Chennai First a Celebration. Positive News, Facts & Achievements about Chennai, Tamilians and all the People of TamilNadu – here at Home and Overseas
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    M Nannan

    M Nannan

    Chennai :

    M Nannan, who kindled an interest among people to learn Tamil through his famous ‘Tamil Karpom’ programme on Doordarshan in the 1980s and 1990s, died at his residence in Chennai on Tuesday due to aged-related illnesses. He was 94.

    Nannan, who was a Tamil professor at Presidency College in Chennai, had written several Tamil textbooks. He was the recipient of Tamil Nadu government’s Periyar, Thiru Vika and Anna awards.

    Born in 1924 in Cuddalore district, he started following Periyar and later joined the DMK. He participated in the anti-Hindi protests in 1965.

    Political party leaders condoled the death of Nannan. “Nannan’s death is a great loss for the Dravidian movement. Apart from being a Tamil teacher, he was also involved in propagating Periyar’s teachings,” said DMK working president M K Stalin in a statement.

    Stalin said DMK chief M Karunanidhi had entrusted him the responsibility of propagating the Tamil language and Periyar’s teachings in the party.

    PMK chief S Ramadoss said, “Nannan was a famous Tamil professor and a good friend of mine. He started his career as a primary teacher and later he became the chief of Tamil department in college. He also created a separate type of teaching called Nannan Murai.”

    AIADMK leader T T V Dhinakaran tweeted: “We have lost a Tamil expert in the death of Prof Nannan. His death cannot be replaced.”

    source: http://www.timesofindia.indiatimes.com / The Times of India / Home> News> City News> Chennai News / by Abdullah Nurullah / TNN / November 07th, 2017

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    My Binny story last week had me recalling the life the early 19th Century sahibs led, as reflected in John Binny’s and Thomas Parry’s wills. Discussion of that lifestyle is sure to generate a plethora of views, but one view I don’t think can be denied, namely, that they had a conscience and a sense of obligation. But discussing the morality of the times is not my intent today, I merely present the gist of two fascinating documents.

    John Binny, a bachelor, died in Madras in 1824. His last home leave began in August 1816. In his 1823 will he left a legacy to “a child now of the age 5 years and 5 months named John William Crouchley and boards with one under the charge of Mrs Wicklow…” Make of that what you will. Rather different is the record in India. The Company kept paying 8 pagodas (about ₹25) monthly in Binny’s name to each of two children. They each also received an annual clothing allowance of ₹105 and the elder, Charles, got ₹11 monthly from 1821 for education in the Madras Free School. In later years, the Binny records list a clerk, Charles Binny, who seemed of modest means. Was the second child his sister Belmina who received a marriage settlement of ₹3000, making you wonder whether that too had been left by John Binny? F De Souza, who wrote The House of Binny 50 years ago, leaves you wondering – particularly for answers.

    Thomas Parry

    Thomas Parry

    Thomas Parry, in Madras from 1788, nine years before Binny, has a better recorded life, judging by his will, curiously also dated 1823. He too died in 1824. He left ₹110,000 in investments to Mary Pearce, whom he’d married in 1794. She went back for good to England in 1807 with their two children, both dying young there. Unfettered in India, Parry seemed to have enjoyed a home at every place he had business in on the way from Madras to Cuddalore, judging by his will. His legacies started with amounts to young George Parry Gibson (who travelled with him) and Emma Louisa Gibson, both left in the care of a Mrs Dowden. Compounding the mystery, he also left something for two Army captains called Gibson and Dowden!

    A little clearer is his relationship with Mary Ann Carr, an Anglo Indian, by whom he had Thomas William Parry and Edward Moorat Parry in the early 1820s. Both probably died young, for only Mary Ann is remembered in the will. But then so are Elizabeth Chinnery, Charlotte Myers, Mrs Weehedie of Tranquebar and the son of Babkismah Candy. Parry certainly enjoyed the good life, even as he built a business empire that still flourishes.

    To Parry and Binny India owes its industrial beginnings. While Binny’s is no longer a name in business circles, Parry’s is a respected one, the name remembered in a major junction and the firm’s headquarters building, instead of giving way to new highrise, remaining a landmark in Madras. But where the Parry’s name is endangered is in San Thomé. His home, Leith Castle, near his industrial unit, the first in the country, a tannery and a leather goods ‘factory,’ is a threatened heritage precinct.

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    What’s happened to the prize?

    Nobel Prize time reminded 90-year-old Ramachandran (Chandru) Arni of Hyderabad that long before CV Raman and S Chandrasekhar won Nobel Prizes for Physics, they’d won the Jagirdar of Arni’s Gold Medal for Physics/Chemistry at Presidency College, Madras. Why isn’t the College awarding the medal nowadays, he wonders. I look forward to hearing from Presidency, but meanwhile my correspondent’s surname struck a chord.

    Arni Palace today

    Arni Palace today

    I first heard of the Jagirdar of Arni when writing a book on the West End Hotel, Bangalore, that, mysteriously, never got published. The West End was the second home of the then Jagirdar, Srinivasa Rao Sahib, the father of my correspondent who lists him as the 12th and last Jagirdar of the 211 sq miles zamin near Vellore. I’d written that the Jagirdar had stayed there occupying a three-room suite for over 36 years and that he was a regular at the Crazy Horse Bar at boisterous post-race parties. His son tells me horses and gambling were very much part of his life, but his “magnificent obsession” was cars. He bought his first car in 1923, when 19, and by 1948, when the Jagir was abolished by Government, had bought 182 cars! He kept the cars in immaculate condition, drove them himself and never lost on a sale of any of them.

    Arni House Front view

    Arni House Front view

    The Arni Jagir dates to 1640, when this Maharashtrian Brahmin family received it from Shahjee (the father of Shivaji) for services rendered in the Carnatic. It was the 10th Jagirdar, also Srinivasa Rao Sahib – a name the eldest generally took – who created the endowment for the prize at Presidency in 1877.

    A footnote Chandru Arni adds is that his mother was the great great grand-daughter of Purniah, Dewan to Hyder Ali, Tipu Sultan and the Mysore Royal Family. An old Presidencian himself, he says he is the country’s first games developer and the first, in 1953, to a win an official meet in a self-built sports car.

    The chronicler of Madras that is Chennai tells stories of people, places, and events from the years gone by, and sometimes from today.

    source: http://www.thehindu.com / The Hindu / Home> News> Cities> Chennai / Madras Miscellany – by S. Muthiah / October 30th, 2017

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    Vipulananda Adigalar

    Vipulananda Adigalar

    Film throws light on unknown facets of Vipulananda Adigalar’s life

    Tracing the unknown aspects of a prominent personality in the world of Tamil literature is quite a challenging task and Mu. Elangovan, a faculty in the Kanchi Mamunivar Centre for Post Graduate Studies, Puducherry, has travelled across the sea to do exactly that.

    After a year of research, documentation and interviews, Mr. Elangovan has brought out a 50-minute documentary to depict the life of Vipulananda Adigalar, who wrote the famous Yazh Nool (a book of stringed musical instruments), a principal research treatise on Isai Tamil.

    “I wanted to know more about his life. While I began collecting his books, manuscripts, photographs and letters, many unknown facts about him attracted my attention. I felt that a documentary film would be the proper medium to bring these facts before the public. SivamVeluppillai, who works in a private firm in Canada and Kasupathi Nataraja, an elderly person in Sri Lanka helped me complete this work,” said Mr.Elangovan.

    Taught in T.N.

    The famed Tamil scholar and educationist, who was born in Karaitivu near Batticaloa, Sri Lanka, in 1892, edited several magazines, translated works and played an instrumental role in establishing several academic institutions in Sri Lanka. On the invitation of Rajah Sir Annamalai Chettiar, the founder of the Annamalai University, Vipulananda Adigalar even served there from 1931 to 1933 as Tamil Professor.

    While teaching in Annamalai University, he translated Vivekanandar’s Gnana deepamKarma YogamRaja yogam, Pantanjali’s Yoga Sutram. He was a pioneer in teaching and propagating Bharathiar’s Poems in the academic circle during the British rule. “He was the first scholar to recognise and appreciate Bharathiar’s poetic genius. He protested the visit of the English Governor to Annamalai University by hoisting black flag at his residence,” he added.

    Vipulananda had his early education at his native place Karaitivu, Kalmunai, Batticaloa, and later he studied Technical Education at Colombo, got his B.Sc Degree by passing the Cambridge University Examinations, and also ‘Pandithar’ title of the Madurai Tamil Sangam at the age of 24; served as a teacher at Colombo, Batticaloa, Trincomalee, Jaffna, received Mahatma Gandhi when he visited Jaffna and also hosted Maraimalai Adigal at Jaffna.

    Mr. Elangovan travelled to Sri Lanka and Thanjavur, Pudukkottai, Chidambaram, Kumbakonam, Chennai, Cuddalore in Tamil Nadu, West Bengal and Mayavathi (the Himalayan foot) for making the documentary.

    “This documentary will remind the future generations about the excellence of Vipulananda Adigalar. It has interviews of those who have been his co-workers, friends and relatives, and addition to his writings, photographs. This film will be released first in Sri Lanka.”

    In Sri Lanka, he visited Colombo Tamil Sangam, Sri Lanka Ramakrishna Mutt Branches, Swami Vipulananda Institute of Aesthetic Studies at Eastern University as well as his relatives and many other places including Karaithivu, Batticaloa, Trincomalee, Jaffna, Mandur, Thetratthivu, Colombo, Rosalla, Kandy, where evidences of his life and works are available.

    The documentary also depicts Vipulananda’s association with Ramakrishna Math and his visit to Chennai where he had his ascetic training from 1922 to 1924. His Brahmachariya name was Prabodha Saithanyer and got his spiritual initiation from Swamy Sivananda in 1924 and later he was called Vipulananda Adigalar. Vipulanandar established and superintended various schools in Sri Lanka from 1925 to 1931. He founded Sivananda Vidyalayam in memory of his Guru who initiated him in the spiritual order and thereby paved way for several thousand poor pupils to receive education.

    source: http://www.thehindu.com / The Hindu / Home> News> Cities> Puducherry / by S. Senthalir / Puducherry – October 30th, 2017

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    MGR: A Life R. Kannan Penguin Random House ₹499

    MGR: A Life R. Kannan Penguin Random House ₹499

    In his centenary year, a perceptive biography presents MGR with all his achievements and faltering, his personality and politics

    M.G. Ramachandran never ceases to fascinate. In the 30 years since his death, there are signs to show that his popularity in Tamil Nadu has not declined. If a digitised version of one of his movies from the 1960s is released, it still runs to packed houses. It is his centenary year, and the same veneration that he commanded among his followers seems to prevail even among a generation that could not have seen him in his heyday.

    R. Kannan’s informative biography brings out the major reasons for the MGR phenomenon: an everlasting reputation for charity, the trust he inspired in the masses that he stood for their welfare, and his carefully cultivated image as a do-gooder. What makes this a perceptive account is that it rarely descends to hagiography, and touches, albeit in a nuanced way, the man’s undoubted shortcomings.

    Early episodes in MGR’s life accounts are revealing. Much of this part is perhaps drawn from MGR’s own memoirs and from contemporary accounts, but what Kannan offers is the first cogent narrative of MGR’s early years, the debilitating poverty in which he grew up, the role of his mother and brother in shaping his outlook in life. The portrayal of Ramachandran’s poverty-stricken life as a child theatre artiste makes for a moving read. Too poor to go to school, he and his brother lived through ordeals and torments in a theatre company as they had no other means of livelihood. MGR had early exposure to both the survival throes and the petty jealousies of an incipient theatre and cinema career. These experiences informed his welfare-centric policies several decades later as chief minister.

    Tinsel world stories

    Many pages are devoted to MGR’s experiences in the tinsel world, understandably so, as this was the medium that was used to project his image. Initially used by the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam to draw crowds, he was somehow catapulted into the political limelight due to various factors. His mentors in theatre and politics were not his only influences. Even those who saw him as a threat and still others who underestimated his rise in the party, were also indirect motivators for his aspirations.

    Almost all of MGR’s film songs were written with an eye on his emerging political career. Even though this is well known, the author’s engaging account — as well as free-wheeling translations — of the various songs that made him a hero, a revolutionary, a friend of the masses, a philanthropist, a teetotaller and the scourge of evil, helps in understanding the direction in which he was heading in politics.

    There is a lot about his career in cinema, but somehow, there seem to be too many details about how he signed up particular films and how he landed a certain role. There is not enough about many other aspects of his film career, including his directorial ventures and his insight into various trades in the industry. Given the build-up in the biography about his career trajectory, the account of his three successive stints as chief minister can be seen as sketchy. As this part is narrated mainly through public events and major political developments, the reader does not get a full insight into the functioning of MGR as an administrator. At the same time, the author does convey the essentials. One gets a sense of how MGR did not believe in the core Dravidian principle of rationalism and opposition to religion, of how he lived in perpetual fear of the Centre and how tax investigations influenced his political decisions.

    Chief minister’s diary

    As chief minister for 10 years, he relied on intuition and the unique connect he had with the masses in making major announcements. Of course, there were blunders and long phases of inactivity, economic and administrative stagnation and political uncertainty because of his bouts of illnesses. The transition from a person who managed to run a relatively clean government to one who allowed corruption to acquire huge proportions has been captured. The extent to which the liquor trade and the privatisation of engineering and medical education contributed to it is amply clear in the account.

    Nearly a century ago, E.M. Forster contrasted the western or English character with that of the easterners. “The Oriental has behind him a tradition of kingly munificence and splendour,” he wrote, contrasting these qualities with the “middle class prudence” of an Englishman. Forster would have been delighted had he met someone with MGR’s reputation for munificence.

    But MGR had other qualities that monarchs are famed for. He rewarded loyalty and punished disloyalty. He rarely brooked dissent, although political heavyweights within his party did take him on occasionally. Farmers and government employees, political rivals and the media, all bore the brunt of his authoritarian style, although he sometimes tried to balance the strong-arm tactics with occasional sops. He was whimsical to a fault, once attempting to undermine caste-based reservations by introducing economic criteria and then rolling back the decision and raising backward classes quota from 31% to 50%. This biography does not miss any of this.

    When writing about a larger than life figure, one tends to place more emphasis on the aura and mythology around the person and less on the man himself. R. Kannan manages to tease out a balanced picture of the man, with all his idiosyncrasies and foibles, his achievements and faltering, his personality and politics.

    MGR: A Life; R. Kannan, Penguin Random House, ₹499.

    source: http://www.thehindu.com / The Hindu / Home> Books> Reviews / by K. Venkataraman / September 16th, 2017

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    NarayananKumarCF31aug2017

    Narayanan Kumar receives Foreign Minister’s Commendations

    The Consulate General of Japan awarded the Foreign Minister’s Commendations to Narayanan Kumar, president of the Indo-Japan Chamber of Commerce and Industry (IJCCI), on Tuesday.

    Seiji Baba, Consul General of Japan, who presented the certificates of commendation, said Mr. Kumar has contributed significantly to the development of Japan-India relations, especially in business cooperation, as well as the dissemination of knowledge, culture and information about Japan.

    “He has done this through a number of programmes of the IJCCI, including publishing Gateway Newsletter and establishing the Centre for Japanese Studies. He visited Japan as the head of an IJCCI delegation and met Kiyoshi Odawara, the Parliamentary Vice-Minister for Foreign Affairs,” he added.

    Mr. Baba also noted the contributions made by IJCCI to promote business relations between the two countries.

    Mr. Kumar said,“I really hope business cooperation between the two countries will reach great heights,” he added.

    source: http://www.thehindu.com / The Hindu / Home> News> Cities> Chennai / by Staff Reporter / Chennai – August 30th, 2017

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    What do you know about Campbellabad, I was asked the other day. Thinking I still knew the Political Geography I had once specialised in, “It’s a town in Pakistan,” I casually answered. Only to be told it’s a 300-year-old village in Tuticorin District. When my caller wanted to know whether what the locals had told him, that it was named after a Madras Governor, was correct, I was a little more careful. “I think Governor Campbell was some time later but let me check,” I hesitantly answered.

    So achecking I went. And found Sir Archibald Campbell was Governor from 1786 to 1789, not quite 300 years ago. But I also found that there was another Archibald Campbell, a Madras Civilian from 1896 to 1937. He has been involved with the raising of the Mettur Dam (1925-934), retired as Chief Secretary and had served on the Boards of Revenue and Irrigation. He was more likely to have had something to do with land settlement for which the Muslim settlers could have named their new village after him. But that was just 100 years ago.

    CampbellCF31jul2017

    Later that day, who should I bump into but Civilian Campbell — or at least a bust of him in the 1901 banqueting hall of the Freemasons of Madras. He had been an ardent Freemason and started the Sir Arthur Campbell Lodge in Madras in 1930. This was the first Lodge where both Europeans and Indians could be members, on condition each spent at least six months a year in the others’ country (Miscellany, March 11, 2013).

    While the bust and I looked each other in the eye, the voices swirling around us talked of the August celebration of 300 years of English Freemasonry with the consecration of the first Grand Lodge of the English Order in London. There was that number again, but this time the records showed the date was indeed 1717. Thirty-five years later, the Grand Lodge of Madras was consecrated. From then on, till the British left India, virtually every British official who was anyone in Madras was a Freemason, it would seem.

    Two winners of honours

    Two residents of Madras many decades ago whom I met recently were on quick visits to the city. To me the link between them were the honours they’d won, rather more distinguished and national in the case of one, rather more local in the case of the other. But both were greeted with the same warmth and enthusiasm by their former colleagues on the occasion of the 150th year celebrations of their respective affiliations.

    It was while visiting his old school, Lawrence of

    Lovedale, as a distinguished guest that Paul Sabapathy from Birmingham heard that he had been honoured for the third time by the Queen of England. An OBE in 1995 for urban regeneration, a CBE in 2004 for his contribution to business and higher education was being followed by a CVO (Companion of the Royal Victorian Order) for his services as Lord Lieutenant of the West Midlands.

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    As Lord Lieutenant, he was the Queen’s personal representative in the area from 2007 to 2015. It could well have been a knighthood if an email of his had not been leaked. In it, after a visit to the Pakistan consulate in the city, he was critical of the Pakistani community of Birmingham. Apologising, then stepping down was not enough.

    Sabapathy, who went to Birmingham 53 years ago, soon after graduating from Madras Christian College, had a rather remarkable record in Britain. He was the first non-white to be a Lord Lieutenant (a 550-year-old institution), chairman of a British University (Birmingham City U), and a President of the Walsall Chamber of Commerce.

    Unlike Sabapathy, Demitrius Sarandis was no public figure except in the small world of rowing in India. And in the even smaller world of the Madras Boat Club (MBC) he was welcomed for all he had achieved when he was a member (1958-1962).

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    Sarandis, from Greece, came out as a 22-year-old to Madras in 1957 to monitor the machinery that his company in the UK had supplied to the South India Flour Mills. While first living in that legendary chummery Chesney Hall, and then closer to the Club, he established an enviable record becoming the MBC’s Captain of Boats within three years. He’d never rowed in his life till a fellow resident at the chummery made him a member of the Boat Club. There, some thought him too small, others, seeing his scanty hair and luxuriant moustache, thought him more aged than he was and too old (35) to row successfully. But taught by the boat boys, he rowed competitively for the first time in 1959. Beating KR Ramachandran, reckoned till then the best Club sculler, Sarandis went on to team with him and win the Pairs too. In three years, his trophy cupboard was full. But then, faced with visa problems, he had to go back — and greater honours were not to be his.

    The chronicler of Madras that is Chennai tells stories of people, places and events from the years gone by and, sometimes, from today

    source: http://www.thehindu.com / The Hindu / Home> Madras Miscellany> Society / by S. Muthiah / July 31st, 2017

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    ChandraSekharanCF12jul2017

    He cracked the Rajiv assassination case; helped identify bomber Dhanu

    Renowned forensic expert, Pakkiriswamy Chandra Sekharan, who helped investigators crack the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case and played a seminal role in getting back the stolen 1,500-year-old Pathur Nataraja idol from the U.K., died here on Tuesday.

    He was 83 and is survived by his wife and daughter.

    A former director of the Tamil Nadu Forensic Sciences department, Prof. Chandra Sekharan was awarded the Padma Bhushan.

    An acknowledged expert as well as a pioneer in some forensic techniques, Prof. Chandra Sekharan deconstructed the suicide bomb attack on Rajiv Gandhi in May 1991.

    He made the sensational disclosure a day after the assassination that the killer was a woman who acted as a human bomb.

    He pieced together tattered pieces of denim fabric to conclude that the assassin was wearing a vest or jacket in which a bomb could have been packed.

    He proceeded to reconstruct the belt bomb as well as its two-switch circuitry, one to switch on the mechanism and the other to detonate the RDX bomb.

    K. Ragothaman, the chief investigating officer, recalled Prof. Chandra Sekharan’s great help. The forensic expert obtained the roll of film from a camera used by Hari Babu, a photographer who was killed in the explosion, to get pictures of the fateful public meeting.

    “But for those 10 crucial photographs, we would not have been able to detect the case. While video footage taken minutes before the explosion was suppressed by none other than the then Intelligence Bureau Director, Prof. Chandra Sekharan preserved the valuable evidence and gave it to us,” Mr. Ragothaman said.

    D.R. Kaarthikeyan, former CBI Director and Chief of the Special Investigation Team that investigated the Rajiv Gandhi assassination, said Prof. Chandra Sekharan had enormous knowledge in forensic science and his service was of immense help in the case.

    Tracking Nataraja

    He used both forensic science and traditional knowledge in establishing India’s claim over the Nataraja idol at the Royal Court of Justice in the U.K.

    After the idols were stolen from the Viswanatha Swamy temple, they were hidden for some time in a haystack. Termites devoured the haystack and in the process left their ‘galleries’ on the idols. The idols were later unearthed, but the Nataraja idol alone was sold and it found its way to London. “Though the idol was cleaned a couple of times, the lower part was left untouched and I spotted the termite nest. I used that to win the case,” he once told The Hindu.

    He was a much sought-after expert witness, appearing in courts across India, as well as in the United Kingdom, Singapore and Sri Lanka for both prosecution and defence.

    source: http://www.thehindu.com / The Hindu / Home> News> National / by Special Correspondent / Chennai – July 11th, 2017

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    It is appropriate that his birth centenary celebration begins in the city which still has a strong bond to him

    N. Arumugam, Madurai Corporation employee, performs puja at Bharatha Ratna Ponmanachemmal MGR Amma Tirukoil at Anuppanadi in Madurai. | Photo Credit: R_ASHOK

    N. Arumugam, Madurai Corporation employee, performs puja at Bharatha Ratna Ponmanachemmal MGR Amma Tirukoil at Anuppanadi in Madurai. | Photo Credit: R_ASHOK

    N. Arumugam, a Madurai Corporation employee, rushes to a nearby shop to buy camphor and agarbathi as he sees people visiting Bharatha Ratna Ponmanachemmal MGR Amma Tirukoil (MGR Temple) in East Anuppanadi. He performs daily puja and aarthi to the idol of MGR, modelled on the ‘Murugan’ form he took in Thani Piravi. He takes care of the ‘first temple’ for MGR constructed by Nagarajan, a local AIADMK functionary, with public support in 1988. Arumugam is one among the many die-hard MGR fans who keep the legend alive in Madurai.

    Twenty nine years after his death, memories of the 1960s and the 70s are relived by people past their prime in theatres where MGR’s films are released. The extended MGR family assembles in front of the theatre for the first show. Eighty-five-year-old Backiam of Sappanikoil Street is perhaps the oldest fan to visit theatres.

    Another fan, Mariappan of Villapuram, a physically challenged person, uses a tricycle to move around. Coordinating all of them is M. Tamilnesan of Anna Nagar, an ‘MGR devotee.’ An incredible fan following for a 100-year-old legend is not a surprise in Madurai. This is the city that gave MGR many of his firsts, on and off screen.

    Though born in Hantana, Kandy, Sri Lanka, on January 17, 1917, Marudur Gopalan Ramachandran’s entry into Madurai Original Boys Company, following in the footsteps of his elder brother M.G. Chakrapani at the age of six, is the first chapter in the never-ending story of his association with the city. On his centenary, Madurai can eminently claim to replace ‘Marudur’ in the three magic letters.

    It was Madurai Veeran, released on April 13, 1956, that created the record for a Tamil movie crossing 100 days in 40 theatres. It ran for 200 days, crossing silver jubilee, the longest for an MGR film at that time, in Chinthamani Theatre. Twenty one of his films released in this theatre ran for over 100 days.

    A grand function was organised at Tamukkam on October 26, 1958, to celebrate the success of Nadodi Mannan. His first fan club, which later became the bedrock of AIADMK, was started in Madurai. His last film was Maduraiyai Meetta Sundarapandian. It was T. M. Soundararajan of Madurai who lent his ‘bronze voice’ to MGR in all his famous songs. MGR organised a mega conference of his fans associations in Madurai in 1986 in which the famous picture of Jayalalithaa presenting him a silver sceptre was shot.

    On the political front, the genesis of MGR’s ouster from the parent party and subsequent launch of the ADMK can be traced to the August 1972 Madurai district unit conference of the DMK, writes B. Thirumalai in his book, Madurai Arasiyal. Since his request to allow Jayalalithaa to perform a dance drama at the meet was turned down, MGR went round the city with her, hogging public attention, in an open vehicle. The crowd started to disperse after hearing him at the conference, though the star speaker, M. Karunanidhi, was yet to get his turn. This meet sowed the seeds of discord between the two leaders.

    When he was actually expelled from the DMK, there was unrest in Madurai and some schools had to be closed from November 15, 1972, to January 8, 1973, recalls Mr. Thirumalai.

    The ‘first flag’ of MGR’s would-be party was hoisted at Jhansi Rani Park. When MGR visited Madurai after floating the ADMK on October 17, 1972, his train took 10 hours to reach the city from Dindigul. The first victory certificate for his new party and symbol (Two Leaves), which came in the 1973 Lok Sabha by-election to Dindigul constituency, was handed over to the winner, K. Maya Thevar, at the Madurai Collector’s office.

    He announced the formation of World Tamil Sangam at Madurai World Tamil Conference in 1981. It came into existence in 2016. In acknowledgement of people’s love for him, MGR chose to contest all the Assembly elections from 1977 from south Tamil Nadu – Aruppukottai (1977), Madurai West (1980) and Andipatti (1984). It is only appropriate that the celebration of his birth centenary begins here on June 30.

    source: http://www.thehindu.com / The Hindu / Home> News> States> Tamil Nadu / by S. Annamalai / Madurai – June 30th, 2017

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    Tuticorin  :

    The 106th death anniversary of freedom fighter R Vanchinathan was observed at several places, including Vanchi Maniyachchi Maniyachchi Junction railway station and Kovilpatti in Tuticorin  district, on Saturday.

    The participants demanded the government to set up a memorial for Vanchinathan at Vanchi railway junction and also urged the rail department to erect Vanchi’s statue at the junction. It was at Vanchi Maniyachi junction where Vanchinathan shot dead the British government – appointed – Tirunelveli collector Robert William D’ Escourt Ashe dead, before killing himself on June 17, 1911.

    Tuticorin collector N Venkatesh garlanded the photo of Vanchinathan at the railway station and paid homages to it. In his speech, the collector recalled the history of the freedom fighter Vanchi. Vanchi was born to forest officer Regupathi Iyer and Rukmaniammal at Sengottai in Tirunelveli. He joined the freedom movement after hearing public speeches of veteran freedom fighters V O Chidambaram and Subramania Siva, said the collector, while asking students to involve themselves in public life.

    source: http://www.timesofindia.indiatimes.com / The Times of India / News> City News> Chennai News / June 18th, 2017

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    June 9th, 2017adminLeaders

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    A man of integrity and outstanding intellect, he shunned publicity and positions

    Veteran Parliamentarian Era Sezhiyan, highly regarded as a Constitutionalist who recommended the abolition of the Members of Parliament Local Area Development Scheme (MPLADS), died in Vellore on Tuesday. He was 95.

    He was living for some years in the Vellore Institute of Technology (VIT) run by G. Viswanathan, his close associate since his DMK days.

    Sezhiyan also republished the report of the Shah Commission constituted to go into various kinds of excesses committed during the Emergency under the title ‘Shah Commission Report Lost and Regained’.

    He was the younger brother of late Navalar V.R. Nedunchezhian and both of them were the founding members of the DMK. He jointly edited the magazine Manram with his brother. Though Nedunchezhian later joined the AIADMK launched by MGR, Sezhian chose to involve himself in the Janata Party as he was attracted by Jayaprakash Narayan’s political ideals. He also functioned as the president of the Janata party’s Tamil Nadu unit.

    “He did not share his brother’s views and stayed away from the Makkal DMK founded by the latter at one point. He also did not take the AIADMK seriously. When I requested him to become the presidium chairman of the MDMK launched by Mr. Vaiko. he politely turned down the offer,” said K. Thirunavukkarasu, historian of the Dravidian movement.

    Close to ‘Anna’

    Born R. Srinivasan, he changed his name to Sezhiyan on the lines of Dravidian leaders who opted for Tamil names instead of Sanskritised names. He studied in Annamalai University and was very close to DMK founder C.N. Annadurai and DMK leader M. Karunanidhi. In his autobiography Nenjukku Neethi, Mr. Karunanidhi has recalled that both Nedunchezhian and Sezhian walked all the way from their village Vadakandam to attend his marriage.

    “He wrote in Anna’s Dravida Nadu magazine in 1937 itself. Anna used to say when everyone seeks his advice on family and political matters, he would look up to Sezhiyan’s counsel,” said Mr. Thirunavukkarasu.

    He represented the DMK in the Lok Sabha between 1962 and 1977 and the Janata Party in the Rajya Sabha between 1978 and 1984. As Chairman of Public Accounts Committee (1971-73), he presented a record number of 96 Reports to Parliament.

    He lost to Congress candidate and actress Vaijayanthimala in South Madras constituency in the 1984 Lok Sabha polls.

    “It was Sezhiyan and Murasoli Maran who prepared a report on the recommendations of Justice Rajamannar on Centre-State relationships,” recalled Mr. Thirunavukkarasu.

    Parliament Gallery published by The Hindu in 1964 described him as a brilliant student of mathematics with statistics as special subject who topped the list in the University examinations. He also held a diploma in French.

    “As is expected of him by his party, he is at his best whenever the official language question comes up before the House. His 20-minute speech on this subject was punctuated by as many as 25 interruptions, apart from steady hecklings by protagonists of Hindi. With patience and perseverance, he hunts for government circulars and instructions to support his questions aimed at proving that there is a subtle imposition of Hindi on non-Hindi speaking states,” The Hindu had reported.

    His speeches in Parliament were published as a book, Parliament for the People.

    “Delhi is known to be the graveyard of many empires. Let not… one more graveyard be dug here by this measure,” he said during a debate on the anti-secession Bill.

    When a Congress member said, “Many empires in the South also have gone to the grave,” Mr. Sezhiyan retorted, “Any empire not representing the people is bound to go that way.”

    He shunned publicity and positions. “He refused the offer made by the then Union Finance Minister H.M. Patil to become the chairman of the Life Insurance Corporation of India (LIC) in 1978. He also turned down the offers of Governor’s post offered during the National Front government led by V.P. Singh,” said Mr. Thirunavukkarasu.

    His last association with a political party was Lok Shakthi founded by Ramakrishna Hegde. In 2001, Sezhiyan retired from active party politics.

    source: http://www.thehindu.com / The Hindu / Home> News> States> Tamil Nadu / by B. Kolappan / Chennai – June 06th, 2017

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