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Veteran Eezham Tamil freedom fighter Gandhiyam David passes away

[TamilNet, Sunday, 11 October 2015, 14:06 GMT]
Solomon Arulanandan David, popularly known as Gandhiyam David, who presided the Gandhiyam Movement in Vanni in mid 70s, passed away on Sunday at the age of 91 at Ki'linochchi. He had returned to Ki'linochchi a few months ago from Tamil Nadu, where he was exiled after surviving the genocidal massacre at Welikade prison in 1983 and escaped from Batticaloa prison in the same year. David's contribution in the history of the struggle of Eezham Tamils is that at the inception of the armed struggle he had conceived the importance of a grassroot civil movement to accompany it. He remained steadfast in envisaging an independent Tamil Eelam.

S.A. David at 88
S.A. David photographed at the age of 88 in Tamil Nadu
Mr David, born on 24 April 1924, hails from Karampan, a village in the Kayts Island off Jaffna Peninsula.

He was trained in Architecture and received higher education in Australia in the early 1950s. On his return, he was appointed Assistant Architect in Ceylon. He also served as a Town Planner. Later, he went abroad again, but chose to return to his homeland to serve his people.

Together with Dr. Rajasunderam of Vavuniya, Mr David had built up a sound network of District Centers throughout the traditional homeland of Eezham Tamils between 1977 and 1983. The centers were operating in Jaffna, Ki'linochchi, Mannaar, Mullaiththeevu, Vavuniyaa, Trincomalee and Batticaloa.

At the time of his arrest in early 1983, his organisation Gandhiyam was running 450 pre schools with an average of thirty students each.

Gandhiyam was providing daily milk, nutritious food and Kindergarten teaching facilities to village children.

The movement was also running twelve model farms in Vavuniyaa, Trincomalee and Batticaloa, showing the villagers the simplest, safest and quickest way to economic, social and cultural revival.

Mobile clinics equipped with basic preventive and curative medicine were making regular rounds to outlying villages.

A training center, run by the movement, was preparing thirty to forty young women, every three months for Gandhiam work in their own villages.

In addition, Gandhyiam with other social service organizations, was assisting 5000 Up-country Tamil families from tea estates, affected by State-sponsored ethnic pogroms in the south of the island, to settle down to safe life in the traditional Eezham Tamil villages in Vanni.

S. A. David

His last will, expressed two years ago, was to donate his books to a future library in independent Tamil Eelam and that his body should be buried in liberated Vanni.

In a note of biography, sent to TamilNet in 2012, Mr David wrote: “I have experienced partial freedom and enjoyed it. I wanted total freedom for my people and myself. Instead, I was caught up in total bondage. It was hell. Now, I realize total freedom would be heaven indeed.” He also added: “There is no question in my mind that Tamils have the right to live freely in their own homeland.”

His funeral will be held in Ki'linochchi on Wednesday.

Related Articles:
03.08.12   The Hindu finds David to defend genocidal culprits
23.04.12   Veteran Tamil activist and humanist reaches 88 in exile



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