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Gandhians in Jolarpet, Arcot tell tales of freedom struggle

Freedom fighter S. Loganathan with his family members at his house in Arcot town on Monday. 

Freedom fighter S. Loganathan with his family members at his house in Arcot town on Monday. 

A few days after his arrest for participating in the Quit India movement near the main bazaar in Arcot near Ranipet, S. Loganathan, a young Gandhian, spent sleepless nights in a poorly-lit cell at the Central Prison in what was then Madras.

He was served insect-infested ragi gruel as his meal, once a day, and the same was served to his co-agitators, too. The ordeal ended six months later, when he was released, only to join another agitation in his native place, Arcot. Fast forward to the present, and Mr. Loganathan is bed-ridden at his wooden-roofed house on Tholkappiyar Street in Arcot. His hearing aid is of no help. Two sets of trimmed spectacles help him communicate as others write in a piece of paper. His great grandchildren help him in every way.

“Once you get caught after an agitation, they [the British police] pursue you till the end of your life. We hid in hillocks for months, surviving with whatever we were able to get. It’s a dark life,” says Loganathan, a father of three.

Freedom fighter E.V. Narayanaswamy with his wife N. Nachiammal at their house in Yelagiri village near Tirupattur. 

Freedom fighter E.V. Narayanaswamy with his wife N. Nachiammal at their house in Yelagiri village near Tirupattur. 

K. Sundara Mudaliyar, his father, was a well-known leather merchant in the neighbourhood. He was the second son among his six siblings, but the only child to take part in the freedom movement along with his father. It was his father’s active role in local agitations during the salt satyagraha (1930) and individual satyagraha a decade later in 1941 that drew Mr. Loganathan to the freedom movement. Since then, he has been actively involved in every agitation in Arcot and Walajah towns.

“As we were very young then, we acted as messengers to key local leaders in passing crucial information like the arrival of prominent leaders and the meetings between them. For the British, every native was a suspect,” he says. Miles away, E.V. Narayanaswamy sits under his thatched house on the foothills of Jawadhu in Yelagiri village near Tirupattur. Despite his age (99), he is alert and active. He, too, was jailed at the Central Prison in Madras due to a lack of space in the local prison.

Like Mr. Loganathan, he also participated in the Quit India movement and fought for freedom before joining the Indian Railways after independence. “Not everyone in our village joined the freedom movement due to fear of reprisals by the British,” he says.


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Printable version | Oct 2, 2022 4:20:22 pm | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/chennai/gandhians-in-jolarpet-arcot-tell-tales-of-freedom-struggle/article65772079.ece