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Kumaraswami Kamaraj (15 July 1903[1] –2 October 1975[2]), was a leader of the Indian National Congress
Indian National Congress
(INC), widely acknowledged as the "Kingmaker" in Indian politics during the 1960s. He served as INC president for four years between 1964–1967 and was responsible for the elevation of Lal Bahadur Shastri
Lal Bahadur Shastri
to the position of Prime Minister of India
India
after Indira Gandhi
Indira Gandhi
turned down the same at the time of Jawaharlal Nehru's death. Kamaraj was the 3rd Chief Minister of Madras State (Tamil Nadu) during 1954–1963 and a Member of Parliament, Lok Sabha during 1952–1954 and 1967–1975. He was known for his simplicity and integrity.[1][3] He was involved in the Indian independence movement.[4] As the president of the INC, he was instrumental in navigating the party after the death of Jawaharlal Nehru. In Tamil Nadu, his home state, he is still remembered for bringing school education to millions of the rural poor by introducing free education and the free Midday Meal Scheme during his tenure as chief minister. He was awarded with India's highest civilian honour, the Bharat Ratna, posthumously in 1976.[5]

Contents

1 Early life 2 Politics 3 Chief Minister

3.1 First Cabinet 3.2 Second Cabinet 3.3 Third Cabinet 3.4 Kamaraj Plan

4 National politics 5 Electoral history 6 Death 7 Legacy 8 Popular culture 9 References 10 External links

Early life[edit] Kamaraj was born on 15 July 1903 to Kumarasamy Nadar and Sivagami Ammal at Virudhunagar
Virudhunagar
in Tamil Nadu. His name was originally Kamatchi, but later changed to Kamarajar. His father Kumarasamy was a merchant. In 1907, four years after the birth of Kamaraj, his sister Nagammal was born.[citation needed] At age 5 (1907), Kamaraj was admitted to a traditional school and in 1908 he was admitted to Yenadhi Narayana Vidhya Salai. In 1909 Kamaraj was admitted in Virudupatti High School. Kamaraj's father died when he was six years old and his mother was forced to support her family. In 1914 Kamaraj dropped out of school to support his family.[6] Politics[edit] He worked in his uncle's provision shop and during this time he started joining processions and attending public meetings about the Indian Home Rule Movement. Kamaraj developed an interest in prevailing political conditions by reading newspapers daily.[7] The Jallianwala Bagh massacre was the decisive turning point in his life, and at this point he decided his aim was to fight for national freedom and to bring an end to foreign rule.[8][9] In 1920, at the age of 18, he became active as a political worker and joined Congress as a full-time worker.[9] In 1921 Kamaraj was organising public meetings at Virudhunagar
Virudhunagar
for Congress leaders. He was eager to meet Gandhi, and when Gandhi visited Madurai on 21 September 1921 Kamaraj attended Gandhi's public meeting and met him for the first time in person. He visited villages carrying Congress propaganda.[10] In 1922 Congress was boycotting the visit of the Prince of Wales as part of the Non-Cooperation Movement. He came to Madras
Madras
and took part in this event.[11] In 1923–25 Kamaraj participated in the Nagpur Flag Satyagraha.[12] In 1927, Kamaraj started the Sword Satyagraha
Satyagraha
in Madras
Madras
and was chosen to lead the Neil Statue Satyagraha, but this was given up later in view of the Simon Commission boycott.[13] Kamaraj was jailed in June 1930 for two years for participation in the "Salt Satyagraha".[14] led by Rajagopalachari at Vedaranyam; he was released early in 1931 in consequence of the Gandhi-Irwin Pact before he could serve his full term of imprisonment.[citation needed] In 1932, Section 144 was imposed in Madras
Madras
prohibiting the holding of meetings and organisation of processions against the arrest of Gandhi in Bombay. In Virdhunagar, under Kamaraj's leadership, processions and demonstrations happened every day. Kamaraj was arrested again in January 1932 and sentenced to one year's imprisonment.[15] In 1933 Kamaraj was falsely implicated in the Virudhunagar
Virudhunagar
bomb case. Varadarajulu Naidu and George Joseph argued on Kamaraj's behalf and proved the charges to be baseless.[16] At the age of 34, Kamaraj entered the Assembly winning the Sattur
Sattur
seat in the 1937 election.[citation needed] Kamaraj was conducting a vigorous campaign throughout the state asking people not to contribute to war funds when Sir Arthur Hope, the Madras Governor, was collecting contributions to fund for the Second World War. In December 1940 he was arrested again at Guntur, under the Defence of India
India
rules for speeches opposing contributions to the war fund, and sent to Vellore Central Prison while he was on his way to Wardha to get Gandhi's approval for a list of Satyagrahis. While in jail, he was elected as Municipal Councillor of Virudhunagar. He was released nine months later in November 1941 and resigned from this post as he thought he had greater responsibility for the nation. [17][18] His principle was "One should not accept any post to which one could not do full justice".[citation needed] In 1942, Kamaraj attended the All- India
India
Congress Committee in Bombay and returned to spread propaganda material for the Quit India Movement. The police issued orders to all the leaders who attended this Bombay session. Kamaraj did not want to get arrested before he took the message to all district and local leaders. He decided not to go to Madras
Madras
and decided to cut short his trip; he saw a large number of policemen waiting for the arrest of Congress leaders in Arakonam but managed to escape from the police and went to Ranipet, Tanjore, Trichy and Madurai to inform local leaders about the programme. He reached Virdhunagar after finishing his work and sent a message to the local police that he was ready to be arrested. He was arrested in August 1942. He was under detention for three years and was released in June 1945. This was his last prison term.[14][17][19] Kamaraj was imprisoned six times by the British for his pro-Independence activities, accumulating more than 3,000 days in jail.[20] Chief Minister[edit] On 13 April 1954, Kamaraj became the Chief Minister of Madras Province. To everyone's surprise, Kamaraj nominated C. Subramaniam
C. Subramaniam
and M. Bhakthavatsalam, who had contested his leadership, to the newly formed cabinet. As Chief Minister, Kamaraj removed the family vocation based Hereditary Education Policy introduced by Rajaji. The State made immense strides in education and trade. New schools were opened, so that poor rural students had to walk no more than three kilometers to their nearest school. Better facilities were added to existing ones. No village remained without a primary school and no panchayat without a high school. Kamaraj strove to eradicate illiteracy by introducing free and compulsory education up to the eleventh standard. He introduced the Midday Meal Scheme
Midday Meal Scheme
to provide at least one meal per day to the lakhs of poor school children ((The Mid-day Meal Scheme, was first introduced in 1920 by the Madras
Madras
Corporation with the approval of the legislative council, as a breakfast scheme in a corporation school at Thousand Lights, Madras
Madras
for the first time in the world)) Later it was expanded to four more schools. This was the precursor to the free noon meal schemes introduced by K. Kamaraj
K. Kamaraj
in 1960's and expanded by M. G. Ramachandran
M. G. Ramachandran
in the 1980s.[citation needed]. He introduced free school uniforms to weed out caste, creed and class distinctions among young minds.

Kamaraj Statue in Marina Beach, Chennai
Chennai
depicting his contribution to education in the state

During the British regime the education rate was only 7 per cent. But after Kamaraj's reforms it reached 37% . Apart from increasing the number of schools, steps were taken to improve standards of education. To improve standards, the number of working days was increased from 180 to 200; unnecessary holidays were reduced; and syllabuses were prepared to give opportunity to various abilities. Kamaraj and Bishnuram Medhi (Governor) took efforts to establish IIT Madras
Madras
in 1959.[citation needed] Major irrigation schemes were planned in Kamaraj's period. Dams and irrigation canals were built across higher Bhavani, Mani Muthar, Aarani, Vaigai, Amaravathi, Sathanur, Krishnagiri, Pullambadi, Parambikulam
Parambikulam
and Neyyaru among others. The Lower Bhavani
Bhavani
Dam in Erode district brought 207,000 acres (840 km2) of land under cultivation. 45,000 acres (180 km2) of land benefited from canals constructed from the Mettur Dam. The Vaigai
Vaigai
and Sathanur systems facilitated cultivation across thousands of acres of lands in Madurai and North Arcot districts respectively. Rs 30 crores were planned to be spent for Parambikulam
Parambikulam
River scheme, and 150 lakhs of acres of lands were brought under cultivation; one third of this (i.e. 56 lakhs of acres of land) received a permanent irrigation facility. In 1957–61 1,628 tanks were de-silted under the Small Irrigation Scheme, and 2,000 wells were dug with outlets. Long term loans with 25% subsidy were given to farmers. In addition farmers who had dry lands were given oil engines and electric pump sets on an installment basis. Industries with huge investments in crores of Rupees were started in his period: Neyveli Lignite Corporation, BHEL
BHEL
at Trichy, Manali Oil Refinery, Hindustan raw photo film factory at Ooty, surgical instruments factory at Chennai, and a railway coach factory at Chennai were established. Industries such as paper, sugar, chemicals and cement took off during the period. First Cabinet[edit] Kamaraj's council of ministers during his first tenure as Chief Minister (13 April 1954 – 31 March 1957):[21]

Minister Portfolios

K. Kamaraj Chief Minister, Public and Police in the Home Department

M. Bhaktavatsalam Agriculture, Forests, Fisheries, Cinchona, Rural Welfare, Community Projects, National Extension Scheme, Women’s Welfare, Industries and Labour, Animal Husbandry and Veterinary

C. Subramaniam Finance, Food, Education, Elections and Information, Publicity and Law (Courts and Prisons)

A. B. Shetty Medical and Public Health, Co-operation, Housing, Ex-servicemen.

M. A. Manickavelu Naicker Land Revenue, Commercial Taxes, Rural Development

Shanmugha Rajeswara Sethupathi Public Works, Accommodation Control, Engineering Colleges, Stationery and Printing including establishment questions of the Stationery Department and the Government Press

B. Parameswaran Transport, Harijan Uplift, Hindu Religious Endowments, Registration, Prohibition

S. S. Ramasami Padayachi Local Administration

Changes

Following the States Reorganisation Act of 1956, A. B. Shetty
A. B. Shetty
quit the Ministry on 1 March 1956 and his portfolio was shared between the other ministers.

Second Cabinet[edit]

Statue of Kamaraj at PKN Higher Secondary School, Tirumangalam, Madurai

Kamaraj's council of ministers during kamarajars second tenure as Chief Minister (1 April 1957 – 1 March 1962):[22]

Minister Portfolios

K. Kamaraj Chief Minister, Public Planning and Development (including Local Development Works, Women's Welfare, Community Projects and Rural Welfare), National Extension Scheme

M. Bhaktavatsalam Home

C. Subramaniam Finance

R. Venkataraman Industries

M. A. Manickavelu Naicker Revenue

P. Kakkan Works

V. Ramaiah Electricity

Lourdhammal Simon Local Administration

Third Cabinet[edit] Kamaraj's council of ministers during his third tenure as Chief Minister (3 March 1962 – 2 October 1963):[22][23][24]

Minister Portfolios

K. Kamaraj Chief Minister, Public Planning and Development (including Local Development Works, Women's Welfare, Community Projects and Rural Welfare), National Extension Scheme

M. Bhaktavatsalam Finance and Education

Jothi Venkatachalam Public Health

R. Venkataraman Revenue

S. M. Abdul Majid Local Administration

N. Nallasenapathi Sarkarai Mandradiar Cooperation, Forests

G. Bhuvaraghan Publicity and Information

Kamaraj Plan[edit] Kamaraj remained Chief Minister for three consecutive terms, winning elections in 1957 and 1962. Kamaraj noticed that the Congress party was slowly losing its vigour.

Kamaraj statue at East Tambaram, Chennai

On Gandhi Jayanti day, 2 October 1963, he resigned from the Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Post. He proposed that all senior Congress leaders should resign from their posts and devote all their energy to the re-vitalization of the Congress. In 1963 he suggested to Nehru that senior Congress leaders should leave ministerial posts to take up organisational work. This suggestion came to be known as the Kamaraj Plan, which was designed primarily to dispel from the minds of Congressmen the lure of power, creating in its place a dedicated attachment to the objectives and policies of the organisation. Six Union Ministers and six Chief Ministers including Lal Bahadur Shastri, Jagjivan Ram, Morarji Desai, Biju Patnaik
Biju Patnaik
and S.K. Patil followed suit and resigned from their posts. Impressed by Kamaraj's achievements and acumen, Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru
Jawaharlal Nehru
felt that his services were needed more at the national level. In a swift move he brought Kamaraj to Delhi as the President of the Indian National Congress. Nehru realized that in addition to wide learning and vision, Kamaraj possessed enormous common sense and pragmatism. Kamaraj was elected President, Indian National Congress, on 9 October 1963.[25] National politics[edit] After Nehru's death in 1964, Kamaraj successfully navigated the party through turbulent times. As president of the INC, he refused to become the next prime minister himself and was instrumental in bringing to power two Prime Ministers, Lal Bahadur Shastri
Lal Bahadur Shastri
in 1964 and Nehru's daughter Indira Gandhi
Indira Gandhi
in 1966.[26] For this role, he was widely acclaimed as the "kingmaker" during the 1960s.[citation needed] When the Congress split in 1969, Kamaraj became the leader of the Indian National Congress
Indian National Congress
(Organisation) (INC(O)) in Tamil Nadu. The party failed poorly in the 1971 elections amid allegations of fraud by the opposition parties. He remained as the leader of INC(O) until his death in 1975.[27] Electoral history[edit]

Year Post Constituency Party Opponent Election Result

1937 MLA Sattur INC Unopposed 1937 elections Won

1946 MLA Sattur-Aruppukottai INC Unopposed 1946 elections Won

1952 MP Srivilliputtur INC G. D. Naidu Indian General Elections, 1951 Won

1954 MLA Gudiyatham INC V. K. Kothandaraman By Election Won

1957 MLA Sattur INC Jayarama Reddiar Madras
Madras
legislative assembly election, 1957 Won

1962 MLA Sattur INC P. Ramamoorthy Madras
Madras
legislative assembly election, 1962 Won

1967 MLA Virudhunagar INC P. Seenivasan Tamil Nadu
Tamil Nadu
state assembly election, 1967 Lost

1969 MP Nagercoil INC M. Mathias By Election Won

1971 MP Nagercoil INC(O) M. C. Balan Indian General Elections, 1971 Won

Death[edit]

Kamaraj memorial in Chennai

Kamaraj died at his home, on Gandhi Jayanti day (2 October 1975), which also the 12th anniversary of his resignation. He was aged 72 and died in his sleep.[citation needed] Legacy[edit] Kamaraj was awarded India's highest civilian honour, the Bharat Ratna, posthumously in 1976. He is widely acknowledged as "Kalvi Thanthai" (Father of Education) in Tamil Nadu. The domestic terminal of the Chennai
Chennai
airport is named "Kamaraj Terminal". Chennai's beach road is named "Kamarajar Salai", Bangalore's North Parade Road and Parliament road in New Delhi as " K. Kamaraj
K. Kamaraj
Road" and the Madurai Kamaraj University in his honour.[3][28]in 2003 the government of India
India
in his birthday commemorative coin was released. Popular culture[edit] In 2004 a Tamil-language film titled Kamaraj was made based on the life history of Kamaraj. The English version of the film was released on DVD in 2007. References[edit]

^ a b Revised edition of book on Kamaraj to be launched Archived 10 May 2011 at the Wayback Machine., The Hindu, 8 July 2009 ^ Crusading Congressman, Frontline Magazine Archived 15 September 2008 at the Wayback Machine., hinduonnet.com. 15–28 September 2001 ^ a b He raised the bar with simplicity, The Hindu 16 July 2008 Archived 10 May 2011 at the Wayback Machine. ^ The commonsense politician, Frontline Magazine, 17–30 August 2002 Archived 28 July 2011 at the Wayback Machine. ^ "Padma Awards Directory (1954–2007)" (PDF). Ministry of Home Affairs. Archived from the original (PDF) on 4 March 2009. Retrieved 7 December 2010.  ^ Kapur, Raghu Pati (1966). Kamaraj, the iron man. Deepak Associates. p. 12. Archived from the original on 16 November 2014.  ^ Kandaswamy, P. (2001). The Political Career of K. Kamaraj. Concept Publishing Company. p. 23. Archived from the original on 31 July 2017.  ^ Kandaswamy, P. (2001). The Political Career of K. Kamaraj. Concept Publishing Company. p. 24. Archived from the original on 31 July 2017.  ^ a b Freedom Movement In Madras Presidency
Madras Presidency
With Special
Special
Reference To The Role Of Kamaraj (1920–1945), Page 1[dead link] ^ Early Life of K. Kamaraj. p. 25.  ^ Freedom Movement In Madras Presidency
Madras Presidency
With Special
Special
Reference To The Role Of Kamaraj (1920–1945), Page 2[dead link] ^ K.Kamaraj Archived 7 October 2014 at the Wayback Machine. ^ Kandaswamy, P. (2001). The Political Career of K. Kamaraj. Concept Publishing Company. p. 30. Archived from the original on 31 July 2017.  ^ a b Bhatnagar, R. K. "Tributes To Kamaraj". Asian Tribune. Archived from the original on 21 February 2014. Retrieved 3 February 2014.  ^ Freedom Movement In Madras Presidency
Madras Presidency
With Special
Special
Reference To The Role Of Kamaraj (1920–1945), Page 3 ^ George Joseph, a true champion of subaltern Archived 26 January 2016 at the Wayback Machine. ^ a b Remembering Our Leaders. p. 146. Archived from the original on 25 April 2017.  ^ Encyclopedia of Bharat Ratnas. p. 88. Archived from the original on 27 June 2014.  ^ Encyclopedia of Bharat Ratnas. p. 89. Archived from the original on 27 June 2014.  ^ Stepan, Alfred; Linz, Juan J.; Yadav, Yogendra (2011). Crafting State-Nations: India
India
and Other Multinational Democracies. JHU Press. p. 124. ISBN 9780801897238. Archived from the original on 25 April 2017.  ^ A Review of the Madras
Madras
Legislative Assembly (1952–1957) Archived 17 October 2013 at the Wayback Machine. ^ a b Kandaswamy, P. (2001). The Political Career of K. Kamaraj. Concept Publishing Company. pp. 62–64. Archived from the original on 31 July 2017.  ^ The Madras
Madras
Legislative Assembly, Third Assembly I Session Archived 14 May 2011 at the Wayback Machine. ^ The Madras
Madras
Legislative Assembly, Third Assembly II Session Archived 14 May 2011 at the Wayback Machine. ^ [1] Archived 18 May 2012 at the Wayback Machine. ^ "Will Mamata Banerjee's Hindi handicap hurt her ambition to be prime minister?". Archived from the original on 2 December 2016.  ^ Gopal, Madan (1990). K.S. Gautam, ed. India
India
through the ages. Publication Division, Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, Government of India. p. 164.  ^ Man of the people Archived 6 September 2008 at the Wayback Machine., The Tribune, 4 October 1975

External links[edit]

Wikimedia Commons has media related to K. Kamaraj.

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Authority control

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