Chennai

Getting to know the stalwart of the Dravidian movement

The night before C.N. Annadurai took over as the Chief Minister of the State he was highly stressed and struggled to sleep. “He could only visualise people in slums wandering without food. Scarcity of rice was a major problem then and he wondered how he could change it. Chief Ministers like that did exist then,” R. Kannan, who penned Anna’s biography Anna: the Life and Times, said here on Friday.

As part of the Madras Week Lectures organised by Roja Muthiah Research Library, he spoke on the topic ‘Leader Anna.’

‘A simple man’

Mr. Kannan spoke of how simple and humane Annadurai was. “Here was a man who was able to move from a humble background, study with the help of a backward class scholarship in Pachaiyappa’s College and go on to become the Chief Minister,” he said.

Mr. Kannan compared him with other world leaders such as Abraham Lincoln, Vladimir Lenin and Jawaharlal Nehru; he was a combination of them in many respects.

He was a phenomenal speaker and writer, Mr. Kannan said. When he started his journal Dravida Naadu, it sold 6,000-8,000 copies, at a time when there was no social media or connectivity.

“He shared a great bond with Periyar for nearly 14 years; he felt Periyar’s speech was quite raw and would go back after meetings and reflect on what he had spoken. Later, in his journal, he would sugarcoat [and write] what Periyar said,” he added. He was a man who thought DMK came to power too soon. In fact, he said, it will take another 1,000 years for a Tamil to reach the stature of the former Chief Minister K. Kamaraj.

“Anna was also someone who said no party should be in power for more than 10 years,” he added.


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Printable version | Sep 25, 2021 10:07:07 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/chennai/getting-to-know-the-stalwart-of-the-dravidian-movement/article19520398.ece

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