Who would even have dreamed that Kamakshi Kumaraswamy , son of a simple coconut merchant at Virudhunagar, near Madurai in Tamil Nadu will become one of the popular and most honest politician of India.
This little boy who was born on 15th July 1903 was a school drop out , yet he was so concerned about the society, that in latter days he became the chief minister of Tamilnadu and also was instrumental in bringing to power two Prime Ministers, Lal Bahadur Shastri in 1964 and Indira Gandhi in 1966 – yes he was the Gandhi of South – Kamarajar.
Though he belonged to the congress party he was not inclined to any political pressures or for any political compromises what so ever.
He reopened the 6000 schools closed by previous government for financial reasons and also added 12000 more schools.
Tamilnadu 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 free 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.
On October 2, 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 organizational 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 organization.
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.”
The veteran leader’s last words in his death bed to his assistant was, “Vairavan, put out the lights when you go out.” This shows his responsibility,simplicity.
He was a simple person but a very powerful leader, which India misses the most today.
Today can we think of a politician, who will even think twice if he was criticized by a writer ?
Would our politicians be bothered about how a book has portrayed their party or administration?
That’s where Kamaraj differs from rest of the politicians.
Here is a personal experience …
My dad once told me this, my granddad Author Akilan was called up by then chief minister Kamaraj, regarding akilan’s novel’s criticisms on the political flaws of Kamraj. They both spent a whole night discussing about political issues and problems of people.
That is why we still see Kamaraj as ‘Black diamond’.