COIMBATORE: Leading industrialist and chairman of the Sakthi Group of Companies ‘Pollachi’ Nachimuthu Mahalingam was laid to rest here on Friday after the 91-year-old died of cardiac arrest while participating in the Gandhi Vallalar Vizha in Chennai on Thursday. His body was buried on the premises of Dr Mahalingam College of Engineering and Technology (MCET) in his native Pollachi after people from various walks of life paid their last respects.
The demise of Mahalingam, who was elected to the Legislative Assembly in 1952, 1957, and 1962 representing Congress party, was condoled by senior Congress leaders. Former union ministers P Chidambaram, G K Vasan, and senior leader EVKS Elangovan paid their respects to the former MLA at his residence Sakthi Nilayam in Pollachi town in the morning. Mahalingam was a close associate of former chief minister K Kamaraj and senior Congress party leader C Subramaniam. He had served as a Member in All India Congress Committee between 1958 and 1968.
Tamil lyricist and poet Vairamuthu was among those who paid their last respects to Mahalingam at his residence before the body was moved to MCET in the afternoon, where collector Archana Patnaik and former DMK minister Pongalur N Palanisamy paid their respects. Thousands of people from various walks of life gathered at MCET in the afternoon to pay their last respects to the industrialist, who was honoured with Padma Bhushan in 2007,
Born to P Nachimuthu Gounder and Srimathi Rukmaniammal in an agricultural family in Pollachi, Mahalingam obtained his B Sc in Physics from Loyola College, Chennai in 1942. After leading an illustrious political career, he moved away from active politics in 1969 to devote attention to business, industry, education, and cultural affairs.
Heading one of the largest conglomerates in the State, Mahalingam took companies such as Sri Sakthi Textiles Limited, Sakthi Synthetic Gems Limited, Sri Bhagavathi Textiles Limited, Sakthi Sugars Limited, Sri Chamundeswari Sugars Limited, Sakthi Finance Limited, and Anamallais Bus Transport Ltd (ABT Services) to new heights.
He was honoured with Doctor of Laws by Bharathiar University, Coimbatore in 1984, Doctor of Science by Anna University, Chennai, in 1988, Doctor of Science by Tamil Nadu Agricultural University in 2000, and Doctor of Science by Madurai Kamaraj University in 2004. A freedom fighter and Gandhian, Mahalingam has translated Mahatma Gandhi’s works into Tamil. He is survived by wife Mariammal, sons M Manickam, M Balasubramaniam and M Srinivaasan.
CM, governor EXTEND condolences
Chennai: Extending his condolences to the bereaved family, Chief Minister O Paneerselvam said his party supremo Jayalalithaa had immense love and affection for the industrialist, who had followed the Gandhian path and Vallalar’s principles. DMK patriarch M Karunanidhi, PMK founder Dr S Ramadoss and Governor K Rosaiah were among those who condoled his death.