(from S.Arumugam's Dictionary of Biography
of the Tamils of Ceylon - published here
with permission) Ganapathipillai Gangesar Ponnambalam was
born on 8th November 1902. His father Gangesar
was a Postmaster from Alvay, PointPedro (in Tamil
Eelam) and his mother was from Navaly, Manipay.
Ponnambalam had his education at St.Joseph's
College Colombo, and proceeded to Cambridge on a
scholarship. There he passed the Natural Science
Tripos and was also called to the Bar.
Returning to Ceylon, he
commenced practising as an Advocate in Colombo.
He was a very able debater and soon became an
outstanding Criminal Lawyer. He was made a King's
Counsel in 1948.
career commenced in 1931. when he unsuccessfully
contested the Mannar-Mullaitivu seat in the First
State Council. However, he won the Point Pedro
seat in the same Council, when elections were
held in the North in 1934, after the lifting of
the boycott. He made his name as an able speaker
in the Council and retained his seat in the
Second State Council 1936-1947. For a brief
period he also acted for the Minister of
Communications and Works.
He won great acclaim soon
after 1944. when he presented before the Soulbury
Commission a logical case for equal
representation for the minorities in the Council.
He rose high in political esteem with his 50/50
slogan. His Tamil Congress Party swept the polls
at the 1947 General Elections to the First
Parliament . He secured the Jaffna seat,
defeating Arunachalam Mahadeva by a majority of
aver 9.000 votes
In the House of
Representatives, he was appointed Minister of
Industries, Industrial Research and Fisheries in
1948. He held this position for over five years.
Several large industrial ventures were mooted
during his regime as Minister. Among them were
the Kankesanturai Cement Factory, the Paranthan
Caustic Soda Chemical Factory and the
Valaichchenai Paper Factory. These developed into
huge concerns in due course and were a monument
to his diligence and forethought
In the elections held in
1952, G.G.Ponnambalam won the Jaffna seat by a
majority of about 4000 votes defeating
Dr.E.M.V.Naganathan of the Federal
In the meanwhile, a new party
had gained popularity in Jaffna. The majority
became even less at the General Elections held in
1956, when only he of his Party, was elected and
that too with a small majority. He then had to be
a back-bencher, and was the only representative
of the Tamil Congress in the House. He migrated
to Malaysia and practised there for some time and
passed away on 9th December 1977.
The Sri Lankan Government
honoured him by issuing a commemoration postage
stamp value 75 cts., on 22nd May 1986.