Bharat Ratna award winners in 1976

K. Kamaraj – ( 1903-1975)

K. Kamaraj was an Indian politician and is marked as the Kingmaker of the Indian politics. He served as the chief minister of Tamil Nadu from 1954 to 1963. He was elected as the member of the Parliament from 1952 to 1954 and 1969 to 1975. He was greatly praised for his simplicity and integrity. He took part in the Indian Independence Movement and was instrumental in making Lal Bahadur Shastri and Indira Gandhi as the Prime Ministers. He introduced the scheme of mid-day meals during his tenure.

K. Kamaraj was born on 15th July 1903 at Virudhunagar. His parents are Kumarasamy Nadar and Sivakami Ammal. He studied at Enadhy Nayanar Vidhyalaya elementary school and Kshatriya Vidhyalaya High school. His father died when he was just six and they had a hard time that he had to quit his education in 1914 to support his family.

When he worked in his uncle’s cloth shop, he took part in processions and attended public meetings. None of his relatives liked his interest in politics and so he was sent to Thiruvananthapuram. When he was 16, he became a full time worker of the Congress party. He took part in Salt Satyagraha in March 1930 led by C. Rajagopalachari. He was sentenced for two years in jail. He had to go to prison many times in his life for opposing British rule.

His political guru was S. Satyamurti who appointed K. Kamaraj as the General Secretary of Congress Committee. He became the Chief Minister of Madras Province on 13th April, 1954. He opened many schools to provide education for the economically backward people. He introduced free school uniform scheme to remove class distinctions.

Manimuthar Dam, Vaikai Dam, Aliyar Dam, Sathanur Dam and Krishnagiri Dam were constructed during his tenure. He concentrated on agricultural development and industrial development. He died on 2nd October 1975 when he was sleeping. After his death he was awarded the highest award of India Bharat Ratna Award in the year 1976. Madurai Kamaraj University and Kamaraj Terminal in Chennai airport were named after him.