Friday, August 12, 2016

Monument for Ganapathy in Tambikottai

A monument to remember the sacrifice of S.A Ganapathy for the working class in Malaya can be found in Tambikottai, Tanjavur Taluk in Tamil Nadu.

The monument was inaugurated on the 16th July 1986 by the members of Communist Party of India in Tamil Nadu.

The red-coloured monument which shaped similar to the pickelhaube - spiked headgear worn by nineteenth century German military consists of 3 tiers. The based and the 2nd tier are hexagonal (6-sided/faces) shaped block decorated with six white coloured sickle and hammer - the communist symbol conceived during the Russian revolution. The top part is a 6-sided shaped cone.

(The hammer stood for industrial labourers and the sickle for the peasantry; combined they stood for the worker-peasant alliance for socialism and against reactionary movements and foreign intervention -wikipedia)

The date of Ganapathy execution 4th May 1949 and the inauguration of the monument are inscription on the bottom portion.

Inscription of monument

Monument for Ganapathy 
Even though there is no evidence supporting the claim that Ganapathy was born in 1912 in Thambikkottai Keelakkadu Sundaram village in Thanjavur District, Tamil Nadu, according to a telegram from High Commissioner of Malaya, Sir Henry Gurney to Colonial Office dated 2 May 1949, stated that Ganapathy was born in 1917. 

Ganapathy and his brother Sargunan were born to Seemigu Arumugam Thevar and Vairammal (Arumugam's second wife). After losing both his parents to cholera outbreak, Ganapathy and Sargunan lived with their sister for a while before migrated to Singapore at the age of 10 with his uncle and grandfather, Subramaniam Thevar.   

Note: I am grateful to Shanmugapriyan Ganapathy sending these photos. Shanmugapriyan is one of family members of  S.A Ganapathy  

Friday, August 5, 2016

Sambasivam Case : Judge Ordered a Retrial

It is my strongest conviction that if Sambasivam was captured uninjured, he would have been the first Indian casualties of Emergency Regulation 1948, which could have saved S.A Ganapathy from the gallows. But, unfortunate for Ganapathy for he was sentenced first in the court of law for unlawful procession of fire arms.

Interesting to read that Sambasivam's case had taken many twists and turns before he was freed by the court.

The Straits Times dated 5th March 1949, reported that retrial for Sambasivam's case as the Judge disagreed with the finding of the assessors.

Sambasivam was discharged from hospital on 28th February 1949 when he was brought to trial at the Johor Bahru High Court on the 2nd and 3rd March 1949 for unlawfully carrying arms. The assessors found him not guilty but the trial judge disagreed and orders a retrial.

In the retrial which took place on 22nd March 1949, he was convicted by both assessors (a Malay and an Indian) and found guilty. He was sentenced to death.

The Straits Times - 5th March 1949

Judge Disagrees, Orders Retrial 
From Our Staff Correspondence

Johore Bahru- Narayanasamy Sambasivam. a Tamil, was at the end of an emergency trial found not guilty by the assessors of two charges. First, of carrying arms; secondly, of being in possession of ten rounds of ammunition. 
Mr. Justice Laville disagree with the assessors' verdict on the first charges and order a retrial.
His Lordship agree with the assessors' verdict on the second and acquitted the accused.  
Acoording to the evidence, the accused was in the company of two Chinese when they were met by three Malays on a kampong path at Bukit Kepong, near Muar on Sept 13 (1948)
There was a fight between the two parties. shots were fired and one was killed. 

Monday, August 1, 2016

Attempt by Tamil Daily Malaysia Nanban To Justify Kabali as S.A Ganapathy

I am totally disgusted after reading an article published in Malaysia Nanban daily"Yaar Antha Kabali (Who was Kabali) on the 31st July 2016 which full of misleading information and misinterpretation of Malaysian history. The attempt to portray the character Kabali as S.A Ganapathy proves poor ethics in journalism practiced by the daily.  
Yaar Antha Kabali - Malaysia Nanban 31st July 2016

Even more disgusting when one article reported in Tamil Nadu that some upper caste chauvinists started to claim that the character Kabali was based on their own caste. Wherelse, Kabali's director Pa.Ranjith claimed that the movie based on Dalit's struggle in Malaysia.
(I refrained from naming any community/caste implicating to Ganapathy as Ganapathy did not claim to belong to any caste. Ganapathy's ideology was based on class struggle but not caste!)

In Namban's article, one incident in the movie which related to wage issue was referred as part of Ganapathy's struggle. This is a dire mistake. The editorial team referred the incident to "The Klang Strike 1941", without even realizing that Ganapathy was not involved in the strike!

Even though colonial records showed Ganapathy had been an active member of Malayan Communist Party (MCP) in 1939, but he did not involve in the Klang Strike 1941. The Klang Strike was staged under leadership of R.H Nathan and Y.K Menon of CIAM - Central Indian Association Malaya. The reason why Ganapathy did not involve in the Klang Strike was due to an "important issue" which effected almost all Indians migrants living in Malaya at that time- which I will reveal in my book. (Apologies for that!)

Beside that, there are some factual errors in the article:

1. It was mentioned that Malayan Communist Party - MCP was banned in 1947. In fact, MCP was only banned in 1948. There were representatives of MCP took part in public events organised by Pan Malayan Federation of Trade Unions in 1946 and 47.

2. The article mentioned that Ganapathy was member of Malayan National Liberation Army (MNLA). No colonial document nor historians mentioned about this. Even Anthony Short (the author of In the Pursuit of Mountain Rats) who had a full access to many colonial confidential files did not mention that Ganapathy was part of MNLA. This is one of the reasons why Ganapathy was caught on Waterfall Estate and not in the jungles.

3. It was mentioned that Ganapathy was the person who informed Netaji on Japan's defeat in WW2. But this is yet to be proven. There could be other Ganapathy(s) in INA. Furthermore, Ganapathy was court martialed during his time in INA due to his communist links.

4. It was mentioned Nehru took personal interest in Ganapathy's case. But one would doubt this after having read the colonial documents that mentioned Indian High Commissioner to UK, V.K Krishna Menon only met with Lord Listowel to discuss about Ganapathy on the 3rd of May 1949 - one day before Ganapathy to be hanged. The telegram to save Ganapathy was sent from the UK Prime Minister Clement Atlee's office at 2015 hours (8.15pm GMT) which would received in Malaya around 4.15am. If the Indian leaders intended to save Ganapathy, they would have taken all possible measures in the earlier stage. After Ganapathy's execution, Periyar criticized the Indian leaders for their inertness and failed to act promptly.

5. The article also mentioned that The Straits Times editorial exerted pressure upon High Commissioner of Malaya Sir Edward Gent to take drastic action against strike organizers. This was taken directly from my blog. Of course, I have mentioned this in my blog referring to the ST editorial. But only those who have researched well in labours strike in Malaya would understand that it was not the editorial of ST who pressured Gent, but the United Planters Association of Malaya (UPAM) and the Rubber Growers Association (RGA) who lobbied a huge and expensive campaign to oust Gent from Malaya.

6. The article failed to mentioned Ganapathy's involvement in Hartal 1947. It failed to mention on his speech during a meeting in Ipoh on the 15th Oct 1947, which was published in full text in many newspapers at that time including The Singapore Free Press, Indian Daily Mail and The Malaya Tribune. The essence of the Ganapathy's struggle and his ideology reflected clearly in his speeches. I have extracted the speech in my blog

It was in deed a misleading article by Malaysia Namban - who have taken 98 percent from my blog and thank Wikipedia instead ( Wikipedia made many reference to my work).

I would seek the readers' judgement to dissect the article. Stop this insult - Ganapathy was not a gangster as portrayed through the character Kabali! Unlike Kabali, Ganapathy fought against the oppressive British capitalist regime in Malaya. Kabali, in other hand, blamed the Chinese and the Malays for the deplorable condition of the Indians in Malaysia!    

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...