Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Quest on Finding Family Members of S.A Ganapathy- A 14-year Search Finally Ended

Mr and Mrs Shanmugam Thevar (second and third from right) at my wedding reception
It all happened in my wedding reception. I stood puzzled and surprised as an elderly couple walked toward me and congratulated me. I was curious looking at these strangers. When they introduced them as “Murugesh’s parents”, I jumped in joy and overwhelmed with the feeling of being blessed. That day will never going to fade away from my memory as I was so blessed to meet Mr. and Mrs. Shanmugam Thevar – nephew of S.A Ganapathy. My 14-year of quest to find any individual related to Ganapathy came to an end on that day when I met this lovely couple.

Ramu Thevar

Ramu Thevar

Young Ramu Thevar

A little detail of Mr. Shamugam

Mr.Shamugam is son of Mr. Ramu Thevar and Mdm.Laksmi. Ramu Thevar was closely associated with S.A Ganapathy as both shared a very unique relationship. It was said that Ganapathy during his last days in Pudu Prison, wrote a letter to Ramu requesting latter to claim his body after execution. It was said that the letter was delivered to Ramu. But unfortunately Ramu was arrested and detained in Pulau Jerejak Prison (which was also known as The Alcatraz of Malaysia) for three months. Ramu’s only crime was his association with Ganapathy. Upon release from prison, traumatized Ramu destroyed all his collections of letters and photographs of Ganapathy. The family never spoke about Ganapathy ever again.
Mr Shanmugam's Mother - Mdm Laksmi

Madam Laksmi Ramasamy
(Ramu Thevar was married S.A Ganapathy’s cousin, Laksmi, who was daughter to Ramasamy Thevar. Ramasamy Thevar was elder brother of Arumugam Thevar, who was father of S.A Ganapathy (The initial “A” in S.A Ganapathy’s name is referred to his father – Arumugam)

In remembering of his “Ganapathy Mama (“Mama” means maternal uncle in Tamil), Mr Shamugam recalled that his mother, Mdm. Laksmi Ramasamy used to say that Ganapathy used to visit them at their home at Sungai Dua, Penang. Mr. Shammugam was too young to remember the other details of Ganapathy's visits.

“My mother told me that Ganapathy Mama used to carry me when he visits my father who was into cattle farming business,” said Mr.Shanmugam.

Ramu Thevar with his motorcycle
According to Mr. Shamugam, his father was the first "milk-man" in Penang to use motorcycle to deliver milk to his customers.

I also understood from our conversation that Mr. Ramu was detained immediately after receiving a letter from Ganapathy. According to Mr. Shamugam, an Indian police CID officer who came with the pretext of buying cows from his father, arrested Mr. Ramu for his association with Ganapathy. The lead to the arrest was believed to be the letter that Ganapathy wrote from prison.

I was privileged to browse through some old photographs in Mr. Shamugam’s collection and I took some shots of Mr. Ramu Thevar to be posted here.

I would like to thank Mr. and Mrs. Shanmugam for sharing their collection of Mr.Ramu Thevar and Mdm. Laksmi Ramasamy and treating us with a beautiful lunch at their residence in Penang.


Jananayagam - 5th May 1945 - Ganapathy's Short History

Jananayagam (Democracy) published on the 5th May 1949 carried the life story of Ganapathy on its first page - "Thukkilidapatta Ganapath...