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Tamil (Sri Lanka)

Tamil Eelam

Last modified: 2013-02-23 by ian macdonald
Keywords: sri lanka | tamil | sun | tamil eelam | tiger | guns | plote |
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[Tamil] image by Željko Heimer

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The flag is red with a golden rising sun with nine sunrays.
Željko Heimer, 15 May 1996

Tamil Tigers

[Tamil Tigers] image by Marcus Wendel

According to, the Tamil Tiger flag is the national flag of Tamil Eelam. It was adopted on 27 November 1990, the second national heroes day. The tiger was chosen by the Tamil Tiger leader as the national symbol because of it's historically deep roots in Dravida civilisation. It was chosen to illustrate the heroism of Tamils. The tiger also symbolises the characteristics desired in the freedom fighters of the Tamil Tiger movement, that is bravery, fearless heroism, an ambitioin of freedom, agility and aggression.

The yellow in the flag was is seen as reflecting the belief that the fight for liberation and self-government is based on humanity and human honesty. The red colour stands for equality, fairness and social justice - the ideal complete liberation of the Tamil people beyond self-government. The black in the flag stresses the death, destruction and other hardships involved in the fight for freedom.

In the centre of the flag, the freedom struggle is compared with a jumping tiger, with the head and legs of a tiger representing aggressiveness, and the surrounding rounds of ammunition and knives express that the freedom struggle is armed.
Collected by Dov Gutterman, 7 July 2000 Summarised by Jonathan Dixon

An extensive article about the Tamil Tiger flag is carried on the Asian Tribune, dated 15 January [2006].
Ron Lahav, 27 January 2006

Some salient points from the article in the Asian Tribune include:

  • The leaping tiger flag is described as the "symbol of tomorrow’s independent Tamil Eelam".
  • The flag should be flown at embassies of Tamil Eelam.
  • The Tiger flag was created by Vellupillai Prabakaran and became the flag of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam from 1977. In 1990, the letters on the flag were removed and declared as the National Flag of Tamil Eelam by the LTTE Leader. On November 21st 1990, on the commencement LTTE’s second heroes day week, for the first time, the flag was hoisted as the National Flag of Tamil Eelam by Prabakaran at one of his base in Vanni.
  • The symbol of Tiger points to heroes and their faith.
  • The colors of the flag are yellow (gold) signifying that the Tamil nation will always uphold Dharma, red denoting the aim to establish such a society in which all its members enjoy equal rights, equal opportunities and equal justice, and black which signifies that the path to freedom is hard and rough; it is full of unbearable pain, death and destruction.
  • "Karthigaipoo" or Gloriosa Lily (Botanical name - Liliaceae Glory lily or Gloriosa superba), which contains the colours contained in the Tamil Eelam national flag and which in November, the month of Heroes day celebrations, ubiquitously spreads, sprouts new shoots and blooms throughout the Northeast, has been proclaimed the official national flower of Eelam Tamils.

Ian MacDonald, 15 March 2006

The LTTE is organized into three main divisions, namely, a military wing, political wing and the fund-raising wing. A central governing body oversees all of the above divisions. The military wing contains the following specific subdivisions, which are directly controlled and directed by the central governing body:
Sea Tigers (image of logo at - an amphibious warfare unit focusing on utilization of naval firepower and logistics, mainly consisting of lightweight boats.
Air Tigers (also known as Sky Tigers, or Tamileelam Air Force, TAF) (image of logo at - an airborne group, consisting of several lightweight aircraft. It is known to be the world's first air force controlled by an organization proscribed as terrorists.
Black Tigers (no flag reported yet) h - a suicide commando unit.
An intelligence wing (no flag reported yet).br>A political wing (no flag reported yet).
Other LTTE Formations:
- Charles Anthony Brigade ( h named after Charles Anthony, alias 'Col. Seelan' (this was the first LTTE conventional military fighting unit, established in 10 April 1991).
- eyanthan Brigade (, named after Sampukuddi Pathmanthan, alias ' Ct. Jeyanthan'.
- Women's Military Wing (also known as Sothiya Regiment. Made up by the Major Sothiya Brigade ( and the Kutti Sri Mortar Brigade ( There's a flag of the Sothiya Regiment (all female fighter group), of the LTTE
The flag of the Sothiya Regiment is found here at There's also another picture of another flag at (this may be a Company within the Regiment). The Sothiya Regiment is named after Maria Vasanthi Michael, alias 'Sothiya or Sothia' (
- Maalathi Regiment (no flag reported yet), named after alias '2nd Lt. Maalathi'.
- Victor Anti Tank and Armoured Unit. Source:, named after Mr. Marcelin Fuselus, alias 'Victor'.
- Imran-Pandiyan Unit LTTE Anti-Aircraft Unit, named after alias 'Imran' and alias 'Pandiyan', two trusted bodyguards of the LTTE's top commander, Velupillai Prabhakaran alias 'Thambi'.
- Kittu Artillery Unit, named after Sathasivam Krishnakumar, alias 'Col. Kittu'
- Ponnamman Mining Unit (no flag reported yet), named after Yogaratnam Kugan, alias ' Col. Ponnamman'.
- Ratha Regiment (no flag reported yet), named after alias 'Lt. Col. Ratha'
- Civilian Support Unit (not reported on Wikipedia) (image of logo at
Source: and
Esteban Rivera, 13 March 2009

Sothiya Regiment

[Sothiya Regiment of Tamil Eelam] image by Eugene Ipavec, 14 March 2009

Victor Unit

[Victor Unit of Tamil Eelam] image by Eugene Ipavec, 14 March 2009

Sea Tigers

[Sea Tigers] image by Miles Li, 4 June 2009

The Sea Tigers were the navy of the LTTE (Tamil Tigers), which has recently been officially defeated by the Sri Lankan military. Badge based on Note that this flag has a sinister hoist (the writings are displayed correctly on the reverse side only), for unknown reason. Also note that this flag was intended to complement, rather than to replace, the red LTTE flag on Sea Tigers boats.
Miles Li, 4 June 2009

There's a picture at showing an LTTE Sea Tiger boat with the red flag as mentioned by Miles, to show that one or the other flag are hoisted on these boats.
Esteban Rivera, 4 June 2009

Other banners or flags

There was a photo yesterday on Reuters, but it's gone now. It was of a road in Sri Lanka lined with flags in the Tamil colors twice as wide as long, red over yellow, commemorating the anniversary of the first Tamil Tiger suicide bombing. The flagpoles were also painted in these colors banded - I wonder if this flagpole coloring is unique. I'm not sure if some might count these as banners or something - I don't know their official status - but they certainly flew as flags.
Richard Knipel, 6 July 2004

People's Liberation Organization of Tamil Eelam (PLOTE)

[People's Liberation Organization of Tamil Eelam] image by António Martins-Tuválkin, 14 January 2008

At one sees the organisation's flag, a red over black bicolour with a yellow 5 pointed star on the red part in the fly.  At one find a short description of PLOTE and other dissident Tamil Eelam groups, which no doubt might be vexillologically interesting.
Knut A. Berg, 3 April 2006

[People's Liberation Organization of Tamil Eelam] image by Eugene Ipavec, 14 March 2009

I found another symbol for this group, PLOTE. I am not sure if it's another flag or just the coat of arms on an accidentally light blue background that just so happens to have a rectangular shape, thus looking like a flag.
Esteban Rivera, 13 March 2009

Tamil Eelam Liberation Organization (TELO)

[Tamil Eelam Liberation Organization] image by Eugene Ipavec, 24 November 2007/p>

Horizontally divided medium-red/white/green, with a darker-red seal in the center, covering maybe 80% of the white stripe. Can also be seen at the bottom of; a plain tricolor is also shown in the header:

[Tamil Eelam Liberation Organization] image by Eugene Ipavec, 24 November 2007

Tamileela Makkal Viduthalai Pulikal party (TMVP)

[Tamileela Makkal Viduthalai Pulikal party] image adapted by Eugene Ipavec from BBC website, 11 March 2008

There's an article on BBC News reporting the existence of a breakaway faction within the LTTE (Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam), which is called the Tamileela Makkal Viduthalai Pulikal party (TMVP) which "is made up of former Tamil Tiger rebels, and they have not laid down their arms."

So far the logo has been located at, and there's some background info as well at I believe the flag is all yellow background with logo on the middle, but his is not confirmed.
Esteban Rivera, 10 March 2008

There is a photomontage, which seemingly shows the flag on this image in context at
Ned Smith, 12 March 2008

[Tamileela Makkal Viduthalai Pulikal party] image by Eugene Ipavec, 14 March 2009

The flag is very approximate but I believe that it has a narrow vertical green stripe at hoist and a narrow vertical red stripe at fly according to the attached image.
Esteban Rivera, 12 March 2008

Eelam People's Democratic Party

[People's Liberation Organization of Tamil Eelam] image by António Martins-Tuválkin, 14 January 2008

At is what seems to be the flag of the Eelam People’s Democratic Party. More info about this Tamil party at
António Martins-Tuválkin, 14 January 2008

Eelam Revolutionary Organisation of Students (EROS)

[Eelam Revolutionary Organisation of Students]

Flag of the EROS (Eelam Revolutionary Organisation of Students) proscribed as terrorist and affiliated to the LTTE (Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam).

Source: (published on Sunday, 11 November 2007)
eriveravelez, 26 January 2013