TamilNadu Personalities and their Contributions in the Indian National Movement



TamilNadu Personalities and their Contributions in the

Indian National Movement


V.O. Chidambaram Pillai was a lawyer by profession and he joined the nationalist movement in 1905. He was a follower of Bal Ganghadar Tilak. After the Surat split in 1907, V.O.C. and fellow nationalists started the Chennai Jana Sangam. 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 Chekkilutta Chemmal.


V.O. Chidambaram Pillai
(Also as, Chekkilutta Chemmal, Kappalottiya Tamilan)
Year Events
5th Sep, 1872 1. Born, at Ottapidaram,Tirunelveli

2. Lawyer, in Tirunelveli

3. Encouraged, to formation of:

  • Trade Guilds
  • Workers Associations

4. Founder of:

  • Swadeshi Dharma Sanga Weaving Association
  • Swadeshi Co-operative Stores
1905 Partition of Bengal – Drew him, into Politics

Follower of Tilak

1906 Swadeshi Steam Navigation Company in Tuticorin.

From, Tuticorin to Colombo(Sri Lanka)

1907 Surat Split, he was attended on that INC Session

After Split, followed Extremism.

Feb, 1908 Organised, Coral Mill Strike(in Tuticorin)

Result of Strike :-

  • Increased, Worker’s Wage
  • Reduced, Working Hours


Mar, 1908 Tirunelveli Uprisings:-

  • 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
  • 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 Chekkilutta Chemmal.



Subramania Bharathi was a non-conformist, unorthodox and a revolutionary in social and political ideas. He edited the Tamil Weekly India .He wrote nationalist songs called the Swadesa Geethangal. In May 1907 Bharathi brought Bipin Chandra Pal one of the leaders of extremists in the Congress to Madras city.


Subramaniya Bharathiyar
Year Events
11th Dec, 1882 Born at Ettayapuram(Tuticorin)

His Poems:

  • Vande Matharam
  • Achamillai Achamillai
  • Enthaiyum Thayum Jaya Bharatham
1904 Worked as Tamil Teacher(Madurai)
1904 Served as, Assistant Editor of Swadeshimitran
April, 1907 Editor of:-

  • India(Tamil Weekly)
  • Bala Bharatham(English Newspaper)
May, 1907 Brought Bipan Chandra Pa, to Madras City
1907 Participated in Surat Split

Demanded, Swaraj

1909 Gave, Evidence against British in the case of V.O.C


So, British ordered to arrest him.


Escaped to Puducherry(Here, he Publishes his works)


Puducherry publishes banned in 1909

Nov, 1918 After World War II, he entered British india, near Cuddalore.


Arrested and Released after 3 weeks


End of life – Poverty and Hardship


Rejoined, as Editor of swadeshimitran

11th Sep, 1921 Died

















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.


C. Rajagopalachari became the TNCC president in April 1930. 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 28 April 1930. Two days later Rajagopalachari was arrested for breaking the salt laws. Some of the other important leaders who participated in the Vedaranyam Salt Satyagraha were T.S.S. Rajan, Mrs. Lakshmipathi Sardar Vedaratnam Pillai, C. Swaminatha Chetty and K. Santhanam.

Later, in 1937 when elections were held in accordance with the 1935 Act, Congress won the elections and formed the ministry in Madras headed by C. Rajagopalachari. There were nine other ministers in his cabinet. The ministry was in power from July 1937 to October 1939. The ministry had resigned along with other Congress ministries in the different provinces over the issue of the Indian involvement in the Second World War.


C. Raja Gopala Chari
(Also as Rajaji, Chanakya)
Year Events
10th Dec, 1878 Born at Thorappalli(krishnagiri)

Lawyer in Salem.

His Books:

  • Sakkravarthi Thirumagal
  • Vyassar Virundu
  • Commentaries on Gita/Upanishads


1906, Calcutta Participated and Joined in INC

Follower of Gandhiji

1907 Participated, Surat Split
1930 Led, Salt Satyagraha(Tirchy To Tanjavur)

And Broke salt law at Vedaranyam

1937 Cheif Minister of Madras Presidency

  • Prohibit, alcohol
  • Passed several laws to uplift Adi Dravidar & other depressed class people
  • Hindi, made compulsory subject (E.V.R,opposed)
1939 Resigned, from Chief Minister Post
1947 1st Indian Governor General of Free India
1952 Formed, Ministry.Became C.M

Introduced, Kula Kalvi Thittam(Opposed by Kamaraja, E.V.R)

1954 Resigned, from C.M

Later, resigned from Congress

1955 Awarded, Bharat Ratna
1959 Formed, New Party, as “Swatandra Party”
25th Dec, 1972 Died











At that time E. V. Ramaswami Naicker was the President of the Tamil Nadu Congress Committee. C. Rajagopalachari stressed that the council boycott was a central part of the Gandhian Programme. However, this view was not shared by Kasturi Ranga Iyengar, Srinivasa Iyengar, Varadarajulu Naidu and Vijayaraghavachari. 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.


E.V.Ramasamy Naicker
(Also as, Periyar, E.V.R)
Year Events
17th Sep, 1879 Born in Erode

Married at 13th age —- Renounced, 19th age

Kasi Visit:

  • Brahmins, ill – treated Non-Brahmins

Seramandevi School:

Gurukulam Style Run School, founded by V.V.S.iyer’s


He noticed, segregation of Non-Brahmins Students from Brahmins(such as water, food)


Protested against this and resigned from Madras Congress Secretaryship.

Why left Congress ?

At Kanchipuram State Congress.


Moved Resolution, for reservation in Government Services to Non-Brahmins.


Not allowed to pass —— So, he resigned.

1919 Joined, Congress
1921 Anti-Liquor Campaign, 1000 Coconut trees cutted.
1923 President of TNCC. Joined in NCM.
1924 Vaikom Satyagraha(in kerala):

People of Downtrodden, prohibited to enter temple.


Finally, Travancore Government allowed them


Called him, as Vaikom Hero

1920 – 1925 Stressed congress to accept communal Representation
1925 Started, Self Respect Movement
1938 Periyar Title, given by Women Conference
27th june, 1970 Socrates of Asia, announced by UNESCO











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 wisdom. He was fully aware of the rural Tamil Nadu. He visited each and every village and understood the different problems of the masses. He always identified himself with the common man of Tamil Nadu. Thus, he really brought the Congress movement to the villages in Tamil Nadu,


K. Kamarajar
(Also as, Perum Thalaivar)
Year Events
15th July, 1903 Born at Virudupatti(Virudhu Nagar)
1924 Entered Freedom Struggle, during Vaikom Satyagraha
1930 Participated in Vedaranyam March

Of this, arrested and imprisoned for 2 years in Alipore Jail

After Gandhi – Irwin Pact, he was released.

1940 Went to wardha(To meet gandhiji, and to get approval for the list of Satyagrahi’s)

Arrested and Jailed in Vellore Jail

1942 Quit India Movement:

Sentenced to 3 Years, to Amaravathi Prison

1947 Hoisted, Indian National Flag in Satyamurthi House
Served 9 Years as, C.M

His Administration:

  • Opening of New Schools
  • Free Education
  • Mid – Day – Meals
  • New dams/canals, constructed
  • New industries, Built
1964 & 1966 King Maker of India(Made Two P.M’s for India):

  • Lal Bahadur Shastri(1964)
  • Mrs. Indira Gandhi(1966)
2nd Oct, 1975 Died


Tiruppur Kumaran who led the flag march was fatally beaten. Since he guarded the national flag in
his hands he was called Kodi Kaththa Kumaran. Commemorating his sacrifice the Goverment of India
issued a postal stamp in his honour.


Similarly, the National Movement was encouraged by songs composed by Namakkal Kavinjar 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 non-violent struggle against the British.

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