Siva.Ilango– A Legend

Introduction : A true unionist is one who approaches problems with a possible solution. True it was, in the life of Thiru Siva Ilango, the President of the Tamil Nadu N.G.O. Union who was also the Chairman of the Confederation of All Service Associations in the State. He missed none and none missed him. He was a driving force. He was a man charged with all the potentialities, to discharge the duties of the Union. Naturally there was a driving force in him and whose enthusiasm culminated with love and affection for the true leadership broaches the salient in his life.

Childhood & Teenage days :

Mahadevapattinam was the home town of this notable personality and his father Thiru Sivagnana Govindasamy was a teacher in schools under the District Board management of Thanjavur District. Even at an early stage, he adorned the laurels of all institutional training. His flair for oratory surpassed his age. When he was in the 7th standard, he delivered a talk on the “Emancipation of womenhood”. In the Dravidian Federation (Student-wing) conference held in the year 1948, young Ilango, who was twelve then got the prerogative to inaugurate. A great debater by himself from the beginning, an active participant in symposiums, Thiru. Ilango had occasions to over-power the capabilities of his teachers even at the High school stage. In the school parliaments he adorned the treasury bench. After successful completion of his S.S.L.C in 1952 , he joined hands with Thiru K. Veeramani (Editor ‘Viduthalai’) and engaged himself in the rationalistic meetings and self respect movement organisation meetings for a short.

A brief interlude, but noteworthy of special mention in his life after school final is his joining in the Government Institute of film Technology, Madras, became acquainted with direction and story dialogue etc things connected with an artist. His stay there did not last long. He then joined the ‘Seva Stage’ Drama group organised by the Film star Thiru Sahashranamam. He enacted several roles along with Thiru Muthuraman and Tmt Devika the leading film stars of Tamil Nadu. The missionary work of the late lamented leader Thiru E. V. Ramaswamy Naicker (Periar) became dear to his heart. In the struggle to erase Hindi names from the Railway Station name boards were widely launched and Thiru Ilango joined the volunteers and did the same in Adiramapattinam railway station.

Government Job & Association with NGO Union:

Thiru. Ilango disassociating from active politics, joined the Survey Department on 12-3-1954 as Draftsman at Pattukottai. Within ten days, he got his transfer to Ramnad District. There he was acquainted with the N.G.O Union activities. Again he got opportunity to start his career at Pattukottai in the same year and till September 1961 he was stationed in the same place. In 1955 a taluk conference of N.G.Os was held and Thiru Ilango had his vital role. His maiden speech thrilled the active nerves of the District Office bearers, they in turn pitched upon this energetic young man for a responsible post in the union. In the State conferences held in 1956 at Madras, 1957 at Madurai, 1958 at Salem 1960 at Vellore, 1961 at Madurai, Thiru Siva Ilango represented with a band of followers and his speeches at subject committee meetings and at open conferences were forthright, critical and crisp. Really his performance yielded net results and several friends came to his fold. The historic movement of owning a building for the office of Pattukottai Taluk centre was the endeavour of Thiru. Ilango and with his effort it was bartered for Rs. 8,000. Thiru.R. Venkataraman M.A., B.L., (Ex-President of India), the then Minister for Industries of TamilNadu presided over for the opening ceremony and no less a political person than the then Chief Minister Thiru. K. Kamaraj participated. Thiru. Ilango while thanking the participants put forth the demand “We put forward the demand of Trade Union rights, but we stand for duty”, thus evoked claps from Chief Minister. To his credit he established a library in the N.G.O. Office building, at Pattukottai and made provisions for games. A literary association was also formed and Thavathiru Kundrakudi Adigalar was one among the Chief Guests who visited the centre. A dramatics club was also inaugurated and Thiru. Ilango himself enacted dramas. His character focussed on the current problems of N.G.Os.

Thiru. Ilango was one of the members in the delegation to represent N.G.O’s grievances to the late Prime Minister Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru. He won the laurels of being tipped for all taluk conferences and chief among the Taluks are Nagapattinam, Pudukottai and Nannilam. A service association for Draftsman in the Survey Department, affiliated to N.G.O. Union was rightly thought over by Thiru Ilango and in 1956 a preliminary meeting of the State Meet held at Pattukottai elected Thiru. Ilango as its Vice-president and the subsequent year he got elected as President.He had the honour to adorn the chair of the Survey Association for nearly six times and as its benign president fought out several cases and won, and chief among them was the regularisation of temporary services of more than 800 persons by amending service rules. Another notable achievement was the change from fixed scales to the time scales to several categories of persons in that Department.

Union Leader & Activities :

In the year 1961, Thiru. Siva. Ilango made attempts of his own to shift to Madras in order to participate actively in union activities and this fructified in September, 1961. The course of events changed to its adverse side. Abruptly he was transferred to Salem in the month of June 1962. Then he was transferred to Coimbatore in February, 1964. In the organisational election held in May 1965, Thiru. Alwarappan, Thiru.Ilango and Thiru Devanadhan were elected as State President, Vice President (Mofussil) and Vice-President (City) respectively. Thiru. Ilango won the election with a margin of 2000 votes from his nearest rival. In 1968 Thiru. Ilango was duly elected as State President. He attained the pinnacle of glory by annexing the President’s post by a difference of 3431 votes against his nearest rival in April, 1971. Since the date of assumption to the post of State President on 28-4-1971, his achievements are laudable. No one can forget the presidential address of Thiru. Ilango at the Salem conference on 20-2-1972 in a crowd of 50,000 N.G.Os in the presence of the then Chief Minister Dr. Kalaignar Karunanidhi. The Chief Minister Dr. Kalaignar announced the abolition of confidential filing system in the midst of such a large gathering.The epoch making movements of this union naturally make even political persons to shudder and organisational conferences held under Thiru.Ilango overweighed , the dimensions of the political conferences. N.G.O. Union under Thiru. Ilango, abjured the conventional resolutions, the mockery of idle or recreational, but is resolute, solid, formidable and well organised. A few solid examples will suffice to prove his mettle.

*   The appointment of ‘One Man Commission’ to do away with the anomalies of lakhs of N.G.G.O’s in a period of two years.

*   Abandonment of the Confidential file system.

*   Award of C.C.A. to Coimbatore, Salem, Trichy and H.R.A. for Pollachi, Mayavaram, Pudukottai, Coonoor and Krishnagiri.

*   Award of selection Grade to Assistants in the Soil Conservation Department, to Telephone Operators, and to Record Clerks.

*   Promotional opportunities for several categories of N.G.G.Os.

*   Creation of Family Benefit Scheme etc.