Important Personalities From South India

Contributions of south India were no less than other parts of the British colony. As southern India also went through the same rise of education and political thoughts about independence, people from this region, overwhelmingly participated in the freedom struggle through different means. Following are some important personalities who participated and contributed to India’s freedom.

C. Rajagopalachari (1879-1972)

  • He was a politician and lawyer from Tamil Nadu.
  • He gave up his practice during NCM.
  • General Secretary of INC from 1921-1922 and was a member of Congress Working Committee from 1922 to 1924.
  • He hoisted the CDM in Tamil Nadu and was arrested for leading a Salt March from Trichinopoly to Vedaranniyam on the Tanjore coast.
  • He was elected as Chief Minister of Madras in the 1937 Elections.
  • He resigned from INC in 1942 for not accepting the Cripps Proposal.
  • He prepared the CR Formula for Congress-League Co-operation.
  • He served as the Governor of Bengal (August-November 1947) and was the first and last Indian Governor-General of India (1948-50).
  • He became the Minister of Home Affairs in the country’s first Cabinet.
  • He founded the Swatantra Party in 1959.
  • His rational ideas are reflected in the collection Satyameva Jayate.
  • He was awarded the ‘Bharat Ratna’ in 1954.

Sarojini Naidu (1879-1949)

  • Popularly known as the “Nightingale of India”, was a nationalist and poetess from Uttar Pradesh.
  • She married Dr Govindarajulu Naidu in 1893.
  • Under the guidance of Gopal Krishna Gokhale, she became the first woman to participate in India’s struggle for independence.
  • She participated in the Dandi March with Gandhiji and presided over the Kanpur Session of Congress in 1925.
  • She was the first woman to become the Governor of Uttar Pradesh State.
  • Her famous poetries include – The Golden Threshold (1905), The Feather of the Dawn; The Bird of Time (1912) and The Broken Wing (1917).

Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan (1888-1975)

  • An educationalist from Tamil Nadu. He was associated with many educational institutions in India.
  • Served as the Vice-Chancellor of Andhra University (1931) and Banaras Hindu University (1942).
  • Gave lectures on theology and philosophy at the universities of Chicago, Manchester, London and Oxford, among others.
  • Leader of the Indian delegation to UNESCO from 1946-50, its chairman in 1948 and President of UNESCO’s University Education Commission in 1952.
  • Appointed as Vice-President of International PEN.
  • In 1962, he represented Calcutta University at the Congress of Philosophy at Harvard University.
  • He was twice elected as the Vice-President of India (1952-56 and 1957-62) and served as the President of the nation from 1962 to 1967.
  • His birthday (5th September) is celebrated as ‘Teacher’s Day’.
  • His works include — The Ethics of the Vedanta and its Material Presupposition (1908); The Philosophy of Rabindranath Tagore (1918): Idealistic view of Life (1932); Eastern Religion and Western Thought: Indian Philosophy and Kalki on the Future of Civilization.

PIngali Venkayya

  • Designer of the National Flag, he was a devout follower of Mahatma Gandhi.
  • After he designed National Flag, it was first modified and adopted as Congress Flag and then again modified to be the national flag of India.
  • An authority in education, geology & agriculture.

Tanguturi Prakasam

  • He was a politician and a freedom fighter and was the first Chief Minister of the Madras Presidency.
  • He was also the Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh.
  • He was an established lawyer but gave up practising law as he was drawn toward the freedom movement.
  • He was also known for his brave confrontation with the British Police during the 1928 protests against the Simon Commission.

Veerapandiya Kattabomman

  • A brave Poligar chieftain in Tamil Nadu in the 18th century, he waged a war against the Britishers 60 years before when the Indian War of Independence started in the Northern part of India.
  • He was captured and hanged in 1799.
  • Veerapandiya Kattabomma Karuthayya Nayakkar was a courageous 18th-century Palayakarrar (‘Poligar’) chieftain from Panchalankurichi of Tamil Nadu, India who refused to accept the sovereignty of the British East India Company.

Puli Thevar

  • One of the earliest opponents of British rule in South India.
  • Involved in a vendetta with Nawab of Arcot who was supported by the British. Thevar’s prominent exploits were his confrontations with Marudhanayagam, who later rebelled against the British in late 1750s and early 1760s. Nelkatumseval was headquarters of Puli Thevar, the first chieftain in India to resist the British. 

Maruthu Pandiyar brothers

  • Periya Maruthu & Chinna Maruthu ruled Sivagangai, Tamil Nadu during the last part of the 18th century and were the first to proclaim independence from the British rule from Trichy Thiruvarangam Temple, Tamil Nadu on June 10, 1801 — 56 years before the North Indian rebellion – Sepoy mutiny of 1857.
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