K. Kamaraj

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K. Kamaraj
K. Kamaraj.jpg
Member of Parliament (Lok Sabha) for Nagercoil
In office
1967–1975
Preceded byA. Nesamony
Succeeded byKumari Ananthan
ConstituencyNagercoil
Member of Tamil Nadu Legislative Assembly for Sattur
In office
1957–1967
Preceded byS. Ramaswamy Naidu
Succeeded byS. Ramaswamy Naidu
ConstituencySattur
Member of Tamil Nadu Legislative Assembly for Gudiyatham
In office
1954–1957
Preceded byRathnaswamy and A. J. Arunachala Mudaliar
Succeeded byV. K. Kothandaraman and T. Manavalan
ConstituencyGudiyatham
Chief Minister of the Madras State (Tamil Nadu)
In office
1954–1963
Preceded byC. Rajagopalachari
Succeeded byM. Bhakthavatsalam
Member of Parliament (Lok Sabha) for Srivilliputhur
In office
1952–1954
Preceded byNone
Succeeded byS. S. Natarajan
ConstituencySrivilliputhur
President of the Indian National Congress (Organisation)
In office
1967–1971
Preceded byNone
Succeeded byMorarji Desai
President of the Indian National Congress
In office
1963–1967
Preceded byNeelam Sanjiva Reddy
Succeeded byS. Nijalingappa
President of the Madras Provincial Congress Committee
In office
1946–1952
Succeeded byP. Subbarayan
Personal details
Born(1903-07-15)15 July 1903
Virudhunagar, Tamil Nadu, India
Died2 October 1975(1975-10-02) (aged 72)
Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India
NationalityIndia
Political partyIndian National Congress
ReligionHinduism[1]
Signature
 
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K. Kamaraj
K. Kamaraj.jpg
Member of Parliament (Lok Sabha) for Nagercoil
In office
1967–1975
Preceded byA. Nesamony
Succeeded byKumari Ananthan
ConstituencyNagercoil
Member of Tamil Nadu Legislative Assembly for Sattur
In office
1957–1967
Preceded byS. Ramaswamy Naidu
Succeeded byS. Ramaswamy Naidu
ConstituencySattur
Member of Tamil Nadu Legislative Assembly for Gudiyatham
In office
1954–1957
Preceded byRathnaswamy and A. J. Arunachala Mudaliar
Succeeded byV. K. Kothandaraman and T. Manavalan
ConstituencyGudiyatham
Chief Minister of the Madras State (Tamil Nadu)
In office
1954–1963
Preceded byC. Rajagopalachari
Succeeded byM. Bhakthavatsalam
Member of Parliament (Lok Sabha) for Srivilliputhur
In office
1952–1954
Preceded byNone
Succeeded byS. S. Natarajan
ConstituencySrivilliputhur
President of the Indian National Congress (Organisation)
In office
1967–1971
Preceded byNone
Succeeded byMorarji Desai
President of the Indian National Congress
In office
1963–1967
Preceded byNeelam Sanjiva Reddy
Succeeded byS. Nijalingappa
President of the Madras Provincial Congress Committee
In office
1946–1952
Succeeded byP. Subbarayan
Personal details
Born(1903-07-15)15 July 1903
Virudhunagar, Tamil Nadu, India
Died2 October 1975(1975-10-02) (aged 72)
Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India
NationalityIndia
Political partyIndian National Congress
ReligionHinduism[1]
Signature

Kumarasami Kamaraj , better known as K. Kamaraj, (15 July 1903[2] – 2 October 1975[3]) was an Indian politician from Tamil Nadu widely acknowledged as the "Kingmaker" in Indian politics during the 1960s. He was the chief minister of Tamil Nadu during 1954–1963 and a Member of Parliament during 1952–1954 and 1969–1975. He was known for his simplicity and integrity.[2][4]

He was involved in the Indian independence movement.[5] As a high-ranking office bearer of the Indian National Congress, he was instrumental in bringing to power two Prime Ministers, Lal Bahadur Shastri in 1964 and Indira Gandhi in 1966. In Tamil Nadu, his home state, he is still remembered for bringing school education to millions of the rural poor by introducing free education and the free Midday Meal Scheme during his tenure as chief minister. He was awarded India's highest civilian honour, the Bharat Ratna, posthumously in 1976.[6] The domestic terminal of the Chennai airport is named "Kamaraj Terminal", Chennai's Beach Road renamed "Kamarajar Salai", Bengaluru's North Parade Road as "K. Kamaraj Rd." and the Madurai Kamaraj University in his honour.[4][7]

Early life[edit]

Kamaraj was born on 15 July 1903 to Kumarasamy Nadar and Sivakami Ammal at Virudhunagar in Tamil Nadu. His real name was Kamakshi and his mother affectionately called him Raja and later his name became Kamaraj(Kamatchi + Raja).[1] His parents were from a trading family. His father Kumarasamy Nadar, was a coconut merchant. In 1907, four years after the birth of Kamaraj his sister Nagammal was born.[8] At age 5 (1907), Kamaraj was admitted to traditional school(called 'Thinnai Palli' in Tamil which was a system of school available in the past) on the next day of "Saraswathy Pooja".[citation needed] In 1908, he was admitted in Yenadhi Narayana Vidhya Salai. In 1909 Kamaraj was admitted in Virudupatti High School—Kshtriya Vidhyasala which is the only high school in Virdhupatti.[9] Kamaraj's father died when he was six years old and his mother was forced to support her family by selling her jewellery. In 1914, Kamaraj dropped out of school to support his family.[10][11] After that he worked in his uncle's clothshop as a salesboy.[citation needed]

During this time, he started joining processions and attended public meetings about Home Rule Movement and British Rule addressed by orators like Dr. Varadarajulu Naidu, V.Kalyana Sundara Mudaliar and George Joseph.[12] Kamaraj developed interest in prevailing political conditions by reading newspapers daily.[13]

Punjab Massacre was the decisive turning point in his life and at this point he decided his aim was to fight for the National freedom and to bring an end to foreign rule.[14][15] In 1920, at the age of 18 he became active political worker and joined Congress as full-time worker.[15] In 1921, Kamaraj was organising public meetings at Virudhunagar for congress leaders. He was eager to meet Gandhi and when Gandhi visited Madhurai on 21 September 1921, Kamaraj attended Gandhi's public meeting and met him for the first time in person. He visited villages carrying Congress propaganda .[16]

In 1922, Congress was boycotting the visit of Prince of Wales as part of Non-cooperation movement. Kamaraj came to Madras and took part in this event.[17] Kamaraj participated in the famous Vaikom Satyagraha led by George Joseph against the atrocities of the higher caste Hindus on the Harijans.[18] In 1923–25, Kamaraj participated in Nagpur Flag Satyagraha .[19] In 1927, Kamaraj started Sword Satyagraha in Madras and also he was chosen to lead the Neil Statue Satyagraha but it was given up later in view of Simon Commission boycott.[20][21] Kamaraj lead almost all the agitation and demonstration against the British rule.[22]

Kamaraj was first jailed in June 1930 for two years in Alipore Jail, Calcutta for participation in "Salt Satyagraha" led by Rajagopalachari at Vedaranyam and was released earlier in 1931 in consequence of Gandhi-Irwin Pact before he could serve full term imprisonment.[citation needed]

In 1932, Section 144 was imposed in Madras prohibiting the holdings of meetings and organising procession against the arrest of Gandhi in Bombay. In Virdhunagar under Kamaraj leadership everyday processions and demonstrations happened. Kamaraj was arrested again in Jan 1932 and sentenced for 1 year imprisonment.[23]

In 1933, Kamaraj was falsely implicated in the Virudhunagar bomb case. Dr. Varadarajulu Naidu and George Joseph argued on Kamaraj's behalf and proved the charges to be baseless [24]

Kamaraj was doing a vigorous campaign through the state asking people not to contribute to war funds when Sir Arthur Hope the Madras Governor was collecting contributions to funds for Second World War. In Dec 1940, he was arrested again at Guntur under the 'Defence of Indian Rules' for speeches opposing contributions to the war fund and sent to Vellore Central Prison while he was on his way to Wardha to get Gandhi's approval for a list of Satyagrahis. While he was in jail, he was elected as Municipal Council of Virudhunagar. He got released 9 months later in Nov 1941 and he resigned from his post as he thought he had greater responsibility for the nation. [25][26] His principle was "One should not accept any post to which one could not do full justice".[citation needed]

In 1942, Kamaraj attented All India Congress Committee in Bombay and returned to spread propaganda material for the "Quit India Movement" called by Gandhi. The Police issued orders to all the leaders who attented this Bombay session. Kamaraj did not want to get arrested before he takes the message to all district and local leaders. He decided not to goto Madras and decided to cut short his trip and saw large number of policemen waiting for the arrest of congress leaders in Arakonam. He managed to escape from the police and went to Ranipet, Tanjore, Trichy, Madurai and informed local leaders about the Programme. He reached Virdhunagar after finishing his work and sent message to the local police that he was ready to be arrested. He was arrested on August 1942. He was under detention for 3 years and was released on June 1945. This was the last term of his prison life [25] [27] [28] [29]

Kamaraj was imprisoned six times by the British for his pro-Independence activities, accumulating more than 3000 days in jail.[30]

Politics[edit]

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. Never did Kamaraj aspire for any post in the party or in the administration. For him the posts were like a towel over the shoulder . Without any hesitation he chose to quit posts for the benefit of future generation .

Education[edit]

Kamaraj, removed the family vocation based Hereditary Education Policy introduced by Rajaji. 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 (4.8 km) 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 re education up to the eleventh standard. He introduced the Midday Meal Scheme to provide at least one meal per day to the lakhs of poor school children (first time in the world). He introduced free school uniforms to weed out caste, creed and class distinctions among young minds.

Kamaraj Statue in Marina Beach, Chennai depicting his contribution to education in the state

During British regime the education was only 7 percent. But in Kamaraj's period it reached 37% . 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. Kamaraj and Bishnuram Medhi (Governor) took efforts to establish IIT Madras in 1959.[citation needed]

Agriculture[edit]

Major irrigation schemes were planned in Kamaraj's period . Dams and irrigation canals were build across Lower Bhavani, Mani Muthar, Aarani, Vaigai, Amaravathi, Sathanur, Krishnagiri, Pullambadi, Parambikulam and Neyyaru among others. The Lower Bhavani Dam in Erode district brought 207,000 acres (840 km2) of land under cultivation. 45,000 acres (180 km2) of land benefited from canals constructed from Mettur Dam. Vaigai and Sathanur systems facilitated cultivation across thousands of acres of lands in Madurai and North Arcot districts respectively. Rs 30 crores were planned to be spent for Parambikulam River scheme in Kamaraj's period. 150 lakhs of acres of lands was brought under cultivation. One third of this i.e. 56 lakhs of acres of land got permanent irrigation facility.

In 1957–61 1,628 Tanks were de-silted under Small Irrigation Scheme 2000 wells were dug with outlets. Long term loans with 25% subsidy were given to farmers. Apart from farmers who are having dry lands were given oil engines, electric pump sets on installment basis.

Commerce and Industry[edit]

Industries with huge investments in crores of Rupees were started in his period. Neyveli Lignite Corporation, BHEL at Trichy, Manali Oil Refinery, Hindustan raw photo film factory at Ooty, Surgical instruments factory at Chennai, Railway Coach factory at Chennai were established. Industries such as paper, sugar, chemicals and cement took off during the period.

Kamaraj's First Cabinet[edit]

Kamaraj's council of ministers during his first tenure as Chief Minister(13 April 1954 – 31 March 1957):[31]

MinisterPortfolios
K. KamarajChief Minister, Public and Police in the Home Department
M. BhaktavatsalamAgriculture, Forests, Fisheries, Cinchona, Rural Welfare, Community Projects, National Extension Scheme, Women’s Welfare, Industries and Labour and Animal Husbandry and Veterinary
C. SubramaniamFinance, Food, Education, Elections and Information and Publicity and Law (Courts and Prisons)
A. B. ShettyMedical and Public Health, Co-operation, Housing and Ex-servicemen.
M. A. Manickavelu NaickerLand Revenue, Commercial Taxes and Rural Development
Shanmugha Rajeswara SethupathiPublic Works, Accommodation Control, Engineering Colleges, Stationery and Printing including Establishment questions of the Stationery Department and the Government Press
B. ParameswaranTransport, Harijan Uplift, Hindu Religious Endowments, Registration and Prohibition
S. S. Ramasami PadayachiLocal Administration
Changes

Kamaraj's Second Cabinet[edit]

Kamarajar Statue situated in Tirumangalam PKN Higher Secondary School

Kamaraj's council of ministers during his second tenure as Chief Minister (1 April 1957 – 1 March 1962)[32]

MinisterPortfolios
K. KamarajChief Minister, Public, Planning and Development (including Local development Works, Women's Welfare, Community Projects and Rural Welfare), National Extension Scheme
M. BhaktavatsalamHome
C. SubramaniamFinance
R. VenkataramanIndustries
M. A. Manickavelu NaickerRevenue
P. KakkanWorks
V. RamaiahElectricity
Lourdhammal SimonLocal Administration

Kamaraj's Third Cabinet[edit]

Kamaraj's council of ministers during his third tenure as Chief Minister(3 March 1962 – 2 October 1963)[32][33][34]

MinisterPortfolios
K. KamarajChief Minister, Public, Planning and Development (including Local development Works, Women's Welfare, Community Projects and Rural Welfare), National Extension Scheme
M. BhaktavatsalamFinance and Education
Jothi VenkatachalamPublic Health
R. VenkataramanRevenue
S. M. Abdul MajidLocal Administration
P. KakkanAgriculture
V. RamaiahPublic Works and Revenue
N. Nallasenapathi Sarkarai MandradiarCooperation and Forests
G. BhuvaraghanPublicity and Information

Kamaraj Plan[edit]

Kamaraj remained Chief Minister for three consecutive terms, winning elections in 1957 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".

Kamaraj statue at East Tambaram, Chennai

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. 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 realized that if he had wide learning and vision, Kamaraj possessed enormous common sense and pragmatism. Kamaraj was elected President, Indian National Congress, on 9 October 1963.[35]

The King Maker[edit]

After Nehru's death in 1964, Kamaraj successfully navigated the party through the turbulent times. As the president of the Indian National Congress, he refused to become the next prime minister himself and was instrumental in bringing to power two Prime Ministers, Lal Bahadur Shastri in 1964 and Nehru's daughter Indira Gandhi in 1966. For this role, he is widely acclaimed as the "King Maker" during the 1960s.

Split of Congress[edit]

When the Congress split in 1969, Kamaraj became the leader of the INC (O) in Tamil Nadu. The party fared poorly in the 1971 elections amid allegations of fraud by the opposition parties. He remained as the leader of INC (O) till his death in 1975.

Electoral history[edit]

YearPostConstituencyPartyOpponentElectionResult
1937M.L.ASatturINCUnopposed1937 electionsWon
1946M.L.ASattur-AruppukottaiINCUnopposed1946 electionsWon
1952M.PSrivilliputturINCG. D. NaiduIndian General Elections, 1951Won
1954M.L.AGudiyathamINCV. K. KothandaramanBy ElectionWon
1957M.L.ASatturINCJayarama ReddiarMadras legislative assembly election, 1957Won
1962M.L.ASatturINCP. RamamoorthyMadras legislative assembly election, 1962Won
1967M.L.AVirudhunagarINCP. SeenivasanTamil Nadu state assembly election, 1967Lost
1969M.PNagercoilINCM. MathiasBy ElectionWon
1971M.PNagercoilINC (O)M. C. BalanIndian General Elections, 1971Won

Death[edit]

Kamaraj memorial in Chennai
Kamaraj memorial in Chennai

Kamaraj died on 2 October 1975, in his house.He was awarded India's highest civilian honour, the 'Bharat Ratna' posthumously in 1976.

Legacy[edit]

A large number of statues have been erected in his honor across the state. The domestic terminal of the Chennai airport has been named "Kamaraj Terminal", Chennai's Beach Road renamed "Kamarajar Salai", Bengaluru's North Parade Road as "K. Kamaraj Road" and the Madurai Kamaraj University in his honour.

Popular culture[edit]

In 2004 a Tamil film titled Kamaraj was made based on the life history of Kamaraj. The English version of the film was released on DVD in 2007.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Complete biography of K. Kamaraj
  2. ^ a b Revised edition of book on Kamaraj to be launched, The Hindu 08 July 2009
  3. ^ Crusading Congressman, Frontline Magazine, 15-28 September 2001
  4. ^ a b He raised the bar with simplicity, The Hindu 16 July 2008
  5. ^ The commonsense politician, Frontline Magazine, 17-30 August 2002
  6. ^ "Padma Awards Directory (1954-2007)". Ministry of Home Affairs. Archived from the original on 2009-03-04. Retrieved 7 December 2010. 
  7. ^ Man of the people, The Tribune October 4, 1975
  8. ^ Life of Perunthalaivar Kamaraj, Chapter 1
  9. ^ Details about Kingmaker of Politics Kumarasami Kamaraj Ex Chief minister of Tamil Nadu
  10. ^ Kapur, Raghu Pati (1966). Kamaraj, the iron man. Deepak Associates. p. 12. 
  11. ^ Life of Perunthalaivar Kamaraj, Chapter 1, Life4
  12. ^ Life of Perunthalaivar Kamaraj, Political Call
  13. ^ The Political Career of K.Kamaraj, page 23
  14. ^ Life of Perunthalaivar Kamaraj, Turning Point
  15. ^ a b Freedom Movement In Madras Presidency With Special Reference To The Role Of Kamaraj (1920-1945), Page 1
  16. ^ Early Life of K.Kamaraj, Page 25
  17. ^ Freedom Movement In Madras Presidency With Special Reference To The Role Of Kamaraj (1920-1945), Page 2
  18. ^ PERUNTHALAIVAR KAMARAJAR
  19. ^ K.Kamaraj
  20. ^ The Political Career of K.Kamaraj,Page 30
  21. ^ Life of Perunthalaivar Kamaraj, Chapter1 Life16
  22. ^ Remembering Our Leaders,Page 145
  23. ^ Freedom Movement In Madras Presidency With Special Reference To The Role Of Kamaraj (1920-1945), Page 3
  24. ^ George Joseph, a true champion of subaltern
  25. ^ a b Remembering Our Leaders,Page 146
  26. ^ Encyclopedia of Bharat Ratnas, Page 88
  27. ^ Encyclopedia of Bharat Ratnas, Page 89
  28. ^ Tributes To Kamaraj
  29. ^ Jail Life
  30. ^ Crafting State Nations, Page 124
  31. ^ A Review of the Madras Legislative Assembly (1952-1957)
  32. ^ a b Kandaswamy. P (2008). The political Career of K. Kamaraj. Concept Publishing Company. pp. 62–64. ISBN 8171228018 Check |isbn= value (help). 
  33. ^ The Madras Legislative Assembly, Third Assembly I Session
  34. ^ The Madras Legislative Assembly, Third Assembly II Session
  35. ^ [1][dead link]

External links[edit]