Monday, May 26, 2014

British MPs Perturbed Over Consequences of Execution of Ganapathy

More lights being shed upon Ganapathy execution as Daily Indian Mail dated May, 7th, 1949 reported that the Indian Government was kept in dark over the development of the case.

It is stated that:

“But it appeared that Ganapathy was executed before the Indian High Commissioner in London was informed of the results of an examination of the case which the British Government had promised."

The keys to unveil this mystery are in the correspondence between John Thivy and V.K. Krishna Menon, which I believed still kept in archive in New Delhi.

But I am bit skeptical over Ganapathy's statement to Thivy. If Ganapathy decided to surrender, what is need to carry arms? He could have just dispose the revolver in the jungle. Why need to present himself with a weapon?

British MPs Perturbed Over Consequences On Asian Opinion!

Krishna Menon To Lodge Protest With Colonial Office

LONDON, May 6 – Mr.V.K Krishna Menon, Indian High Commissioner in London, will lodge a “vigorous” protest to the British Government today over the hanging in Malaya of Ganapathy, 21-year-old Indian President of the Pan-Malayan Federation of Trade Unions.

It is understood Mr. Menon will call at the Colonial Office to convey the Indian Government’s strong feelings at the execution.

Ganapathy was found guilty and sentenced to death by a Selangor Court on charged of carrying a revolver and ammunition.

Last minute presentation were made from India to the British Government to stop the hanging and have the case re-examined, it was learned here tonight, Britain send urgent telegram to the authorities in Singapore.
Lord Listowel

Colonial Office Attitude

The attitude of the Colonial Office officials here is believed to be that under the Malayan constitution the British Government had no jurisdiction to intervene since Selangor is a “protected state.”

The Indian High Commissioner here will probably lodge his Government’s protest with Lord Listowel Minister of State for the Colonies, Colonial Secretary Arthur Creech Jones (not clear).

Query In Parliament

Further questions on the hanging of Ganapathy are likely to be raised in Parliament. Many members of Parliament are perturbed by the circumstances of the execution and apprehensive of its effect on the Asian opinion.

…that nothing has been gained and indeed something may have been lost by carrying out this execution area.

Arthur Creech Jones
The Indian protest said the re-presentation for a stay of execution were made by the Indian Government Representative in Malaya, Mr J. A Thivy and Through the Indian High Commissioner in London, Mr.V.K Krishna Menon, says an A.P report from New Delhi.

“But it appeared that Ganapathy was executed before the Indian High Commissioner in London was informed of the results of an examination of the case which the British
John Thivy





Ganapathy's Statement to John Thivy

Mr. John Thivy's report to the Indian Government is understood to contain statements made to him by Ganapathy, whom he saw several times in prison, says a Reuter message from New Delhi.

Ganapathy told him that he committed no act of violence and said he was hiding in the jungles of Malaya for about 5 months, during most of which time he was ill.

He had no knowledge of the severity of the Malayan regulations. He left the jungle intending to surrender the revolver in his possession at the nearest police station, he said. It had been given him for self-protection.

When arrested while resting under a rubber tree, he told Mr.Thivy, he did not attempt to resist - Reuter and A.P

Ganapathy with Ramadas

Asoka Mehta - Tragedy of Ganapathy Like A Pendant in Commonwealth Chain


Daily Indian Mail - 7th May 1949, reported Asoka Metha, a prominent Socialist in India regarded the tragedy of Ganapathy hangs like a pendant in the Commonwealth chain.

It is Cold Blooded Murder Of A Working Class Labourer

Indian Trade Union Leaders Condemnation

Bombay, May 6.- Indian trade union leaders yesterday criticised the Malayan Government for the hanging yesterday of an Indian, A. Ganapathy former President of the Malayan Federation of Trade Unions, for carrying arms.

Asoka Metha


Mr. Asoka Metha, a prominent Socialist, said: “The Tragedy of Ganapathy hangs like a pendant in the Commonwealth chain recently forged in London.”

President of Indian Congress - Not to Trust the Commonwealth

Dr. Pattabhi Sitaramayya
Indian Daily Mail, Saturday - 7th May 1949 carried an uproar by President of Indian Congress, Dr. Pattabhi Sitaramayya urging India "to not to trust too much on Commowealth ties". The satisfaction was due to British's blunt ignorance over India's protest over the death sentence given S.A Ganapathy in March 1949.

This clearly shows that there were attempts made by the Indian Government save Ganapathy. But, why these attempts ended in failure and what would cause this failure still remains unanswered.

 Ganapathi’s Hanging Is Warning To Indian Not To Trust Too Much The C’wealth Ties

Congress President’s Condemnation of Malayan Govt.’s Disregard Of India’s Views
(From Our Own Correspondent)

MADRAS, May 6 – “Ganapathi’s hanging is a warning to us that we should not be all trustful regarding the ties of the Commonwealth,” declared Congress President Dr.Pattabhi Sitaramayya, commenting here on the execution of the Malayan Indian labour leader.

Dr. Pattabhi added “if on the marrow of the signature of the membership of Indian with Commenwealth, a man is to be hanged, despite protest of the Government of India’s Deputry Minister of External Affairs Dr. Keskar while in Malaya, it shows how lightly India’s words and views are treated by the British authorities in their colonies.”

“When I said that India is neither elated not depressed regarding her free association with Commonwealth, some people thought me too cynical but the event in Malay may well make the critics regards those words as prophetic.” Dr.Pattabhi added.

Guru Devan - The Mysterious Man Behind S.A Ganapathy

Gurudevan - Master of Disguise 

















































There have been many speculations on how Ganapathy was influenced by communism and marxism. Many believed that a man named Gurudevan was Ganapathy's mentor. Gurudevan (according to Richard Corridon - ex- Special Branch officer in Singapore claimed that this was not his real name) was believed to be the Head of Intelligence Bureau of Indian Section in Malayan Communist Party . Not many people have seen him as he known for his skills in disguising. In one of the interviews with Singapore Oral History, Ahmad Khan, an ex officer with Special Branch, who was assigned to captured Gurudevan, described latter as a master of disguise and "top ranking communist". Ahmad Khan was a British spy working for Japanese Army and had a close relationship with S.A Ganapathy. Gurudevan was captured in Seremban before he was deported to India.

Remembering the event which lead to the capture of Gurudevan, by Richard Corrindon stated in his interviews, that the arrest of Gurudevan was a coincident as he was disguising as a temple priest. Being suspicious of the priest, Corrindon detained the priest for questioning without knowing who he was. When Ahmad Khan returned to the spot shocked to see Gurudevan was handcuffed and sat in a police car. Earlier, Ahmad Khan and some of his colleagues searched the house where Gurudevan was believed to live. But returned after finding nothing to the spot where Richard was waiting.

According to Khan, Gurudevan was believed to be very cautious and meticulous person. He was believed to run classes on Marxism to highly intellectual groups like John Eber and S.V Sharma. He was operating in a small room in a telephone company in Singapore and a small office-bearer with Telephone Company Employee Union.

Extracted from : Interview of Singapore Special Branch Superintendent Ahmad Khan (from National Archive Singapore)
Information on Guru Devan can be obtained from Singapore National Achieve – oral history – interviews with former Special Branch of Singapore Force – Ahmad Khan and Corrindon. Both these men were believed to bring down many unionists during the emergency and Operation Cold Store. They are highly regarded figures by British administration both in Malaya and UK


Extracted from : Interview of Singapore Special Branch Officer Richard Corridon on the capture of Guru Devan (from National Archive Singapore)


Mr Sundara Murthi talking in a Forum on Remembering Ganapathy in Chennai, India

(Telegram date 17th December 1949 from Henry Gurney to Secretary of States of Colonies on "The arrest of Gurudevan - the number one Indian Communist in the country")

(Note: Image courtesy by Sathis Kumar CJMY and Annamalai Sundara Murthy- taken from Uthaya Baskaran's Maaveran Malaya Ganapathy)

Thursday, May 8, 2014

John Brazier Paid Tribute to Ganapathy

In Tim Harper and Christopher Bayly 's Forgotten War: The End of Britain's Asian Empire, it is stated on the notes of Ganapathy's execution on the 4th May 1949,

The World Federation of Trade Union called it "murder". The British were shocked when the key note speaker at a conference of local moderate trade unionist, orchestrated by the trade union adviser, John Brazier, paid tribute to Ganapathy:

"His sincere services to the workers for a long time cannot be forgotten. In appreciation of these service it is, but right to express our sympathy to him in his dark days."

Petition to Save Ganapathy from Tambikottai, India

Indian Daily Mail March 28, 1949 On 28th March 1949, the Indian Daily Mail reported that people of Tanjovore village of Muthupet from ...