JUST ABOUT three decades ago there lived here a selfless leader, an upright politician and a sacrificing son of the soil. Yet how many of us know of his greatness? It is to the credit of Ramana Communications that it has produced a film on K. Kamaraj, a diehard Congressman of the Nehru era. Making a film on the life of the distinguished personality, who remained a bachelor all his life and served the country till his last breath, surely allows no scope for any of the formula stuff that the filmgoer is so used to. And hence offers the investor absolutely no commercial guarantee. But undeterred by the risk, Ramana Communications has taken up such a venture.
Posts From Leadership Category
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.” Followed by him a number of Central and State ministers like Lal Bahadur Shastri, Jagjivan Ram, Satyendra Narayan Sinha, Morarji Desai and S.K. Patil followed suit and resigned from their posts. In 1964, Kamaraj was elected ‘Congress President’ and he successfully navigated the party and the nation through the stormy years following Nehru’s death. Kamaraj’s political maturity came in full view when Nehru died in 1964. How he settled the succession issue for the Prime Ministership was amply proved by his choice of Lal Bahadur Shastri and Indira Gandhi in succession.
Kamaraj was ‘reluctant to accept’ the chief ministership but the circumstance prevailed upon him as there was no ‘alternative to the kingmaker himself ascending the throne.’ Kamaraj took the mantle from Rajaji, and formed his first cabinet, which did not contain a single Brahmin contrary to Rajaji’s first ministry in 1937, ‘dominated by Brahmins’. The elevation of Kamaraj as the chief minister on the wave of opposition to the Rajaji scheme of education, led to the development of closer ties between Kamaraj and E V Ramasamy. The Congress gained the support of E V Ramasamy and Kamaraj’s equation with the non-Brahmins was kept intact. E V Ramasamy was all set to endorse his solidarity with Kamaraj on the grounds that in all these years he was the first and only non-Brahmin with Tamil as his mother tongue to become the chief minister; and for the first time a full-fledged ministry had been formed without a single Brahmin headed! by Kamaraj.
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Even during the days of the freedom struggle, the Congress organisation had broadly indicated that the society which it envisaged after achieving independence was not the conventional type of society but a progressive one based on the modern concepts of social, political and economic equality and justice. The Indian National Congress, until Mahatma Gandhi assumed its leadership was confining its attention to political freedom. Mahatmaji not only spread the message of freedom to the farthest corners of India, but also devoted his attention to the eradication of poverty and misery among the masses. When the masses realised that the Indian National Congress stood for the betterment of their economic condition and their social progress, they joined the organisation in large numbers and gave them massive support.
Kumaraswami Kamaraj played a leading role in shaping India’s destiny from the passing away of Jawaharlal Nehru to the Congress split in 1969. He was born humble and poor in a backward area of Tamilnadu on July 15, 1903. He was a Nadar, one of the most depressed castes of Hindu society. His schooling lasted only six years. At twelve he was a shop assistant. He was barely fifteen when he heard of the Jallianwala Bagh massacre which was the turning point in his life. Two years later when Kamaraj saw Gandhiji at Madurai the path was chosen. He became a member of the Indian National Congress.
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Kamaraj had an uncanny talent for assessing men after a short acquaintance. In carrying his colleagues with him, he believed in consensus. In implementing programmes and schemes, he was ruthless to a fault. He was unsparing in extracting work from bureaucrats but at the same time treated them with respect. He had supreme self-confidence and could do business with any diplomat of international repute on equal terms. He was not conversant either with Hindi or English, but that did not stand in the way of his interacting with leaders at the national level. His grasp of the problems of the masses was extraordinary and that endeared him to the millions who looked up to him for alleviating their misery. His life was an illustration of how greatness and simplicity can go hand in hand.
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