Legendary orator ‘Nellai’ Kannan dies aged 77

Tamil scholar and orator Nallai Kannan (left). File

Tamil scholar and orator Nallai Kannan (left). File | Photo Credit: A. SHAIKMOHIDEEN

Legendary orator N.S.S. Kannan, popularly known as ‘Nellai’ Kannan passed away at his residence in Tirunelveli Town on Thursday. He was 77.

While his elder son Suresh Kannan alias Suka is a film director, his younger son Arumugam Kannan is working with a television channel.

A multifaceted personality, ‘Nellai’ Kannan was a great orator with the attractive ‘Tirunelveli slang’ on a range of subjects including Tamil literature and politics. His affiliation was to the Indian National Congress that fielded him against former Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi in Chepauk Assembly constituency in 1996.

As a strong anti-incumbency wave against the Jayalalithaa-led government swept across the State in that election, it affected the Congress, the AIADMK’s alliance partner in that election. ‘Nellai’ Kannan suffered defeat in this election as a result of this, but also because of the tough opponent he took on.

Critic of Karunanidhi

Since he was a caustic critic of Mr. Karunanidhi, Mr. Kannan was invited by late Chief Minister and then AIADMK supremo Jayalalithaa to campaign for her party candidates in the 2006 Assembly polls where the party was trounced by the DMK. However, as things changed after M. K. Stalin became the Chief Minister, Mr. Kannan even shared the dais with Karunanidhi’s son.

His two volumes of Kurukkuththurai Ragasiyangal, a literary work narrating the stories of the people of Tirunelveli in the ‘Tirunelveli slang’ is very popular in the literary world. His poems Vadivudai Kanthimathiye, Kaathal seyyathavargal kalleriyungal, Pazham paadal puthukkavithai and Thikkanaiththum sadai veesi would be often quoted in literary meetings. Interestingly, ‘Nellai Kannan’, who failed in PUC, learnt Tamil from his father N. S. Subbiah Pillai and his voracious reading elevated him to greater heights

His hospitality was legendary among his friends. Mr. Kannan would often use the opportunity of hosting friends to consume sweets that were otherwise banned for him because he was a diabetic.

His love for late Chief Minister K. Kamaraj was equally legendary as he would often turn emotional while speaking about him.

During a demonstration and public meeting against Citizenship Amendment Act in 2020 at Melapalayam in Tirunelveli, the remarks made by ‘Nellai’ Kannan against Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah landed him in trouble. After being arrested by the Melapalayam police, he was lodged in the Salem Central Prison. However, he used to share his experiences in prison also with the audience after being released from jail.

Our code of editorial values

Related Topics
  1. Comments will be moderated by The Hindu editorial team.
  2. Comments that are abusive, personal, incendiary or irrelevant cannot be published.
  3. Please write complete sentences. Do not type comments in all capital letters, or in all lower case letters, or using abbreviated text. (example: u cannot substitute for you, d is not 'the', n is not 'and').
  4. We may remove hyperlinks within comments.
  5. Please use a genuine email ID and provide your name, to avoid rejection.

Printable version | Aug 18, 2022 5:03:44 pm |