A late farewell to Ivan Pedropillai
By: Dr Brian Senewiratne MA (Cantab), MBBChir (Cantab), MBBS (Hons) (Lond), MD (Lond), FRCP(Lond), FRACP.
The Australian outback can be very remote. There are no telephones no email no nothing. I do a stint from time to time since few doctors go there.. That is where I was when the rest of the world knew that Ivan Pedropillai was no more. Hence this belated farewell.
I have known Ivan for many years. I now cannot remember when it was that I had a telephone call from him asking me whether I would join the Tamil Writer's Guild (TWG). I thought he was mad. Did he know that I was a Sinhalese? He did. I told him that I would be delighted to do so but that my contribution might be limited.
Some years later I spent 3 days with them. Indra asked me "Other than Medicine what are your interests?" I replied "Medicine, Cooking and Human Rights". She said that she might be able to help with one of them. So we retreated to the kitchen where I sat on a stool carefully taking down what the master cook told me. An hour later Ivan appeared. "Where have you been? I thought you had left the house". Dragging me away from my cookery lesson he took me to his office and told me "Tell me about the future of the Tamil struggle. You can take your time you have three days". I said I needed only three minutes.. "The future is Tamil Eelam, a Separate Tamil State. Amen".
His response was "That is why we decided to ask you to join us. You must be the only expatriate Sinhalese to think so". He was not quite right there was one other Adrian Wijemanne who was an even greater Eelamist.
One serious failing is that I do not keep notes, except in Medicine. I have written scores of articles on the Tamil struggle but many are lost.
I have just looked at the Tamil Writer's Guild web site and found some amazing articles. Go into Google and type 'Tamilwritersguild.com Dr Brian Senewiratne" and if you are lucky you will find my entire book "Sri Lanka: Rape of Tamil women, men and children by the Sri Lankan Armed Forces" there. I know of no other site that has 72 pages of this book published.
When I sent this to the TWG back in March 2014, I had a telephone call from Ivan "If this is what you write, we have certainly made the right decision in inviting you to join us". That was less than a week after I sent my paper.
I have sent scores of articles for publication to various places. I have not had a response from anyone except the one I had from Ivan. He was a fine man and I will certainly miss him. However, the Tamil Writer's Guild must go on, if only to remember this extraordinary man who has made such an invaluable contribution to the Tamil struggle for peace and justice.
Dr Brian Senewiratne MA (Cantab), MBBChir (Cantab), MBBS (Hons) (Lond), MD (Lond), FRCP(Lond), FRACP
3 June 2020