Historical importance of the TULF


S .J. V. Chelvanagam

The latest developments in Tamil Politics are causing great anxiety to the people. The TNA and more particularly the ITAK is running at a tangent without knowing where they are taking the Tamil people who are in the dark. The time has now come to let them know the true history of the Tamil United Liberation Front, the only strong formation left behind by great Tamil Leaders like S .J. V. Chelvanagam, G. G. Ponnambalam, S. Thondaman, A. Amirthalingam, M. Sivasithambara, S. R. Kanaganayagam and very many such others like lawyers, academics, principals, teachers etc., as the only custodian of the Tamil cause.

Mrs. Amirthalingam, the most rightful person to talk about Mr. Amirthalingam, in her statement has very clearly stated: "History was created in Tamil Politics in 1972 when the two main Tamil Political Parties the ITAK and All Ceylon Tamil Congress formed the TULF whereby the entire Tamil community had been United." She has further said: "My husband preserved the registration of the Federal Party for the sole purpose that no undesirable elements could misuse its symbol and the name. He never wanted to revive the Federal Party."

Mrs. Mangayarkarasi has further said, "It is a pity that some of those groomed by him have attempted to misuse the name of the Federal Party and are trying to revive it. They have only breached the trust he had placed on them". In conclusion she says. "Thus I categorically make it clear to all that I have neither approved nor blessed the revival of the Federal Party but instead condemn it as this act is a ploy to destroy the TULF which was formed by our great leaders."

It is important to note what the views of the founder were. He died on the 26th of April 1977. Before his death he got Thondaman and Ponnambalam QC to share the leadership of the TULF with him and never intended to revive it. The name of the Federal Party was used only once after the TULF was formed and that was to wind up the Federal Party’s activities with the celebration of the Silver Jubilee of the Federal Party held on 18th December 1974 at the Wellawatte Ramakrishna Mission Hall, where Hon. S. Thondaman honoured him with the title ‘Mootharignar’ and I, representing the All Ceylon Tamil Congress of Ponnambalam QC of which I was the only Member of Parliament, adorned him with a silk shawl called ‘Ponnadai’ the traditional way of honouring people whom we respect.

If anyone can dispute these facts and prove me wrong I am prepared to quit politics. The Federal Party [ITAK] remained defunct till 2003 for over 26 years since the demise of its founder in 1977. The revival is alleged to have taken place on the orders of one Mr. Thangan, the deputy head of the Political section of the LTTE a party committed to violence but Chelvanayagam is one still referred to as ‘Eelathu Gandhi’ meaning Gandhi of Sri Lanka since his policies were based on Mahathma Gandhi’s non-violence. There are two gentlemen who were not present at the inaugural meeting of the TULF and for some years thereafter. These two are the people who should be held responsible for throttling the TULF. They do not know what a lot of hardships we underwent. As the only Tamil Congress Member of Parliament I had to attend all propaganda meetings. I hardly missed one. The propaganda meetings were held all over the North and the East.

I give bellow the votes some TULF candidates polled at the 1977 elections and the votes each one of them got as candidates of their respective political parties, to justify my claim that the ITAK and the All Ceylon Tamil Congress virtually got merged. Votes obtained by some TULF candidates were 31,115, 27,550, 25,840, 29,858,15,607 but these candidates got only the following votes 13,520, 14,120, 16,428, 13,110, 9049 respectively as candidates of their respective parties at the previous election.

The revival of the ITAK at that time was absolutely unnecessary. It was the greatest betrayal perpetrated on the Tamil Community, shockingly by the least expected person, that too having enjoyed all privileges denied or not made available to any other member of the party. The displeasure I earned from some was due to offering him the only national list Membership in Parliament vacated by the assassination of the Party’s Secretary General, the late Mr. Amirthalingam. There were very many aspiring to that position. One important person even wanted a postponement of the decision and accordingly I postponed the meeting and ratified the decision at a subsequent meeting. The promise of sharing with the party the benefits enjoyed by accepting the position as Member of Parliament ended with the providing of a telephone and appointment of a clerk to the TULF office. The party was not told what happened to the duty free vehicle. The party had to pay Rs. 35,000 and obtain the photocopier for the party, given to the M.P. At a subsequent election the TULF earned one national list Membership.

These two gentlemen insisted on getting that position for themselves. The problem of one of them was automatically solved with the assassination of a sitting Member while the other continued to agitate to get the National list. One of the reasons given for this request was to make himself eligible for pension. With the assassination of the National list MP the politburo met to decide on the filling of the vacancy. I shocked the Members of the Politburo by proposing the name of this gentleman who was aspiring to it though all of them expected me to take it. As for me unity in the party had been right throughout my main concern. The irony is the politburo members who were surprised at my decision and even found fault with me for declining to accept that position are all alive today expect one and carrying this person round the country in a palanquin.

There are many more things I can bring to light. Space does not permit me to write more. My attitude towards the LTTE will soon be revealed if the media permits me. If a little co-operation had been given earlier by some media, both local and international, Prabhakaran would have been living today, may be as the Chief Minister of the North. Unfortunately, my message did not reach the people who were thoroughly misled and as a result lives have been lost.

V. Anandasangaree

Secretary General - TULF

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