PUTRAJAYA, Oct 24 (Bernama) -- A coffee table book entitled "Samy Vellu -- As We Know Him", to be launched Thursday, will provide an insight on a leader who has become almost a legend in the Malaysian Indian community.
Compiled by Chitra Vasu, the book contains 97 short stories by those close to the charismatic leader who has been at helm of the MIC, the largest Indian-based political party in the country, for the last 28 years.
"This book, to be launched by Culture, Arts and Heritage Minister Datuk Seri Rais Yatim, is not an autobiography but tells about Samy Vellu as seen through the eyes of those close to him.
"It reveals the first meetings between the man and the writers. It contains seven chapters -- family, MIC current leaders and veterans, prominent Malaysians, subordinates, friends, associates and Sungai Siput constituents. It reveals how they met him for the first time," Chitra told Bernama recently.
The 300-page book, apart from the short stories, will also feature more than 300 rare photographs of Samy Vellu, who is Works Minister, mostly from private collections of contributors.
This book could be considered one of the rare do*****entation of a man who had held the Malaysian Indian community spellbound through his deeds over the last three decades, Chitra said.
"I got this idea (on compiling the book) on his 70th birthday on March 8 last year when MIC vice-president Tan Sri K.S. Nijhar started telling me about Datuk Seri. This got me thinking and this was when I asked him about his first meeting with the MIC president and he related his version.
"I thought it was interesting and wondered how it would be to compile similar thoughts of others of their meeting with Samy Vellu. I sat on the idea for sometime and gathered strength to ask him, myself, if he would be all right with the idea.
"He could have just brushed it aside but instead he told me that only a daughter would think of doing such a thing," she said.
The book, edited by M. Govind Nair and published by MPH Group Publishing will retail at RM140.
MPH Group (M) Sdn Bhd general manager (corporate affairs) Donald Kee said that initially 10,000 copies each of the book would be printed in English and Tamil.
"This is the first time MPH is launching a book in Tamil. We expect good sales because we have not published such a book so far. It covers all angles of the man, who has become a icon in Malaysian Indian politics," he said, adding that the book would also be sold in Singapore.
Meanwhile, Kuala Lumpur MIC chief Datuk M. Saravanan said some 5,000 Indians from all walks of life would gather at the Putra World Trade Centre on Friday for the launch of the Tamil version of the book to show that the MIC president had the support of the party as well as the community.