Online edition of India's National Newspaper
Saturday, Apr 16, 2005

About Us
Contact Us
Tamil Nadu
News: Front Page | National | Tamil Nadu | Andhra Pradesh | Karnataka | Kerala | New Delhi | Other States | International | Opinion | Business | Sport | Miscellaneous | Engagements |
Advts:
Classifieds | Employment |

Tamil Nadu Printer Friendly Page   Send this Article to a Friend

At 75, freedom spirit is still strong

G. Srinivasan

Her father led the Vedaranyam satyagraha movement at Thillaisthanam. Seventyfive years later, Rajamma wants to join the re-enactment of the historic event.



Rajamma

THANJAVUR: Seventyfive-year-old Rajamma of Thillaisthanam near Tiruvaiyaru, daughter of Rangaswamy Iyengar, who took part in the Vedaranyam salt march in 1930, will shortly pick up the baton.

She eagerly awaits the visit of Congressmen, who are participating in the re-enactment of the historic Vedaranyam satyagraha. She wants to join them and walk along for a short distance.

"My father spearheaded the Vedaranyam salt march in the Tiruvaiyaru area. I have heard from him the importance of the event and the patriotic fervour with which people participated in it, protesting against the draconian British Raj. Now I would like to participate in its re-enactment," she said, her eyes welling in tears.

For many at Thillaisthanam, a tiny village, salt satyagraha is not confined to the pages of history; it was a struggle in which their forefathers participated. While most of the village was involved, the famous names include Sambasiva Iyer, father of Tamil writer Thi.Sa. Raju and Manickam Pillai.

Rangaswamy Iyengar was in charge of arranging food for the participants, Rajamma recounted. "My father told me that as the British had issued warnings that the supporters of the march would be punished, people used to tie food packets to trees. The participants picked them up as they marched by."

In 1946, when Rajamma met Sardar Vedarathinam Pillai at Vedaranyam, he recalled his association with Rangaswamy Iyengar. Both of them were cellmates, having been arrested by the police at the end of the salt satyagraha.

On the occasion of Rama Navami, they arranged for a bhajan session in the prison and supplied fellow satyagrahis with `Neermor' (buttermilk), `Panagam' (a sweet drink made from jaggery), curd rice and `Puliyodarai.' Rangaswamy Iyengar participated in the Quit India movement also. He led Congress cadres and participated in a rasta roko on the Tiruvaiyaru bridge.

When Gandhiji was shot dead in 1948, he was at a meeting held in the Thillaisthanam school. The news came as a blow to the patriotic Iyengar.

The villagers were in tears and mourning for the next few days, Rajamma recollected.

Printer friendly page  
Send this article to Friends by E-Mail

Tamil Nadu

News: Front Page | National | Tamil Nadu | Andhra Pradesh | Karnataka | Kerala | New Delhi | Other States | International | Opinion | Business | Sport | Miscellaneous | Engagements |
Advts:
Classifieds | Employment | Updates: Breaking News |


News Update


The Hindu Group: Home | About Us | Copyright | Archives | Contacts | Subscription
Group Sites: The Hindu | Business Line | The Sportstar | Frontline | The Hindu eBooks | The Hindu Images | Home |

Copyright 2005, The Hindu. Republication or redissemination of the contents of this screen are expressly prohibited without the written consent of The Hindu