The postcard is a treasure for this retired teacher

S.R. Rama Birmam with the postcard he received from former Prime Minister A.B. Vajpayee as reply to his letter.

S.R. Rama Birmam with the postcard he received from former Prime Minister A.B. Vajpayee as reply to his letter.   | Photo Credit: L_Balachandar

The octogenarian wrote to the ex-PM when anti-Hindi campaign was launched in T.N.

Perturbed by the anti-Hindi campaign launched by the DK and the DMK in the late 1950s, 23-year-old S.R. Rama Birmam of Paramakudi wrote a letter to the then Bharatiya Jana Sangh (BJS) president A.B. Vajpayee, urging him to step in.

Mr. Birmam, who had a penchant for teaching Hindi, wrote to Vajpayee in Hindi in January 1958, urging him to open a BJS unit in Tamil Nadu to counter the Dravidian onslaught. Vajpayee replied to him in Hindi, applauding his concern for Hindi and Hindu religion and the ‘fading postcard’ has become a precious treasure for Mr. Birmam.

The retired teacher, now 83 years old, has preserved the ‘five paise postcard’ – Vajpayee’s reply in his own handwriting – for more than six decades. In fact, Mr Birmam had completely forgotten about the letter. But his friend Ramamurthy, a retired teacher residing in Madurai, called him on the day when Vajpayee died to remind him of it. He found the precious postcard, inserted in a cover, safely kept with his certificates in an almirah.

“No doubt it’s a precious treasure. There are only a few lines, but I always get a feeling as if the late leader is talking to me even when I read the letter now,” he told The Hindu. What was Vajpayee’s response to his suggestion for opening the BJS unit in Tamil Nadu? The later leader expressed his inability, stating that the party was yet to be strengthened in Delhi and it would not be immediately possible for him to come down to the south.

However, Vajpayee told him that he did not have to be scared of the DK and the DMK. He was a student of Government Men Teacher Training School in Paramakudi when he wrote to Vajpayee, and he was pleasantly surprised when the late leader replied to him within a week, Mr. Birmam says.

After completing the training, he joined as Hindi teacher at Ilayankudi Muslim High School and remained focussed on his teaching to win the best teacher award. He did not write again to Vajpayee but had the opportunity to meet him when the late leader visited Madurai to address a ‘hall meeting’ in 1968.

Vajpayee was hilarious throughout the meeting, he recalls. On Saturday, Mr. Birmam walked to Paramakudi Bazaar and paid homage to Vajpayee, when BJP leaders kept his ashes there for public homage.

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Printable version | May 27, 2020 5:45:32 AM |

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