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Actor:M G Ramachandran (from ebay internet web)

Marudur Gopalamenon Ramachandran (January 17, 1917–December 24, 1987), popularly known as MGR and PURATCHI THALAIVAR MGR (Means Revolutionary Leader), was a long time Tamil film actor and Chief Minister of the Indian state of Tamil Nadu from 1977 until his death.

Early life

He was born at Kandy, Sri Lanka, to Maradhur Gopala Menon and Satyabhama who were of the Nair caste from the state of Kerala in Southern India. After his father's death, MGR settled with his family at Kumbakonam in Tamil Nadu. He could not pursue his studies beyond the primary stage due to poverty and hence joined a drama troupe. Gaining considerable experience on stage, he entered the world of cinema, and gradually rose to enviable positions by persistent efforts and endurance. He became a great actor, director and producer.

Tamil cinema

Making his film debut in 1936, in the film Sati Leelavathi, MGR did not attain great popularity until his role in the 1947 film Rajakumari. He rose to stardom by playing characters that potrayed him as the saviour of the poor. His movies were the medium of communication for the Dravidian movement. For the next twenty-five years he remained one of the biggest celebrities in Tamil cinema. Movies like Madurai Veeran, a champion of the Tamil Dalits, helped gain the admiration of the dalits in the state. His star power did not diminish even after he was shot by fellow actor MR Radha, affecting his ability to speak clearly, but rather he became more famous after this incident and people ordained his tamil as "mazhalai tamil" and called him "engal veetu pillai"(our own son). The Government of India honoured him with the national Award for the Best Actor for his acting in the film Rickshakaran in 1972. It is important to note that he refused to accept the Padmashri award presented to him in the 1960s.

Political ambitions

He was a vocal Tamil and Dravidian nationalist and prominent member of the DMK (Dravidian Progressive Federation). In 1953, MGR joined the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam. He became a member of the state Legislative Council in 1962. He was first elected to the Tamil Nadu Legislative Assembly in 1967. He added glamour to the Dravidian movement which was sweeping Tamil Nadu. Always the first to personally offer relief in disasters and calamities like fire, flood, drought, cyclone, etc., he was the first donor during the war with China in 1962, donating Rs. 75,000 to the war fund.

After the death of his mentor, Annadurai, in 1972 he had a fall out with the DMK leadership as he wanted the financial results of the party publicised and so he was treated with slipper garlands when he entered the assembly hall, and so he went on to form the AIADMK (All India Anna Dravidian Progressive Federation)the only powerful opponent of DMK. He became Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu in 1977, a post he kept even after he suffered a paralytic stroke in 1984. MGR died in office in 1987. He was the first film actor to be a Chief Minister in India.

Chief Ministership

He enjoyed unending support during his time as Chief Minister. He placed great emphasis on social development, especially education. He founded the Tamil University, The Tamil Nadu Dr. MGR Medical University and the Women's University in Tamil Nadu. One of MGR's most successful policies was the re-introduction of the "Mid-day meals" in Tamil Nadu, which encouraged underprivileged children to attend schools. Through this scheme Tamil Nadu was able to achieve rapid literacy rates. The response was so successful that in 1995 the then Finance Minister Manmohan Singh had this scheme introduced all over the country. Efforts taken by him and the subsequent Tamil Nadu governments ensured the development of Primary and Secondary education in the State. Today the state has amongst the best education institutes in the country.

His governments pioneered industrial and information technology revolution in south India. He polled consistently over 8 million votes in every Assembly election. He has never lost any election he contested

View on LTTE

After the 1983 riots in Colombo, when thousands of Tamils were murdered, Prime Minister Indira Gandhi acted on the belief that an armed struggle by Sri Lankan Tamils—perceptibly backed by India—would bring the Sri Lankan Government to the negotiating table. The trained cadres of all the groups, including the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, set up 30 camps in Tamil Nadu. Chief Minister M.G.R never raised objections. Later Indira Gandhi's son Rajeev Gandhi who was the ex-prime minister then was assassinated by an LTTE suicide bomber for his untimely act of sending peace keeping troops into Srilanka which created discontent among both the Sinhalese and the Tamils.


MGR passed away on 24 December, 1987. He was posthumously awarded the "Bharat Ratna" by the President of India. When he died in 1987, his political party, the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam, split between his wife Janaki Ramachandran and his long time companion and political protege, J. Jayalalitha

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