Era Sezhiyan, regarded as one of India's most respected parliamentarians, died in Tamil Nadu on Tuesday after a brief illness. He was 95.
Era Sezhiyan, who was also a versatile writer, died at Vellore, around 140 km from Chennai.
First elected to the Lok Sabha in 1962 on DMK ticket, Era Sezhiyan developed as one of the best read and hard-working MPs who won praise from both sides of the political divide.
Born on April 28, 1923 in Thanjavur district, he joined the DMK after his graduation along with his elder brother V.R. Nedunchezhiyan, who too became a leading light of the Dravidian movement.
Era Sezhiyan was elected from Perambalur to the Lok Sabha and remained a member of Parliament -- including the Rajya Sabha -- for over two decades, earning the respect of elders.
A vocal advocate of decentralization and probity in public life, the DMK leader was known for his simple habits. Admirers called him a scholar.
An associate of Jayaprakash Narayan, Era Sezhiyan opposed the Emergency rule imposed by Indira Gandhi and gave the slip to Delhi Police when they came to arrest him.
Former Lok Sabha Speaker Somnath Chatterjee, another veteran parliamentarian, once said: "I have been seen very few members who have been so knowledgeable, as hard working and as committed and capable as Era Sezhiyan."
Era Sezhiyan quit active party politics in 2001 but continued to write on political and national affairs.
In a condolence message, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister K. Palaniswami said Era Sezhiyan with his dignified speeches in Parliament earned the respect of all.
DMK leader M.K. Stalin said Era Sezhiyan was one of the most senior leaders of the Dravidian movement.
PMK founder S. Ramadoss also condoled Era Sezhiyan's death.