Feb 21st is a fasting day for me since 1974..
I cdn’t digest the sudden departure of a Great Gandhian & guide in mylife.
It was just impossible to forget Him from then on,I have always been a miserable man!
My father’s greatest strength was His Truthfulness.He never ever deviated from the Path of Truth and I wd like to recall some incidents as a tribute to His greatness on this day..
He being a simple Headmaster of Rajah’s High School ,was only a servant to the Rajah of Ramnad,Shamugaraja Sethupathi who commanded so much respect all over Tamil Nadu and in many Princely states..But since my father was such a strict disciplinarian and headed a school of nearly 2000 students with such discipline,none including the Rajah,wd like to interfere with this great Institution..Rajah also had so much respect for my father and probably my father was the only one Rajah of Ramnad used to call “Mr.Rajah Iyer” as all others wdn’t get that special respect..
In 1967 when the elections were announced,Kamaraj,the great Congress Leader refused to give COngress Ticket to the Rajah,who was earlier a COngress MInister!Rajah wanted to contest the elections as an Independent!
Since my father was also an elected M.L.C representing the TEachers COnstituency,He was well aware the mood of the people.So my father ‘advised’ the Rajah ‘not to contest’ as th mood was against him..Rajah refused to listen to my father.My father went out of the way to tell the Rajah that people around him were after his money only and hence ‘this elections wd be a big drain on his wealth’.He didnt listen to My father…
I was doing my Final year Engg. examn when the elections was in the offing and had come down to Ramnad to prepare for the examns.Normally I used to spend a lot of time with my father and when we were together in an afternoon in our HOuse,there was such a noise outside our house..that nearly 400 to 500 boys shouting slogans..’Vote for DMK..Vote for Thangappan’ was heard.My father was a bit startled when the very crowd suddenly became silent when they reached my house!
A tall 6 footer,with a thick MOustache,Thangappan entered my house with a Huge Garland of Roses..He prostrated before my father seeking His blessings..
My father,being never afraid of anyone,leavealone Thangappan,an Old student of His,told him”How dare you enter my own House and ask for my vote for you?”. The crowd was watching!Thangappan again prostrated and sought His blessings.My father told him”All the best..”
Thangappan won the elections and Rajah was devastated after losing the elections,that too to a drop out from his own school!Thangappan,after the announcements were made,again came with nearly a 1000 boys with a bigger garland and prostrated to my father..”I need your guidance in the Assembly.”
My father told him”Do everything possible for the poor..all the best.”While Thangappan was going back ,my father called him and asked him “How did you come?”
“By a Horse -Cart!”
“Don’t worry..sooner you will get a car!”
Exactly in 6 months’ time,he was given a car by the DMK and he drove straight to my house to take my father’s blessings…
In the meantime,the Rajah was bedridden after the elections..
He sent word for my father and my father went to the Palace..Rajah hugged my father and wept over His shoulders
“Rajah Iyer..you are the Only One who advised me Truthfully..I have lost a few crores..I am so much upset..”Rajah was uncontrollable..
He passed away in a few months..
My father used to say..”Rajah cd have lived a bit more had he ‘not stood for that elections.”
My father served as an M.L.C., for 12 yrs between 1962-74 when he died as a sitting member(see Govt notification)He was commanding so much respect from all the Chief Ministers,like Kamaraj,Bakthavatsalam,Annadurai and Karunanidhi.
He died a poor man.He never had a car.He always travelled by Bus in Madras as an M.L.C.,Some of His students are holding top positions in Nasa,in UK,Singapore&Middle East and the Crescent Group Chairman was my father’s student..Abdul Kalam used to recall about my father’s greatness,as narrated by Abdul Kalam’s gaurdian in Rameswaram,Manikkam,who was my father’s student.Kalam writes he owes a lot to Manikkam!
Well..He has left behind a wealth of pride for us,thats immeasurable!My tribute@Ramnad function