Profiles

Tellippalai Chinnappah Rajaratnam, OBE; CBE; JPUM
Name - Tellippalai Chinnappah Rajaratnam, OBE; CBE; JPUM
Date Of Birth - 21st February 1982
Date Of Death - 7th June 1956

Titles

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O. B. E (Order of the British Empire)

C.B.E (Commander of the British Empire); 

J. P. U. M(Justice of the Peace unofficial Magistrate)


Posts held

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Proctor of the Supreme Court of Ceylon; 

Notary Public;

Chairman of Malayalam Tobacco Company; 

Chairman of the CWE, 

Chairman of the American Ceylon Mission 

Chairman of the Green Memorial Hospital in Manipay

Chairman McCleod Hospital Inuvil

Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Jaffna College –Waddukoddai

Founder Member of the United National Party

 

    

"\"OBE\""


 


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  •  Appreciations
    • Whose life of selfless service brought honour and glory to his Alma Mater- By K. Kanagaratnam, Esq.

    • ‘T. C.’ and ‘Raja’ are alternate pet names by which he was called and known to his many friends both in college and in public life. I remember in later years the late Mr. D.S. Senanayake called him simple ‘Rajaratnam of Jaffna’, as much to say that this appellation was enough to introduce him to any gathering, whether in the North or South of Ceylon.
      My mind travels back forty eight years, to be exact, when in 1908 we first met in Jaffna College. He was studying in the Madras Matriculation class and I in the Cambridge Senior Local Class. My two years’ close association with him brought out a close friendship which lasted till his death. He was such an outstanding personality in the college that he made an incredible impression on all of us. One cannot forget easily his short but arresting figure, prominent equally in the class, the Lyceum and the playing field. I remember well the leading role he played as the defending Lawyer in a Sham Court Trial and the prophetic pronoun-in the Lyceum, which was then the only Literary Association in the College. His closest rival then was the late Mr. Hudson Paramasamy, who himself made a mark in the legal profession.
      Mr. Rajaratnam’s career as a lawyer was distinguished by hard work, zealous and unswerving devotion, duty to his clients, and ambition to reach the highest pinnacle in the profession. Starting his life in the Avissawela Courts and settling down after his marriage in his native place in Jaffna, he not only displayed his powers of advocacy as a brilliant criminal lawyer, but also acted many times as a magistrate, winning a name for his keen insight into the criminal mind of those charged before him and his sound and impartial judgments were seldom upset in the Appeal Courts. 
      He did not, however, confine his activities to his profession which required all his time not by his choice but by the insistent demand of his numerous clients who had abundant faith in his ability, as a lawyer to free them from the clutches of the law. He devoted a large part of his spare time to the co-operative movement to which he was wedded all throughout his life. It was in this arena that he attracted the notice of Government and political leaders of the South. As President of the Malayalam Tobacco Society from its inception, he did yeoman services to the tobacco cultivators of Jaffna to such an extent that by his efficient organization in Trivandrum for the disposal of their goods they were able to get good dividends on the produce in addition to their normal profits. It is a pity that he is not alive today to salvage the industry from its impending disaster caused by the prohibitive duty which the Indian Government  proposes to levy on imported Tobacco.  He will, however, live in the memory of Jaffna peasants as one of the greatest saviours of their industry and economy.
      Mr. Rajaratnam was, much against his wish, drawn into politics in a passive way through the reputation he had earned as a cooperator. He was too noble minded to exploit his immense popularity among his people for his personal interests. If he had been a self-seeker as many others in the present context of society, he would have easily found himself as a people’s representative in Parliament many years ago. Nevertheless, he could not resist the call made by the late D.S. Senanayake to join him in forming the United National Party when the new constitution came into existence. Mr. Rajaratnam was by nature a lover of peace and advocated a peaceful existence for all who claimed this country as their own. He honestly believed in the faith of this great Sinhalese leader and thereby incurred the wrath of many Jaffna politicians, some of whom were his own kith and kin. But he stood by his convictions and was one of a very small coterie in Jaffna which joined the United National Party. He used all his influence to establish good relationship and understanding between the two major communities and his voice was heard effectively in all the inner Councils of Mr. Senanayake’s political organization. When, with Mr. Senanayake’s death, the communal rot began to creep into the national body, culminating in the passing of the ‘Sinhala Only’ resolution at the Kelaniya Conference solely as a political expediency, his blood revolted and I remember his telling me, when he visited me in the General Hospital, Colombo, early this year that he was a disillusioned man and that hereafter would dedicate the rest of his life to fight for the just and legitimate rights of his people. This reminds me of exactly what late Ponnambalam Arunachalam, the founder of the Ceylon National Congress and one of the chief architects of Ceylon’s political freedom, said in Jaffna just before he severed his connections with the Congress and formed the Ceylon Tamil League. His death at this juncture is, therefore, a great loss to the Tamils.
      He had crowded into his life many other social and religious activities. His devotion to his old College, which he served as both a member of the Board of Directors and President of the Old Boy’s Association, and to his Church, of which he was a prominent member, are some of his involvements. It was in the fitness of his life that he died in harness, so to say, when he was presiding over the last meeting of the Board of Director’s of the Co-operative Whole-sale Establishment, of which he was an original member and later the Chairman.
      He has left behind three brilliant sons, besides two daughters, all shaped in the true ‘Rajaratnam mould’, and two of his sons have taken up his profession, one of whom has since been elevated as a Judicial Officer. I have no doubt that they will add luster to his name by following faithfully the high and noble principles which guided his life.
      It gives me a personal pleasure to pay tribute to one whom I loved intensely and who, in turn, extended to me the rare privilege of sending him to the church of his marriage direct from my residence in Colombo after his last lunch with me as a bachelor. Years after, when his first daughter was married, he insisted that I should be one of the attesting witnesses, although at that time, he had attained a position when the highest in the land were available for performing this function.
      Finally, I would request his sons to found a scholarship in his old College for awarding a prize in Elocution, which made him so famous in the College, and thereby perpetuating the memory of one who lived a rich and full life.   
     
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