CHENNAI: It is not often that we come across someone named ‘Freedom’. Even more intriguing when you learn that the name was given by an inconic former Chief Minister. Fifty-four-year-old M Mallikas Freedom, serving as sub-inspector at the Foreshore Estate Police Station, was the lucky man. He was named by K Kamaraj, a stalwart and one of the towering personalities of the freedom movement, whose 114th birth anniversary falls today.
It is only fitting that the Congress veteran had christened a child, ‘Freedom’. What’s the story behind the name?
Born in 1962, Mallikas Freedom was the lone child of his parents. His father, Mariadoss, was a Congressman elected as a local councillor in Old Washermanpet. For the next election, however, Mariadoss had decided to relieve himself from the party and stand as an independent.
“Upset over internal politics, my father thought it would be better if he stood as an independent,” Mallikas recalled.
In the build-up to the local elections, Kamarajar, along with his Home Minister P Kakkan, was visiting party members and called on Mariadoss. “While discussing my father’s decision, the two had heard my cries. Kamaraj had enquired my father what had he named me,” Mallikas said. His father had named him Malakha, a biblical name which means Angel or messenger.
“Kamaraj suggested that the word Freedom be added to it and my father obliged and here I am,” Mallikas Freedom chuckled adding, “My father had no other choice. You can’t say no to such a great man.”
The Sub Inspector has not met Kamaraj in person. While growing up, his name attracted curious looks from teachers and students. “I tell them the story. People then tell me it is a honour to have been named by Kamaraj,” Mallikas said.
On Friday, Mallikas Freedom would distribute notebooks and materials to poor children in memory of Kamaraj, who revolutionised education in the state with his mid-day meal scheme.
Growing up along the sea, Mallikas worked as a shore worker and on board merchant ships for six years before he joined the police as an Armed Reserve constable. To this day, on Kamaraj’s birthday, this policeman does his bit of humble charity.
“It’s not about me. It’s to uphold the legacy of that great man” Mallikas Freedom said.