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Smt. L.CT.PL.Lakshmi Achi – January 1st, 2005

How many know about the young little boy – P.Chidambaram, who is to-day a Finance Minister? Learn about his child hood days from someone who has really seen him grow so close as could be. She is none other than his mother. India’s Finance Minister Mr.P.Chidambaram’s mother Mrs. Lakshmi Achi is talking about her sons formative years.

1. Can you tell a few words about yourself to our readers

I was born in the year 1920. My parents are Rajah Sir Annamalai Chettiar and Mrs. Seethai Achi. My father is a Merchant Banker and a philanthropist. He started the university which is named after him as ‘Annamalai University’. So he was conferred the title ‘Rajah Sir’ by the British Government. We hail from a modest and traditional family. I studied in Raffles school. Once I finished my
S.S.L.C, I got married at the age of sixteen. I scored 588/600 in that exam. My husband is Mr. Palaniappan Chettiar, an industrialist.

2. How many children do you have?

I have four children – three sons and a daughter. My first son Mr. P.Lakshmanan is an industrialist. My second son Mr. P. Annamalai passed away, few years back. My third son is Mr. P.Chidambaram today’s Finance Minister of India. My daughter Mrs. Uma Narayanan runs a Pre- School called The Nest at her residence in C.I.T Colony Chennai.

3. Can you tell us about the formative years of Mr.P.Chidambaram?

He was born in the year 1945. He grew up in Chennai. He studied his kinder garden and primary levels at St. Thomas Convent, where he got a double promotion from standard U.K.G to 2nd level. Then he continued his education at Christian High School. Then he did his university educations in Loyoal, Presidency and Law College. Then he went to Harvard University where he did his M.B.A

4. During his childhood, Was there a trace of him springing as a promising politician later?

Always he had so much inclination towards the outside world. Ever his mind would ponder at various countries leadership and its progenies.

5. What are his distinctive characteristics?

He has a very strong memory. He absorbs things very quickly. He reads very fast. By the time we could finish reading a page, he would have read fifteen pages.

6. Could you recall some incidence that showed his distinctive character?

Yes, there are many. When I teach him for his exams, he finishes studying quickly, and moves off to the next chapter. I will be apprehensive as how he is going to fare in the exams. He shrugs off coolly and tells me not to worry. At the same time he gets good marks in the exams. Another character of his that I could remember would be, when he explains me of some incidence and when I happen to go away half way and ask him to explain the rest, he does not go explaining from where he left. He would start from the beginning. So, the nature of explaining things clearly was very apparent in him from his child hood.

7. What was the family’s reaction, when he disclosed about his love marriage?

It was very difficult for us to accept it. We were totally against it. My husband Mr. Palaniappa Chettiar could not digest it. We did not attend the wedding. Later, we got convinced and pacified after a gap of nine months. Now we do have a cordial relationship.

8. Did you attend the budget session, when he was the finance minister during the year 1996-1997?

Yes. I did attend it. The seating arrangement in the parliament was such that, we could sit and listen to the budget directly. He read for one and a half hours.

9.How did you feel?

It was a very memorable time. I was very happy as it was really a balanced budget.

10. As a mother, did the media approach you after the budget session?

Yes. They did. They mobbed us and asked many questions in concern with the budget. Me and my niece who had come along with me said, it is a very balanced budget. Hope it helps the Nation.

Note: This interview was taken during the year 2001, at Mrs. Lakshmi achis residence in Chennai.

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