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Tuesday, June 19, 2018

simpl(y)icity forgotten ~ Mr Kakkan


Most of us suffer from short-term memory loss !  ~ a decade or two ago, there was a trip of an Indian PM (not Modiji) to an island – and there were reports that AI spent huge amount in carrying payasam for his entourage.  A decade ago, an Indian President visited   Andaman and Nicobar Islands.  When the President,  decided to visit the Andaman and Nicobar Islands on the third anniversary of the tsunami, it could only have been considered an extremely welcome gesture. For the people of a place ravaged by one of the biggest disasters in living memory, the interest and concern of the first citizen of the country could have been and certainly was a very important statement. Her handing over of 200 permanent houses to citizens in Car Nicobar on December 26 could have and should have made front page news for all the right reasons. For all the potential and the “could haves”, that is not how it turned out in the end.

The President’s visit to the islands did make front page news, but it was for all the wrong reasons with the responsibility lying mainly at the door of the local administration. The one issue that perhaps got the maximum attention was the large scale cutting of trees. Some media reports indicated that nearly 400 trees had been chopped down across the islands for the visit. A huge amount of money was also spent for increasing the size of the helipad that already existed there, for the construction of a special VVIP room and the widening and relaying of the road in the vicinity.  Shipping services were disrupted, preventing tourists from accessing islands where they had planned a holiday many months ago and local fishermen were prohibited from going fishing in areas that the President was supposed to visit

In case you were to rubbish this as this is no modi-bashing, do follow the link : http://www.thehindu.com/todays-paper/tp-features/tp-sundaymagazine/A-visit-and-the-aftermath/article15401319.ece

A web search also revealed that ex-President Pratibha Patil's foreign travel  cost the public exchequer a whopping Rs. 205 crore on her foreign visits, surpassing the record of all her predecessors.  At that time, since assuming office as the country's first woman President in July 2007, Ms Patil had undertaken 12 foreign trips covering 22 countries across four continents.  A series of RTI applications has revealed that Air India incurred over Rs. 169 crore on use of chartered aircraft, always a Boeing 747-400, on the foreign visits by Patil, mostly accompanied by her family members. A visit to Bhutan was covered by a smaller jet.

Politicians are what they are ! ~ or does the fault lie with the people when they act differently (indifferently !) – how many of us remember this simple person who was once a Minister in Tamil Nadu.

1980-ம் ஆண்டு. தமிழகத்தின்முதல்வராக  எம்.ஜி.ஆர். இருந்தகாலகட்டம்அது. மதுரை ராஜாஜி  அரசு மருத்துவமனையில் சிகிச்சை பெற்றுவரும் மதுரைமுத்துவை சந்தித்து நலம் விசாரிக்கச் சென்றார் எம்.ஜி.ஆர். அப்போது காளிமுத்து சொன்ன தகவலால் பதறிபோனார் எம்.ஜி.ஆர். உடனடியாக மதுரை ராஜாஜி அரசு மருத்துவமனையில் உள்ள சாதாரணவார்டுக்கு எம்.ஜி.ஆர். சென்றார். அங்கு சிகிச்சை பெற்றுவரும் அவரை கண்டஉடன் கலங்கினார். உடனடியாக அவரை சிறப்பு வார்டுக்கு மாற்ற உத்தரவிட்டார். அப்போது சிகிச்சை பெற்றுவந்தவர் எம்.ஜி.ஆரிடம் வேண்டாம் என்றார். 'எல்லோருக்குமான சிகிச்சைபிரிவே எனக்குபோதும். நீங்கள் பார்க்கவந்ததே மகிழ்ச்சி' என்றார்அவர்.

எம்.ஜி.ஆர்.  அங்கிருந்த மருத்துவ பொறுப்பாளர்களை அழைத்து, "இவர்யார் எனத் தெரியுமா? இவர் போன்றவர் பெற்றுத்தந்த சுதந்திரத்தில்தான் நாம் இன்று வாழ்ந்து கொண்டிருக்கிறோம். அவருக்கு தனிஅறைவசதியும் உயர்ந்தமருத்துவமும் அளியுங்கள்" என உத்தரவிட்டுச் சென்றார். எம்.ஜி.ஆரை கலங்கவைத்த... 'இவரில்லாவிட்டால் நாம் இல்லை' என பெருமையுடன் அறிமுகப்படுத்தப்பட்ட நபர் தமிழக காங்கிரஸ் கட்சியின் தலைவர்களில் முக்கியமானவரான கக்கன்.

கக்கன் ஜூன் 18, 1908-ம் ஆண்டு மதராஸ் இராசதானியாக தமிழகம் இருந்தபொழுது மதுரை மாவட்டம், மேலூர் வட்டத்திலுள்ள தும்பைபட்டி என்ற கிராமத்தில் ஒருதலித் குடும்பத்தில் பிறந்தார். இவரின் தந்தை பூசாரி கக்கன், கிராமக்கோயில் அர்ச்சகராக (பூசாரியாக) பணிபுரிந்தவர்.

18th  June marked 110th birth anniversary of  Mr P. Kakkan (18 June 1908 – 23 December 1981) a  freedom fighter who served as a member of the Constituent Assembly of India, Member of Parliament, President of the Tamil Nadu Congress Committee and in various ministerial posts in Congress governments in the erstwhile Madras state between 1957 and 1967. Kakkan served as a member of the Lok Sabha from 1952 to 1957.

When K. Kamaraj resigned as the President of the Tamil Nadu Congress Committee in order to take office as the Chief Minister of Madras state, Kakkan was elected as the President of the Tamil Nadu Congress Committee.  Following the 1957 elections when the Indian National Congress was re-elected to power in the Madras state, Kakkan was sworn in as the Minister for Public Works (excluding Electricity), Harijan Welfare, Scheduled Areas and Scheduled Tribes.  He later served as  the Minister of Agriculture. Later, he was appointed as a member of the Business Advisory Committee and as Home Minister in Oct 1963, serving till 1967  - when the Indian National Congress was defeated in the Assembly elections.

It is stated that   despite having served as a minister for ten years, Kakkan was so simple that he willingly slept on the verandah of the Government Rajaji Hospital in Madurai when he was ill. “It was M.G. Ramachandran who provided him a decent accommodation,” In a remembrance meeting, then Dindigul M.P., N.S.V. Chitthan, recalled an incident in which Kakkan forced his daughter Kasturi to return two gold bangles to an industrialist who had gifted them on her marriage.

While all would hail him now for his simplicity and austerity, in  the watershed 1967 Assembly elections,  Kakkanji lost the Melur (South) constituency to  O. P. Raman of DMK.  Following this defeat,  Kakkan retired from politics and nothing was known much of him later.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
19th June 2018.




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