Traffic Ramaswamy

Traffic Ramaswamy

Traffic Ramaswamy: True activist who found a place in people’s hearts

Friends and activists hailed Traffic Ramaswamy as a fearless crusader who kept governments in check by questioning the misdeeds of those in power.

Traffic Ramaswamy
Traffic Ramaswamy

CHENNAI: Friends and activists hailed Traffic Ramaswamy as a fearless crusader who kept governments in check by questioning the misdeeds of those in power. Ramaswamy learnt the power of questioning at a young age. Friends said that when Ramaswamy was still a boy, he was scolded by a conductor for carrying a few kilograms of rice in a bus. Citing a law, the rice was handed over to police.

The next day, Ramaswamy wrote a letter to the Tahsildar that he was only carrying rice below the permitted limit. The Tahsildar quickly intervened and the official who seized the rice was told to apologise to the boy.  Activist C Muthukumar from Paramakudi recalled: “While working in Co-Optex in the late 80s, he used to help the police in regulating traffic. The police later provided him with a special ID card and over the years, his name gained the prefix ‘Traffic’.”

Mu Anandakumar, who runs Bharathamatha Foundation, remembered the days when they organised awareness programs throughout the State. “I met him during a PIL at High Court. Our friendship grew stronger over the years. He brought to light the hazards of a leather factory in Dindigul district. He taught us how to take forward our cases without the help of an advocate and how to ask the right questions in RTI petitions,” he said.

Activists also said that the Home Guard division was formed in the 1990s based on his idea. A few notable reforms came when he challenged the State government’s decision to construct a flyover on the NSC Bose road. His battle against banner culture epitomised his activism and he even challenged banners of leaders of DMK and AIADMK.  Though he was booked several times, he was never formally arrested. Though he has received both praise and reprimand at court rooms, his sheer energy will be missed, rued friends.

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