Kamarajar Ayya served as Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu from 1954 to 1963. He was also the president of Indian National Congress from 1964 to 1967, taking significant decisions to choose leaders for the country which is why he is known as the ‘Kingmaker’. It was not easy for him to climb steadily up the party hierarchy without having fluency in English and Hindi.
Yes, he was a kingmaker at the national level, but he was really a ‘King’ in Tamil Nadu. Undoubtedly his regime was the golden era in Tamil Nadu, the state prospered in all sectors and saw a revolution in education, irrigation projects, power generation, industrial development, etc. Employment opportunities, number of schools and colleges rose steadily during his tenure. Unlike present-day Tamil Nadu politics, his politics didn’t attempt to give freebies to muster votes making people sluggish all the while. Education was the only free thing introduced by him followed by the free Midday Meal Scheme which later went viral across the Nation bringing millions of rural poor to schools.
Despite the good records, clean and efficient image of the government created by him, Congress started losing and Tamilnadu saw Dravidian racial ideological forces gaining power by spreading lies and generating fear among the people, a strategy that they still continue to use against whomever they dislike. They even used cinema as a political tool to spread their ideology with the aura and stardom of MGR and scriptwriting skills of sunglass-sporting patriarch Karunanidhi. Drowned in the colour of red and black, Kamarajar lost in his own hometown Virudhunagar to a 28-year-old student activist P. Srinivasan in the 1967 assembly elections. While Kamarajar tried to unite communities, the opposition was progressing steadily by creating hatred and divisions among different religious, regional and caste sects.
In 1969, as Ex-CM when Kamaraj stood against Dr Mathias in the Christian dominated constituency of Nagergoil, DMK chief Karunanidhi said :
“One is an immigrant alien Nadar (kamraj) and the other is our own indigenous Nadar (Mathias). One worships Shiva but the other Nadar worships the cross. So the people of Nagercoil should vote for their indigenous Nadar.”
Such dialogues of hatred and lies, blood-shed, racial differentiation and Aryan-dravidian myth gave life to Dravidian politics. Under their rule, TN was turning into a shelter of corruption and gundagiri, whereas “Pachai Tamizhan” Kamarajar was genuine to his people and loyal to his motherland. Even after these political attacks he remained gentle and kept his calm. Maybe what Thiru. Rajnikanth tries to explain now by ‘Spiritual Politics’ was then exhibited by Kamaraj in this same state. He never married, led a simple lifestyle dedicated to his people and taught us what morality is. He was a man of few words; the press often went mad when he answered all questions put by them in a single Tamil word – “Parkalam” (Let’s see). I often tell others about my belief that Tamil Nadu will see such a genuine and pure political force re-emerge sometime and when someone asks “When?” I too could only say “Parkalam”