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