The First Recipient of ‘Thanthai Chelva’ S. J. V. Chelvanayakam Memorial Award
Mr. Kanagentran Kanagasabapathy who is the first recipient of this Award was born on 14 September 1932 and educated at St. John’s College, Jaffna and Wesley College, Colombo is the First Recipient of this Award. He is known among Eeelam Tamils as Eelaventhan. He worked at the Central Bank of Ceylon, eventually becoming head of the Tamil translation section in the Economic Research Department before his premature retirement in 1980.
He was an active member of the Illankai Tamil Arasu Kachchi but in 1970 he joined V. Navaratnam’s Tamil Self Rule Party later re-joined ITAK, which was now part of the Tamil United Liberation Front (TULF). Kanagentran was president of the TULF’s Colombo branch. He was a victim of the 1977 anti-Tamil pogrom unleashed by state-aided Sinhala mobs. He became a high profile advocate of Tamil Eelam. With the escalation of state-sponsored violence against the Tamils Eelaventhan, like many other Eelam Tamil politicians moved to Tamil Nadu in 1981. He and four others were arrested in Madras in February 1997 on charges of procuring medicine for wounded Tamil victims and was acquitted in August 1999. Eelaventhan was deported to Sri Lanka on 4 December 2000.
Due to Mr. Kanagendran’s has been actively promoting the cause of Tamil Eelam for the last five decades with many personal sacrifices to ensure that the Tamils in the island of Sri Lanka live with equality and dignity and freedom. He is one of the architects of the theoretical framework of the Tamil continues to be a moral icon of the Tamil struggle.
Mr. Kanagendran is a living symbol of the continuity of the Tamil struggle as we mark the 40th year of the death of Thanthai Chelva. This year also marks the 41st anniversary of the “Vaddukotai Resolution” voted for by the Tamil people in the island of Sri Lanka in 1976. On that occasion all the major Tamil political parties pledged to campaign peacefully for the establishment of an independent and a sovereign state of Tamil Eelam. Mr. Eelaventhan is one of the few who are living from among those who played a major role in the passage of the Resolution.
Mr. Eelaventhan has been an elected member of the TGTE since its inception on May 18, 2010. And he participated in all Parliamentary sittings and committee meeting.