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Thursday, January 28, 2010


Dear (s)

At some point of time, you sure would have admired the pristine beauty of Marina beach – the sandy shore than runs from Fort St George to Besant Nagar. This beach has a long history. This was conceived in 1884 and christened by Mountstuart Elphinstone Grant-Duff, the then governor of Madras.

The beach was famed for its beauty, ambience and rich eco system but stands a lot polluted though a part of it has been beautified by successive Governments. Crowds throng the beach on holidays and in summer to enjoy the cool sea breeze.  On the road side, many stone statues, some of them installed during the Tamil World Conference adorn the area. Poets Kambar, Ilango, Avvaiyar, Thiruvallur, Bharathiyar, Barathidasan stand amidst Kannagi, Gandhiji, Kamarajar, Nethaji Subash Chandrabose, Annie Besant, Swami Vivekananda, actor Sivaji Ganesan along side the triumph of Labour.

It took great efforts on the part of an individual – a freedom fighter – a long drawn legal process to have the prestige regained for a place of monumental historic importance.

This is all about a Writ Petition filed under Article 226 of The Constitution of India praying to issue a Writ Mandamus filed by Freedom Fighter PN Srinivasan, Founder Trustee of Gandhi Darshan Kendra om the High Court of Judicature at Madras numbered WP 4609 of 2009 and MP 1 of 2008.  This writ petition was a Public Interest Litigation filed and the Honble Mrs Justice Prabha Sridevan & Mr Sathyanarayanan passed an order on 11/9/2009 directing the Govt. to install the plaque opposite the Presidency College near the historic place known as "Tilak Ghat" or "Thilagar Kattam".

“The historical significance of "Thilak Ghat” was well explained in the affidavit where the Tamil National poet Mahakavi Subramania Bharathi sang three National patriotic song to enthrall the audience of about more than 5000 people. This happened at Tilak Ghat at Triplicane. The silver bed of Marina Beach at Madras was the venue where the great national leaders like Balagangadhara Thilakar, Lala Lajpath Rai, Bipin Chandran Paul, Mahathma Gandhi, Subash Chandrabose, C.R. Doss, Mahakavi Bharathi, V.O. Chidambaram Pillai and others made their clarion call to the people of the land to raise against the British rules. In 1908, Subramania Siva, a core patriotic and friend of Subramania Bharathi have named this part of the Beach in Triplicane opposite to Presidency College as Tilak Ghat. The Government of Tamil Nadu has issued notification in the 40th Year of Independence in that, a special mention about the Thilakar Ghat has been made. Whenever Mahathma Gandhi visited Madras, he used to address big patriotic meeting at Tilakar Ghat. In 1919, March 18th and 20th, he delivered two speeches on his Sathiyagraha plans against British Government’s Rowlat Bill. Both the meetings were presided over by Shri S. Kasthuri Iyengar, Editor of the Hindu and Shri Vijayaraghavan, a leading lawyer. Due to Gandhiji’s ill health, his speeches were read by Mahadev Desai on both these occasions. In the same year, Gandhiji was invited to address a public meeting at "Thilakar Kattam" organised by Madras Sathiyagraha Sabha. During 1920, on August 12th, Mahathma Gandhi spoke on non−cooperation movement at the same venue, i.e., Tilakar Ghat opposite to Presidency College. The popular traveler and author Mr. A.K. Chettiar (1911−1983) Editor of Tamil Magazine "Kumari Malar", wrote several articles with the caption "Under the foot step of Gandhi Annal", where he has written about the meeting that had taken place at Thilakar Kattam. Tilakar Ghat is a place where great leaders have addressed meetings to attain independence. This place has a very great significance in our freedom struggle with a heritage value.”

The petitioner wanted this place to be declared a national monument and that monument to be erected at the same place so that the future generation would understand the sacrifices made by the forefathers for the freedom of the Nation. It was contended that it was at this very place in March 1819 Mahadev Desai read out the sterling message from Mahatma Gandhi calling upon the people to make sacrifices and made two promises, one of which related to the withdrawal of the Rowlatt Bill.

In 1987, on the occasion of the 40th Anniversary of India’s Independence, the Government of Tamil Nadu issued a Gazette Notification under the heading of "Tilak Ghat".

The Government has indicated that it, "is striving to bring back the lost glory and beauty of Marina Beach and has taken a policy decision in this regard, to maintain the entire stretch of the beach without any structure or construction. Relentlessly this Gandhian has been knocking the doors of Court and in 2004 had filed a writ on which the Court directed the Chief Secretary of the State to dispose of the representation of the petitioner.

When no construction would be allowed to come up, the petitioner submitted for erection of a plaque visible to all.  The Govt. after careful consideration decided to declare the stretch of sands in front of Presidency college be declared as "Tilak Ghat" or "Thilagar Kattam", and to commemorate the 26th January 2010, the 60th anniversary of Republic by putting plaque at that place (in English & Tamil)

It is very gratifying to note that this has been complied and this plaque now adorns Marina.

All of us need to appreciate the untiring efforts of Gandhian PN Srinivasan and the decision of the State Govt.


With regards – S Sampath kumar.

Here are photos showing the installed plaque in English and Tamil


  1. VEERAGHAVACHELLAPPAMay 1, 2010 at 12:05 PM

    The reporting of NATIONAL importance relating to Freedom Movement is highly appreciable.
    I am nephew of GANGHIAN ang FREEdom fighter
    N S VARADACHARI , Triplcane MLA for 10 years
    took leading part in VEDARANYAM salt
    was A Paliment SECRETARY in in RAJAJi MINISTRY
    in 1937 Yet he/ was not honoured By
    STATE and CENTRAL GOVTS In spite of Petitions by his Family members. WHILE all others participated in SALT SATYA graha was honoured.
    Kindly take up this in your Forum and GANDIAN

  2. To know more about Tilak Ghat visit (English)


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