Savumiamoorthy Thondaman

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Savumiamoorthy Thondaman
Savumiamoorthy Thondaman.jpg
Leader of Ceylon Workers' Congress
In office
Member of the Sri Lanka Parliament
for Nuwara Eliya
In office
Member of the Sri Lanka Parliament
for Stateless Persons (Appointed)
In office
Member of the Sri Lanka Parliament
for Nuwara Eliya Maskeliya
In office
21 July 1977 – 20 December 1988
Member of the Sri Lanka Parliament
for National List
In office
1989 – 30 October 1999
Personal details
Born (1913-08-30)August 30, 1913
Muna Pudur, Madras State, India
Died October 30, 1999(1999-10-30) (aged 86)
Sri Jayewardenapura Hospital, Sri Jayewardenapura, Sri Lanka
Nationality Sri Lankan
Political party Ceylon Workers' Congress
Spouse(s) Kothai Thondaman
Relations Arumugam Thondaman
Children Ramanathan Thondaman
Occupation Trade unionist

Savumiamoorthy Thondaman (30 August 1913 – 30 October 1999; also spelled Saumyamurthy Thondaman or Saumiyamoorthy Thondaman) was a Sri Lankan politician who represented the Indian Tamils of Sri Lanka of which he was a member. At the time of his death, he was both the oldest and the seniormost member of the Sri Lankan Cabinet where he had served continuously for 21 years from 1978, under four Sri Lankan Presidents and the leader of the political party Ceylon Workers' Congress.[1] He was succeeded by his grandson Arumugam Thondaman.


Early life[edit]

Thondaman was born in Muna Pudur, Tamil Nadu (then called Madras State) India, the son of Kumaravel Karuppaiah and Sithammai; father Karuppaiah was from Thondaman clan that lived in parts of Ramanathapuram District in India. He lived with his mother and three elder sisters in Munna pudur and he saw his father for the first time when he was seven. His father used to spend long spells of time in Sri Lanka (then called Ceylon) for work. Thondaman's father Karuppaiah was connected to the royal family of Pudukkottai. This branch of the family, however, underwent a decline in fortunes, and it was on the verge of impoverishment when Karuppaiah migrated to Ceylon, as Sri Lanka was called by the British, to become a "Kankani", or supervisor, of tea estate workers. Through hard work and shrewd business acumen he became the owner of a prosperous tea plantation, Wavendon estate, in Ramboda in the Nuwara Eliya district.

Thondaman attended the newly established local Tamil school in Munna Pudur till 1924, when he left for Ceylon to join his father. At that time Thondaman's father Karuppaia who was initially an estate labouer rose to become an estate owner in Nuwara Eliya District where was the first Indian origin Tamil from the indenture labourer stock to own a tea estate in Ceylon. After joining his father Thondaman attended a small estate school for 3 years, later in 1927 he joined St. Andrews College of Gampola. Thondaman was at St. Andrew's for five years, from 1927 to 1932.


  1. ^ D.B.S.Jeyaraj (November 13, 1999). "One Hundred Tamils of the 20th/21st Centuries". Frontline. Retrieved 2006-11-26.[dead link]


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