CHENNAI: Tamil enthusiast and founder-chairman of Adyar Students Xerox Centre N Arunachalam passed away on Monday evening at the age of 76.
Arunachalam, native of Thirukannapuram village in Nagapattinam district, started his career as a revenue official. Inspired by social activist Periyar’s ideologies, he later quit his job and led anti-Hindi and anti-Brahmin agitations in Nagapattinam along with other prominent leaders.
He shot to fame in 1986 after establishing the Students Xerox Centre at Adyar, at a time when photocopies were available only for the elite. Now the centre has more than 35 branches in the city and is a popular resource centre among student fraternity.
Indeed, Arunachalam and his crew were the first to coin the term ‘Nagalagam’, the Tamil equivalent for ‘Photocopy’.
“He was a pioneer in leading the struggle for introducing Tamil as a medium of instruction in State-run schools during 1998. He had organised a state-wide campaign through his Tamil Scholars Forum and sat on a hunger strike along with 102 Tamil scholars attracting the Centre’s attention”, said Tamil scholar Iraiyelilan.
Though the DMK government assured to implement this, the Government Order was quashed by the Madras High Court and the case was still pending in the Supreme Court.
He was popular among the literary circle for his magazine ‘Nandan’ which wrote extensively on Tamil language, music, atheism and nationalism in layman’s terms.
The family invested profits from the photocopy centres into the forum to conduct State-wide Tamil essay and elocution competitions for school students, recalled M Saravana Kumar who won an award in the early 1990s.
His final rites will take place at his native village on May 25. His body has been kept for public viewing at his residence at Kottivakkam till Tuesday 2 pm. He is survived by wife Santha, son Sowrirajan and daughters Thirumeni and Neelamegam. PMK leader S Ramadoss had condoled his death.