Tamil Nadu

Anna was able to tap into Kamaraj’s success: Tharoor

Union Minister of State for External Affairs Shashi Tharoor releasing the first copy of the book “Anna: The Life and Times of C.N. Annadurai” at a function held in Chennai on Friday. From left are authour R. Kannan, former TN Minister S. Madhavan and “The Hindu” Editor-in-Chief N. Ram. Photo : M. Vedhan.

Union Minister of State for External Affairs Shashi Tharoor releasing the first copy of the book “Anna: The Life and Times of C.N. Annadurai” at a function held in Chennai on Friday. From left are authour R. Kannan, former TN Minister S. Madhavan and “The Hindu” Editor-in-Chief N. Ram. Photo : M. Vedhan.   | Photo Credit: M_VEDHAN

Union Minister of State for External Affairs Shashi Tharoor attributed the victory of the DMK in Tamil Nadu to the former Chief Minister, Annadurai's ability to tap into the revolution of rising expectation created by the success of Congress leader Kamaraj.

Releasing the biography of Annadurai, Anna: The Life and Times of C.N. Annadurai, the Minister recalled how Tamil Nadu was on the path of growth during the time of Kamaraj, because of development projects, education, rural electrification and midday meals.

“In my opinion it was a real success. But paradoxically the success of Kamaraj and the Congress created a revolution of rising expectation among the masses that wanted more and Anna was able to tap into that,” he said.

Mr. Tharoor said Anna overcame the political giant Kamaraj, and the great national movement of the Congress that brought the country independence just 30 years previously. This showed his political genius. “We have to acknowledge that,” he said.

According to Mr. Tharoor, Annadurai chose not secession, but cultural nationalism and his mission was to win Tamil a rightful place in the federal policies and in a peaceful manner within the political democratic system.

The greatest strength of the book, he said, was its even-handedness and its effort to portray Anna, its hero, as a human being with both his strengths and shortcomings.

“Biographies are compelling and interesting than hagiography. But Kannan neither deifies Anna nor makes him out to be a saint. In the end Anna comes off as a great human being,” he said.

N. Ram, Editor-in-Chief, The Hindu, said the book had filled an intriguing gap, though there were many books on Annadurai in Tamil, including one by the former Minister, S. Madhavan, who was part of Anna's Cabinet.

He said it was a puzzle why biographers, and people who knew so much about Annadurai, failed to attempt to commission a biography of Annadurai in English to reach the international and national audience.

The Dravidian movement and its leaders had made a permanent contribution to the permanent transformation of the socio-political landscape of Tamil Nadu. The party ruling at the Centre was never to return to power in the State. “Always the bridesmaid, never the bride,” he said of the Congress, which lost power to Anna's DMK in 1967.

Mr. Ram, who followed Annadurai during his visit to the U.S., recalled how he spoke on behalf of the government of India. “No differences should be brought out here. We should speak as one,” he said recalling Annadurai's words.

Mr. Madhavan recalled an incident when Annadurai told him to find ways to quit the government if it was not able to fulfil the assurances given to the people.

Writer Vaasanthi, Penguin resident editor Kamini Mahadevan and historian S. Muthiah spoke.

Correction

The fourth paragraph of a report “Anna was able to tap into Kamaraj's success: Tharoor” (March 20, 2010) said that Anna overcame the political giant Kamaraj, and the great national movement of the Congress that brought the country independence just 30 years previously. It should have been 20 years.

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Printable version | Apr 9, 2020 9:00:42 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/Anna-was-able-to-tap-into-Kamarajrsquos-success-Tharoor/article16583728.ece

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