The political career of Kumaraswamy Kamaraj (1903-1975) spanning about 50 years, cutting across the colonial and post-independent phases, of Indian history, is indeed an enviable record. Representing a novel political culture neither bordering on Gandhian thought and action nor possessing the anglicised sophistication and cosmopolitanism of the Nehruvian vision, Kamaraj, rose from an underprivileged background, stood forth as a sober and robust figure winning the confidence and respect of the common people.
He showed a rare political acumen and the uncanny ability to grasp social and political realities from the grass roots level upwards. A hard core political realist, his political life was never governed by any high theories or fancy jargon. Accredited with the capacity to be at ease with cliques, groups, factions and castes, Kamaraj applied his energies in favour of common people. Endowed with an extraordinary memory, his minimal formal schooling! was never a serious impediment. In fact rarely could a man from such a humble origin possess such knowledge about Tamil Nadu, be it geography or ethnography, which is beyond most intellectuals and academicians.
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