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|November 22, 1997||
The revolutionary who turned non-violent
Thiyagaraja Sadasivam, inspired by the revolutionary approach of firebrand patriot Subramania Siva, dropped out of school to join the freedom movement when he was barely 15.
Sadasivam, husband of Carnatic singer M S Subbalakshmi, who died here yesterday morning, was one of the few surviving stalwarts, who participated in the first satyagraha launched by Mahatma Gandhi in 1920.
Born on September 4, 1902 at Aangarai in Tiruchirapalli district, Sadasivam was the third of the 16 children.
Though his parents badly needed his help to maintain the family, Sadasivam joined the freedom movement struggle, drawn to it by the fiery speeches and writings of Lala Lajpat Rai, Bipin Chandra Pal, Lokamanya Tilak and Sri Aurobindo Ghosh.
A staunch believer in violent means to attain freedom, he became a disciple of Subramania Siva with the sole aim of "killing an Englishman by throwing a crude bomb at him and get hanged for it". But after listening to the speeches of C Rajagopalachari and Mahatma Gandhi, he changed his lifestyle and became a great lover of khadi, that "livery of freedom" as Jawaharlal Nehru once put it.
Sadasivam's proximity to Rajaji was evident when the first Indian governor-general introduced him to to the doyen of Indian industry G D Birla thus: "Sadasivam to me is what Lakshmana was to Sri Rama," he said.
Besides being an effective speaker and writer, Sadasivam was a good singer too and all the meetings addressed by the freedom fighter were preceded by Subramania Bharati's songs sung by him. He, however, gave up singing after marrying Subbalakshmi. When the late Tamil Nadu chief minister C N Annadurai, during a visit to the Kalki office after the formation of the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam government in 1967, wanted him to sing a Bharati song, he declined politely, saying "I have stopped singing after marrying Subbalakshmi."
Subbalakshmi, who was also close to Rajagopalachari, was already wellknown when Sadasivam met her on June 30, 1936. The two attended many Congress sessions in various parts of the country and later fell in love. They were married on July 10, 1940.
Before he became one of the founder directors of Kalki, he served as advertising manager of another Tamil weekly, Ananda Vikatan.
Sadasivam was widely considered the "architect of "MS" and the film Meera he produced in Tamil and Hindi, in which she played the lead role, brought her into the national limelight.
He retired from active public life after Rajagopalachari died, associating himself with the construction of the Satapti Mani Mandap being built by the Kanchi mutt in memory of the late Paramacharya.
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