C. Suntharalingam

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C. Suntharalingam

செ. சுந்தரலிங்கம்
Chellappah Suntharalingam.jpg
Minister of Trade and Commerce
In office
1947–1948
Succeeded by H. W. Amarasuriya
Member of the Ceylonese Parliament
for Vavuniya
In office
1947–1960
Succeeded by T. Sivasithamparam
Personal details
Born(1895-08-19)19 August 1895
Died11 February 1985(1985-02-11) (aged 89)
Vavuniya, Sri Lanka
Political partyUnity Front of Eelam Tamils
Alma mater University of London
Balliol College, Oxford
ProfessionAcademic
Ethnicity Ceylon Tamil

Chellappah Suntharalingam (Tamil : செல்லப்பா சுந்தரலிங்கம்; 19 August 1895 11 February 1985) was a Ceylon Tamil academic, politician, Member of Parliament and government minister.

Tamil language language

Tamil is a Dravidian language predominantly spoken by the Tamil people of India and Sri Lanka, and by the Tamil diaspora, Sri Lankan Moors, Douglas, and Chindians. Tamil is an official language of three countries: India, Sri Lanka and Singapore. It is also the official language of the Indian state of Tamil Nadu and the Union Territory of Puducherry. It is used as one of the languages of education in Malaysia, along with English, Malay and Mandarin. Tamil is spoken by significant minorities in the four other South Indian states of Kerala, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Telangana and the Union Territory of the Andaman and Nicobar Islands. It is one of the 22 scheduled languages of India.

Contents

Early life and family

Suntharalingam was born on 19 August 1895. [1] [2] [3] He was the son of Chellappah and Meenachchi from Urumpirai in northern Ceylon. [1] He was educated at St. John's College, Jaffna and St. Joseph's College, Colombo. [1] In 1914 he entered the University of London from where he graduated with a B.Sc. honours degree in mathematics. [1] He then went on to Balliol College, Oxford from where he was awarded a double first in mathematics tripos. [1]

Urumpirai Town in Sri Lanka

Urumpirai is a town in Northern Jaffna District, Sri Lanka. It is located 9 km (5.6 mi) from Jaffna.

British Ceylon former British Crown colony

Ceylon was the British Crown colony of present day Sri Lanka between 1815 and 1948. Initially the area it covered did not include the Kingdom of Kandy, which was a protectorate, but from 1817 to 1948 the British possessions included the whole island of Ceylon, now the nation of Sri Lanka.

St. Johns College, Jaffna Anglican private school in Sri Lanka

St. John's College is a private school in Jaffna, Sri Lanka. Founded in 1823 by British Anglican missionaries, it is one of Sri Lanka's oldest schools.

Suntharalingam hailed from a distinguished family and had four eminent brothers: C. Nagalingam, a Supreme Court judge, was acting Governor-General of Ceylon in 1954; C. Panchalingam was a medical doctor; C. Amirthalingam was Director of Fisheries; and C. Thiagalingam was a leading lawyer. [2] [4]

C. Nagalingam Sri Lankan judge

Justice Chellappah Nagalingam, KC was a leading Ceylonese judge and lawyer. He was a Judge of the Supreme Court of Ceylon and served as acting Governor-General of Ceylon in 1954. He also served as acting Chief Justice, acting Legal Secretary and Attorney General. He was the first Ceylon Tamil to be appointed to the bench of the Supreme Court of Ceylon.

Governor-General of Ceylon Type of temporary statute law in France

The governor-general of Ceylon was the representative of the monarch in the Dominion of Ceylon from the country's independence from the United Kingdom in 1948 until it became the republic of Sri Lanka in 1972.

Suntharalingam married Kanagambikai Ambal, daughter of M. Kanagasabi. [1] They had two sons (Gnanalingam and Sathyalingam) and four daughters (Lingambikai, Lingavathy, Lingamani and Lingeswari). [1]

Career

The first Cabinet of independent Ceylon. Suntharalingam is on the far left. First Cabinet of Ceylon.jpg
The first Cabinet of independent Ceylon. Suntharalingam is on the far left.

Suntharalingam was selected by the Indian Civil Service but chose instead to join the Ceylon Civil Service in 1920. [1] He resigned from the civil service to become vice principal of Ananda College. [4] [5] [6] He then joined Ceylon University College as professor and first chair of mathematics. [1] [4] [7] He was called to the Bar from Gray's Inn in 1920, becoming an advocate and practising law in Ceylon. [1]

The Ceylon Civil Service, popularly known by its acronym CCS, was the premier civil service of the Government of Ceylon under British colonial rule and in the immediate post-independence period. Established in 1833, it functioned as part of the executive administration of the country to various degrees until Ceylon gained self-rule in 1948. Until it was abolished on 1 May 1963 it functioned as the permanent bureaucracy or secretariat of Crown employees that supported the Government of Ceylon.

Ananda College boys school in Sri Lanka

Ananda College is the largest national buddhist school for Sri Lankan boys, with a student population exceeding 8,000 across 13 grades from primary to secondary classes, on a campus of 10 acres (40,000 m2) in Maradana, Colombo. The College was incepted as a result of the Sri Lankan Buddhist Renaissance which took place in the late 19th century. It was established on November 1, 1886, by the Buddhist Theosophical Society led by Colonel Henry Steel Olcott and became a government school in 1961. As of 2018 an academic staff of more than 300 was led by Mr. S.M. Keerthiratne. It was originally formed as a Sunday school.

Ceylon University College

Ceylon University College was a public university college in Ceylon. Established in 1921, it was Ceylon's first attempt at university education. The college didn't award degrees under its own name but prepared students to sit the University of London's external examination. The college was based in Colombo. The college was merged with Ceylon Medical College in 1942 to form the University of Ceylon. The college was also known as University College, Ceylon; University College, Colombo; and Colombo University College. Its buildings and grounds are now occupied by the University of Colombo which is considered its successor.

Becoming interested in politics, Suntharalingam retired in 1940 and entered politics. [1] He tried unsuccessfully to enter the State Council during by-elections in 1943 and 1944. [1] He stood as an independent candidate in Vavuniya at the 1947 parliamentary election. He won the election and entered Parliament. [8] He was persuaded to join the United National Party led government and on 26 September 1947 he was sworn in as Minister of Trade and Commerce. [1] [9] [10] He supported the controversial Ceylon Citizenship Act of 1948 which deprived citizenship to 11% of the Ceylon's population but when division was called on the second reading of the Indian and Pakistani Residents Citizenship Bill on 10 December 1948, Suntharalingam walked out of Parliament. [2] [4] [11] Prime Minister D. S. Senanayake asked for an explanation but Suntharalingam resigned from his ministerial position instead. [2] [4] [12] Suntharalingam became a champion for the rights of Ceylon's Indian Tamils who had been made stateless and disenfranchised by Sinhalese dominated governments after independence. [2] [4] He observed that "if the Buddha were to come to the country today, he himself would be deported" (Buddha was from India, the Sinhalese were Buddhists). [2] [13]

State Council of Ceylon

The State Council of Ceylon was the unicameral legislature for Ceylon, established in 1931 by the Donoughmore Constitution. The State Council gave universal adult franchise to the people of the colony for the first time. It replaced the Legislative Council of Ceylon, the colony's original legislative body.

An independent or nonpartisan politician is an individual politician not affiliated with any political party. There are numerous reasons why someone may stand for office as an independent.

Vavuniya Electoral District was an electoral district of Sri Lanka between August 1947 and February 1989. The district was named after the town of Vavuniya in Vavuniya District, Northern Province. The 1978 Constitution of Sri Lanka introduced the proportional representation electoral system for electing members of Parliament. The existing 160 mainly single-member electoral districts were replaced with 22 multi-member electoral districts. Vavuniya electoral district was replaced by the Vanni multi-member electoral district at the 1989 general elections, the first under the PR system, though Vavuniya continues to be a polling division of the multi-member electoral district.

Suntharalingam resigned from Parliament in 1951 as a protest against the adoption of the Sinhala kodiya (flag) as the national flag. [12] He was the only candidate in the ensuing by-election and consequently returned to Parliament. [12] [14] He was re-elected at the 1952 parliamentary election. [15] Suntharalingam vehemently opposed the attempts to make Sinhala the sole official language of Ceylon, stating during the June 1955 throne speech that, if the changes went ahead, Tamils would demand "a separate independent autonomous state of 'Tamil Ilankai' composed of Tamil speaking peoples in Ceylon". [2] [16] He boycotted Parliament from August 1955 in protest against the Sinhala Only Act. [16] After three months of absence he forfeited his seat in Parliament. [16] He won the ensuing by-election and returned to Parliament. [14] [16] He was re-elected at the 1956 parliamentary election. [17]

Suntharalingam founded the Eela Thamil Ottrumai Munnani (Unity Front of Eelam Tamils) in 1959. [4] [5] [18] At the March 1960 parliamentary election Suntharalingam, contesting as an independent as the Eela Thamil Ottrumai Munnani wasn't a registered party, was defeated by T. Sivasithamparam, another independent candidate. [19]

Suntharalingam published Eylom: Beginning of the Freedom Struggle; Dozens Documents in 1963 in which he became one of the first Ceylon Tamils to call for an independent Tamil state, which he called Eylom: [20] [21]

Suntharalingam contested the 1965 parliamentary election as an independent candidate but was defeated by the All Ceylon Tamil Congress candidate T. Sivasithamparam. [22] He contested the 1970 parliamentary election as an independent candidate in Kankesanthurai but was defeated by the Illankai Tamil Arasu Kachchi candidate S. J. V. Chelvanayakam. [23]

Suntharalingam spent his later years in Vavuniya where he died on 11 February 1985. [1] [4]

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References

  1. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 Arumugam, S. (1997). Dictionary of Biography of the Tamils of Ceylon. p. 214.
  2. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 Bertram, Bastiampillai (20 August 2005). "C. Suntharalingam – reminiscences". Daily News (Sri Lanka) . Archived from the original on 18 October 2012.
  3. "Directory of Past Members: Suntheralingam, Chellappah". Parliament of Sri Lanka.
  4. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 Rajabalan, Raymond (March 2009). "First Among Us – Part 3A" (PDF). Monsoon Journal. 3 (10): 40–41.
  5. 1 2 Sivanayagam, S. "One Hundred Tamils of the 20th Century: C.Suntharalingam". Tamil Nation.
  6. de Silva, Pramod (30 October 2011). "Ananda College at 125: A beacon to society". Sunday Observer (Sri Lanka) . Archived from the original on 2 April 2015. Retrieved 21 March 2015.
  7. Ceylon University College Prospectus 1936-37. Ceylon University College. 1936. p. 6.
  8. "Result of Parliamentary General Election 1947" (PDF). Department of Elections, Sri Lanka. Archived from the original (PDF) on 24 September 2015.
  9. Rajasingham, K. T. "Chapter 12: Tryst with independence". Sri Lanka: The Untold Story.
  10. "First cabinet had only 14 ministers". The Sunday Times (Sri Lanka) . 23 September 2007.
  11. Rajasingham, K. T. "Chapter 13: A nightmarish British legacy". Sri Lanka: The Untold Story.
  12. 1 2 3 Rajasingham, K. T. "Chapter 14: Post-colonial realignment of political forces". Sri Lanka: The Untold Story.
  13. Wilson, A. Jeyaratnam (1994). S. J. V. Chelvanayakam and the Crisis of Sri Lankan Tamil Nationalism, 1947–1977: a Political Biography. University of Hawaii Press. p. 48.
  14. 1 2 "Summary of By-elections 1947 to 1988" (PDF). Department of Elections, Sri Lanka. Archived from the original (PDF) on 9 December 2009.
  15. "Result of Parliamentary General Election 1952" (PDF). Department of Elections, Sri Lanka. Archived from the original (PDF) on 24 September 2015.
  16. 1 2 3 4 Rajasingham, K. T. "Chapter 15: Turbulence in any language". Sri Lanka: The Untold Story.
  17. "Result of Parliamentary General Election 1956" (PDF). Department of Elections, Sri Lanka. Archived from the original (PDF) on 24 September 2015.
  18. "Do we need to be told what to do?". Ceylon Today . 23 May 2012.
  19. "Result of Parliamentary General Election 19 March 1960" (PDF). Department of Elections, Sri Lanka. Archived from the original (PDF) on 12 July 2015.
  20. Rajasingham, K. T. "Chapter 20 - Tamil leadership lacks perspicuity". Sri Lanka: The Untold Story.
  21. "The Prophesy of Mr. C. Suntheralingham". Ilankai Tamil Sangam.
  22. "Result of Parliamentary General Election 1965" (PDF). Department of Elections, Sri Lanka. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2009-12-09.
  23. "Result of Parliamentary General Election 1970" (PDF). Department of Elections, Sri Lanka. Archived from the original (PDF) on 9 December 2009.