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 Simplicity Category
Kamaraj is believed to have led a spartan life unlike most Indian politicians for whom politics is just an easy way to feather their nest.
Writing in The New York Times, the late Pulitzer Prize winning journalist J.Anthony Lukas described Kamaraj thus:
“Kamaraj’s real achievement, then, has not been in remaking the party but in manipulating the diverse and disputatious elements within it. His genius lies in dealing with men as they are, not in changing them, and this ability is based on a realistc assessment of human nature.”
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.
“Mr Kamaraj was not rich and has not grown rich; he is a bachelor and has no family ties. He has been and is a whole-time politician and has laboured to acquire personal knowledge of men and things all over the Tamil country and he knows all the leaders of his party from every part of India. He has also acquired facility in English and very considerable knowledge of world affairs. He is immensely popular for all these reasons and especially because he has no vices and leads a simple life. Above all he is the ‘representative’ Tamil as most Tamils imagine that figure. His ways of speaking, walking, eating and dress commend themselves to the many millions to whom these are familiar ways with nothing outlandish about them”
KUMARASWAMY Kamaraj was an ordinary man with extraordinary qualities of head and heart. From humble beginnings, he rose to the highest position of helping make two Prime Ministers of India, first Lal Bahadur Sastri and then Indira Gandhi. The demise of Nehru was expected to create a political void leading to instability of sorts, but Kamaraj as Congress president played the man of destiny, settling the succession issue amicably through a democratic consensus. It was perhaps the crowning glory of his life.
When he enlisted himself as a soldier in the freedom movement, he was totally under the spell of Mahatma Gandhi and to the very end he remained Gandhian by conviction and practice. There were occasions when he had his differences with Gandhi in running party affairs in Tamil Nadu but his loyalty to the Mahatma remained unwavering. For him Congress was the creed. All through his life, he was guided by native commonsense and that made him a real leader of the masses. He spoke to them in a language they understood. His speeches were embellished with ideas and not with grandiose eloquence. He was a man of simple habits and permitted himself the sole luxury of smoking a cigarette of relatively costly brand. Even this luxury he enjoyed in privacy and rarely in the company of his intimate friends.