– a gentleman CM
-T.R.RAMANUJAM,Dy. Commissioner of Police(Retd)
to Article Titles
Ana’ as he is still known and revered throughout Tamilnadu,
late C.N.Annadurai formed the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam(DMK)
and nursed it ‘adnculabis’ to become a viable alternate
political power, capable of taking over the governance of the
State. In this he had the unstinted support and assistance of
a select band of young articulates.
The DMK while still a nascent party jumped into the electoral
fray in in 1957; and it dealt a ‘coup degrace’ in
1967 to the then ruling Congress romping home with a convincing
margin. As its acknowledged leader, Anna assumed the mantle
of Chef Ministership. I was then an Inspector in CID(Spl. Branch)
after my brief Minister M.Bhaktavatsalam. To my pleasant surprise
I was chosen to be the Personal Security Officer of Anna. I
had the opportunity of seeing him functioning as Chief Minister
from close quarters.
The first step Anna took on assuming the high office was to
endear himself to the army of bureaucrats who were to work with
him and soon won their hearts to his annate affability, co-operation
and genial understanding. The officials, in turn, found on him
a Chief Minister who was willing to out his ‘oars’
to the sail along with them, and that there were no ‘flies’
on him. In the meantime Anna evolved in manner and form a distinct
way of his own in his treatment towards officials so as not
to offend them in the least even when they went wrong. He took
especial care not to leave an impression of ‘bossism’
on them. An example of this could be seen in the amiable manner
with which he dealt with a ticklish situation concerning his
Police Chief of the City.
Almost incensed with unjustified criticisms in the party circles
over his ‘hesitancy’ in opening fire when a tense
situation arose, the City Police Chief sent in his pay cheque
to the CM with a request to be relieved of his post. In his
own characteristic poise Anna counseled: “While I retain
the cheque not for encashing but as a momento I would advise
you not to take a hasty decision in a disturbed state of mind”.
And it must be said to the credit of both that they got on excellently
Anna’s personal life was characterized by total honesty
and high sense of probity. He was particular that in all his
personal dealings there was no room, even remotely for any sort
of reproach. This approach was extended even to Government furniture.
He wanted them all to be kept downstairs so that when he relinquished
his office they could be easily removed and taken back to Government
While he was away in U.S.A. at the invitations of Yale University
in April 1968, an ex M.P. who was a little close to him made
some alterations and additions to his apartment in the terrace
of his house costing around Rs.18,000. On his return Anna was
heard saying that he did not know where the ex-MP got the money
from and on his next trip to Delhi he drew the money from the
Bank he had saved as MP and closed the accounts. He gave the
amount to the ex-MP asking him to pay it off to whomsoever it
may due. When admission for Medical Colleges came up, a number
of slips containing names of candidates were received by him
for recommendations. But Anna quietly kept them back without
a whisper to anyone. He never interfered with the administration.
He was a firm believer in the principle that interference in
administrative matters and transfer of officials at the whim
of politicians cannot but be detrimental to efficient governance.
He always kept himself abreast of the developments in the State
and elsewhere and had his own sources of information. He valued
the police intelligence reports(DSR) which he would run through
while sipping morning coffee.
To a friend who sent him a raffle ticket along with a greeting
card wishing him good luck and fortune, he replied “bel
espirit” I had not known before that a raffle ticket can
be put to such a laudable purpose. While keeping back the greeting
caed I am returning the raffle ticket for I cannot accept it.
I am now the CM”. At the time of his death I had occasion
to come across his bank account. The balance at his credit was
whopping sum of Rs.2000.
I should be said to the credit of Anna that he scrupulously
avoided any sort of witch hunting during his brief tenure of
office. He retained the entire personal staff of his predecessor.
Even where the Assistance Commissioner (Intelligence) seemed
to have said that he was looking for Anna to arrest him during
anti-Hindi agitation (1965). Anna had the large-heartedness
to retain him in the same post when he became the Chef Minister.
In my case too F.V. Arul the the IG, asked Anna if he would
prefer to have me as his PSO as I was previously with Bhaktavatsalam.
This is what Anna appears to have told the IG. “If you
think he is reliable you may post him as my PSO”. Thank
you Anna, I not only remained his personal security officer
but won his implicity confidence until the cruel hand of fate
snatched him away from our midst.
It is expected of all those who swear by the name of Anna to
stand by him and emulate his principles rather than barter in
In his death Tamilnadu really lost a Chief Minister ‘par
excellence’ and a fine gentleman. NEWS
TODAY – Friday 13th September 1991.