SON WHO NAMED HIS MOTHER
to Article Titles
Anna was born to educate the illiterate,
To enlighten also the idle literate
and toiled all day and night
And the toiling millions ‘worshipped’ him
had ever so great an influence
Despite possession of tempting affluence
Anna was born
not with a spoon of silver
Yet with the mightier means, the silver tongue
audience were taken captive
By his power of oration so attractive
all the Spheres to an extreme
Like drams, story, screen and all the arts so supreme
He was the
son of the Tamil Land
And the father of her modern fame all grand
he held so spell-bound,
And the students flocked to him all around
To the teeming
millions he was a brother elder
And their guiding friend, philosopher and leader
take Anna’s body away,
But not his spirit that bolds its sway
Anna was a
worthy ‘son’ of Thanthai Periyar
And actualized his ideals all superior
this land ‘Tamil Nadu’
And made the Legislature unanimously applaud
great a son was our Elder Brother,
Who, in history, ever named his ‘Mother’
ARASU’ Monthly, September 1989. Publication of Govt. of
is itself the biographies of great men”, it is said.
The Life of PERARIGNAR ANNA is an illustration of this saying.
To know the history of today’s Tamil Nadu, one has to know
the biography of Anna. But for Anna, Tamil Nadu would not have
come to be called by her own name.
was born in Tamil Nadu-nay, Tamil Nadu as it is to-day was born
on the 15th September 1909.
It was Anna who roused the slumbering Tamils to realize their
past history and glory and it was Anna who named the Madras State
Tamil Nadu and helped Tamil Nadu to be known to the world by her
own historical name high-lighting the glory and grandeur of Tamil
and Tamil Land.
The term ‘Anna’ in Tamil means elder brother. The
very name ‘Anna inspired millions of people. He was also
known by another term ‘Perarignar’ meaning great genius.
He was an erudite scholar, an astute politician, a wise statesman,
powerful Orator, revolutionary writer, fine novelist, noted playwright,
great social reformer, an ardent rationalist, a staunch socialist,
a great diplomat, a true democrat, an eminent leader and, above
all, an affectionate elder brother (Anna) to the Tamils in and
outside Tamil Nadu.
After taking his M.A.Degree, instead of seeking the usual refuge
in the white-collar profession, Anna entered the political scene
devoting himself to mouldingthe destiny of the masses. He became
a staunch follower of Thanthai Periyar E.V.Ramaswamy, the most
revolutionary social reformer India has ever seen. Anna boldly
took to the hard path of social reform. The Self-Respect Movement
started by Periyar attracted him. He make use of all the media
of Propaganda namely the press, the stage and the screen to propagate
Anna gave a vivid picture of the glorious past and the degraded
later state of Tamil Nadu. In his words:
“Our literature, art and architecture are fine specimens
of human intelligence, but they bear the ravages of time and also
the effect of currents and crores-currents so that today, we have
to listen to the foreign historian or scholar in order to realize
that glory and grandeur of Tamil nadu. Our culture and civilization
are hoary but we have allowed scars and wrinkles to disfigure
them. It is our duty, therefore, to rediscover and reconstruct
what is ourt. Truly great have been our achievements in the field
of literature. To be able to announce to the world that we, Tamilians,
do possess great literature and to represent to the world and
the entire humanity, great Thirukkural is something about which
we can have pardonable pride.”
Portraying the picture of Tamil Nadu in his unique style, Perarignar
Anna make a clarion call to the young graduates in the following
“Graduates, please carry on the crusade against caste which
cannot co-exist with democracy; against superstition which cannot
co-exist with science and against tyranny of various dimensions
which cannot co-exist with liberty, equality and fraternity.
Anna’s call attracted a continuous stream of zealous young
men with a spirit of service. Anna was the only leader which knew
best about the youth and channeled their energy of constructive
Anna was not born with a silver spoon in his mouth; instead, he
was born with a silver tongue’. He was equally proficient
in Tamil and English. With the gift of the gab, Anna attracted-rather
hypnotized, any kind of audience, young and old literature and
illiterate. His speeches were interesting, instructive and inspiring.
As a writer, Anna has been compared with Bernard Shaw, Ibsen and
Galsworthy. The pen is mightier than the sword. Anna’s tongue
was mightier than the pen. As an orator, Anna was verily a combination
of Demosthenes, Ingersoll, Winston Churchill, Edmund Burke and
Macaulay. All his speeches are there in volumes. Euphonic alliterations
and rhymes, apt and arresting similes and revolutionary thought
are the special features of his speeches and writings.
Anna moved his tongue and the whole Tamil Nadu moved behind him.
It obeyed his orders.
Anna is the fore-runner of Renaissance in Tamil Literature and
art. He developed a style of his own. His way of writing and speeches
are emulated by a host of wirters and speakers. His oratory is
Anna translated his ideals into action. He ushered in a new era.
Apart from the social changes, Anna brought about a glorious,
revolution in Tamil Nadu, the least violent and the most beneficent
After ascending the seat of power, Anna encouraged Inter-caste
Marriages through state awards. No other State in India has done
it and it was greatly appreciated by Thanthai Periyar. Anna gave
legal recognition to self-Respect Marriages to the satisfaction
His amiable disposition, his tact, sobriety, statesmanship, brotherly
feelings for all and magnanimity towards his political opponents
endeared him to all. He was an embodiment of all the faculties.
Anna regbuilt Tamil Nadu, and he presented a vivid picture of
the grandeur of Tamil Nadu before the foreign delegates on the
occasion of the Second International Conference Seminar of Tamil
Studies held in Madras in 1968.
It is a matter of pride and pleasure of record that the Yale University
in the U.S.A. HONOURED Anna by conferring on him the Chubb Fellowship.
Anna was given that unique honour. Anna was the first non-American
to have received that honour. This shows his greatness in the
At the time when Anna was born, the Tamils had not realised the
greatness and depth of their history.
When he left, the Tamils had come to realize their history and
feel pround of it. Anna made them feel proud of it.
Anna proposed in the Legislative Assembly the naming of the Tamil
land, which was previously known as Madras State with her own
historical name “Tamil Nadu”, and the whole Assembly
unanimously seconded and echoed his voice. The Credit of Christening
Tamil Nadu goes to Anna and it was his life’s ambition to
name Tamil Nadu. He roused the people of Tamil Nadu to identify
Tamil Nadu and to demand for her naming, and he himself accomplished
Anna discovered Tamil Nadu and named her. He identified his ‘mother’
and ‘christened’ her. He was the only son who in history,
ever named his mother. And the story of Anna’s life is itself
the History of Tamil Nadu.
Souvenir, Conference of Word Federation of Tamils, at Kualalumpur,
Malaysia, December 1990.
BOOK OF RECORDS, 1984. LARGEST FUNERALS
The funeral of C.N.Annadurai, (Died 3rd Feb. 1969) Madras Chief
Minister was, according to some press reporters attended by 15
million. The longest funeral in Britain was probably that of vice
admiral Viscount Nelson on Jan. 1806. Ticket holders were seated
in St. Paul’s Cathedral by 8.30 p.m. many were unable to
leave until 9 p.m.