Chennai: he wants to vote at 105; wants voters who accept money ‘ butchered ’
CHENNAI: Several young voters have planned vacations this election
season, but a 105-year-old man in Anna Nagar with firm belief in
democracy wants to vote. C Balasubramanian has strong political
views and urges people to vote for a candidate who can provide
food, shelter, education and jobs.
“Those who take money for votes should be butchered,” Balasubramanian told TOI. He could well be among one of the oldest voters in the country these Lok Sabha elections. He will complete 105 years on April 24.
A retired state government employee Balasubramanian has voted during the British rule. “Voting is our right and we should not forfeit it,” he said.
Born in 1914 in Trichy, Balasubramanian lost his father when he was just eight. He completed education with the help of relatives and landed a job in the revenue department as junior assistant. A self-confessed Periyar fan, Balasubramanian has heard many speeches of the leader and followed the celebrated leader’s ideals.
Today, Balasubramanian may be battling health issues, wheezing being one, but his son B Nadimuthu said his father was a workaholic when young.
“He was politically very aware. During the freedom movement, he knew that if he protested against the British openly he could lose his job. So he would take part in the agitation in his own way. Whenever Mahatma Gandhi or any other leader fasted, my father would fast. After office hours, he would attend political meetings,” he said.
Balasubrmanian spent most of his life in Tanjavur after joining service in the 1930s. Later, he shifted to Chennai and his last post before retirement was that of a personal assistant to the director of Khadi and Village Industries Board. Asked if he enjoyed government service, pat came the answer, “No! It is the worst.”
Balasubramanian used to be an avid reader and maintained diaries in which he recorded his own interpretation of every issue in the country.
He said he worked as an election tahsildhar in Tanjavur. “Under the British, we did not have symbols but colour-coded boxes for voting. And then came the ballot paper,” he said. Asked how parties would campaign in the olden days, Balasubramanian said pamphlets were distributed. There was not so much cash distribution.
In Chennai, there are about 79,000 senior citizens above 80 and there would be about 100 centenarians, said Nadimuthu. Asked if Balasubrmanian would vote this year, Nadimuthu said he would not take the risk as his father’s health was frail. “It all depends on his health. It is very hot and I do not want his condition to worsen,” he said.