Arignar Anna-The Great tamil politician

Will is victory if Knowledge is Power

Anna,Tamilnadu

Conjeevaram Natarajan Annadurai (15 September 1909 – 3 February 1969), popularly Arignar Anna (“Anna, the scholar”), was an Indian politician who served as 1st Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu for 20 days in 1969 and fifth and last Chief Minister of Madras State from 1967 until 1969 when the name of the state of Madras was changed to Tamil Nadu. He was the first member of a Dravidian party to hold either post.

He was well known for his oratorical skills and was an acclaimed writer in the Tamil language. He scripted and acted in several plays. Some of his plays were later made into movies. He was the first politician from the Dravidian parties to use Tamil cinema extensively for political propaganda. Born in a middle-class family, he first worked as a school teacher, then moved into the political scene of the Madras Presidency as a journalist. He edited several political journals and enrolled as a member of the Dravidar Kazhagam. As an ardent follower of Periyar E. V. Ramasamy, he rose in stature as a prominent member of the party.

Hindi was first recommended to be an apt language for official purposes in India by a committee headed by Motilal Nehru in 1928. This move was opposed by people and politicians of Tamil Nadu, since they considered that it would make them second class citizens when compared to that of native Hindi speaking North Indians.

Madras Anti Hindi agitation, 1965

When India became a republic with its own constitution in 1950, the constitution had given special status to the Hindi language, which was to gain official status after 15 years in 1965. This move was regarded with anxiety by students in Tamil Nadu. Speaking of making Hindi as official language of India, Annadurai said It is claimed that Hindi should be the common language because it is spoken by the majority. Why should we then claim the tiger as our national animal instead of the rat which is so much more numerous? Or the peacock as our national bird when the crow is ubiquitous?. In view of continued threat to impose Hindi, the DMK held an open-air conference against Hindi imposition at Kodambakkam, Chennai in August 1960, which Annadurai presided over. He gave black flags to leading functionaries, to be shown to the President of India during his visit to the state. Sensing an uprising, Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru assured in the Parliament that English would continue to be the official language of India, as long as non-Hindi speaking people desire. DMK gave up the plan of showing black flags and Annadurai appealed to the Union Government to bring about a constitutional amendment incorporating the assurance.

On 10 September 1968 Annadurai travelled to New York for medical treatment and he was operated for Cancer in the gullet at the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. He returned to Chennai in November and continued to address several official functions against medical advice. His health deteriorated further and he died on 3 February 1969. His cancer was attributed to his habit of chewing tobacco. His funeral had the highest number of attendees until then, as registered with The Guinness Book of Records. An estimated 15 million people attended it.His remains were buried in the northern end of Marina Beach, which is now called Anna Memorial