No slander please, they are our freedom fighters first

Context: Writer has called for the due respect that should be given to all the unsung freedom fighters of modern Indian History.

Here is the list of four important freedom fighters that were mentioned in the editorial. 


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  • Born in 1883 at Nashik in Maharashtra.
  • Founded Abhinav Bharat Society (initially as Mitra Mela, 1899) along with brother G D Damodar in 1904. It was a secret society which also had connections with London.  
  • He was involved with India House (founded by Shyamji Krishna Varma in London to promote nationalist ideas among youth).
  • Savarkar went to London in 1906. He soon founded the Free India Society, along with Madam Bhikaji Cama based on the thoughts of the Italian nationalist Giuseppe Mazzini 
  • Functioned as president of Hindu Mahasabha from 1937 to 1943. He called against Quit India Movement.
  • Savarkar was convicted and sentenced to 50-years imprisonment also known as Kala Pani and transported in 1911 to the Cellular Jail in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands. Released in 1924.
  • He later joined Tilak’s Swaraj Party.
  • He advocated for the use of Hindi as a national language. He also fought against untouchability and caste-based discrimination.

Literary works of Savarkar

  • The History of the War of Indian Independence (on revolt of 1857)
  • ‘Hindutva: who is Hindu?’

2. Dr. Chembakaraman Pillai

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  • Born in Thiruvananthapuram in 15 September 1891. 
  • He started his struggle for freedom by protesting the Partition of Bengal in 1905. 
  • He joined with Bala Gangadhara Tilak in his resistance against the Partition of Bengal. When the British police tried to arrest him because of his revolutionary speeches against the Travancore State government, he escaped to Germany in 1908 with the help of his friend Sir Walter Williams Strickland.
  • At Berlin University, he formed International Pro-Indian Committee to gather the support of the German people for India’s freedom struggle.
  • He came in touch with many revolutionary Indian leaders in Germany like Hardayal, Raja Mahendra Pratap, Dr. Prabhakar, and A. C. Nambiar. 
  • He started a newspaper called Pro-India to spread the message of the Indian freedom movement. 
  • He participated in the First World War on the German side to defeat the British.
  • Armed with an engineering degree he joined the German navy as an officer in the cruiser Emden which attacked British ships and shelled several places in India.
  • Madras was shelled on 22 September 1914 after a fierce sea battle with British ships.
  • He met Mahatma Gandhi in South Africa. He was the Foreign Minister when a temporary Free Government of India was established in Afghanistan on 1 December 1915.
  • He met Subhash Chandra Bose in Vienna in 1919. Though he joined in the German army, he criticized even Adolf Hitler, when he humiliated India in his speech. 
  • Dr. Chidambaram Pillai died on 26 May 1934 in Germany under mysterious circumstances.

3. Vanchinathan Iyer

  • Vanchinatha Iyer or Vanchinathan was born in Shenkottai. Vanchinathan alias Sankara Iyer was the son of Shri Raghupathy Iyer. 
  • He had studied upto primary standard and joined the Forest Department thereafter. 
  • He participated in revolutionary activities against the Britsh.
  • On 17 June 1911, Vanchi who was 25, assassinated Robert Ashe, the district collector of Tirunelveli, who was also known as Collector Dorai.
  • He shot Ashe at point-blank range when Ashe’s train had stopped at the Maniyachi Station, enroute to Madras. He committed suicide thereafter. The railway station has since been renamed Vanchi Maniyachi.
  • The mastermind behind the assassination was Nilakanta Brahmachari who went around the Madras presidency in 1910 recruiting cadres and hatching plots against the British. In this venture, he was accompanied by Shankar Krishna Iyer, Vanchinathan’s brother-in-law, who introduced the men to each other. 
  • Along with a few other men, Nilakanta Bramhachari, Vaanchinathan, and Shankar Krishna Aiyar found an organisation called Bharatha Matha Sangam which plots the assassination of influential British men.

4. Thillaiaadi Valliammai

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  • She was a South African Tamil girl who worked with Mahatma Gandhi in her early years when she developed her nonviolent methods in South Africa fighting its apartheid regime.
  • She joined her mother in the march by women from Transvaal to Natal – which was not legally permitted without passes.
  • They were protesting against the judgement given by Justice Searle which made all marriages invalid if not registered under the registrar office or not performed according to the Christian rituals. 
  • She was imprisoned for the protest against the South African government. She was imprisoned for three months, but due to severe illness she died at the age of 16 soon after the release. 

Prelims Practice Question:

Q. Which of the following freedom fighters worked outside India for Indian independence?

1. Thillaiaadi Valliammai

2. Vanchinathan Iyer

3. Dr. Chembakaraman Pillai

4. V D Savarkar

Select the correct answer using the code given below?

(a) 1, 2 and 3 only

(b) 2, 3 and 4 only

(c) 1, 3 and 4 only

(d) 2, 3 and 4 only

Answer: (c)

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