manuscripts and literary works. The author rightly points out that a democracy cannot function properly when the rights of minority groups are suppressed. However the author never condones the terror perpetuated by the LTTE on their own people as well as the Sinhalese. He never mentions the fact that the former Indian Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi was just one of a score of political figures that were brutally assassinated by them. He never talks about the Sinhalese people and why they hate the Tamil people except for saying that the Sinhalese are a majority in Sri lanka with a minority complex. In many places the author is needlessly repetitive and sometimes his language is meandering. Useful to those who are really interested in the subject.