Royal People

A dedication to those wonderful people who served Royal Primary School & Royal College, in Sri Lanka, since 1835, and, who will be remembered for their committment, sincerety and unselfishness.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Sir Ponnambalam Ramanathan

Sir Ponnambalam Ramanathan was a tamil political leader of Ceylon. He was the founder of Uduvil Ramanathan Girls College and Parameshwara College of Jaffna which was formed as the University of Jaffna later. He was the brother of Sir Ponnambalam Arunachalam.He was born on 15th April 1851, and died on 30th November 1930.

Political Career
P.Ramanathan was enrolled as an Advocate from 1873 to 1886. He was nominated as an unofficial Member of the Legislative Council of Ceylon from 1879 to 1892. He posed himself as a representative of all communities in the Island. He was then appointed by the Governor of Ceylon as Solicitor-General in 1892 and functioned as such until 1906, and acted as Attorney-General on several occasions during this period. Then he was nominated by the Government to represent Ceylon as a delegate to the Golden Jubilee celebrations of Queen Victoria in 1897 at London. He was described by Lord Salisbury as the most accomplished speaker in the British Empire and the Queen awarded him a gold medal on the occasion.

Ramanathan was elected by the people as the first Educated Ceylonese Member of the Legislative Council of Ceylon by a sweeping majority in 1911. It was a historic event, as he was the very first candidate to be elected to the Legislature of the country by an all-Ceylon electorate, prior to the introduction of universal franchise in. 1931 under the Donoughmore constitution. He was re-elected to this seat in the Legislative Council in 1916 and held it until 1921.

Sinhalese Muslim Riots
It is reported that during the widespread and prolonged Sinhalese-Muslim Riots of 1915,the British Governor came down with a heavy hand on the Sinhalese community and declared Martial law and ordered the Police and the Army to arrest and imprison several prominent Sinhalese leaders. Among those imprisoned were D. S. Senanayake, D. R. Wijewardena, Dr. Cassius Pereira, E. T. De Silva, F.R. Dias Bandaranaike, H. Amarasuriya, A.H. Molamure and several others. It is said that some other leaders were shot without trial. Ramanathan thereupon came to the rescue of the Sinhalese community and fought hard and long against the tyranny of the British Government.

Books Written
Ramanathan availed himself of this period of service as a senior Law Officer of the Crown to introspect and produce very illuminating writings on Christian and Hindu spiritual themes.
Some of his writings are:
An Eastern Exposition of the Gospel of Jesus According to St. Mathew (1898)
An Eastern Exposition of the Gospel of Jesus According to St. John (1902)
The Culture of the Soul Among Western Nationals (1907))
The Spirit of the East Contrasted with the Spirit of the West (1905)
On Faith or Love of God (1897)
Tamil translation of Bhagavat Gheetha. (1914)
Shri Ramanatha Dharmasastra lesson.


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