t’s not just an ode to a father, but the painstaking attempt of his son to relive the monumental life of his father steeped in history.
The book Gandhiji, Titusji and The Dandi March , which was released by Chief Minister Oommen Chandy recently, is the fruition of years of effort put in by its author Thomas Titus to throw light on the life of his father Theverthundiyil Titus — one of the four foot soldiers of Mahatma Gandhi from Kerala in the historic Dandi March, the centenary of which is just 15 years from now.
Jailed in Yervada
“He was the only Christian among the 79 satyagrahis who marched from Sabarmati to Dandi village for the salt satyagraha. The British authorities had put him in jail at Yervada, and later shifted to Nasik and Jalali for breaking the salt law,” said Mr. Thomas here.
A dairy specialist, Titusji, as he was popularly known, was asked by Mahatma Gandhi to take charge of the dairy in Sabarmati ashram and run it scientifically. “He stayed in the ashram from 1929 and left by 1934. My father decided to move on after Gandhiji asked him to work under Madeleine Slade (‘Mirabehn’), one among the Mahatma’s chief disciples, to start a cattle farm at Wardha. An expert in dairy development, my father did not want to work under a novice,” Mr. Thomas recalled.
A contributor of articles for various media houses and a graduate from Calcutta University, Mr. Thomas had portrayed the journey of his father right from his early days in Maramon village to the various phases in his life after settling in Bhopal since 1948 in the book.
He is now eagerly waiting to watch the unveiling of the life-size statue of his father along with the other satyagrahis to be installed on a 15-acre land opposite Saifee Villa on Dandi seashore, where Gandhi halted for a night at the end of his Dandi march.
“The statues will be ready by next year. It’s being made as part of the National Dandi March Memorial of the Union government at the IIT Mumbai campus. My father’s statue was created by one Chowki Srinivas of Karim Nagar in Andhra Pradesh,” said Mr. Thomas.
He was the only Christian among the 79 satyagrahis who marched from Sabarmati to Dandi village for the salt satyagraha.