Indians and Americans have become sisters and brothers from the very moment Swami Vivekananda opened his discourse with the words “Sisters and brothers of America” on September 11, 1893 when he participated in parliament of religions.
The true spirit lives on and will live for ever. An ardent follower of Swami Vivekananda and Mahatma Gandhi, Mr. V Santhanam inspired thousands of readers through his articles and speeches in South India.
He was invited in late sixty by the then American Embassy. The Indo American joint ventures were shown to the leading journalists of India. Mr. V Santhanam was also invited as he was the editor in charge of Dinamani the leading Tamil daily which was read by thousands of Tamils in Southern part of India. He was very keen to promote the good Indo American relationship by publishing the necessary articles. On seeing his simple dress made out of Khaddar, and his refusal to drinks and meat, the American Officer was very much impressed and requested him to accompany in his car. He started asking questions about Indian Culture and Indian way of living and Mr. Santhanam explained all about India very gladly.
He was born in a middle class family in Tanjore District of Tamilnadu on the fourth of September 1911. His father invested all his money in a shop and the ship which was to deliver the ordered things drowned in the middle sea. The family last everything and came to Madras.
Santhanam took part in the freedom movement and was jailed along with the great leaders Kamaraj and Rajaji. The friendship grew in jail.
He started publishing the great poet Bharathiyar’s poems in the magazine Jayabharathi along with Ra. A. Padmanaban who was also an ardent lover of Bharathi’s poems.
At that point of time certain literary circle in Tamilnadu did not recognize the great poet. The famous literary magazine ‘Manikkodi’ was started by Mr B S Ramaiah, a very close friend of Santhanam. He worked in Manikkodi and the Manikkodi group started propagating the poems of Bharathi. Research articles showing the true mind of the poet were published. Bharathiyar’s works were nationalized.
India got independence in 1947. Santhanam joined the famous Tamil daily Dinamani and became its editor in charge of Madurai edition.
His articles on Spirituality were very inspiring. He participated in literary and spiritual meetings. He inspired the youth to go back to the Indian Vedas, Puranas and Idhihasas to find out the true meaning of Life.
His last words on August 15th 1998, Independence Day, were: Has the Flag hoisted?
True to his principle he lived for hoisting the flag of Mother India in the independent India and his words were only a reflection of his true self.
As an ardent lover of mankind, he promoted not only the good will but also the strong relationship of India and America through his work. The need of the hour is a continuous better relationship of the two great countries. May his soul inspire us to achieve the goal.