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|January 21, 2000||
Industrialist whom governments loved to befriend
C Subramaniam pays tribute to MAC
M A Chidambaram belongs to a community known as Nattukkottai Nagarathar, the chettiars. Traditionally they were money-lenders, not only in India but in Burma, Malaysia, Singapore and even in Thailand. It is after Independence that some of the houses turned to industry instead of money-lending.
Chidambaram is one among the important personalities to do so. Now they are no longer in the private money-lending business. All of them have diversified into various industries, commerce, etc, but you have to call Chidambaram a pioneer who struck a different path altogether and become a model for others to follow.
Then, he took great interest in cricket. First, he developed the Tamil Nadu Cricket Association. It was only because of him that the beautiful stadium had come into existence. It is fittingly named after him. He moved to the national cricket scene later and was the treasurer of the Board of Control for Cricket in India. He went on to become the president of the BCCI.
During his time, he built up several traditions in the functioning of the cricket board, in the selection of players and training to the youngsters, etc.
MAC was involved in the Voluntary Health Service started by Dr K Sanjeevi. It not only provides health services in the city but spreads it to the rural areas too.
MAC came in with a trust to help the VHS and as the president of the trust, he contributed immensely to the development of the VHS. It has become one of the premier voluntary institutions in the health service area. He had big plans to have a medical college too established there. I happened to be the chairman of the governing body and he was the managing trustee.
In all these areas, he distinguished himself . I hope his sons and grandsons will continue this great tradition.
I had known him for many years. When I was a minister for finance and industry, I had helped him in establishing ventures. I was in the Planning Commission and a minister in Tamil Nadu for ten years. Naturally as a pioneering industrialist and one of the prominent persons, he used to be a part of many discussions on industry. He was always constructive in the discussions and never came up with destructive criticism.
He had no enemies, if I could say so. Every government was friendly to him because he had a healthy attitude toward development, he never politicised it. Chidambaram had always been an able administrator, an able manager and a gentleman.
More than anything else, he was a good human being. He was my neighbour; I knew him even before he became my neighbour. Our relationship was not that of a minister and an industrialist. We were more like friends, especially after I became the chairman of the VHS trust. After that, our relationship became more interactive. I will miss him. Farewell, friend.
C Subramaniam had stints as governor, Union minister and statesman. He spoke to Shobha Warrier
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