ABOUT HIS HOLINESS THAVATHIRU KUNDRAKKUDI ADIGALAR, THE FOUNDER PRESIDENT OF
The Kundrakkudi Thiruvannamalai Adheenam Trust was headed by His Holiness Srilasri Deivasigamani Arunachala Desiga Paramacharya Swamigal (Popularly known as Thavathiru Kundrakkudi Adigalar) from 1952 to 1994. Sri Adigalar was a great scholar and powerful orator and above all a religious reformer with progressive views. He was a follower of Gandhiji, an admirer of socialism and a staunch supporter of the co-operative movement. He had widely travelled both in India and abroad. He had visited the Soviet Union, China, Japan, Sri Lanka and Malaysia. The Rural Development Movement around Kundrakkudi is closely inter-linked with the social and spiritual activities of the Mutt.
Sri Adigalar was deeply moved by the poverty and unemployment among the people living in Kundrakkudi and the nearby villages. He realised that preaching spiritualism to semi-starved citizens would not help to propagate the objectives of the religious institution of which he was the head. Being a firm believer in Gandhiji’s ideas, he wanted the village to be self-sufficient at least in food grains and other essential items. His visits to some foreign countries, particularly the Soviet Union, influenced his thinking and ideas on the socio-economic uplift of the villages.
He became convinced that organising the villagers for collective self-reliance and utilizing the local, natural resources of the area in the most optimal manner constituted the essential strategy of rural development. In order to give shape to these ideas, he launched a Village Planning Forum in Kundrakkudi on 02.10.1977, the birthday of Gandhiji.
The main objective of the Village Planning Forum as envisaged by him is the achievement of self-sufficiency and eradication of unemployment in the Village. In this text, he decided to bring together the three essential actors in the development drama, viz., The Government, the financiers (represented by the State Bank of India) and a third party planner (represented by the Scientists of CECRI) for mutual interaction/co-operation in the development process. The idea was to primarily revolve around the Government Development Programmes, modify them according to local requirements and to facilitate their implementation in a successful way to bring about access to capital (provided through the commercial banks) and the Scientific inputs and know how (provided by CECRI), the third party planner.
The Village Planning Forum is the “ Brain Child” of Adigalar and it has been designed to meet the basic needs of the Villagers based on the available resources through proper implementation of various development schemes.
Positions held :
- Member, Tamilnadu Legislative Council (1969-1976).
- Member, Board of Studies, Tamil University, Tanjore (1985-1988).
- Member, Science & Technology Department, Govt. of India.
- Convener, All India Peace Council (1971).
- Member, All India Social Welfare (1960).
- Member, Integrated Rural Development Committee, Annamalai University.
Honours and Awards :
- Thiruvalluvar Award, Govt. of Tamilnadu 15.01.1986.
- Honorary Doctoral Award (D.Litt), Annamalai University, 14.12.1989.
- Won the First Prize Award for the Book entitled “Aalayangal Samuthaya Maiyangal”, by Govt. of Tamilnadu in 1989.
- “Tamil Maamunivar” Award by Singapore Tamilar Iyakkam.