Sri Lanka has enjoyed 61 years of independence and freedom from British rule, but the sad story of estate Tamils of Indian origin continues.
One person who dedicated his life to fighting for the rights of the hill-country Tamils was the late P. V. Kandiah, former general secretary of the National Union of Workers.
Mr. Kandiah, whose fifth death anniversary fell on October 5, had the qualities of a good trade union leader: he had courage; he was a gifted orator, and he sympathised deeply with the people he represented. He was an outstanding leader.
He never looked for differences between trade unions. He had a good relationship with all union leaders, and they, including the late S. Thondaman, had a great respect for him.
In 1998, when Indian Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee was in Colombo, Mr. Kandiah had an opportunity to meet him, and they discussed the problems the upcountry Tamils face. When he was on the Provincial Council, Mr. Kandiah did much for the education of the hill country Tamils. His dream was to see an educated and prosperous community of hill country Tamils.
Mr. P. V. Kandiah died on October 5, 2005. There was a large gathering, including politicians and union leaders, at his funeral.
In October 2006, the Hatton Urban Council published a biography of P. V. Kandiah to mark his first death anniversary.
K. S. Thukilaashine