Tamil Nadu's obsession for honorifics appears to be a never-ending story. The latest is the "Ezhuchi Nayagan" (rising leader) title for All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam’s new interim general secretary K Palaniswami, proposed by the party's presidium chairman Tamil Magan Hussain in Chennai on Monday.
Palaniswami's anointment to the highest position in the party has been ordained by God and nothing or nobody could stop it, Hussain said in a veiled reference to O Panneerselvam who is yet to reconcile to Monday’s developments.
Panneerselvam was expelled from the AIADMK during the party’s general council meeting earlier in the day.
"The AIADMK has a Puratchi Thalaivar (revolutionary leader, as founder and former chief minister M G Ramachandran is fondly addressed) and Puratchi Thalaivi (late chief minister J Jayalalithaa). Now, we have a leader who has emerged on their lines. I appeal to you all to call him 'Ezhuchi Nayagan' (rising leader)," said Hussain, who presided over the party's general council meeting.
The speciality of the AIADMK was ordinary cadres like him and Palaniswami could rise up to the highest positions, expressed 85-year-old Hussain, who had urged M G Ramachandran to form the party.
"We now have a rising leader like we got Perarignar (great scholar) Anna, who was former chief minister and the 'Rose' from Ramapuram in Chennai. Today's event has been ordained by god to happen in my presence. Nothing or nobody could have stopped it," he said.
The ‘Rose’, he referred to was former chief minister M G Ramachandran.
AIADMK leaders apart, several political leaders in the state are known by their titles and are seldom addressed by their given names during political rallies or in official communication.
During his recent visit to Chennai to unveil the statue of late chief minister M Karunanidhi, Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu said the Dravidian stalwart had an artistic, cultural and journalistic flair that earned him the honorific of Kalaignar. Karunanidhi's son and incumbent Chief Minister M K Stalin is known as Thalapathi or general.
Tamil matinee idol Vijayakanth, who is founder of the Desiya Murpokku Dravida Kazhagam (DMDK) is addressed as "Captain".
Pattali Makkal Katchi leader Dr S Ramadoss and his son Dr Anbumani Ramadoss, are known as Ayya and Chinna Ayya, respectively, among their party cadres.
V K Sasikala, close associate of Jayalalithaa is known as "Chinna Amma", while Viduthalai Chiruthaigal Katchi leader Thol Thirumavalavan is hailed as "Samukaneethi Porvaal" (Sword of Social Justice).
The title of Periyar (the great one/elder) was conferred on rationalist E V Ramasamy by the Tamil Nadu Women's Conference under the leadership of Neelambigai Ammaiyar in 1938 to extend women's support to the anti-Hindi agitation in the state then.