Wednesday, April 28, 2010

A stalwart of the Dravidian movement

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.

His imprint on the Tamil language, both in print and on the platform, was distinct, with numerous emulators and imitators. Unfortunately, Anna has been ill-served by biographers. For want of a competently written biography in English, the non-Tamil readers were hugely handicapped in understanding the man who made a lasting impact on Indian politics. In bringing out this book, R. Kannan has addressed this long-felt need.

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.

Full report here Hindu

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