Bishwa Nath Singh:
Can we recollect that Kumarasami Kamaraj also known as K. Kamaraj was an Indian politician popularly known to be the kingmaker in Indian politics, and more known for his honesty, integrity and simplicity? He was involved in the Indian independence movement and was a close ally of Jawaharlal Nehru, the first Prime Minister of India. H...e was instrumental in bringing to power two Prime Ministers, Lal Bahadur Shastri in 1964 and Indira Gandhi in 1966. He was affectionately known as the Gandhi of the South.He was awarded India’s highest civilian honour, the Bharat Ratna, posthumously in 1976. The domestic terminal of the Chennai airport is named Kamaraj Terminal in his honor.He was hailed as one of the greatest of leaders of all the free world by the then US vice-president Hubert Humphrey.
(Photo of K.Kamraj popularly known as a king maker in Indian Poltics)
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Bishwa Nath Singh :
Kumarasami Kamaraj was born on July 15,1903 to Kumarasamy Nadar and Sivakami Ammal at Virudhunagar in Tamil Nadu. His parents were from a trading family. His father Kumarasamy Nadar, was a coconut merchant. Kamaraj was initially enrolled in... the Enadhy Nayanar Vidyalaya elementary school, and later in high school Kshatriya Vidyalaya. Kamaraj's father died when he was six years old and his mother was forced to support her family by selling her jewel.. In 1914, Kamaraj dropped out of school to support his family.He joined as an apprentice in his maternal uncle Karuppiah's cloth shop after dropping out of school. He would slip out from the shop to join processions and attend public meetings addressed by orators like Dr. P. Varadarajulu Naidu . His relatives frowned upon Kamaraj 's budding interest in politics. They sent him to Thiruvananthapuram to work at another uncle's timer shop.He enrolled himself as full-time worker of the Congress Party at the age of sixteen., He organized meetings and collected funds for the party. He also participated in the march to Vedaranyam led by C. Rajagopalachari as part of the Salt Satyagraha of March 1930.He was arrested and sent to Alipore Jail in Calcutta for two years. He was 27 at the time of his arrest and was released in 1931 following the Gandhi-Irwin Pact. He was inducted in the Virudhunagar bomb case in 1933.Dr P. Varadarajulu Naidu and George Joseph argued on Kamaraj's behalf and proved the charges to be baseless. Kamaraj was arrested again in 1940 and sent to Vellore Central Prison while he was on his way to Wardha to get Gandhiji's approval for a list of satyagrahis.While still in jail, Kamaraj was elected Chairman of the Municipal Council of Viruthunagar. Nine months later, upon his release, Kamaraj went straight to the Municipality and tendered his resignation from his post. He was arrested once more in 1942 and sentenced to three years in the Amaravathi prison for spreading propaganda material for the Quit India movement initiated by Gandhiji. While in prison, he j read books and continued his self-education.In 1945 C. Rajagopalachari tried to make a comeback within the Congress organisation in Tamil Nadu. He had the support of Gandhi and Sardar Patel, but the majority of in the Tamil Nadu Congress Committee opposed him. A conference was held in Tirupparankundram, in which the leadership should be elected. Chaos broke about during the conference, as warring factions confronted each other. Pasumpon Muthuramalinga Thevar interrupted the disputes and passed a motion reelecting Kamaraj as the TNCC President.His political guru and inspiration was S. Satyamurti, orator and parliamentarian. Satyamurti found in Kamaraj an efficient, loyal, indefatigable worker and skillful organizer.Both developed a deep friendship and complemented each others' skills. In 1936, Satyamurti was elected President of the Provincial Congress Committee and he appointed Kamaraj the General Secretary. Four years later they swapped positions. The party base was strengthened under their leadership. So deep was Kamaraj's devotion to Satyamurti that when India gained independence, he first went to Satyamurti's house and hoisted the Indian flag there. On his election as Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu, Kamaraj went to Satyamurti's house and garlanded his photo and paid his respects to the leader's widow.On April 13,1954, K. Kamaraj became the Chief Minister of Madras Province. To everyone's surprise, Kamaraj nominated C. Subramaniam and M. Bhakthavatsalam, who had contested his leadership, to the newly formed cabinet.He removed the family vocation based Hereditary Education Policy introduced by Rajaji. He reopened the 6000 schools closed by previous government for financial reasons and also added 12000 more schools. The State made immense strides in education and trade. He had introduced free school uniforms to weed out caste, creed and class distinctions among young minds.What’s a great progress that during British regime the education was only 7 percent. But in Kamaraj's period it was 37% . During Rajaji's period there were 12000 schools in the state. Whereas it was 27000 in the period of Kamaraj.Apart from increasing number of schools, steps were taken to improve education as whole by bringing many reforms.He was instrumental in start the IIT Madras in 1959.Major irrigation schemes were planned in Kamaraj's period. The Lower Bhavani Dam in Coimbatore district was constructed for irrigating 207,000 acres of land are under cultivation.A large number of dams and irrigational projects were taken up under his rule are Vaikai Dam,Aliyar Dam and others.Industries with huge investments were stated during his tenure. BHEL at Trichy.,Neyveli Lignite Corporation. & MANALI Refinary Ltd were carried out during his tenure. Many schemes were started to generate electricity like Guntha hydro power station, Ooty hydel power station and Neyveli thermal power station. In nutshell,he was MLA from Gudiyatham from 1954 to 1957,MLA from Sattur from 1957 to 1967, M.P from Srivilliputhur from 1952 to 1954 and M.P. from Nagercoil President of Indian National Congress (Organization) from 1967 to 1971. In detail,Kamaraj had won elections of MLA in 1937 , 1946, 1954,1957, 1962 and 1967 and election of M.P. in 1952, 1969 & 1971, and had remained Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu for three consecutive terms from April13, 1954 to 31 March 1957, April 1,1957 to March 2,1962 and March 3,1962 to October 2,1963. Kamaraj noticed that the Congress party was slowly losing its vigor. He came up with a plan which was called the "Kamaraj Plan". On October 2, 1963, he resigned from the Chief Ministership of Tamil Nadu . He proposed that all senior Congress leaders should resign from their posts and devote all their energy to the re-vitalization of the Congress. In 1963 he suggested to Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru that senior Congress leaders should leave ministerial posts to take up organizational work. This suggestion came to be known as the Kamaraj Plan, which was designed primarily to dispel from the minds of Congressmen the lure for power, creating in its place a dedicated attachment to the objectives and policies of the organization. He was elected President, Indian National Congress, on October 9, 1963. had realized that if he had wide learning and vision, Kamaraj possessed enormous common sense and pragmatism. Kamaraj had advised all the ministers to face the problem. Don't evade it and find a solution, however small. People will be satisfied if you do something. Followed by him a number of Central and State ministers like Lal Bahadur Shastri, Jagjivan Ram, Satyendra Narayan Sinha, Morarji Desai and S.K. Patil followed suit and resigned from their posts. In 1964, Kamaraj was elected 'Congress President' and he successfully navigated the party and the nation through the stormy years following Nehru's death. Kamaraj’s political maturity came in full view when Nehru died in 1964. The way he settled the succession issue for the Prime Ministers hip was amply proved by his choice of Lal Bahadur Shastri and Indira Gandhi in succession. When the Congress split in 1969, he had become the leader of the INC (O) in Tamil Nadu. The party fared poorly in the 1971 elections. He remained as the leader of INC (O) till his death in 1975. On October 2, 1975, he died in his sleep in Chennai in Tamil Nadu of India He was awarded India's highest civil had lost its most illustrious son who remained bachelor and honest in his life.Let us join to pay our respectful homage to him!