Freedom fighter Ekambaram was first Councillor of Mylapore

Chennai: If we look back at the history of freedom struggle in the city, the neighbourhood holds a significant place in it as it was here that many prominent leaders resided and contributed much to attain the freedom of the nation.

Ekambaram, a Congressman, who was also the first councillor of the locality, lived during the same time and worked in tandem with the leaders, participated in the Quit India Movement and after Independence, contributed much to the development of the locality as a councillor.

Ahead of Independence Day, News Today met Dr E Murali, resident of Alwarpet, who is the grandson of Ekambaram to know more about his grandfather.

“My grandfather lived in Alwarpet and worked in the Theosophical Society press and worked under Annie Besant. When it was decided to close the press there, Annie Besant asked my grandfather to take all the machinery and he relocated near Madras Law Journal press at that time, which was in Sanskrit College. He specialised in law books binding and prominent advocates like K Suryanarayana Adiga, S Srinivasa Iyengar, Alladi Krishnaswamy, CR Pattabhiraman lived in the locality and they were regular visitors to the press. All these people were associated with the freedom movement and my grandfather developed a strong rapport with them and associated himself with the freedom movement,” recalls Murali.

He also says that CR Pattabhiraman, former Union Minister in Nehru’s Cabinet and son of CP Ramaswamy, was his grandfather’s childhood friend and both of them were involved in the Quit India Movement.

“During the movement, the Indian lawyers were boycotting the High Court and at that time both of them took many pamphlets with anti-British slogans along with them, boarded a tram and went near the gate of the High Court and threw all the pamphlets, shouting slogans. They were immediately chased by the horse-mounted police and beaten badly with rubber lathi. This incident was told to my father by CR Pattabhiraman just one month before his death, with him saying, ‘When I was being beaten badly, Ekambaram fell over me and took all the beatings.’ He even showed a permanent scar from that incident,” he says.

“They, however, escaped from the police and boarded a lorry and went all the way to Pondicherry to go into hiding. Meanwhile, arrest warrant was issued by the police. But soon, the Quit India agitation became big and they returned back and participated in the agitation,” he adds.

After independence, Ekambaram became the first unopposed Councillor of Mylapore and served two terms in office. Murali says that the way his grandfather lived still inspires him to do something towards the locality.

Aaditya Anand M