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Selvarajah Muraledaran, OAM: Australia Day Honours 2023

Melbourne's Selvarajah Muraledaran is honoured with the OAM for his service to the Tamil community of Victoria

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Selvarajah Muraledaran was a young parent when he first took his three-year-old son to Tamil school in 2000.

It sparked a life of voluntary service within Melbourne’s Tamil community.

His contribution to his community in education as well as in social-cultural and religious-spiritual pursuits, is now officially recognised by the Australian Government with an Order of Australia medal.

Muraledaran started off by becoming involved in the community school run by the Ceylon Tamil Association.

He was on the school committee for ten years, three of these as President. It was during this time that he strove for the recognition of Tamil, although remaining outside the mainstream school syllabus, as a VCE subject option.

“It took a lot of effort,“ Muralee says, “to put together a syllabus of acceptable standard to get VCE recognition. But it now quite successful and is helping students of Tamil background to augment their final Year 12 scores.“

He adds with gratitude, “It was a group effort though. Without the tireless dedication of the Committee members, this would not have been possible.”

Muralee is proud to say that today there are some ten community Tamils schools in Melbourne.

His love for language is typical of his community. Sri Lankan Tamils’ affinity to their mother tongue is legendary. They continue to use it in their everyday life wherever in the world they settle and take great pains to pass it on to their children. This may be due to their desire to retain some link to their ancestral roots, having nearly lost them not once but twice – first during the colonial days when the British took many of them to work on their tea estates in Ceylon and then, in the recent past, due to civil strife when they moved to countries around the world. So their love for the Tamil language is understandable: they consider it a service to their community to promote it in whatever way they can.

For Muralee, this involvement with his community kids has extrapolated to young ones in his homeland. As President of the voluntary organisation e-kalvi (literally, education) for four years, Muralee has seen the establishment of more than 35 education centres in Northern, Eastern and Upcountry areas in Sri Lanka.

Muralee’s community work has extended beyond the education sphere, serving as President for two years of a temple for Lord Murugan – another favourite of Sri Lankan Tamils, run by the Tamil Educational, Cultural and Charitable Association.

Muralee feels fortunate that he is able to help his community both here and in Sri Lanka.

“I believe my Tamil identity adds to my Australian identity. That‘s what multiculturalism is all about.“

Muralee’s day-time job has been in medical and pharmaceutical science ever since he arrived here in 1994. The Jaffna lad obtained an honours degree in Chemistry from the local university, then M.Sc in Analytical Chemistry from the Colombo University and worked as a Forensic Scientist with the government. He won a UN fellowship for his work in drug control programs.

Currently retired, Muralee’s attention is devoted to his charity ‘Ayyamiddun’ which provides free meals and education to poor children in Sri Lanka.  “I am proud of the fact that children over there are properly fed and resourced to focus on their studies – this was not possible in the past.”

That line sums up Selvarajah Muraledaran’s sense of his satisfaction over his achievements for his community.

READ MORE: Brisbane’s Selvamanickam Sinnathamby, OAM: Australia Day Honours 2023

 

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