Tamil Nadu

Rare photographs of Jayakanthan

Photographs of Jayakanthan preserved by the last librarian of Russian Cultural Centre on display.

A writer who transcended all literary genres; a fiery orator who spoke his mind; a film-maker who experimented with cinema, and a politician — a photo exhibition at the Russian Cultural Centre here offers glimpses into the life of Jayakanthan.

Seated with him in a photograph are poet and lyricist Kannadasan, music director M.S. Viswanathan, playback singer Sirkazhi Govindarajan and film director C.V. Rajendran. But, even those who moved closely with Jayakanthan for decades were not able to identify the occasion on which it was taken.

“Kannadasan wrote the title song for the film Yarukkaka Azhuthan and M.S. Viswanathan scored the music for Sila Nerangalil Sila Manitharkal and Oru Nadigai Nadagam Paarkiral. Kannadasan and Jayakanthan, who worked together in the Congress, planned to make a movie, Nyayam Ketkirom. However, it did not materialise,” said P.S. Kuppusamy, a friend of Jayakanthan since 1965 and who travelled with him the length and breadth of Tamil Nadu.

The exhibition got its collection from the library run by the Russian Cultural Centre.

When it was closed down in 1991 after the disintegration of Soviet Union, P. Thangappan, the last librarian, preserved the photographs.

“Though many pictures can be dated back to the 1960s, one of the important events was the release of his political memoirs, Oru Ilakkiyavathiyin Arasiyal Anubhavangal. It was attended by Kamaraj. We have used 54 pictures among the many in our possession for the exhibition,” said Mr. Thangappan, general secretary of the Indo-Russian Cultural and Friendship Society.

Even though he became a vociferous Congress supporter, Jayakanthan shared a dais with Communist leader and his mentor K. Baladhandayutham and a young D. Pandian, indicating his political roots.

He never missed an opportunity to take a snipe at the Dravidian movement and even bluntly told Chief Minister M.G. Ramachandran that if he was keen on meeting him he could do so at his residence.

However, he changed with times —from Jayakanthan with an “I-don’t-care attitude and look to a soft spoken man —and became very close to DMK leader M. Karunanidhi.

It was Jayakanthan who first brought Mr. Karunanidhi to the Russian Cultural Centre to inaugurate the office of Indo-Russian Cultural and Friendship Society.

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Printable version | Jul 9, 2020 4:52:35 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/rare-photographs-of-jayakanthan/article7164004.ece

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