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Kamaraj-The tale of King maker

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In Virudhu patti the modern day Virudhunager Kumarasamy – Sivakami Ammal gave birth a male child in 15th July of 1903. they gave a female name’ kamatchi’ than after everyone calling him ‘Raja’ (King) combined with he was called as  ‘kamaraja’ His School life is very short, after joining Khastriya Vidya sala”(present KVS) he had to left his school as sorrow struck consequewntly as both his Grand father and father died, leaving the entire family in the hands of young boy ‘kamaraja’

He joined as an apprentice in his maternal uncle Karuppiah’s cloth shop after dropping out of school.But his mind was not on business, attracted by Gandhi’s National Movement,he would slip out from the shop to join processions and attend public meetings addressed by orators like Dr. 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.

At the age of 16, Kamaraj enrolled himself as full-time worker of the Congress Party. He invited speakers, 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.

Kamaraj 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. Kamaraj was implicated in the Virudhunagar bomb case two years later. Dr. 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 toVellore Central Prison while he was on his way to Wardha to get Gandhiji’s approval for a list of satyagrahis.

On 13 April 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.

Kamaraj removed the family vocation based Hereditary Education Policyintroduced 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. New schools were opened, so that poor rural students were to walk no more than 3 miles to their nearest school. Better facilities were added to existing ones. No village remained without a primary school and no panchayat without a high school. Kamaraj strove to eradicate illiteracy by introducing free and compulsory education up to the eleventh standard. He introduced the Mid-day Meal Scheme to provide at least one meal per day to the lakhs of poor school children (first time in the whole world). He introduced free school uniforms to weed out caste, creed and class distinctions among young minds.

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 standard of education. To improve the standards number of working day were increased from 180 to 200. Unnecessary holidays were reduced. Syllabus were prepared to give opportunity to various abilities.

During his period IIT Madras was started.

Major irrigation schemes were planned in Kamaraj’s period . Lower BhavaniMani Muthuar Cauvery Delta ,Aarani River Vaigai Dam ,Amravathi Sathanur ,Krishnagiri Pullambadi ,Parambikulam and NeyyaruDams were among them . The Lower Bhavani Dam in Coimbatore district was constructed with an expenditure of Rs 10/- Crores. 2,07,000 acres of land are under cultivation.

45,000 acres of land are benefited through Mettur canal of Salem. Another scheme was Krishnagiri in the same district. Vaigai , Sathanur facilitate to cultivate thousands of acres of lands in Madurai and North Arcot districts respectively. Rs 30 crores were planned to spend for Parambikulam River scheme in Kamaraj’s period. This has helped for the development of Coimbatore district in agriculture field.

Number of dams were constructed under his rule are

  • Manimuthar Dam,
  • Vaikai Dam.
  • Aliyar Dam.
  • Sathanur Dam.
  • Krishnagiri Dam.

.Industrial Development 

Industries with huge investments in crores of Rupees were started in his period. Neyveli Lignite Scheme, Raw photo film industry at Nilgri, Surgical instruments factory at Guindy, Sugar factories , Bi-Carbonates factories, Cement factories, Railway Coach factory at Perambur, Mettur paper industry were started in the period of Kamaraj. These are the back-bone for the development of the nation.

Other industries which were started his period are

Many schemes were started to generate electicity like Guntha hydro power station, Ooty and Neyveli thermal power station. During his period, Tamil Nadu was developing in all fronts.

Kamaraj remained Chief Minister for three consecutive terms, winning elections in1957 and 1962. Kamaraj noticed that the Congress party was slowly losing its vigor. He came up with a plan which was called the “Kamaraj Plan“.

On 2 October 1963, he resigned from the Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Post. 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 Nehru that senior Congress leaders should leave ministerial posts to take up organisational 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 organisation. Kamaraj was elected President, Indian National Congress, on 9 October 1963.

Well impressed by the achievements and acumen of Kamraj, Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru felt that his services were needed more at the national level. In a swift move he brought Kamaraj to Delhi as the President of the Indian National Congress. Nehru realised that if he had wide learning and vision, Kamaraj possessed enormous common sense and pragmatism.

Kamaraj gave a simple advice to his ministers, “Face the problem. Don’t evade it. 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 ShastriJagjivan RamSatyendra Narayan SinhaMorarji Desaiand 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. How he settled the succession issue for the Prime Ministership was amply proved by his choice of Lal Bahadur Shastri and Indira Gandhi in succession 

Though he is a national leader he never be a family man. whenever his mother argued for his marriage, After independence i will get married” So when after independence, his mother reminded him, he told her.’ mother don’t talk such matter.. i am old now.. why did you want to ruin another woman’s life”

When Kamraj was a Chief ministerhis mother requested him to provided a handpumb’ borewell, near her house, as she is old and not able to fetch water from the ‘ teppam ‘(TANK).  immediately kamarajar roared like a lion’ Are you mad? because being chief minister doesnot mean i have to spend public money for the family…there are crores people who are fetching water even miles away..

his anger at his motherm made not to visit his house during the tenure of chief ministership

Once over Virudhunagar Prime Minister Jawaharlal went in an open car. A flood of people on both sides of the road!  when he noticed a old woman was standing and watchin kamarajar, and kamarajar is avoiding her glance. on seeing he inquired with theMinister of Education C.Subramaniam . He told the lady was kamarajar’s Mother . Nehru jumped from the car and  went over  Sivagami , enquire about her health , When he asked what she want,’ please be my guest for this day’. kamarajar objected about delaying of  party programme. But Nehru overruled him,spent few minutes with kamarajar’s Mother. he was surprised to learn that it was years that kamarajar visited his Mother and eaten there.

When kamarajar died he left with a paiseless just owned a pair of chappels dozen of Books, his family was in poor condition even the house was taken by the state..He live like a hermit, died as a simple man..

When emergency was declared, he was the one leader that Indira Gandhi refused to arrest. But it hurt him very bad when national leaders were put behind bars, and civil liberty suspended..tears flowed from him,’ This is going to be worse’

he never recover from that shock It was on the birth Day of Gandhi, another ‘KALA GANDHI” as he was famously called for breathed his last..

Picture courtsey:Dinamani.com

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