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TAMIL NATIONAL FORUM
Selected Writings - Dr. Adrian Wijemanne
Jeyam (CJT) Thamotheram (1918 - 2005)
4 November 2005
I met Mr Thamotheram, for the very first time, in June 1994. It was at a meeting of the International Tamil Foundation to which he invited me. Within minutes of meeting, he made me feel as if I had met a long lost friend. He had a gift for friendship. It was a gift that survived the pain and trauma that our two nations were suffering in the throes of war at that time.
Soon our friendship ripened for our concerns were identical – peace and good neighbourliness between our two nations on the island which both of us regarded as our spiritual home in which we had been nurtured and in which the bones of our ancestors lay buried. We got to first name terms very soon – I called him Jayam and we spoke on the ‘phone with each other nearly every day.
Inevitably our perceptions of the future of our two nations differed. Mine more pessimistic and shorter term than his. He had a longer term hope of eventual amity and peace. He was wiser and more humane than I and he had the advantage of moral integrity which the Sinhala people (myself included) had sacrificed to their eternal discredit. These differences did nothing to cloud our friendship which thrived as the years went by. Never a cross word passed between us and our families drew closer together. I had the advantage of knowing at first hand what a cultured, middle class, Tamil gentleman of the early decades of the last century was like. Jayam was its perfect exemplar.
The ravages of time made short work of all our hopes; the future takes dimensions unforeseen. Nevertheless, as human beings we project values of eternal relevance however translated into reality of time and tide. Jayam stood steadfastly for the hope some day, even in the very distant future, our two nations would live on the island, in their own political configurations, not only in peace and good neighbourliness but even more importantly in friendship. He knew and personified the healing grace of friendship.