'அவர் இறந்தபோது அவரது வீட்டை வீட்டு உரிமையாளர் எடுத்துக்கொண்டார். அவரது காரை காங்கிரஸ் கட்சி எடுத்துக்கொண்டது. அவரது உடலைப் பூமி எடுத்துக்கொண்டது. அவரது பெயரை மட்டும் வரலாறு எடுத்துக்கொண்டது' – Excerpt from the book 'காமராஜர் ஒரு சகாப்தம்’ by கோபண்ணா
He is our man of simplicity. The great Perunthalaivar (Great leader) Kamarajar.
Kumaraswami Kamaraj was born on July 15, 1903 at Virudhunagar, Tamil Nadu to Kumaraswamy and Sivakami Ammaiar. His father was a merchant. He had a younger sister Nagammal.
His father died when he was merely six years old. He couldn't study in a traditional school. He took odd jobs in his uncle's grocery store. During this time he got interested in politics. He was an avid newspaper reader and kept himself updated with the current events. He soon became involved with the political processions and public meetings and acquainted himself with the Indian Independence movement.
After India’s independence in 1947 he was elected a member of the Congress(a political party in India). In 1954, he was elected as the Chief Minister of the Madras State (currently it is known as Tamil nadu). The unexpected thing happened. He selected C. Subramaniam and M. Bhakthavatsalam (his co-contestants) in his cabinet. Kamaraj’s motto as Chief Minister was to work for the welfare of the people.
Under Kamaraj, Madras (tamil nadu) made immense progress in education and trade. New schools were opened and education was made free and compulsory for all up to 11th Standard. Every village had a primary school and every Panchayat a high school. He even introduced the concept of Mid-Day Meal Scheme for lakhs of poor and deprived children. To eradicate caste, creed and class differences, he introduced school uniform. Such was the progress under his administration that the education rate augmented from merely 7% to 37%.
Education was the primary focus of Kamaraj’s Government but he did not overlook other sectors. In fact, he came up with major irrigation schemes that led to the building of dams and canals. Farmers were given facilities and subsidized loans. He also administered the setting up of major industries under his governance such as Neyveli Lignite Corporation, BHEL, Manali Oil Refinery, Hindustan raw photo film factory, surgical instruments factory, a railway coach factory and so on. Industries such as paper, sugar, chemicals and cement were also established during this period.
Kamaraj breathed his last on October 2, 1975 in his sleep. He was 72 years of age.
When he passed away he had 10 cotton shirts and few 100 rupees. That was all he had.