Tuesday, August 29, 2006

A Merdeka salute to martyr S.A. Ganapathy !

In the long and winding course of the people's struggle against British colonialism and Japanese fascism for Merdeka, both peaceful and armed, many hundreds of brave forerunners were martyred on the battlefields and jails. S.A. Ganapathy (left), veteran of the communist underground resistance to Japanese occupation and postwar trade unionist, was one of them.

S.A. Ganapathy, first president of the 300,000-strong Pan Malayan Federation of Trade Unions (PMFTU) was hanged to death by the colonial authorities on 4 May, 1949 after being questionably "convicted" for allegedly "in illegal possession of firearms".

According to Chin Peng, during the anti-colonial war, "some 200 of my followers were hanged, among them a number of women". Chin Peng also estimates that "between four and five thousand" of the anti-colonial fighters "were shot dead". (see Alias Chin Peng: My Side of History, Singapore, Media Masters; p.9)

In the first part of his memoirs Zaman Pergerakan Sehingga 1948 (SIRD, Kuala Lumpur, 2005), Ganapathy's fellow postwar trade unionist Abdullah C.D., who now lives in southern Thailand with Rashid Maidin, Suriani Abdullah (aka Eng Ming Ching @ Ah Ming), Abu Samah @ Sibar and Siti Norkiah @ Minah, recalls the days when they worked together to organise working classes of all races for the Merdeka struggle.

According to Abdullah C.D. who signed the 1989 Haadyai Peace Accords as the Chairman of the Communist Party of Malaya (CPM), Ganapathy travelled together with him to New Delhi in 1947 to attend the Asian Conference on behalf of the PMFTU. Also attending the anti-colonial conference in India was Miau Siau for PMFTU as well as Dr. Burhanuddin Al-Helmy and Salleh Daud representing the progressive Parti Kebangsaan Melayu Malaya (PKMM).

The draft of the Part 2 of Abdullah C.D.' memoirs have already been completed recently. It deals with more focus the outbreak and operations of the anti-colonial war on the ground.

11 Comments:

Blogger Black's said...

Salut untuk S.A Ganapathy, syuhada kemerdekaan negara. Dengan adanya teknologi blogging sekarang ini, lebih banyak cerita-cerita tentang pengorbanan tokoh-tokoh kiri tanah air akan keluar.

Sampai satu ketika, rakyat Malaysia akan bebas seratus peratus dari momok anti Komunisme dan Kiri yang dijuarai oleh penjajah British dan Barisan Nasional.

5:29 PM  
Blogger simpang-kiri said...

A very interesting piece by saudara James Wong. I agree with both James and Black's, salute to S.A Ganapathy, a true patriot in our struggle towards independence and liberation.

We should also not forget the contribution made by two other important leftist indian leaders, comrade P Veerasenan and comrade R G Balan in our struggle towards liberation and independence.

"P.Veerasenan was remembered and will be remembered as a comrade of all
workers. He was an active unionist in the 40s. He became the Secretary
general of the Habour Labour Union. His brave and firm leadership made him
an active unionist at the national Level. Besides being a committee member
of the strong Pan-Malayan Federation of Trade Union (PMFTU), he was also the
President of one section of the Singapore General Labour Union.
"

"Among some of his great achievement along with other worker leaders were:
1) Increased the daily wage from 55 cents to 95 cents
2) Reduced the working days from seven to six
3) Established 8 working hours a day.
4) Employers must provide drinking water, housing and sanitation facilities for workers.
"

"On the 18th. June 1948, British to curb the uprising workers movement as
well as Malay Left nationalist declared emergency. Thousands of labour and
political activists were arrested and labeled communist. A number of them
ran to the jungle to continue their struggle. Veerasenan was one of them. It
was reported that Veerasenan joined the Malayan Races Liberation Army led by
the Malayan Communist party to seek liberation from the colonialist British.
In early 1950, in one of his missions, he was shot dead by the British.
"

"The history of P.Veerasenan and other great fighters like him has been
hidden from the public. The capitalist and the British feared them and had
to put them to death. "Veera" which means 'Brave' in Tamil is a symbol and
the aspiration and the hope for the youths of tomorrow….
"

Further reading on P Veerasenam.

6:55 AM  
Blogger simpang-kiri said...

In a book called 'In Pursuit of Mountain Rats',the author of the book, Anthony Short who was a former British soldier station in Singapore during the early Emergency period knowledged and attributed R G Balan as 'the great strike promoter'.

According to Short,

"By mid-may 100 police were disposed on another estate in Johore where another big strike was in progress, but the most serious development was reckoned to be in lower Perak where R. G. Balan, a skilful communist union organiser, was running government officers ragged.

Eighty-five strikes were recorded in Perak during 1948 and nearly all of them in the first six months of the year and the most serious of these were attributed to Balan, but the strikes and wholesale evicitions of Klapa Bali and Lima Blas estates were reckoned to be Balan's last success when he was arrested on May 30th.
"

- In Pursuit of Mountain Rats*, page91-92. Published by Cultured Lotus 2000.

R G Balan was later detained for ten years without trial under the Emergency Ordinant Act before he was released. Much about the man remains a mystery especially on his later activities after he regained his freedom up to his demise. I would appreciate if anyone or even James can illuminate me more on the late R G Balan.

--------------------------------

* The book was first published in England in 1975 by Frederick Muller Ltd, under the title 'The Communist Insurrection in Malaya 1948-1960.

7:04 AM  
Blogger James Wong Wing-On said...

thank you, cowboy_kampung for sharing your study notes.will incorporate entry-by-entry. sabar-lah sedikit.

7:17 AM  
Blogger James Wong Wing-On said...

black's, cowboy_kampung,

Boleh tolong cari gambar P. Veerasenan tak?.

9:04 AM  
Blogger simpang-kiri said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

1:52 PM  
Blogger simpang-kiri said...

sama-sama Sdr James. Please excuse my typo above. The word 'knowledged' should be read as 'acknowledged'.

Jangan bimbang sdr James, saya memang bersabar dan tekun mengikuti setiap entry-entry saudara. Sebagai seorang peminat dan pengkaji amateur sejarah gerakan kiri negara, saya menilai blog anda sebagai suatu bahan pembacaan yang cukup menarik dan informative. Makin lama membaca blog anda, saya semakin ketagih! :)

In regards to your enquiry of P Veerasenan's photo, probably its best if you try to contact any PSM (Parti Sosialis Malaysia) activist for that matter.

According to their newsletter, they distributed P Veerasenan's photo during P Veerasenan Cup,a football competition in 2000. Hopefully this will help.

2:00 PM  
Blogger Fahmi said...

Klik link di bawah untuk foto Veeraseenan yang aku ambil dari akhbar Jananyakam 16/10/1947

http://farm2.static.flickr.com/1212/975040563_f74d1d2f3e.jpg?v=0

9:15 AM  
Blogger Saminathan said...

www.malayaganapathy.blogspot.com is my humble efforts to do an archive for unionists like Ganapathy and Veerasenan.
Please feel free to comment.

Thank you
Saminathan

1:13 AM  
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