As a writer, he is one of the finest that India has to offer. Most erudite people have command of one language, but Rajaji was an expert in at least 3 (possibly 4). His works in his native Tamil are recognized as modern classics (published and re-printed several times). After his break with politics, he started on the massive task of translating the Hindu Scriptures Ramayana, Mahabharata from Sanskrit toTamil language and later into English. He received rave reviews from scholars and religious seers alike. He translated Upanishads and Bhaja Govindam into English. His novels and short stories, themselves would have won him public adulation. He also translated 'The Tirukkural' from Tamil to English. 'Tirukkural' is an ancient piece of the Tamil literature and is often referred to as 'the flower of Tamilnad'. His ability as a writer, is in a sense, unparalleled, not just in India alone. Some of his poetry was set to music and sung by Carnatic music's dominant personality M S Subbulakshmi at several occasions of importance, and once at the United Nations Kurai Onrum Illai (meaning - No regrets have I My lord, None) is a very famous song in the semi-Carnatic music genre written by Rajaji and the most popular version, (widely acknowledged as soul-stirring) has been rendered by M.S. Subbulakshmi. Rajaji also composed a hymn "Here under this Uniting Roof" which was sung in 1966 at the United Nations, again by M.S. Subbulakshmi. He was invited to the White House by President Kennedy; perhaps the only civilian, not in power, ever to be accorded formal state reception. The two discussed various matters and it is said that the great Indian statesman tried to impress the young President on the folly of an arms race - even one which the US could win. Today, such warnings haunt us. Rajaji's statesmanship and vision for all mankind is recognized to this day. The nonagenarian's public life, spanning nearly eighty years are perhaps best recognized by Mahatma Gandhi's rich tribute to him praising him as: "the keeper of my conscience".Rajaji died in December, 1972 after a short illness.
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