(1908 – 1981) – (Tamilnadu)
P. Kakkan (Aged 73) also known as Kakkanji, was born on 18 June 1908 in Thumbaipatti, Kottampatti, Madurai, Tamil Nadu, India. He belonged to a Tamil Paraiyer family, and his father Poosari Kakkan was a priest in the village shrine. Kakkan was a freedom fighter and Indian politician who held several important positions such as a member of the Constituent Assembly of India, Member of Parliament, and President of the Tamil Nadu Congress Committee. He also served in various ministerial posts in Congress governments in the erstwhile Madras state between 1957 and 1967.
From a young age, Kakkan was drawn towards the independence movement and joined the Indian National Congress while still in school. He played a pivotal role in the Temple Entry Authorisation and Indemnity Act in 1939, which removed restrictions on Paraiyar and Shanars entering temples. Kakkan led the temple entry at Madurai and actively participated in the Quit India Movement, for which he was sent to Alipore jail. In 1946, he was elected to the Constituent Assembly and served from 1946 to 1950.
Kakkan served as a member of the Lok Sabha from 1952 to 1957. After K. Kamaraj resigned as the President of the Tamil Nadu Congress Committee to take office as the Chief Minister of Madras state, Kakkan was elected as his successor. In the 1967 Assembly elections, Kakkan contested from Melur (South) constituency but lost to Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam candidate O. P. Raman. Following his defeat, Kakkan retired from politics.
As a minister, Kakkan made significant contributions to Madras state, including the construction of the Mettur and Vaigai reservoirs and the formation of the Harijan Seva Sangh for the upliftment and welfare of Scheduled Castes. As Minister of Agriculture, he established two Agriculture Universities in Madras state. In 1999, the Government of India released a postage stamp commemorating Kakkan and his contributions to the nation. He passed away on 23 December 1981 in Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India.