Role of Tamil Nadu in freedom struggle

INDIA (1773 – 1947)
Page 1
 The earliest political organisation,
the Madras Native
Association was started in July
1852. LakshminarasuChetty and
Srinivasa Pillai were the founders
of this organization. The Madras
Native Association was sharply
critical of the policies of the East
India Company‟s rule.
Subsequently in 1884, the
Madras Mahajana Sabha was
established by P. Anandacharlu
and P. Rangaiya Naidu. The
Madras Native Association was
ultimately merged with this
 The Madras Mahajana Sabha
strongly supported the activities
of the Indian National Congress.
It had also initiated social reform.
G. SubramaniaIyer performed the
remarriage of his widowed
daughter in December 1889. He
moved the first resolution in the
first session of the Indian National
Congress in 1885. He started the
nationalist papers like The
Hindu in English and
Swadeshamitran in Tamil.
 The third session of the Indian
National Congress was held in
Madras in 1887 under the
presidentship of
 The Partition of Bengal in 1905
led to the beginning of Swadeshi
Movement in Tamil Nadu. During
this period the important leaders
of the National Movement were –
V.O. Chidambaram Pillai,
Subramania Siva and
SubramaniaBharathi. In May 1907
Bharathi brought, Bipin Chandra
Pal one of the leaders of
extremists in the Congress to
Madras city. After the Surat split
in 1907, V.O.C. and fellow
nationalists started the Chennai
Jana Sangam.
 SubramaniaBharathi was a nonconformist, unorthodox and a
Indian National Movement
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revolutionary in social and
political ideas. He edited the
Tamil Weekly India .He wrote
nationalist songs called the
 V.O. Chidambaram Pillai was a
lawyer by profession and he
joined the nationalist movement
in 1905.
 He was a follower of Bal
GanghadarTilak. He led the
Coral Mill Strike in February
1908 in Tuticorin.
 In 1906 he launched the
Swadeshi Steam Navigation
Company in Tuticorin. Hence
he was called Kappalottiya
Tamilan. There was
competition between Swadeshi
Steam Navigation Company and
British India Steam Navigation
Company. V.O.C. advocated the
boycott of the British India
Steam Navigation Company and
this had resulted in the
Tirunelveli uprising in March
1908. He was ably assisted by
Subramania Siva.
 Both were arrested and
imprisoned. They served six years
rigorous imprisonment. They
were given harsh punishment
inside the prison. V.O.C. was
asked to draw an oil press and
hence he is known as
 The arrest of the nationalist
leaders, harsh punishment for the
nationalist leaders inside the
prison and the collapse of the
Swadeshi Steam Navigation
Company led to the formation of a
revolutionary organization in
Tamil Nadu called the
Bharathamatha Association.
NilakantaBramachari played a
vital role in it. One of the followers
of this association Vanchi Nathan
shot dead the notorious British
official Robert William Ashe at
Maniyatchi junction in June 1911.
 Non-Cooperation had been a
success in Tamil Nadu. C.
Rajagopalachari, S. Satyamurthi
and E.V. Ramaswami
Naicker were the important
Indian National Movement
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leaders of the Non-Cooperation
Movement in Tamil Nadu. At that
time E.V. RamaswamiNaicker was
the President of the Tamil Nadu
Congress Committee.
 In the meantime, Periyar E.V.R.
launched the Vaikom
Satyagraha in Kerala against the
practice of social segregation.
Later he resigned from the
Congress and came out on the
social segregation issue at
Seramandevi Guru Kulam of
V.V.S. Iyer. S. Satyamurthi of
Pudukkottai was one of the
important freedom fighters. He
led the anti-Simon Campaign in
1929 when the Simon
Commission visited Tamil Nadu.
 Authorized by TNCC and AICC to
direct the Salt Satyagraha in Tamil
Nadu, Rajaji undertook the
famous Vedaranyam Salt
Satyagraha march. He selected
the route from Tiruchirappalli to
Vedaranyam in Thanjauvr district.
The march began on Tamil New
Year‟s Day (13th April). The March
reached Vedaranyam on 28th
April 1930. Two days later
Rajagopalachari was arrested for
breaking the salt laws. Tiruppur
Kumaran who led the flag march
was fatally beaten. Since he
guarded the national flag in his
hands he was called
KodiKaththa Kumaran.
 Similarly, the National Movement
was encouraged by songs
composed by Namakkal Kavinjar
The other important nationalist leader
was K. Kamaraj from Virudhunagar.
He participated in the Vaikom
Satyagraha in 1924 and thus entered
nationalist movement. He was the
vice-president and treasurer of the
Ramnad District Congress Committee
in 1929. From the beginning, Kamaraj
was the man of the masses. He spoke
in simple and direct language. He had
a sound common sense and practical
Indian National Movement
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Ramalingam Pillai. In his songs he
praised the Gandhian methods in
the struggle for freedom. He sang
that “a war is coming without
knife and blood”. This highlighted
the Gandhian principle of nonviolent struggle against the
Quit India Movement
 Quit India movement was
launched in places like North
Arcot, Madurai and Coimbatore.
 There was police firing at
Rajapalayam, Karaikudi and
 Besides, Subhash Bose„s INA had
many men and women soldiers
from Tamil Nadu.
 Finally, when India attained
independence on 15th August,
1947 the Madras Government
under O.P.RamaswamiReddiar
passed a resolution appreciating
the Indian Independence Act.
The Justice Party Rule
 The Justice Party rule in the
Madras Presidency constitutes
an important chapter in the
history of South India.
 The ideology and objectives of
the Justice Party had been
unique and somewhat different
from those of the Congress
 The Justice Party represented
the Non-Brahmin Movement
and engineered a social
revolution against the
domination of Brahmins in the
sphere of public services and
Birth of the Justice Party
 Various factors had contributed
to the formation of the Justice
Party, which represented the
Non-Brahmin Movement.
 The social dominance of the
Brahmins was the main cause for
the emergence of the NonBrahmin Movement.
 Their high proportion in the Civil
Service, educational institutions
and also their predominance in
the Madras Legislative Council
caused a great worry among the
non- Brahmins.
 The Brahmins had also
monopolized the Press.
 The rediscovery of the greatness
of the Tamil language and
Indian National Movement
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literature also provided a
stimulus to the non-Brahmins.
 Particularly, the publication of
the book entitled A Comparative
Grammar of the Dravidian or
South Indian Family of
Languages by Rev.Robert
Caldwell in 1856 gave birth to
the Dravidian concept.
 Later the ancient Tamil
literature had been rediscovered
and printed by various Tamil
scholars including
C.V.Damodaram Pillai and
 V.Kanakasabhai Pillai in his
famous historical work, The
Tamils 1800 Years Ago pointed
out that Tamils had attained a
high degree of civilization before
the Advent of the Aryans.
 This led to the growth of
Dravidian feelings among the
 These factors collectively
contributed to the birth of the
Non-Brahmin Movement and
the Justice Party.
 The precursor of the Justice
Party was the Madras United
League which was renamed as
the Madras Dravidian
Association in November 1912.
 Dr.C.NatesaMudaliar played a
significant role in nurturing this
 In 1916 the South Indian Liberal
Federation was formed for the
purpose of ‗promoting the
political interests of nonBrahmin caste Hindus„.
 The leaders who stood behind
the formation of this
organization were
Dr.T.M.Nair, P.Ramarayaninger
(Raja of Panagal) and
 The South Indian Liberal
Federation published an English
newspaper called Justice and
hence this organization came to
be called the Justice Party.
 The other news paper which
supported the Justice Party was
Dravidan (in Tamil).
 Besides, the Justice Party
organized a series of public
meetings, conferences, lectures
Indian National Movement
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to popularise Non-Brahmin
 Similarly, the Justice Party
formed District Associations, the
Non-Brahmin Youth League.
Justice Party Rule
 The Justice Party came to power
following the election of 1920
held according to the MontagueChelmsford Reforms.
 The Justice Party captured sixty
three out of ninety eight elected
seats in the Madras Legislative
 As Pitti Theagaraya Chetti
declined to lead the ministry,
A.Subbarayalu Reddiar formed
the ministry.
 In the election of 1923 it fought
against the Swarajya Party.
 The Justice Party again won the
majority and the ministry was
formed by Raja of Panagal.
 In the election of 1926 a divided
Justice Party faced the
opposition of a united Congress.
 Therefore, an independent,
A.Subbarayan with the help of
the Swarajya Party formed the
 In 1930 when the next election
was held the Justice Party won
the majority and formed a
ministry with B.
 Muniswami Naidu as the leader.
 In 1932 Raja of Bobbili replaced
him as Prime Minister of the
 In 1934 Raja of Bobbili formed
his second ministry, which
continued in power until the
election of 1937.
 Achievements of the Justice
 The Justice Party remained in
power for a period of thirteen
 Its administration was noted for
social justice and social reform.
 Justice rule gave adequate
representation to non-Brahman
communities in the public
 It improved the status of
depressed classes through
education reforms.
Justice Party introduced
following reforms in the field of
Education :
1. Free and compulsory education
Indian National Movement
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was introduced for the first time
in Madras.
2. Nearly 3000 fisher boys and
fisher girls were offered free
special instruction by the
Department of Fisheries.
3. Midday Meals was given at
selected corporation schools in
4. The Madras Elementary
Education Act was amended in
1934 and in 1935 to improve
elementary education.
5. The Education of girls received
encouragement during the
Justice rule in Madras.
6. Education of the Depressed
Classes was entrusted with
Labour Department.
7. Encouragement was given to
Ayurveda, Siddha and Unani
medical education.
The government took over the
power of appointing district
munsiffs out of the control of the
High Court.
 The Communal G.O.s
(Government Orders) of 1921
and 1922 provided for the
reservation of appointments in
local bodies and educational
institutions for non-Brahmin
communities in increased
 The Staff Selection Board,
created by the Panagal Ministry
in 1924, was made the Public
Service Commission in 1929.
 It was the first of its kind in
 The women were granted the
right to vote on the same basis as
was given to men.
 The Hindu Religious
Endowment Act of 1921, enacted
by the Panagal Ministry, tried to
eliminate corruption in the
management of temples.
 Justice Party Government
introduced economic reforms.
 To assist the growth of industries
State Aid to Industries Act, 1922
was passed.
 This led to the establishment of
new industries such as : sugar
factories, engineering works,
tanneries, aluminum factories,
cement factories and oil milling
so on.
 This act provided credits to
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industries, allotted land and
 This proved favourable for
industrial progress.
 Similarly, Justice Party
Government introduced schemes
for rural development to help
agrarian population, public
health schemes to prevent
 To improve village economy
village road scheme was
 In the city of Madras the Town
Improvement Committee of the
Madras Corporation introduced
Slum Clearance and Housing
 As a social welfare measures the
Justice Party Government gave
waste lands in village to
Depressed Classes.
 The devadasi system, a disgrace
to women, was abolished.
 The Justice administration
reorganized the working of the
University of Madras.
 During the administration of
Justice Party, the Andhra
University was established in
1926 and Annamalai University
in 1929.End of Justice Party Rule
 The Government of India Act of
1935 provided for provincial
autonomy and the electoral
victory meant the assumption of
a major responsibility in the
administration of the province.
 K.V.Reddi Naidu led the Justice
Party, while C.
 Rajagopalachari led the Congress
in the South.In the election of
1937, the Congress captured 152
out of 215 seats in the Legislative
Assembly and 26 out of 46 in the
Legislative Council.
 In July 1937 the Congress
formed its ministry under
 Thus, the rule of Justice Party
which introduced important
social legislations came to an
 In 1944 the Justice party
conference was held in Salem.
 There Peraringar Anna passed a
resolution thereby the name of
justice party was changed as
Dravidar Kalagam.

History & Culture of India
Tamil Nadu played a remarkable part
in the struggle for freedom in India. The
great leaders like Puli thevar, Kattabomman,
Maruthu brothers, Velu Thambi played
major role in the revolt. They were all noted
for their patriotism, courage, self respect and
sacrifice. During the British rule, the great
leaders, poets and the social reformers like
G.Subramania Iyer, V.O.chidambaram Pillai,
Subramanya Baharathi, C.Rajagopalachari,
Periyar E.V.Ramasamy, Thiruppur Kumaran,
K.Kamaraj and many others had contributed
a lot towards the success of our freedom
V.O.Chidambaram Pillai
V. O. Chidambaram Pillai is
remembered by the Tamils as
Sekkilutta Semmal, Kappalotiya
Tamizhan. He was born in
Ottapidaram on September 5,
1872. He started his career as a
lawyer at Tirunelveli.
He encouraged the formation of Trade
Guilds and Worker’s Association. He was the
founder of the Swadesi Dharma Sanga Weaving
Association and Swadesi Co-operative Stores
at Tuticorin and Colombo. The Partition of
Bengal in 1905 had drawn him into politics.
He organized Coral mill Strike in the town
near the sea shore that resulted in the increase
of workers’ wages and reduction of working
hours. In 1907, he attended the Congress
sessions held at Surat; where the Congress
split into Moderates and Extremists. He
followed the millitant leader Bala Gangadhar
Tilak and preached his philosophy. Charged
with sedition, he was sentenced to forty years
of imprisonment. His right leg was chained
and he was used as a bullock in pulling the oil
press (chekku).
Subramaniya Siva
Subramaniya Siva was born
in Vathalagdundu in Dindugal
district. He was afreedom fighter
and a creative writer. He was
arrested many times between
1908 and 1922 for his antiimperialist activities. While
serving his last prison term, he was affected by
leprosy and was ordered to be shifted to Salem
jail. When Siva was unable to walk due to the
severity of disease, the British Government
enacted a law for Siva, stating that leprosy
patient should not travel by rail. As a result of
this, Subramaniya Siva travelled the whole
length of Madras province on foot though his
Freedom Fighters in Tamil Nadu
History & Culture of India
whole body was covered with sores. Then he
eventually died of the disease on 23rd July
Subramanya Bharathiyar
Subramanya Bharathi was
born on Dec. 11, 1882 at
Ettayapuram in Tirunelveli
District. He worked as Tamil
Teacher in 1904 at Madurai.
He also served as Assistant
Editor of Swadeshimithran
in 1904. In 1907 , he became the editor of the
Tamil weekly ‘India’. At the same time he also
edited the Enlish newspaper ‘Bala
In Madras, in 1908, he organized a huge
public meeting to celebrate ‘Swaraj Day’
His poems ‘Vande Matharam’, ‘Achamillai,
Achamillai’, ‘Enthaiyum, Thayum’ Jaya
Bharatham were printed and distributed free
to Tamil people.
In 1908, he gave evidence in the case which
had been instituted by the British agains
‘Kappalotiya Thamizhan’, V.O.Chidambaram
Pillai. Hence, British ordered to arrest
Bharathi. Faced with the prospect of arrest,
Bharathi escaped to Pondicherry which was
under the French rule. From there he edited
and published the dailies weekly and monthly.
But the British banned them in India in 1909.
After the World War I, Bharathi entered
British India near Cuddalore in November
1918. He was arrested and released after the
three weeks in custody. Today, more than 90
years later Subramanya Bharathi stands an
undying symbol not only of a vibrant Tamil
nationalism but also of the unity that is
Vanchinathan was under the service of the
State of Travancore. The activities of the
extremists greatly alarmed the British. The
collector, Ashe, shot down and
killed four persons in
Thirunelveli. So Vanchinathan
wanted to take revenge against
the Collector. He secretly went
to Maniyachi Railway Station
and shot dead Ashe on 17th
June 1911, and he himself committed suicide.
A letter was found in his pocket describing
that the act of murder of collector Ashe was the
first rehearsal to assassinate King George V
who was expected to Madras.
Thiruppur Kumaran
Thiruppur Kumaran was born
on 1904, in Chennaimalai,
Erode District in Tamilnadu.
He was a great holding the flag
of the Indian Nationalists.
Kumaran is revered as a martyr
in Tamil Nadu, as is known by
the epithet Kodi Kaththa Kumaran. The
government has erected his statue in a park
near the railway station in Thiruppur.
Satyamurti was a politician and
patriot. He was the political
mentor of K.Kamaraj.
Rajagopalachari nominated
Satyamurti to succeed him as
the President of the Indian
National Congress in Tamil Nadu in 1930. He
served as Mayor of Madras in 1939, leading a
campaign to restore public education, improved
water supply and improve the life of the citizens.
History & Culture of India
S.Satyamurti was born in Tirumayyam,
Madras presidency on August 19, 1887. He
started practising as an advocate prior to
his initiation in the National Movement. He
plunged into politics at an early age and
eventually emerging as one of the foremost
protest the Montagu-Chelmsford reforms and
the Rowlatt Act.
When Satyamurti became the Mayor of
Madras in 1939, the city was in the grip of an
acute water scarcity and it was left to him to
impress upon the British Governor for building
Reservoir in poondi about 50 kms west of the
city to augment the water supply position.
The reservoir was commissioned by Kamaraj
and named it as Satayamurti Sahar. To honour
this great man, the Headquarters of the Tamil
Nadu Congress Committee was named after
him as, Satyamurti Bhavan.
He participated in the Swadeshi Movement
and Quit India Movement and imprisoned
for several times. He was a highly regarded
politician of rare abilities, who had dedicated
his life to bring freedom and justice to the
people. He passed away on 28th March 1943.
National Congress and
participated in the Calcutta
session in 1906. He became the
staunch follower of Gandhiji.
He participated in the Surat
session in 1907. In 1930, he broke
the salt laws at Vedaranyam.
He started his March to Vedaranyam from
Thiruchirapalli with hundreds of volunteers
to break salt laws. He won the 1937 provincial
elections and became the Chief Minister of
Madras Presidency. During his administration
he introduced Prohibition, passed several laws
to uplift Adi Dravidar and other depressed
classes. He also made Hindi as compulsory
subject but it was opposed by Periyar EVR.
He resigned his Chief Ministership in 1939
in protest against the use of Indian men and
materials in the Second World war by the
British Government without their consent.
He became the first Indian Governor
General of free India. In 1952 he formed the
ministry in Tamilnadu. During that time
ministry he introduced ‘Kula Kalvi Thittam’.
But it was opposed by Kamaraj and Periyar
EVR and at last Rajaji resigned from Chief
Ministership in 1954. Later he resigned form
Congress and founded Swatandra party in
1959. Rajaji wrote many books. He wrote
Sakkravarthi Thirumagal, Vyassar Virundu
and commentaries on Gita and Upanisad.
In 1955, he was awarded ‘Bharat Ratna’. He
died on Dec 25, 1972. He was often referred as
‘Chanakya’ for his diplomatic skills.
Kamaraj was born on July
15th 1903 at Virudupatti now
known as taking part in Vaikam
Sathyagraha in 1924. He
enrolled himself as a full time
worker of the Congress party
in 1929.
When Gandhiji announced Salt Sathyagraha
he participated in the Vedaranyam march
along with C.Rajagopalachari in 1930. He
was arrested and imprisoned for two years in
Alipore jail. As a result of Gandhi Irwin Pact of
1931 he was released.
In 1940, he went to Wardha to meet Gandhiji
to get approval for the list of Sathyagrahis.
History & Culture of India
But he was arrested and sent to Vellore jail.
Because of his active participation in Quit
India Movement in 1942 he was arrested and
sentenced to three years in the Amaravathi
prison. He hoisted the Indian National flag in
Satyamurti’s house in 1947.
He served as the Chief Minister of Tamil
Nadu for nine years and introduced various
welfare measures like opening of new schools,
free education, mid-day meals scheme,
construction of dams and canals to Maker’, as he
made Lal Bahadur Sastri as the Prime minister
of India in 1964 and Mrs. Indira Gandhi in 1966
after the death of Sastri. He died on October
2nd 1975. Kamaraj was famous for his policy
known as ‘K’ Plan. He was affectionately called
by the people as ‘Perum Thalaivar’ means
‘Great Leader’.
Thus Tamil Nadu played a vital role in the
freedom struggle of our Country.
C.N.Annadurai, who was
affectionately called as
‘Peraringnar Anna’ by the
people of Tamil Nadu was born
on 15th September. 1909 at
Kancheepuram. He had his
M.A., in the Pachaiyappa’s
College, Madras. He was the founder of the
“Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam”.
Anna’s inception into politics was through
the Justice Party. The desire to work for social
cause made him to join the Justice Party.
Anna chose the Justice Party to work for the
establishment of a casteless and classless
Anna was a good orator. He was recognised
as one of the foremost speakers of those days.
When Anna joined the Justice Party he had the
privilege of working under the leadership of
Periyar E.V.Ramasamy. The party provided
the right platform for him and so he joined the
self respect movement which was started for
the elimination of social inequalities.
In the Anti-Hindi conference organized
by Periyar at Kanjeewaram Anna quoted that
Hindi could never take the place of Tamil and
make any road in well settled Tamil culture.
In the Salem Conference of 1944, Anna
brought a resolution for changing the name
of Justice Party as Dravidar Kazhagam and
became very close to Periyar. The marriage of
Periyar with Maniammai in 1947 gave severe
blow to the party men. A new party called
Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam was formed on
17th September 1949 Anna and principles of
the Party. He became the General Secretary of
the Party.
In the election of 1967, his Party got victory
and Anna became the Chief Minister of Tamil
Nadu in 1967. He introduced the scheme of 1 kg
rice for Re.1. Due to financial strain he was not
able to promulgate this system all over Tamil
Nadu. He also introduced Tamil Language
Development Scheme.
In 1967, Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu
announced, the first day of Chittirai as Tamil
New Year day. Government under the
leadership of Anna changed the official name
of the state from ‘Madras’ to ‘Tamizhaga
Arasu’ or ‘Tamizhagam’. On 16th April in the
Seretariat in Fort St. George, the Chief Minister
Anna ceremoniously switched on neon light in
the form of State Emblem-a Temple Gopuram,
above the words ‘Tamizhaga Arasu Talaimai
Cheyalagam’. At the same day he announced
History & Culture of India
that the national motto ‘satyameva Jayate’
would hence for the appear as ‘Vaimaye
Vellum’ and that Sanskrit forms of address
Sri/Srimathi/Kumari would replace the Tamil
forms of Thiru/Thirumathi/Selvi.
He was conferred Doctorate by Annamalai
University in 1968. He passed away on 3rd
February 1969.
Contribution of women Leaders for
Social reformation
Reformation refers to eradication of some social
practices which are deep rooted in the society for
to achieve the above not only men but also women
have contributed a lot. Among the women
reformers some of them are worth mentioning.
Dr.Muthulakshmi Reddy
Tamil Nadu was the forerunner
in the transformation of society.
In the great cultured heritage
of Tamil Nadu there are some
black spots often formed and
removed. One such a black spot
was ‘Devadasi’ system. One of the important
leaders who fought vigorously against this
system was Dr.Muthulakshmi Reddy.
Dr.Muthulakshmi Reddy was born on 30th
July, 1886 in Pudukottai. She was the first
woman in India to get a degree in medicine. In
1923 her sister died of cancer. On that day she
took a vow to eradicate cancer. So she started
Cancer Relief Hospital in 1949. The Cancer
Institute at Adyar was started due to her good
She was not only interested in medicine also
in politics and social reforms. She dedicated
herself to the cause for removing the cruel
practice Devadasi system from Tamil Nadu.
She was personally praised by Gandhiji
for her active propaganda against Devadasi
Appreciating her role in the agitation against
Devadasi system she was nominated to the
Tamil Nadu Legislative Council in 1929. She
was Vehemently supported in her efforts by
Thiru.V.Kalyana Sundaranar and Periyar. As a
result the Justice party Government enacted a
law abolishing Devadasi System.
In 1930, she organized All india Women
conference at Pune. She was the President
of Indian Women Association from 1933
to 1947. She also started Avvai Illam and
orphanage the Santhome in Madras. (Now at
Adyar). Dr.Muthulakshmi Reddy, through
her dedicated and entering work proved the
world, hardwork never fails. She passed away
in 1968 at the age of 82.
Many people became famous
not because of wealth, power,
education and status but
because of their dedication. One
such a reformer who proved
that service to the people could
be done through humanity and
goodwill was Dr.S.Dharmambal.
She had the instrict of social service, she
studied Siddha medicine and started a hospital
in Chennai. Later she entered into the public
service Dr.Dharmambal was born at great
interest in implementing widow remarriage,
intercaste marriage and women education.
She had also great interest in the
development of Tamil literature and Tamil
music. She participated in the Hindi agitation
programme and went to jail many times. Till
1940 the Tamil teachers had no due recognition
History & Culture of India
in the society. They were not paid equal
salary like other teachers. So she started an
agitation called ‘Elavu varam’. As a result the
Educational Minister Thiru. Avinasilingam
Chettiar announced equal pay to Tamil teachers
like other teachers.
To make the students improve their
knowledge in Tamil and to score good marks
in Tamil “Chennai Manavar Mandram” was
established. She was the President of this
association for more than 10 years.
Appreciating her service to Tamil language
and literature she was conferred the title “Veera
Tamilannai”. She gave the title “Periyar” to
E.V.Ramasamy Naicker and “Ealisai Mannar”
to M.K.Thiyagaraja Bagavathar.
The great woman who sacrificed and
dedicated her whole life for the Tamil people,
Tamil language and Tamil literature was died
in 1959 at the age of 69.
Moovalur Ramamirdham
Most of the women
revolutionaries of the early
twentieth century dedicated
themselves to the cause of
freedom of our nation. Only a
few revolutionaries alone
fought for the causes of both
freedom and social Moovalur, a village near
Mayiladudurai. Hence she was commonly
known as Moovalur Ramamirdham
She belonged to Isai vellalar caste. In olden
days girls belonging to this particular caste
were sacrificed to temples to do service to God.
Later they were ill-treated and humiliated by
the landlords and zamindars in the name of
On seeing this attrocities and cruelties,
Moovalur Ramamirdham decided to fight for
their emancipation.
She travelled all over the country and spoke
about the miseries of her own girls and won
the support of many leaders.
She joined the Indian National Party and
organized the conference of Isai Vellalar at
Mayiladudurai in 1925. This conference was
attended by many great leaders like Thiru.
Vi.Ka.Periyar. S.Ramanathan and Mayuramani
Chinnaiah Pillai who raised slogans against
the cruel practice of Devadhasis. As a result
the Government passed “Dr.Muthulakshmi
Devadasi Abolition Act”.
Along with the social work she actively
involved in the National Movement. She
inspired women to take part in the National
movement on a large scale. With the continuous
moral support by Rajaji, Periyar and Thiru.
Vi.Ka, she brought awareness against Devadasi
system and national awakening among the
people of Tamilnadu especially on women.
In her memory, the Government of
Tamil Nadu has instituted the “Moovalur
Ramamirtham Ammal Ninaivu Marriage
Assistance scheme”
After seeing her dream become true. She
passed away on 27th June 1962.
The tradition bound Tamil society was still
clinging to the old values. The widows were
still forbidden from participating in auspicious
and social functions, Inspite of the fact that
the Widow Remarriage Act was passed in
1856. The forward and progressive social
policies adopted by the justice Party and the
Self Respect Movement in the 20th century
supported by legislative measures, led to the
History & Culture of India
acceptance of the widow remarriage concept
in Tamil Nadu. The abolition of sati and
the acceptance of an widow remarriage and
the steps to prevent child marriages were
note worthy landmarks in the history of
Caste inequality was another significant
shot coming of the Tamil Society. Temple
Entry Movement could be cited as a suitable
Temples were once the monopoly of the
upper caste where as the low caste people
were denied the right to enter the temple.
Many social reformers like E.V.Ramasamy,
Dr.Muthulakshmi Reddy, Vallalar, Bharathi,
Bharathidasan, Moovalur Ramamirthammal,
Dr.S.Dharmambal fought for the eradication of
these social evils. Thus women also contributed
a lot for the social transformation in Tamil Nadu.
History will into forget their selfless service.
Indian National Movement
India is a vast country with a huge
population. There are differences among the
people with reference to the culture, religion,
language, economic attainments and social
distinctions. In other words the population is
diverse in nature and therefore there cannot
be uniformity about anything. This applies to
the party system also. There are national and
regional parties in this country. In the next
few pages an account of the different political
parties of India is given.
National Parties
The Indian National Congress
The Indian National Congress is the oldest
and a dominant political party. It was founded
on December 28, 1885 by A.O. Hume. The
history of the Congress Party is the history of the
freedom struggle. It began more as a national
movement than as a political party. People
from all quarters rallied under the Congress
Party to realise the common goal of political
independence. It was a truly representative
body of the people. Hence, the British handed
over the country and power to the Congress on
August 15, 1947. Since then the Congress has
been in power for-about-50 years, except for
two short spells, at the centre. Until 1967 it was
in power in almost all the States in India. The
memorable leaders of the Congress Party are
Mahatma Gandhi, Jawaharlal Nehru, Indira
Gandhi, Rajiv Gandhi, C. Rajagopalachari,
K. Kamaraj, P.V. Narasimha Rao and many
others. The Indian National Congress met with
many splits.
The Organisation of the Congress
The present constitution of the congress
party was designed at its Nagpur Session of
1. The highest body in the Congress
hierarchy is the All India Congress
Committee. Its total membership is
about 400. It holds annual and special
sessions of the Congress. It has wide
2. The next body is the congress Working
Committee. Its members are elected in
the All India Congress Committee itself.
This body is like a cabinet. The senior
most congressmen are normally elected
to this body.
3. There is a special body known as the
Parliamentary Board. It consists of
Indian National Movement
six members, including the Congress
4. Below the Congress Working committee
is the Pradesh Congress committee one
each for a state. This body has its own
president and other office bearers.
5. Below the Pradesh Congress Committee
arc the District Congress Committees,
one each for a district. Then there are
committees subordinate to it and
6. The Mandal Congress Committees. Any
person of 18 years or more can become a
primary member of the Congress.
The Communist Party of India (CPI)
The Communist Party is the second oldest
party in India. It was founded in the year 1924.
But soon after its formation, it was banned by
the British Indian Government. Consequently,
most of the Communist workers carried on
their work through the Congress. It remained
an unlawful organisation till 1943 when the
ban on it was removed because the Communist
Party supported the Second World War and
opposed the Quit India Movement of the
Congress in 1942. After independence, the
Communist Party of India consolidated its
position. Ears of corn and sickle is the symbol
of the CPI.
The Communist Party of India (Marxist)
The Communist Party of India was split in
the year 1964. The split was due to the schism
in the Sino-Russian relations. The communist
leaders had held differences of opinion in
their evaluations of the economic and political
situations prevailing in the country. Further,
one group of leaders desired to extend their
support to Nehru’s Government. But the
other group of leaders demanded tough
opposition to the reactionary congress. Theirideological differences reached a stage of no
compromise. Finally, the dissidents held a
separate convention of Ten ally in July 1964.
They got separated from the Dange group.
Leaders like Jyoti Basu, E.M.S. Namboodripad
and others formed a separate party, known as
the Communist Party of India (Marxist).
The organisation, major aims and policies of
the CPI (Marxist) resemble mostly to those of
the CPI. The principles of democracy socialism
and inner party democracy are the bases to the
party’s structure form the Branch upwards the
top. The branch is the living link with masses.
The CPI (Marxist) is convinced that India’s
revolutionary movement must follow its own
line of action. It believes that neither Chinese
nor the Russian model would suit India. The
symbol of the (Marxist) include a hammer,
sickle and star.
Differences in the ideologies of the CPI
and CPI (Marxist)
Besides certain common ideals and
programmes, the CPI and the CPI (Marxist)
have the following ideological differences.
1. The CPI (Marxist) considers that
revolution could be brought about in
India only by the leaders of the working
class. But the CPI holds that social
transformation can be achieved through
close alliance with other democratic
2. CPI (Marxist) believes in dislodging
the existing state and replacing it with
a State of People’s Democracy led by
the working class. The CPI supports
Indian National Movement
the 100 idea of forming a national
democratic front. It does not favour the
dislodging to the existing governmental
system. It holds that in course of time
the reactionary forces will be eliminated
and power may pass into the hands of
the party.
3. The CPI (Marxist) believes that the
ruling classes would never give up
power voluntarily. Hence it wants to
employ force out of necessity. But the
CPI holds faith in peaceful means. Its
aim is to transform the Parliament into
a genuine instrument of people’s will.
Bharatiya Janatha Party (BJP)
The old Bharatiya Jan Sangh is the precursor
of the Bharatiya Janatha Party. The origin of
the Jan Sang is linked with the origin of Hindu
nationalism in the 19th Century. In 1875
Swami Dayanand Saraswati founded the ‘Arya
Samaj’. It created a new spirit among the North
Indian Hindus. It also provided impetus to the
movement of Hindu revivalism. The new ideas
later formed the fundamental tenets of the
Hindu Mahasabha and the Jan Sang. In 1925,
Keshav Hedgewar formed Rashriya Swayam
Sevak Sang (RSS) as a cultural organisalion.
Its aim was to regenerate the Hindu Society.
Shyama Prasad Mukherjee formed the Jan
Sang in the year 1951 However, the Jan Sang
secured support of the members of the Hindu
Maha Sabha and the RSS. From 1952 to 1971
the party made steady progress.
Janata Dal
The Janata Dal was formed in October 1988.
Its notable leaders are V.P. Singh. Ramakrishna
Hegde. S.R. Bommai and Laloo Prasad Yadav.
The Janata Dal is democratic in Character.
Party organisation is similar to the Old
Janata Party. Anybody who believes in the
programmes and policies of the Janata Dal
can become a member of the party. But active
members in the Janata Dal must sign an oath of
loyally to the party. The executive body of the
Janata Dal is the Working Committee. There are
basic units from which the higher Committees
are elected. For any office of the party only an
active member can contest the election. There
are Committees at Block, District, Provincial
and National levels.
Regional Parties
Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam
Regionalism in Tamilnadu began to be felt
since 1916. It was due to the dominance of the
brahmin community in the erstwhile Madras
presidency. They enjoyed several privileges
which were not available to the majority of the
population. It all started with the establishment
of a Dravidian Association by Thiru Natesa
Mudaliar and others in 1912. Subsequently
it was known as the Justice Party. It was
dravidian in its outlook and its objectives.
From this party the Dravida Kazhagam under
the leadership of Periyar Ramaswamy was
founded in 1944. It attracted the eminent leader
Thiru C.N. Annadurai to its fold. Dravida
Kazhagam was a social reform movement and
not a political party. As time passed on and
immediately after independence differences
brokeout between Thiru C.N. Annadurai
and Periyar Thiru E. V. Ramaswamy and the
Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) was
formed by Annadurai on 17th September 1949.
From 1949 to 1957 the DMK served the people
Indian National Movement
only as a social organisation. The DMK had the
aim of establishing a separate Dravidanadu,
comprising the four southern states. But Anna
abandoned this ideology on 23rd October 1963
as then the constitution was amended to bar
separation. This was the turning point in the
history of the DMK. Rising sun is its symbol.
The party was turned into a political party
when it contested in the election for the first
time in 1957. It secured only a few seats in the
elections. However under the able guidance of
Thiru C.N. Annadurai and popular support
this party emerged victorious in the fourth
general election in 1967 to the Tamilnadu State
Assembly and formed government under the
Chief-Ministership of Thiru C.N. Annadurai.
Since then until now the dravidian parties only
win in the elections and form government. The
congress could not come to power. Since then
it has been contesting in all general elections to
the State Assembly as well as to the national
parliament. After the death of Thiru C.N.
Annadurai on 3rd February 1969, Thiru M.
Karunanidhi became its leader. Under his
leadership the party won in assembly elections
and formed the government also.
Emergence of AIADMK
Owing to differences Thiru M. Karunanidhi
as party President expelled Thiru. M.G.
Ramachandran from the primary membership
of the DMK in 1972. Subsequently MGR
launched his own party on 18th October 1972
and named it as Anna Dravida Munnetra
Kazhagam. After some time on 12th September
1976 it was renamed as All India Anna Dravida
Munnetra Kazhagam. MGR declared that his
party will follow the principles and policies
pursued by Thiru C.N. Annadurai. From the
beginning to the present the party is popular
with the people of Tamilnadu. Though MGR
died in December 1987 the party continued to
maintain its strength and support under the
present leadership of Selvi J. Jayalalithaa.
The basic ideology of the AIADMK is
“Annaism”. The essence of Annaism is mainly
the removal of poverty and untouchability. The
other contents of the ideology are self respect,
rationalism, socialism and social service. The
party also believed in achieving its objectives
through participation in elections to the state
legislature and the national parliament.
The first time the AIADMK faced an
election to the state assembly was during May
1973 in Dindigul parliamentary constituency.
It won the by-election by polling 52% of the
total votes polled. The DMK came third after
Congress (O) of Thiru Kamaraj. This election
was probably just an indication of a turning
point in the electoral fortunes of the major
Tamilnadu political parties.
Telugu Desam
It is like the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam
a regional political party which was founded
by Thiru N.T. Rama Rao on 29th March 1982.
Thiru N.T. Rama Rao was a charismatic leader
who had acted in films in different roles.
Particularly he played in cinema as divine
hero. As a result he was demistified and
worshiped by people as God on earth. Soon
this party contested in the elections to the state
assembly and it won in the assembly elections
in 1983, 1985 and 1994. As chief minister he had
served the people of Andhra to help eradicate
Indian National Movement
poverty and raise their living standards. He
was succeeded by his son-in-law Thiru. N.
Chandrababu Naidu in 1995. He took several
steps to make Andhra Pradesh a forward
state. His contribution to the development of
information technology was so great that the
whole of India turned to him for model and
guidance. He and his party extended from
outside support to theGovernment formed at
the centre by Thiru. A,B. Vajpayee belonging
to the National Democratic Alliance which
was unseated from power in the 2004 general
elections to the Lok Sabha. During the same
time elections were also held to the Andhra
Pradesh state assembly in which the Telugu
Desam party was defeated in the election.
Indian National congress emerged victorious
and formed the government in May 2004.
Akali Dal: It is a religious cum political
party. It was formerly led by Master Tara Singh.
This party demanded a Punjabi speaking state
and Punjabi in Gurmukhi script as the official
language of the Punjab state. The Punjabi suba
of the conception of the Akali party came into
existence as a result of the reorganisation of the
state of Punjab into Punjabi-speaking Punjab
and the Hindi speaking state of Haryana in
Like other regional parties of significant
following the Akali Dal also contested in the
elections since 1967. This party in alliance
with such parties like Bharatiya Janata Sangh
or Janata Party or Bharatiya Janata Party
formed governments and guided the destiny
of Punjab.
The demands of the party mainly are
Chandigarh should be handed over to Punjab
and be made as its capital. There should be a
just and honourable agreement between Punjab
and Haryana for the disiribution of the waters
of rivers Ravi and Beas. And justice should be
done to Punjab keeping with the traditional
martial qualities of the Sikhs. There should be
equitable share of strength for the Sikhs in the
Indian army. The other minor demands of the
Akalidal are
1. Amirtsar should be given the same status
as Vatican city (Rome) and declared a
holy city.
2. Permission to carry kirpans by the sikhs
on domestic flights of Indian Airline.
3. Declaration of Punjabi as the second
language in Haryana.
4. Lastly transfer of management of the
Bhakra dam to Punjab.
It should be noted that the Akali politics
was at its peak in the early 1980’s. It upset
many a calculations of the government of India
relating to the governments of Punjab There are
still several unresolved demands of the Sikhs.
The other regional political parties worth
the name for their significant contribution to
their respective areas are, Assam Gana Thantra
Parished in Assam and National Conference in
Kashmir and the Plebiscite Front in Kashmir.
Conclusion: In what has been given above
with reference to national and regional political
parties is just a description of the organisation
and the objectives of those parties only.

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