Perunchiththiranar’s life is an example of how a dedicated individual, with no political support and no financial resource, can change the course of the history of a people single handedly.
Perunchiththiranar started his first magazine Thenmoli in 1959 when he was only 26 and working for the post office. He was by no means a rich man. His father was a police constable. Perunchiththiranar had a dream, a vision, a goal. Hindian domination and rule of his country Tamil Nadu bothered him. He wanted it to be free. He dreamed of an independent Tamil Nadu. He wrote of his dream, his vision, his goal, his thirst for independence in his magazine.
He published it at a loss, spending his own money. The magazine was published at that time from Cuddalore where he worked. Very few knew of him. Very few heard of his magazine. Slowly and steadily the magazine’s popularity increased, especially among college students. One student told another, another told another, and so on. Perunchiththiranar became almost a cult figure among some college students.
Some students took it upon themselves to solicit subscriptions for the magazine. One such benefactor was a student at St. John’s College in Thiruchi (Trichi), named Saththiah. I believe that he got more subscriptions than anyone else did at that time. He later changed his name to Thamizh Kudimagan. Yes, it is the same Thamizh Kudimagan who is now the Minister of Tamil Development in the present Tamil Nadu state government of Chief Minister Karunanidhi.
Students not only solicited subscriptions but those studying in nearby towns came to Cuddalore to help print, collate and bind the magazine. Students came long distances by bicycle to do voluntary work for the magazine.
Readership increased and the magazine was no longer running at a loss. No, it did not make him rich; magazine’s circulation was only a very small fraction of popular entertainment magazines like Kumudam or political magazines like Murasoli. He left his post office job in the late 1960s and devoted his full time to writing. Schools, colleges and Tamil associations around Tamil Nadu invited him to speak at their meetings. The yearning for independence for Tamil Nadu was seeded in thousands of Tamil hearts. He single handedly kept the flames of freedom alive in Tamil Nadu. This one man’s work scared the Indian government so much that the Prime Minister of India wanted to meet with him and personally persuade him to drop his demand for independence for Tamil Nadu.
Perunchiththiranar is an inspiration to all of us, as to what one ordinary person, with no financial resources or political support can do if he or she set his/her mind to it. Many of us may not make the level of impact he made on Tamil society; it does not matter, even a small impact when multiplied by hundreds and thousands can move a mountain.
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