Tribute to Late Sabaratnam Master!
1928 - 2020
Teacher, Author and Hindu Scholar, this great gentleman passed away on May.01.2020 at the age of 91
Mr. Sabaratnam, was a very respected and dedicated teacher of Kayts St. Anthony's for nearly three decades. After many years of dedicated service at St. Antony's college he joined Karampon Shanmuganatha Vidyalayam to serve as Principal. In whatever position he served he always took great interest in his students and treated them with respect.
During the peak of his career he wrote history books for grade six to twelve, which were highly appreciated by teachers as well as students throughout the island. In 2003, University of Jaffna awarded him an honorary M.A Degree for his exceptional service in the field of Education. Following is the text of the introductory speech made by Prof. Gopalakrishnan, Dean of the Faculty of Arts at that occasion. Today University of Jaffna has honoured Mr.Arumugam Sabaratnam by awarding an honorary Master’s degree in appreciation of his great knowledge of Hindu Philosophy and Comparative religion.
Sabaratnam was born in the village of Naranthanai in the island of Kayts on 30.10.1928 and had his early education at Naranthanai Ganesha Vidyalayam, Sanmarkka Pothana School and then at St.Anthony's College, where he completed his secondary education. He then joined Maharagama Teachers Training College and after graduation he continued to serve at St.Anthony's College. After many years of service at his Alma Mater, he gained admission to the University of Peradeniya in 1964 where he successfully completed his BA Degree with Tamil, Sanskrit and History. At the University he developed contact with scholars such as Pundit. C. Kanapathypillai and Prof. P. Kailasapathy and with their guidance, he was able to further broaden his knowledge of Hindu philosophy. Later on, he was able to travel frequently to India where he had the opportunity to associate with great scholars and gain much deeper knowledge in literature and religion.
At the peak of his career, Sabaratnam wrote a number of books that were very helpful for the younger generations. Between 1980 and 1993 he wrote many literary articles and was able to introduce western literature to the students in the country. During 1989-1990, the authorities in Sweden Uppsala University invited him as a visiting researcher and Sabartnam joined the scholars of that University where he did great service by compiling a list of Books about the religions in Jaffna. He also used this great opportunity to deliver several lectures in University of Stockholm and University of Lund in order to enlighten the western scholars the values of Hindu philosophy. He also submitted a research article about Hindu and Christian religions in Jaffna at a conference in Sweden organized by various religious groups.
While he was in charge of the Tamil section of the weekly newspaper "Saturday Review" he translated the Articles of Capri Marcel Later Sabaratnam joined with Jaffna University Prof. S. Suseenthraraja to compile a book titled "Thoughts of P.Kailasapathy". This book released in 1964 is being used for research in MA degree course in Hindu Civilization. Furthermore this book was the source for another book titled " Kailasabathy Smirithy towards Hindu Philosophy" authored by Dr. Pandithamany M. Kandiah. In 2002 an undergraduate following a Tamil Special Degree course at The University of Jaffna presented an article titled "Literary services by A. Sabaratnam "describing in detail his interest in literature ".
Mr Sabaratnam has served in a number of literary and social organizations and performing great service. Since 1980, he served as the President of Karampon literary Circle for many years He also served as the coordinator of Saraswathy Birinthavanam Trust Fund. In addition to his above responsibilities, he is also served as the secretary of P. Kailsapathy Centenary memorial group. Sabaratnam gained fame and respect for his great knowledge on Hindu Philosophy and Comparative Religious study. He was well respected both in this country and abroad for his vast knowledge of a wide variety of subjects.
After retiring from active service a few years ago he was occasionally engaged in various religious activities His wife pre deceased him and he is survived by his son Pragatheeswaran and daughter Maitreyi. He will be sadly missed by the hundreds of past students and members of the academic circles of University of Jaffna.
May his soul rest in peace!