Anna statue at the main entrance of the Anna Centenary Library building ...
C.N. Annadurai (1909 – 1969) popularly called Anna (Tamil: அண்ணா, “elder brother"), or Arignar Anna (Anna the scholar) was a former Chief Minister of the South Indian state of Tamil Nadu. He was the first member of a Dravidian party to hold that post and was also the first non-Congress leader to form a majority government in independent India.
His party won a landslide victory in the 1967 state elections. His cabinet was the youngest at that time in India. He implemented various social reforms and subsidies for rice, and renamed Madras State to Tamil Nadu.
He was well known for his oratorical skills and was an acclaimed writer in the Tamil language. He scripted and acted in several plays. Some of his plays were later made into movies. He was the first politician from the Dravidian parties to use Tamil cinema extensively for political propaganda. Born in a middle class family, he first worked as a school teacher, then moved into the political scene of the Madras Presidency as a journalist. He edited several political journals and enrolled as a member of the Dravidar Kazhagam. As an ardent follower of Periyar E. V. Ramasamy, he rose in stature as a prominent member of the party.
Anna was very popular among the people of Tamil Nadu. He died on 3rd February 1969. His funeral had the highest number of attendees until then, as registered with The Guinness Book of Records. An estimated 15 million people attended it. His remains were buried in the northern end of Marina Beach, which is now called Anna Square.
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