Fonds 018 - Kurumbasiddy Era Kanagaratnam collection

Identity area

Reference code

UTSC 018


Kurumbasiddy Era Kanagaratnam collection


  • 1864, 1899-2013 (Creation)

Level of description


Extent and medium

438 microfilm reels of textual records (16 mm and 35 mm)
1.26 m of textual records

Context area

Name of creator


Biographical history

Mr R. Kanagaratnam (Kurumbasiddy Era Kanagaratnam) (1 August 1934 -22 June 2016) tirelessly collected Tamil and English newspaper clippings and manuscripts related to political and cultural affairs of Eelam Tamils for almost six decades. Mr Kanagaratnam was respected for his contributions to the modern archival history of Eelam Tamils as well as his continued focus on the historiography of Tamils living across the larger region, from Fiji Islands to South Africa. His unique contribution to the nation of Eelam Tamils was collecting, archiving, microfilming and at the same time ensuring secure storage of the Tamil and English documents outside the island – all achieved through his focused and relentless efforts.

Kanagaratnam held an exhibition at the 4th International Tamil Conference in Jaffna in 1974. He has also exhibited a section of his collections in Canada (1996) and in Norway (1997).

Apart from his archival work, Mr. Kanagratnam also published a number of small pamphlets highlighting the situation of Tamils in Singapore, Malaysia, Burma, Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Trinidad and Tobago, Martinique, Guadeloupe, Fiji Islands, Mauritius, Seychelles, Reunion, Indonesia, and South Africa.

He was painfully watching the unfolding genocidal onslaught targeting Vanni while he was exiled in Tamil Nadu since 2008.

Kanagaratnam had returned to the island 10 months before his death as his health conditions began to deteriorate due to diabetes and blood pressure. Kanagaratnam leaves behind his wife, Pavalarany, who has been assisting him in his work and two daughters who are living outside the island.

Archival history

Immediate source of acquisition or transfer

Content and structure area

Scope and content

The Kurumbasiddy Era Kanagaratnam collection consists of the lifework of Mr. R. Kanagaratnam who collected Tamil and English newspaper clippings and manuscripts related to political and cultural affairs of Eelam Tamils for almost six decades under the institutional name of the International Tamil Archives.

Kanagratnam’s collections document more than a hundred years of Tamil polity, starting from 1889 to December 2013. Although the main part of his collections is newspaper clippings, there are also published and unpublished articles related to social and cultural heritage of the nation of Eelam Tamils. 

Newspaper clippings from Morning Star, The Hindu Organ, Eezhakeasari (1930 to 1957), Veerakeasari, Chuthanthiran (since 1952), The Daily News, Sun, Saturday Review (full volume), Eezha-Naadu, Chari-nikar (full volume), Tribune (full volume), Thisai (full volume), Thina-murasu (from 1st issue to 2002), Dhiniapathi, Sunday Times, Sunday Observer, Thinakkural, Chinthaa-ma’ni, Island, Chudar-o’li and Hotspring are some of the collections in the International Tamil Archives. His collections also include 10,000 published and unpublished articles, manuscripts, and around 10,000 cartoons. 

The collection is divided into two series:

  1. Microfilm reels
  2. History of the Eelam Tamils' Struggle for Freedom : clipping collection

Appraisal, destruction and scheduling


System of arrangement

Original order has been maintained.

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Language of material

  • English
  • Tamil

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Dates of creation revision deletion

Entered by TF, May 2022.




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