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Vedaranyam march begins from Tiruchi

Special Correspondent

Atmosphere charged with emotion; volunteers take oath to spread Gandhian values

RELIVING FREEDOM SPIRIT: Senior Congress leader Kumari Ananthan flagging off reenactment of the Vedaranyam salt satyagraha march in Tiruchi on Wednesday. — Photo: M. Moorthy

TIRUCHI: Amidst chants of "Vande Mataram", 125 Congress cadres, including 11 women, on Wednesday began a 17-day reenactment of the historic Vedaranyam salt satyagraha march, which took place under the leadership of the late Rajaji, to commemorate its 75 anniversary here.

The assembled freedom fighters gave equal emphasis to the Vedaranyam march and the Dandi March that was led by Mahatma Gandhi.

A large number of Congress volunteers gathered in front of the Congress leader, T.S.S. Rajan's bungalow in the Junction area on Wednesday morning, from where Rajaji set out the same day in 1930 with 100 Congress cadres , questioning the supremacy of the British regime.

Emotional atmosphere

As the Congress cadres, clad in khadi, wearing badges and Gandhi caps and carrying Congress flags, started gathering near the Vedaranyam Salt Satyagraha Memorial in front of the bungalow, the atmosphere was charged with emotion.

The participants remembered the sacrifices made by the Vedaranyam satyagrahis, who braved the repressive measures of the British Raj throughout the 242-km route.

The senior Congress leader, Kumari Ananthan, who recently participated in the re-enactment of the Dandi March, addressed the gathering and recalled the crucial role the freedom fighters from Tiruchi played in the Independence struggle.

Explaining the importance of the Vedaranyam and Dandi marches, Mr. Ananthan said Gandhiji's political appeal at that time not only shook the British Raj but also took the entire world by storm.

In a voice choked with emotion, he flagged-off the march, reciting the poem composed by Namakkal Kavignar, Ramalinga Adigalar, on the Dandi March: "Kattiyinri Rathaminri Yutham Onru Varuguthu, Sathiyathin Nithiyathai Nambum Yaarum Seruveer."

Another senior Congress leader, A.R. Marimuthu, explained how Gandhiji used satyagraha as a weapon to bring pressure on the alien regime. He recalled the efforts put in by the late Sardar Vedarathinam Pillai, unmindful of repercussions, for the success of the Vedaranyam march.

The Mayor, Sarubala R. Tondaiman, administered an oath to the volunteers, asking them to spread the message of Gandhian principles and values, to shun violence and work for the betterment of backward sections.

The veteran freedom fighter, Ladapuram Guruswamy Naidu; Vedarathinam, grandson of Sardar Vedarathinam Pillai; J.M. Haroon, MP; A.S. Ponnamal, former MLA; Lakshmi Albert, vice-president, Tamil Nadu Congress Committee; G. Jerome Arogyaraj, president, Tiruchi urban district Congress; Pushparaj, former MLA, were present.

Later, Mr. Ananthan and Mr. Marimuthu led the march to Srirangam. After an overnight halt in the temple town, they will march to Grand Anicut tomorrow.

The satyagrahis will reach Vedaranyam on April 29.

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