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Death of veteran journalist T Sabaratnam

Former Daily News Senior Deputy Editor and veteran journalist T Sabaratnam passed away after a brief illness. He was 79.

Sabaratnam, after completing his secondary education proceeded to Christian College, Madras where he obtained his Degree.

He joined the Thinakaran as a Trainee Journalist in 1957 and contributed feature articles.

When R Sivagurunathan was Thinakaran's Chief Editor and P Balasingham was News Editor T Sabaratnam functioned as a Sub Editor.

After working as a Senior Sub Editor he joined the Daily News Editorial in 1978 and retired from ANCL in 1997 as Senior Deputy Editor.

As a News reporter he discharged his responsibilities with unsurpassed distinction and unsullied honour. Further he trained young journalists in balanced and unbiased reporting. He was a remarkable translator who had translated several books and journals pertaining to politics, science, art and culture.

He has written books about late S J V Chelvanayagam, late S Thondaman and late A Amirthalingam. All his books were highly recognized by university professors, politicians, journalists, lawyers, judges and men of eminence.

Besides, he was a lecturer in journalism at the Colombo University, Open University and Sri Lanka College of Journalism and rendered immense service to the young students who wanted to take up journalism as a career. He was the editor of the book 'Guide to Media Studies'.

The Sri Lanka Press Institute (Editor's Guild) felicitated him for the tremendous contribution to journalism. He was a veteran writer on scientific topics.

Further, he was a highly recognized and respected columnist who had written several articles to the Nation newspaper and other English and Tamil newspapers.

Sabaratnam was indeed an inspiration and guide to young journalists not only in the Thinakaran Editorial but even in the Daily News Editorial.

He was a robust optimist who saw good in the world than evil. He denounced falsehood and hypocrisy. He was a humanist with deep faith in humanism.

He also had a broad outlook, sagacious judgement and mellowed wisdom. He never harboured a grievance or grudge. His sincerity and steadfastness to friends, relations and neighbours should serve as an object lesson for all where changing loyalties and shifting attitudes are the order of the day.

Sabaratnam viewed life as a pre-ordained opportunity to attain perfection through a blend of human and divine love and to blaze a righteous trail for others to follow and perpetuate. He had an unshakable faith in God, charitable understanding, spontaneous supreme affection towards everyone, considerate kindness and inspiring piety which have notched a permanent niche for him in the family circle.

He always practised the Bhagavad Geetha ideal of absolute detachment in actions. Further, no field of human endeavour was left untouched by the swaying amplitude of his imagination, the encompassing sweep of his thought and the felicity of his words.

No wonder, he left an indelible impression in most of what he touched with rare dynamism and exemplary zeal. Undoubtedly, T Sabaratnam was literally a comet who blazed momentarily across our skies, leaving in his trail a luminescence which the passing of time can hardly erase.

He will be always remembered by all the journalists, communities and denominations for his work, worth and value.

Sabaratnam was an example of Saint Thiruvalluvar's saying: "Who just or unjust lived shall soon appear by each one's offspring shall the truth be clear." Indeed, he is survived by his wife who was a science graduate and three children who are excelling in their respective professions.

His loss is irreparable to all of us and painful. The thought of his death is poignant, but his memory is fragrant.

May I say:

"Goodnight Sweet Prince and may the flights of Angels sing thee to thy rest."

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