A widow remembers
GRIEF: It is tough to be a widow. Tougher if the husband is gunned
down at your home. Worse, if the frail man had been actually wondering
how to cope if his wife died before him. A fortnight after suspected
Tamil Tigers killed Ketheshwaran Loganathan, his wife of 28 years is
still in shock.
LIFELONG PARTNER: Kethesh Loganathanâ€™s wife Bhawani lovingly puts on
the spectacles he regularly wore before his remains were taken for
Bhawani Loganathan, 56, breaks down as she recalls the fears Kethesh,
as he was popularly known, had voiced barely 10 days before his Aug 12
murder about his many ailments that included failing hearing, weak
eyesight and an irritable bowel syndrome that had never spared him since
"How will I manage if you go away before me?' he had asked me one
day,' said a sobbing Bhawani, speaking over the telephone from her
Colombo home. 'And I never thought that such a thing would happen, and
It was about 10 p.m. on Aug 12 when some men appeared at their
Colombo home and called him out. He stepped out warily - and was shot
Bhawani remembers that Saturday night, but recovers quickly and
speaks highly of the man she fell in love with about three decades ago
in Jaffna and who slowly graduated from a hardcore Tamil militant to
eventually become the deputy in the Sri Lankan peace secretariat. 'He
was a man of courage and he believed in certain values,' says Bhawani.
'I did fear for him after he joined the peace secretariat. I never
thought it will happen at home,' she adds, referring to the killing
blamed on gunmen from the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE).
Like in many such incidents, the LTTE has not accepted
Kethesh began his political career as an activist of the Left-leaning
Eelam People's Revolutionary Liberation Front (EPRLF), was its long-time
spokesperson and passionately opposed the LTTE. But he took no part in
the India-backed, EPRLF-led administration in Sri Lanka's northeast in
He took a fellowship in Norway in the 1990s and then lived in New
Delhi for two years. He quit the group in 1994, dabbled in journalism
and then took to more scholarly pursuits.
Kethesh and Bhawani had no children.
Both were voracious readers, in Tamil and English, and led private
lives, never hosting any parties and going to one only if it was a must.
He was 54 when he was killed - two years junior to her.
Early this year he quit a think tank to join the Sri Lankan
government's peace secretariat, a move some friends felt was a mistake,
since the body plays a key role in Colombo's campaign against the
But despite the dangers the new job posed, Kethesh politely declined
to accept any security from the government that is now locked in a
virtual war against the LTTE.
Bhawani, who has two brothers and a sister, recalls fondly the many
years she spent in Tamil Nadu as a hospital employee and a state she now
plans to visit to scatter Kethesh's ashes in the Hindu holy towns of
Rameswaram and Kanyakumari.
'We had money problems but I spent my time treating patients. Nobody
in the hospital treated me differently though I was a foreigner. I was
treated like one of them. I will go there next month with his ashes.'
Life is not easy now. She takes homoeopathy medicines to relax. The
telephone receiver is kept off the hook during nights and afternoons so
she can sleep undisturbed. But she has resumed her reading habit and is
hopeful of pulling through as a library consultant.
There is one gift Kethesh has left behind that she immensely
treasures - a volume of the Hindu epic Bhagavad Gita, authored by Swami
Chinmayananda. 'He used to read it at night before sleeping. It is with
me. It is immortal.'
New Delhi, Aug 27 (IANS)