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Friday, 7 September 2012






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Kalasuri R. Sivagurunathan:

A veteran journalist

Kalasuri Sivagurunathan who was born in Kantharmadam in Jaffna received his early education at St John's College, Jaffna and Jaffna Hindu College. Thereafter, he joined Zahira College, Colombo to pursue his higher education from where he entered the University of Peradeniya.

Kalasuri R. Sivagurunathan

On completion of his university career, he joined Lake House in 1955 and on account of his hard work, efficiency and dedication, he ended up as Editor-in-Chief of the Thinakaran Newspaper.

During his journalistic career, he passed out as an advocate and also obtained a MA Degree from the University of Jaffna. Further, he was closely associated with Professor K Sivathamby, an international intellectual and Professor Vidyananthan who became Vice Chancellor of the University of Jaffna.

Sivagurunathan was a man of action and a powerful editor. He had a forceful and facile style and his penetrating observation of men and matters made him one of the foremost writers of the day.

He was also a prolific writer on arts, drama, cinema, literature, personalities and important past and present events. In addition to all these, he was an eminent Tamil Editorial writer whose editorials were masterpieces of his forensic skills.

Tamil Journalism

Throughout his life he cared little for honour or fame and always dedicated himself for the cause of gentlemanly journalism and many who cared to follow his simple principles in life sought his valuable counsel at various stages of their lives. Whoever sought his advice came out with a lighter heart and of course a wiser mind. Furthermore, in addition to his long and dedicated service to Tamil Journalism in Sri Lanka, he rendered an unforgettable service through his brilliant writings by enlightening many readers on various mundane subjects.

Sivagurunathan had a wide knowledge of men and matters and always maintained the friendliest relations with even those who opposed his views. Further, he was a religious man who respected and had a good knowledge of all religions and valued our national culture and heritage. One of the noblest examples, he has left was his preference for simplicity in all his activities.

He was very generous, well read and had a broad outlook on life. He was an all-round journalist who was equally prolific in both English and Tamil.

In fact, he was fearless in manner, independent in spirit and his dynamic personality beamed forth with radiant energy that captivated the hearts and minds of all those who came in contact with him. The vibrant thoughts that flowed through his pen had a magical charm on all types of readers spread throughout the country and his integrity of character and uprightness inspired many.

Sivagurunathan was a member of the Press Council, visiting lecturer at Law College on legal history and Muslim Law. He served as the president of the Working Journalists Association of Sri Lanka. He also served as a Judge for the Editors’ Guild Journalistic Awards Programme and was the president of the Tamil Sangam.

Sivagurunathan managed to hold his position as an Editor despite changes in administration at Lake House for a number of years. He was amiable, adaptable, humble to the fault, trilingual, specialist in Islamic Law, accommodative, humourous, visibly pious with his holy ash (Thiruneeru) on his forehead. Besides, he was a promoter of new generation of writers, journalists as well as giving a place to older generation of writers in his pages.

'Siva', as he was popularly and affectionately called, enjoyed the support and friendship of the Sinhala and Muslim comrades at his working place. Late politician and Sri Lanka Muslim Congress leader, M. H. M. Ashraf, who was also a poet and writer in Tamil was one of his pupils at Law College.

Sivagurunathan could sing Thevarams (Saiva Hymns)beautifully and had acted in plays during his undergraduate days at the Peradeniya University.

He was always of the opinion that noble means, noble ideas and noble actions must certainly have noble consequences. There is a famous stanza from Purananooru which is often quoted by Tamil public speakers which thus runs as: “All villages are mine, all human beings are my relatives, good and bad are the outcome of our own actions and not of others.”

Undoubtedly, Sivagurunathan was a colourful personality who survived the vicissitudes of life.


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