B. Kolappan

On March 2, 1967, immediately after meeting the then Governor Ujjal Singh, the Chief Minister-designate C.N.Annadurai, his lieutenants V.R. Nedunchezhian, M. Karunanidhi and Anbil P. Dharmalingam proceeded towards an undisclosed destination.

Around 8 p.m., their car entered the premises of Periyar Maligai in Tiruchi where Dravidar Kazhagam founder E.V.Ramasamy was residing at that time. After a gap of 18 years, Anna and others were meeting Periyar to seek his blessings.

Later describing his feeling, Periyar would say. “I blushed like a bride.”

“The meeting was brief and lasted hardly 15 minutes,” recalls Tiruchi Selvendran, who was a witness to the meeting and the then president of the Tiruchi town Dravidar Kazhagam.

After the formation of the DMK in 1949, Anna and other DMK leaders were not on talking terms with Periyar. The only DMK leader who maintained a cordial relationship with Periyar was Anbil Dharmalingam, the then Tiruchi district secretary.

“With the DMK flag in his car, he would visit Periyar. It was he who arranged the meeting. Anna and others visited Tiruchi in his car,” says Selvendran.

Mr. Selvendran, who joined the DMK in the 1980s, said neither Periyar’s wife Maniyammai nor K.Veeramani nor others were aware of the meeting.

“Periyar deliberately kept it as a secret. The moment they reached Tiruchi, Mr Dharmalingam once again telephoned Periyar and confirmed the meeting,” says Selvendran, who is now the publications secretary of the DMK.

When the three met Periyar and sought his blessings, he said, “I don’t hold any grudge against you.”

Chief Minister M.Karunanidhi also has recalled the meeting in his autobiography ‘Nenjukku Neethi.’ “Tears welled up in my eyes. My voice choked. I was speechless,” he wrote.

After that there was no discussion on politics.

Mr Selvendran recalled that after the DMK leaders left, Periyar called him and others and told them that he was humbled by their gesture.

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