Virakesari a leading Tamil daily newspaper in Sri Lanka, s fully owned by Express Newspapers (Ceylon) Limited. Founded by PPR.Subramanian in the first half of 20th century, Virakesari is now the second leading Tamil newspaper in Sri Lanka. Initially Virakesari wasstrated upon immigrating from India to British Ceylon. PPR. Subramanian saw the conditions of the Indian Labourers and decided that hewould establish a newspaper to promote justice and equality for those people by publishing a newspaper with a distinct voice of its own.
PPR. Subramanian, along with three others started the paper ‘Virakesari’ and the first edition was published on 6 August 1930 under themasthead Virakesari meaning “Victorious Lion”. Subramanian guided the publication for over 20 years, during which the publication focusedon the rights and grievances of the Plantation workers, capturing the attention of the Tamil speaking population. Today, this newspaper is themost widely circulated and read newspaper by the entire Tamil speaking population in Sri Lanka.
In 1948, soon after Ceylon obtained independence from British dominance, the Ceylon Parliament enacted the Ceylon Citizenship Act. Facedwith the choice of obtaining Ceylonese citizenship or continuing with his Indian citizenship, Subramanian chose to return to his homeland,unable to come to terms with losing his nationality. Before his departure, he sold his interests to a small group of Ceylonese Citizens of Indianorigin.
In 1965, during the period of political upheaval in Sri Lanka, the Virakesari newspaper was taken over by a Sinhala political party with theintention of introducing a Sinhalese national newspaper. However, as fate would have it, the company was sued for defamation compelling thenew owners to relinquish control, reverting ownership to the earlier owners.
In 1970, Express Newspapers (Ceylon) Limited was registered as a private company and as publisher of the Virakesari newspaper. It was theintention of the Directors that as a company, expansion programs could provide for a wide range of Tamil language publications for the Tamilspeaking population. Today, Virakesari has evolved into a national newspaper with the motto “Tharamana Valiyil Thelivaana Thagaval”[“Quality news with clarity”]. Express Newspapers (Ceylon) Limited also publishes a wide range of magazines and newspapers catering to thedifferent sectors and markets of the Tamil speaking population. Today, Express Newspapers (Ceylon) Limited., has 16 publications in totalincluding one English tabloid named ‘Financial Digest.’