19 November, 2018

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Alavi Moulana; Trade Union Leader Turned Politician Liked By All

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.

Alavi Mowlana

Alavi Mowlana

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.

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Latest comments

  • 7
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    I have to say as a relative of Alavi Mowlanas that, out of all the articles I have read-this one does so much justice to his legacy. Thank you so much for writing this and sharing his story so beautifully.

    • 1
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      Latheef Farook

      “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.”

      Thank for the write up. The SLFP manifesto, for the common man, did attract many, including the Muslims. Of course it was the Sinhala only and Sinhala-Buddhism that was driver in getting SLFP elected in 1956.

      Moulana was a man of principles, and they are rare among Muslims and non-Muslims alike as we have witnessed during the recent past. May his soul rest in eternal peace and may almighty give you the strength to bear this irreplaceable loss.

      Small correction, many Muslims Joined the SLFP. Dr. Badi-ud-din Mahmud was a founder member of the SLFP in 1951. Till then practically the entirety of the Muslim community were ardent supported of the United National Party. Dr. Al Haj Badi-ud-din Mahmud explaining his political stand at Galle Fort addressing the Muslim Cultural Association, in 1974 said:

      “I realized the inherent dangers of this political attitude of the Muslims, and, I joined S. W. R. D. Bandaranaike in the formation of the Sri Lanka Freedom Party in 1951 and became its Founder General Secretary. I offered my fullest support to Bandaranaike to form a Government in 1956. This Government brought about a revolutionary change in the socio-political and economic conditions of the working class and toiling masses of this country. I was made the target of all manner of accusations that were hurled against me. I was called a traitor towards the Muslim community and the epithet of Abu Jahil, the most inveterate foe of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (sa) was foisted on me.

      http://archives.dailynews.lk/2009/06/18/fea02.asp

    • 1
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      Latheef Farook

      RE: Alavi Moulana; Trade Union Leader Turned Politician Liked By All.

      “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.”

      His Funeral.

      https://www.facebook.com/dailyceylon/videos/1125798094147373/

      May Almighty Allah accept his good deeds and reward him.

  • 3
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    Very nice gentleman. He is an epitome of non communal honesty. May he rest in peace.
    Unfortunately heavy alcoholism packed his liver up. That’s life.

    • 4
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      five-four,

      “Unfortunately heavy alcoholism packed his liver up. That’s life. “

      he was a teetotaller, non smoker.

      A exemplary harmless man while alive.

      died of age (EU is 80)

    • 3
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      Don’t talk all these in a public forum.
      Please do not hurt feelings of his family at this juncture irrespective whether it is true or false.

      Whats known in the inner circle should remain in the inner circle. I miss my friend.

      • 4
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        I didn’t know much about the man, and I’m a teetotaler myself.

        He was a familiar figure in public life, physically towering over most others, and clearly a man who could be trusted.

        His family should be proud of him for what he really was; the article says that he was born in 1930, so he was at least 85 years old. He has lived a life any person, relative or fellow Sri Lankan, can be proud of.

        As has been said, all indications are that he was one of the few public men we have had who was a man guided by principles, and clearly an honest human being first, and all other things afterwards. His family . . . Muslims are practical; that’s why they dispose of a corpse within 24 hours. They will know how to cherish what was valuable about the man and excuse a few human frailties.

        I continue to get marginalised and suffer since I don’t drink! But what the hell! Neither drinking nor teetotalling is a crime!!

        I don’t know which “religion” contains the most truth. Most Sri Lankans appear to be highly religious – and hypocrites. Let us celebrate the life of a good man!

        • 2
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          Regarding Psycho’s comment, I can clearly see that he praised Alavi Mowlana for lies and saying that Mowlana consumed alcohol. I moved very closely with Mowlana for the past 35 years. I was with him day and night. Going out with him in his vehicle often. He didn’t even consume medicines that has 0.1% alcohol. These people must be punished in public for creating stories of a gentleman to tarnish his image

      • 0
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        Regarding Psycho’s comment, I can clearly see that he’s praising Alavi Mowlana for lies and saying that Mowlana consumed alcohol. What a lie. I moved with Mowlana for the past 35 years very closely. Almost with him day and night. Going out with him in his vehicle together. He doesn’t even consume medicine that has 0.1% alcohol. These people must be punished in public for creating stories about a gentleman after his demise

    • 0
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      Heavy alcoholism?? are you mad?? He doesn’t even take medicines that has 0.1% alcohol. I moved with him personally for the past 35 years. You are trying to tarnish his image by praising him for lies and saying that he consumed alcohol. You will get it in return from God. No wonder you’ve accepted that u are a psycho

  • 1
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    O Allah, forgive and elevate his station among those who are guided. Send him along the path of those who came before, and forgive us and him, O Lord of the worlds. Enlarge for him his grave and shed light upon him in it

    O Allah, forgive him and have mercy on him

  • 1
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    You say he was the first Muslim to join the SLFP in 1956. What about Badiudin Mahmud, C.A.S. Marikar.

    • 0
      1

      And the kind and gentle (late) Halim Ishak, MP? It is difficult to imagine the SLFP only with a few handful of Muslims in the 1950s. There could have been many more.

      Backlash

  • 2
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    At a time when politicians change colours in lightening speed for perks and favours, Moulana is a very rare exception. He never left SLFP and steadfastly remained with the party in good and bad times though there were many tempting offers. May Almighty forgive his sins, accept his good deeds and reward him with Jennathul Firdhouse.

  • 0
    0

    [Edited out] We are sorry, the comment language is English – CT

  • 1
    0

    I recall that he had a penchant for using humourous, rhyming words especially as answers to questions from the media. I wonder whether someone can unearth these gems and record for posterity.

  • 1
    0

    Dr M.L.A.M.Najimudeen,

    “[Edited out] We are sorry, the comment language is English – CT :

    Language, is a medium of communication. Current effective and popular medium of communication is English.

    The Greeks said of those who did not know Greek, Barbarians.

    What do the English say of those who did not know English?

    What do the Scientists say of those who did not know Math and Calculus?

  • 4
    0

    I remember him from my childhood when he would treat us to fabulous Buriyani feeds. This gentleman never betrayed his leaders nor his party for thirty pieces of silver. That is an important character trait. He was always working hard and willing to support everyone in the SLFP. He was harassed by the UNP. He and people like Dr. Badi-ud-din Mahmud who was a founder member of the SLFP in 1951 were rare.. They had the courage to be who they are and go with their own beliefs rather than be forced by people who wanted to control the thinking of Muslims and their politics. In fact in one way Mr. Alavi (Or Alavi as Mrs B and my late father called him) was like the Hon MH Mohammed from the UNP as well. MH was always in the UNP and voted in by sinhalese. They did not practice racist or segregationist policies. Say what you many of SLFP policies but Dr. Badi was Education minister.

    Alavi was simple and not as westernized as Dr. B. They suffered for their loyalty. Unlike some opporutinist crooks in the **** party who have somehow managed to find “principles” always in the nick of time when political winds change and be in cabinets of every government after enjoying perks and powers and money from whichever government and even engage in blatant nepotism and smuggling; Alavi represented(like a lot of the new regime’s Sinhala politicians too who were with MR virtually until the last poll showed him losing!) Alavi never deserted ship in the toughest of times though he could have and he could have enjoyed life and enriched himself if he became a UNP muslim in 1977. He did not.

    I remember wanting to go say hello to him once when I saw him leaving Majestic City. The terrorist war was still going on and he had a security escort, not that big because he was not target but he was Governor. I told his cop I was so and sos son and will I just be able to speak to him. The cop was nice, he ran up to Alavi’s Benz and Alavi rolled down his window and addressed me as “Son, how are you, yes I remember your father really well” and then asked if I needed anything. No I was back in SL on vacation and when I saw this nice man who used to treat us to Buriyani, I became sentimental. So all I wanted to do was say “hello sir good to see you” because he had by then rise to be a prestigious position as Governor from his humble beginnings. May he attain Nibbana. Loyalty is a very rare trait in Sri Lankan politics.

  • 3
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    He was a good trade unionist. But MR made him the governor and he never protested or corrected MR,when he was doing all the nasty things. When you are silent, it means you approve of what MR did. Sorry to be a blanket but I wish he had spoken the truth.

    • 1
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      I agree with you. He WAS a trade unionist but that was long time ago. After that he was with Mahinda. He was only a puppet. He did nothing when MR did all the jugglery. He is dead and while he was alive, he could have done better.

    • 0
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      Who could correct MR? Did MR listen to anyone? Mowlana advised MR a lot, but fell in deaf ears and that’s why MR lost his presidency. Don’t talk without knowing the inside story

  • 1
    0

    Lots of people are invoking God to forgive his sins, looks like he is a sinner.

    • 0
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      Latheef Farook ia normally critical about people. I am surprised that he is full of praise to this ex MR’s man. He was not a cackler. What did he with BBS do when MR was swindling and tormenting the people. I thought that he was a supporter of BBS

      • 0
        0

        To Zaneera Farook:- Mowlana was seriously ill when BBS was troubling Muslims. Mowlana was hospitalised, but still he spoke to MR and asked him to stop BBS immediately which fell in deaf ears. Don’t talk without knowing the fact

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