Today, they are well recognised faces in Tamil Nadu’s politics. But they gratefully acknowledge that they owe it all to MGR and his political heir Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa.
When MGR was Chief Minister, S Thirunavukkarasu, who was a Minister in his Cabinet, famously declared in the Legislative Assembly: “We are all ‘zeros’. MGR is like the number ‘1’. ‘Zero’ gains value only when ‘1’ is placed before it.” After all, it was MGR who had inspired many of them to enter politics.
Agriculture Minister S Damodaran recalls that his political journey began when he started a MGR Fans Club in his village at the age of 18. “We were inspired by his roles which showcased him as a man with helping tendency who would champion the cause of the poor. I followed his path and entered politics as a union secretary of the ADMK (later AIADMK) when MGR formed it in 1972,” says Damodaran. “Our Chief Minister has been responsible for my political career development after MGR’s death,” he adds.
TN Deputy Speaker Pollachi V Jayaraman says he cannot forget the day in 1978 when MGR visited his house after attending a local school function. “I was a party cadre then. MGR spent nearly two hours in my house enquiring about family members. He named my three children Sathyaselvi, Mukundan and Tamilmozhi,” he says. For, Coimbatore North constituency MLA T Malaravan was nicknamed ‘Malarvan’ by MGR and later he made it his official name.