K Kamaraj

K Kamaraj

Context: Ethical lessons from the life of CM K Kamaraj (1954-63)

Key words:
• Empathy and Compassion for weaker sections.

Who was K Kamaraj?
• Born on July 15, 1903, in the Virudhunagar district of Tamil Nadu, K Kamaraj was a prominent Indian politician and leader of INC and is known for his role as CM of Tamil Nadu where he made a notable difference.
• His tenure is often remembered for his emphasis on education, especially the introduction of the 'Kamaraj Plan.' Under this plan, senior Congress leaders resigned from ministerial positions to focus on party work, allowing younger leaders to gain experience and take up government responsibilities.

Ethical lessons:
• Simplicity and Humility - Kamaraj was known for his simple and unassuming lifestyle. He lived in a modest home and practiced humility throughout his political career.
• Legacy of Education - Kamaraj was passionate about education and believed in its transformative power. He worked to expand access to education and improve the quality of schools in Tamil Nadu. On finding out that 6000 villages out of 17,000 didn’t have school he started building primary schools. He started Single teacher school’s scheme in remote areas. He also introduced the mid-day meals scheme which attracted poor from marginalized communities to take up studying.
• Integrity and Honesty - Kamaraj was known for his high moral standards and integrity. He was not involved in corruption or unethical practices during his tenure as Chief Minister.
• Consensus Building - Kamaraj was known for his ability to build consensus and work with diverse political groups. He often sought the cooperation of various parties and leaders to achieve common goals. This highlights the importance of collaboration and diplomacy in politics and leadership.

Key Anecdote from his life that can be very useful in your mains answer:
• He once took only a few minutes to pick up ten candidates from a large bundle of applications for admissions under the CM's quota.
• Asked by his secretary how he could make his choice in such a short span of time, Kamaraj said he had picked the applications in which the parents had put thumb impressions in place of signatures. His decision is seen as embodying a deep empathy for the unlettered masses and a reflection of his understanding of human potential and aptitude.

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