Profile of C N Annadurai

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Anna's early life
C N Annadurai (1909 to 1969), popularly known as 'Anna' (which means elder brother in Tamil language) was the first non Congress Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu, after Indian Independence. He was also a well known writer and even before his entry into politics his penmanship and oratorial style had captivated many audiences.

Annadurai was born on 15 September 1909 in the town of Kancheepuram (formerly known as Conjeevaram) to Natarajan and Bangaru Ammal. Their family migrated during the times of Vijayanagar dynasty. His sister Rajamani raised him. After attending Pachaiyappa's High School, he worked as a clerk in the town's Municipal office. In 1934, he graduated with a B A degree (Hons) from Pachaiyappa's College in Chennai. He also had a M.A degree in Economics and Politics from the same college. After having been employed as a professor for a short period of time, he began involving himself in journalism and politics.

Anna in Office
From 1967 until his death in 1969, he was seen as the change that many people needed to improve the worsening condition. However the inflation could not be effectively controlled despite his best efforts. But his work in enhancing and uplifting the lower classes through welfare schemes started to improve the social scene. He also renamed the Madras State to the name Tamil Nadu. He was able to gain more power for the south from the Centre and sought greater autonomy for the states in the union. His tenure was however cut short by oral cancer as he had the habit of inhaling snuff tobacco. Despite treatments in U S he died on midnight February 2, 1969 just two years after becoming the Chief Minister. His death shocked many in Tamil Nadu who had become fond of Anna and an estimated 15 million people attended his funeral, the most for anyone in the world.

Anna's journey of literary world
In 1942 he started the Tamil weekly, 'Dravida Nadu'. In 1957 and later in 1966 he started the English weeklies 'Homeland' and 'Home Rule' respectively, though both didn't do too well. He returned to his forte of Tamil short stories and plays. Among his works are the novels 'Or Iravu' (One Night) and 'Velaikkari' (Servant-maid), which were later made to movies. Most of his stories revolved around social causes like exploitation of women or weaker classes. Some of the books were also controversial, like 'Arya Mayai' (Aryan Illusion) where he scathingly attacks the Brahmin/Aryan combine and portrays them in poor light. He also wrote Kambarasam, a highly controversial work that attacked the Kambaramayanam in an indelicate fashion. These plays, books and stage speeches enhanced Anna's visibility. Under Anna's dynamic leadership, the DMK gained a sizeable number of seats in 1957 in the state assembly elections and ultimately forming the government a decade later.

He is credited with infusing new spirit into the Dravidian movement and providing a vocal voice from the south. His influence was so powerful that his work on Tamil importance ensured that to this day Tamil Nadu remains one of the few states where, Hindi is not a compulsory language in schools. His political victory was the first of sorts including being the first regional party in any major state in India to serve the full term breaking the monotony of Congress rule. Furthermore after Congress' defeat in 1967, they were never again able to form the government in the state and were relegated to the background following further dravidian parties like the DMK. Mr. M. Karunanidhi succeeded him. He is also credited with early adoption of populist welfare schemes that continue to this day creating a culture of government dependence for millions of people.

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