Chennai: “We have numerous unsung heroes in the country’s deep South. It is unfair to write history without etching their struggles for independence,” began the former Municipal Commissioner of Pallavaram, DS Sivasamy, in a freewheeling chat with ‘News Today’, a day after I-Day.
A resident of Pallavaram, in the city suburb,Sivasamy recollects,“I was only eight years old when our country got freedom. My family was residing at Melur in Madurai then.”
The civil servant vaguely remembers khadi-clad men who were seen raising slogans against Mohammad Jinnah in the light of partition along the streets.
“My father, DS Somasundaram, took a great interest in the freedom struggle. I had spoken with renowned fighter Kakkan who was close to us. My immediate relatives joined Subash Chandra Bose’s Indian National Army (INA) and actively took part in the struggle,” he says.
Pointing out that that the list of forgotten heroes is huge from Velu Nachiar to Maruthupandian and Velu Thampi to Kooli Thevar, he says,”It is misunderstood that the 1857 sepoy mutiny is the first war of independence. We had similar struggles in Vellore before it.”
He also states that freedom fighter Muthuramalinga Devar had inspired many, especially those from the Southern districts of Ramanathapuram and Madurai, to join INA.
So what does he think of I-Day celebrations celebrated nowadays?
“The public feel that the day is all about hoisting the National flag. It is also disappointing that we still have not understood the ideologies of our great leaders who strived to get us freedom, as social issues like untouchability are still rampant. We need to create an egalitarian society,” he opines.