Recognising T. Sabaratnam, Journalist

Chelvatamby Maniccavasagar,  in Daily News, 17 April 2012 [whose history of the Tamil struggle was serialized in Tamilsangam com and which i hope will see print sometime soon. Web Editor]

The first death anniversary of former Daily News Senior Deputy Editor T Sabaratnam was observed recently. Sabaratnam, on completion of his secondary education proceeded to Christian College, Madras to obtain his Degree. He joined the Thinakaran editorial as a trainee journalist in 1957 and contributed several feature articles to the paper. When late R Sivagurunathan was chief editor and P Balasingham was news editor, Sabaratnam functioned as a sub editor.

After working as a senior sub editor he joined the Daily News editorial in 1978 and retired from the Associated Newspapers of Ceylon Limited (ANCL) in 1997, as senior deputy editor. As a writer, Sabaratnam did not use brilliant phrases but wrote in good English, clear, direct and precise. Above all, it was eminently readable. His knowledge of men and matters was amazing and made him one of the foremost writers of the day.

As a newspaper man Sabaratnam acted responsibly and taught trainee journalists to use the pen responsibly, always for a cause that benefited the nation. He was a man of few words, but the little he said carried a wealth of meaning and an experience never to be forgotten.

As a journalist he discharged his responsibility with unsurpassed distinction and honour. He was a remarkable translator and had translated several books and journals pertaining to politics, science, art and culture.

He has written books about the late S J V Chelvanayagam, late S Thondaman and late A Amirthalingam.

Sabaratnam was a lecturer in Journalism at the Colombo University, Open University and Sri Lanka College of Journalism, and rendered immense service to the young students who desired to take up journalism as a career. He edited the book ‘Guide to Media Studies.’ The Sri Lanka Press Institute (Editors’ Guild) felicitated him for his tremendous contribution to journalism. He was a veteran writer on scientific topics too. Sabaratnam was an inspiration to young journalists, not only in the Thinakaran but also in the Daily News editorial. He was a robust optimist who saw more good in the world than evil. He denounced falsehood and hypocrisy and was a humanist with deep faith in humanism. He never harboured a grudge against anyone. His sincerity and steadfastness to friends, relations and neighbours is an example where changing loyalties and shifting attitudes are the order of the day.

Sabaratnam viewed life as a preordained opportunity to attain perfection through a blend of humane and divine love. He had an unshakable faith in God, charitable understanding, affection, kindness and piety which notched a permanent niche for him in the family circle.

He was fearless in manner, independent in spirit and his personality beamed forth with radiant energy that captivated the hearts of all those who came in contact with him. The vibrant thoughts that flowed through his pen had a magical charm on the readers. He was indeed one of the finest journalists that Sri Lanka produced in recent times.

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Filed under cultural transmission, historical interpretation, life stories, LTTE, politIcal discourse, prabhakaran, Sinhala-Tamil Relations, sri lankan society

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