K Kamaraj 116th birth anniv: Rare pics of 'Kingmaker'

K Kamaraj 116th birth anniv: Rare pics of 'Kingmaker'

May 21, 1964: AICC President K Kamaraj addressing a meeting in Bangalore. M S Gurupadaswamy seen on the dais. (DH File Photo)

K Kamaraj was born on July 15, 1903, in Virudhunagar, Tamil Nadu, in a poor household to Kumaraswami Nadar and Sivakami Ammal.

His name was originally Kamatchi, later changed to Kamarajar. A sixth-grade school dropout, Kamaraj became a part of the Congress when he was 18 years old. Active in the freedom movement, he took part in many protests including the Non-Cooperation Movement and the Nagpur Flag Satyagraha.

In 1927, Kamaraj started the Sword Satyagraha in then Madras and was chosen to lead the Neil Statue Satyagraha, which was given up later for the  Simon Commission boycott.

Kamaraj went to jail for two years for participating in the Salt Satyagraha, led by Rajagopalachari at Vedaranyam, and again for a year, in 1932, for holding processions and demonstrations in Virudhunagar, under Section 144, which was imposed in Madras prohibiting meetings and processions against the arrest of Gandhi in then Bombay.

At 34, Kamaraj entered the Assembly and won the Sattur seat in the 1937 election. By 1946, he became the President of the Madras Provincial Congress Committee and on October 9, 1963, he became President of the Indian National Congress. Kamaraj or 'Kingmaker', as he was known in the party, served as Tamil Nadu chief minister for three consecutive terms from 1954-1963.

He introduced the Midday Meal Scheme in the 1960s to provide at least one meal a day to lakhs of schoolchildren. Kamaraj strived to eradicate illiteracy by introducing free and compulsory education up to the 11th standard. He reformed the education system by expanding the number of working days and changing the syllabus to include more ability-based knowledge. Kamaraj and Bishnuram Medhi (Governor) took efforts to establish IIT-Madras in 1959.

In 1963, Kamaraj suggested to Jawaharlal Nehru that senior Congress leaders should leave ministerial posts to take up more organisational work. This became the 'Kamaraj Plan'. Six union ministers and six chief ministers, including Lal Bahadur Shastri, Jagjivan Ram, Morarji Desai, Biju Patnaik and SK Patil, resigned from their posts.

After Nehru's death in 1964, he refused to become the prime minister and brought in two other prime ministers - Lal Bahadur Shastri in 1964 and Nehru's daughter Indira Gandhi in 1966.

Kamaraj was known for his simplicity, quick wit, political intelligence and known to be incorruptible. On his 116th birth anniversary, here are a few rare pics of the political stalwart:

(undated) Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru with Congress leader K Kamaraj and Kerala Minister Achyutan in Bangalore. (File Image)
(undated) Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru with Congress leader K Kamaraj
and Kerala Minister Achyutan in Bangalore. (File Image)

Former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi with Kamarajar. (undated) (DH File Photo)
Former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi with Kamarajar. (undated) (DH File Photo)

January 10, 1968: S Nijalingappa, Kamaraj Nadar, Bramhananda Reddy and other Congress leaders watching Khedda operation at forest area in Mysore district of Madras Presidency. (Photo: Prajavani, T L Ramaswamy)
January 10, 1968: S Nijalingappa, K Kamaraj, Bramhananda Reddy and other
Congress leaders watching Khedda operation at forest area in Mysore district of Madras Presidency.
(Photo: Prajavani, T L Ramaswamy)

December 18, 1967: Former Chief Minister S Nijalingappa's birth Day Function - Congress leader K Kamaraj Nadar presents photo Album to S N Mrs Nijalingappa and Nagappa Alva present on the occation. (Photo: T L Ramaswamy, Prajavani)
December 18, 1967: Former Chief Minister S Nijalingappa's birth Day Function -
Congress leader K Kamaraj presents photo Album to S N Mrs Nijalingappa
and Nagappa Alva present on the occasion. (Photo: T L Ramaswamy, Prajavani)

(undated) Kollur Mallappa Mysore Congress leader gralanding Kamaraja Nadar at congress workers meeting in Bangalore. (Photo: Prajavani, T L Ramaswamy)
(undated) Kollur Mallappa Mysore Congress leader garlanding K Kamaraj
at congress workers meeting in Bangalore. (Photo: Prajavani, T L Ramaswamy)

January 1, 1960: Congress leader K Kamaraj inaugurates Congress Exhibition at Subhashnagar in Bangalore_ Kollur Mallappa_ G V Hallikeri and other local leaders present on the occasion.
January 1, 1960: Congress leader K Kamaraj inaugurates Congress Exhibition at Subhashnagar in Bangalore
Kollur Mallappa, G V Hallikeri and other local leaders present on the occasion. (DH File Photo)

September 12, 1971: Chief Minister Verendra Patil and K Kamaraj at political conference organised by Bangalore City district congress Committe in Bangalore. (Photo: T L Ramaswamy, Prajavani)
September 12, 1971: Chief Minister Veerendra Patil and K Kamaraj at a political conference organised by
Bangalore City district Congress Committee in Bangalore. (Photo: T L Ramaswamy, Prajavani)

Jan 22, 1975: Veerendra Patil and Kamaraja Nadar discussing at Backward class and minorities conference organised by KPCC_K S Hegde former Justice supreme court and others were seen on the dais.
Jan 22, 1975: Veerendra Patil and K Kamaraj discussing at Backward class and minorities
conference organised by KPCC, K S Hegde former Justice supreme court and others were
seen on the dais.

May 21, 1964 Union Minister Lalbahaddur Shastry and AICC President K Kamaraj at Vidhanasoudha in Bangalore. (DH File Photo)
May 21, 1964: Union Minister Lalbahaddur Shastry and
AICC President K Kamaraj at Vidhanasoudha in Bangalore. (DH File Photo)

May 21, 1964: AICC president K Kamaraj releasing book titled - Freedom Movement - in Karnataka, at a function in Bangalore. Education Minister S R Kanthi_ Union minister Lal Bahaddur Shastry present on the occation. (DH File Photo)
May 21, 1964: AICC president K Kamaraj releasing a book titled 'Freedom Movement in Karnataka', at
a function in Bangalore. Education Minister S R Kanthi and Union minister Lal Bahaddur Shastry
present on the occasion. (DH File Photo)

May 21, 1964: (From Left to Right) Minister Mohammad Ali, Union Minister K C Reddy, R Shamanna and AICC president K Kamaraj at Mysore Working Journalist Association in Bangalore.
May 21, 1964: (From Left to Right) Minister Mohammad Ali, Union Minister K C Reddy, R Shamanna and
AICC president K Kamaraj at Mysore Working Journalist Association in Bangalore. (DH File Image)

Kamaraj Road, Banglore in 1967: The Cavalry Road was renamed in the 1970s, after the former Tamil Nadu chief minister and president of the Indian National Congress K Kamaraj. (DH File Photo)
Kamaraj Road, Banglore in 1967: The Cavalry Road was renamed in the 1970s, after the former
Tamil Nadu chief minister and president of the Indian National Congress K Kamaraj. (DH File Photo)