May 27 2020
Madurai all set to launch another politician
19 February 2018

Kamal Haasan follows in the footsteps of several successful leaders in choosing the temple city to unveil the flag

When actor Kamal Hassan unveils the flag for his proposed political party in Madurai on February 21, the focus will be turned to the temple city, which is the cultural capital of Tamil Nadu since Sangam period. Long before cinema captured the imagination of Tamil people, it was Madurai, the land of Tamil Sangam, that served as the hub of theatre.

“It is the motherland of theatre. Theatre groups would normally be launched from Madurai and even those who start a group elsewhere would add the name of the City (as prefix),” said late actor and theatre personality Avvai T.K. Shanmugam, the acting guru of Mr. Kamal Haasan, in his autobiography.

Though the British rule and cinema shifted the focus to Chennai, Madurai indicated the changing trend in Tamil Nadu politics in modern times.

The victory of AIADMK candidate Maya Thevar in Dindigul Lok Sabha constituency in the composite Madurai district heralded the arrival of MGR in Tamil Nadu politics in a big way in 1973.

Annaism explained

The first MGR fan club was founded in Madurai in 1950. In the 1960s, R.M. Veerappan, who became a minister in MGR’s Cabinet, brought together these clubs as MGR Fans Associations,. Later, it became the All-World MGR Fans Association.

R. Kannan, in his biography of the AIADMK founder, noted: “MGR would famously explain (his party’s ideology) ‘Annaism’ in Madurai, in August 1974: Annaism is one of the ‘isms’ like capitalism, imperialism, socialism, revisionism, Gandhism and Buddhism. In communism, there is room for ideals and philosophy. But there is no room for love and humanitarianism. Annaism has both love and humanitarianism. I am ready to debate on this with anyone.”

In recent times, actor Vijayakant, a native of Madurai chose to launch his party from there, and achieved a measure of success before losing his way.

“Madurai is inseparable from Tamil identity. He (Kamal Haasan) has decided to launch the party from there since the office-bearers of the fan club were particular about Madurai. People can assemble and leave the city because of the transportation facilities,” said Rasi Azhagappan, a friend of Mr. Kamal Haasan, who is working closely with him for the launch of the party.



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