Mr P Rajanayagam-- A Journalist with Commitment and Principles.

Dr. S.Navaratnam I came to know Mr Rajanayagam, affectionately called Raja, during the early 1980's, when he attended the meetings of Standing Committee of Tamil Speaking People (SCOT), --an organisation formed in the aftermath of the racial riots unleashed against the Tamils of Sri Lanka in 1983.

During those years, the Sri Lankan Tamil expatriate community in London was relatively small and consisted mainly of professionals, students pursuing professional or post graduate courses and those on work permits. Raja took an active interest in the affairs of SCOT and had also served first as its Secretary for two years and later as its President. Some of the many others who served in SCOT were, Dr K Arumugam,Mr. CJT Thamotheram, Mr NS Kandiah, Mr S Sabapathipillai,Mr C Kathiresan,, Mr A Emmanuel, Dr.R Thayaparan, Dr S Navaratnam (myself), Dr S Sripathmanathan, Mr A Vairavamoorthy, ,Dr K Sivakumar, Dr N Sriharan, Dr T Rajachandran, and Dr Pasupathirajah. SCOT was recognised by several governments including Sri Lanka, India and UK as a representative body articulating the interests of the Tamils from Sri Lanka. Raja took great interest in human rights affairs and served also as Secretary of the ‘SCOT Human Rights Council’-a subcommittee of SCOT. He attended the UN Human Rights Council affiliated committees in Geneva and actively contributed to the various campaigns against human rights violations committed by the Sri Lankan Government. The most valuable contribution Raja made was to serve as the editor of the monthly magazine "Tamil Times". This publication was a brainchild of late Professor Eliezer –the eminent mathematician. Raja was also one of its founding directors along with Mr CJT Thamotheram, Mr NS Kandiah, Dr R Thayaparan, Dr S Navaratnam (myself), and Dr P Ragunathan. Dr S. Arunachalam joined later when Mr CJT Thamotheram resigned. Raja edited the Tamil Times with efficiency, dedication and integrity. The editorials he wrote covered the pressing topics of the day and were lucid and compulsive reading. The articles published came from various sources and were reflective of the various shades of opinion of different political divides. The Tamil Times was subscribed to and widely read by thousands of people from different countries including Sri Lanka, India, USA, UK, Australia, Malaysia, Singapore, Hong Kong and the African countries. The contents of this publication were such that even the High Commissions from some of these countries subscribed to it. The Sri Lankan Government went as far as to publish a free- circulation "Sri Lankan Times’ in competition to the Tamil Times. Raja’s work for Tamil Times was on a voluntary basis and without any monetary reward. It is unfortunate that this publication had to be wound up with the passing away of Mr. NS Kandiah. I have a great regard for Raja, although I had sometimes differed with his assessment in regard to matters when the Tamils were forced to take up arms against discrimination and for their survival as a respected race in Sri Lanka. Raja is a person who would not allow differences of political views to come in the way of cordial relationship between people. That character is also reflected in the fact he got along with people like Mr. CJT Thamotheram who had opposing views and approaches to that of Raja. The motto of the Tamil Times he edited was a quote from Voltaire: “I may disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it”. He follows this motto in his life too. --It is this aspect of his that has always impressed me very much. As Raja reaches his 75 years, I wish to thank him for his great contribution to SCOT, human rights, Tamil Times and the community, and wish him many more years of healthy life.

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