Si. Pa. Adithanar
Si. Pa. Adithanar.png
Si. Pa. Adithanar
Minister for Co-operation (Government of Tamil Nadu)
In office
Preceded byS. Madhavan
Member of Legislative Assembly
In office
Preceded byA. P. C. Veerabahu
Succeeded byK. Sathu Selvaraj
In office
Preceded byK. T. Kosalram
Succeeded byK. T. Kosalram
In office
Preceded byNA
Succeeded byM. S. Selvaraj
Speaker of Tamil Nadu Legislative Assembly
In office
Preceded byS. Chellapandian
Succeeded byPulavar K. Govindan
Member of Madras Legislative Council
In office
In office
Personal details
Born27 September 1905
Kayamozhi, Tamil Nadu, India
DiedMay 24, 1981(1981-05-24) (aged 75)
Political partyKisan Mazdoor Praja Party(1952)
Naam Tamilar Katchi(1958)
Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam(1967)
RelationsK. P. Kandasamy (son-in-law)
K. P. K. Kumaran (grandson)
Shiv Nadar (Nephew)
ChildrenSivanthi Adithan
Ramachandra Adithan
Saraswathi Adityan

Si. Balasubramania Athithan (also known as Si. Ba. Adithanar) 27 September 1905 – 24 May 1981), popularly called as "Adithanar", was an Indian lawyer, politician, minister and founder of the Tamil daily newspaper Dina Thanthi. He was the founder of the We Tamils (Tamil: நாம் தமிழர்) party. He served as a member of the Madras Legislative Council for two terms and as a member of the Tamil Nadu Legislative Assembly for four terms. He was the Speaker of the Assembly during 1967–68 and Tamil Nadu's minister for Cooperation in the M. Karunanidhi cabinets of 1969 and 1971. In his memory, two Tamil literary awards were created and are awarded annually by his son, Sivanthi Adithanar ( former Director of the Dina Thanthi group).

Early life

Adithanar was born on 27 September 1905 at Kayamozhi in Tiruchendur Taluk of Tuticorin district to Sivanthi Adithanar and Kanagam Ammayar as the heir of the Adityans, the highest aristocratic family among the Nelamaikkarars.[1] His father, Sivanthi Adithanar , was a lawyer. Adithan' sister, Vamasundari Devi, was mother of Indian business man Shiv Nadar.[2] He completed his schooling at Srivaikuntam and joined St. Joseph's College, Trichy. After obtaining a M. A, he went to Middle Temple, London to study law. He became a barrister in 1933 and practised in Singapore (during 1933–42) and later in his home town Srivaikuntam. He married Govindammal in 1933.[3][4][5]

Publishing career

Adithan returned to India in 1942 when Singapore fell to the Japanese. He established a Tamil weekly magazine, Tamizhan, and a daily newspaper, Thanthi, in November 1942. He set out to found a Tamil daily along the lines of the English tabloid Daily Mirror, inspired by the Mirror's reach of a large audience. He established Dina Thanthi (lit. The Daily Telegraph) from Madurai in 1942 and it went on to become the flagship of his newspaper business. He expanded operations by opening additional editions in Tirunelveli, Madras, Salem and Tiruchirapalli in the 1940s. By bringing out local editions, Dina Thanthi helped deliver news on the same day to the people in southern districts of Tamil Nadu, who until then had to read day-old newspapers printed in Madras.[6] The paper was popular and it was said that people learned to read the Tamil language to read the newspaper.[7] The simplified language introduced by the paper helped it gain new readership.[8]

Other publications from Adithan's Dina Thanthi group include the evening daily Maalai Murasu (lit. The Evening Drum), the weekly magazine Rani and the monthly novel imprint Rani Muthu.[4]

Political career

Adithan started the "Tamil Rajyam" party in 1942. During 1947–52, he was a member of the Madras Legislative Council. He contested and won the 1952 election from Tiruchendur as a candidate of T. Prakasam's Kisan Mazdoor Praja Party.[9] He was elected as an independent candidate in the 1957 election from Sathankulam.[4][10]

Naam Tamilar party

In 1958, Adithan founded the "We Tamils" (நாம் தமிழர் கட்சி) party with the platform of forming a sovereign Tamil state. It wanted the creation of a homogeneous Greater Tamil Nadu incorporating Tamil speaking areas of India and Sri Lanka. The party's headquarters was named as Tamiḻaṉ Illam (lit. The Home of the Tamilian). In 1960, the party organised statewide protests for the secession of Madras and the establishment of a sovereign Tamil Nadu. The protests were marked by the burning of maps of India (with Tamil Nadu left out). Adithanar was arrested for organising them. The party along with M. P. Sivagnanam's Tamil Arasu Kazhagam was also involved in the movement to change the name of the state from Madras State to Tamil Nadu.[11] Adithan lost the 1962 election from Tiruchendur[12] and was elected to the Legislative Council in 1964.[5] The WT contested the 1967 election as an ally of the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) under the DMK's "Rising Sun" symbol. It elected four members to the Assembly, including Adithan, who won from Srivaikuntam. The party merged with the DMK in 1967.[4][13][14]

As Speaker of the Legislative Assembly

On 17 March 1967, Adithan became the speaker of the assembly defeating the Swatantra Party candidate K. S. Kothandaramiah, by 153 votes to 21. While he was the speaker he attended the DMK political conference held at Tanjore in 1968 and also took part in political activities in his constituency. Due to these activities, the opposition parties accused him of partisanship. He defended himself as:[15]

I am as much as a politician as leader of the opposition is and as such, I can not refrain myself from the party activities of the DMK with whose support and under whose symbol I have been elected to the Assembly. But it does not mean that i am partial and partisan.

Due to this controversy, Adithan resigned as speaker on 12 August 1968.

As minister

Adithan became the Minister for Cooperation in the M. Karunanidhi cabinet, which took power in February 1969. He was re-elected from Srivaikuntam in the 1971 elections and continued as the Minister for Cooperation.[4][16]

Later political life

The DMK split in 1972, with M. G. Ramachandran forming the Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (ADMK). Adithan supported the ADMK.[6] He contested and lost the 1977 election[17] as an ADMK supported independent from Sathankulam.[18] He also lost the 1980 election from Srivaikuntam.[19]

Electoral performance in Assembly elections

Year Status Constituency Party Votes Runner-up/winner Party Votes
1957 Winner Sathankulam IND 33,636 S. Kandasamy INC 22,429
1962 2nd Tiruchendur Naam Tamilar 27,994 M. S. Selvarajan INC 39,994
1967 Winner Srivaikuntam DMK 41,828 R. Nadar INC 22,767
1971 Winner Srivaikuntam DMK 37,329 R. A. R. Annamalai NCO 27,724
1977 2nd Sathankulam IND 17,507 R. Jebamani JNP 18,362
1980 3rd Srivaikuntam IND 12,119 E. Ramasubramanian ADMK 26,502

Death and legacy

Adithan died on 24 May 1981. In 2005, the then Tamil Nadu Chief Minister, J. Jayalalitha announced that his home in Srivaikuntam, built in 1928, would be converted into a memorial. He is survived by two sons. B. Ramachandran Adityan (founder of Devi Weekly) and B. Sivanthi Adityan.[20][21] On his birthday every year, the S. P. Adithanar Senior Tamil Scholar Award of Rs. 300,000 and the S. P. Adithanar Literary Award of Rs. 200,000 are awarded to Tamil scholars and people who excel in literature by Adithanar's son and the current director of the Dina Thanthi group, Sivanthi Adithan.[7] A road in Chennai, connecting Egmore to Anna Salai, was named "Adithanar Salai" in his memory.[22]



  1. ^ Robert Hardgrave. The of Tamil Nadu. University of California Press. p. 149.
  2. ^ Harish Damodharan (16 September 2008). India's New Capitalists: Caste, Business, and Industry in a Modern Nation. Palgrave Macmillan. p. 191. ISBN 978-0-230-20507-9.
  3. ^ "Memorials coming up for Adithanar, Ariyakudi Ramanuja Aiyangar". The Hindu. 28 September 2005. Archived from the original on 5 December 2007.
  4. ^ a b c d e "Tamilar Thanthai Si Pa Adithanar". Maalai Malar (in Tamil). 10 April 2009. Archived from the original on 29 April 2009.((cite news)): CS1 maint: bot: original URL status unknown (link)
  5. ^ a b Kaliyaperumal, M (1992). The office of the speaker in Tamilnadu : A study (PDF). Madras University. pp. Appendices.
  6. ^ a b Jeffrey, Robin (24 March 2000). India's newspaper revolution. C. Hurst & Co. p. 79,80,114,135. ISBN 978-1-85065-383-7.
  7. ^ a b "Adithanar awards for Tamil scholar, poet". The Hindu. 24 September 2004. Archived from the original on 14 October 2004.
  8. ^ "Adithanar 100: A Tribute". (in Tamil). 15 January 2004.
  9. ^ 1951/52 Madras State Election Results, Election Commission of India Archived 10 April 2009 at the Wayback Machine
  10. ^ 1957 Madras State Election Results, Election Commission of India
  11. ^ Ramaswamy, Sumathy (1997). Passions of the tongue: language devotion in Tamil India, 1891–1970. University of Chicago Press. pp. Chapter.6. ISBN 978-0-520-20805-6. OCLC 36084635.
  12. ^ 1962 Madras State Election Results, Election Commission of India
  13. ^ Ross Barnett, Marguerite (1975). Electoral politics in the Indian states: party systems and cleavages. Manohar Book Service. p. 86.
  14. ^ 1967 Tamil Nadu Election Results, Election Commission of India
  15. ^ Kaliyaperumal, M (1992). The office of the speaker in Tamilnadu : A study (PDF). Madras University. pp. 92–96. Archived from the original (PDF) on 21 July 2011.
  16. ^ 1971 Tamil Nadu Election Results, Election Commission of India
  17. ^ 1977 Tamil Nadu Election Results, Election Commission of India
  18. ^ "AIADMK hopes to benefit from local grievances". The Hindu. 24 February 2003. Archived from the original on 3 April 2003.((cite news)): CS1 maint: unfit URL (link)
  19. ^ 1980 Tamil Nadu Election Results, Election Commission of India
  20. ^ "Memorials coming up for Adithanar, Ariyakudi Ramanuja Aiyangar". The Hindu. 28 September 2005. Archived from the original on 5 December 2007.
  21. ^ "Officials inspect Adithanar's house at Srivaikundam". The Hindu. 29 September 2005. Archived from the original on 4 November 2012.
  22. ^ "A tough ride for MTC buses on Adithanar Salai". The Hindu. 28 February 2001. Archived from the original on 7 November 2012.