Master of his fate | Daily News
[Young Voices]

Master of his fate

As a child he had been a devotee of Sai Baba like his mother. He had been to Puttaparthi many times with his parents. “As a spiritual person, I still believe in him although I don’t believe he is a god. However, I take his teachings to consideration. But most of what these spiritual leaders say is common sense. It is not miraculous. If what they say to you makes sense, then there is nothing wrong in practicing it,” Ramanathan pointed out.

Angajan Ramanathan is a man who takes only the good out of what life presents to him. ‘Young Voices from Diyawanna’ features this SLFP Parliamentarian who is deeply religious and is guided by the one above.

Early life

Ramanathan does not come from a political background. No one in his family has been in politics except for him. His primary education was at Jaffna and then attended S. Thomas’ Prep. He later went to CIS and left for Singapore for his A/Ls. He then read his Bachelor’s in Australia in Computer Engineering and completed his MBA in Australia as well.

Life in politics

Even though he did not win the gold in his first attempt, he made some headway and finally got into Parliament.

“I started visiting my areas in Jaffna. The people came to talk to me. My father is Sathasivam Ramanathan and he has always been a social worker. He has a business background since he was quite popular in the business field. People came to ask for help. He still has the link with people in my village,” he said.

“The SLFP Chairman invited me to contest the 2010 Parliamentary elections. That was very new to me.

“The SLFP was new to me. Politics was new. I contested within 25 days and I got a good amount of votes. They made me an organizer there. In 2013, I contested the Northern Provincial Council elections. I won my seat there. If you look at SLFP’s Northern Province history, I was the first person to be the elected from the SLFP,” Ramanathan added.

He said he is happy about his achievements to convince the people of Jaffna that the SLFP is not only for the South and that it is a national party which everyone can partake in. “And we have done that. This is my first tenure in Parliament.”

Religious upbringing

Ramanathan is deeply spiritual. He believes in something bigger than himself. He believes in forces beyond the control of mortals.

“My family is very religious. From childhood, I have been brought up in a religious way. We go to temple every Friday. On Fridays and Tuesdays, we have a vegetarian menu.

“Even now if I am stressed out, I go to the temple and it helps me free my mind. Going to the temple is a normal thing for me. Thirupathi is something that is very close to us,” he said.

He believes in Karma. “Whatever the bad you do, comes back to you. That is one thing that I have learnt. So I have learnt to do the right thing and not to hurt others. I have also learnt to respect other people,” he pointed out.

Hinduism has a pantheon of Gods and Goddesses. Ganapathi is one of his favourites. “If you really need something, you can ask them.

“This is very comforting because you know there is someone above you. There is something beyond your control. If you are stressed or troubled, you give it to them and they will look after you.”

Facing challenges

Ramanathan faces challenges that life hurls at him with a belief that he can adapt to anything.

“I did my Bachelor’s in Computer Engineering. It had no relevance to politics. I never thought I would be a politician. I take my life as it goes. So yes, I do have a target and goal. With any diversion, I will have a new goal and new target.

“I am not deterred by any new development. I need a balance between politics and my business. I believe one should be a politician and a social worker. If my career is only about politics, I cannot fulfill my needs,” he said. He added: “When I go to my constituency and meet people, they request for many things. I take everything as a challenge. Adaptability is important in my life.”

Humility

They say humility is the characteristic of a great man.

“A person I admire is Prof. Abdul Kalam. He became a politician very recently.

He has kept his mark as a genuine and good politician. Before that he was a successful scientist,” Ramanathan said. “I saw a video of his when he went to a meeting. There were chairs on a stage and there was one special chair for him. He called the organisers and asked them to remove the chair and give him a normal chair,” he pointed out.

Taking what is good

In his life journey, Ramanathan has learnt discernment. He has learnt to be astute.

“Spiritually, there is someone called ‘Sadhguru’. He is a philosopher and I like to listen to his philosophies. But one thing I believe clearly is that no human can be a God! I take only the good parts out of a speech,” he said.

As a child he had been a devotee of Sai Baba like his mother. He had been to Puttaparthi many times with his parents. “As a spiritual person, I still believe in him although I don’t believe he is a god.

However, I take his teachings to consideration. But most of what these spiritual leaders say is common sense. It is not miraculous. If what they say to you makes sense, then there is nothing wrong in practicing it,” Ramanathan pointed out.

“Then there is the ‘Ama Bhagavan’ – oneness movement. It is from India as well. Although there are controversies everywhere, I like some of their teachings. They talk about having a relationship with god. Those things appeal to me.”

Immortality

Discovering everlasting youth and eternal life is something Ramanathan feels is a distinct possibility.

“In 10,000 years from now, we would be more intelligent because we are evolving. There is already talk among scientific circles about mankind living outside earth. This is real and not fiction. I think it is definitely possible,” he added.

Ramanathan also talked about longevity and immortality. “Google is funding a project on longevity. There is lot more to look forward to in the coming years. I think immortality is possible. One of my friends is in genetics. So we discussed this subject at length. He strongly believes it would be possible,” he said.

Love life

My marriage was arranged. We married after a year. My wife’s name is Prashanthini. We have a two and half-year-old child.

Goodwill

A selfless desire for everyone to be happy, has been a hallmark of Ramanthan.

“I want everyone to be happy. That is something I have wanted since childhood. I wish them peace and prosperity. If I had the power to change anything in the world, I would stop all wars, discrimination and injustice.”

Astrology

Ramanathan steers his life believing that he has a say in what the heavens deem. “Astrology is something from our culture and something familiar from my childhood.

Before marriage, my horoscope and my wife’s matched. So I believe in astrology. I think it could be a prod in the right direction. I feel I am still the master of my fate. I feel, in the end, my hard work is necessary.”

Dreams and ambitions

His hour came around. It seems that he had been waiting for this chance for quite some time.

“My dream and ambition was to become a Member of Parliament and serve my people. I contested the 2010 Parliamentary election but I did not get through.

I became an organiser. I worked to become a Provincial Councillor and until then I was spending my own money for the people. The Provincial Council had a small budget. So I needed something else to be more helpful. Parliament was my aim,” he added.

Loneliness

Life is all about relationships. He emphasised the need for good relations.

“Loneliness is one of the main reasons for some of the problems young people face. Having a good set of friends with you is important,” the MP pointed out.

Engaging in religious activities also eliminates loneliness. For Ramanathan, going to the temple makes him feel cleansed. “Depression can be a result of failure. It is frustration. If you believe there is someone above you who wants to help you, then it works. Young people need good friends as well as spirituality.”

Leisure

“I enjoy spending time with my family. I like going to the cinema as well as the temple. I like visiting places and basically doing business. It keeps me motivated.”

Message for the youth

He feels that the young generation is an untapped resource in the country. The youths, however, do not realize their potential.

“The youth in Sri Lanka do not know what they are capable of. I feel the youths should be given more challenges and must be motivated.

“They should be pointed in the right direction. We have seen adverse effects when youths take a negative path.

“We should make sure that it does not happen again,” the MP said. He added that all should have equal opportunity to communicate in any language. “There should be no religious or language restrictions,” he said. 


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