Veteran Journalist Kanamayilnathan

A jewel of a human being By Latheef Farook

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Jaffna based veteran journalist Kanamayilnathan, better known as Kanam, passed away on Monday 22 November 2021.

I first came to know him when we were working together at the now defunct Independent newspapers during the second half of 1960s. It didn’t take long for us to understand each other. 

In him I found an honest and sincere friend. He lived at Wellawatta and I lived at Colpetty and we always travelled together after works .There were rainy days when we shared lunch together.

This continued until I joined Ceylon Daily News in 1970.Though we worked in two different places our friendship continued with the same warmth and met very often at my place at Colpetty.

In 1979 when I took a group of Sri Lankan journalists to relaunch the Dubai based English language daily Gulf News I made him the first offer to join me. However he was reluctant.

Later he joined Jaffna based leading Tamil daily Uthayan and worked there as editor in chief for more than 35 years during the most difficult circumstance due to the ongoing ethnic war and Jaffna was almost under LTTE control.  

However he was impartial in his coverage .There were many threats to his life and once he was almost killed when a vehicle knocked him when he was on his way home after works. He escaped but badly injured.

He was given numerous international awards for working in dangerous environment.

Uthayan office was bombed several times and once after seeing the report in the BBC I tried   to take him to Dubai, but failed. Almost 30 years later I got a call from him saying he was in Wellawatta   for medical treatment for his heart problem.

We met and spoke for long hours.  Few years later, once the LTTE war ended and the road was   safe to travel, I travelled to Jaffna to meet him at his Uthayan office.  After 36 years he retired from Uthayan. Three years ago I visited him in Jaffna at his new office. It was sad to see he was ailing and his wife repeatedly called to ensure he returned safe.

I took him in a three wheeler to his house and something in my inner mind old me that this, perhaps, may be my last meeting with him. Last week I was   remembering him frequently and when I thought of calling him came the sad news that he has passed away that morning.

He remains a great source of inspiration to the new generation of journalists though journalism has fast become  PR job in the island.

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Disclaimer: Veteran Journalist Kanamayilnathan

A jewel of a human being By Latheef Farook - Views expressed by writers in this section are their own and do not necessarily reflect point-of-view

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