Anyone who visits Chennai Marina beach can see a line of statues on the beach road reflecting Tamil culture, literature and History. Many would remember the Second International Tamil Conference held at Chennai during 1968. Statues of Thiruvalluvar, Avvai, Kamban, Dr. G. U. Pope, Dr. Robert Caldwell, Bharathi,Bharathidasan, V. O. Chidambaram, Veeramamunivar (C. J. Beschi) and Kannaki were erected during that time. Both Kannaki and Thiruvalluvar had something more than the other statues, the posture. Kannaki was modeled by Kalpana, a small time actor and Thiruvalluvar had a great Indian actor to model for him.
Shivaji Ganesan donated a sculpture of Veerapandiya Kattabomman to be erected at the place, where he was hanged, at Kayaththar, Thooththukkudi district. Before the erection of the sculpture, people used to throw a stone there at the spot in remembrance of the martyr. The stones formed like a small hillock in that place. Shivaji himself modeled for the statue which looks majestic looking at the sky!
When Thiruvalluvar statue was planned , Shivaji modeled for it. The statue was made in Myladi, near Kanyakumari, a village filled with stone sculptors. His standing posture with a leg in the front, with hands writing on the palm and eyes looking straight is a delight to watch.
This photograph was hanging in my paternal uncle’s Tea stall in Boothapondi village . He was a Shivaji fanatic and he readily presented it to me when I asked.