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SELLAPAN RAMANATHAN | Indian Diaspora Club
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Singapore is one of the most developed nations of Asia. It is a sovereign city state and an island country in Southeast Asia. Having a small size doesn’t reduce its importance of strategic location i.e. its unique port position in Strait of Malacca has made it one of the most important port that in a way results in an increasing economy. After achieving freedom from colonial masters, Singapore became a multi ethnic-community whose major ethnic groups consisted of Chinese, Malay and Indians, Indians form the third largest group constituting nearly 9% of population and Tamils forming 7%. Indians migrated to Singapore as traders, seamen and labourers but now form an important part of the Singaporean society. They play a major role in modern Singaporean life encompassing every sphere that includes politics as well.

Sellapan Ramanathan is one, who belonged to the Indian community. He is the president of Singapore. He is holding the post of President for two consecutive terms, making the longest tenure from 1999 to 2011. He was born in a Tamil family on 3rd July 1924. He faced a troubled childhood because of economic hardship of his family. He completed his education from the University of Malaya in 1954 securing a diploma in social sciences. He later joined the civil services in Singapore as medical social worker in 1955. He later worked in various departments primarily concerned with rights of labourers. He came into light for his courage during the Laju incident wherein he offered to become a hostage for ensuring the safe passages for the civilians taken hostage by the red sun terrorists of Japan in January 1974 and was awarded with the meritorious service medal in 1975. From 1983 to 1988, he remained the Chairman of Hindu Endowment Boards and worked for the betterment of Hindu community in Singapore. He also remained the founding member of SINDA {the Singapore Indian development association} from 1990 to 1996 that was mainly concerned with the betterment of Indian community in Singapore and promoting education among youth. He was later elected as the President of Singapore in an uncontested election in 1999 with the support of then Prime Minister Le Kuan Yew and again in 2005. He was also felicitated with the Pravasi Bhartiya Samman in 2011 for his services towards Indian community in Singapore and for maintaining strong and cordial relations with India during his term as the President of the Republic of Singapore.