G. G. Ponnambalam

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G.G. Ponnambalam
G G Ponnambalam.jpg
Leader of the All Ceylon Tamil Congress
In office
Member of the State Council of Ceylon
for Point Pedro
In office
1934 – 20 September 1947
Member of the Ceylon Parliament
for Jaffna
In office
20 September 1947 – 1960
Succeeded by Alfred Duraiappah
In office
Preceded by Alfred Duraiappah
Succeeded by C. X. Martyn
Personal details
Born (1901-11-08)November 8, 1901
Died December 9, 1977(1977-12-09) (aged 76)
Political party All Ceylon Tamil Congress
Alma mater St. Joseph's College
King's College London
Fitzwilliam College, Cambridge
Profession Lawyer
Religion Hindu

Ganapathipillai Gangaser Ponnambalam, QC (8 November 1901 – 9 December 1977),[1] known as G.G. Ponnambalam, was a Sri Lankan Tamil politician in Ceylon, during the British colonial and post era independence. He founded the first Sri Lankan Tamil political party, the All Ceylon Tamil Congress. Ponnambalam stood for the principle of minority representation.

Personal history[edit]

G.G. Ponnambalam’s parents were both from the northernmost part of the island, Jaffna District, his father Gangesar was a postmaster from Alvai North, Point Pedro, and his mother was from Navali, Manipay. He received his secondary education at St. Joseph's College, Colombo, and then went to King's College London on a scholarship and graduated with a degree in the Natural Sciences. He went on to Fitzwilliam College, Cambridge, to study the Law Tripos. GG graduated with a BA in Law and was subsequently called to the Bar at Lincoln's Inn, London.

He was an outstanding criminal defence attorney. In the famous Ranjani taxi cab murder case, the first finger print case in Ceylon, he thoroughly demolished the testimony of Scotland Yard's Inspector Godsell on cross-examination.

After his last (1965) term in parliament, he migrated to Malaysia and practiced law there until his death on 9 February 1977.

The Sri Lankan Government honored him by issuing a commemoration postage stamp on 22 May 1986.

He is the father of Gaasinather Gangaser 'Kumar' Ponnambalam, Vijayalakshmi Ponnambalam and grandfather of former TNA parliamentarian Gajendrakumar Ponnambalam.[2]

Political philosophy[edit]

Ponnambalam and his colleagues tried to establish fixed minority representation for the Tamils. They believed that without it, the minority Tamils would become second class citizens. For the opposing viewpoint see Solomon Bandaranaike. Ponnambalam asked for a 50-50 representation in parliament (50% for the Sinhalese, 50% for all other ethnic groups).[3] This proposal was immediately rejected and rebuked by the British Governor General Lord Soulbury as a "mockery of democracy".[4]

Political history[edit]

G.G. Ponnambalam entered the State Council of Ceylon in 1934 from Point Pedro.

In 1948 Ponnambalam joined the cabinet of D.S. Senanayake of the UNP, a move seen by some as an abandonment of his principles.


  1. ^ Vinayagamoorthy, Apparthuray (2003). "103rd Birth Anniversary today : G. G. Ponnambalam - Founder of ACTC". Daily News (Sri Lanka). Archived from the original on 29 June 2011. 
  2. ^ Mehta, Raj K. (2010). Lost Victory: The Rise & Fall of LTTE Supremo, V. Prabhakaran. New Dehli: Pentagon Security International. pp. 36–37. ISBN 9788182744431. 
  3. ^ "November 1948: Issues: Constitution/constitutional amendments, Muslim issues, Power sharing, Tamil nationalism, Tamil politicians". Peace and Conflict Timeline. 24 March 2008. Archived from the original on 22 April 2008.  See also "November 1948". Peace and Conflict Timeline. Archived from the original on 29 May 2012. 
  4. ^ Johnpulle, Thomas (7 May 2009). "Tamil struggle to continue, Sinhala struggle to commence!". Sri Lanka Guardian. Archived from the original on 21 December 2009.