S. P. Adithanar

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Si. Pa. Adithan
Si. Pa. Adithanar.png
Tamil Nadu Minister for Cooperation
In office
1968–1977
First Minister M. Karunanidhi
Preceded by S. Madhavan
Member of the Tamil Nadu Legislative Assembly
In office
1967–1977
Preceded by A. P. C. Veerabahu
Succeeded by K. Sathu Selvaraj
Constituency Srivaikuntam
In office
1957–1962
Preceded by K. T. Kosalram
Succeeded by K. T. Kosalram
Constituency Sathankulam
In office
1952–1957
Preceded by NA
Succeeded by M. S. Selvaraj
Constituency Tiruchendur
Speaker of the Tamil Nadu Legislative Assembly
In office
1967–1968
First Minister C. N. Annadurai
Preceded by S. Chellapandian
Succeeded by Pulavar K. Govindan
Member of Madras Legislative Council
In office
1947–1952
In office
1964–1967
Personal details
Born 27 September 1905
Kayamozhi, Tamil Nadu, India
Died 24 May 1981
Political party Kisan Mazdoor Praja Party
We Tamils party
Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam
Spouse(s) Govindammal
Relations K. P. Kandasamy (Son-in-Law)
K. P. K. Kumaran (Grandson)
Children Sivanthi Adithan
Ramachandra Adithan
One Daughter
Occupation Publisher

Si. Balasubramania Adithan (also known as Si. Ba. Adithan) (27 September 1905 – 24 May 1981), popularly called as Adithanar, was a Tamil lawyer, politician, minister and founder of the Tamil daily newspaper Dina Thanthi. He was the founder of the We Tamils (Tamil: நாம் தமிழர்) party and served as the member of the Madras Legislative Council for two terms and as the member of the Tamil Nadu Legislative Assembly for four terms. He was the Speaker of the Assembly during 1967–68 and Tamil Nadu's minister for Cooperation in the M. Karunanidhi cabinets of 1969 and 1971. In his memory, two Tamil literary awards have been created and are awarded annually by his son, Sivanthi Adithan (the former Director of the Dina Thanthi group).

Early life[edit]

Adithan was born on 27 September 1905 at Kayamozhi in Tuticorin district to Sivanthi Adithanar Nadar and Kanagam Ammayar as the heir of the Adityans, the highest aristocratic family among the Nelamaikkarars.[1] His father Sivanthi Adithanar was a lawyer. Shiv Nadar's mother, Vamasundari Devi, and Adithan were siblings.[2] He completed his schooling at Srivaikuntam and joined the St. Joseph's College, Trichy. After obtaining a M. A, he went to Middle Temple, London to study law. He became a Barrister in 1933 and practised in Singapore (during 1933–42) and later in his home town Srivaikuntam. He married Govindammal in 1933.[3][4][5]

Publishing career[edit]

Adithan returned to India in 1942 when Singapore fell to the Japanese. He established a Tamil weekly Magazine Tamizhan and a daily newspaper Thanthi in November 1942. He set out to found a Tamil daily along the lines of English tabloid Daily Mirror, inspired by the Mirror's reach of a large audience. He established Dina Thanthi (lit. The Daily Telegraph) and it went on to become the flagship of his newspaper business. He expanded operations by opening additional editions in Tirunelveli, Madras, Salem and Tiruchirapalli in 1940s. By bringing out local editions, Dina Thanthi helped deliver news on the same day to the people in southern districts of Tamil Nadu, who till then had to read one day old newspapers printed in Madras[6] The paper was popular and it was said that people learned to read the Tamil language to read the newspaper.[7] The simplified language introduced by the paper helped it gain new readership.[8] Other publications from Adithan's Dina Thanthi group include the evening daily Maalai Murasu (lit. The Evening Drum), the weekly magazine Rani and the monthly novel imprint Rani Muthu.[4]

Political career[edit]

Adithan started the "Tamil Rajyam" party in 1942. During 1947–52, he was a member of the Madras Legislative Council. He contested and won the 1952 election from Tiruchendur as a candidate of T. Prakasam's Kisan Mazdoor Praja Party.[9] He was elected as an independent candidate in the 1957 election from Sathankulam.[4][10]

We Tamils party[edit]

In 1958, Adithan founded the "We Tamils" (WT) party with the platform of forming a sovereign Tamil state. The party's stand was more radical than the Dravida Nadu demand of Periyar E. V. Ramasamy's Dravidar Kazhagam. It wanted the creation of a homogeneous Tamil state incorporating Tamil speaking areas of India and Sri Lanka. The party's headquarters was named as Tamiḻaṉ Illam (lit. The Home of the Tamilian). In 1960, the party organised statewide protests for the secession of Madras and the establishment of a sovereign Tamil Nadu. The protests were marked by the burning of maps of India (with Tamil Nadu left out). Adithanar was arrested for organising them. The party along with M. P. Sivagnanam's Tamil Arasu Kazhagam was also involved in the movement to change the name of the state from Madras State to Tamil Nadu.[11] Adithan lost the 1962 election from Tiruchendur[12] and got himself elected to the Legislative Council in 1964.[5] The WT contested the 1967 election as an ally of the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) under the DMK's "Rising Sun" symbol. It elected four members to the Assembly, including Adithan, who won from Srivaikuntam. The party merged with the DMK in 1967.[4][13][14]

As Speaker of Legislative Assembly[edit]

On 17 March 1967, Adithan became the speaker of the assembly defeating the Swatantra Party candidate K. S. Kothandaramiah, by 153 votes to 21. While he was the speaker he attended the DMK political conference held at Tanjore in 1968 and also took part in political activities in his constituency. Due to these activities, the opposition parties accused him of partisanship. He defended himself as:[15]

I am as much as a politician as the honourable leader of the opposition is and as such, I can not refrain myself from the party activities of the DMK with whose support and under whose symbol I have been elected to the Assembly. But it does not mean that i am partial and partisan.

Due to this controversy, Adithan resigned as speaker on 12 August 1968.

As minister[edit]

Adithan became the Minister for Cooperation in the M. Karunanidhi cabinet, which took power in February 1969. He was re-elected from Srivaikuntam in the 1971 elections and continued as the Minister for Cooperation.[4][16]

Later political life[edit]

The (DMK) split in 1972, with M. G. Ramachandran forming the Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (ADMK). Adithan supported the ADMK.[6] He contested and lost the 1977 election[17] as an ADMK supported independent from Sathankulam.[18] He also lost the 1980 election from Srivaikuntam.[19]

Electoral performance in Assembly elections[edit]

Year Status Constituency Party Votes Runner-up/Winner Party Votes
1957 Winner Sathankulam IND 33,636 S. Kandasamy INC 22,429
1962 2nd Tiruchendur We Tamils (WT) 27,994 M. S. Selvarajan INC 39,994
1967 Winner Srivaikuntam DMK 41,828 R. Nadar INC 22,767
1971 Winner Srivaikuntam DMK 37,329 R. A. R. Annamalai NCO 27,724
1977 2nd Sathankulam IND 17,507 R. Jebamani JNP 18,362
1980 3rd Srivaikuntam IND 12,119 E. Ramasubramanian ADMK 26,502

Death and legacy[edit]

Adithan died on 24 May 1981. In 2005, the then Tamil Nadu Chief Minister, J. Jayalalitha announced that his home in Srivaikuntam, built in 1928, will be converted into a memorial. He is survived by two sons. Mr B. Ramachandran Adityan (Founder Devi Weekly) and Mr B. Sivanthi Adityan.[20][21] On his birthday every year, the S. P. Adithanar Senior Tamil Scholar Award of Rs. 150,000 (~ US$3000) and the S. P. Adithanar Literary Prize of Rs. 100,000 (~ US$2000) are awarded to Tamil scholars and people who excel in literature by Adithanar's son and the current director of Dina Thanthi group, Sivanthi Adithan.[7] A road in Chennai, connecting Egmore to Anna Salai has been named "Adithanar Salai" in his memory.[22]

Bibliography[edit]

  • Tamiḻp Pēraracu (lit. The Tamil empire) (1942)
  • Idhalalar Kaiyedu (lit. The Journalist's Handbook)

References[edit]

  1. ^ Robert Hardgrave. The Nadars of Tamil Nadu. University of California Press. p. 149. 
  2. ^ Harish Damodharan (16 September 2008). India's New Capitalists: Caste, Business, and Industry in a Modern Nation. Palgrave Macmillan. p. 191. ISBN 978-0-230-20507-9. 
  3. ^ "Memorials coming up for Adithanar, Ariyakudi Ramanuja Aiyangar". The Hindu. 28 September 2005. 
  4. ^ a b c d e "Tamilar Thanthai Si Pa Adithanar". Maalai Malar (in Tamil). 10 April 2009. 
  5. ^ a b Kaliyaperumal, M (1992). The office of the speaker in Tamilnadu : A study. Madras University. pp. Appendices. 
  6. ^ a b Jeffrey, Robin (24 March 2000). India's newspaper revolution. C. Hurst & Co. p. 79,80,114,135. ISBN 978-1-85065-383-7. 
  7. ^ a b "Adithanar awards for Tamil scholar, poet". The Hindu. 24 September 2004. 
  8. ^ "Adithanar 100: A Tribute". www.thinnai.com (in Tamil). 15 January 2004. 
  9. ^ 1951/52 Madras State Election Results, Election Commission of India
  10. ^ 1957 Madras State Election Results, Election Commission of India
  11. ^ Ramaswamy, Sumathy (1997). Passions of the tongue: language devotion in Tamil India, 1891–1970. University of Chicago Press. pp. Chapter.6. ISBN 978-0-520-20805-6. OCLC 36084635. 
  12. ^ 1962 Madras State Election Results, Election Commission of India
  13. ^ Ross Barnett, Marguerite (1975). Electoral politics in the Indian states: party systems and cleavages. Manohar Book Service. p. 86. 
  14. ^ 1967 Tamil Nadu Election Results, Election Commission of India
  15. ^ Kaliyaperumal, M (1992). The office of the speaker in Tamilnadu : A study. Madras University. pp. 92–96. 
  16. ^ 1971 Tamil Nadu Election Results, Election Commission of India
  17. ^ 1977 Tamil Nadu Election Results, Election Commission of India
  18. ^ "AIADMK hopes to benefit from local grievances". The Hindu. 24 February 2003. 
  19. ^ 1980 Tamil Nadu Election Results, Election Commission of India
  20. ^ "Memorials coming up for Adithanar, Ariyakudi Ramanuja Aiyangar". The Hindu. 28 September 2005. 
  21. ^ "Officials inspect Adithanar's house at Srivaikundam". The Hindu. 29 September 2005. 
  22. ^ "A tough ride for MTC buses on Adithanar Salai". The Hindu. 28 February 2001.