S.G.MANAVALA RAMANUJAM, Former V.C., Annamalai University
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It is appropriate that the speeches and writings of the wonder-man of the South who made political history in the brief span of there decades as the author, and builder of a reformist part-political and social-should be made known to a much larger reading public. His political and reformist speech were made mostly in his native tongue of Tamil in which developed a new style of oratory and eloquence – a style pleasing and captivating to the masses – a new style now characteristic of the party and his followers. It is gratifying that these Tamil speeches will rendered into English but it is no easy task to bring out his easy flow and the alliterative character of his speeches.
But he was no less a past-master in the art of speaking in English. His first speech in the Parliament demanding a change in the Constitution to delete Hindi as the national language, was a master-piece of argumentative eloquence. It made Nehru and others on the Treasury Bench sit up and for Nehru to remark to his friends Here is a coming man who would count. His English addresses to University audiences and abroad breathe a clarity to thought and facility of expression of any renowned orator or writer.
Anna could be regarded no less than a Nehru of the South. While Nehru inherited the leadership of a great organization fostered and hallowed for over hundred and fifty years and by the magic name of Mahatma Gandhi, was conscious of his rich and noble birth, in consequence perhaps aggressive, overbearing and dominating. Annadurai was of humble origin, considerate and respectful of the other side view and owns the credit and prestige of starting and steering a new movement which captured in the all brief space of three decades the power of administration of his State, to the amazement of the whole India.
Deep in Tamil lore, he set to himself the ideals envisaged in early Tamil literature. Thiruvalluvar, the saint of 2000 years ago was, as it were, his guide, philosopher and friend.
Annadurai was a man of active ability and moral nobility in public life; a generous, humane and self, denying man. He was a brave, skilful and successful general of a party, a laborious and sagacious administrator, in the all too short a period of his Chief Ministership.
He was a versatile man, playwright, novelist, actor, essayist, editor of journals, leader of a party, who magnetized the masses.
No wonder that the public sorrow called forth by his early death was like that of a great pational calamity. What is national and what is cosmopolitan had in his genious been fused into one.
Had not the cruel hand of death taken him away so soon, Tamil Nadu might have had the pleasure of seeing his soon in the ghadi and Delhi as Prime Minister of this great land of India.
Such a great man was Annadurai, beloved for his learning, wisdom and knowledge that he had been lovingly called arignar Anna-Anna, the wise and learned.
His brilliant and sane utterances are well worth handed down to posterity, for the study of the philosophy of political and social life that he adumbrated.
His utterances have been so varied and voluminous that the editors have proposed to publish them in several volumes I hope the public will extend a hearty welcome and rich support to this costly enterprise.