Thanthai Chelva's 109th anniversary commemorated

[TamilNet, Saturday, 31 March 2007, 16:04 GMT]
Mr. S.J.V.Chelva- nayakam, founder of the Ilankai Tamil Arasu Katchchi (ITAK) and fondly called by Tamils as "Thanthai" (father) was remembered on his 109th birthday as Jaffna Bishop of South Indian Diocese Rt Rev.Jebanesan, Thanthai Chelva Trustee, garlanded the statue of late leader Mr.Chelvanayakam located near the Duraiappah stadium in Jaffna within the High Security Zone (HSZ) at 9:30 a.m. Saturday, sources in Jaffna said.

SJV Chelvanayagam
SJV Chelvanayagam, Political leader and father figure of Eelam Tamils
More than 50 members of the public paid floral tribute to the late leader's statue.

Former Jaffna Municipal Council Commissioner, K Sivagnanam, historian, K. Kunarasa also participated in the ceremony.

Special prayers also were held in several hindu temples and churches throughout Jaffna to mark the occasion, organizers said.

Mr. Samuel James Velupillai Chelvanayakam (SJV) was born on 31st March 1898, in the Malayan town of Ipoh, to Viswanathan Velupillai, a businessman, and Harriet Annamma Kanapathipillai. He moved with his mother to Tellipallai in the Jaffna district when he was four years old to be educated in Jaffna.

SJV qualified as an advocate of the Supreme Court of Ceylon and in 1927 married Emily Grace Barr Kumarakulasinghe (Rathinam). He fomally entered Tamil politics in 1944 when the British government announced the appointment of Soulbury Constitution. At that point, Tamils decided that they needed to create a political organization to formulate their demands and articulate these to the Commission.

It resulted in launching the All Ceylon Tamil Congress (ACTC) by the late leader Mr.G.G.Ponnamabalam with Mr. Chelvanayakam as one of its principal organizers.

Later in his political life ‘Thanthai’ Chelvanayakam started advocating a separate Tamil state in the island to regain the lost sovereign of Tamils under the administration of Britishers.

The goals for a separate state were ratified in the Vaddukoddai resolution of 14th May 1976 at the first national convention of the TULF under Mr. Chelvanayakam' chairmanship.

The historic pronouncement made by Mr. Chelvanayakam at the Vaddukoddai convention accused the then Prime Minister, Mrs. Bandaranaike, of having "callously ignored" the TULF's "last attempt ...to win constitutional recognition of the Tamil Nation without jeopardizing the unity of the country."

The convention called on "the Tamil Nation in general and the Tamil youth in particular to come forward and throw themselves fully in the sacred fight for freedom and to fight till the goal of a sovereign socialist state of Tamil Eelam is reached."

Till his death on April 26th in 1977, Mr. Chelvanayakam 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 thirty-three years. Mr. Chelvanayakam passed away on April 26, 1976 in Jaffna, a few days after celebrating 78th birthday.

Twenty-two Tamil National Alliance (TNA) parliamentarians representing the northeast in the current parliament contested the 2004 parliamentary election on April 2nd on the ITAK ticket founded in 1949 by the late leader Mr.Chelvanayakam, political sources said.


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