Vignettes from Kovai Ayyamuthu’s reminiscences of ‘Periyar’ — III

Posted: June 29, 2015 in Uncategorized
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Translated by Vamanan

 (Kovai Ayyamuthu explains to EVR Periyar how his actions led to the removal of Rajaji and how he was instrumental in Kamaraj gaining political significance)

 ‘ ‘These are events of 1940. The election of the Tamil Nadu Congress President was being held in the Hindi Prachar Sabha.  Rajaji called me and asked me to propose the name of C.P. Subbiah. ‘Suggest some good person, not him,’’ I said. Rajaji would not ever have dreamt of such a response from me.  There were arguments between him and me for four or five minutes.  In the event, he called Muthuranga Mudaliar and asked him to propose the name of Subbiah.  It turned out that Subbiah lost the election by three votes.  Kamaraj won. The total number of votes was 203. Kamaraj polled 103, Subbiah 100. I myself and eight others who worked with me in the Charka Sangh voted for Kamaraj. If Kamaraj had lost the election that day, he would not have been able to lift his head ever again,’’ I said.

‘‘ It is said that History repeats itself.  In 1950, our C. Subramaniam moved heaven and earth to get Subbiah elected to the post of chief of the Tamil Nadu Congress Committee. Even then, I supported Kamaraj. Subbiah, or rather Subramaniam lost by a handsome majority. Subsequent to this, Subramaniam got me defeated in the election for Coimbatore District Congress President.

 ‘‘Subramaniam flashed his typical smile and told me, ‘You got me defeated in Chennai. I got you defeated here.’  I told him that if the victory had been achieved honestly, I too would have laughed with him. After this incident, in the past seven years I have ceased to be part of the Congress. But it is only the Congress’s loss, not mine’’.

 ‘‘Kakkan’s name is being spoken of for ministership. Who will they choose for Congress President,’’ asked Periyar.

 ‘‘Why, isn’t there Obeidullah? They need only a yes man for that post,’’ I said.

 ‘‘Yes, yes. You are right. In those days they made me Secretary only because I obeyed Achariyar’s orders. They then promoted me as President too,’’ said Periyar and burst out laughing.

 That spoilsport of a beard prevented me from seeing the full expression on his face as he laughed!

 (From Naan Kanda Periyar by Kovai Ayyamuthu)

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