Singapore Fans Keep MGR’s Memories Alive

This morning’s edition of The Straits Times carried this advertisement in memory of late Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M G Ramachandran (MGR) on his 29th death anniversary.

Tamil Singaporeans do maintain contact with Tamil Nadu, keeping track of political developments in the State.

But I did not know there was an MGR fan club active enough to place a colour obit advertisement in Singapore’s top English language newspaper. So it did come as a surprise to me.

mgr2

In Nagercoil…

Incidentally, on the day he died (December 26, 1987) we were in Nagercoil, having left Chennai two days earlier in our Standard 20 van. Soon after his death the State came to a standstill – all shops were closed and his supporters were turning violent against vehicles plying on the road.

My mother suggested that we get ourselves some MGR posters and stick them around our van. We did that, which ensured a safe passage  for us thereafter. I had always found my Mother blessed with a good presence of mind.

MGR was an actor like no other then and now. He was India’s first political leader from cinema, having founded the ADMK after breaking away from the DMK and went on to become the Chief Minister.

Jayalalitha and Periyar

MGR was in the news recently following the death of Chief Minister Jayalalitha, his protégé.

Today is also the death anniversary of another Dravidian stalwart, EV Ramasamy Naicker (EVR – Periyar), atheist leader. I was perhaps in primary school then but I do remember his funeral procession.

We lived in Egmore then and we hopped across the bridge to the Poonamallee High Road area, near the Daily Thanthi newspaper office. The massive funeral procession passed through that place then.

G Joslin Vethakumar

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