Sunday, August 15, 2010

Revolutionary Freedom Fighters from South India

Many Indian history books forget to mention the contributions made by South Indian Revolutionary Freedom Fighters. When we read any history book about Indians who fought the British, we see only the names of Bhagat Singh, Sukhdev Thapar, Shiv Ram Hari Rajguru, Subash Chandra Bose, and a few others from North India.

There is a long list of South Indian revolutionaries who fought the British. I will mention a few of them here.

Vanchinathan (1886 to 1911)

Vanchinathan was born in Shenkottai, Tamilnadu. He obtained his masters degree from Thiruvananthapuram. As a youth, he participated in the freedom movement of India. He could not tolerate the atrocities committed by the British. He wanted to take revenge on them. On June 17, 1911, he assassinated Ashe, the District Collector of Tirunelveli. He shot Ashe at point blank range when Ashe’s train stopped at the Maniychi Junction on the way to Madras. The British response was brutal. He committed suicide to avoid capture by the British.

Tiruppur Kumaran (1904 to 1932)

Kumaran was a revolutionary who participated in the Indian freedom movement. He was born in Erode district of Tamilnadu. One day he participated in a freedom march in Tiruppur. He was holding the Congress flag. The police ordered him to drop the flag on the floor. Kumaran refused. The police beat him to death in the street in front of hundreds of people. Finally he died unable to withstand the beatings from the police. His body fell down on the street. His hand was still holding the flag high.

Alluri Sita Rama Raju (1897 to 1924)

Alluri Sita Rama Raju still remains an inspiring model of people who fought oppression. He led the Ramba Rebellion. Raju raided many police stations in and around Chintapalli and killed many British officers. Despite having fewer weapon and men, he exacted tremendous damage to the British. The British campaign to arrest him lasted more than one year. He was finally captured in the forests of Chintapalli. He was tied to a tree and short dead with a rifle. British were proud of their justice system but followed the law of the jungle.

Rani Channamma and Sangolli Royanna

Rani Channamma, the Queen of Kittur, refused a surrender offer by the British and instead attacked the enemy surrounding her fort. The Queen and her small army put up a heroic fight but was eventually defeated. She was imprisoned.

Sangolli Royanna, an employee of Kittur State, gathered a considerable band and carried forward the fight. He was later overpowered, arrested, and hanged in 1830.

Pazhassi Raja (1753 to 1805)

Pazhassi Raja was known as the Lion of Kerala. He was a prince from the royal dynasty of Pazhassi Kottayam. Pazhassi Raja resisted British imperialism from 1793 onwards till his death in 1805. He fought two wars to resist English intervention in domestic affairs of his kingdom. On November 30, 1805, the Raja and his assistants were camping near the stream named Mavila. Raja and party were caught by surprise and an intense but short fight followed. Six rebels were killed. One of the earliest rebels to be killed was Pazhassi Raja.

Captain Lakshmi (Born October 24, 1914)

Captain Lakshmi participated in the Indian Independence Movement. She is a doctor by profession. At the end of World War II, she joined Indian National Army, an armed force formed by Subash Chandra Bose. Captain Lakshmi served as the Commander of the Rani of Jhansi Regiment of the INA. She was also a Minister in Subash Chandra Bose’s Azad Hind Government. She was taken as a prisoner in Burma. (Even though she became a Lt.Col., at the time of her arrest she was a Captain. Therefore, this title for her became popular.)

On this Independence Day, let us salute these revolutionary freedom fighters.


  1. That was a good attempt at chronicling the South Indian revolutionaries. As you say, books highlight the deeds of the fighters from the North whereas the contributions of those from the South are a mere footnote. But to be fair, it cannot be denied that the hub of the Indian freedom struggle was in the North and East. South was comparatively more peaceful.
    A timely post indeed.

  2. That was nice one.. thanks for sharing!!

  3. Thanks for sharing these SG. I didn't know about a few fighters listed here...very informative.

  4. Thanks for your comments Latha. I am glad you liked this post. The historians never mentioned anything about the freedom fighters from the southern part of India.

  5. Thanks for your comments Swatantra. I am glad you liked this post. And, Happy Birthday to you.

  6. Thanks for your comments Titaxy. I am glad you found this post informative.

  7. There were countless freedom fighters who gave their lives for the freedom of our country..history often forgets to mention them, but today our Indeoendence becomes all the more precious when we think of such brave hearts...thanks for bringing them to light through your post SG!
    A very happy Independence day to you!!!

  8. *********--,_
    ,--;_/*******HAPPY INDEPENDENCE*_/*****.|*,/
    \__************** DAY **********'|****_/**_/*

    Very nice and interesting post.

  9. Very informative. An apt post on independence day.

  10. Thanks for your comments Sana. You are right. They are such a brave hearts.

  11. Thanks for your comments Babli. I am impressed. You are very talented.

    Happy Independence Day to you Babli.

  12. Thanks for your comments Kiran. I am glad you liked this post.

    Kiran, please tell me where is the Smokehouse Deli is located in Delhi. Or, is it in Gurgaon? We want to go there next time we visit India.

  13. That was an informative post. I never knew 'Vanchi' Maniyachi was part of our history. I have crossed that village several times en route to Kerala.

    V.O. C's name also comes to my mind along with these Freedom Fighters from S. India.

  14. Thanks for sharing ! sometimes I also had the same thought but never sought the info.

  15. Thanks for your commentts Chitra. I just included a few names only. I know VOC, Kattabomman, Subramaniya Siva, Tippu Sultan and others deserve to be included in this list.

  16. Thanks for your comments Samvedna. I am glad you liked this post.

  17. Coming from New Delhi, I had no clue about these except the last one. I beleive I read about her from your blog too.

    As usual excellent post with loads of accurate information

  18. Thanks for your comments A. I am glad you found this post informative.

    Historians in India have a mental block. They always think India is only North, West, and East. Even political leaders upto the 70s thought like that. Just one example. For a long time Air India 747 fleets never had any name from South India. All industries were established only in North, West, and East. Therefore, some political parties in South created a movement to secede South India from the Indian Union and establish a separate country. And then the leaders in North woke up.

  19. SG,

    It is very different now. Several states in the south India are doing far better than Northern states. For example Kerala has highest literacy rate, Bangalore, Hyderabad and Chennai are IT centers.

    Traditionally people from Southern states were considered to be type who study a lot and make good administrators. Now of course, we know people from south make very good business man.

    On the flip side, in Delhi we always considered people from Southern states to be very honest...but with latest controversies involving Satyam and another one involving movie actress Ranjitha...the image is bit tarnished.

  20. Thanks for your comments A. I said South was ignored until the 80s. I agree with you. Since 80s, South has improved a lot. Hey, South also want to be part of everything. So we have our own Ramalinga Raju, Ranjitha, and Karunanidhi family. We are proud of them. ha ha ha.

  21. To be frank, even I didn't know about most of them. Pazhassi Raja I had heard of recently b'cos of the much hyped Mallu movie. Great post!

  22. Hey SG, good one..
    But, we must admit the fact that most(90%) of the contributions for the freedom movement came from Punjab, Bengal, Maharashtra and Gujarat..We really don't know of any south Indian freedom fighter who sacrificed his life of our motherland.

  23. anonymous u never heard because nobody told. I even hate the history books. they dont tell much about south. its only teaches about the north.

  24. As a North Indian, I feel really ashamed that I didn't read much about the Southern freedom fighters. Please accept my apologies and try to understand that the Northerners know that if the exceptional Harrappan civilization hadn't been developed by the Dravidians, maybe India would not have one of the oldest and the greatest cultures. I am really ashamed and want to assure you that the common Northerner looks with too much of respect to his southern brothers. We are one and the Southern revolutionaries have given an equal contribution to our freedom struggle as much as the North, East and West.

  25. It was very informative but I still think that southern India's contribution to the freedom struggle is quite insignificant compared to the northern part.Most of these freedom fighters that you have listed have also not done anything worth talking about.But I think that Tipu Sultan really was great therefore he has been mentioned.