Skip to Content

Asian Tribune is published by World Institute For Asian Studies|Powered by WIAS Vol. 12 No. 2732

Para Kumarasamy – an indefatigable fighter for justice and equality

By Upali Cooray

Para Kumarasamy, or ‘Para Master’ as he was known to many militants in Jaffna, who passed away on 16th December 2007 on his 72nd birthday, was a man who dedicated his whole life to fight oppression and exploitation both in his native Sri Lanka and internationally. Para Kumarasamy I vividly recall the enthusiasm with which Para organized a group of activist from Jaffna to visit Union Carbide Workers in Ja-ela and express solidarity with their struggle in 1979. These workers had called a strike against the slave driving tactics of the then Managing Director, Mr. N.Satyendra. Para Kumarasamy I vividly recall the enthusiasm with which Para organized a group of activist from Jaffna to visit Union Carbide Workers in Ja-ela and express solidarity with their struggle in 1979. These workers had called a strike against the slave driving tactics of the then Managing Director, Mr. N.Satyendra.

I first met Para in 1976, in his house situated behind the Nallur Temple in Jaffna. At the time he was an organiser for the Ceylon Mercantile Union and a militant of the Revolutionary Marxist Party. Para was an extremely hospitable man and his house was open all hours to every person seeking a solution to his or her social or economic problem.

Para Master had some endearing qualities. He was always pleasant and amiable with every one he dealt with. He had a permanent smile on his face. He was never arrogant or rude. He was prepared to listen to points of view that differed fundamentally with his own opinions, whilst he tried to persuade you to consider his own arguments. Para never displayed any animosity or rancor. Nevertheless, Para was able to advance extremely powerful arguments in support of his own viewpoint and often succeeded in persuading even the most sceptical of his opponents.

Para was a powerhouse of activity. He was always working on several projects at the same time – organizing workers, arranging meetings, writing articles etc. Even when he was ill he never stopped working for the causes he espoused. He was incorruptible. He lived a very modest and a simple life. Para was never motivated by personal gain, greed or profit. I vividly recall the enthusiasm with which Para organized a group of activist from Jaffna to visit Union Carbide Workers in Ja-ela and express solidarity with their struggle in 1979. These workers had called a strike against the slave driving tactics of the then Managing Director, Mr. N.Satyendra. A few months later Para organized a meeting between Sinhala workers from the south and the militants from the north.

Para was also an active member of the Movement for Racial Equality and Justice (MIRJE). Often Father Paul Caspersz and I visited Para, in order to assess the human rights violations committed following the repressive policies imposed by J.R.Jayawardene. Para rendered an invaluable service to the MIRJE by painstakingly recording all the human rights violations that occurred in Jaffna.

Para Master was always consistent in his defence of democracy, justice and pluralism. He was a life-long opponent of caste oppression. Para was not prepared to condone human rights violations of those who claimed to be champions of the Tamil people. He never wavered from his commitment to the struggle for socialism and internationalism.

Para was also a writer and a founder of the Ilakkiya chanthippu. Afte he was forced to leave Sri Lanka and seek refuge in Germany, Para edited and published a socio-politic and literary magazine “Sinthanai”.

Last month, Para was invited to address a conference in Toronto, Canada by Canadian for Peace. Para, Bob Rae and I were to address this conference. However, due to ill-health Para could not attend this conference. Instead, one of the organizers, Mr. Ratnam Ganesh had to read his speech. The contents of that speech, yet again demonstrated Para’s enduring commitment to justice

The best tribute we can pay Para Master is to dedicate ourselves to the causes of equality and justice that he so passionately espoused.

- Asian Tribune -

Please Note:

Cremation: The funeral of Para Kumarasamy is taking place today - Thursday 27.12.2002 from 12:30 to 14:00, Krematorium Ruhleben, Am Hain 3597 Berlin, Germany

Home address: Murali Sinnathamby & Uma Pararajasingam, Lipschitzallee 32, 12351 Berlin. Germany.

Contact details:

Home: ++49-30-61627808 (Uma)

Handphone: ++49-174-6825583 (Mallika)

Share this


.