22 October, 2017

C. Suntharalingam: Tamil Story Telling On The Citizenship Bill

By S. Ratnajeevan H. Hoole

Prof. S. Ratnajeevan H. Hoole

Cooked up Commitments to Hill-country Tamils

Ceylon Tamil leaders treated the hill-country Tamils perfidiously during the 1948 Citizenship Bill. Today, having wrapped oursleves up in the nationalist flag and it has become important for us to maintain that we were always with them. I had been asked to review Grandfather’s Letters edited by C. Suntharalingam’s (CS’s) grandson. I found myself quickly immersed in a web of lies on who voted how on the Citizenship Bill, especially CS himself. The review necessitated first a study of voting records of the time.

Let me begin with Prof. Bertram Bastiampillai in the Daily News (20.08.2005):

“Suntharalingam … walked out of the legislature … on the second reading of the Indian Residents Citizenship Bill on 10 December, 1948. Prime Minister wanted Minister Suntharalingam’s explanation. [He] immediately resigned in protest.

“Suntharalingam cleverly saw in the measure a plan to decitizenise and disenfranchise a majority of hill country residents who had made Sri Lanka their home … This was an obvious flagrant injustice. Suntharalingam had the courage of his conviction to forego a ministerial portfolio.”

This is the general, but false, view of CS. The truth is that CS had already voted to decitizenize the hill-country Tamils when he voted Aye for the Citizenship Act on 25.08.1948. The Hansard (25.08.1948, cols 1969-70) gives the division at the second reading. Ayes 58, Nays 35. Of the Ceylon Tamils, Ministers CS, and C. Sittampalam, and Members SU Ethirmannasingham and V. Nalliah voted Aye.  Voting Nay were SJV Chelvanyakam, C. Vanniasingam, AL Thambiayah, K. Kanagaratnam, V. Kumarasamy and T. Ramalinkam. The bill was passed on 02.09.1948, (Hansard col. 2003).

Chellappah Suntharalingam

The Left opposed it. The Ceylon Tamil Congress (CTC) had promised S. Thondaman of the Indian Tamil Congress (ITC) to support them. So six from CTC voted Nay. CTC leader, GG Ponnambalam was the exception. He was negotiating to become a Minister, so he developed a fit of coughing and left the chamber as the Citizenship Act came up for division.

The Three Bills and Hansard Records

There were really three bills affecting Tamils. The first was the Ceylon Citizenship Act (18/1948). It stipulated that for citizenship one had to prove his father was (or his paternal grandfather and paternal great grandfather were) born in Ceylon. It was impossible for most hill-country Tamils to prove, thereby rendering them stateless. It was a low point in our race relations – when Pieter Keuneman was speaking against the Bill, SWRD Bandaranaike cast a snide remark on “the brown Hollanders” (Hansard, col. 1707, 19.08.1948).

The Second bill affecting Tamils was the Indian and Pakistani Residents Citizenship Bill (3/1949) which too the ITC wanted opposed. It provided for citizenship by registration by those Indian or Pakistani residents in Ceylon who had an uninterrupted residence in Ceylon, immediately prior to 01.01.1946, for a period not less ten years for unmarried persons and seven for married persons. The ITC and CTC opposed the Bill. The Ceylon Tamil Ayes were G.G. Ponnamablam, K. Kanagaratnam, V. Nalliah, S.U. Ethirmannasingham, T. Ramalinkam and A.L. Thambiayah. The Nays were S.J.V. Chelvanayakam, S. Sivapalan and C. Vanniasingam. That is, six Ceylon Tamils for and three against.

The Third bill, Ceylon Parliamentary Elections (Amendment) (48/1949) was a sequel to the Citizenship Act and gave the franchise only to citizens and thereby stripped hill-country Tamils of their vote which they had enjoyed till then. CS Voted Nay. Ponnambalam voted Aye with C. Sittampalam, V. Nallaih, A.L. Thambiayah and S.U. Ethirmannasingam. Again the majority of Ceylon Tamils were for depriving hill-country Tamils of the vote. (Hansard, Cols. 551-2, 20.10.1949.).

Tamils Concoct Voting Records

Beginning with the Bastiampillai account, because the bills are a blot on the Ceylon Tamil commitment to hill-country Tamils, the history of that period is clouded in untruthful defences of those who abandoned the hill-country Tamils. Apparthuray Vinayagamoorthy,  a Tamil Congress MP untruthfully wrote (Daily News, 08.11.2003)

G. G. Ponnambalam

“[Ponnambalam’s] political opponents carried on a persistent campaign of vilification and character assassination against him stating he was responsible for the disfranchisement of several Indian Tamils in 1948. This is absolutely incorrect. The act which disfranchised the Tamils of Indian origin was the Ceylon Citizenship Act No. 18 of 1948 and the ACTC and its leader G. G. Ponnambalam vehemently opposed this act and voted against it.”

We know this to be untrue from the Hansard insofar as Ponnambalam’s part is concerned.

Bastiampillai says Suntharalingam’s son Gnanalingam, during a SLAAS debate with Kumar Ponnamabalam, referred to GGP’s unjust act regarding the Bill in contrast to another Tamil Minister’s [his father’s] bold response in forfeiting a portfolio than endorse an unjust act like GGP. But CS had voted for the Citizenship Act months earlier on 24.10 1948. Some days later, according to J.L Fernando (Three Prime Ministers of Ceylon, MD Gunasena, 1963, p. 27), GGP “The Damila [Ponnambalam] bowed low before the Sinhala Lion,” DS Senanayake, and was made a Minister, thereby striking one million Central Tamils off the electoral registers”. The correct number was more like 700,000.

CS resigned as Minister much after he voted to deny citizenship to the poorest Tamils. He resigned only during the Indian Residents Citizenship Bill (in December, 1948) after rendering many of us stateless. Bastiampillai’s and Gnanalingam’s sleight is to confuse the Citizenship Bill of August with the latter bill of December. Lankan scholarship makes heroes of those we like regardless of the record.

Suntharalingam: Ceylon for the Ceylonese

Ponnambalam was simply ready to do anything for power. But Suntharalingam? Could it be that CS voted for the Citizenship Bill out of collective cabinet responsibility and then broke off because he saw the iniquity? This view could be sustained except for CS’s explanation in Parliament detailed in the Hansard (14.12.1948, cols. 599 –).

Chelvanayakam

DS Senanayake (DSS) is furious that CS had absented himself from the chamber after a division had been called on the second bill (Indian and Pakistani Residents) on 10.12.1948. DSS says in his letter dated 11.12.1948 to CS,

“As you are undoubtedly aware, the proper procedure for a member of the cabinet as long as he remains in the Cabinet, is to vote with the Government on any Government measure that comes before the House. If any Minister does not wish to associate himself with any particular measure that is brought forward by the Cabinet he must not appear as a member of the Cabinet at the time the measure is taken up, and his clear duty then is to send in his resignation. On the other hand, a Minister who does not resign is required to vote with the government though he may tender his resignation immediately afterward. It is really difficult for me to believe however glaring the circumstances may appear to be, that you would be guilty of improper conduct.  I shall therefore be glad if you will let me know as early as possible the reasons that prevented you from discharging your obligations as a Member of the Cabinet.”

CS states he does not agree that he is obliged to vote with the government and that he had been unable to find any such precedent. In explaining his objections to the Bill he has no word for the rights of hill-country Tamils. “Speaking of his dreams of a Free Ceylon,” he adds that the “national economy had been gravely jeopardized by British Capital, British entrepreneur, Ceylon land and Indian labour [sic.]. In this sorry scheme where did the Ceylonese come?, he asks, going on to say,

“Since [25 years ago] I have been closely associated with the Hon. Mr. D.S. Senanayake in most public questions, one of which has come to be known as the Indo-Ceylon problem. If he was in his seat today, he would have admitted that the provisions in the Land Development Ordinance restricting the alienation of Crown land to Ceylonese were introduced at my suggestion – I almost said at my insistence. If I refer to these events, it is because I wish to give this House an insight into what I have always regarded as the fundamental principles on which the national economy of Ceylon should be founded. Indeed, the principles can be summed up in one phrase: Ceylon for the Ceylonese.”

Wounding India’s Self-respect Affecting their honour

In his mind, Ceylon is not for the estate labour then. What then is his objection to these bills? It is relations with India. He refers to Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, coming as an emissary of Mahatma Gandhi, not being happy with features of the Bill, and his [CS’s] playing a “small but significant” role behind the scenes to secure an adjustment with “the concurrence and approval of the Hon. Mr. D.S. Senanayake.” He quotes his letter to Senanayake on 02.12.1948 just before the vote on the second bill where he states

“I have been unhappy about this question since I know that Jawaharlal Nehru had not agreed to certain features in the Bill. I need hardly state we will be committing a grave wrong if Jawaharlal Nehru felt that our bill wounds the self-respect of India and affects their honour. I have endeavoured to convince my colleagues in the Cabinet that the points of difference that now exist are trivial in their economic consequences but are fundamental in their political repercussions. We cannot, if we can avoid it, have in our Statute Book an Act which will be a source of constant irritation to the people of India. As the friendship between India and Ceylon is an issue, I beg of you to give this matter some favourable consideration and concession. You know my attitude in this matter for the last quarter of a century; and I would submit, in fairness to all concerned, we should have in view the happiness of Ceylon and India and not leave to our successors a legacy of ill-will.”

CS tries to meet DSS who is sick and is unable to. He writes to DSS and gets a “brusque” reply insisting that traditions be kept by his resignation. Contrary to Bastiampillai, he tried to hold on to being Minister and DSS insisted that he go.

Thus most Ceylon Tamils MPs voted against their hill-country brethren. CS felt no sympathy for the plantation labour. Like many upper-class Tamils, he looked only to placating Nehru and India. Only SJV Chelvanayakam and his MPs showed consistency on standing up for hill-country Tamils. G.G. Ponnabalam was ready to do anything for office, even if it meant tricking his Congress MPs into thinking he was against the bills while he negotiated positions for himself.

*To be continued..

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  • 5
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    Prof,

    Are you upper class or lower class and tell us why?

    • 5
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      Prof. S. Ratnajeevan H. Hoole

      RE: C. Suntharalingam: Tamil Story Telling On The Citizenship Bill

      Cooked up Commitments to Hill-country Tamils

      Thanks for the write up, and letting the truths be known.

      It is clear that the upper caste Tamils were racist and castist, and they did not care about the Estate Tamils, did not care about the low caste Tamils in the North and the East either.The castist racist Tamils teamed up with the racist Sinhala to disenfranchise the Estate Tamil citizens. Only the left dominated by the egalitarian Sinhala and the “the brown Hollanders” opposed it.

      Now these “Upper Caste” Tamils have found a new Target, the Muslims, aided and abetted the Norwegians, the Christian Fundamentalist West, BBS, and the rump LTTE. However, they cannot wash away their sins, committed against the Estate Tamil Citizens.

      // It was a low point in our race relations – when Pieter Keuneman was speaking against the Bill, SWRD Bandaranaike cast a snide remark on “the brown Hollanders” (Hansard, col. 1707, 19.08.1948).//

    • 5
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      Professor, Could you please educate us; who are the ‘Malabar Tamils’ that British early census declared as?

    • 1
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      Prof. Bastiampillai writes:

      “Suntharalingam … walked out of the legislature … on the second reading of … the Bill on 10 December 1948”.

      Prof. Hoole writes:

      “he (CS) voted Aye for the Citizenship Act on 25. 08. 1948.”

      A Bill after second reading, has third reading, passage in the lower house, passage in the upper house and other steps, before it becomes an Act.

      Can Prof. Hoole clarify how the Act preceded the Bill?

      • 1
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        Prof. Hoole

        No Bill is presented in the legislature in December on what is already an Act in August ie a Law of the country.

        No clarification can be forthcoming. You can only retract. When you do that, your demolition of CS collapses. It is on dates that you have built your arguments.

  • 4
    2

    Mr.Ratnajeevan Hoole,
    So many educated people like Mr.Pelpola, Dr.DJ , you and many others write and write or give interviews or speak in public meetings. The big problem for the readers and the majority of the innocent citizens is whom to believe.

    Look at the interview MaRa gave it to Padma Rao Sunderji of First Global Telivision. There he contradicts Dr.DJ with facts. MaRa confesses and at the same time contradicts himself. Not only China and Pakistan helped MaRa regime,the India and US, UK, helped too but MaRa says he does not want to reveal.
    Why DJ bashes the west when two of MaRa brothers are US citizens where as Rohana and VP died as SL citizens ?

    How MaRa and Dr.DJ defines smart patriotism ? Mr. Ratnajeevan could you please do a write up using 5 frame relative theories.
    The frames are : Home ( SriLanka ),
    East ( China ), West ( US, UK,Norway ),
    South ( India & Pakistan )and Space or Moon ( CUBA ).

    Hope you are not beholden to MaRa like Dr.DJ.

  • 10
    1

    The less we dig up and write about our history, the more difficult it is to resolve our problems and live as one community in Sri Lanka.We all (including Singhalese) descended from the Dravidians.

    Why dont you write about the future for all of us?

    • 2
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      No point writing about that. Test our DNA.

      Come to think of it, I don’t know what the procedure is, how much it costs, and how much information is given us. Probably a print out.

      https://ghr.nlm.nih.gov/primer/testing/procedure

      This suggests that it is quite simple, but the language is not! “Bucal swab” – probably means spit!

      Get this organised for every person in the country; may be it ought to be worldwide!

    • 2
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      My earlier plea for DNA testing hasn’t appeared yet.

      http://lifegenetics.net/how-it-works/

      This is very clear, and it seems so simple.

  • 8
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    ………It was a low point in our race relations-when Pieter Keuneman was speaking against the Bill,SWRD Bandaranaike cast a snide remark on the brown Hollanders[Hansard col.1707,19.08.1948]…..

    Comrade Pieter was a Gentleman,otherwise he too would have retorted to the effect that SWRD is a direct descendant of a South Indian Tamil bearing the name Neelaperumal! Besides,it would have been appropriate too given the fact it was a debate on the Indian citizenship Act!

    S.J.V.Chelvanayagam Q.C.abandoned a lucrative practice at the Bar at the turn of Independence in 1947- in fact none other than Lakshman Kadirgamer once wrote that practically every day SJV was engaged in courts and commanded a civil practice that no other QC had.But alas he threw all that to engage full-time for the Political party that he founded–The Federal Party.
    Who will abandon all that for a cause.This is the reason why he was respected by all across the Political divide.

  • 11
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    Sir ancillary to this story and revelations , can you also do research and write on the findings of the Kandyan Peasantry Commission please? It will be very interesting.

    If you look at what the British did to nations like Ceylon, Fiji, and Malaysia by altering demographics permanently has led to problems in many nations. And interesting you now expose the indifference and above all dismissive nature the elite privileged Ceylon Tamils had for this hapless poor relatively unprivileged Indian Tamil working class says a lot about class warfare and caste warfare as well right?

    I refer Fiji because it led to a coup and radical changes to assert native dominance over Indian Fijians. There, like in Uganda the division between Indian and non-Indian natives is rather glaring.

    In Caribbean nations, Indian indentured labour seems to have progressed, assimilated and developed into economic powerhouses and we do not seem to hear of issues about them in places like Trinidad where the population is small anyway.

    I feel sad and sorry for the plight of the most exploited working class of Ceylon/Sri Lanka. Whether we like it or not, the Plantation workers still form the backbone of the Tea export economy. They are the most disenfranchised and it seems their plight is no different from the plight of such groups knowns as Dalits or Untouchables in India whether it is Tamils or Biharis or other large groups of children of lesser gods so to speak. Thanks for exposing this story. I hope you can write about the Kandyan Peasantry Commission too. Seems like whether it is Sinhala or Tamil the Indian Tamils are used and exploited as the servant class or cleaner class if they move out of Estates by Ceylon Tamils as well as Sinhalese.

    • 3
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      Dear Mano Ratwatte,

      What is great about your comments is that they are so consistent.

      You once gave us the breakdown of a DNA test you had got done on yourself. You write articles on many subjects. Could you please write one telling us how this could be implemented islandwide?

    • 2
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      Mano,
      “In Caribbean nations, Indian indentured labour seems to have progressed, assimilated and developed into economic powerhouses and we do not seem to hear of issues about them in places like Trinidad where the population is small anyway.”
      The difference is that the indigenous population was exterminated early on in these places. So there are only immigrants. In Fiji, East Africa and SL, the natives still exist.

  • 6
    1

    Does SL keep data on how many of the over-exploited and abused Indian Tamil Estate labourer community have emancipated? When I was faculty advisor to a Sri Lankan Student Association I had the privilege of meeting an outstanding Sri Lankan of Indian Tamil descent. He was very smart and got his PhD and he was President of the association and was dynamic. He was also an easy going guy and I remember writing him a glowing letter of recommendation when he applied for a scholarship. I lost touch with him after I moved and also after he got a job and moved away. What I remember about him was he was as close to the Sinhala students as the Tamil students in the association. Very nice guy but possibly a rare person who was able to break free of the societal pressures and shackles of Estate life.

    Recently I went to Elle and from there to the spectacular Lipton’s Seat. The Three Wheeler driver who took us up and back was talking about how abusive his drunken father was and how he ran away and that the only reason he is alive and has this livelihood was because he ran away because his father would waste all the money on kassippu. His story is too long to write here but same was true for a lot of domestic staff who work in Colombo and when you hear their stories and how societally backward their parents are it is shocking. Some just want to marry their daughters off to older Indian Tamil men who have more overseer type jobs or the kadey mudalali’s son and never worry about educating the girls. How does one break that cycle?

    Seems like there are serious social problems with drunkenness and domestic violence afflicting them too and all of that is ignored. We seem to love to use them for labour the way the Whites in the South did with Blacks but never give them an equal seating at the powersharing table.

    • 4
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      An excellent analysis of the problems facing the Up Country Tamil population.

      Having been a teacher, I then progressed to being a guy who visited schools to see how they were faring. The problems enumerated by Mano Ratwatte are what hold this community back from achieving dignity.

      There are those who will tell you that since the entire family is working on the estate and they are given free housing, they have lots of spendable income, and therefore must be rich. Rubbish. They must also learn how to spend money, and they must have aspirations.

      Of course “aspirations” can become a yearning for the wrong things, but that is a different matter, and in any case is more true of the Sinhalese!

  • 3
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    History has to be kept alive. Tamils backstabbed on Tamils.

    It was not just done to keep up the minister posts. It was done even at Kankanis levels and the low class teaching profession of so call “Thoddakkaddu Vaaththi”(Estate teacher). These two groups of that time Ceylon Tamils were well known for mercilessly robbing and forcing to toil the voteless Tamil Borothern at hill country. As in all other matters, Leaders SJV and Pirapaharan are ones came ready to treat all Tamils equal.

    When I was reading History for my 6,7th and 8th grade, this was not there. But “Oru Lala Naaddu Arasilankumari Aranmanaiyai Viddoodi Kaadil oru Singathai Mananthaal ” ( A young prince ran out of her palace and married a lion in jungle) was there as history. What a comedy! What a misunderstanding of History!

    • 2
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      ‘As in all other matters, Leaders SJV and Pirapaharan are ones came ready to treat all Tamils equal’

      Really? How many Tamil men, women and children did Pirapaharan murder?

      • 0
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        “How many Tamil men, women and children did Pirapaharan murder?

        Sorry man, I was keeping the list until very recently. But when the Rapist Army went to court and told in Ezhiyan’ missing person case that they don’t have the surrenders’ list, I also tore it off. Anyway, Where is Shavendra now?

        Why are you asking me for the list?

        Why man, Appe Anduwa didn’t give you a couple of names they kidnapped with white van so that you can post as LTTE killed men and women in the Wikipedia? Is the Jaffanahistory.com already full? Is that because Appe Anduwa still didn’t remit your payment?

        I tell you something, are ready to come to ICC; there I can show you photocopy of my list?

        Really? What you mean by that my friend? You are really, really a Chaff? Oh Really?

  • 4
    4

    “Today, having wrapped oursleves up in the nationalist flag…..to maintain that we were always with them.”
    Prof.Hoole, you habitually present your narrative in such a way as to gratify the instincts of the Sinhala nationalists.
    History never grinds to a halt at any point. On this Citizenship issue, in 1956 Tamil people had outrightly repudiated the leadership of the renegades and betrayers. Ever since, it has only/always been S.J.V. Chelva’s leadership and legacy founded on Tamil nationalism.
    By the way, there was no ITC. It was Ceylon Indian Congress (until 1950), later named Ceylon Workers Congress (CWC).

    • 0
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      Re IRC, my apologies. However, some documents do refer to it and the mistake got carried through.

      Thank you for pointing it out.

  • 5
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    Good article as always by Prof Hoole.As one of our brilliant intellectuals, he approaches his subject from a academic stand point alone.In this approach there is no room for personal or communal feelings or any sort of parochialism at all.To stick to this line in what is a dangerously partisan world in almost any debate requires a humongous effort.But then Prof Hoole is an extraordinary academic keeping his academic hat above the fray in extraordinary times..The fact that some Tamils have found fault with him is testament to the gentlemen greatness and intellectual prowess.

    Thank you Prof Hoole from our hearts.May your tribe increase so that Sri Lanka becomes a place for all of us to live with dignity.

  • 5
    1

    To complement my earlier comments:
    (1) The cunning Sinhala leadership, supported by certain treacherous Tamil leaders decitizenized around 1 million Tamil citizens and, as a corollary, disenfranchised around 700,000 Tamil voters, overnight. Even as the multitude of Tamil workers were politically reduced to nonpersons, thrusting and twisting the knives further, Sinhala leadership wanted the Sinhalese to benefit from this brazen betrayal. Under the Soulbury Constitution (I don’t know how it works now!), parliamentary seats were created/allocated by Delimitation Commission on the basis of one M.P. for every 75,000 persons or, in sparsely populated areas, for every 1,000 sq.miles. Giving further weightage to Sinhala representation, the heads of the decitizenized Tamils were counted for constituting the number of seats and the increased seats were allocated to the Sinhala voters. So much for democracy!
    (2)I believe, D.S.Senanayake had only 40 UNP M.Ps plus 5 nominated M.Ps in a house of 101 (or 100?)
    The Leftist groups (LSSP, CP) in parliament had the courage of their conviction to vehemently oppose the legislations targeting upcountry workers. If only the treacherous Tamil M.Ps had joined forces with the leftist leaders (who were in large numbers) and S.J.V. Chelva (KKS), Vanniasingham (Kopay) and Sivapalan (Trinco), D.S. Senanayake would not have been able to pass the legislations decitizenizing and disenfranchising the Tamil nationals.

    • 4
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      The reasons for the disenfranchisement of the Tamil estate working class population was intertwined with economics of profit making together with racism that followed the election of several up country Tamil parliamentarians in the first elections held in 1947 or thereabouts.
      They had pro left tendencies and were friendly with the LSSP and the CPSL.
      That alarmed the British who had a vested interest in the tea and rubber plantation as did the local native Sinhalese and Tamil bourgeoisie of the island.
      The demands of the Indian Tamil estate working populations for facilities for better wages, housing education, health and conditions of life meant less profit for the investors and shareholders in the agency houses of the tea and rubber industry.
      The best way to get around the situation was the disenfranchisement of the estate working population on flimsy nationalistic racist grounds and the Indian&Pakistani Citizenship Act in parliament was the way to safeguard their miserly profits.
      The departing British colonialists recommended the idea the and their Lankan stooges executed that plan. That’s what is behind the intentions of the said act.

  • 4
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    SJV once told me (us) that during the debate on the Ceylon Citizenship bill in parliament while he was speaking, GGP who sat by his side started pulling his vertti exclaiming “Chelva don’t burn the boat..Chelva don’t burn the boat” meaning not to oppose the Bill since they might need help from the government on another situation. It was a well known fact that GGP while going through the motion of opposing the Ceylon Citizenship Bill was secretly conducting negotiations with DS Senanayake to join the cabinet. The sequence of events says it all. Ceylon Citizenship bill was passed on August 20, 1948, it was signed into law on November 15 of the same year, but GGP joined the cabinet and took oaths as Minister of Industries, Industrial Research and Fisheries on September 3, 1948 within just two weeks of the passage of the Bill! That is to say negotiations with DS for a cabinet post commenced weeks before August 20, 1948. GGP betrayed the hill country Tamils whom he pledged in writing to defend for the sake of a cabinet post. He dearly paid for his treachery during later years.

    • 7
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      Right here in the comment pages of CT, when Rajan Hoole brought up the issue of GGP voting to support the citizenship bill, Gajen Ponnambalam (GP) questioned him, saying this wasn’t true, even though when I asked GP to set the record straight, he didn’t answer. And I think Dr. Sivasegaram reiterated several times that GGP didn’t vote for the bill the first time.

      Now by finding the relevant entries in Hansard, Dr. Jeevan Hoole has set the record straight. Thank you. I hope it is done once and for all. No more distortions from GP, and Dr.S should no longer say it was a canard spread by the FP/SJV.

      Thanks Thanga (I assume you are Velupillai Thangavelu aka Nakeeran) for your anecdotal support of the facts.

      • 1
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        Agnos
        I knew for certain that GGP was not that stupid to vote for it.
        And he did not vote for it. (I never trusted his intentions and I made that very clear.)
        So, to say that he voted for the Bill was and is still a canard.
        The FP wanted to pin him down as “traitor” and told a lie.

        Interestingly Amirthalingm is reported to have written in an FP Souvenir (I have yet to see the source document) in 1974 after GGP appeared for him in the trial-at-bar that only SJVC & GGP voted against the Bill.

        Now that you returned to the subject, there is this statement in the article:
        “He was negotiating to become a Minister, so he developed a fit of coughing and left the chamber as the Citizenship Act came up for division.”
        A little clarification needed: Was the coughing bit also in the Hansard?

    • 3
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      “GGP who sat by his side started pulling his vertti exclaiming “Chelva don’t burn the boat..Chelva don’t burn the boat” meaning not to oppose the Bill since they might need help from the government on another situation.”

      That is interesting.
      When did SJVC start wearing a vetti to parliament?
      I remember the rationalist journalist Anthonicil in the 1950’s referring to SJV as “kOttu suuttu Gandhi” “kOli buriyaani Gandhi” at a time when the FP started calling him “eelaththu Gandhi” he to drive home the point about difference in attire and food habits.

  • 4
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    It looks this article is about making Tamil christian heroes in the middle of Tamil – Hindu society.

    So, it is a religious struggle.

    • 5
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      It is a religious struggle of Budhists monks trying to be liberated from women’s body and try to wear men’s outfit. Very tough for those cross dressers who suffer in silence- in the name of Buddha

    • 6
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      It clearly still is a religious struggle. The only hero on the Tamil leadership side was a Christian and that seems to upset you even today.

      Take heart, C. Vanniasingham (a Hindu) also voted with Thanthai Chelva.

      But don’t let it upset you that both are Prof’s relations.

      • 5
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        Will not everybody belonging to the V caste in Jaffna be relations?
        When one marries into another caste, the offspring ceases to be a relation I suppose.

        • 2
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          That SJV Chelva and Vanniasingam are Hoole’s relations bugs this SJ bugger. As Kamini said, SJ is picking on his favorites!

          • 1
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            I have nothing personally against SJVC or Vanniyasingam or Hoole.
            I just made an observation about relationships in Jaffna.

            I once heard on these pages that Hoole’s ancestor was trustee of Maviddapuram temple. I questioned it and I was cancelled on the CT
            Much later I learned that the temple has only the chief priest for trustee.
            I was amused.

            • 1
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              Sivasegaram from Trincomalee, You who has no knowledge of Jaffna Hindu heritage but like to write like a know it all:

              Kodimara Sangarar/Canon Somasunderam left the keys with the Kurukkal here. We of the family and those of the temple know that. Canon/Sangarar was the last of the lineage. His brother Mudaliyar Pillai did not have children. We still have the the vikiraham he gave our temple.You have no connection to us so you don’t know any of these things. Their mother’s funeral was attended by so many people because of that. As a child I could not believe that so many people lived in Jaffna. You don’t know because your family does not belong here.
              Look at the land records or ask the real Jaffna people about Rev. Somasunderam or Mudaliyar Pillai. May be you have never come near Maviddapuram.

              Bishop Kulendran has written Canon Somasunderam’s biography.Or please ask Profs. Rajan or Ratnajeevan Hoole or Daya Somasunderam about Kodimar Sangarar. Our Kurullal was so happy when Prof. Hoole was appointed VC.

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                So the Kurukkal took the keys and usurped trusteeship?
                Very interesting.
                I will check with my historian source in Jaffna who belongs there.

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                Being an average student of history coming from somewhere with little or no history, I amazed by the diverse narratives of history of Jaffna.
                I am curious to know how the keys of the Maavittapuram temple (reportedly rebuilt in 1792 in the Dutch period) reached the hands of a Brahmin priest.

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              “I once heard on these pages that Hoole’s ancestor was trustee of Maviddapuram temple.

              I questioned it and I was cancelled on the CT
              Much later I learned that the temple has only the chief priest for trustee
              I was amused.” (Hee Hee you forgot to add.)

              ORIGINAL SIVASEGARAM FROM TRINCOMALEE! Just like the original confounder in the Garden of Eden who made up lies to trick its inhabitants. What can you expect from such a person motivated only by jealousy towards the best Tamil academics like Prof. Mahalingam?

              Savasegaram, you are not from Jaffna so you don’t know our history.
              Your knowledge of Jaffna is nil and anything you write seems to come from the jibberish you have heard from your cronies who have no truck with us in Jaffna.

              How dare you insult our Kodimara Sangarar?

              For all your boasting of your cleverness (self assumed)seemed to read only snippets from half educated journalists in the recent newspapers that have no notion of our Jaffna Hindu history.

              “Much later I learned that the temple has only the chief priest for trustee”

              “I learned” how?
              Did you ask the kurukkal, Did you ask us the families still living here? Did you look at the temple records.

              You are not familiar with research so you just spread gossip as history as you have let us know.

              You are not a Jaffna Hindu, so you don’t know? Are your gurus and bosom pals the Mihunthans telling you these things? or your Salaam Madaam, VC?

              I don’t believe you were educated at Pera. Show certificate.

              When you lack logic no amount of learning can help. When your eye is blinded by jealousy gossip is vedic truth for you.

              I pity UoJ.

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                This is Jaffna Tamil Vellala patriotism at work!
                Good job.

                I will side step the *** ****.

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              Again SJ deliberately misses the point in seeming innocence. His favorite target is Hoole. He deflects it to SJV and Vanniasingam who were never named as SJ’s favorite targets.

              Not all the people are fooled all the time.

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                You are the one that is missing the point. I was always amused how caste and relationship work in Jaffna.
                Boastful stories of relationship were, are and will be of little worth to me.
                I wonder if these ‘connections’ matter, as someone else explained elsewhere here, in “Jaffna culture”.

                So do not waste effort to fit me into a frame of your design.

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            Raj mate
            BTW
            I discovered some time ago that I am related to Vanniyasingam and I realize that I could/should be related to Hoole, if he does not mind.

            I wonder if you are thrilled at that prospect.

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    Voting Nay were SJV Chelvanyakam, C. Vanniasingam, AL Thambiayah, K. Kanagaratnam, V. Kumarasamy and T. Ramalinkam. The bill was passed on 02.09.1948, (Hansard col. 2003).

    Mr. A.L Thabiaiyah was an independent MP, supposedly supported by the UNP.
    So that makes it five and not six from CTC who voted Nay.
    Did S Sivapalan and GGP not vote?

    I am interested to know how one can access hansards of early years of the Parliament. The National Archives should have them but searching is tedious.
    All MPs get copies but few families would have retained them.

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      Now, this is the SJ we love and appreciate!

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        SM
        Have I said something wrong? (I am only joking)

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      Prof. Suntharalingam and GG Ponnabalam! SURPRISING!

      Both oxbridge and St. Joseph’s College, Colombo.

      where the College Vision/Mission derives from the summary of self evident TRUTH:

      “..THAT ALL MEN ARE CREATED EQUAL,
      that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, LIBERTY and the Pursuit of Happiness.”

      Thank God at least one leader in Ceylon stood up against slavery like Abraham Lincoln in that dark and horrendous hour. He was “Thanthai”/Father.

      No man who loves God, can hurt his creatures intentionally like these men. Such a messy country we shall leave for our children unless we mend it!

      Sorry brethren up there on the aromatic hills, for all times, for our colossal lack of conscience. We are the lesser for it.

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    This is an excellent account. Clear, unambiguous, and having a constructive purpose.

    Many thanks!

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    SM
    Can you kindly expand on the constructive purpose.

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      SJ

      CAN YOU EVER COMMENT WITH A CONSTRUCTIVE PURPOSE? –

      at least when the topic demands honest inquiry and answer from our poor students in our unfortunate Universities?

      Tired of your MANEUVERING DEFLECTIONS in very important write ups like these that beg for national consideration.Besides you faithfully pick on your favourites.

      Guess too late to reform you.

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        My mother did not try, my wife would not try and thanks to you for not even thinking of trying. So I am happy to be as unreformed as I am.

        I only asked SM a question. He is the one who talked of constructive purpose. With him I can be serious at times.
        You are not his proxy I hope.

        I am here mostly to be amused by your likes.
        Thanks for keeping me entertained.

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          Sounds like you don’t have the experience of raising a Jaffna Tamil daughter and giving her in marriage in due time. If you did, you would understand life; you would be speaking substance, and your arrogance would not be so recalcitrant.

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    ….Clear,unambiguous and having a constructive purpose.
    You see Sinhala Man,SJ is rather sharp,even sharper than sekera!
    Normally,either SJ OR sekera does not believe in constructive purposes.
    He is a past master at destruction.
    SJ or was it sekera stood me Lunch at the Imperial canteen many years ago;So I cannot expand!

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      Pygs
      I only asked for an explanation from SM. If that destroys anything, where lies the fault?
      SM has a sense of humor; and knows that it was one of his rather frequent overstatements that I spotted. There ends the story, without or with his response.

      Comrade Shan asked Tharmalingam at the closing stage of the famous debate on Tamil Eeelam, “Let us assume that Tamil Eelam is the answer, what plans do you have to achieve it?”
      Tharmalingam’s case went up in smoke. Would you call Shan destructive?
      It was Amirthalingam who stopped all subsequent debate on secession who destroyed democratic debate.

      I do not know what constructive purpose you have in mind.
      But what have I really destroyed, even when I tried? B*****all.
      I wish that I was a tenth as successful as you credit me with!
      Those who deserve your LH compliment in full are those who indulge in character assassination on these pages.

      (Believe it or not, I do much constructive work, but elsewhere. This is not the place for anything of that kind. What we have here mostly is a demolition yard. If you cannot beat them, join them in your own inimitable style. It is mostly fun time for me here.)

      I have withstood many a vile attack. Like me, you can be hard hitting but not nasty or personal.
      Let not a long digested mediocre college lunch silence you!

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    Kamini.

    SJ says My mother did not try,my wife WOULD[Emphasis mine] not try and thanks to you for not even thinking of trying.

    Well then,SJ met his Waterloo with the present VC-UOJ Vasanthy Arasaratnam.
    Damn shame.This reminds me of the downfall of that great icon Ravana,as told to me by friends who are familiar with Tamil Literature!

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    SJ.
    You introduced me to Fish & Chips.Since then whenever in the UK it is F&C!

    So I would not call it mediocre;Besides,the place? Imperial College of Science and Technology.The Mech:Lab over there looked rather like the Mech:lab @ Peradeniya.
    By the way;Dont take me amiss.Why should you expose yourself for some nasty remarks on these pages? I assure you that my LH remarks is for the sake of being on these pages.After all,when in Rome one must do what the Romans do!
    Frankly,I hate Bacon!

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      Pygs
      Thanks.
      I got sucked in less than two years ago.
      i have been targetted without provocation from some tome earlier. I got to know of it much later.
      Some imagine that I am the sole obstruction to some grand plan of theirs.
      There is a chorus out there that will sing my ‘praise’ even after I pass away.
      Now I respond to comments by people who seem decent. I respond to frivolous remarks for amusement.
      But I do not make the mistake of stepping on pig or dog excrement. (Bull s**t is an exception)

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    SJV did wore verti but not always. I have seen him in silk verti and shawl when he addressed meetings in Jaffna during the fifties. I have also seen him wearing verti in parliament. SJV was a simple man who lived in a rented house till the end. If he wanted he could have bought not one but many in Colombo. By iving in a rented house, he wanted to convey the message that Colombo should not become the permanent home of Tamils. He spent all his wealth to build the FP during the early years. His publication Suthandiran lost money from the beginning to the end. Now and then the government used to shut it down under emergency laws.

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    SJVC, ‘the simple man in silk verti and shawl when he addressed meetings in Jaffna during the fifties’ was alaways seen in off white suit.
    The VEtti was much after FP and not always. Again in Colombo I have not seen images of him in vEtti. When the Tamil MPs were attacked on Galle Face green, did he wear a vEtti?
    I know a few FP MPs who always wore vEtti.

    I do not object to what one wears. W Dahanayake went to parliament on a bullock cart in loincloth to drive home the point bout shortage of fabric.

    I only said it to point out that GGP tugging at SJVC’s vEtti was a figment of imagination, the kind of material that makes Tamil political history.

    Amirthalingam (after the patch-up) is supposed to have said in a souvenir of the FP that only SJVC and GGP voted against the Citizenship Act. (I have yet to see the document.)
    I too was inclined to believe it as I heard it much earlier from sources close to SJVC household (not immediate family).

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    Hi S.J.
    Amused at your antics. You have missed the substance for the style Sir. Don’t you think SJVC’s attire a trifling matter. The essence is that GGP tweaked or nudged SJVC and whispered the words. Thanga could have ignored your snarky comments.
    To the best of my knowledge, SJVC did not ever attend parliament wearing a verti. He always wore a suit , mostly white/sober suit , except on special occasions (eg. Pandit Nehru’s visit, I saw him, in photo, in black suit). During FP/TULF political gatherings and informal occasions he was mostly attired in verti. On Tamil ceremonial occasions I had seen him in silk verti and shawl. At a private function held to celebrate my admission to the Bar, held at a school hall in Colombo on 18th Oct. 1976, my leader SJVC attended the function and blessed me. He was attired in verti. (I have the photos). So much on your concern about SJVC”s costumes.
    RE: Your mumbling that “Amirthalingam….. is supposed to have said in a souvenir (I have yet to see the document.)”
    Hearsay evidence is good only for gossip. Yours is double-hearsay. Worse than that. Go to the primary source of evidence to check up- the relevant official Hansard records. There are two versions of it: Uncorrected and Corrected. Go for the Corrected one. Okay Sir?

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      Look here mate,
      One can overdo the details and wreck the credibility of a story.
      That was my point. I do not care if SJVC wore a bowler hat as well. that is his choice. Anthonicil’s comment was funny and irritated those who chanted Eelaththu Gandhi. (Many an Eelaththu imitation was a disater.)

      I have an extract of the article by A Amirthalingam, but not the whole thing. The article I saw cited AA’s essay in the Silver Jubilee Volume of the FP in 1974.
      It seems a much credible story since AA & Co went crawling to GGP for legal assistance around the time and the man, whatever his political and other faults, was generous. AA never said a word denouncing GGP after that.

      This page will not be there when I find the book. But I will come up with it sooner or later.

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        SJ,
        “This page will not be there when I find the book. But I will come up with it sooner or later. “
        Just bookmark the address bar at the top.
        No ulterior motives!

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          Dear old codger,you have all the decency of an old school writer. Thanks, but as they say:

          “keep your breath to cool your porridge” with this old fox.

          He must have the last line on every article, literally, and it must be a bare faced lie to cancel another fellow’s article. He has no other motive as you would have learnt by now. He writes with the arrogance of one who takes all the other writers in Sri Lanka to be dumb.Such are called a ‘half-baked’ scholar. This syndrome usually stops with an M. Sc. Perhaps this fellow went straight to a Ph. D as he claims his title is (thanks to his supervisor).

          He mocked his own father in law at Peradeniya for all to see. Prof. Sivapragasapillai was a scholar, fully baked and in the mold.

          If he hears someone say that another fellow is better than SJ/Sivasegaram- done for that poor fellow. SJ survives because crooks need him because he is a clever conniver and they can’t write English.

          No correcting those who do not have truth as their goal.

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            Pygs,
            Oops! Nearly stepped on another pile of *** ****.

        • 0
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          OC
          I names the book.
          It was the Silver Jubilee volume of the FP 1974.
          That is for certain.
          The article I saw was recent and had only cited the relevant paragraph in AA’s contribution. (As in good Tamil tradition missed out on details.)
          I am sure that it is accessible in old FP quarters (no friendly contacts now).

          I will bookmark and respond.
          But how may will be looking at it then? Even the questioner.
          I will post the data if I locate the page soon.

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          OC
          Sorry, I messed up the second line:
          “I have with me only the name of the book.”

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          OC
          I got closer.
          The article by Amirtalimgam in Tamil is on p.15 of the Silver Jubilee Volume of the FP (1974).
          Amirthalingam says: “The DS Senanayake governmrnt has passed the citizenship legislation before the Tamil congress joined the government. GG Ponnambalam and SJV Chelvanayakam on behalf of the Tamil Congress voted against that act.”

          The version that it was only SJVC & GGP circulated in a section of the FP in later years with explanations about how others were stopped from voting. But for public consumption it was for long claimed that GGP voted for it. That was not honest for a party led by “Eelaththu Gandhi”.

  • 0
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    Prof. Hoole

    Then Ilanko, SJV’s grandson living in the old house in Tellipalai should become our Obama/Lincoln.

    YES WE CAN, Ilanko.

  • 0
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    Eluththu Vinai-gnan.

    Next time,I would appreciate it if you could kindly shorten your jaw-breaking pseudonym.I mean no offence though.
    Your line….
    He mocked his own father-in-Law at Peradeniya for all to see…
    Perhaps,there were reasons best known to himself.
    Harassment of Prof:Mahalingam,as someone else has pointed out on these pages.
    Perhaps,here too he was doing a hit job on behalf of another colleague to curry favour.
    You say that SJ/SEKERA/Sivasekeram overawes those in the council of the UOJ,with
    his English?
    Have standards in Jaffna plunged?

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    President Chávez said he could still “smell sulphur” left behind….

    Same here, President Chavez.

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