Leaders united by an ambulance service

Shantha Kumar has ferried bodies of leaders to their homes

August 10, 2018 08:05 am | Updated November 28, 2021 12:28 pm IST - Chennai

 Shantha Kumar, founder Flyinng Squad. Photo: R. Ragu

Shantha Kumar, founder Flyinng Squad. Photo: R. Ragu

Political leaders like M. Karunanidhi, Jayalalithaa, and former Prime Minister P.V. Narasimha Rao may be divided by party affiliations, but their deaths have been united through one person – P.R.M.M. Shantha Kumar. Mr. Kumar, founder of Flying Squad Ambulance Service, was at the wheels transporting all these departed political leaders, from the hospitals to their homes and ultimately laying them to rest .

Mr. Kumar, who started the ambulance and homage services in the city, has been the ambulance driver for several high profile personalities including ‘Sivaji’ Ganesan, ‘Cho’ Ramaswamy, G.K. Moopanar, Manorama and Anjali Devi.


Talking to The Hindu in his home-cum-office at Kilpauk, Mr. Kumar, with much pride, said he had offered the ambulance and homage services to hundreds of famous political leaders and actors in the State. The 58-year-old, having earned a post-graduate degree in History, created the first ‘freezer box’ machine for preserving dead bodies, for which he also has a patent.

Mr. Kumar said that although the freezer box machine was widely used for keeping dead bodies, his innovative machine had not received acceptance until it was used for actor ‘Sivaji’ Ganesan.

Mr. Kumar, showing the two freezer boxes used for AIADMK leader Jayalalithaa and DMK president Karunanidhi, said the machines were so technically advanced that the dead bodies could be kept for more than 10 days.


Mr. Kumar said that he considered himself to be lucky to have provided ambulance and homage services to two of the biggest political leaders in the State, Jayalalithaa and Karunanidhi.

He said: “The family members of Mr. Karunanidhi, by selecting our services, showed that they wanted to provide the best hospitality to their departed leader and not be blinded for having been part of the funeral service to his bete noire Jayalalithaa.”


Mr. Kumar was all praise for the family members of Karunanidhi, particularly Ms. Kanimozhi, in giving a free hand throughout the funeral function. He said unlike the traditional method of lowering the casket using ropes, for the first time in the State, an automated casket lowering device was used for Mr. Karunanidhi.

The Flying Squad Ambulance Service has 26 state-of-the-art well equipped ambulances, each costing not less than ₹35 lakh and has branches in 16 places including Hyderabad.

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