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