Registered with the Registrar of Newspapers for India under R.N.I 53640/91

Vol. XXVI No. 17, December 16-31, 2016

Roads that remember memorable women

–Archana Venkatesh

Recalling Rani Annadurai in Mandaveli

rani-annadurai

Where is Rani Annadurai Street?
Rani Annadurai Street is a left turn leading off from RK Mutt Road just before the Mandaveli signal. It is parallel to Annai Nagammai Street.

Who was Rani Annadurai?
It’s incredible that in a movement that is extensively documented (the Dravidian movement), we know everything about its male leaders, but almost nothing about the women in their lives.

Rani Annadurai was married to C N Annadurai, founder of the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) and former Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu. They were married while Annadurai was a student in Pachaiyappa’s College, Chennai. Their marriage was an arranged one; the bride and groom hadn’t even met before the ceremony. In spite of Annadurai’s atheist beliefs, the marriage was conducted in traditional Hindu style, with the attendant rituals.

street

Rani and Annadurai had no children of their own, and adopted Annadurai’s elder sister’s children. His sister, Rajamani Ammal, is said to have raised him. She subsequently moved in with Anadurai and Rani, and looked after their household. Rajamani Ammal had four sons, and Annadurai adopted all of them.

Rani was very supportive of Annadurai’s work and political career. She notes that she would never disturb him while he was studying late at night, since she realised that his work was in the service of the nation. She visited him frequently when he was imprisoned for his role in the anti-Hindi agitation.

road-map

Annadurai was an austere man, who never sought to gain any assets from his position as Chief Minister. This seems to have irked Rani – she tells a story about how he wouldn’t even allow her to take a sofa intended for office use and put it in their home. At this time, his office was in his home!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *