MGR Statue – M.G. Ramachandran, Trichy

Maruthar Gopala Ramachandran (1917-1987) was born in Kandy, Ceylon (Sri Lanka) to parents hailing from Palakkad, Kerala. With the death of his father at a very young age, his mother struggled to provide him and his brother formal school education. His early struggles in life made him a philanthropist and a humanitarian at heart and his popularity with the masses earned him the title of ‘makkal thilagam’ or ‘people’s king’. Popularly known as M.G.R., he became a true cultural icon in the southern state of Tamil Nadu and one of the most influential Tamil actors in his time.

He started his acting career at a very young age with a drama troupe and in 1936 he made his debut in movies. He dominated the Tamil film industry for the next three decades before moving onto politics. Though MGR was influenced by Gandhian principles and joined the Indian National Congress party in his heydays, he later moved on to the DMK party. In 1972, he formed his own party, the AIADMK, and in the 1977 election, he led his party to a resounding victory and became the Chief Minister. He remained the Chief Minister till his death in 1987, after winning the subsequent two elections as well.

Throughout his tenure, he laid great emphasis on education and social development and introduced the ‘MGR’s Nutritious Meal Scheme’ for underprivileged children. During his lifetime, he was an iconic actor, movie director, movie producer, politician and philanthropist and was awarded the ‘Bharat Ratna’ posthumously in 1988 for his contributions. His final resting place is at the MGR Memorial in Marina Beach.

MGR studied in the Aanaiadi Municipality primary School in Kumbakonam, Trichy, from 1922 to 1925 and the school has honored him with a statue and his 99th birthday was celebrated here with a lot of fanfare with over 5000 people visiting the small school. Trichy city has also honored MGR by installing his statue at the Bharathidasan road. Rich floral tributes are offered here on both his birth and death anniversaries. Members of the AIADMK garland his statue and some die-hard fans even perform ‘abishekam’ on his statue with milk and distribute sweets to passersby. More than a dozen places in the city and suburbs play his philosophical movie songs on huge loudspeakers to pay respect to their beloved late Chief Minister.

Any visit to Trichy should include a trip to MGR’s statue also. Trichy has excellent rail, road and air connectivity so getting here is easy and you could stay over at the centrally-located Sangam hotel.