A great soul has passed away! A kind man has breathed
his last! A genius has been taken away by the cruel
hand of death! A void has been created filled only by
torrents of tears ! An era has ended; N.S.K., is no
Never in the recent annals of this county has there
been such a heart-rending event—and no loss is as irrepairable
as the one caused by this demise. N.S.K.—Kalaivanar—Nagaichuvai
Arasu—as he was variously and endearingly called, has
passed away—and the whole nation is in the grips of
a remorse and pang never before experienced.
Not yet even fifty, this idol of a nation, has been
laid up with liver complaint for less than a fortnight—but
in spite of the best, and the latest medical aid, he
passed away and has left the nation in sobs.
The path of glory lead but to the grave—but this is
not a case of an infirm, feeble, withered old man arriving
at journey's end, but a man in his middle-ages, strong
and sinewy, being snatched away, all on a sudden and
mercillessly. 'He fell ill'—the people were told—'he
is in bed under the best medical aid', the people were
assured—'he is on the road to recovery' said the papers—'there
was a sudden turn for the worse,' and in the course
of some hours, this blossom has been blasted.
N.S. Krishnan's untimely death has created a shock to
the millions. It is not a case of one amongst the innumerable
stars shining in the firmament of filmdom—it is not
the 'Artiste' in him alone that has endearded him to
the millions, but the 'Man' in him! He was peerless
as an Artist—but his humanity was something unique,
and it is not often that such men emerge to better the
world we live in.
True, he stood as the uncrowned king, in filmdom—a comedian
of the highest order—an artiste of rare excellence—but
it is not merely because of this fact, that his demise
is being mourned in every hearth and home, but because,
in this Artiste there was a humanity pulsating in all
its pristine glory. N.S.K. as a comedian, made the whole
land roar with laughter for a decade and more; but the
'Man' in him made the millions look up to him as their
friend and guide. It is not a mere loss of a great artiste
but that of a good, great man.
Oftentimes, the 'Artiste' envelops the 'Man' and an
applauding populace is interested in the walk and talk,
tone and tenor, gestures and actions, of the 'Artiste'
and cares not about the 'human side'.
The artiste is there to cater to the people, entertain
them—from the stage or the screen. There is applause
but not an intimacy—or even a community of thought.
But N.S.K., has literally become the inmate of every
home and hearth. Hence it is that his passing away is
bemoaned by millions—who shed tears as copiously as
they would if someone dear and near to them in their
own household passes away.
Never before, did an 'Artiste' gain such a place, in
the hearts of the millions and none perhaps can hope
to attain this unique place in the near future. Men
of N. S. K. 's mettle, are not to be found in herds
—the gem of purest ray is not to be found too often.
One or two in a century—in one or two countries in the
whole world, perhaps! Such 'Men' are to be classified
as 'Eras'—and the passing away of N.S.K., means certainly,
the end of an era.
N.S.K., chose the stage and screen, and surpassed one
and all, but he would have endeared himself to the millions,
had he chosen any other field as well—for he had a missionary
zeal in him, and would have utilised any given medium
for expressing his nobility of thought and action. Perhaps,
the stage and the screen helped him attain his objective
in a quicker time, but even if denied this medium, his
'objective' time, would have manifested itself, in a
hundred other different ways and methods. From the mud-house
to a mansion, he found the journey comparatively easy,
but whether in the former or in the latter place, he
had one and only objective, that of serving fellow human
beings, not by sermonising but by giving a sympathetic
touch and a helping hand—not only to free them from
want, but also to enable them to rise up to higher levels
mentally. He was not a mere dispenser of doles—throwing
out handful of coins and mirthless laughter to the needy
and the hungry, but he took upon himself the task of
'lifting up' those that were thrown into the mud and
mire of poverty and ignorance. He changed to a remarkable
degree, and without ostentation the current of life
for the better, and by his unselfish labours and heroic
endeavours brought a ray of sunshine and happiness to
the downtrodden and 'uncared-fors'.
Born of humble parentage, with every circumstance against
him, none thought that N.S.K., would one day rise up
to a pinnacle of glory and contribute much not only
to the field of art but to humanity in general.
The cradle in which he was rocked was not canopied with
velvet and gold, but the graveyard to which this great
man made his last journey, thronged with nearly a lakh
of people—who paid their homage to the departed hero.
"He has contributed much" said one and all,
amidst their sobs, for the great cause of intellectual
liberty; he has done more for the poor, for the children
of toil, for the homeless and the wretched than even
organised institutions. No educational institution,
or cultural association or political organisation was
left uncared for by this Artiste—and those in the field
of art in periods of depression or days of despondency,
whenever they felt the pinch of want, whenever they
were spurned and denied chances and succour, they had
this beacon of light, this ray of hope, and thither
they went with head sunk down, but returned with head
upright and mind enthused. A touch of sympathy from
him acted magically enough—and from out of a discarded
non-entity there emerged a shining star, with admirable
talents. He was , as it were, a one man institution
— an entrance easily obtained, and a stay there meant,
a respected place on the stage or the screen—oftentimes
He not only gave such sympathy and help to those in
the field of art—but to anybody who had some woe and
worry, trouble or tribulation—who needed encouragement
and hope, help and patronage.
Amidst his multifarious activities in the field of art
he found time enough to know all issues of public importance—all
problems confronting the people, and he threw with enthusiasm
in every one of them, with the zeal of a missionary.
"How was it possible" many wonder, "for
an artiste to take such an active interest in all the
fields, with such a zeal".
Despite the fact that he was a prominent figure in the
domain of art, he evinced keen interest in all problems
affecting the land and the people—many do exclaim.
No true Artiste can ignore humanity—and it is exactly
because N.S.K. was a true artiste, that he evinced such
keen interest in all problems. In fact he took to art,
as the best medium for service—and in that his success
"Art in its highest form gives tone and colour
and zest to life—it extends the horizon of humanity'.
Art as the highest manifestation of thought—of passion
of love—of intuition—is bound to enlighten, develop,
strengthen and ennoble the human mind.
After a careful study of the state of affairs in our
society N.S.K., came to a definite conclusion, that
it is the supreme duty of artistes to contribute their
talent and abilities for the cause of the liberation
of the masses, from shackles of various kinds—and having
thus set before himself a principle and a purpose he
threw himself heart end soul into the task, and marched
He was superb as an artiste and that did not deter him
from serving the cause. He assisted without insulting—guided
without being arrogant—and enlightened without outraging
anybody's feelings. He hated none—pitied all—attacked
not individuals, hut only dogmas and creeds—that were
so many shackles to the human mind. Every gesture of
his, his sunny smiles, and sonnets, his laughs and lyrics,
his whole ability as an artiste had this 'purpose' running
right though—reformation of society. He was the Luther
and Lincoln, the Valluvar and Voltaire—in the field
of art. And all his pungent attacks on cant and hypocrisy
perpetrated in the name of race or religion or political
power, was couched with the sweetness of satire. This
crusader, had a powerful weapon, humour—and that hammer
stroke was felt by the various tyrants—and even they
laughed heartily, though they were floored.
He did not achieve this, without much effort. Like the
scientist, he had to sit in the laboratory of thought—work
out the devices—experiment—correct and re-examine and
try one process after another having always the 'cause'
before him. He was a successful idealist—just because
he took all the efforts of a practicalist.
He has been maligned, imprisoned, even impoverished,
but, "he bore the heat and burden of the unregarded
day and remembered the misery of the many".
At last he was understood—recognised—as an earnest,
honest, gifted, generous, sterling man, loving his country-men,
sympathising with the poor honouring the useful, holding
in abhorrence tyranny and falsehood in all their forms.
He has left to us the richest legacy.
It is hard to over-state the debt we owe to him.
He has become a great theme.
He had the simplicity of childhood, enthusiasm of youth,
and wisdom of age—the stout heart of a crusader, the
tenacity of a missionary, and the versatility of the
And it is such a good great man that we have lost. It
is a loss irrepairable to society in general, but to
the D.M.K., it is a veritable blow—for this great artiste—this
crusader—this benefactor, held in very high esteem the
D.M.K; in fact he took keen and active interest and
part, in the D.M.K., from its very inception, and contributed
much for its growth.
Wherever and whenever the D.M.K., convened a conference,
there one could find N.S.K., and whenever he found it
necessary to express his opinion about men and matters,
he spoke on behalf of the D.M.K.
During the last general elections, though he was not
in sound health at that time, N.S.K., went about various
places, briskly and enthusiastically canvassing support
for the D.M.K. candidates.
In fact, his enthusiasm for the D.M.K., was doubled
and trebled, after his sojourn to Russia and in his
talks about this tour, he failed not to impress the
public, about the worthiness of the D.M.K.
We have lost thus a champion of our cause—and what a
mighty blow it is !
It is indeed hard, very hard, to make a recovery, in
the near future. The blow is too much—and the suddenness
has been a havoc almost.
And when we ourselves are reeling under this blow, how
is it possible for us, to offer our heart-felt condolences
to the members of his family. We need as much of condolence
as they—for we do not feel that we are not members of
his family. He belongs to the people as a whole, and
the particular family that gave him to us, is one amongst
the millions of families that today bemoan the loss.
We should muster all the stoutness of heart that he
wanted all of us to have, and dry up our tears, and
try to carry on the crusade in which he was mightily
interested. Meteor-like, he has passed away, but the
light that he shed, the power that he generated, the
purpose that he held before us all as the 'cause'—are
there to guide us all. Let us always cherish the memory
of this missionary:
" He never thought an honour done him
Because a duke was proud to own him;
Would rather slip aside and choose
To talk with wits in dirty shoes;
Despised the fools in stars and garters,
So ofter seen caressing chartres
He never courted men in station
Nor persons held in admiration.
Of no man's greatness was afraid,
Because he sought for no man's aid.
Though trusted long in great affairs,
He gave himself no haughty airs;
Without regarding private ends,
Spent all his credit for his friends
And only chose the wise and good;
No flatterers; no allies in blood;
But succour'd virtue in distress,
And seldom failed of good success;
As numbers in their hearts must own,
Who but for him had been unknown".
We have quoted extensively from the poem of Jonathan
Swift, for its appropriateness.
Let us all attempt to get ourselves equipped with an
equal amount of nobility of purpose that was always
guiding the majestic march of this idealist and artiste.
Let us also place before ourselves this ideal—that any
talent, any ability inherent in any individual is to
be utilised not for his own self, not merely for his
family and kith and kin, but for the benefit of his
country-men as a whole.
It is men like N.S.K., who by their contribution, ennoble
Blessed is the spot that holds their dust.
Campbell, wrote about, Robert Burns, thus:
Farewell, high chief of Scottish song!
That couldst alternately impart
Wisdom and rapture in the page,
And brand each vice with satire strong;
Whose lines are mottoes of the heart
Whose truth electrify the sage.
Farewell! and ne'er may envy dare
To wring one baleful poison drop
From the crushed laurels or thy bust
But while the lark sings sweet in air
Still may the grateful pilgrim stop
To bless the spot that holds thy dust.
Editorial - 08-09-1957)