C. N. Annadurai (1909–1969), with a balding pate, tobacco-stained teeth, stubble chin and a captivating husky voice, stood barely five feet and two inches. But he strode Tamil Nadu politics like a colossus. Anna, as he is widely known, harnessed the ideas and energies unleashed by his mentor Periyar E.V. Ramasamy and securely accommodated Tamil nationalism within the Indian nation-state.
The author traces the eventful life of Anna from his birth in a modest weaver family in Kanchipuram. Getting a degree through Pachaiyappa's College, he chose a career in politics and cut his political teeth in the Justice Party that had a non-Brahmin base. His moment came when he was spotted by Periyar and groomed as his lieutenant.
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