C. N. Annadurai

Last updated

Rani Annadurai
(m. 1930)
C. N. Annadurai
CN Annadurai 1970 stamp of India.jpg
1st Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu
In office
14 January 1969 3 February 1969
Constituency Madras State
  • Writer
  • activist
  • politician
Awards Chubb Fellowship (1968)
  • Peraringar
  • Anna

Conjeevaram Natarajan Annadurai (15 September 1909 – 3 February 1969), popularly known as Anna, also known as Arignar Anna or Perarignar Anna (Anna, the scholar or Elder Brother), was an Indian Tamil politician who served as the fourth and last Chief Minister of Madras State from 1967 until 1969 and first Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu for 20 days (after Madras State was renamed Tamil Nadu) before his death. He was the first member of a Dravidian party to hold either post.


He was well known for his oratorical skills and was an acclaimed writer in the Tamil language. He scripted and acted in several plays. Some of his plays were later made into movies. He was the first politician from the Dravidian parties to use Tamil cinema extensively for political propaganda. Born in a middle-class family, he first worked as a school teacher, then moved into the political scene of the Madras Presidency as a journalist. He edited several political journals and enrolled as a member of the Dravidar Kazhagam. As an ardent follower of Periyar E. V. Ramasamy, he rose in stature as a prominent member of the party.

Due to differences looming with Periyar, on issues of separate independent state of Dravida Nadu and union with India, he crossed swords with his political mentor. The friction between the two finally erupted when Periyar married Maniammai, who was much younger than him. Angered by this action of Periyar, Annadurai with his supporters parted from Dravidar Kazhagam and launched his own party, Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK).[ citation needed ] The DMK initially followed the same ideologies as its parent, Dravidar Kazhagam. But with the evolution of national politics and the constitution of India after the Sino-Indian War in 1962, Annadurai dropped the claim for an independent Dravida Nadu. Various protests against the ruling Congress government took him to prison on several occasions; the last of which was during the Madras anti-Hindi agitation of 1965. The agitation itself helped Annadurai to gain popular support for his party. His party won a landslide victory in the 1967 state elections. His cabinet was the youngest at that time in India. He legalised Self-Respect marriages, enforced a two-language policy (in preference to the three-language formula in other southern states), implemented subsidies for rice, and renamed Madras State to Tamil Nadu.

However, he died of cancer just two years into office. His funeral had the highest attendance of any to that date. Several institutions and organisations are named after him. A splinter party launched by M. G. Ramachandran in 1972 was named after him as All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam.

Early life

Annadurai was born in a Tamil Sengunthar family [2] on 15 September 1909 in Conjeevaram, Madras Presidency, in a lower-middle-class family. His father Natarajan Mudaliar [3] was a weaver and his mother was Bangaru Ammal. He was raised by her sister Rajamani Ammal.

Annadurai with his wife CN Annadurai And Rani Annadurai.jpg
Annadurai with his wife

At the age of 21, he married Rani while he was still a student. The couple had no children of their own, so they later adopted and raised Rajamani's grandchildren. He attended Pachaiyappa's High School, [4] but left school to work as a clerk in the town's Municipal office to assist with the family finances.

In 1934, he graduated with a B.A. degree from Pachaiyappa's College in Chennai. [4] He then earned an MA degree in economics and politics from the same college. He worked as an English teacher [5] in Pachaiyappa High School. Later he quit the teaching job and began involving himself in journalism and he served as an editor in few weekly magazine and then he indulged into politics.

Annadurai in younger times C. N. Annadurai-1946.png
Annadurai in younger times


Though Annadurai was an atheist in his personal life as he took oath as the Chief Minister of the state in the 'name of conscience' rather than in the 'name of god', he proclaimed as "Only one race, Only one God" (Ondre Kulam Oruvanae Devan) from tamil work Thirumanthiram penned by Thirumoolar in order to unify the people of Tamil Nadu. [6] [7] Though secular to the core, he later described himself as a Hindu sans the sacred ash, a Christian minus the holy cross, and a Muslim without the prayer cap. [8]

Annadurai would attack superstitions and religious exploitation but would never fight against the spiritual values of society. He once explained his stance towards God and religion as "I do not break coconuts for Pillaiyar, (a form of worship) neither do I break his idols." (Nan Thengayum udaipathillai; Pillaiyarum Udaipathillai) [9]

Entry into politics

Annadurai and Periyar E. V. Ramasamy C. N. Annadurai and E. V. Ramasami.JPG
Annadurai and Periyar E. V. Ramasamy

Annadurai's interest in politics made him join the Justice party in 1935. [10] The Justice party was formed by non-Brahmin elites in 1917. [11] The Justice party originated with the Madras United League which was initially started as a work group that helped non-Brahmin students in Madras with accommodation and later grew into a political party under the efforts of leaders like C. Natesa Mudaliar, Sir Pitti Theagaroya Chetty and Dr. T. M. Nair. The party was named South Indian Liberal Federation (S. I. L. F.) – popularly known as Justice party. [11] The party had been in power in Madras Presidency since self-governance was introduced in 1920, until it was defeated by the Indian National Congress in 1937. [12] By the time Annadurai joined the Justice party, Periyar E. V. Ramasami was the party president. Annadurai served as the sub-editor of the Justice magazine. He later became the editor for Viduthalai (Freedom in English) and was also associated with the Tamil weekly paper, Kudi Arasu . He started his own journal Dravida Nadu (named after the Dravida Nadu  – an independent state that the party called for). In 1944, Periyar renamed the Justice party to Dravidar Kazhagam and gave up contesting in the elections. [13]

Differences with Periyar and birth of DMK

The Indian National Congress, which had been fighting for the independence of India from colonial British rule, was dominated by Brahmins. Periyar assumed that independent India would bring South Indians, especially Tamils, under the dominance of Brahmins and North Indians. [14] For these reasons Periyar called for 15 August 1947, the day of Indian independence, to be a day of mourning. [15] Annadurai opposed this move and the schism between his supporters and Periyar widened. [14] He saw the gaining of independence as an overall achievement of India rather than solely that of Aryan North. [10] Moreover, Periyar's decision on giving up participating in democratic elections was also opposed by Annadurai, in reaction to which he walked out of a party meeting in 1948. [10] Periyar considered that candidates in elections must compromise their ideologies. Moreover, it was Periyar's idea that social reformation can be better achieved outside politics, through education and canvassing the masses, rather than governments. [16] Eventually, when Periyar married Maniammai, who was 40 years younger than he, the personal differences between Annadurai and Periyar split their supporters. [16] Annadurai launched his own party with his party fragment, along with E. V. K. Sampath (Periyar's nephew and until then considered his political heir [17] ). The new party was named Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam. [18] DMK's presence was initially restricted to urban centres and its surrounding areas. But by appealing to the urban lower, lower middle and working classes, students, Dalits and lower castes, Annadurai was able to accelerate its growth and spread. He fought for the social justice of the lower castes and thus rapidly gained popular support. [10]

Protests in 1953

In 1953, Annadurai directed the DMK to undertake three protests: [16]

Dravida Nadu

Dravida Nadu magazine owned and edited by Annadurai Dravida Nadu.jpg
Dravida Nadu magazine owned and edited by Annadurai

During his days in Dravida Kazhagam, Annadurai had supported Periyar's call for an independent Dravida Nadu. The claim for such an independent state stayed alive in the initial days of DMK. E. V. K. Sampath, who had earlier forfeited his inheritance from Periyar to join DMK, saw the call for Dravida Nadu as an unrealistic goal. Responding to Sampath's concern, Annadurai said

We must contest more elections, win more seats and that way, win the confidence of the people; and when it is hot, we can strike and strike hard [19]

Sampath's opposition to using film stars made him cross swords with many other members of the party. Eventually, with looming differences with Annadurai and other leaders on Dravida Nadu, Sampath left the DMK and formed his own party, the Tamil Nationalist Party, in 1961. [16] In 1962, Annadurai said in the Rajya Sabha that Dravidians want the right of self-determination ... We want a separate country for southern India. [20]

However, the reorganisation of states in India on linguistic basis removed Kannada, Telugu and Malayalam speaking regions from the Madras Presidency leaving behind a predominantly Tamil Madras State. Giving in to realities, Annadurai and his DMK changed the call of independent Dravida Nadu for Dravidians to independent Tamil Nadu for Tamils. Annadurai felt that remaining in the Indian Union meant accepting linguistic domination and economic backwardness. Nevertheless, the Sino-Indian war brought about changes in the Indian constitution. The Sixteenth Amendment (most popularly known as the Anti-Secessionist Amendment) banned any party with sectarian principles from participating in elections. When this amendment was presented in the Parliament of India, Annadurai was one of its members. He vehemently debated against the amendment, but eventually could not stop it from being passed. Faced with the new constitutional changes, Annadurai and his DMK left the call for an independent Tamil homeland on the back burner. [21] From then on Annadurai and his DMK aimed at achieving better co-operation between the southern states and claimed more autonomy for Tamil Nadu. [22]

On the party's position, Annadurai said

To make the Dravidian state a separate state was our ideal. A situation has arisen where we can neither talk nor write about this ideal. Of course we can destroy the party by undertaking to violate the prohibition. But once the party itself is destroyed there will not be any scope for the ideal to exist or spread. That is why we had to give up the ideal. [19]

Anti-Hindi agitations

Hindi was first recommended to be an apt language for official purposes in India by a committee headed by Motilal Nehru in 1928. This move was opposed by people and politicians of Tamil Nadu, since they considered that it would make them second class citizens when compared to that of native Hindi speaking North Indians. [23]

Protests of 1938

In 1938, the Congress government in Madras Presidency headed by C. Rajagopalachari (popularly known as Rajaji) proposed the use of Hindi language as a compulsory language in schools. This move was opposed by Tamil leaders. Annadurai, along with other Tamil scholars including the poet Bharathidasan, held demonstrations. Annadurai participated in the first Anti Hindi imposition conference held in Kanchipuram on 27 February 1938. Two members of the protest, Thalamuthu and Natarajan, died as a consequence of police beating the same year. With overwhelming opposition, the government of Madras Presidency finally withdrew the order in 1940. he stated that "you learn english for world communication and learn hindi for communication in india,it seems like big door for big cat and small door for small cat, why not let the small cat also enter in big door" [24]

Madras Anti Hindi agitation, 1965

When India became a republic with its own constitution in 1950, the constitution had given special status to the Hindi language, which was to gain official status after 15 years in 1965. This move was regarded with anxiety by students in Tamil Nadu. [23] Speaking of making Hindi as official language of India, Annadurai said It is claimed that Hindi should be the common language because it is spoken by the majority. Why should we then claim the tiger as our national animal instead of the rat which is so much more numerous? Or the peacock as our national bird when the crow is ubiquitous?. [25] In view of continued threat to impose Hindi, the DMK held an open-air conference against Hindi imposition at Kodambakkam, Chennai in August 1960, which Annadurai presided over. He gave black flags to leading functionaries, to be shown to the President of India during his visit to the state. Sensing an uprising, Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru assured in the Parliament that English would continue to be the official language of India, as long as non-Hindi speaking people desire. DMK gave up the plan of showing black flags and Annadurai appealed to the Union Government to bring about a constitutional amendment incorporating the assurance. [16]

With no constitutional amendment done, Annadurai declared 26 January 1965, the 15th Republic Day of India and also the day the Constitution, which in essence enshrined Hindi as the official language of India, came into practice, as a day of mourning. This move was opposed by the then Chief Minister of Madras State, Bhakthavatchalam, as blasphemous. Hence Annadurai, who by then had been trying to shake off the secessionist image of his party, declared 24 January as a day of mourning. He also replaced the slogan of the protests to Down with Hindi; Long live the Republic. Nevertheless, violence broke out on 26 January, initially in Madurai which within days spread throughout the state. [23] Robert Hardgrave Jr, professor of humanities, government and Asian studies, suggests that the elements contributing to the riots were not instigated by DMK or Leftists or even the industrialists, as the Congress government of the state suggested, but were genuine frustrations and discontentment which lay beneath the surface of the people of the state. [23]

With violence surging, Annadurai asked the students to forfeit the protests, but some DMK leaders like Karunanidhi kept the agitations going. [23] Nevertheless, Annadurai was arrested for instigating the agitation. [16] Although the violence were not directly instigated by the DMK, [23] the agitation itself aided DMK to win the 1967 elections and Annadurai became the new Chief Minister of Madras State. [26]

Literary contributions

Annadurai, known for his excellent oratorical skills, was fond of books. This image shows his private library. Anna Private Library in Kanchipuram.jpg
Annadurai, known for his excellent oratorical skills, was fond of books. This image shows his private library.

Annadurai was known as one of the best Tamil orators during his time. [5] He developed a style in Tamil public speaking using metaphors and pleasing alliterations, both in spoken and written language. Anna was also best known for his extempore speaking ability being very well affluent on rhetoric skills. [27]

He has published several novels, short stories [4] and plays [28] which incorporate political themes. [5] He himself acted [28] in some of his plays during his time in the Dravidar Kazhagam. [29] He introduced movie media as a major organ for propaganda of Dravidian politics. [30] In total Annadurai scripted six screen plays. [29]

His first movie Nallathambi (Good Brother, 1948) which starred N. S. Krishnan promoted cooperative farming and abolition of zamindari system. [29] His novels such as Velaikaari (Servant Maid, 1949) and Or Iravu , which were later made into movies, carried the hallmarks of propaganda for Dravidian politics. [31] On Velaikari, Annadurai said that the movie

made it clear that greed and avarice of the rich did not pay in the long run.[...] Some of the elementary principles of socialism and stressed that we should depend upon our own labour for our progress and well being and not some unknown factor. [29]

Velaikari made direct references against the suppressive landlords who were traditionally allied with Jawaharlal Nehru and Gandhi. [13] His movies had some elements of Dravidian political ideologies like anti-Brahminism and messages differing against Congress with detailed reasons and scenarios behind. [31] Popular stage and cine actors who stood by Anna in early years were D. V. Narayanasamy, K. R. Ramasamy, N. S. Krishnan, S. S. Rajendran, Sivaji Ganesan [28] and M. G. Ramachandran. [16]

Some of his books had a social approach and its content were debatable, such as "Arya Mayai" (Aryan Illusion) in which he highlighted the view point of bringing an equal living society regardless of any caste dominance and especially drawing similarities which existed by then of the upper-caste Brahmin (Aryan) people. He was fined INR 700 for sedition [32] and was also sent to prison. [16]

Some of his well-known works are his books Annavin Sattasabai Sorpolivukal (Anna's speeches at the state legislative, 1960), Ilatchiya varalaru (History of Ideals, 1948), Valkkaip puyal (Storm of life, 1948) and Rankon rata (Radha from Rangon). [5] His work Kambarasam criticises Ramayana of Kamban. [33] His works of fiction such as Kapothipura kathal (Love in the city of Blind), Parvathy B.A.,Kalinga rani (Queen of Kalinga) and Pavayin payanam (Travels of a young lady) carried elements of political propaganda. [33]

At times when Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam was extensively using movies for its propaganda, censorship crippled the process. To evade censorships, DMK movies used Annadurai's popular nickname Anna, which also means elder brother in Tamil, as a pun. When praises were bestowed on the Anna on screen, the crowd would break into applause. [29] Kannadasan has criticised Anna's works that apart from Sivaji Kanda Hindu Rajyam [28] and Needhi Devan Mayakkam, the rest lacked even a plot [34]

Posts held

The provincial conference of the DMK was held at Tiruchirappalli in May 1956. Annadurai stepped down from the General Secretaryship of the party, and Nedunchezhian was elected to that position. It was at the Tiruchirappalli conference that the party decided to contest free India's second general elections which were to be held in 1957. The DMK secured 15 Assembly seats and two parliamentary seats. [16] Anna was elected from his home constituency, Kanchipuram [16] for the first time to the Madras Legislative Assembly. [5] In that election, the DMK won 15 seats and Annadurai became the leader of the opposition in the state. [4] In 1962, the DMK emerged as the major political party in the state outside the Congress, winning 50 seats in the Assembly. [4] Although Annadurai himself lost the elections, he was nominated as a member of parliament to the upper house (Rajya Sabha). [4] [5]

As chief minister

In 1967, the Congress lost nine states to opposition parties, but it was only in Madras state that a single non-Congress party majority was achieved. [35] The electoral victory of 1967 is also reputed to an electoral fusion among the non-Congress parties to avoid a split in the Opposition votes. Rajagopalachari, a former senior leader of the Congress party, had by then left the Congress and launched the right-wing Swatantra Party. He played a vital role in bringing about the electoral fusion amongst the opposition parties to align against the Congress. [36] At that time, his cabinet was the youngest in the country. [37]

Annadurai legalised Self-respect marriages for the first time in the country. Such marriages were void of priests to preside over the ceremony and thus did not need a Brahmin to carry out the wedding. [38] Self-respect marriages were a brainchild of Periyar, who regarded the then conventional marriages as mere financial arrangements which often caused great debt through dowry. Self-Respect marriages, according to him, encouraged inter-caste marriages and caused arranged marriages to be replaced by love marriages. [39] Annadurai was also the first to use subsidising of the price of rice for election victory. He promised one rupee a measure of rice, which he initially implemented once in government, but had to withdraw later. Subsidising rice costs are still used as an election promise in Tamil Nadu. [40]

It was Annadurai's government that renamed the Madras State to its present-day form declaring officially as Tamil Nadu. The name change itself was first presented in the upper house (Rajya Sabha) of the Parliament of India by Bhupesh Gupta, a communist MP from West Bengal, but was then defeated. [14] With Annadurai as chief minister, the state assembly succeeded in passing the bill renaming the states.

Anna was instrumental in organising the World Tamil Conference under the aegies of UNESCO in 1967. [41] Another major achievement of Annadurai's government was to introduce a two language policy over the then popular three language formula. The three language formula, which was implemented in the neighbouring states of Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Kerala, entitled students to study three languages: the regional language, English and Hindi. [23] It was during the period of his Chief Ministership that the Second World Conference was conducted on a grand scale on 3 January 1968. [16] Nevertheless, when a commemorative stamp was released to mark the Tamil conference, Annadurai expressed his dissatisfaction that the stamp contained Hindi when it was for Tamil. [42] Annadurai also issued an order for the removal of the pictures of gods and religious symbols from public offices and buildings. [16] He proceeded on a world tour as an invitee of the Yale University's Chubb Fellowship Programme and was also a guest of the State Department in the US in April–May 1968. He was awarded the Chubb Fellowship at Yale University, being the first non-American to receive this honour. [16] The same year he was awarded an honorary doctorate from Annamalai University. [4]


Anna memorial Anna Arch.JPG
Anna memorial

On 10 September 1968 Annadurai travelled to New York for medical treatment and he was operated for cancer in the gullet at the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. He returned to Chennai in November and continued to address several official functions against medical advice. [43] His health deteriorated further and he died on 3 February 1969. [16] His cancer was attributed to his habit of chewing tobacco. [37] His funeral had the highest number of attendees until then, as registered with The Guinness Book of Records . [44] An estimated 15 million people attended it. [45] His remains were buried in the northern end of Marina Beach, which is now called Anna Memorial. [46]


The statue of Annadurai at the College of Engineering, Guindy campus of Anna University which is named after him Annadurai statue.jpg
The statue of Annadurai at the College of Engineering, Guindy campus of Anna University which is named after him

After his electoral success with his DMK in 1967, the Congress has not yet returned to power in Tamil Nadu. His government was the first in the country to be from a non-Congress party with full majority. [35] When the DMK later split, with M. G. Ramachandran forming his own Dravidian party, the rebel fragment was named after Annadurai as Anna DMK. Anna Nagar, a residential neighbourhood in Chennai is named after him.[ citation needed ] Sri Lankan Tamil nationalist leaders and writers are considered to be influenced by Annadurai's chaste Tamil movement. [47] Anna University, a premier institution in science and technology was named after him. DMK's current head office built in 1987 is named after him as Anna Arivalayam. [48] One of the major roads in Chennai was named in his honour, Anna Salai—it was previously called Mount Road, and a statue of Annadurai now stands there. [49] The central government issued a commemorative coin of 5 denomination to mark the centenary celebrations of him on 15 September 2009 in Chennai. [50] Jawaharlal Nehru hailed him as one of the great parliamentarians for speeches in Rajya Sabha. [51] Selig Harrison, a US-based [52] analyst of South Asian and East Asian politics and journalism [53] commented,

There is no doubt that this powerful orator is the single-most popular mass figure in the region [37]

The magazine India Today has listed Annadurai in its "Top 100 people who shaped India by thought, action, art, culture and spirit". [54] In 2010, Anna Centenary Library was established in Chennai in remembrance of Annadurai. [55]

A life-size statue of Annadurai was unveiled on 1 October 2002 in the Parliament House by then President of India, A.P.J. Abdul Kalam in his honour and the function was attended by notable politicians. [56] [57]

On 31 July 2020, Alandur metro station in Chennai has been renamed as Arignar Anna Alandur Metro by Government of Tamil Nadu to honour him. [58]


YearFilmCredits [59]
1949 Velaikaari Story, Screenplay and Dialogues
1949 Nallathambi Story, Screenplay and Dialogues
1951 Or Iravu Story and Dialogues
1954 Sorgavasal Story and Dialogues
1956 Rangoon Radha Story
1959 Thaai Magalukku Kattiya Thaali Story
1961 Nallavan Vazhvaan Story
1962 Edhayum Thangum Idhayam Story
1970 Kadhal Jothi Story
1978 Vandikaaran magan Story

Annadurai's first movie script, of his play Velaikkari, fetched him a fee of 12,000, a considerable sum at that time [60] (worth 1 crore in 2015 prices)

Apart from his stories, the names of some of Annadurai's works were used as film titles for Panathottam (1963), Valiba virundhu (1967), Kumarikottam (1971), Rajapart Rangadurai (1973), Needhi devan mayakkam (1982). [59]



YearTypeWorkFirst appeared in [59]
1939NovellaKomalathin KobamKudi arasu
1939NovellaKabothipura KadhalKudi arasu
1942NovellaKumasthavin penn orDravida Nadu'
1942NovellaKalingaraniDravida Nadu
1943NovellaParvathi B.ADravida Nadu
1945NovellaDasavatharamDravida Nadu
1945PlaySivaji kanda Hindu samrajyam [28]
1946NovellaKumari kottamDravida Nadu
1946NovellaRangoon RadhaDravida Nadu
1947PlayNeedhidevan mayakkam
1947ParableKadhiravan KaneenDravida Nadu
1948PlayOr iravu
1948NovellaEn vazhvuDravida Nadu
1953PlayKadhal jothi
1955ParableKumari SuryaDravida Nadu
1955ParableNangai NagaithaalDravida Nadu
1955ParableOru muttalin kadhaiDravida Nadu
1955PlayPavayin payanam
1956NovellaPudhiya polivuDravida Nadu
1957NovellaKadaisi kanavuDravida Nadu
1965NovellaVandikaaran maganKanchi
1968Novellaappodhae sonnenKanchi
1970PlayInba oliKanchi and Dravida nadu
NovellaRomapuri RaanigalKanchi and Dravida nadu

Non fiction

YearTitle [4]

A scene from the film Thangarathinam (1960) shows real footage of Annadurai and other DMK leaders speaking at the Tirāviṭa camutāya cīrtirutta mānāṭu (Dravidian Community Reform Conference) held in Palani on 17 September 1960. A group of protagonists in the film are seen attending the conference. The group is shown as belonging to a reformist organisation named Thirukkural Munnanik Kazhagam (Tamil : திருக்குறள் முன்னணிக் கழகம்). Its acronym in Tamil is an allusion to the DMK (திமுக). [61]

In a scene from the film Iru Kodugal (1969), District Collector Janaki (Sowcar Janaki), meets the Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu. The Chief Minister is not seen directly. Instead, a voice sounding like Annadurai's is heard and a pair of glasses on the table and a pen in the foreground are seen. [62]

The song sequence "Nee mannavana chinnavana" from the film Rudra Thandavam (1978) shows real footage of Annadurai's funeral. [63]

In the film Walter Vetrivel (1993), Vijayakumar played Viswanathan (Tamil Nadu Minister for Home Affairs as per the plot). The actor's countenance in the film strongly resembles Annadurai.

In the film Iruvar (1997), Nassar played Ayya Veluthambi, a character whose role is reminiscent of Annadurai.

Annadurai is portrayed in the film Kamaraj (2004).

S. S. Stanley played Annadurai in the film Periyar (2007). Directed by Gnana Rajasekaran, the film had Sathyaraj in the lead role of Periyar, Annadurai's mentor. After Annadurai's death (not shown in the film), his real life photo is seen in the table of M. Karunanidhi, who succeeded him as Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu.

The song sequence "Nee kondru kuvithatu" from the film Indiralohathil Na Azhagappan (2008) shows real footage of Annadurai. [64]

Bharathi Kannan played Annadurai in the film Thalaivii (2021). [65]

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Politics of Tamil Nadu is the politics related to the Indian state of Tamil Nadu.

Dravidian parties include an array of regional political parties in the state of Tamil Nadu, India, which trace their origins and ideologies either directly or indirectly to the Justice Party and the Dravidian movement of C. Natesanar and Periyar E. V. Ramasamy. The Dravidian movement was based on the linguistic divide in India, where most of the Northern Indian, Eastern Indian and Western Indian languages are classified as Indo-Aryan, whereas the South Indian languages are classified as Dravidian. Dravidian politics has developed by associating itself to the Dravidian community. The original goal of Dravidian politics was to achieve social equality, but it later championed the cause of ending the domination of North India over the politics and economy of the South Indian province known as Madras Presidency.

Erode Venkatappa Krishnasamy Sampath(c. 5 March 1926 – 23 February 1977), usually referred to as E. V. K. Sampath was a prominent politician from Tamil Nadu, India. He was an advocate of the Dravidian Movement of Periyar E. V. Ramasamy and was considered by some as his political heir. He later split from Periyar's Dravidar Kazhagam to form Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) along with C. N. Annadurai. In spite of being one of the founders of DMK he later left and formed his own party, by the name, Tamil National Party. Nevertheless, he later merged his party with the Indian National Congress. He is a former Member of Parliament from the constituency of Namakkal.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Periyar</span> Indian social activist and advocate of Dravidian movement

Erode Venkatappa Ramasamy, revered as Periyar or Thanthai Periyar, was an Indian social activist and politician who started the Self-Respect Movement and Dravidar Kazhagam. He is known as the 'Father of the Dravidian movement'. He rebelled against gender and caste inequality in Tamil Nadu. Since 2021, the Indian state of Tamil Nadu celebrates his birth anniversary as 'Social Justice Day'.

Dravidian parties rose to power and prominence in the political stage of Tamil Nadu, a state in India, in the 1960s. The rise in power and political support was gradual until Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK), a Dravidian party, formed the government in the state in 1967. Although since the 1970s the Dravidian parties have met with many break-aways and have taken rival stances against each other, the seat of power in Tamil Nadu has been with one or another Dravidian party. The increase in popularity of the Dravidian parties in the 1960s is attributed to several factors, including the fall of popularity of the Congress Government in the centre and the north–south disparity, as claimed by the Dravidian politics. The series of events climaxed with anti-Hindi agitation which led to the downfall of popularity of the then Indian National Congress government in the state and the eventual rise of Dravidian parties to power.

Tamil cinema has played a vital role in Dravidian politics in the South Indian state of Tamil Nadu. Films have been influential in Indian politics since the days of the British Raj, when movies were used for anti-British propaganda. Nevertheless, the leaders of the Indian National Congress viewed movie media with contempt. It was the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK), a Dravidian party, that made extensive use of this media for propaganda purposes. Adversaries of Dravidian parties despised the use of films and screen popularity for political gain, and Congress leaders like K. Kamaraj questioned the possibility of movie stars forming governments.

Tamil National Party was a short-lived political party formed in 1962 in Tamil Nadu, India. The party finds its roots with the split in Dravidar Kazhagam after which Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) was formed. E. V. K. Sampath, a founding member of the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam, left the party following differences with the party leadership. The differences arose due to the DMK's stance on achieving an independent nation called Dravida Nadu. Nevertheless, within years the Tamil National Party was merged with Indian National Congress.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">1967 Madras Legislative Assembly election</span> Election on 5–21 February 1967

The fourth legislative assembly election of Madras State was held in February 1967. The Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) led coalition under the leadership of C.N. Annadurai won the election defeating the Indian National Congress (Congress). Anti-Hindi agitations, the rising prices of essential commodities, and a shortage of rice were the dominant issues. K. Kamaraj's resignation as the Chief Minister in 1963, to concentrate on party affairs, along with persistent rumors of corruption had weakened the incumbent Congress Government. This was the second time after Communist Party of India winning Kerala assembly elections in 1957, for a non-Congress party to gain the majority in a state in India, and the last time that Congress held power in Tamil Nadu. It was the first time a party or pre-election alliance formed a non-Congress government with an absolute majority. It marked the beginning of Dravidian dominance in the politics of Tamil Nadu. Annadurai, who became the first non-Congress chief minister of post-independence Tamil Nadu, died in office in 1969 and V.R. Nedunchezhiyan took over as acting chief minister.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">1962 Madras Legislative Assembly election</span>

The third legislative assembly election to the Madras state was held on 21 February 1962. The Indian National Congress party, led by K. Kamaraj, won the election. Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam made significant in-roads in the election and emerged as the second party for the first time by winning 50 seats. 1962 Election remains the most recent election in which Indian National Congress to form a majority Government in the State as its support was heavily declined due to rise of Dravidian political parties.

Aladi Aruna (alias) V Arunachalam was an Indian politician. He was the Law Minister of Tamil Nadu. He was elected to the Tamil Nadu legislative assembly as a member of the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam from Alangulam constituency in the 1967, 1971 and 1996 elections. He was elected to the Lok Sabha, the lower house of India's Parliament, from Tirunelveli constituency in the 1977 elections. He was also a member of the Rajya Sabha, the upper house of India's Parliament, as a member of the Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam. He came into the limelight when he issued a dissent note in the JPC report on the Bofors Scandal against a clean chit to Rajiv Gandhi government. He was murdered in 2004.

Late ShriS. Natarajan Udayar was an Indian politician and 3 time DMK MLA from Thanjavur Constituency. A close friend and supporter of Periyar E.V. Ramaswamy, he was an early member of Dravidar Kazhagam. His association with Aringar C N Annadurai made him part ways with E.V.R. politically and join Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) as one of the earliest and founding members of DMK.

Sathyavani Muthu was an Indian politician and an influential leader from Chennai, Tamil Nadu. She was a Member of the Legislative Assembly of Tamil Nadu, Rajya Sabha member and Union Minister. She began her political career as a member of Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam, began her own party, Thazhthapattor Munnetra Kazhagam and later joined the Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam. In late 1990s, she again joined in DMK.

R. M. Veerappan is an Indian politician, an early Dravidian Leader, and a movie producer and screenwriter from the Indian state of Tamil Nadu. He is the founder and leader of the MGR Kazhagam party. He served as a Cabinet Minister in five governments from 1977 to 1996, is a three-time Member of Legislative Council and a two-time member of the Legislative Assembly. He was the Leader of the House for Legislative Assembly and Leader of ADMK party of the Legislative Council. He was the architect behind the ADMK organization, unified the MGR fan clubs for the party formation. He was called as the 'Chanakya' of AIADMK politics in the 70's and 80's.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Madras State</span> Former state of India (1947-69)

Madras State was a state of India during the mid-20th century. At the time of its formation in 1950, it included the whole of present-day Tamil Nadu, Coastal Andhra, Rayalaseema, the Malabar region of North and central Kerala, Bellary, South Canara and Kollegal. Coastal Andhra and Rayalaseema were separated to form Andhra State in 1953, while South Canara and Bellary districts along with the Kollegalam taluka of Coimbatore district were merged with Mysore State, and Malabar District with the State of Travancore-Cochin to form Kerala in 1956. Post State Reorganization in 1956, the remaining Madras State was renamed to Tamil Nadu on January 14, 1969.

The fourth legislative assembly of Madras state was constituted in March 1967 after the assembly election which was held in February 1967. The assembly was the first non-Indian National Congress government of the state and, under chief-minister C.N. Annadurai, passed several key acts including the renaming of the state to Tamil Nadu and the abolition of the three-language formula in the state which had previously required Hindi to be taught in schools.


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Party political offices
New creation General Secretary of the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam
Succeeded by
Assembly seats
Preceded by
Member of Madras State Legislative Assembly
Succeeded by
Preceded by
Himself as Chief Minister of Madras State
Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu
Succeeded by