25 February, 2024


T. Kandasamy: Intellectually A Giant, And As a Man Kind, Fatherly & Exemplary

By S. Ratnajeevan H. Hoole

Prof.  S. Ratnajeevan H. Hoole

Prof. S. Ratnajeevan H. Hoole

Many men walk the earth but few have accolades written of them. Often such accolades come after death, and are exaggerated and of little value. T. Kandasamy, former Government Analyst (GA), is a man who deserves accolades while he is alive. And with his real achievements, there is no need to exaggerate anything.

His early life was in Burma (Myanmar) where his father from Ceylon was a Station Master for Burma Railways. Given the nature of his father’s work, young Kandasamy was boarded at a Rangoon Catholic School, spending only 3 months a year at home. His schooling ended when the Japanese declared war on 7th December 1941 and he came to Ceylon in July 1942. It involved a long march to India that left many dead.

He went to Skanda Varodaya College Jan. 1943 – Dec. 1946. He did the school proud by being the first boy to gain university entrance. At the university, he was one of seven selected for the BSc Chemistry course after the first examination and graduated with 2nd class Honours in 1950. He was appointed to the GA’s in April 1951 from where he retired as GA in 1986.

T. Kandasamy, B.Sc. Hons. Cey., M.Sc. London, D.I.C.

T. Kandasamy, B.Sc. Hons. Cey., M.Sc. London, D.I.C.

Kandasamy went to England on a Colombo Plan Scholarship to specialise in Pharmaceutical Analysis. He earned his M.Sc. London and DIC in Food and Drugs at Imperial College of Science and Technology. He had training at the Quality Control Laboratories of Burroughs and Glaxo and at Government Chemist Laboratory, London. He followed evening classes on the Chemistry of Food and Drugs to take the Branch E Diploma examination conducted by the Royal Institute of Chemistry – a required qualification under the Food and Drugs Act to be appointed as Public Analyst in the UK.

These were amazing achievements on one scholarship for the MSc which was a rare degree in the 1950s. However, I see his values and example as far more important to posterity and that is what this article is about.

Kandasamy: The Person

My wife Dushyanthi worked for Kandasamy for three years and resigned to marry me the day she was confirmed-in-post, and lost one of the many scholarships that Kandasamy had arranged for his staff. He is too modest and says he was merely following the scholarship tradition set by his first boss W.R. Chanmugam. But Kandasamy was more systematic, believing that every officer should be trained abroad for international exposure. He would wait for the Colombo Plan announcements and apply.

Dushyanthi spares no words in his praise: “He always looked out for us.” He insisted that every new recruit should first be trained under him for six months and attributes her bench dexterity with speed and accuracy to Kandasamy’s training.

Private Work was usually taken by a couple of seniors. Kandasamy took charge of Private Work when he became Deputy GA (Food and Drugs) and distributed it to all the staff. Juniors doing the analyses would get 40% of the fees and the seniors taking responsibility and signing 60%. He took on no work for himself! Private Work expanded making everyone happy.

After the riots, most Tamil Officers had gone to Jaffna but Dushyanthi was in Colpetty. Her services were badly needed. With her safety in mind, Kandasamy picked her up to work and dropped her off after work, even though it was off his route. When she asked for 2 days’ leave for our first meeting in Jaffna, he insisted, “Take the whole week and come back married,” which she did!

Although Kandasamy could have gone on as GA till the age of 60, he retired at 59 so that the two to follow him in seniority would each get 2 years as GA. That is the kind of man he is.

The Time of the Riots

On Monday of Black July 1983 he knew at 5 AM that some disturbances were on but he still went to work in Torrington (although he stopped his children from going to Royal College, and Dushyanthi too). As Additional Government Analyst in charge of Finance Kandasamy had paid the staff their salary on Friday and the safe keys were with him. He went that fateful Monday because some were yet to be paid. As the day progressed, things turned horrific. When four Tamil officers could not go home, he took them by car with a Sinhalese translator along Bullers Road, only to be stopped and turned back by well-dressed youth near Bambalapitiya Police Station.

T. Kandasamy Receiving Award from Dr. L.N. Senaweera Director General SLSI

T. Kandasamy Receiving Award from Dr. L.N. Senaweera Director General SLSI

Returning to office, he saw the entire subordinate staff including the Chief Clerk on the office lawn. All Staff Officers had left! The stranded staff, all Sinhalese, had no bus services. He had to get some to Ratmalana and others to Borella from where they could get buses. He got two curfew passes and used the two office cars to make several trips. “I had the satisfaction of being able to help the staff – all Sinhalese,” he reminisces happily today.

Despite his curfew pass, he slept the first two nights (Monday and Tuesday) in office because of the four Tamil officers stuck there. A Navy Lieutenant asked him whether it was safe with the Sinhalese driver, a labourer and watcher in office. Kandasamy says he gave no thought to it, but Dushyanthi remembers one labourer as very hostile.

The government asked everyone to return to work on 1 September. The Tamil officers had left their families in Jaffna, and returned alone. Kandasamy told them they could work on weekends, and put in 50% more work than on a normal working day. He gave them lieu leave for longer stays in Jaffna. The Deputy Government Analyst warned him he would be classified a communalist and that he was violating regulations. He said he would take the responsibility. He went on weekends for short periods as encouragement. The backlog from the riots time was cleared.

Owning Employees

One difficulty in working in Sri Lanka is that bosses have power and seem to think they own us. Thus when government employees apply for another government job, the Boss would forward the application with the endorsement “Cannot release.” As a result an applicant is either denied the job or has to start as a fresh employee losing past service

Being modest, Kandasamy says, I learnt from Mr. Chanmugam who poignantly asked “Why should the Department Head stand in the way of a person bettering his prospects?” Chanmugam actually released an officer who had gone on training to obtain a US PhD in Analytical Chemistry to move to Colombo University, transferring the Bond he signed.

Kandasamy is adamant that “Cannot release” should never be used. After all, he asks, why stand in the way if someone thinks his future is better in the other place. In 1985 one of his officers, a good worker, wanted to apply for the post of Chemist at Kandy Municipal Council because her husband was transferred to Kandy. Kandasamy forwarded her application, endorsing “Release may be considered if selected.” She moved with all her benefits. When senior officers criticised him, his simple answer was this: “Her husband is in Kandy. She was in Colombo. Importantly, her work in Kandy is useful to Sri Lanka.”

After retirement in 1986, until 2010 he spent his time productively on the government’s Food Advisory Committee (FAC) and at Sri Lanka Standards Institution where he served on various committees and was given their gold medal and a plaque reading “It is with great gratitude we appreciate the immense contribution made by Mr T. Kandasamy to the Sri Lanka Standards Institution during the past 50 Years.”

On the FAC which he served for 47 years, he was involved, inter alia, on GM food and bottled water regulations. He has served on many projects as Consultant to WHO, FAO, and UNDP. He is one of the chief persons behind the Institute of Chemistry which awards degrees in chemistry with graduates seemingly better than those by the university. In the 2nd year of the course when there was problem of venue he made arrangements with S. Thomas’ College to use their labs and thereby saved the programme from collapse.

As a Family Man

What is most important is how Kandasamy accounted for himself as a family man because many great public men neglect their families. Not Mr. Kandasamy. He was a devoted husband and loving and caring father to his two sons and supervised their studies. They both went to Moratuwa University and moved on to North America. It was after losing his wife last year and suffering from spinal problems that he moved to Calgary to be with his son. If not for his aching bones he would still be serving us ably in Sri Lanka.

His is an example that we would all do well to follow.

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Latest comments

  • 0

    His early life was in Burma (Myanmar) where his father from Ceylon was a Station Master for Burma Railways. Given the nature of his father’s work, young Kandasamy was boarded at a Rangoon Catholic School,

    See MaynaMar – Tamils getting free education and life in Sri lanka..

    Most probably, he cheered for LTTE and homeland too.

    • 10

      This is the best the impotent racist bastard can do. May you taste hell on earth.

      • 2

        Through a stone at at dog, she would run with one hind-leg lifted! Whatever you tell jimsofty, she would scream a the LTTE. All in the genes!!

    • 15

      Jimsofty… you will not find any Sinhalese with this kind of academia, ethics and principles. If you read carefully, you will notice that his father went and worked for the Burmese Railway as a Station Master which is a prestigious position at that time. That was the time, when Station Masters were professional and competent to take the job of any railway station in the world, unlike the yakko Sinhalese bastards you get now who have even bankrupt the Department of Railways with their incompetency, sheer corruption, unprofessionalism. Certainly unlike a Sinhalese, he did not go their as a house maid to wash pots and pants and while doing that hustle with a few Bangladeshi’s, Indians and Paki’s and earn some extra money like the way our proud Sinhalese house maids in the Middle East are famous and breaking records. The great history of the Sinhalese and their hero’s are to do with Somarama (Sinhalese Buddhist Priest who pulled out a pistol from between his balls and shot SWRD in cold blood), Sepala Ekanayake (hijacker who was given a hero’s welcome on landing at the Colombo airport for hijacking an aircraft), Wijemuni (Navy soldier who while performing the supreme guard of honor to a visiting head of government, did the shameless deed of hitting him with the rifle only seen in banana republics). If your pee brain does not know, Sri Lanka belongs to the Dravidian platelet of India and through evolution it disengaged from the Main Land. That is why many of you Sinhalese have bastardised Dravidian names such as Wijeratne (Dravidian Wijeratnam), Jayasundera (Dravidian Jayasunderam), Wijesinghe (Dravidian Wijesingham), Patali (Dravidian Patali), Gammanpila (Dravidian Gramapilayan), Somaratne (Dravidian Somarathanam), Kanagaratne (Dravidian Kanagaratnam), Kalyanarate (Dravidian Kalyanaratnam), Weerasinghe (Dravidian Weerasingham). That also could be why you guys write like bastards. That also could be why you guys are worried to know your true origins but keep slandering all other races about their origins.

      • 3

        Spark has got it wrong when it comes to names. He klists names and claims them to be “Dravidian”. We will just take one example.

        Wijesinghe (Dravidian Wijesingham)
        Proepr Tamil doesn’t even use Vijay=Wijaya= Victory, and that is a sanskrit word while the proper Tamil word for victory is வெற்றி and related words.
        Sinhala is closely related to pali and sanskrit. Tamil was largely influenced by sanskrit but old tamil words are NOT sanskrit. Most of the names listed by Spark are sanskrit names and they are closer to Sinhala.

        Tamil as a language fell into some recognizable form around the cankam period (may be 1st century to 3rd century), as suggested by many scholars, and confirmed from stone inscriptions and a study of tamil Brahmi by Mahadevan.
        Sinhala evolved from mid-Prakrit as confirmed by many scholars and already had acquired a distinct character by the 3rd century BC, as shown by the work of Gayer. So, give or take a century or two, both Sinahala and Dravidian languages came to the fore and became distinct entitites in and around the period of the 3rd century Bc to 4th century AC. To claim that the names and words of one language came from the other under therse circumstances is nonsense and sounds like the usual chauvinistic talk found in each ethnic group. The ending “Sinha”, or “Sinham” did not exist in tamil names in the sangam period or even during the later Chola periods.
        Give even one literary example of such names in tamil from the pre-sanskrit period
        The name “Singha, Singhe”, and “Sinh, Singh” existed in non-Dravidan names in Gujarat, in Bangladesh and in North India and in Sri Lanka, but NOT in ANY Dravidian name.
        When Sankilli ejected the Sinhalese living in Jaffna they moved to the Vanni, and became Tamilized, and many of the tamil names among Sri lankan tamils are actually sinhala names tamilized. E.g., balasingham is a tamilized sinhala name. Captian Percival who lived in Jaffna around 1800-1810 and wrote a book says that Jaffna had a majority of Moors who spoke a poor form of tamil. So what happened to the tamils and Drividians who came to the island every now and then from ancient times. Most of them got absorbed and sinhalized.
        There were not many tamils in Jaffna by the end of the 18th, and most of the tamils that we have today are from the malabar coast, India, brought here by the Dutch and the British. Most British writers, even in the 1930s, referred to the tamils as malabars. The older stock of tamils who came in earlier waves of immigration or conquest had got largely sinhalized. Most of the “elite” tamils who wax elequent about their homeland had external homelands only a few generations ago. Chelvanayakam’s grand parents, or Nagalingams great grand parents were from South india. many upper-class tamils came from malaysia etc.

      • 3

        Absolutely racist comment. Selecting all the bad in one race and lumping plus propagating fantasy. Spark are you a brainwashed Tamil supremacist? Keep stewing with this racist hatred. It is a sure path to slow madness.

      • 1

        Oldest ‘Tamils’ even in Tamil Nadu are the Adivasi, who are ‘Dalit’

      • 0

        Ancient Buddhist North India had a city named PATALi. How come that be Tamil ?

        Tails picked many sanskrti words and tamilized.

        Dravidean and North Indian culture lived side by side until Christians promoted anti-brahmin, anti-Hindu, Anti-hindi culture

        • 3

          There was no Buddhist, Hindu or Jain north India.
          Religions received royal patronage in different regions and there was universal religion.

          Buddhism thrived in south India for much longer than in the north as a people’s faith. Two of the major Indian Buddhist epics are in Tamil and arrived alongside three Jain epics. Ramayana and Mahabharata were known, but it took anohe five centuries or so for them to take their classical form in Tamil.

          As for Paatali, the place was Paatalipura, presently Patna in Bihar (really Vihar). The word seems to have been confused with paattaali for toiler in Tamil.

          Hindi was a late arrival among Indo-Aryan languages. It is very close to Urdu and has strong Persian influence. North Indian culture is more Moghul (corrupt form of Mongol) than ‘Hndu’.

          Modern Hindu philosophy, though has a predominantly South Indian component.

          Buddhism was the first anti-Brahmin faith, and rightly so.

          The anti-Hindi and anti-Brahmin feelings have social reasons that have little to do with Christians.

          Tamil, although the oldest living Indian language, has changed very much with time and owes much to Christian activity by way of script stabilization and reform and he print medium.

          There is no pure language. What does it matter whee a word comes from as long a it is Tamil to the users.

          Munidasa was a very practical man he knew how to make any word that Sinhalese needed Sinhala.
          Tamils need their counterpart.

    • 5

      Jim Softy:”See MaynaMar – Tamils getting free education and life in Sri lanka.. Most probably, he cheered for LTTE and homeland too.”

      Jimsofty, that is a cheap and uncouth comment.I knew T. Kandus, as he was popularly called, both at the Government Analysts Dept, with the Institute of Chemistry also while he was involved with the Food Advisory committee.If I remember it right he was the person to expose the fact that flour sold to the people was subject to insecticides and objected to it.No other person did that.

      Though we were friends, at least on two occasions he had to take a stand opposing certain things I did,being ignorant of the procedure involved.He did not hurt my feelings at all.

      Kandus was never a racialist.Since I left the University, i have come across the accusation of being racialist being directed at three Tamil academics .Having kept company with all three I am well aware that they were not racialists.Regretfuly one of them was charged not over supporting the LTTE but on a matter involving F.Exchange.

      Please do not throw such accusations at the innocent.

    • 0

      So you agree that all educated people are in support of Homeland and the LTTE.

      Thank you very much for your comment.

      Do write your comments.

      • 1

        Soma no such commitment.In fact I hold a bachelors degree today because of their help.

        One of them was accused by Cyril Maththew of favouring the tamil students and lambasted in the parliament.Years later I met another lecturer, this time a Sinhala man at the Borella junction. His name was Rajapakse While we were chatting another friend joined us. Let me call him Daya. Both of us, as usual called him Sir.During the conversation Mr R came out with the story that it was he who fed Cyril Matthew with the story against this Tamil Prof.His reason was that he too wanted a promotion. This disgusted both of us.At the University we were very friendly with him, he was a junior lecturer then.
        When we parted, Daya dropped the Sir part and called him Machchang .

        This is nonesense. There may be Tamils who are racialists,There are many Sinhalese who are racialist. Today the Sinhala racilalism seems to be the forte of the safron robed brigade.It will take something akin to the French Revolution to cleanse our religion.It will come with the educated discriminating youth of today, eventually. They do not believe in all the bull that is being uttered by the safron robed.

        Our job as the elderly is to create the environment for such a change.

  • 5

    This is SICK.

  • 6


    You dont seem to have read this piece by Dr.Hoole.

    Mr.Kandasamy must have been born somewhere in the Mid 20s.
    When was the LTTE born? Who gave Birth to the LTTE?

  • 4

    Jim Softy is writing idiotic commnets and cannot see beyond his own communalism
    and racism. He is not typical of the sinhalese. He would have been an LTTE man if he
    were a tamil.

    • 0

      When Tamils have their own way, that is democratic.

  • 3

    I was not concerned about this particular individual.

    Other than that, SJV chelvanayagam was a Singapore tamil. Ponnambalam who went back to Malaysia to die was Malaysian. Pabakaran had his relatives in Kerala.

    but, they all wanted their Homeland to be Sri lanka.

  • 3

    A Great person born in this world.Though a born Hindu, he was loved by those respected Citizens of all races and religions because he treated all of them alike,Mr.Kandasamy earned a name where ever he was involved while in service and after his retirement.His expertise is still being sought by policy makers of this era.He always expressed his honest, accurate and sincere opinion when ever his advise was sought,a quality which the learned admired.He was admired and respected as a person not only by those he knew him but even those who heard about him.His greatest achievement was to bring to this world two great Engineers, married much loved and admired by all and interestingly with the same qualities as Mr.Kandasamy

  • 3

    Dear Jeevan,

    I don’t know you at all, but thinking that I must make a comment aimed at making readers understand that your brother, Michael Ratnajeevan, (who was my class-mate) are quite different individuals, I read through your elegiac article and found it quite moving. Far too many people confuse themselves over the identity of the four Hoole brothers – but you guys are not to blame! There are pictures, and the first names are clearly shown.

    As for Mr Kandasamy, how many people are likely to think like this:

    “her work in Kandy is useful to Sri Lanka.”

    And so saying he helped his subordinate to remain useful – and happy!

    By the way, your brother Rajan does need looking after in certain respects. He and I first met at Gurutalawa in 1963, but that obscure school gets no mention in Rajan’s Wikipedia entry:


    The problem is that some detractors may say that he’s deliberately suppressed that information. However, I know that he’s one guy who is so devoid of ego that he’d never be looking at the entry, quite apart from not editing it.

    I’ve written that much without thinking this next thought. But, you are concerned with education; why not look at this, and make a comment: I’ve already got his permission and inserted an e-mail quote from him in a comment by “Sinhala_Man” here:


    I think that the article, the first that I have posted under my own name in CT, is one that you will find discusses a shocking state of affairs in the Anglican schools.

    • 4

      Thanks Sinhala_Man. Thank you for exposing rigged elections at our Christian schools. Rajan has had a lot of praise for you.

      In my time I have taken on crooked bishops but am a little more cautious after reading one of the greatest Saints of the Church, St. Francis of Assisi, on taking on the clergy:

      If you will be sons of peace you will win the clergy and the people for the Lord, and the Lord judges this more acceptable than to win the people but scandalize the clergy. Hide their lapses, supply for their many defects; and when you have done this, be even more humble (From Celano, Second Life, 146).”

      I am not sure of that but will not dismiss his views lightly. Anyway, I am thankful that we now have a good Bishop in The Rt. Rev. Dhilo Canagasabey and do not need to wonder any more about whether to go public or not on scandals within the Church since we can go directly to him and be heard.

      Our Christian schools remain private to be a Christian witness. So anything wrong has to be stopped and I think Bishop Dhilo will listen and that is a big change.

      Even today I read (in Ceylon Today, Cops in quandary: won’t respond hereafter!, 21 March)of how Bishop’s College and Ladies’ College principals complained to the police of Royalists forcing themselves into their respective schools, and the police being called in. And then, when the police arrested the boys and charged them in court, the principals of the two schools apparently lied in court saying that the boys had been invited in. Obviously the boys were so influential that they could get Christian school principals to lie in court for them.

      That is far from being a Christian witness especially in the eyes of the police who feel let down and say they will never respond to emergency calls from these schools and want a complaint in writing to respond.

      So much for Christian integrity!

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