Mr Subramaniam Sivanayagam – 29th November 2011
(November 30, Colombo, Sri Lanka Guardian) “It was very hard for all of us. It’s still very hard. The anniversary of his death just passed, and every single one of his family members and friends, still, after all these years… it’s unbelievable”.
It was a year ago today, 29th November 2011 that Mr Subramaniam Sivanayagam known fondly to the diaspora as “Iyah”, editor of “Saturday Review”, “Tamil Nation” and “Hot Spring” passed away.
Mr Sivanayagam worked for the ‘Ceylon Daily News’, the ‘Daily Mirror’, J. Walter Thompson and the Ceylon Tourist Board. In 1981 he worked as the founder editor of the “Saturday Review”, a newspaper started by Tamil intellectuals, the first Jaffna English newspaper. As the ‘Saturday Review’ was banned by the government and they troubled Mr. Sivanayagam, he went to India and worked there for the “Tamil Information Centre” for a few years. Then along with his friends, he started an English fortnightly newspaper, “Tamil Nation”. While he was working for Tamil Nation, he was arrested by the Indian authorities under TADA and detained for a few years in India.
As soon as he was released from prison, he came to France, sought political asylum and lived in Paris for some years. While in Paris, he started publishing the monthly magazine “Hot Spring”. During his stay there, he had a heart attack and underwent an operation. As he was also suffering from diabetes, his friends in the United Kingdom encouraged him to move to London, where he could live closer to them and some of his relatives as well. In London, he continued to publish the popular “Hot Spring” magazine.
In London, UK he published two books, “Pen and the Gun” & “Sri Lanka – Witness to History” – A journalist’s Memoirs 1930 – 200) which contain his popular articles and writings, expressing his experiences as a journalist and the effects of politics in Sri Lanka. Also in 1987 he published “Sri Lanka : 10 years of Jayewardene Rule”.
As his illness got worse, he decided to live with his family and moved to Colombo in 2005. Mr Sivanayagam passed away on 29 November 2010, leaving his wife, two daughters, grandchildren and his son-in-law.
May this courageous popular journalist who contributed his life to his people, rest in peace.
On the 1st death anniversary of Mr Sivanayagam, we, the Tamil Centre for Human Rights – TCHR, along with many other International Human Rights organisations renew our expressions of sympathy to his wife, daughters and other family members.
* * * * * * * *
For Iyah (Mr) Sivanayagam
A Lovely soul has passed today
from Earth to the next place.
Full of humour, light and
of life, of laughter – of people in
the broadest sense – humanity –
and His people.
Tireless journalist – writer of truth
I feel limp with sorrow
like a leaf without water
but salt water flows from my eyes
in a wellspring of grief.
This history – this path of an
oppressed people – trod by
many – drew all of us together
attempting to speak out and
expose the injustice.
What a herculean task
Over the decades.
History will recognise his feat.
— Deirdre McConnell, 30 November 2010