Madras Week 2012: The Roads Project : Day 20 : Rani Annadurai Street

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Where is Rani Annadurai Street?

Rani Annadurai Street is a left turn leading off from RK Mutt Road just before the Mandevalli signal. It is parallel to Annai Nagammai street (covered on Day 9 of the Roads Project).

Who was Rani Annadurai?

 

(Note: Photo source–linked–is an article in Outlook magazine, and the inset is from that source.)

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 a traditional Hindu style, with the attendant rituals.

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 realized that his work was in the service of the nation. She visited him frequently when he was imprisoned for his role in he anti-Hindi agitation.

Annadurai was a very austere man, who never sought to gain any assets from his position as Chief Minister. This seems to have grated on Rani’s nerves – 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!

Kannan, R. Anna: The Life and Times of C N Annadurai. Penguin Books India (New Delhi, 2010).

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