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       Ralph Waldo Emerson once said “There is properly no history only biography”. Thomas Carlyle in his ‘On Heroes, Hero Worship and Heroic in History’ said- “The history of the world is but the biography of great men”. Yes, history is moulded by the personalities and accomplishments of certain exceptional individuals. These outstanding individuals, creators and leaders, alike have in common the qualities of “Genius” and the way to recognize “Genius” in historical personage is to look for achievements that exert a rare influence over contemporary and succeeding generations. For the most part, to be identified as a genius, an individual must become famous, and the fame must be attained for making durable contributions to the cultural and political endeavours. Thus, genius is identified by accomplishment.
       M.Arunachalam was born on 4th march 1944 to Mr.Moockiah and Mrs.Muthammal in Vellanaikottai village, in the district of Tirunelveli, southern most part of India. It is a small village at the foot of western ghat region. The days when there was no electricity and traveling facilities as we have now, Arunachalam enjoyed life as a son of an agriculturist in the green fields enjoying nature in its unpolluted form, helping his parents in the fields, taking care of the crops and livestock. Swimming was his favourite hobby in which he excelled.
       He is the second son of a family of six children- having an elder brother, two younger brothers and two younger sisters and was the second graduate from his village after his elder brother. From childhood he experienced the social evils like untouchability,  economical injustice, colour race and casteism all which gave him the determination to do something for the society and decided that politics is the only way by which he can serve his community.

       He suffered several humiliations during his life as a student, but he was firm and the sufferings he had undergone had strengthened his resolve to become somebody in the society.
       He made a strong decision to study well, convinced that education alone would unlock the doors of opportunities and pave way for advancement- for without knowledge and education, there can be no power.
       He finished his schooling in Pulliangudi and Vasudevanallur, walking 2-4kms daily.
       He did his pre-university course from V.O.Chidambram College Tuticorin, graduated from St.Xaviers college, Palayamkottai, had his post-graduation from Gandhigram University, Dindugul, and Bachelor of Law from Law College, Chennai.
       During(after his degree, post graduation and law college studies) the holidays Arunachalam did not want to sit idle so he worked in offices like National Small Savings Corporation and All India Radio, Trichy.
       After he got his law degree, his ambition of becoming a lawyer was fulfilled. He started his career as a junior advocate under T.S. Ramanatha Iyer – a straightforward, upright person with Gandhian principles who was called ‘Tiger of the bar’ in Tenkasi.
       By sheer hard work and perseverance, he had a roaring practice, soon he established an office for himself and expanded it with four colleagues and two juniors. He was selected for the post of Munsif for Pondicherry Sessions court, which he did not want to join. He was always ready to subordinate his personal advancement for the cause of the country and for the cause of depressed classes for whom he was the only hope.

       Despite several acknowledged handicaps and limitations, Arunachalam rose from very humble beginnings entering politics at an early age and was quickly enticed to national politics at his young age. As a mere party volunteer, he was Youth Congress Secretary in Tirunelveli (District Congress Committee). In 1977 he first contested, won and became the Member of Parliament from Tenkasi (Reserved constituency). That was the period when The Janata Party formed its Government in the center for the first time. Since power did not matter to Arunachalam he was ready to be in the opposition. As a man of Gandhian Principles he did not hesitate to stand by the democratic values of his party.
       Throughout his long political career he was steadfast to his loyalty to the Congress and the Gandhian moral and political ideology and he never felt himself persuaded by the rationalist, atheistic, religious, iconoclastic, communal and secessionist ideologies of his time.

       Drawn by an irresistible inner spirit of nationalism he reached the possible highest rank in the country(Union Cabinet Minister), also achieved a high reputation for his record of performance as a competent and efficient Member of Parliament during his six consecutive terms of his office to the Lok Sabha making up two decades and an outstanding national leader. He provided an unprecedented kind of leadership with simple, astute and pragmatic principles.
       He had attained popularity, which was unique. There were other leaders who were respected, looked upto and loved but the adoration which M.Arunachalam had, could hardly be rivaled by many others. The impact of M.Arunachalam in the socio-political life of Tamil Nadu is so unassailable that even his better political adversaries had to invoke the political traditions of M.Arunachalam for their political survivals.
       During his long and busy life, he came in close and active contact with a number of state and national leaders and his relations with them, how he reacted to them and their social and political activities, and how he, in his turn influenced them is a matter of particular interest to one and all. His position in the country’s affairs brought him close to a number of prominent personalities and often he was called upon to intervene and settle disputes in the organization, which he did successfully for the most part, on the basis of his knowledge of men and matters and using his innate talent for effecting a consensus in complex political situations. Thus more than even as a national leader, M.Arunachalam as a man, deserves to be studied and understood.
       The barriers in the society were raised by customs, traditions, religious dogmas and social superstitions. The social structure was built on inequality. Jawaharlal Nehru had once regretfully concluded that this was done deliberately.
       His ways of speaking, walking, eating, and dress command themselves to the millions to whom these were familiar ways with nothing outlandish about them. Behind these obvious facts, which are sufficient explanation of his power and hold on the electorate and its chosen representatives, there is also the fact of his remarkable, and presumably innate appreciation of the mechanics of real politics in a democracy.
       He was an easily approachable person. To the downtrodden the mere thought of coming into contact with him gave them a thrilling experience. To the public who attended his meetings wherever he went, he was a wonder for them. To the officials who worked with him he was an astounding figure packed with knowledge of whichever portfolio he held. To the opposite party people he was a friend who used to help them in whatever way possible. To the youth he was a role model who admired their leader who emerged from the lower strata of life. To the youth he was a morning star who became a youth congress leader at the age of 33 and a Member of Parliament at the age of 32. To the common public, he was an easily available person – the first Member of the Parliament who was available in Tenkasi itself (the others had their residence elsewhere).

       His success must be attributed to his objective assessment of the balance of real forces and the total absence of any desire just to please him or demonstrate his power. The enormous power and significance that have occurred to Arunachalam have gained steady popular consensus.
       He learnt from his experiences - and did not hesitate to share them, which proved him an uncommon man of the common masses.


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