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S.J.V.Chelvanayagam
24th, Death Anniversary
by
M.K.Eelaventhan

The issues that the post independant the Sri Lankan Tamils were likely to be confronted with was identified by SJV. It was the outcome of his political acumen and foresight.The leadership of this country are yet to formulate a solution either by themselves or as prescribed by him. It is a tragedy of our times.

The switching of the formula of "communal representation" to that of "territorial representation" by the Donoughmore Constitution precipitated the differences of ,linguistic, cultural, fortuitous advantages, such as inherited characteristics, were to be discounted in favour of the majority.This naturally fell foul of the minority Tamils. They were to be systematically disadvantaged by various manoeuvres. The approach was to hold the minorities back instead of planning and implementing measures that were to catch up with the advantaged.

The Tamil minority was in no mood to accommodate, designs that were to seriously disadvantage them of their entitlement to equivalent quality of life.It was this ambience that quite justifiably, and quite rightly prompted SJV to propose a federal structure of government as a suitable formula. The federal structure was nothing new. It was a format in which multiethnic, multilingual, multirelegious nations were governed. It is relevant to point out the Honorable SWRD Bandaranayake himself at one point of time advocate the federal form of government.

Mr. SWRD Bandaranayake addressing a meeting presided by Dr. Isacc Thambayah at the Jaffna College in July 1926 on the subject of "Federation is the only solution to our political problems "said "A centralized form of Government assumed a homogeneous whole. He knew no part of the world where a Government was carried on under such conflicting circumstances as would
be experienced in Ceylon.There would be troubles if centralized form of Government was introduced into countries with large communal differences "In a Federal Government each federal unit had complete power over themselves. Yet they united and had one or two assemblies to discuss matters affecting the whole country". At the same meeting during question time a member of the audience had asked if there was difficulty in arriving at a suitable form of Government "Why should not we continue to remain under the British "? to which the speaker responded by replying "No nation deserved the name of a nation if it did not want a measure of self government" The worm has since turned. I had the privilege to be with SJV at his home in Alfred House Gardens when THE BC Pact was abrogated. Mr. Stanley de Soysa arrived in the evening with a note from SWRD announcing that he was unable to honour the implementation of the pact he had entered
to with him. SJV said that he was very sorry that SWRD had found it difficult to implement the pact and went on to say that the consequences would be disastrous in that there would be blood shed and turmoil to follow. This I am sorry to state continues to this date.

It is with deep regret that I have to state that if the elite leadership of the relevant time could comprehend what was proposed we would not be in the mess we find ourselves in. The prize is in squandered time,progress,developments and the denial of the enrichment of a quality of life every Sri Lankan was rightfully entitled to.

SJV will always be held in the treasured memory by the Sri Lankan Tamis as an undisputed, honest, Tamil leader . He was a man of vision .One of courage and conviction.The Tamils always trusted him. He never betrayed the trust.Born in 1898 and left his work unfinished in April 1977.

SJV after his long and tedious struggle to arrive at a suitable form of Government acceptable to all had this to say in The National State Assembly before his death in 1977.

Quote "Sri Lankan Tamil Nationalism Page 110 by A. Jeyaratnam Wilson. speaking on the 19th November1976 at the second reading debate of the annual appropriation bill for 1977 he admitted poignantly to his inability to trust in a United Sri Lanka. His Federal Movement had failed to achieve the objective of winnining the lost rights of the Tamil speaking people. Earlier his approach had been to treat a modern problem in a modern way. Now he looked back to the past. Our ancient people were wise they had their own kingdom.This seemed to imply that the FP should at the very start have confronted the proposition of a separate state.He took the ultimate
plunge when he concluded.

Reverend Bishop Ambalavanar in his funeral oration on the death of SJV he said like "Moses Mr.Chelvanayakam showed us the promised land but failed to reach it on his own. We who are his sincere followers are left to fulfill his dream."

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