Articles About ANNA

ANNA ERA – Professor C.D.Rajeswaran                                 Back to Article Titles

Thirty-six years ago just when I joined the staff of Pachaiyappa’s College, I happened to be one of the judges in a competetion. A smartly dressed and in the werstern style too, there appeared an young man who so impressed all the judges that he knocked away the prize. And the next day I found him in my class which I was taking in politics for the B.A. Honours students. That is young Annadurai and I was happy that he had taken Economics Honours. I expected him to get a first class which he missed. But the two years in the College after I joined I found him knowcking away all the prizes in the College. But he was also successful Inter-collegiate debates held in most of the city colleges.

After he passed out, under the advice of my friednd the late Mr.M.Varadarajan who was also my colleague he was recommended and taken as Sub-editor of one of the dailies run by the Rajah Sahib of Bobbili who was then the Chief Minister of the Madras Government. Thus Mr. Annadurai came into politics and got imbibed in the principles of Justice party and also under the influence of the Self Respect Movement of Periar E.V.R. who had taken over the leadership of the Justice party in 1937 after the defeat of the Justice Party in the elections.

Mr. Annadurai proved an able lieutenant of E.V.R. during the Anti-Hindi Movement. A good student and a clear thinker Mr.Annadurai was able to develop his thoughts not only on the social side but also on the political side.

In the forties Mr.Annaduarai seemed to have realized that the Tamils in an All India set up may become second class citizens if the consciousness of the people were not roused to the impending danger and also realized that mere social revolution would not put the Tamils into the place which they deserve.

This is the time when the greatness of ancient Tamil Civilisation and Culture should be made known to the people who were quite ignorant of the greatness played by Tamils in the history of this great sub-continent which had been knit into a single country by the British through their administrative and educational policy.

A new renaissance in Tamil Literature and investigation in Tamil history had made the people of Tamil Nadu to feel that they had a past which was not inferior to topple like the Egyptians, Greeks and Assyrians. We owe all this to the revolution started by Periar E.V.R. and his able assistant C.N.A. who was then known as “Thalapathy”.

But the time Independence came to this country in a way which very few countries had achieved from foreign domination, C.N.A. realised that a movement which only dealt with social ills of the country is not enough and he branched into as D.M.K disagreeing with the apostle of Dravidian Movement, he started the D.M.K. which took a definite political colour and yet waited ten years before he appealed to the electorate in 1957.

From 1957 onwards the leadership of D.M.K. was ably managed, that step by step people began to realize that at least in Madras there is a party which is capable of forming an alternative government to the congress. The astute was in which C.N.A. was leading his followers and the political basis of this party that equality of opportunity alone would usher in true democracy in the country have so convinced the masses that in 1967 the D.M.K. was returned with a fair majority to the Assembly.

The success of C.N.A lies in the fact that starting as a movement ot remove social evils and to make people more rational he had slowly taken the movements to the political arena. Starting with an independent Dravidasthan which originally included the four South Indian States, C.N.A realised that the unity of the Dravidian States as a whole may not be practical politics; so he gave up the demand for Dravidastan while sticking to his opposition to imposing Hindi on the South.

Political opponents attributed that the leaders of the D.M.K. got cold feet and gave up the demand for Dravidasthan. It was not cold feet but true statesmanship and diplomacy that brought about the change in the party plank. He was an intellectual from the beginning, never dogmatic and always willing to think ahead. The seed of greater autonomy for the states was sown by C.N.A. and now we are finding the most states are clamouring for greater autonomy and the establishment of a true Federal State.

Further the greatness of C.N.A. lies in the fact that his party is not torn by internal discord and quarrel among the leaders and also due to the fact that having had no experience of any kind in the past, the ministry as a whole had functioned in a way to get the appreciation of outside world.

The administrative ability shown by all the ministers have to be admired and the way the Chief had guided them and in the way the Chief had knit them into a single-minded unit show the genious that he is.

Born not well-to-do, striving hard throughout his life as a poor journalist, then branching as the Editor of an independent weekly, Dravida Nadu, then entering the field of drama and authorship in writing like Bernardshaw with a political emphasis exposing all the social evils, C.N.A. had proved to the world that his period would mark a definite era, may I say, the Nair Theagaraya Era Followed by E.V.R. Era and now Anna Era. This period may take us the Tamils to a glorious future which may shine as bright as the Pallava and Chola periods had done and establish a second millennium in the History of the Tamils.

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