DEVAN NAIR-AN INDIAN -MALAYALI -WHO WAS PRESIDENT OF SINGAPORE FROM 1981 TO 1985

Devan Nair a/l Chengara Veetil, also known as C. V. Devan Nair (Malayalam:ദേവന്‍ നായര്‍) (August 5, 1923-December 6, 2005), was the third President of Singapore and was elected by Parliament on October 23, 1981. He served as President until his resignation on March 28, 1985.

File:C V Devan Nair.jpg


3rd President of Singapore
In office
October 23, 1981 - March 27, 1985
Prime MinisterLee Kuan Yew (1959-1990)
Preceded byBenjamin Henry Sheares
Succeeded byWee Kim Wee

Member of Parliament
for Anson
In office
1979-1981
Preceded byP. Govindaswamy
Succeeded byJ.B. Jeyaretnam

BornAugust 5, 1923
Malacca, Straits Settlements
DiedDecember 6, 2005 (aged 82)
Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
NationalitySingaporean
Political partyPeople's Action Party
Spouse(s)Avadai Dhanam
Children4
ProfessionLabour unionist
ReligionHinduism



1. Youth

Nair  was born in Malacca, Malaysia, the son of an Indian immigrant I.V.K. Nair, from Thalassery, Kerala. He and his family migrated to Singapore when he was 10 years old. When he was young, he received his education first at Rangoon Road Primary School and then at Victoria School where he passed his Senior Cambridge examination in 1940.


2. Career

Initially, a member of the Communist Anti-British League, he joined Lee Kuan Yew's People's Action Party in 1954. He was the only PAP member to win in theMalaysian general election, 1964, winning the Bangsar constituency, near KualaLumpur. He stayed in Malaysia after the Separation, forming the Democratic Action Party, but returned to Singapore to lead the labor union movement and founded theNational Trades Union Congress. He entered Parliament in 1979 by winning the Anson seat in a by-election and retained the seat in the 1980 general election, but resigned the seat in 1981 to accept the largely ceremonial office of President. This resulted in a by-election of the Anson seat which was then won by opposition leaderJ.B. Jeyaretnam, the first time in Singapore since 1972 when an opposition party candidate won a Parliament seat.

3. Resignation

On March 28, 1985, Nair resigned in unclear circumstances. Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew stated in Parliament that Nair resigned to get treatment for alcoholism, a charge Nair hotly denied. According to Nair's counterclaim, he resigned under pressure when their political views came into conflict and Lee threatened to seek a motion in parliament to oust him as president. Nair also alleged that he was fed drugs to make him appear disoriented, and rumours were spread about his personal life in an attempt to discredit him. In 1999, an article about the case in the Canadian newspaper Globe and Mail resulted in a libel suit by Lee.  The suit was thrown out of court after Nair's counterclaim. 

4. Death

In 1995, Nair, with his family, migrated to Hamilton, Ontario, Canada. His wife, Avadai Dhanam, died on April 18, 2005. Nair died in the same year at around 2 pm, SST on December 6.


5. Family

Nair is survived by his daughter, three sons, and five grandchildren. His eldest son,Janadas Devan, is a senior editor with the Straits Times. His second son, Janamitra Devan, is a Vice President of the World Bank Group, and his third son, Janaprakash Devan is a private entrepreneur in Canada. His only daughter, Vijaya Kumari Devan continues to reside in Hamilton, Ontario. His granddaughters are: Gitanjali Devan, a psychology graduate from the University of Maryland and now working in Singapore; and Priyanjali Devan and Kiran Devan, now college students in the United States. His grandsons are JanaAvinash Devan, currently attending the University of Washington in Seattle, and JanaShaan Heng-Devan, attending high school in Texas.
Once during his political action during the 1950s, Devan Nair was detained in a Singapore prison by the British government. There, he read the writings of Sri Aurobindo, particularly the Life Divine and became his life-long admirer and disciple. He visited Pondicherry (now, Puducherry),and nearby Auroville a number of times and wrote and spoke on Sri Aurobindo's vision in USA, Canada and other countries.