Misty-eyed, she walked five km to the stupa
A sparkling clean tri-coloured stupa, stood tall against a dusking sky, and a mound of salt marked the symbolism of the memory of landmark event that struck at the heart of colonial arrogance.
On Friday evening, as the sky dusked, caparizoned horses, drummers and trumpeters, hordes of fluttering tricolours amid chants of Vande Mataram and a re-enacted march ushered in the eighties anniversary of the Vedaranyam Salt Satyagraha.
But, somewhere on the fringes, a shrivelled old woman in her sixties carried the flag staking claim to the struggle just as others – only that hers was closer to the struggle than most others gathered there.
M. Indrani is the daughter of Marimuthu Thevar - one of the three persons, deputed by Sardar Vedarathinam Pillai to escort Rajaji to circumvent British surveillance on that eventful morning of April 30, 1930, when a fistful of salt was picked up and history was made.
On the eightieth anniversary of the Salt Satyagraha, she stood there misty-eyed wearing her impoverishment on her skin, holding the tricolour, and walking the distance of about 5 kilometres to the Salt Satyagraha stupa at Agasthyampalli.
For this destitute descendant of a satyagrahi, the only means of income is the monthly Rs. 400 pension.
Amid the dominant themes of the march last evening, her presence and her impoverishment struck at the heart of a nation's memory of a struggle long gone by and the blandness of symbolisms.