What are some important contributions from southern India to India’s independence movement?

history : Where-is-South-India-in-the-Indian-independence-struggle-of-the-early-20th-century -balaji

Answer by Balaji Viswanathan:

Every region has contributed greatly to India's freedom movement. To complement the other answers in this page, here are some more southern contributions.

  1. Of the 72 original delegates who formed the Indian National Congress in 1885, 22 of them were from Madras Presidency. In fact, the biggest contribution to the formation of Congress came from Bombay and Madras presidencies in the form of organizations such as Madras Mahajana Sabha and Poona Mahajana Sabha.
  2. The most important freedom movement in pre-Gandhi era was the Indian Home Rule Movement, whose one of the main founders was S. Subramania Iyer. Along with Annie Beasant (who was also based in Madras then) he helped create a strong grassroots organization that was later utilized by the Mahatma. He later gave up his "Sir" title to protest the Jallianwallabagh Massacre.
  3. The leading newspapers of the freedom fighters –  The Hindu  – was started in Madras in 1878 and was a torchbearer for freedom fight. The founders of the paper formed the core of the original Indian National Congress.
  4. While most of the other revolts were political, an Indian dreamt to break the British Steam Navigation Company's monopoly over Indian trade and hurt the British where it really hurts – economy. In 1906 V. O. Chidambaram Pillai started the first Indian-owned shipping company. So threatening it was to the British rule that his ships were seized and he was immediately sentenced to rigorous imprisonment. The trade revolt was decisive and gave others the dream of throwing British owned monopolies and eventually the British.
  5. S. Srinivasa Iyengar established the Madras Swaraj Party that pushed for immediate self-rule for India (while Indian National Congress was still ambivalent) and cornered all the seats in Madras Presidendency.
  6. Subramanya Bharathi – the legendary poet of TN aroused the Tamils for the cause of freedom and made them restless. By the time Mahatma came to the state, it was already ready to push for freedom.
  7. The first 3 recipients of Bharat Ratna were 3 Madras folks – C. Rajagopalachari (the last governor general of India), Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan (one of the greatest philosophers) and C. V. Raman. All the 3 greatly brought pride to the freedom movement (the former two directly and the latter indirectly by spreading scientific knowledge).
  8. On the extremist side there were V. V. S. Aiyar, Subramaniya Siva and Vanchinathan who used acts of "violence" in getting rid of British and the former was exiled to French territory of Pondicherry.
  9. One of the key events in India's Satyagraha movement was the Vaikom Satyagraha in present Kerala. It helped put an end to untouchability and strengthened the moral base of the freedom struggle.

India's freedom is a result of the collective work of people from all regions of India. That is what's so special about our story. From Mahatma in the west to Lajpat Rai in the north to Tagore in the east to Rajaji in the south, people dared to dream and lead. Their contributions created the framework that helped us stay as one nation.

What are some important contributions from southern India to India's independence movement?


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