Madras Week 2012: The Roads Project: Day 8: Janaki Avenue

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Where is Janaki Avenue?

Janaki Avenue is one of the roads which lead off from Santhome High Road. It is also known as MRC Nagar Main Road. An important landmark on this road is the Sun TV office.

Who was Janaki?

Janaki Ramachandran was born in Vaikom (in Kerela) on November 30th, 1923. Her parents were Rajagopal Iyer and Narayani Amma. She had one brother, Narayanan, who later went on to become an educationist. A prolific actress, she acted in over 25 movies; many of which starred M G Ramachandran also. She went on to marry MGR; and become politically active within the fold of the ADMK (Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam); a breakaway party from the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK).

When the popular and charismatic Chief Minister MGR passed away in 1987, there was a succession crisis within the ranks of the party. Eventually, Janaki took the reins of leadership; and was sworn in as the first woman Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu in January 1988. However, the government was dissolved in just 24 days (the shortest tenure in Tamil Nadu). In spite of the fact that her ministry won a vote of confidence in January 1988, Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi used article 356 to dismiss her government. The party lost the 1989 elections to the DMK, and in the absence of MGR, infighting broke out. There was a split in the party, with a faction breaking away under the leadership if J Jayalalitha. However, they re-united after only a few months under the leadership of Jayalalitha.

Janaki then stepped down from active politics, and continued with her charitable work. A notable philanthropist, she gifted a considerable amount of property to set up various educational institutions. She set up the Janaki Ramachandran Educational and Charitable Trust, and administered it for many years. She also founded the Satya Educational and Charitable Society, which maintains many free schools in Tamil Nadu.

Janaki passed away in 1996. She willed her property on Avvai Shanmugam Salai (Lloyd’s Road) to the AIADMK (the name given to the reunited factions under Jayalalitha), and it is currently their party headquarters.

(n.d.). Janaki Ramachandran . In MGR Memorial Charitable Trust. Retrieved May 11, 2012, from http://www.mgrhome.org/janaki.html.

(2010). Biography of M G Ramachandran . In Win Entrance. Retrieved May 11, 2012, from http://www.winentrance.com/general_knowledge/mg-ramachandran.html.

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