Born in Ipoh, Malaysia in 1898, Samuel James Veluppillai Chelvanayakam, fondly called by Tamils as Thanthai (Father) Chelva, returned to Sri Lanka at the age of four and eventually became a lawyer, politician and leader of the Tamil community.
"I wish to announce to my people and to the country that I consider the verdict at this election as a mandate that the Tamil Eelam nation should exercise the sovereignty already vested in the Tamil people and become free."
- Statement by S.J.V. Chelvanayagam after winning the by-election for the Kankesanturai Parliamentary seat on 7 February 1975, two years after he had resigned the seat to seek a mandate for Tamil Eelam.
Read more about the man known as the Gandhi of Sri Lanka here and here.