JM Rajaratnam: A Man of Remarkable Simplicity, Kindness and Spirited Commitment

by K. Thirukumaran My recollection of Mr JM Rajaratnam dates back to the eighties. It was a time many of us arrived here in New Jersey on student visa. We lived in urban cramped apartments amidst the loss of leaving our parents, place of birth and homes families and friends. Hearing about us new arrivals …

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Lasantha Wickrematunge Remained Unbowed and Unafraid to the Very End

Fifth Death Anniversary of the Assassinated “The Sunday Leader” Editor By D.B.S.Jeyaraj I vividly remember that long night in Toronto on January 7th/8th 2009 which was daytime in Colombo.The telephone rang while I was reading a magazine article on the wildlife in Sri Lanka. It was Dushi (Dushiyanthini Kanagasabapathipillai). She broke the news that Lasantha …

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Fr. Thani Nayagam Birth Centenary: “All humanity is my fraternity”

by K. Thirukumaran The Birth Centenary celebrations of Fr. Xavier Stanislaus Thani Nayagam have been held at the Federation of Tamil Sangams of North America convention (FeTNA) venue from July 5-6th at the Sony Centre in Toronto. An exhibition of publications, photographs and mementos of Rev. Thani Nayagam was held open both days and a …

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Murugesu Sivasithamparam the ‘Lion of Udupiddy’: Tenth Death Anniversary Tribute

by D.B.S.Jeyaraj “Panchamum Noiyum Nin Meiyadiaarkko, Paarinil Menmaigal Verini Yaarkko” (If famine and disease are for your true followers for who else then are glories in this world) – Subramania Bharatiyaar in his Ode to the Motherland’s (India) freedom. Veteran Sri Lankan Tamil political moderate leader, Murugesu Sivasithamparam, passed away peacefully after a brief illness …

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Remembering Lasantha, with love

By Marianne David Hello Friends It was three years ago on this day (January 8th ) that former Editor of “The Sunday Leader” Lasantha Manilal Wickrematunge was brutally murdered in broad daylight on his way to work by “unknown”assassins. Lassie Boy as I called him was my Friend,Colleague and Editor. The death of this fearless …

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Brigadier Balraj: LTTE’s fearless frontline commander

By D.B.S.Jeyaraj Three days in May (17th -19th) marked the second anniversary of the total military defeat suffered by the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam(LTTE). While a large number of senior LTTE leaders and military commanders including tiger supremo Veluppillai Prabhakaran met with their end during this period the greatest LTTE military commander of them …

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M.H.M. Ashraff: The legendary Muslim Congress Leader

By D.B.S.Jeyaraj

September 16th 2010 was the tenth death anniversary of Mohammad Hussein Muhammad Ashraff, the uncrowned sultan of the Amparai district Muslims and legendary leader of the Sri Lanka Muslim Congress (SLMC). The pioneering president of the SLMC was Ahammed Lebbe of Kattankudi with whom Ashraff co-founded the party in September 1981. It was however MHM Ashraff who gave the Muslim Congress a new vision and direction after he assumed formal leadership of the party in 1986.

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Mohammad Hussein Muhammad Ashraff (Oct 23, 1948 – Sep 16, 2000)

Upali Wijewardena: Memories of the unforgettable tycoon

By D.B.S.Jeyaraj

If Philip Upali Wijewardena was among the living he would have reached the Seventy-two today. (February 17). Alas, this was not to be as he disappeared 25 years ago, just four days before his 45th birthday. This article is written as tribute to the man in this eventful week of significant anniversaries.

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Philip Upali Wijewardena (1938–1983)

Legally, Wijewardena is presumed dead though his body was never found. He was travelling in his own Lear jet from Malaysia to Sri Lanka when the plane disappeared. The disappearance continues to linger in the collective memory of the nation as an unresolved mystery. There are people who ask me even now, “I say, what really happened to Upali? Don’t know, no?”

Prabhakaran, Veluppillai and the father-son relationship

by D.B.S. Jeyaraj

Veluppillai Prabhakaran’s father Thiruvengadam Veluppillai breathed his last on Wednesday January 6th night. The 86 year old retired government servant’s birthday was on January 10th.

Thiruvengadam Veluppillai Parvathiamma Veluppillai, Prabhakaran, Mathivathani and son Charles Anthony-Reuters pic

The octogenarian hailing from the northern coastal town of Valvettithurai (VVT)and his wife Parvathiamma were staying in a chalet within the precincts of the Army cantonment at Panagoda.

Lasantha: The Courageous Editor who Fearlessly spoke Truth to Power

Remembering “Lassieboy” on the first anniversary of his death

by D.B.S. Jeyaraj

It was on January 8th last year that Lasantha Wickrematunga the Editor of “The Sunday Leader” in Colombo was killed by “unknown” assassins. He was my colleague, editor, friend and above all a kindred soul.

Lasantha Wickrematunga

How I miss him.

There is big vacuum in the media scene after his departure

Gamini Fonseka: “Maharajaneni” of Sinhala moviedom

by D.B.S. Jeyaraj

Gamini Fonseka, the uncrowned “Maharajaneni” or monarch of Sinhala moviedom passed away peacefully on September 30th in 2004. Though Gamini is no more most of his fans like this writer have not forgotten him. This article coinciding with Gamini’s fifth death anniversary today is a humble tribute to to the memory of a man who lives in the hearts of many.

Gamini Fonseka (March 21, 1936-Sep 30, 2004)

This article is to honour the memory of a man whom I loved as an actor, appreciated as a director, admired as a politician and above all respected as a decent human being. Gamini the actor on the Sinhala silver screen became an important part of life in childhood.

Rajini: 20th Death Anniversary of a True Tamil Heroine

by D.B.S. Jeyaraj

Twenty years ago on this day (September 21st) Rajani Thiranagama nee Rajini
Rajasingham was brutally gunned down at Thirunelvely, as she was cycling back home from the Jaffna University. She was Professor of Anatomy at the Jaffna Varsity medical faculty.

The 35 year old mother of two daughters was also a human rights activist, feminist, critic of narrow nationalism and opponent of irresponsible militarism.

Rajani Thiranagama nee Rajini Rajasingham

Her husband,Dayapala Thiranagama in a recent article on Rajini has referred to the manner in which she was killed. Here is the relevant excerpt:

My friend Shanthi: A Personal tribute

By D.B.S. Jeyaraj

“Break, break, break,
On thy cold gray stones, O Sea!
And I would that my tongue could utter
The thoughts that arise in me”.

Shanthakumari Vignarajah ~ Feb 18th 1954-July 28th 2009

It is with a deep feeling of sadness that I write about my classmate and friend Shanthi who passed away peacefully on July 28th at her residence in Nallur,Jaffna.

Shanthakumari Vignarajah nee Rajadurai , known as Shanthi to her relatives and friends, and I were GCE-Advanced level students at Jaffna College (JC), Vaddukkoddai from 1970-73. Our friendship continued after JC days and her marriage to Vignarajah who also became a good friend of mine.

She was senior lecturer in English at the University of Jaffna. Her Husband is the High Court Judge in Jaffna.

Tiruchelvam, Tigers and the Tamil “Traitor” Tragedy

by D.B.S. Jeyaraj

Ten years ago on the morning of July 29, an unknown ‘human bomb’ exploded at the Rosemead Place-Kynsey Road junction. The suicide attack resulted in the death of Dr. Neelan Tiruchelvam.

In a few seconds of madness the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) had murdered the foremost intellectual in contemporary Tamil politics.

[Neelan Tiruchelvam]

Lasantha Wickrematunge: The man who changed Sri Lankan journalism

Hello Friends

It is six months since the fearless editor of “The Sunday Leader” was brutally assassinated in broad daylight.Lasantha Manilal Wickrematunge was murdered in cold blood at Ratmalana by a killer squad of eight riding four motor cycles. He was driving alone to work on that fateful January 8th.

lasantha wickremetunga's funeral

pic by: indi.ca

Six months have passed and the Police are yet to progress in their so called investigation into the killing. The only “suspect” netted by them is the man who misappropriated Lasantha’s cellular phone.

Tamil Catholics perturbed over missing Jaffna Priest

By D.B.S. Jeyaraj

Members of the Catholic faith in Jaffna were greatly agitated last week when it became known that the Diocesan hierarchy was actively considering the recalling of priests from parishes in problematic, insecure areas. If the decision was implemented Catholic priests from the Northern Islands, Vadamaratchy East and some parts of Thenmaratchy would have left their churches and taken up residence temporarily at Colombothurai in Jaffna. The “shepherds” would have been absent when their respective “flocks” were undergoing great harship and fear.

Fr. Thiruchelvam Nihal Jim Brown