Tamils - a Trans State Nation..

"To us all towns are one, all men our kin.
Life's good comes not from others' gift, nor ill
Man's pains and pains' relief are from within.
Thus have we seen in visions of the wise !."
Tamil Poem in Purananuru, circa 500 B.C

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Home > Tamils - a Nation without a State> One Hundred Tamils of the 20th Century > Subramaniam Sivanayagam


Selected Writings - S.Sivanayagam at the Tamil National Forum

Release Sivanayagam - Nadesan Satyendra, 15 August 1991

Sri Lanka Supreme Court Judgment in 'Saturday Review' Case, 1983

Books by S.Sivanayagam

Sri Lanka: Witness to History - A Journalist's Memoirs, 1930-2004
The Thimpu Talks:1985 - The Sinhala-Tamil Conflict and the India Factor, published by the Tamil Information Centre, London

"...The cardinal principles put forward by the Tamil delegation at the peace negotiations at Thimpu in 1985 under Indian auspices, remain the most important concepts which express the aspirations of the Tamil people of Sri Lanka. India played a major role in events leading up to the negotiations. These events are a lesson for any future involvement of India. This background paper is an essential reference material for those who are interested and involved in the conflict in Sri Lanka..." - Publisher's Note

The Pen and the Gun, 2001 - Selected Writings 1977 to 2001, 2001 "..Having lived a life with neither glory nor ignominy for the first fifty years of my life, the next twenty (from 1981) was to become a roller-coaster ride! Hounded by the Sri Lankan government, escape to India by a midnight country boat, separation from the family, jailed by the Indian government without charge for one year, incarceration in two jails, Vellore and Madras, chained to the bed in the Madras General Hospital... a nomadic life for one and a half years through six to seven countries... There are no regrets however. Journalism is no journalism if it lacks passion. But it goes with a price. Having paid that price, I believe this book is its own reward..."
"Imagine a habitual wife beater who has been at it for twenty years. Imagine the little woman protesting arguing, screaming, grappling, and having come to the end of her tether one day, snatching the nearest kitchen knife to defend herself against further attacks. And then she says:'You have tormented me enough. It is impossible to live with you any more.' With that she files papers for divorce. If you were the judge, what causes would you attribute to the break up of the marriage? The Sri Lankan Government (as probably the habitual wife beater) attributes the causes to the wife snatching the kitchen knife and asking for separation! To any oppressor resistance to oppression is naturally the beginning of the problem..." - S.Sivanayagam, Head Tamil Eelam Information Unit, 1984

One Hundred Tamils of the 20th Century

Subramaniam Sivanayagam

[Nominated by Ana Pararajasingham 13 July 1999:

"It has been my hope for quite sometime that the Eelam Tamil nation (particularly the Diaspora) should honour Mr S. Sivanayagam, the editor of Hot Spring, by recognising his immense contribution to the Tamil cause. It was a cause for which he has paid and is continuing to pay a huge price. To-day he lives the life of not only a refugee but also a nomad. Because of his commitment to the Tamil cause and his willingness to act, he has been forced to live away from his wife and children for the last 6 years or more.

In 1984, he fled Sri Lanka, unwilling to compromise his journalistic integrity, having until then edited the Saturday Review - a newspaper which had won the respect of many Sinhalese who were otherwise unprepared to concede the Tamil point of view. Throughout his exile in Tamil Nadu, his commitment to the Tamil cause found expression in editing and publishing several news letters, magazines and in disseminating news through his considerable journalistic skills. Until 1991, he edited the Tamil Nation, a newspaper which soon emerged to become the voice of the voiceless Eelam Tamil nation. In 1991, he was arrested and taken into custody without any charges being brought against him. An year later he was forced to flee India leaving behind his family. During the next few years, he lived the life of a nomad and a refugee but continued to serve the Tamil cause through his writing.

Today, despite having suffered a heart attack, he has not slowed down. Instead, he continues to serve the Eelam Tamil cause through his writing. He has used his God given talent to put across complex arguments in his own highly effective inimitable style.

Mr Sivanayagam needs to be honoured not merely because he is talented journalist who happens to be a Tamil, but because of his total commitment and contribution to the Eelam Tamil cause and his readiness to give it all. I do believe that that Mr Sivanayagam has all the credentials to be one the 100 Tamils of the 20th century."]

Tribute on 75th Birth Anniversary
International Federation of Tamils
18 Rue des Paquis,1201 Geneva,
Switzerland [email protected]
19 September 2005

[also in PDF Tamil and in PDF English]

அகவை 75 காணும் ஊடக மூதறிஞர் சிவநாயகம் ஐயா அவர்களை நெஞ்சார வாழ்த்துவோம்!

ஆங்கில ஊடகராக, சிவா ஐயா, உலக ஊடக நீர்ப் படுகையில் கலங்கரைச் சுற்றொளி பாய்ச்சிய பெருமைக்கு உரியவராவார்.
அகவை 75ஐ இந்த மாதம் நிறைவு கண்டிருக்கும் இந்தத் தமிழ்த் தேசிய உணர்வாளர், தமிழீழத் தேசிய விடுதலைப் போருக்கு உலக சமத்துவ ஆதரவையும் மானுட தர்ம நியாயத்தையும் அனைத்துலக மட்டத்திலே திரட்டித்தரும் பணியில் முனைப்பாக ஈடுபட்டவர்.

தமிழ்த் தேசியத்தைக் கூர்மையாக முன்னிறுத்திய மூன்று ஆங்கில மொழி இதழ்களாக Saturday Review, Tamil Nation , Hot Spring ஆகியவற்றைக் கொள்ளலாமென்றால், இம் மூன்று இதழ்களின் நிறுவகராகவும் முதல் நிலை இதழாசிரியராகவும் சிவநாயகம் ஐயா அவர்களே சீரிய ஊடகப் பணி புரிந்திருந்தார் என்பதை அறியும்போது, அவருடைய பணியின் கனதியை நாம் புரிந்து கொள்ளலாம். விடுதலைப் போராட்டத்துக்கு உலக அறிவாதரவு திரட்டியவர்களில் இவர் முக்கியமானவர்.

சிவநாயகம் ஐயா அவர்கள் ஆங்கிலத்தில் எழுதிய இரண்டு நூல்கள் அவருடைய ஊடக ஆளுமையையும் அறிவுக் கூர்மையையும் மொழித் திறமையையும் எடுத்தோதுவன. முதலில் வெளிவந்த - எழுத்தாணியும் துப்பாக்கியும்
(Pen and the Gun) - என்ற நூலிலும் சரி, அண்மையில் வெளியிடப்பட்ட - சிறீலங்கா: வரலாற்றின் சாட்சியம் (Sri Lanka: Witness to History) - என்ற நூலிலும் சரி, தாமே நேரடிச் சாட்சியம் பகர்பவராக, அவர் விளங்குகிறார். தமது அனுபவங்கள் சரி, ஊடாகத் தாம் பெற்ற மனப் பதிவுகளையே எழுத்துப் பதிவாக அவர் வழங்கியிருக்கிறார். நேரடியாகவும் மறைமுகமாகவும் தமிழ்த் தேசியம் படிப்படியாக ஓரம் கட்டப்பட்டு, ஒடுக்கப்பட்டமையையும், தமிழ்த் தேசிய உணர்வு விழித்தெழுந்து, படிப்படியாகத் துளிர்த்து, வீறு கொண்டு போராட்ட வடிவம் பெற்றமையையும் தமக்குக் கை வந்த ஊடக நேர்த்தியோடு இவர் விளக்குகிறார்.

யாழ்ப்பாணம் கொக்குவிலில் 1930 இலே பிறந்த மூதறிஞர் சிவநாயகம் ஐயா, கொக்குவில் இந்துக் கல்லூரி, வட்டுக்கோட்டை யாழ்ப்பாணக் கல்லூரி ஆகியவற்றிலே கல்வி பயின்றார்.
இலங்கையின் மூலை முடுக்கெல்லாம் பரவிய ஆங்கில நாளேடுகளான டெயிலி நியூஸ், டெயிலி மிரர் ஆகியவற்றின் ஆசிரியர் குழக்களில் பணி புரிந்தார். நாடு நயக்கும் ஊடகனாக அங்கீகாரம் பெற்றார். இலங்கை சுற்றுலாத் துறையின் வெளியீட்டுப் பிரிவிலே சேர்த்தார்.

தமிழ்த் தேசிய போராட்டம் ஆயுதத்தைக் கரத்தேந்தியதும், அதற்கு ஊடக உறுதுணை வழங்கப்பட வேண்டும் என்ற நோக்கோடு, சற்றடே றிவ்யூ என்ற இதழை யாழ்ப்பாணத்தில் நிறுவி, அதன் ஆசிரியராக சிவா ஐயா, தமிழ்த் தேசிய சேவகம் தொடங்கினார். இந்த ஏட்டின் பணிமனை சிங்கள அரச படைகளினால் எரியூட்டப்பட்டது.

இந்தியாவுக்குத் தப்பி ஓடிய சிவநாயகம் ஐயா, தமிழர் தகவல் மையத்தில் சில காலம் பணிபுரிந்த பின், தமிழர் தேசிய கருத்துச் சங்கமத் தளமான தமிழ் நேசன் என்ற ஆங்கில ஏட்டைத் தொடக்கினார். இவருடைய பேனா வலிமை கண்டு துணுக்குற்ற இந்திய புலனாய்வுப் பிரிவு, கொடிய தடாச் சட்டப்; போர்வையோடு, தொடர்பறாச் சங்கிலிப் பிணையல் சிறையாளியாக இவரை அடைத்து வைத்தது. தாங்கொணா நீரிழிவு உபாதையால் வருந்திய போதும், உரிய மருத்துவ பராமரிப்பு மறுக்கப்பட்டதால் சிவா ஐயாவின் உடல் நிலை பெரிதும் பாதிப்படைந்தது. சிறையில் இருந்து நிபந்தனையோடு வெளியே வந்ததும், பிரான்சுக்குத் தப்பியோடியவர், அங்கு அரசியல் அடைக்கலம் பெற்றார். உடல் நலம் பாதிக்கப்பட்ட இயலா நிலையிலும், தேசியப் போராட்டப் பங்களிப்பு உணர்வு மேலோங்க, பிரான்சிலேயே ர்ழவ ளுpசiபெ ஏட்டைத் தொடக்கினார்.

முதுமையும் நோயும் சிவா ஐயாவை இன்று ஓய்வுப் படுக்கையில் சாய்த்துவிட்டன. ஆனாலும், தேசியப் பங்களிப்பு என்று வந்துவிட்டால், அர்ச்சுனா என்ற பெயரிலே முன்னாளில் விமர்சனக் கூரம்பு மாரி பெய்த இந்த ஊடகப் போராளி, இன்றும் தன் ஊடகக் காண்டீபத்தைக் கரமேந்தி ஒலி கூட்டத் தயங்குவதில்லை. உடல் இயலா நிலை கண்ட இந்த 2005 ஆம் ஆண்டிலேதான், தமது 700 பக்க நூலை அவர் எழுதி, தமது அர்ச்சுன தபஸை நிறைவேற்றி, தேசியப் போராட்டத்துக்கு
சிவநாயகம் ஐயா அவர்கள் நீடு வாழ, உடல் நலம் தேறித் தொடர்ந்தும் தேசியப் பணி புரிய, அனைவரும் கூடி, நெஞ்சார வாழ்த்துவோம்!

From the Tamil Nation Monthly, 15 August 1991

Tamil Nation has called for the immediate release of Mr.Subramaniam Sivanayagam, who has been detained without trial under the Indian National SecurityAct. Mr.Sivanayagam has functioned as the Editor of the Tamil Nation since its start in September last year.

On July 18, at about 9.30 p.m., a policeparty visited Mr.Sivanayagam's simple two room flat in Besant Nagar. He lived there with his wife and two daughters. The police officials informed Mr.Sivanayagam that he was being taken in for questioning. They said nothing about the National Security Act. Mr. Sivanayagam accompanied the police officers in the belief that he would be back home, later that night. He did not even take a change of clothes.

Mr.Sivanayagam whose health had been of increasing concern during recent months, and who needs regular medication, was forced to spend the night in the Mylapore Police Station. Mr.Kuhadasan who assisted Mr.Sivanayagam in his work at the Tamil Nation was also taken into custody.

Neither of them were released even on the following day. Instead, on the July 19, Mr.Sivanayagam was taken from Mylapore to the Adyar Police Station again in the night, this time at about 9 p.m..

On July 20, for the first time, he was taken before the Saidpet Magistrates Court at about 4 p.m. and from there to the Central Jail. July 21 was a public holiday and a bail application was filed in the Magistrates Court on July 22.

Mr. Sivanayagam, manacled, being taken to Madras Court House

It appears that it was whilst the bail application was pending, that the authorities belatedly decided to act under the National Security Act - an Act which enables an individual to be detained without charges being framed for a maximum period of 12 months.

What are the grounds on which the Indian authorities have decided to incarcerate a journalist with Mr.Sivanayagam's unsullied reputation for integrity and honesty, and separate him from his wife and children? If the decision was made on the ground of 'national security' when was it made? Was it made after the bail application was filed or before?

Strangely, a police press note issued on Saturday July 19 made no mention of 'national security'. The press note which was published in the Madras Hindu stated that two Sri Lankan Tamils, Sivanayagam and Kuhadasan, were arrested from separate houses for reportedly staying without valid documents.

The note added: "Following a search in the two premises, police recovered Rs.16,000 in cash, 300 US Dollars and eight copies of Tamil Nation - an English newspaper published clandestinely here in contravention of the Press and Registration of Books Act and announcing that the newspaper was published in London - besides connected material."

Let us examine each of these allegations with care and ask ourselves whether that which the Indian authorities allege stands up to reason.

It cannot be the case for the Indian authorities that a man may be taken from his home, late at night and detained in a police station because he had three miserable US $100 notes in his flat - a gift which a recent visitor had given Mr.Sivanayagam in recognition of his outstanding and fearless contributions as a journalist.

But is it the position that Mr.Sivanayagam should be arrested because he was an over stayer? But then, it is well known that thousands of Tamils from Sri Lanka have been permitted to stay 'without valid documents'.

Again, surely, the Indian authorities have been well aware for a number of years that Mr. Sivanayagam was a Tamil from Sri Lanka without valid documents. After all, what sort of documents do the Indian authorities expect from a journalist who fled with his wife and two children from the wrath of the Sri Lankan Government? It was only the other day, that Mr.Sivanayagam cheerfully joked on the phone that he was a well known Kallathoni - so well known that he even had a registered telephone! But behind the joke was the grim reality that this honest human, who is today in his late fifties, left his home in Jaffna in 1983, in a boat, with his wife and children to Tamil Nadu where he hoped that he may live with a measure of dignity and some security.

Or is it the case for the Indian authorities that Mr.Sivanayagam was arrested because he had not complied with the latest request of the Tamil Nadu government that Sri Lankan Tamil refugees should register themselves with the State authorities?

The purpose of such registration was presumably to identify those who were Sri Lankan Tamils. Unless this recent measure was intended to harass and intimidate, then surely it could not have been the intention that Tamils who were known to the state authorities to be from Sri Lanka, should register again. Mr. Sivanayagam was such a well known figure, that it is laughable that he should be arrested and held in custody without bail, because he had not complied with the latest of a number of requests to register.

Or is it the suggestion that Mr.Sivanayagam should be arrested because he was editing a 'clandestine' publication. But what was 'clandestine' about the Tamil Nation? It was printed and edited in Madras quite openly. It was published in the United Kingdom - againquiteopenly. Mr.Sivanayagam as the Editor, interacted openly with a large cross section of persons from all walks of life in Madras. It was not so long ago, on March 28, that the prestigious Madras Hindu reported on a Seminar organised by the Centre for South-East Asian Studies, the Madras University, the Madras Chapter for the Society for Indian Ocean Studies and the Island Trust, Coimbatore. Mr.Sivanayagam played a prominent role at the Seminar and the Hindu reported his contribution in the following terms:

"Mr.S.Sivanayagam, Editor, Tamil Nation, said India's foreign policy under Mrs.Gandhi had a mind of its own and Colombo was always kept on its toes. If the present situation on the island continued, the Sri Lanka government might reach a point where it could push itself into a deadend,politically, economically, and militarily, leading to anarchy. Out of this chaos might emerge a solution that could satisfy the Tamil aspirations and give the LTTE an official recognition that India had so far denied. He regretted that between 1984 and now, India's policy towards Tamil militancy had been one of drift and ad hoc approaches."

This was the Editor, who, the police press note would have the public believe, was engaged in a 'clandestine' publication! The publication was so 'clandestine' that the Madras Hindu, the Centre for South-East Asian Studies, the Madras University, the Madras Chapter for the Society for Indian Ocean Studies and the Island Trust, Coimbatore were all into the 'secret'!

There was nothing secretive about the Tamil Nation and there was nothing secretive about the stand that Mr.Sivanayagam took as Editor oftheTamilNation.Mr. Sivanayagam was a journalist who was widely respected for his fearless independence and his commitment to the cause of the people of Tamil Eelam. His declaration in the June 15 issue of the Tamil Nation was a typicalassertionofthat independence and that commitment: "Tamil Nation is nobody's mouthpiece and is proud of its individuality and independence. If an Indian newspaper supports the Palestinian cause, it does not become a PLO mouthpiece does it?"

The conclusionappears inescapable that the reasons given by the Indian authorities for the detention of Mr.Sivanayagam, without trial, do not stand up to the test of reason. What is more, the Indian authorities, have by their actions, denied Mr.Sivanayagam his fundamental right to freedom of speech and due process.

Tamil Nation is not unmindful of India's national security concerns but believes that such concerns should not lead to actions which flout the rule of law. Tamil Nation urges Prime Minister Narasimha Rao to intervene and secure the release of a journalist who is innocent of any wrong doing except that of asserting his right to freedom of expression.

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