Sri MGR Year 92, October 31st Saturday
Special Post by Dilkaran Ardent MGR Fan.
People’s Man who they fondly call Enga Veettu Pillai and Makkal Thilagam. For those who have followed his political path, he is revered as Puratchi Thalaivar, or Revolutionary Leader of the South Indian state of Thamil Nadu, or Tamil Country.
Maruthur Gopalamenon Ramachandran, or simply, known to even a toddler, as MGR, was born in Ceylon (as Sri Lanka was known at the time) on January 17, 1917.
After the loss of his father at a very young age, the toddler and older brother returned back with their mother to Kerala. Poverty drove the little MGR and his brother, M G Chakrapani, to join a drama troupe as a very young age. He started his long acting career, first on stage, and later in cinema.
MGR started his cinema career, acting in supporting roles, until he was cast as a hero, in Rajakumari. Further to the success of Rajakumari, MGR only looked forward in his aspiration to become the No. 1 in films in Tamil Nadu. He maintained that spot till his exit from the movie industry in 1977, when he ascended the highest political position in the state, Chief Minister. MGR was the first Thamil actor to be bestowed with Padmashree
During the early stages of MGR’s life, like millions of Indians, he followed the principles and guidance of Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi. MGR was a Congress supporter for a long time, until he was introduced by T.V.Narayanasamy to C.N. Annadurai. Anna as he was fondly called had felt that the state should be represented by a Dravidian group and formed the secular party, Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam or DMK. MGR joined the DMK and both the DMK and MGR popularized the party’s doctrine through the public medium of cinema. MGR always portrayed the do-gooder in almost all his films and did not waver from his conviction and policies. He continued to make movies and also ran for public office and was elected as a MLA, when he won the election by a landslide. DMK won the elections in 1967 and changed the course of Thamil Nadu forever.
MGR formed his own political party in 1972, further to a dispute with the leader, Karunanidhi, and won the State elections in 1977. He was re-elected twice more and remained Chief Minister of the State until his demise on December 24, 1987.
MGR introduced the Mid Day meal scheme for children, which was recognized by the UNICEF and the late Mother Theresa. During his lifetime as a celebrity, MGR donated a large portion of his personal income to various charities. He was the first celebrity to donate Rs. 75,000 to the Central Government during the Indo China war. The list goes on. To date, MGR is believed to have a vote bank, which is used at every State election by the Party he formed, the AIADMK. A memorial was built by the government of Thamil Nadu, where MGR was put to rest, beside his political leader and mentor, Anna, on the shores of the Marina Beach. MGR was awarded the highest civilian honour, Baratha Ratna, by the Government of India.