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 Ganapathipillai Gangaser Ponnambalam 

In office
1944 – 1972

Member of the State Council of Ceylon
for Point Pedro
In office
1934 – 1947

Member of the Sri Lanka Parliament
for Jaffna
In office
1947 – 1960
Succeeded by Alfred Duraiappah, Ind
In office
1965 – 1970
Preceded by Alfred Duraiappah, Ind
Succeeded by C.X. Martyn, FP

Born November 8, 1901(1901-11-08)
Died December 9, 1977 (aged 76)
Political party All Ceylon Tamil Congress
Alma mater St. Joseph's College
King's College London
Fitzwilliam College, Cambridge
Profession Lawyer

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


Personal history

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 (1956) 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.

Political philosophy

Ponnambalam and his colleagues stood for the principle of minority representation of 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)[2]. This was immediately rejected and rebuked by the British Governor General as a "mockery of democracy”.

Political history

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. ^ G. G. Ponnambalam - Founder of ACTC
  2. ^ November 1948, Peace and Conflict Timeline

External links



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