Jananayagam (Democracy) published on the 5th May 1949 carried the life story of Ganapathy on its first page - "Thukkilidapatta Ganapathiyin Vaalkai Viparam" (in Tamil).
Wednesday, January 26, 2022
Friday, August 13, 2021
On 15th June 1941, the Sunday Tribune (Singapore) reported that a resolution was passed at an extra ordinary general meeting of the Indian Association held at the Association Pavilion, Balestier Road on the 14th of June 1941, urging the Federated Malay States Government and His Excellency the High Commissioned to take early steps to appoint a committee of enquiry to collect evidence and submit a report concerning the cause of and happenings connected with the Klang Strike.
Over 100 members attended the meeting which presided over by S.C Goho. The meeting also expressed the condolences to the family of the labourers who lost their lives in the course of disturbance connected with the strike.
|KP Kesava Menon
The person who moved this resolution was KPK Menon, a prominent lawyer and one of the founding members of Indian Independence League (IIL). Later in 1943, KPK was arrested and prisoned along with Captain Mohan Singh (founder or INA) for Menon's critical views on Chandra Bose.
KPK Menon said, "Humanity and a sense of justice demanded that they should understand the whole situation correctly and find a solution. What was the reason for the strike and how it happen? The labourers found their wages were inadequate and difficult to maintain their families. They made a demand to increase their wages and patiently waited for 18 months. Being no reply, the resorted to the only legitimate weapon given to the labourers - go on strike to show their resentment openly."
"The estate management instead of tackling the problem tactfully and sympathetically thought that the labourers should be taught a lesson. The labourers water supplies were cut off and the supply of rice stopped. That was certainly an act of inhumanity calculated to break the morale of the labourers"
Menon went on, " The question of wages was one of the grievances. They had other grievances too. For instances, tappers who had been doing a normal day task were compelled to do extra work without extra remuneration. Their children were forced to work for nominal wage and any refusal the parents were punished"
The milk supplies to infants were discontinues and hospital arrangements were unsatisfied on some estates. In short, life become almost intolerable under such conditions. In adding to these labourers were not allowed to wear Gandhi caps and were expected to alight from their bicycles if they happened to meet their European employers.
"The arrest of Mr. Nathan, President of the Indian Klang Union was naturally interpreted by the labourers as an attempt on the part of the Government to suppress the growing union among the labourers and this was followed by further strikes . The estate management got panicky and demanded Government to suppress it. The demand was promptly and amply answered. The police were on the scene followed by military. A cordon was formed and nobody was allowed to pass it. Even the Indian Agent had difficulty in getting in the cordon"
"There was no denying the fact that there was some violence - whether provoked or unprovoked and cone could expect a crowd of 16,000 to 20,000 labourers labouring under grievances to behave like Sannayasins (saints)."
"Was it not possible to disperse the crowd without resort to shooting? Was there any necessity to use the military at all? Those were the questions they should ask themselves. They did not ask for a magisterial enquiry but a public enquiry."
The resolution is seconded by Mr. S.K Das who pointed out that a magisterial enquiry would be quite useless in so far it would confine itself to the caused of death.
An amendment by Mr. Namazie to the effect that the meeting should approach the High Commissioner asking him to take early steps to implement his promise by appointing a committee to enquire into the matter did not find favour with the meeting.
Mr. Adithan who seconded the amendment pointed out that the original motion appeared to him to prejudge and assume certain things. The fact remained that here was a strike. What they now wanted was an enquiry. His Excellency had promised it and they would simply ask him without prejudging anything to fulfil his promise.
Mr. Jumabhoy proposed that consideration of that resolution be postponed. As the strike had occurred in Selangor, he thought the Indians in Selangor should first move in the matter. If Indians in Selangor were not doing anything, were the Singapore Indians right in moving that resolution?
Further, the Hight Commissioner had promised to go into the strikers grievance and being so, could they not wait a little and bring forward the resolution some time later?
Jumabhoy's resolution was put to vote and lost.
The original motion of KPK Menon was then put to vote and carried by an overwhelming majority.
|Sunday Tribune - 15th June 1941
Saturday, February 20, 2021
Local communist movements in East and Southeast Asia were led by these communist parties, labor unions, and peasant associations, but there was another important dimension to the communist movements in the 1920s and 1930s. The local parties were linked in a network of international and/or regional communist movements under the aegis of the Third International (Comintern). Moreover, local communists frequently sought to promote communism regionally or to help neighboring movements. While there are a number of studies on country-based communist movements, studies of the international or regional communist movement in East and Southeast Asia in the 1920s and 1930s are not as well done, except for several pioneering works on such topics as the regional and international liaisons of the Malayan Communist Party, those of the Indochinese Communist Party and the Comintern’s activities in Asia. But these works do not reveal clearly how the regional and international liaison networks in East and Southeast Asia were constructed and maintained, and how they collapsed.
The Comintern was established in Moscow in 1919, two years after the Russian Revolution. The Comintern was in charge of supervising communist movements all over the world. Supervision meant the recognition of the establishment of a communist party in each country or colony, approval of personnel appointments in each communist party, allocation of funds for communist movements, dispatching of agents, distribution of directives, receiving and training of communists from other countries, and so on. These activities were conducted through liaisons between Moscow and communist movements in each country. The organization that constructed, operated, and maintained these liaisons was the OMS (Otdel Mezhdunarodnykh Svyazey, Department of International Communication), established within the Comintern in 1921. OMS “conducted the clandestine activities of the Comintern abroad, including the distribution of confidential directives and propaganda material, the forging of passports and identity papers for overseas agents and the implementation of espionage operations. The activities of the Comintern, especially clandestine activities abroad, were heavily dependent on liaisons operated and maintained by OMS, but it was not easy to maintain liaisons between Moscow and distant places.
The fact that East and Southeast Asian regions were so distant from Moscow led to the establishment of the Far Eastern Bureau (FEB) of the Comintern in Shanghai as a regional headquarters to facilitate liaison. FEB was set up in 1926, and its original mission was to supervise communist movements in China, Japan, and Korea. But by 1930 its jurisdiction had expanded to Taiwan, French Indochina, the Dutch East Indies, British Malaya, and the Philippine islands.
There was another organization in Shanghai that was also in charge of supervising communist movements in East and Southeast Asia. It was the Pan-Pacific Trade Union Secretariat, established in 1927. PPTUS was under the Profintern (Red International of Labor Unions), and its mission was supporting and promoting labor union movements in China, Japan, Korea, India, and Southeast Asia.
In 1931, the regional headquarters in Shanghai decided to dispatch three agents to Southeast Asia: Joseph Ducroux, alias Serge Lefranc; Wong Muk Han; and Teo Yuen Foo. Ducroux’s mission was to investigate communist movements in British Malaya, establish liaisons between the regional headquarters in Shanghai and the Malayan Communist Party Central, and make Singapore a liaison center for communist movements in Southeast Asia and British India. Wong and Teo was in charge of reorganizing communist movements in British Malaya.
While Teo was not identified by the British Political Intelligence Services in 1931, Ducroux, together with Wong, was detected, monitored, and finally arrested by the Special Branch in Singapore on June 1. The Special Branch in Singapore obtained contact addresses in Shanghai and Hong Kong from seized documents, and it sent these addresses to the Special Branch both in the Royal Hong Kong Police and in the Shanghai Municipal Police. Based on information sent from Singapore, Nguyen Ai Quoc was arrested in Hong Kong on June 6. Hilaire Noulens and his wife, the OMS (Otdel Mezhdunarodnykh Svyazey, Department of International Communication) staff in the regional headquarters in Shanghai, were arrested in Shanghai on June 15, 1931.
After Mr. and Mrs. Noulens’s arrest, the Special Branch of the Shanghai Municipal Police seized documents that Mr. Noulens kept at various houses in Shanghai. And from these documents, the Special Branch was able to piece together information not only about the purposes, methods, and current status of international and regional communist movements in China, French Indochina, British Malaya, Japan, Taiwan, Korea, and the Philippine islands, but also about communists and agents engaged in these activities. This information was shared with the relevant countries and colonies. For example, it resulted in the arrest of about 30 communist suspects in Japan.
At the time of the arrest of the Noulens, Nguyen Ai Quoc, and Ducroux, there were links from Shanghai to French Indochina, Siam, and British Malaya via Nguyen Ai Quoc in Hong Kong. Ducroux had succeeded in forging a link with the liaison officer of the Malayan Communist Party. As for the Indonesian Communist Party, Teo was in charge of liaison making—but it was not clear whether he had succeeded or not. The true identity of the agent in charge of making links with the Philippine Communist Party was not known. He used the code name “Leon,” and it is known that he succeeded in contacting the Philippine Communist Party. Figure below shows the Shanghai-Southeast Asia liaison network in June 1931. Tan Malaka does not appear in this figure, but there was a plan to dispatch him to Rangoon for establishing links between India and Southeast Asia.
(Note: Reference https://englishkyoto-seas.org/2016/04/vol-5-no-1-onimaru/)
In June 1931, British authorities in Singapore arrested a Comintern operative using the name Joseph Ducroux. An address book found on his person then led the Shanghai Municipal Police to Hilaire Noulens and his wife, both Comintern agents, who were collectively in charge of funneling all monies and communications between the Comintern, the Chinese Communist Party, and Communist organizations throughout East Asia. The arrest of the Noulens, and the material found in their apartments, compromised hundreds of Communists and their international networks in East and Southeast Asia. The case materials themselves, found in British, French, and Dutch archives, expose the ways the Comintern’s Far Eastern Bureau used Soviet capital and an international cast of characters to combat European imperialism in East and Southeast Asia during the interwar period. Although these efforts suffered from serious weaknesses, European colonial administrators nevertheless worried constantly about the specter of an all-powerful Soviet machine bent on world domination. Their response was cross-colonial collaboration to undermine and destroy the Comintern’s activities in the region. - http://www.secretintelligencefiles.com/Content/swwf.fo1093/0093/002
Caption above taken from an abstract of a journal related to secret files on Noulens Affairs which linked to communist organizations thought out East Asia. Interesting S. Amalu also indirectly linked to the case.
In June 1931, the Criminal Intelligence Department under R.H Onraet in Singapore managed to crackdown on Malayan Communist Party and arrested one Frenchman along with 15 Chinese and an Malayan Indian. News of the arrest and trial were published in The Straits Times dated June 19th, 1931, The Malayan Tribune dated June 20th, 23rd, 1931.
1. Ducroux arrived from Hong Kong on April 27, 1931 and set up an office in Winchester House, Collyer Quay on May 1st, 1931. He represented a French firm, Cidlo, manufacturing steel tools and other hardware.
2. R.H Onraet who was also the Acting Chief Police Officer rent our a room in front of Ducroux office and set up two agents to watch Ducroux movement.
3. Onraet informed that the Criminal Intelligence Department received information that efforts were made to establish connection between communists in Malaya and Shanghai. Based on the information received, the CID put surveillance on Ducroux.
4. Six of the 15 Chinese arrested pleaded guilty. Ducroux, Amalu and 9 others claimed to be tried.
5. Seditious material such as pamphlets and newsletter of "Communist Youth" had been seized from a house in Singapore. A letter contained the detail and instruction regarding labour movement in Malaya was addressed to Saminathan Amalu also seized. A greeting letter from Communist Party of India centered in Calcutta which congratulation the comrades of Malayan Communist Party also found.
6. A former MCP member, Ahmad bin Suahin, a tailor from Geylang testified that he was introduced to Wong Muk Han by a Javanese Communist by the name Ali Majid in a meeting held in Upper Serangoon. According to Ahmad, the Communists were out to overthrow the Imperial Government in Malaya and enable Malayans for rule their own country as republic similar to Soviet Russia.
7. Ducroux was found guilty and sentenced to 18 months of rigorous imprisonment. Six were discharged but rearrested and banished. Six more pleased guilty. Amalu was discharged due to lack of evidence.
8. R.H Onraet gave a brief history of Ducroux. Ducroux was a militant communist, attended Leninist School in Marseilles, France. A warning circular had been issued by the Foreign Office on Ducroux and warning all government against granting permission to land. Ducroux obtained passport under the name Lefranc.
9. A series of arrest had been made in Hong Kong and Shanghai based on address details found in Ducroux pocket book including the Noulens which crippled the whole far east network.
10. In the trail, Amalu claimed that he came to Singapore to quench his thirst on knowledge where he studies economics and politics. He was completed his Senior Cambridge at Anglo Chinese School in Singapore and Junior Cambridge in Kuala Lumpur. He is ambitioned to be lawyer but abandon the idea due to poverty. Later, opted to be an engineer which he claimed he needed qualification. He opted for mechanical job with Lvons Motors but left the job as they made him only to grease the cars. He was working for Fraser and Neave before arrested by Special Branch Chief Inspector Rai Bahadur Prithvi Chand.
11. Amalu was not represented and he claimed to be tried. He fought his own case in the court. He was discharged by the court due to lack of evidence.
Friday, February 19, 2021
The involvements of Malayan Indians in the Communist Party of Malaya (CPM) are not widely discussed. But when we read Michael Stenson's Class, Race & Colonialism in Peninsular Malaya (page 56), the writer stated :
"So too was S. Amalu who had eventually joined Malayan Communist Party and had been sent to Russia for training in 1931. Although somewhat disillusioned after losing his contact in Hong Kong and being obliged to give himself up to the police, Amalu remained strongly influenced by Left Book Club and other socialist publications that managed to slip through the British censors"
Hence, who is this S. Amalu that Stenson had written about?
So, I made some homework and would present to you about S. Amalu who seems to be a very interesting character based on news reported in Malayan Tribune dated 30th Dec 1933(page 6), The Strait Times dated 23rd Dec1933 (page 12) and The Singapore Free Press and Mercantile Advisers 23rd Dec 1933 (page 3). A huge coverage was given in Malaya and Singapore for his trial in Singapore.
1. S. Amalu or Saminathan Amalu was a Tamil born in Kuala Lumpur in 1916.
2. Amalu was English and Tamil educated. He was a former student at Methodist Boys School in Kuala Lumpur.
3. At the age of 12 (in 1928), he met Tai Eng Seng (also English educated) at Methodist Boys School. They became good friends. This is believed Tai Eng Seng would have indoctrinated Amalu into communism and a made him a member of Malayan Communist Youth Corps.
4. Later Tai Eng Seng together with other Amalu's comrades - Tan Kim Beng, T. Andrew and Low Ching Pak were arrested in Singapore and banished for being members of MCP.
5. Evidence of Amalu's involvement in Malayan Communist Youth Corps was obtained when police obtained documents from a house in Layang Village, Kuala Lumpur. The raid against the Communist Youth Corps was conducted by Capt. Morris - Assistant Commissioner in FMS Police Department. The documents also proved that Amalu was associated with seditionists who worked against British.
6. In Sept 1930, Amalu left Kuala Lumpur and came to Singapore. He stayed for a while at his uncle's place in Pricep Street, near Bras Basah Road while working as a mechanic. Later he moved to live at No.307, Joo Chiat Road under a false name, Manikam.
8. In June 1931, Amalu was arrested shortly after the raid on Malayan Communist Youth Corps and was charged under the Societies Ordinance. But acquitted later when found no concrete evidence against him.
7. On June 27th, 1932, a house was raided in Sophia Road in Singapore where a Hakka teacher from Kuala Lumpur, T. Andrew, was arrested. Andrew admitted that he was a member of Communist Youth Corps which was functioning under Malayan Students' Federation. Andrew also mentioned his association with Amalu in his statements. Andrew was sentenced to six months of rigorous imprisonment and banished. Andrew mentioned Amalu was member of Malayan Communist Party active in Singapore and Kuala Lumpur.
On 23rd Sept 1933, Amalu boarded a ship "Conte Rosso" from Singapore to Shanghai on behalf of CPM without a passport and travelled under a Chinese name - Yeo Cheng Hock!
8. Amalu arrived in Shanghai on Oct 2nd 1933 and left Shanghai to Hong Kong on Nov. 18th after meeting some important persons.
9. Amalu was arrested in Hong Kong on Nov. 23rd, 1933 and was deported to Singapore.
10. Police found seditious documents related to communist activities in his possession - copy of the Shanghai Evening Post on news about Mr. and Mrs. Noulens who are serving life imprisonment in Shanghai for being communist in China, handwritten note on "Comrade M. Singaravelu -73" who was known communist in India and a copy of The International Press Correspondence printed in Kuala Lumpur.
11. Amalu was unpresented in court. He fought his own trail. Finally he was discharged with RM500 penalty for traveling without passport.
The Part 2 of the article will be detailing on Amalu's arrest in 1931 which involved a Frenchman Serge Lefranc also know as Joseph Ducroux. Ducroux accused of assisting in managing Malayan Communist Party. Ducroux's case was regarded the first case involving foreigner and one of the biggest crackdown on the communists in Malaya by the British.
Thursday, June 18, 2020
Based on details found in the Report of the Nethaji Inquiry Committee in 1956, I made an entry to my blog in June 2011, with a presumption that S.A Ganapathy could have delivered the news of Japan surrender to Bose. The article mentioned that one "Mr. Ganapathy" and Dr.Lakshmayya left Singapore with the devastating news. The men broke the news to Bose and his trusted officer S.Ayer in Seremban.
The article indicated that "Mr Ganapathy" was the Acting Secretary of the Publicity Department of India Independence League (ILL) headquartered in Singapore.
As the article did not mention any details of "Mr Ganapathy", premature assumption had been made that S.A Ganapathy would have delivered the message. The colonial papers reported that S.A Ganapathy was serving as an instructor with Indian National Army (INA).
But, a news appeared in The Indian Daily Mail on the 8th April 1946, proves that the presumption was wrong. The news confirms that the said "Ganapathy" was K.E Ganapathy.
The news which generally discussing the mysterious death surrounding Bose, mentioned that the Malayan Tamil Newspapers reported that Bose was heard broadcasting from Manchuria on the March 17, 1946.
K.E Ganapathy who traveled from Penang produced the Tamil newspaper in Madras and said, "Subhas Chandra Bose is in Manchuria and is doing well"
With this, it is clearer now that S.A Ganapathy did not break the news of Japan surrender to Bose. It was K.E Ganapathy!
Many had taken this presumption (even though I have stated my reservation on the "Ganapathy" in article) and reproduce it in their presentations, speeches and articles that S.A Ganapathy was the person who broke the news to Bose. This was done in the context to project how close was Ganapathy to Bose.
This new evidence shows that Ganapathy was not given a high rank in Indian Independence League (ILL) nor Indian National Army. It is also evident the truth in the confession made by an ex INA member, Sutharman, that Ganapathy was court-marshaled in INA for being a communist.
Intelligent report stated that Malayan Indians from Malayan Communist Party (MCP) infiltrated INA and there was an unique relationship established between the MPAJA and INA. MCP sympathized INA's anti British struggle and wanted to form an alliance with INA after the Japan's defeat. But this alliance was betrayed by a high ranking officer in INA upon advised by the British (see my blog entry on R.G Balan)
|Extract form Indian Daily News 8th April 1946
|Indian Daily Mail - 8th April 1946e
Saturday, May 9, 2020
|Nehru with Queen
|Malayan Tribune - 1st March 1949
|Queen Elizabeth II and Commonwealth leaders, taken at the 1960 Commonwealth Conference, Windsor Castle.
|Indian Daily News - 22 April 1949
Wednesday, May 6, 2020
The Officer-In-Charge of CID Johore C.K.S. Bovell said Sambasivam was arrested under the Emergency Regulations and will remain under detained. The police yet to applied for warrant for banishment. He added the future of Sambasivam will be decided by the Federal Government.
|3rd April 1950
|The Indian Daily - 17th April 1950
Friday, May 1, 2020
All though the voices of opposition raised in India against outcome of Ganapathy's appeal, the Indian Congress Leaders such as Nehru and Patel were not very concern as they have their own problem to dealt with, especially the communist and socialist movement in India. The communist and socialist parties were against of India's view to join Commonwealth. India in other hand needed commonwealth support to help in their Kashmir issues. The Commonwealth seen as huge association which India needed to get rid of their communist "trouble-makers."
The statement claimed that Nehru had sold the interest of the Indian people and the independence and the sovereignty of the country to Anglo-American imperialists"
Another opposition voice in India the All India Forward Block, which once was lead by Subhas Chandra Bose, had also criticized the London accord on India's new link with Commonwealth.
Its General Secretary K.N Joglekar appealed to leftist forces to form "United Committee of Action" to express disapproval of the "Nehru Deal."
Note on Joglekar
K.N. Joglekar was born at Uttarpradesh. He was involved in the Meerut Conspiracy Case - controversial court case, in which several trade unionists, including three Englishmen were arrested for organizing Indian Rail strike. The Sessions Court in Meerut awarded stringent sentences to the accused in January 1933. Out of the accused, 27 persons were convicted with various duration of ‘transportation’. Joglekar and his comrades were each awarded transportation for a period of 12 years.
Tuesday, April 28, 2020
Deportation does not take the centre stage of discussion in the fight against communist insurgency in Malaya. The British was not open about this policy and kept a very vague record of deportation from Malaya.
Deportation has been regarded as inhumane by many scholars. Families are destroyed in deportation. A father been forced to leave his family in Malaya and deported to China. Many of those deported were second generation Malayans who were born in Malaya. They had been deported forcefully to a foreign land which they are not familiar with.
The intention of the post is to analyse and understand the impact of deportation exercise against the trade unionists who were considered as "trouble-makers" to the Malayan Government.
Since the declaration of Emergency in June 1948, many unionist who had no association with the Malayan Communist Party (MCP) were arrested and deported to China and India. The Malayan Chinese outnumbered the Indians. Many of them were genuine unionists who stood against capitalist oppression policies towards the labourers.
On the 27th October 1949, the Indian Daily Mail reported that Colonial Secretary Arthur Creech Jones told the British parliament that 870 bandits killed in Malaya since the beginning of Emergency - June 1948. One of the Conservative Party MPs said there was a fairly general impression in Britain that the people were not being kept informed of the situation in Malaya. The Conservative MP also questioned the fact that since the end of July the situation in Malaya had deteriorated.
The Colonial Secretary replied :
"No, the situation had not deteriorated. In some months the difficulties are greater than in other months but I think the authorities are pursuing the problem and pressing their operation with full vigour."
Another Conservative MP, Walter Fletcher questioned whether was there any difficulty arising in getting "rid of bandits who are due to deportation since Amoy (now known as Xiamen) and Swatow (now known as Shantou) were no longer ports which bandits can be deported.
The Colonial Secretary replied, " We have to some extent been obligated to abandon the policy which we had hoped to pursue, but alternative measure have been taken in respect of squatters who have been detained.
Even though in the British Parliament, the Colonial Secretary said the Malayan Government obligated to abandon the policy, but we do see records of Malayans deported after 1949. Deportation was a easy way out to keep Malaya "clean".
|Indian Daily Mail - 27 Oct 1949
Sunday, April 26, 2020
The plight of the Indian labourer's in Malaya's turmoil is of great concern to us, declared the paper adding the labourers are caught in the terror campaign of the communist. agitators and strong-hand, t methods of the Foreign Administration. The labourers "should not feel that have been orphaned by the storm. To their credit, they have managed to keep out from the conflict in the spite if pressure form those challenging the authority of the Rulers," the paper reported.
"But there is some danger of the Rulers succumbing to the pressure from the planting interest to exploit disturbance for suppression of legitimate labour movements"
The paper continued :
"The risk of one or more Indian falling victims unwillingly to the rough justice now administered in Malaya by the regime which seeks to crush the revolt in very real. We are concerned with question of the rights of the Malayan Government to take drastic measure to restore law and order. But we are very concerned to see that in the process no innocent Indian's life is placed in jeopardy. Specifically we would like the case of Ganapathy to be examined by the Government of India before the death sentence is carried out by the Malayan Government.
"The decision to charge a man under ad hoc capital without even an allegation that he was actually connected with murder gang or terrorist organisation takes on an ominous significance in the light of the fact that Ganapathy was the ex-President of the Pan Malayan Federation of Trade Unions which was since been banned."
The editorial concluded :
"The Representative of the Government of India should not spare any effort to prevent a grave miscarriage of justice. But the Government of the India to whom the people of Ganapathy's native village in South India have already submitted an appeal on his behalf. should make urgent representations to Whitehall to reprieve Ganapathy."
|Indian Daily Mail - 15th April 1949
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