On 6 March 1967, fifty-eight-year-old Conjeevaram Natarajan Annadurai became chief minister of Madras state, when his party, the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK), swept to power for the first time. Marking the pinnacle of his public life, it reflected his popularity among ordinary people who revered him as Anna, or elder brother. This rich biography illuminates his many lives—as a charismatic leader of modern India, as a stalwart of the Dravidian movement, as the founder of the DMK, as spokesman for the South—besides documenting his abilities as an acclaimed orator and littérateur in Tamil and English, and as a stage actor. Kannan draws on Anna’s considerable body of writing, the memoirs of other leaders and authors in Tamilto offer a warm and rounded portrait of a man who showed the way for the democratic expression of regional aspirations within a united India.
R. Kannan practised law in Madras, and briefly also taught law at Madras Law College and international organizations at the University of Madras, where he was a guest faculty member. He has served in various capacities with the United Nations, including as head of Civil Affairs in Cyprus. Currently, he is a political officer with the United Nations Mission in Kosovo.
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