One-man mission to preserve the legacy of former TN CM Kamaraj, page after page
In 2018, Ganesan also installed a statue that depicts Kamaraj sitting in a chariot inside the gallery.
VIRUDHUNAGAR: Here is where admiration meets respect and shapes the future of generations to come. Meet 62-year-old SP Ganesan, a resident of Virudhunagar who is one among the lakhs of people who benefited through the many schemes, including mid-day meal, free education and free school uniforms, introduced by former chief minister K Kamaraj. And, ‘Kamaraj Katchiyagam’, a gallery dedicated fully to the legendary leader, is Ganesan’s way to contibute to the society.
Established in 2016, the gallery preserves books, magazines and essays on Kamaraj, and has information on the leader’s contribution to the field of education, electricity generation, construction of dams, industries, and the like. In 2018, Ganesan also installed a statue that depicts Kamaraj sitting in a chariot inside the gallery. Born in 1960, Ganesan holds Masters in Mathematics and has been running his publishing House ‘Thaai Pathippagam’.
“For me, pursuing education became possible only because of Kamaraj,” he said. Going back memory lane, Ganesan told TNIE, “The times were so hard. Those days, eating food made of rice was a luxury for our family. Kamaraj’s mid-day meal scheme was of great help to us. I realised the impact of the schemes only later. When I did, I started studying Kamaraj more through newspaper articles and magazines available at my neighbour’s house,” he said.
Ganesan’s mission started when he was in Class 9. He started collecting essays, books, and all kinds of write-ups about Kamaraj from old bookshops. “Owing to financial constraints and absence of photocopy shops those days, I used to write down the information on my notebook,” he said.
The more Ganesan got to know about the leader, the more he was impressed. Over the years, Ganesan has in his collection almost 350 books and 2,500 essays about Kamaraj along with a few newspaper clippings. For the last 12 years, Ganesan has been consistently visiting the Connemara library in Chennai, searching for more information about the leader.
One of the books written by Ganesan about the history of Kamaraj titled ‘Kamaraj Varalaru (Virutchathin Vidhayaga)’ in 2016 won three awards from the state government. Through his ‘Kamaraj Vizhipunarvu Maiyyam’ founded in 2006, Ganesan honours the families and friends of freedom fighters and provides education fees for around 10-20 students every year. Around 1,000 notebooks are distributed to students annually on the occasion of Kamaraj’s birth aniversary that falls on July 15. A great admirer of ‘Karmaveerar’, Ganesan is currently working on another book on the leader.