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I was delighted when Nirgunan Tiruchelvam, grandson of the Senator and son of Neelan, gave me a copy of ‘Senator Tiruchelvam’s Legacy: Selected Speeches of and Tributes to Senator Murugeysan Tiruchelvam QC’. Having read it, I explored further and found an illuminating article written when the book was published in 2007 by my old schoolfriend D B S Jeyaraj, whom I knew as the slim young Sabapathy way back in the sixties. I was astonished, nearly two decades later, to find that the enormous Mr Jeyaraj, from whose newspaper columns there was so much to learn, was the same person.

Jeyaraj began his article, which celebrated the centenary in 2007 of Tiruchelvam’s birth, with an account of his first sight of the Senator, in 1970, a couple of years after he had resigned from the position of Minister of Local Government in Dudley Senanayake’s Cabinet. Sabapathy had vanished from S Thomas’, his family having relocated, as the article puts it, to Jaffna in that year. The occasion was an invitation to the Senator from V N Navaratnam, former MP for Chavakachcheri, whom coincidentally I wrote about last month on the 20th anniversary of his death in Canada, to be Chief Guest at the opening of the reconstructed Central Bus Stand at Chavakachcheri.

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Rajiva Wijesinha

March 2011
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