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‘SINTHANAI SITPI’ S.T.Sinnadurai - 35th Death Anniversary

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‘SINTHANAI SITPI’ – S.T. Sinnadurai

23.07.1903 - 22.03.1980

A Tribute

I had the pleasant opportunity of acquainting with the late Mr. S.T. Sinnadurai who was the Founder and Chairman of Leela Group of Companies while I was a Law Student during the latter half of sixties.

Mr. Sinnadurai who was always clad in ‘Kadar’ white dress was an admirer and follower of Mahathma Gandhi.  I had been meeting him to obtain his assistance financially and also in printing works for Ceylon Law College Hindu Maha Sabha and Ceylon Law College Tamil Mantram.  He not only readily helped us but always advised and guided us.  He was given the title ‘Sinthanai Sitpachelver’ (meaning ‘Master Architect of Thinking’).  It was a pleasure to listen to him.  He talked softly but with full of affection.  Hence, my good friend C.V. Vivekananda and I used to visit Leela Press which was in St. Sebastian’s Hill closer to Ceylon Law College and enjoyed engaging in discussions with this grand old man.  He had a depth of knowledge not only in our religion and language but also in politics.  I know that one of his frequent visitors was Mr. R. Premadasa who later rose to be the Prime Minister and subsequently as the President of the Country.  He was also close to a number of Political Leaders including Mr. S.J.V. Chelvanayagam Q.C., Mr. J.R. Jayawardena, Mr. V.A. Sugathadasa and Mr. Philip Gunawardena. He also involved in Buddhist religious activities.

The late Mr. Sinnadurai was one of the founders of All Ceylon Hindu Congress (ACHC) established in 1955.  He had been a member of the Council of ACHC since its inception till his demise and he was also one of the Vice Presidents of ACHC for several years.  He was very keen that the ACHC Headquarters should be built early on the land given at Colombo on lease by the Government.  It was one of his sons Mr. Sinnadurai Dhanabalaa  chaired the Building Committee of ACHC from 1990 when the constructions of ACHC Headquarters was activated and till it was completed in 1996.  It is now another son Mr. S.T.S. Arulanantham who now chairs the Building Committee for maintenance of ACHC Building.  Both these sons Arulanantham and Dhanabalaa are two of the Vice Presidents of ACHC for almost 25 years.  In the footsteps of their father they continue the yeoman service to our people and in particular to the Hindus of this country through various Institutions including All Ceylon Hindu Congress, Kathiragama Pilgrims Society, Colombo Vivekananda Society, Thiruketheeswaram Temple Restoration Society.  Navalar Sabha, Colombo Saiva Munnetra Sangam and Nallur Aaatheenam Trust.

The late Mr. Sinnadurai took keen interest in the development of Colombo Hindu College and sent his sons to study there because he wanted his sons to grow in a Hindu atmosphere.

Another son of the late Mr. Sinnadurai, Dr S.T. Somasegaram a well known and respected medical practitioner in UK had been the President of London Lewshiam  Sivam Temple Board of Management and is now its Vice Chairman.  Dr. Somasegaram was one of the prime movers of the construction of the new building for Nallur Aaathenam and he made a substantial financial contribution to the same. When Mr. Balendra (Attorney-at-Law) one of the nine sons of the Late Mr. Sinnathurai was alive, he also actively participated in religious and social activities.

Although the late Mr. Sinnadurai is no more his sons two of whom fortunately carry the flag of Leela Sinnadurai dynasty.  I am obliged to make another personal note.  I had the pleasure of doing my apprenticeship under Mr. Sinnadurai’s eldest son Mr. S. Sunderalingam, Attorney-at-Law.

The demise of Mr. Sinnadurai is a loss to our community.  I wish to intimate to his family that their loss is ours too and we also share their sorrow as ours and feel that he should have lived for a few more years and remained a tower of strength to our community.

Kandiah Neelakandan

President

All Ceylon Hindu Congress

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