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This article is taken from the Reconciliation Website, which subsumes the old site used by the former Secretariat for Coordinating the Peace Process (SCOPP).


V. N. Navaratnam

On January 29th, it will be twenty years since the death of V Navaratnam, Member of Parliament for Chavakachcheri for many years. Though he was of course much older than me, I think I can claim to have known him well, for he was a particular friend of my father, and associated with him with affection whilst he was Secretary General of Parliament. Their friendship was an epitome of an aspect of this country that has long been overshadowed by less pleasant ones, for they had met at the Brodie Hostel of the University of Ceylon. Mr Navaratnam alluded fondly to those days when he spoke on the vote of condolence on the Hon George Rajapakse, who had also lived in that hostel nearly 70 years ago.


Mr Navaratnam was a member of the Tamil Congress when I first got to know him properly, at a meeting of the Inter-Parliamentary Union in Paris in September 1971. I was on my way to university in England, having left Ceylon as it then was in June, to take my Advanced Levels in Madras, since they could not be taken in Colombo at that period. I had then travelled straight on, to take advantage of the stopovers permitted on ordinary tickets in those days. After exploring Greece and Italy and a couple of other countries, I was exhausted by the time I reached Paris, and Tissa Wijeyeratne, our ambassador at the time, who was supposed to put me up, did not help.

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Rajiva Wijesinha

January 2011
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