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MGR’s centenary observed in Jaffna with Indian Consul General as Chief Guest

17 Jan, 2017
Indian Express
MGR’s centenary observed in Jaffna with Indian Consul General as Chief Guest

 

COLOMBO: The 100th birth anniversary of M.G.Ramachandran, who dominated the Tamil film world as well as Tamil Nadu politics like a colossus till his death in December 1987, was observed in the North Sri Lankan Tamil town of Jaffna on Tuesday with the Indian Consul General, A.Natarajan, as the Chief Guest.

Influenced by MGR’s concern for the welfare of the poorest of the poor, Suntharalingam has been distributing money and clothes to the poor of Jaffna every year to mark his idol’s birthday. Sporting dark glasses like MGR, Suntharalingam is also a man of few words, who believes in doing rather than talking. He is popularly known as “Eelamu MGR” or MGR of Eelam.

Speaking on the occasion, Indian Consul General Natarajan described MGR as Sri Lanka’s gift to India because the screen and political idol was born in Kandy in Central Sri Lanka.

The Indian diplomat drew attention to the fact that MGR had shown a new way to popular film stars by entering politics and emerging as a popular leader. Ronald Reagan had become a political party leader and US President after MGR, Natarajan pointed out.

Among other Jaffna dignitaries who attended the 100th-anniversary function were P.Ayngaranesan, Northern Province Minister of Agriculture, and M.K.Shivajiligam, member of the Northern Provincial Council.  

MGR was always a matinee idol among Sri Lankan Tamils, but he came close to their heart only when he started supporting the Eelam Tamil movement in the early 1980s. Sri Lankan Tamils consider MGR as “more sincere” in his support for the cause of Tamil Eelam as compared to his Tamil Nadu political rival, M.Karunanidhi.

However, given the overwhelming power of the Indian Central government, MGR gave his assent to the India-Sri Lanka Accord in July 1987 though it negated an independent Eelam. Grateful for the assent, the Indian government led by Rajiv Gandhi gave MGR the “Bharat Ratna”, India’s highest civilian award, in 1988 after his death on December 24, 1987.

 

<p justify;"=""> Despite MGR’s support for the unpopular Accord, Jaffna Tamils continued to adore MGR both as an actor and as a sincere political friend. The Tamil areas in the North Sri Lanka are dotted with MGR statues.

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