Tamil Nadu

Honour V.N. Janaki’s memory, family requests govt.

Barring a small advertisement every year on November 30 in newspapers by her family members, there is hardly anything that reminds the people of Tamil Nadu about V.N. Janaki, who was the Chief Minister of the State for 24 days in January 1988, following the death of her husband, M.G. Ramachandran.

Her family has now requested the State government to honour her memory by observing her birth and death anniversaries, similar to how the memories of other former Chief Ministers are commemorated.

“So long as Jayalalithaa and Karunanidhi were around, we could not approach them with our request. We met Chief Minister Edappadi K. Palaniswami twice and requested him to commemorate her,” said advocate Kumar Rajendran, the grandson of P. Narayanan, brother of Janaki.

Known as “Thottathammal” (she lived in the Ramapuram Garden House), Janaki donated her property on Lloyds Road to the AIADMK, and it was converted into the present party headquarters. Born in Vaikom to Rajagopala Iyer, the brother of composer and musician Papanasam Sivan, Janaki did her schooling in Kumbakonam and was trained in Bharatanatyam and other south Indian dance forms. She remained a source of strength to MGR in his film career, and, later, in politics.

She quit politics after her faction of the AIADMK was routed in the 1989 election.

Mr. Rajendran, who penned her biography Janaki MGR: Naadanda Mudhal Nayaki (First woman Chief Minister of T.N.), contends that her contribution to the AIADMK (after MGR) was immeasurable.

“She gave up her claim to the party symbol. She personally met [late Thuglak editor] Cho. Ramasamy and handed over all the documents on her claim without any condition. The ‘two leaves’ once again became a victorious symbol of the AIADMK,” Mr. Rajendran said.

Former Chennai Mayor Saidai Duraisami, a supporter of Janaki, in his foreword to the book, had said the only condition she made for the unification of the two factions was that the leaders in MGR’s cabinet be retained. “She decided to take a plunge in politics when she realised the party was in shambles. Otherwise, she had no political ambition,” Mr. Duraisami had said.

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Printable version | Jan 26, 2021 11:48:31 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/honour-vn-janakis-memory-family-requests-govt/article33208401.ece

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