Happy Independence Day!

As India turns sixty, there’s much to celebrate, most of all our freedom and democracy. For there are many countries across the world where this is still denied. It has, of course, been a long road, and there’s much further to go. But that doesn’t mean we cannot count our blessings in the meantime, while aspiring for more. Chennai contributed in a number of ways to the struggle for independence those many years ago. Many of its people were part of that historic struggle under the leadership of Mahatma Gandhi, and the Indian National Congress. According to the Wikipedia, the Indian National Congress was created in 1885 by a Scotsman, Allan Octavian Hume, and Dadabhai Naoroji and Sir Dinshaw Edulji Wacha, the Indian National Congress became the nation’s leader in the Independence Movement, with over 15 million Indians involved in its organizations and over 70 million participants in its struggle against the British Empire. Interestingly, the 29nth session of the Indian National Congress was held at the historic Doveton House in the Women’s Christian College campus in 1914, well before the struggle for independence gained momentum.

One of those educated in Madras who contributed to the struggle for independence, working closely with Mahatma Gandhi was J C Kumrappa. He was born in Tanjore, educated in Madras and went on to study in London, work in Mumbai, then study further in the US before returning to India to join the freedom struggle. According to the Gandhi Museum, Kumarappa was clear his mind that man is not merely a wealth-producing agent but essentially a member of society with political, social, moral and spiritual responsibilities. With this conviction he lost interest in making money and wrote essays which drew the attention of Mahatma Gandhi, who turned him into a constructive worker. Apparently when Kumarappa started working with Gandhi, Pandit Madan Mohan Malaviya complimented Gandhi for the wonderful training he had given him. In reply to the compliment Gandhi said: “I haven’t trained Kumarappa, he came to me readymade!” I am sure there were many more from Madras who made a difference to those early years of struggle which gave us the independence we enjoy, and celebrate today. It would be great if readers could contribute information on them so that they may be remembered and appreciated for what they did for us.

7 Comments so far

  1. raj (unregistered) on August 15th, 2007 @ 7:57 pm

    David, sorry if I sound cynical and if I am over-reacting , but what purpose is served by unearthing hitherto unsung heroes of Madras? After 60 years, we should take freedom for granted. The time for thanking the stalwarts of the freedom struggle is long over and the last thing we need to do at this stage is try to discover new ones. This is not a sign of ingratitude; it is just a sensible desire not to be grounded in the past. We simply must move on.

    I happened to listen to some songs of Bharathiar on TV today. The genius of that man lay in the fact that he used his poetic licence and talent to break from the tyranny of the ‘past’ and ‘present’ to envision the future. In 1910, he evoked images of what life would be like after we had won our freedom ( which eventually happened 37 years later). I find it an irony that we haven’t outgrown the songs of Bharathiar still, when we ought to be – following his example – dreaming of India becoming a superpower by the year 2025. Rather than start a manhunt for long lost heroes.

  2. Vivek (unregistered) on August 15th, 2007 @ 10:35 pm

    What is the purpose of this so-called freedom when the real freedom fighters are living in huts – still waiting for their pension money, and the politicians are driving in BMW. I think we got independence from British, but will never will get indipendence from corruption, bribery, politicians, racisim, casteism.
    This independence is of NO USE.

  3. tskt tsk (unregistered) on August 15th, 2007 @ 11:12 pm


    get a life. everything u see around you is thanks to your freedom. your job, your well being,the food you eat and your access to the internet. India is far from being utopian, but today in india, it is possible to make it big for those that dare to dream. stop being a crib monkey and have some appreciation. Hope you pay your taxes too.

  4. Vivek (unregistered) on August 16th, 2007 @ 12:19 am

    @ TSK TSK. Dont get personal. I can too. I dont appreciate the India’s current situation and I am saying it here as comments. If are welcome to leave comments based on the topic. If I also commenting personal stuff on the way you comment, it will get dirty. So stop this nonsensical attitude of getting person. However you are FREE to comment in general. You have the Independence. If you dare, comment about MuKa or Allagiru in Public and I accept that you are dare devil.

  5. Hasan Mubarak (unregistered) on August 16th, 2007 @ 4:50 am

    Happy Independence Day, Chennai!

  6. ram (unregistered) on August 16th, 2007 @ 8:14 am

    Happy Indepedance day my foot, what is there to celebrate, India is still a third world country where corruption is rampant and getting worse. Middle class citizens are the ones carrying the weight of India on there back as they are the ones who pay tax. We still have Hindi imposition going on especially in Chennai which is treated differently because no one cares about Hindi here. We are independant from the British but not from Hindi dominating people and politicians.

  7. anonymus coward (unregistered) on August 16th, 2007 @ 8:56 pm


    game on. Keep going

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