Chennai

Kamarajar Memorial House, Chennai

Chennai has many memorial houses where famous personalities had once lived. In the past few weeks, I have been to two of them – Thiru Subramanya Bharathiyar House, Triplicane and Dr MGR Memorial House, T.Nagar. This week I went to Kamarajar Memorial House, T.Nagar (பெருந்தலைவர் காமராஜர் நினைவு இல்லம்). It is one of many two storey bungalows that used be in this part of Madras, built around the early 20th century. This house that Kamarajar had lived during his decades in Chennai was rented by him, after his death Tamil Nadu Government had bought the house from the owner and made it as a museum for the public.

Bharat Ratna Thiru K Kamaraj was a leader of Indian National Congress, Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu for nearly a decade (1954-1963), and a member of Parliament. Known for his simplicity and integrity, Thiru K Kamaraj was often referred as kingmaker in Indian Politics. Such was his integrity in politics, even today people of the state nostalgically recall him when they speak about honesty in public offices. He is known for his mid-day meal scheme for school students, building many dams and for creating industries in the state. To know more about him, watch this biopic on him made in Tamil (with English subtitles) – Kamaraj (2004).

When I visited the memorial house today, there were no other visitors, except for a lone policewoman on duty. I was able to unhurriedly see the exhibits, photographs, and his personal belongings which were a few. The house is maintained in the same condition it would’ve been when Kamarajar died in 1975. The display boards and cleanliness could be improved a lot. It is open from 9 AM to 6 PM every day and entry is free. Seeing the whole place will take you about 30 minutes or less.

Kamarajar Memorial House was declared open on 1978 by then Chief Minister Thiru M.G.Ramachandran - காமராஜர் நினைவு இல்லம், 1978இல் அப்போதைய முதல்வர் திரு எம்.ஜி.ஆர். அவர்களால் திறக்கப்பட்டது.

Kamarajar Memorial House was declared open on 1978 by then Chief Minister Thiru M.G.Ramachandran – காமராஜர் நினைவு இல்லம், 1978இல் அப்போதைய முதல்வர் திரு எம்.ஜி.ஆர். அவர்களால் திறக்கப்பட்டது.

திரு.கு.காமராஜ் அவர்களின் வாழ்க்கைக் குறிப்பு

திரு.கு.காமராஜ் அவர்களின் வாழ்க்கைக் குறிப்பு

Living room and Library stocked with books in Tamil and English

Living room and Library stocked with books in Tamil and English

Visiting Room

Visiting Room – Date in the daily sheet calendar still shows 2 Oct 1975, the day he died

bottom right was taken during his visit to U.S.S.R. in 1965

The house has many photographs capturing various events from his life – bottom right was taken during his visit to U.S.S.R. in 1965

Invitation from the Government of U.S.A. to Mr Kamaraj and his reply

Invitation from the Government of U.S.A. to Mr Kamaraj and his reply – திரு காமராஜ் அவர்களுக்கு அமெரிக்க அரசின் அழைப்பும், அவரது பதிலும்

I am surprised to find the exhibits of hundreds of scissors and trowels that seem to have been presented to him during the inauguration and foundation stone events he attended – but why were these collected by a man who never wished for personal possessions, I am sure there is a background story for this, need to look for it.

Exhibit of the many scissors that were presented to Kamarajar during inauguration events

An exhibit of the many scissors that were presented to Kamarajar during inauguration events – திறப்பு விழாக்களின் போது காமராஜருக்கு அன்பளிப்பாக அளிக்கப்பட்ட கத்திரிக்கோல்கள்

Exhibit of the many trowels that were presented to Kamarajar during building foundation events - அடிக்கல்நாட்டு விழாக்களின் போது காமராஜருக்கு அன்பளிப்பாக அளிக்கப்பட்ட கொல்லறுக்கள்

An exhibit of the many trowels that were presented to Kamarajar during building foundation events – அடிக்கல்நாட்டு விழாக்களின் போது காமராஜருக்கு அன்பளிப்பாக அளிக்கப்பட்ட கொல்லறுக்கள்

The interior of the simple house he lived

The interior of the simple house he lived

(On the right) His trademark white dress. (On the left) are his only personal possessions

(On the right) His trademark white dress. (On the left) are his only personal possessions

Venkatarangan in front of Kamarajar Memorial House, T.Nagar, Chennai

Venkatarangan in front of Kamarajar Memorial House, T.Nagar, Chennai

Happy to find a fresh garland on the great leader - may be due to yesterday being the Independence day

Happy to find a fresh garland on the great leader – may be due to yesterday being the Independence day

I found this blog containing a wealth of information about Kamarajar, including an ebook on his life in Tamil.

Sometime soon I plan to visit the other memorials in the city – I have been to Anna and MGR Memorials in Marina a few times, sadly there are two more that got added recently for Dr J Jayalalitha and Dr Kalaignar Karunanidhi, and, then there is Gandhi Mandapam & Rajaji Memorial near Raj Bhavan.


Also published on Medium.

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