Our country lost an erudite and widely respected physician, Dr. Rajan K. Sriskandarajah who passed away peacefully in his home in Poughkeepsie, New York on the 4th of November.
Rajan was the son of Late Mr. & Mrs. Kathirgamathamby, who were from Alavetti (mother) and Trincomalee (father). He graduated from the University of Ceylon, Colombo in 1969, was invited Fellow of the Royal College Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (FRCOG), England and certified by the American Board of Obstetrics and Gynaecology. He was appointed Clinical Assistant Professor at the New York Medical College, where he obtained a Master’s degree in Public Health in 1993.Vassar Brothers hospital and peers honoured his valued services to the people in the Duchess County and adjoining regions in the state of New York.
During his illustrious medical career over several decades, Rajan’s humanitarian calling earned him accolades also in wider society as a committed supporter of the Tamil people’s struggle for fundamental rights in Ceylon/Sri Lanka.
He wrote profusely and campaigned on issues affecting Tamils and held up to scrutiny the words and actions of the Colombo government. He was the Founder-Editor of the New York Tamil Sangam’s newsletter – ‘Tamil Voice’ – and then of the Sangam’s website from 1996 to 2004. He served on the Editorial Board of the TamilNation.
I am privileged to have met Rajan and his charming wife Nalaini, a psychiatrist, in New York in the mid-1990s and enjoyed their most generous hospitality during stimulating interactions over the subsequent years. While he expressed respect for Tamils’ Resistance, Rajan’s mature political interventions were rooted in a deep understanding of the history of national movements around the world, especially that of the people of Palestine. He thoughtfully crafted his mediations to conscientize Tamils not to miss the wood for the trees, that the Resistance is essentially a political movement in which Politics ought to guide the Gun. Perhaps unsurprisingly, not many appeared convinced by his humanitarian vision in the heat of battle.
Rajan provided space on the Sangam website for Tamil voices that sought to promote a more holistic understanding of the complexities of national Resistance. He single-mindedly pursued the goal, driven by his passionate dedication to defend the human rights and welfare of the Tamil people. He leaves behind an unfillable void.
We wish Nalaini, son Sai and family all strength as they celebrate Rajan’s legacy.
*Dr. Sachithanandam Sathananthan Ph. D. (Cantab)