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‘Sithanai Sitpy’ Sinnadurai is no more, his legacy lives on - An appreciation

Sinnadurai

Men may come and men may go but the service they render to the society with dedication always lives on.

This is really true in regard to the life of ‘Sithanai Sitpy’ S.T.Sinnadurai for he is remembered even now after four decades of his demise.

He is one who has left an imprint in the fields of printing industry, business, politics, religious and social life and what is more in building amity among all religious and ethnic groups in a pluralistic society. It is for this noble commitment, far sighted vision of his that I salute him, I pen a few lines in praise of him.

Being attracted by Ghanthian philosophy, he had always been clad in Kadar clothes. He had been such an enthusiastic follower of Mahathma Ghanthy that he wore Kadar clothes as the wedding costumes of his and his wife’s at his wedding ceremony.

He reminds me of Ghanthy Master who lived and died in our midst in Trincomalee clad in kadar and serving the ordinary people in their hours of distress.

Sithanai Sitpy had been one of the founder members of the All Ceylon Hindu Congress which has been a powerful voice of the Hindus of Sri Lanka, which has been making great contributions to the Hindus in times of calamities.

Referring to Sithanai Sitpy’s services to the ACHC, former President of the ACHC Attorney at Law Kandiah Neelakandan said:

“ The late Mr. Sinnadurai was one of the founders of All Ceylon Hindu Congress (ACHC) established in 1955. He had been a member of the Council of ACHC since its inception till his demise and he was also one of the Vice Presidents of ACHC for several years. He was very keen that the ACHC Headquarters should be built early on the land given at Colombo on lease by the Government. It was one of his sons Mr. Sinnadurai Dhanabalaa chaired the Building Committee of ACHC from 1990 when the constructions of ACHC Headquarters was activated and till it was completed in 1996.”

Sinnadurai had been the Founder and Chairman of Leela Group of Companies including the Leela Press and contributed to the development of the publication industry. He also played a key role in developing Colombo Hindu College for the well being of Tamil students in the city of Colombo.

He also played a key role in the activities of the Temperance Movement, Pitakotuwa Boddhiraja Samithiya, Veerasamajaya, Sacharitha, Viyaparaya and number of such other societies. He served as the first Treasurer of the Bodhiraja Samithiya Pettah.

Referring to his services to Buddhism and Sinhala culture, Vice Chairman Sri Sucharitha Viyaparaya B.V.Sugathapala said:

“In order to give a helping hand to Sinhala writers, he helped them to publish their publication work. Popular poets and authors of that period including P.B Alwise Perera, John Rajadasa, Kapila, Seniviratne, Meemana Prematilaka, Sagara, Palansooriya, Hikkaduwe, Amarasena, Wilson Hogada and Makadure Gunawardana regularly visited Leela stores to get their work published. The Panchanga Pictorial calendar, that Mr. Sinnadurai introduced in 1950, marks an important Land mark in our culture.”

I find that his spirit of service has been instilled in his son Dr. Somasegaram contributing to development of Hinduism in UK, his son ST Arulananantham, who has been serving Hindu pilgrims to Kathirkamam for several decades as the President of Kathirkamam Thondar Sabai and his son Deshabandu who has been a great devotee of Bagawan Sai Baba.

I have noticed that Sithnai Sitpy’s concepts of love and service being imbibed in an ample measure in his another son Dhanabalaa. I have had the good fortune to be closely associated with Vidai Kodi Chelvar Dhanabaala since nineties and has been impressed with his dedicated service to Saivaism and especially his earnest efforts to promote the Nanthi flag which symbolizes not merely the Hindus but beyond that all the lofty human values and virtues that Nandhi stands for and Nandhi flag personifies the spirit of tolerance, sacrifice and service.

Sithanai Sitpy’s soul will rest in peace at the lotus feet of Lord Siva seeing his sons following his footsteps of service to humanity.

- By V.Varathasuntharam

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