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Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Ganesan becoming Sivaji ............. Congress to celebrate his birth anniversary

Shivaji Bhonsle, famously  Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj,  Veer Shivaji - carved out an enclave from the declining Adilshahi sultanateof Bijapur that formed the genesis of the Maratha Empire. In 1674, he was formally crowned as the Chhatrapati (Monarch) of his realm at Raigad. Shivaji established a competent and progressive civil rule with the help of a disciplined military and well-structured administrative organisations. He innovated military tactics, pioneering the guerrilla warfare methods.  

Veer Shivaji visited Chennai and offered worship at the Kalikambal Temple at Thambu Chetty Street on 3rd October 1667 -  a plague commemorating this could be seen at the temple.

Back home, lived the versatile actor -  Vettaithidal Chinnaiahpillai Ganesan remembered as Nadigar Thillagam.  He progressed from a stage actor since his childhood to the filmdom and in a career  spanning close to five decades he acted in nearly 300 films in Tamil, Telugu, Kannada, Malayalam and Hindi.  Known for his stylish dialogue delivery, Ganesan was the first Indian film actor to win a "Best Actor" award in an International film festival, the Afro-Asian Film Festival held in Cairo, Egypt in 1960.

Ganesan’s portrayal of the character of Chhatrapati Shivaji in the stage play Shivaji Kanda Hindu Rajyam earned him the name "Sivaji”.  Today’s Times of India, Chennai edition, has an article titled -  ‘Cong to celebrate Sivaji Ganesan's birth anniversary’.

Here is that article : Congress has made preparations to celebrate thespian Sivaji Ganesan's 87th birth anniversary on Thursday with an evening of entertainment at Kamaraj Memorial Hall owned by the TNCC charitable trust. The event was the brainchild of former MLA and Sivaji Ganesan fan club general secretary V Rajasekharan. He said clips from old Sivaji films and songs from Sivaji starrers will be screened on the occasion. Sources said the party had to put off plans to host Sivaji's birthday festivities with participation of the actor's family members for the past few years as his sons were unable to come. This time his admirers decided to go ahead on their own without the involvement of Sivaji's sons -Prabhu and Ramkumar, who have not shown any inclination in politics, sources said.

After a stint in DMK in the 1950s, Sivaji quit the party after his visit to the Tirumala Tirupati temple. DMK leadership had felt he had tarnished the party's atheist and rationalist image by visiting the temple. He joined Congress in 1961 and staged plays in various parts of the state to raise funds for the party to set up offices. “The Congress office building in Salem was built by Sivaji with the proceeds from his drama shows,“ said senior leader S Thirnavukkarasar. Sivaji also campaigned for the Congress-AIADMK alliance in the 1984 assembly polls when MGR was admitted in a hospital in the USA.  Sivaji was a party member for almost three decades and a star campaigner during the Kamaraj days, he said. A Kamaraj protégé, he moved closer to then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi after his mentor's demise. Indira Gandhi nominated him to the Rajya Sabha in 1982. His political career in Congress ended with her assassination.

~ Sivaji Ganesan was a great actor – deserves all the praise for breaking out expressing his personal faith.  What remains unstated in the post of TOI is the fact that he came out of Congress too and floated his own party  - ‘Thamizhaga Munnetra Munnani’ in 1988 contested elections.   The party for born after a split in Tamil Nadu Congress party. The split  came at the time when ADMK fragmented.  Ganesan and his supporters left the Congress party on differences in opinion on which fragment of AIADMK to ally with in 1989 state elections.  Thamizhaga Munnetra Munnani backed Janaki Ramachandran – but  lost in all seats its competed for. Sivaji too lost at Thiruvayaru. Ganesan eventually regretted his decision to float his own party and merged the party with Janata Dal. 

        The statue of Sivaji that stands in the middle of Beach road – mired by some controversy, somehow  does not represent the image that people of Tamil Nadu associate with him.  Recent reports suggested that it might be removed from its present place and installed at the proposed Mani mandapam.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar

29th Sept. 2015.

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