Chennai: Every year, a city policeman religiously celebrates former Chief Minister K. Kamaraj's birthday, which falls on July 15. Saturday is the 115th birth anniversary of the leader and politicians cutting across party lines would be commemorating the event.
Apart from them, this policeman will also be doing his bit by distributing notebooks and study materials to poor children in memory of Kamaraj, who revolutionised education in the state with his midday meal scheme.
The policeman has reason to do so because he got his 'freedom' from the leader. Freedom is the policeman's name and he was named so by K. Kamaraj. “It is only fitting that the Congress leader who had actively participated in the country's Independence movement would name a child, Freedom,” says M. Mallikas Freedom.
The 55-year-old policeman is now serving as a sub-inspector at the foreshore estate police station. The man recalls the story as to how he got to be named Freedom. His father, Mariadoss was a Congress worker and was elected as a ward councillor in Old Washermanpet. For the next elections in 1962, Mariadoss had decided to relieve himself from the party and stand as an independent.
In the build up to the elections, Kamaraj along with his home minister P. Kakkan was visiting party members when they called on Mariadoss. “While discussing my father's decision, the two of them had heard my cries. Kamaraj had enquired my father what had he named me,” Mallikas said. His father had named him Malakh, a biblical name that means angel.
“Kamaraj suggested that the word Freedom is added to it and my father obliged. You can't say no to such a great man," the cop said.
While growing up, his name attracted curious looks from teachers and students. He told them the story and more often than not he was told that it is a thing of honour that a former chief minister had named him.
The sub inspector had not met Kamaraj in person. “I was not aware of his greatness initially. After I joined the force in 1986, I started doing welfare on the advice of my parental uncle.” Mallikas said.
Growing up along the coast, Mallikas took jobs as a shore worker and on board merchant ships for six years before he joined the police as an armed reserve constable. To this day, on Kamaraj's birthday, this policeman does his bit of humble charity....