'Thanthai' Chelva remembered

[TamilNet, Tuesday, 01 April 2003, 00:43 GMT]
One-hundred and fifth birth day of S.J.V.Chelvanayakam, late Tamil leader who launched Tamils' freedom struggle fifty five years ago, was celebrated in Jaffna Monday morning. Thanthai Chelva Trustee Board Vice Chairman and Tamil National Alliance (TNA) parliamentarian Mr. Mavai Senathirajah opened the ceremony garlanding the statue of Chelvanayagam, sources in Jaffna said.

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Professor S.K.Sittampalam, former Municipal Commissioner Mr.C.V.K.Sivagnanam, Mr.M.K.Eelaventhan and others followed him paying homage to Thanthai Chelvanayakam, sources said.

Parliamentarian Mr. Mavai Senathirajah speaking at the occasion gathered at the Chelva memorial in Jaffna town said members of Tamil National Alliance should take a vow on this sacred day to strengthen the unity in the TNA.

Professor S.K.Sittampalam and Mr.C.V.K.Sivagnanam also spoke.

Thanthai Chelva's birthday was also celebrated by the Tamil United Liberation Front, a main constituent of the TNA at its Jaffna office Monday, sources said.

Samuel James Velupillai Chelvanayakam was born in 1898 in the Malayan town of Ipoh to Viswanathan Velupillai, a businessman, and Harriet Annamma Kanapathipillai. He came with his mother to Tellipllai when he was four years old to be educated in Jaffna.

He qualified as an advocate of Supreme Court of Ceylon and in 1927 married Emily Grace Barr Kumarakulasinghe (Rathinam).

Chelvanayakam contested Kankesanthurai constituency at the general elections of 1947 and entered Sri Lanka parliament. In 1949 he launched his own party, Ilankai Thamil Arasu Kadchi ( Federal Party), and became a commanding figure within a short period confronting militant Sinhala Budhism and lingustic exclusivity. From 1956 till his death in 1977 he was the acknowledged leader of the Tamil people. He was the only statesman to be returned in five general elections in a row and to remain a hero and a father figure to his people for twenty one years.

 

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