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Photo By Alessandro Caproni

The freedom struggle of India is one of the best examples for non-violent protests across the world. India takes the pride of getting independence without shedding blood in the name of war. The warriors of non-violence united apart from their state, language and religion. On that note, a few notable fighters from south India are worth mentioning.

Thoothukudi is a port city on the southernmost coast of India. It is one of the major trade points of Tamil Nadu connecting various other Indian states and countries across the globe. This place formed a base for many fierce nationalists who fought for India’s freedom from the British rule. They not only sacrificed their wealth, but also sacrificed their lives for the sake of the country. Let us look at the life of VOC – the shipman from Thoothukudi, who set an example for patriotism and sacrifice.

Who is VOC?

VOC is the short name of Valliappan Olaganathan Chidambaram pillai. He is commonly known in Tamil Nadu as Va Vu Si. His native district was named after him, and later it was renamed as Thoothukudi district. VOC lived during the last decades of 19th and first few decades of 20th century. During his life, he fought for the freedom of India and faced numerous struggles because of it.
His battle with the British began with his ship vessel company. He started and owned a shipping company called Swadeshi steam navigation company, which carried passengers from Thoothukudi to Sri Lanka. This is one of the earliest “made in India” investments which created a heavy competition for the British. This earned him the title “Kappalottiya Thamizhan”, which means “a Tamil man who operated ships”. He also participated in various protests and continued to act against British.

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Being a law graduate, he possessed high vocabulary and management skills, along with immense courage. He was jailed due to his actions and forced to do heavy labour works during imprisonment. This earned him the title “sekkizhutha semmal”, which means “a great man who pulled oil producing machinery”.

Thoothukudi and its strength

The southern district of Tamil Nadu, Thoothukudi, is home to various enthusiasts and entrepreneurs. Even now, it still acts as a main trade point for sea borne traders. The port is the city’s strength which buzzled with trades from all over the world since ages.

The proximity to Sri Lanka was one if the main reason the region’s popularity during the previous centuries. The city is also known for its people with good standard education and courage. This is also one of the reasons for the birth of great authors and writers from the district.

Other freedom fighters from Thoothukudi

There are many other notable freedom fighters from the region. Bharathiyar and Kattabomman are a few examples. Bharathiyar or Subramanya Bharathi is the pride of Thoothukudi district. He is a well known poet and freedom fighter who expressed fire in his words. His poems ignited the minds of youth with patriotism. His works still continue to encourage people towards hard work and success.

Another notable person is Kattabomman, otherwise known as Veerapandya Kattabomman. He lived during late 18th century and he was a ruler of Panchalankurichi in Thoothukudi district. He revolted against the British by refusing to pay taxes. His bravery is celebrated among Tamil people and his biography is recorded in the form of a movie acted by Sivaji Ganesan.

There are many other patriots and warriors who sacrificed their life for the sake of India. This does not end here. It is the responsibility of every Indian to rightly use the freedom which was obtained by great pain and struggle.

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