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In Kerala village, MGR’s childhood home in ruins

Children playing in front of the house of MGR at Vadavannur in Palakkad.

Children playing in front of the house of MGR at Vadavannur in Palakkad.  

While the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) continues to invoke M.G. Ramachandran’s popularity to boost its prospects every elections, the ancestral home of his mother in this village in Kerala, which the idol was emotionally attached to during his lifetime, is languishing in neglect.

The house, where MGR spent his childhood after relocating from his birthplace Kandy in Sri Lanka, now serves as an Anganwadi centre under the Kerala Social Welfare Department.

The small tiled house, which MGR frequently visited even when he was the Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu, still retains an old-world charm.

Located barely 12 km from Palakkad town, it was occupied by relatives of MGR’s mother Sathyabhama until a few years ago, and once they decided to shift to Palakkad, they leased it to the Anganwadi, citing the icon’s affection for children.

“The house is in ruins due to lack of repair. Though AIADMK leaders from Tamil Nadu make the occasional pilgrimage, it is in a neglected state. As it happens to be a private property, the Kerala Government too faces limitations in converting it into an MGR memorial,” said M. Pushpalatha, a part-time teacher at the Anganwadi centre.

Apart from an old image of MGR, pictures of Dravidian leader C.N. Annadurai and AIADMK chief J. Jayalalithaa adorns its walls, as does an AIADMK calendar carrying messages from the Tamil Nadu Minister S.P. Velumani.

“MGR’s father Maruthur Gopala Menon, who hailed from the nearby Nalleppilly village, moved to Vadavannur after he retired as a magistrate in Kandy and stayed for some time in this house. After he died, MGR and his brother M.G. Chakrapani were taken by their mother to Kumbakonam, where the father’s elder brother lived. It was while living in Kumbakonam that both the brothers entered films,” said N. Mayil Swamy, the AIADMK candidate from Chittur constituency.

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Printable version | Aug 14, 2020 9:23:30 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/in-kerala-village-mgrs-childhood-home-in-ruins/article8542451.ece

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