By Latheef Farook –
Veteran trade unionist turned politician Seyed Ahmed Seyed Alavi Moulana who passed away during the holy month of Ramadhan on Wednesday 15 June 2016 was buried at the Dehiwala Burial ground following day.
Discussing about Moulana a friend of mine Tilak Jayasingha, Sri Lanka’s former Ambassador to Palestine, reminded me that his uncle, Communist Party Trade Union Leader M.G. Mendis who later became Ratgama MP, time and again used to say that;
“Moulana had been a decent man with malice to none. He was gifted with the best of negotiating skills. With his pleasing manners, humour and the policy of middle path he amicably solved disputes that made both workers and management alike like him”.
Moulana was the first Muslim to join the Sri Lanka Freedom Party in 1956 when the island’s Muslim community was identified with the United National Party. He remained with the party till his last moment- rare quality in the island’s politics today when it has become norm for politicians to switch their loyalties for perks and position without any principle.
Be it during times of prosperity or adversity he continued to defend the rights of workers. For example during the time of late President J.R. Jayewardene who crushed trade union movements to promote his open economic policy, Moulana had to face numerous problems.
He was attacked and severely wounded. He showed me how he was attacked by bicycle chain and ripped open from his hip to upper rib. Those were difficult days when he had to face financial crisis too. However he didn’t turn to anyone for help but managed with what he could make.
When things became very difficult he did not try to join the UNP to tide over his difficulties. After Mr Anura Bandaranaike crossed over to UNP, I asked him whether he would follow the suit. His response was “my loyalty always remains with SLFP and the Bandaranaike family whether it is prosperity or adversity”.
As we know here in Sri Lanka political fortunes changes fast. After more than a decade and half of UNP rule, the SLFP came to power and his patience paid off.
Born in 1930 he entered local politics, Colombo Municipal Council, early in life in 1948. In 1960, during late Prime Minister Mrs Srimavo Bandaranaike’s period he was made SLFP trade Union leader. He was later appointed one of the vice-presidents of the SLFP and the senior vice-president of the Sri Lanka Nidahas Sevaka Sangamaya
Since then he has served as Deputy Media Minister, Minister of Provincial Councils and Local Government, Minister of labour, Acting Governor for Sabragamuwa and Governor of Western province
He was also adviser on Muslim Affairs to former president Chandrika Kumaratunga. On his 80th birthday he was honoured with the title of “Jana Prasadiu” at a ceremony by defeated president Mainda Rajapaksa.
He was a founder of Sri Lanka Committee for Solidarity with Palestinian People and played a crucial role in championing the rights of Palestinians exposing Israeli atrocities
As a Muslim he had been prominent role in trying to sort out every issue. His presence was everywhere in almost every function.
May Almighty Allah accept his good deeds and reward him.