Gemini Ganesan was born Ganapathi Subramania Sarma to Ramaswamy and Gangamma on 17 November 1920. Ramaswamy's father Narayanaswami was the Principal of the Maharajah's College, Pudukkottai. Early in his life, Narayanaswami was married to a Brahmin girl but on the early death of his wife, he married again, to a woman named Chandramma from the Isai Vellalar community. Notable among Narayanaswami's children with Chandramma were Muthulakshmi and Ramaswamy, father of Gemini Ganesan.
His grandfather died when he was in the sixth class and later on, he lost his father as well. After the death of his father, Ganesan, along with his grandmother Bagirathi and mother Gangamma, moved to his aunt Muthulakshmi’s residence, in Madras (now known as Chennai). Life in the city did not suit Gangamma, and she decided to go back to Pudukkottai. His birth name is widely accepted as Ramaswamy Ganesan, though it is also rumoured to have been Ganapati Subramanian Sarma.
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