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#FatherOfModernTamilnadu #Kalaignar97

I used to work for a JV between GoTn and FIs. GoTN had then asked us to evolve a plan to develop an EcoPark at the Adayar Creek/Estuary in Chennai and put in place an implementable framework for it.

We worked with a group from Auroville on a cencept to restore the biological character of the Adayar Creek and also facilitate reinstating the natural flora and fauna of the place

A masterplan was evolved and was vetted by the bureaucracy +
A meeting was fixed with the CM #Kalaignar for a presentation. I was to attend

CMs room in Secretariat should not be more than 20ft×20ft. When we went in to set up the systems, I saw the man for first time at close quarters

There was something special, an aura that radiated +
from his being. He continued to work while we did the set up

You can imagine my awe. Here I was in the cabin of State CM and he was there cooly working 😍

And then walked in @mkstalin and Ponmudi and other senior bureaucrats

VijayKumar then Commissioner Chennai Corporation +
made the presentation

Stalin being Deputy CM evinced interest that the Project be implemented as Chennai City needs a green space desparately

CM then looked at us and asked "How much money do you want?"
We gave the budgeted figure. "Athukkulla mudichchiduveengala?" +
"Will you finish within that?"

Yes Sir.

"Fine. Then let the Finance Secretary work on making the necessary allocation"

Then someone wanted #Kalaignar to give a nice name for the Park. Till then for our internal purposes we used to call it as "Adayar EcoPark".
And it was suggested that since it will not be like a planned park but like a natural forest, it should have a name that represents this character.

"Appo Adayar Poonga-nu veichchidunga" - "You can name it as Adayar Poonga"

There were muffles all around +
If its Poonga, it wl sound like a normal Corp Park!

Instantly Kalaignar responded "Poo-na malar. Kaa-na kaadu. Poo-kaadu thaan Poonga aachchu. Neengalum adha thaane solreenga"

"Poo means flower. Kaa means forest. They both joined and became Poonga - forest of flowers.Its same"+
Thats him!

He took a decision to goahead. He ensured that suitable funding is made available. He warned us not to exceed budget. He gave a name that also taught us Tamil.

I never parsed that word "Poonga" till then. For me it just meant Park

As promised, we implemented the Project

One sunny afternoon, he visited the Poonga to see the progress of works and intently listened to us

Poonga exists there. It is tucked away behind the Ambedkar Memorial - a verdant forest of 51 acres in City's heart not known to many +
When I cross the Foreshore Estate bridge and to my right i see the estuary filled with egrets and bushy outgrowth which was once a dumping yard, my mind invariably goes back to that day when I saw Kalaignar and was awestruck. And learned the meaning of "Poonga"

A lot of prejudiced minds abuse him. But there is no one like him and there will be no one like him

He will remain the best

His heart was clear that he got to leave a glorious legacy. And he combined it with rare empathy inherited from Anna and also hailing from a poor family+
The weeds that abuse him do not know anything about him or the strength of organisation he left behind. I pity them

The more they abuse, the more he will glow like d SUN

Periyar's ideology wont have lived but for #Kalaignar and it wl endure well into the future

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Keep Current with K Malmarugan/கோ மால்மருகன்- I Stand with Kashmiris

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