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Friday, September 4, 2015

This day 76 years ago ! - Nethaji visited and stayed in Chennai

This day – 76 years ago ! ~ something great happened in our land of Thiruvallikkeni.

Give Me Blood! I Promise You Freedom!!   The British are engaged in a worldwide struggle and in the course of this struggle they have suffered defeat after defeat on so many fronts. The enemy having been thus considerably weakened, our fight for liberty has become very much easier than it was five years ago. Such a rare and God-given opportunity comes once in a century. That is why we have sworn to fully utilise this opportunity for liberating our motherland from the British yoke.  The first phase of our campaign is over. Our victorious troops, fighting side by side with Nipponese troops, have pushed back the enemy and are now fighting bravely on the sacred soil of our dear motherland.

~ excerpts of speech addressed at a rally of Indians in Burma, July 4, 1944 – the very famous words of one of the greatest sons of this soil - Subhas Chandra Bose,  very popularly known as Nethaji (lit. "Respected Leader"). 

There is little connection of this Great Person to Chennai and in particular Triplicane, associated with many freedom fighters including SubrahmanyaBharathi, Sathyamurthi and more.  Long ago, the famous road – Pycrofts Road was renamed BarathiyarSalai.  The road winds from Presidency College / Marina Ground, Triplicane Bus stand, Victoria Hostel, Gosha Hospital, many Book publishing shops (and platform shops selling old priceless books in evening), Ratna Café, Zambazaar, Amir Mahal, an ancient house once visited by NethajiSubash Chandra Bose and more… about some decades ago, it had some famous photo studios – Chandrika, Vanitha, Pandian ….and cloth shops like Popular Swadeshi Stores (sadly it longer exists as is Murali Café)

Triplicane existed hundreds of years ago – in those days when native villages were contiguous – Triplicane was a famous territory  over which the British had no dominion for long.  In 1600s, Triplicane was a separate village. After about a century, British found Triplicane to be a good area for settlement and a large number of people moved there.   I had posted in Aug 2011, of the landmarks of Triplicane and house where Nethaji had stayed in Sept 3,4,5 of 1939 and again 2 days in Jan 1940 :

Today’s The Hindu has this interesting report and here it is reproduced in its entirety :

September 3 is regarded as an important day in the history of the city. It was on this day in the year 1939 that legendary freedom fighter NetajiSubhas Chandra Bose visited the Madras Presidency for the first time.On invitation from PasumponMuthuramalingaThevar, the then leader of the All India Forward Bloc, to amass support for the party, Bose went to Madurai. He came to Madras en route. He reportedly stayed for three days at ‘Gandhi Peak’ on Bharathi Salai, Triplicane.

“Bose arrived by train at Madras Central. He was received by his supporters, and lawyer and freedom fighter S. SrinivasaIyengar and PasumponMuthuramalingaThevar. He was taken in an open jeep to the ‘Peak,’ the palatial house of civil engineer S.P. AiyaswamiMudaliar, followed by a mammoth crowd of supporters,” S.P. Dhananjaya, the grandson of Mudaliar, said.Earlier, S. Satyamurti, eminent freedom fighter, had issued a directive to Congressmen to boycott Bose, as he had a difference of opinion with Mahatma Gandhi. Mudaliar agreed to accommodate Bose at his home at the request of zamindar of Puliyur, Janakiram Pillai. He stayed in a room on the third floor.

In those days, the house was called as ‘Mani-adikura Veedu’ (the house where the bell rings). The front portion of the house had a gong, which used to strike hourly for the benefit of residents around the ‘Peak.’ Once the hourly striking of the gong disturbed Bose’s meditation. He objected to this practice. Mudaliar refused to oblige Bose, saying the routine practices of the house could not be changed.

On the evening of September 3, Bose addressed a public meeting on the Marina. The meeting drew a crowd of more than a thousand people. The news of the Second World War had reached Madras. Bose announced the invasion of Poland by Germany and subsequent declarations of war on Germany by U.K..On September 5, 1939, he left for Madurai. During his three-day stay, people thronged in large numbers to get a glimpse of the charismatic leader, and were jostling for space in front of the ‘Peak.’ Banners welcoming the ‘Lion of Bengal’ were put up on each floor of the home.

The spacious home was illuminated like a palace, he noted. An autographed photograph of Bose dated September 5, 1939, a prized possession, remains with the family.The ‘Gandhi Peak’ saw yet another visit by Bose on January 10 and 11, 1940.The proof for this is recorded in an account notebook maintained by his grandmother Dhanammal, wife of Mudaliar.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
4th Sept. 2015.

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