Saturday, September 12, 2009

P. Veerasenan


P. Veerasenan assumed the post of President of Pan Malayan Federation of Trade Unions after Ganapathy was arrested on the 1st of March 1949. Ganapathy was prosecuted on the 15th of March 1949 and hanged on the 4th May 1949. All happened within less than 3 months.

On the 3rd May 1949, Tuesday, a day before Ganapathy was to be executed, the 1/7 Gurkha Rifles shot dead P.Veerasenan in an ambush near Pertang in Jelebu district Negeri Sembilan.

The article below was extracted from The Straits Times (Singapore) dated 6th May 1949. It reads  "Shot Tamil Was P.M.F.T.U Chief"

Shot Tamil Was P.M.F.T.U Chief
from our staff correspondent Kuala Lumpur, 

Thursday. Police headquarters today announced that the Tamil who was shot dead when a large bandit camp in Negeri Sembilan was attacked by the 1/7 Gurkha Rifles on Tuesday has been identified as P. Veerasenan, President of the Pan-Malayan Federation of trade Unions. The camp where he was killed was described by a military spokesman in Seremban as being First Brigade Headquarters of the "National Liberation Army of Malaya." A police spokeman said today that a rifle and a pack, in which there were documents in Tamil, were found on Veerasenan. The Tamil fled with Chinese who ran as the Gurkha party approached. He was shot, said the spokesman, as he stopped to pick up his pack.

Counter Attack


A Chinese bandit was also killed in the attack. As the Gurkha were examining the camp-which had seven huts for about 70 people-they were strongly counter-attacked, but drove off the bandits.
Veerasenan succeed A. Ganapathy as president of the Pan-Malayan Federation of Trade Unions in April last year. Ganapathy was hanged in Kuala Lumpur yesterday morning for unlawful possession of arms and ammunition. Veerasenan, who was about 30 years of age, was formerly President of the Singapore federation of Trade Unions and the Singapore Harbour Labourers Union. As president of the Harbour Labourers Union, he was one of leaders responsible for repeated port strikes in Singapore.

Was it a sheer coincidence for the both unionists to die at almost same time or was there any conspiracy to "finish them off" in a blow? As ST being a mouth-piece for British colonial master, almost all their articles published portrayed as British troops as heroes and with their bravery saved the nation from the so called "communist bandits". We should realized how our people have been deceived and fooled by the British government. One example to quote shall be "The Batang Kali Massacre". A cowardly act of the British troops killing innocent rubber tappers in Batang Kali has been concealed from the people for more than 50 years.

Some sources (which I am not able to verify at this moment) said that Veerasenan was only 22 years old when he was killed. It also said that he was shot when he tried to retrieve his belongings especially his diary in which vital information with regards Malayan National Liberation Army's (MNLA) movements were recorded. His last attempt to destroy those documents was to soak the pages of his diary with his blood so that the British troop would only get hold of, but not to read those vital information. Such was his dedication towards his movement and belief.

Knowing that 70 people have been with him during the attack, we could image how effective the MNLA was. Completely contradicting account from what we have learned from our history books that mentioned no arm struggles took place against the British to liberate this country!

Also notice that title of the article which mentioned "Tamil" instead of "Indian". One should wonder why the word Tamil used and Indian? Was the British government intended to play a low key by addressing Veerasenan as Tamil and not as Indian. Was the word "Tamil" intended to portray that a small minority group of Indians living in Malaya was against the British?    

4 comments:

  1. Dear Saminathan,

    I read your blog posts on Ganapathy and Veerasenan and must confess
    that I was woefully unaware of them. Our understanding of our nation's
    history has been extremely restricted by the governments in power at the time. We need works like yours to help us become aware of the struggles of people like Ganapathy and others, and help us see through
    the misinformation that passes for history today. As they say, those who do not know their history are condemned to repeat the mistakes of the past.
    From [email protected]

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thank you Dharma.
    Glad that I can shed some light on the life and struggle of some of the freedom fighters, who have been erased from our history.
    If I am not mistaken there were a few hundred of Indians who were formerly INA (Indian National Army) members have been deported to
    India. The India government under Nehru and foreign minister Krishna Menon managed to threaten British to stop execution of Indians who were caught under emergency law. Ganapathy was the first and last
    Indian to be hanged during the emergency.
    Apart from that there a lot of Chinese and Malays who were arrested during the emergency. Some have been prosecuted and some died in detention and some have been imprisonned under draconian law of ISA
    like Kamarruddin Teh, the longest detained person under ISA law.
    Life of these great men and women have been scarified for their belief for an independence nation. Through out all the point in the their life, they have not deviated from their path. All of them died for
    their belief. British government and later the UMNO government labeled them as traitors.
    I think their death should be remembered by generation to come.
    I hope that all of you can contribute as well as provide constructive comments

    ReplyDelete
  3. Ong Suan from Anak Bangsa Malaysia said
    In the same vein, reading Chin Peng's biography "My alias Chin Peng"
    provided me a completely different version of history as taught in our schools. I have never heard of beheading by British forces and I was surprised with the vivid photos of that. Such atrocities are unheard of
    in our history. The Emergency was as much a propaganda war as a people's uprising against the colonial power. Propaganda usually favours the powers-that-be, until some time later.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Hi Saminathan,
    Good day to you. You are doing a great job by making today's people know these great people of the past, who have fought for our labour rights during the late 40s. Keep it up.

    Regards,
    Peter.
    ([email protected])
    (Publisher, The Malaysian Indian Journey)
    www.themij.com

    ReplyDelete

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