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Farewell to Ramachandra, a humanitarian at heart!

Ramachandra Dear Annan!

Your demise brings us nostalgic memories of yesteryears commencing from the sixties.

Your marriage to my cousin Saras strengthened our ties. When your wife Saras moved to the village of Vaddukottai, I wondered how Saras who had been born and bred in the capital city of Colombo could cope with the village life. But I was amazed to find that she integrated into the rural life quite naturally and even won the affection of your kith and kin due to her being sociable and hospitality. In fact she had been more popular than you in the village of Villathy Thottam.

Ramachandra Saras

She became a great devotee of your temple- Uddukavallai Pillaiyar Temple maintained by your ancestors and even prepared the Prasad for the temple with dedication.

Your mentors were late Kandiah and late Vethavalli Kandiah of Neervely.

You were close to my Sinnamama Nadesapillai, Pathma Mamy, Periyamama Sivasubramnaiyam, Periyamma Sivakamiammah, Periya Mamay Balambigai and my mother Alagamma.

You held our , Periyamma in high esteem and affectionately called her ‘ Akkachchi’. When she passed away, in your condolence you praised her as the guide to an extended family led by Sivasubramaniam.

Your advice to me particularly in turbulent times had been very worthy and gave me strength. You guided my wife in her school days. The role you played in our lives on all occasions of happiness and sorrow are unforgettable.

You had a fascination for Yoga. You did yoga exercises regularly and systematically. That kept you fit both physically and mentally. I had been highly impressed that you could remain unperturbed and maintain tranquility in all situations, whether peaceful or stressful. The secret, I belive, was the yoga that you practised.

As an employee of the Ceylon Tobacco Company, I remember you reporting for work on time always attired in spotless white. You were devoted to your duty.

Bala Tampoe

You had been an Execuitve Committee Member of the Trade Union of the Employees of the Tobacco Company in Colombo. You had been a staunch trade unionist attached to Ceylon Mercantile Union led by fiery Trade Unionist late Bala Tampoe.

The sight of you wearing a red shirt and a red cap, raising your fist vehemently, shouting slogans for the wellbeing of the working class and taking part in May Day Rallies in Colombo streets rushes to my mind. I had seen the fearless fighter for the downtrodden, for the poor, in you.

Karl Marx

You had been an ardent Communist. You attended classes on Marxism conducted by reputed Marxist, Proctor Thuraisingam in Hulftsdorph, Colombo and following your persuasion I too attended those classes with you.

You were respectfully called ‘Comrade’ by the followers of the Ceylon Communist Party. You were seen canvassing day and night with great enthusiasm for the Communist Party Leader Pieter Keuneman at every election he contested in the Colombo Central Electorate those days as against Premadasa, Sugathathasa etc. You were brave enough to face the brunt of opposition even thuggery for the sake of the party.

You were impressed that the Communist Party vehemently opposed the introduction of the Sinhala Only Bill by the then government of Sri Lanka. Communist Party Leader Pieter Keuneman for whom you had great regards delivered a powerful speech against the Sinhala Only Act in Parliament in 1956. This party was earnestly committed to ensure equality to the Tamil people in an undivided Sri Lanka.

Pieter Keuneman

Once you pointed out to me that at a convention in Matara, Communist Party of Ceylon adopted a resolution recognizing the right to self-etermination of the Tamil people.

I am also reminded that when Pieter Keuneman visited Jaffna in the late eighties and had a meeting with communists in the Northern Peninsula at the party head quarters, I was present as the Northern Province journalist of the Island newspaper. I was gladdened to note that Pieter Keuneman had a very friendly chat with you and recalled your services to the party. It was with joy that I watched the comradeship between the Leader Keuneman and the follower Ramachandra.

I also remember that you had been a dedicated co-operator. You played a keyrole in promoting the co-operative movement in the Northern peninsula. It was your conviction that the economy of the North could be developed through an efficient co-operative movement.

You had love for others and showed interest in serving the needy. Your inclination towards the wellbeing of the people in distress was remarkable.

That inclination for helping others manifested even after you breathed your last as we watched the officials of the Faculty of Medicine fetching your mortals to the University.

Annan! That really is a standing monument to your kindness to the fellow beings!

As I ponder over your love for fellow beings, I am reminded of the following stanza in Thirukurral:

“Those who are not of loving nature are all for themselves. Those that have love, sacrifice even their body at the service of others”

அன்பிலார் எல்லாம் தமக்குரியர் அன்புடையார்
என்பும் உரியர் பிறர்க்கு

It is with heavy hearts and tearful eyes that my wife Vilvaranee, son Chenthuran, daughters Vasuki, Vathsala, Abiramy and I bow down and wish you farewell on your final journey!

We pray to our Guardian Deity Trincomalee Pathirakali Amman that your soul shall rest in peace at Her Lotus Feet!

Varathasuntharam 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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