Kamakshi Kumaraswamy Nadar or Kamaraj was a unique phenomena in Indian politics as a mass political leader. This book throws light on the enigmatic personality of Kamaraj , the man and the politician who played a crucial role in Indian politics during the critical years of the post-Nehru era. Under his chiefministership, the state of Tamil Nadu made immense strides in education, trade and industrialization. He was posthumously honoured with the highest civilian honour, the Bharat Ratan in 1976.
The author V.K.Narasimhan was a doyen of Indian journalism. He was associated with newspaper like The Hindu, The Indian Express and The Hindustan Times before becoming the translator of Sathya Sai Baba’s discourses and Editor of Sanathana Sarathi.
Shri V.N. Narayanan, who has written the ‘postscript’ to this title, is the son of the author. He is a renowned journalist in his own right and was formerly Editor with the Hindustan Times and Editor-in-chief of the Tribune group of newspapers. Currently Editor, Bhavan’s Journal, he has to credit topmost award in journalism G.K. Reddy Award (1988) and B.D. Goenka Award (1922).
The writing of this book has been a voyage of discovery for me. When I undertook the task, thanks to the importunities of some well-meaning friends and the gentle pressures of an enterprising publisher, I was not conscious of the difficulties of the assignment. As I embarked on the collection of material for the book, I came up against many hurdles. Much of the material had to be gathered from interviews with persons scattered over different parts of the country.
As a mass political leader, Kamaraj is a unique phenomena in Indian Politics. He does not spin a theory and is no artificer with words. He makes a direct appeal to the masses by his presence and by his frank and homely speeches. In decision-making, either within the Government, which he headed in Madras for nine years, or in the Councils of the Congress, his role is often imperceptible. One may go through the proceedings of the Congress Working Committee for years and discover very little of what he said or did in his meetings. The bulk of his achievements lies often concealed from the public gaze, like the better part of an iceberg.
He is both an enigmatic and a controversial figure in politics. The writer was warned that the time was not yet for writing a proper, objective biography of Kamaraj. If nevertheless I undertook the task, it is primarily because the subject interested me. I have grown to admire Kamaraj since my first meeting with him some year ago. I have tried to understand him and to interpret his role in Indian politics in the critical years of the post-Nehru era. It is a tentative estimate of one whose active emergence on the national stage in barely three years old.
I am deeply indebted to a large number of associates of Kamaraj for many personal anecdotes and inside account which could not have been got from any other source. Kamaraj himself has given generously of his time during fugitive visits to Madras to answer my question and supply the background for some of the events described in the book.
There are many others to whom I am grateful for the assistance they rendered to me in the collection of material or in the preparation of the book for the press.
I would be failing in my duty if I did not mention that my father-in-law, N.Srinivasa lyengar, was a great source of encouragement to me in going ahead with the book on occasions when I felt like throwing up the sponge. It is my deep regard that he passed away before he could see the book in final form.
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