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Profiles

55

T.A.J. PILLAI

FIRST SECRETARY OF SANGAM 

Sangam elected to the office on 26th May, 1926

Far away in the Fiji Islands physically but ever tuned to Sri Bhagavan and the Ashram inwardly Sri T. A. Jambulingam Pillai, a devotee of fifty years standing in a class by himself. During his long association he has never failed to do his mite for the Ashram. The Ashram therefore greatly values its contact with this lovable and simple devotee who has done much for the religious movement in general and the Ashram cause in particular in the country of his adoption.An Indian by birth he migrated to the Fiji Isles in 1913. He worked as an Accountant there for sometime before being recruited to the Fiji Civil Service. Sri Pillai married one Pappammal and was blessed with children. He then came into contact with a Yogi, Sadhu Kuppuswamy, whom he immediately adopted as his guru.

Sadhu Kuppuswamy was steadfast and rigorous in his practice of yoga and highly devoted to Sri Bhagavan Ramana. He had also seen Him in his vision. At the request of Sri Pillai his guru actually stayed with him for some years.Sri Pillai was highly religious from his early years and particularly devoted to Lord Nataraja (Siva). In his spiritual effort he was helped by his master. In 1923 his wife passed away and in that hour of grief the master advised and insisted that Sri Pillai should go to Sri Bhagavan for peace. In obedience to this command Sri Pillai made the trip to India. Even the very first darshan of Sri Bhagavan thrilled him and made an indelible impression upon him.

It was Karthikai Deepam Day and seeing the radiant face of Sri Bhagavan he was filled with extraordinary bliss and peace! Sri Pillai during his trip to India married again and returned to Fiji.

Dhanalakshmi, his second wife, was also highly devoted to Sri Bhagavan and helped in bringing out His life account in Hindi.Sri Pillai’s second trip to India, strongly advised by his master, did not come off before 1934 and this was even more memorable for he now
had the chance to get close to Sri Bhagavan and have his doubts cleared. The words uttered by Sri Bhagavan when he took leave of Him at the conclusion of his stay had a great impact on him. Sri Bhagavan said that He was not confined to the body, it didn't matter whether he Pillai) lived in Fiji or elsewhere, or even on another planet; He would be with him always therefore he could live anywhere in peace.

Consistent with his usual record of service to the Ashram, Sri Pillai took an active interest in the shashtiabdapurti celebrations of our President. He volunteered to distribute 'the relevant literature to devotees in Fiji and contributed his mite towards the success of the function.

 
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MR. M.N.NAIDU
 
THE FIRST GENERAL MANAGER OF THEN INDIA SANMARGA IKYA SANGAM


Late Mr M Narainswamy Naidu popularly known as MN Naidu throughout Fiji and a well known prominent founder member of Sangam was one of the first two Vice-Presidents of Then India
Sanmarga Ikya Sangam of Fiji elected at the first general meeting of Sangam held at Nadi on 261h May, 1926.

His philanthropy and liberal donations to Sangam and many other organisations earned him the title of "DHANAVEER" amongst South Indians of Fiji. In formative years of Sangam he worked closely with Sadhu Kuppusamy and other prominent South Indians of the day to build Sangam into one of the most strong and powerful socio-educational organisation of Fiji.

The late Honourable A.D. Patel a close friend of Mr. Naidu, was also brought into Sangam.Mr. Naidu who was born in Tenkasi in the Triuneleveli district of South India first came to Fiji in 1907 and was stationed in Labasa. Being one of the few amongst South Indians who could read and write in Tamil, he soon became the acknowledged leader of the South Indian Community in Labasa helping the indentured immigrants to establish contacts and correspond with their relatives in India. To provide entertainment and help preserve their culture and traditions, he wrote and directed plays for the benefit of his community. By 1914, Mr. Naidu had moved to Lautoka to establish his own business which rapidly grew into chain of stores extending from Nadi to Ba.

In early twenties, he had established his Naidu School at Namoli, Lautoka providing free education to a large number of youngsters, many of whom came from accommodated his own house at Lautoka. Amongst the members of the school staff were late Pt. Vishnu Deo (Later Honourable), Pt Hublal Sharm, Velaidan Pillay and K.P. Joseph. When the Lovu Sangam School was built Mr. Naidu transferred all his school furniture and fittings to Lovu.

He was elected the first manger of Lovu Sangam School.In 1926 Mr. Naidu established a free library at Nadi which along with the building and land was later donated to the Then India Sanmarga Ikya Sangam in memory of Late Mrs. Sitammal, one of his many adopted children. Today this property houses Nadi Ashram of Rama Krishna Mission of Fiji.

With the close contact that Mr. Naidu maintained with the Rama Krishna Mission in India, he was instrumental in inviting Swamy Avinashananda to visit Fiji to consolidate the Sangam. This was followed by arrrival of Swamy Rudrananda and late Mr. N. Ramakrishna B.A.L.T. who took over the management of Sangam and Sangam schools.

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                          HONOURABLE A.D. PATEL

Born on the 13th of March 1905 in a rich family of Gujarat State (India), Mr Ambalal Dhyabhai Patel, completed his BA. and in 1925 proceeded to England for his Bar-at-Law course. While in England he happened to come under the influence of Mr Polak, a close associate of Mahatma Gandhi in South Africa Having been influenced earlier by Swami Vivekananda's message and by Gandhiji's work in South Africa and in India, Mr AD. Patel came to Fiji in 1928 as a young Barrister. His brilliance as a Lawyer drew the attention of the public first; then his eloquence and his great ability to debate with the interest of the people caught the imagination of the people here

It was Rev. Swami Avinashananda who influenced Mr. A.D. Patel to joinSangam workers, though (obviously) he was not a South Indian he fully identified himself with the progressive activities of the Sangam and of the country and tried to render help to the best of his abilities.

Since the Sangam's constitution was (and IS) such that it had no narrow boundaries, Mr A.D. Patel could involve himself fully in the activities of the Sangam. He led the Sangam leaders in a deputation to the Governor more than once, and to the Director of Education several times. The main object was to make the government recognise and allow the various languages to be taught in the Sangam Schools.

Whenever the Sangam organization was in financial difficulties especially in the beginning stages Mr A.D. Patel came forward with generous donations and took up the responsibilities in partnership along with generous members of the Sangam.But for his help the Sangam would not have succeeded in persuading the government to support the cause of the organization.

It may be even news for some of the young people that Mr A.D. Patel was the first General Manager of the Sangam Schools looking after the educational activities. He continued to be so, for several years. And, later he continued to be the Legal Advisor to the Sangam; and in this capacity he continued till 2nd October, 1969, when he suddenly passed away. On his demise the whole country, the government and the people, paid their last homage in one of the largest funeral procession ever seen here. Tributes were paid in well-deserved glowing terms.

His services to the people of Fiji for 41 years shall form an indelible mark in our country's history. He was not a born chief. Whatever influence he has been able to exert in moulding this country, is due, primarily to his respect for every man, to the sincerity of his purpose, and his perception of the rights of individuals, societies and the country. He was successful because of his persistent desire and efforts throughout the years to improve the lot of the underprivileged, the weak and the down-trodden. If any person is responsible for the people of Fiji becoming conscious of their rights and self respect as citizens in democratic society, and if they enjoy this right today in any measure, it is to a large measure due to the efforts of Mr A.D. Patel.


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