V. O. Chidambaram Pillai

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    In News

    • Recently, the PM hails freedom fighter V O Chidambaram Pillai on his birth anniversary.

    About V. O. Chidambaram Pillai

    • Early Life:
      • V. O. Chidambaram Pillai was born on September 5, 1872 in the town of Ottapidaram in Tuticorin district of Tamil Nadu.
    • Career in Politics:
      • V. O. Chidambaram Pillai entered into active politics in the year 1905 by becoming a member of the Indian National Congress. 
      • The Swadeshi movement in India was already at its hilt during this time and leaders like Lala Lajpat Rai and Bal Gangadhar Tilak were trying their best to put an end to British Imperial coercion of trade. 
    • Shipping Company:
      • He was given the title of ‘Kappalottiya Tamilan’, or the Tamil Helmsman; or one who drives the ship and shows the direction.
      • After joining the Indian National Congress, V. O. Chidambaram Pillai wholeheartedly immersed himself into Swadeshi work to secure independence for India
      • Part of his Swadeshi work was to put an end to the monopoly of British shipping in the coasts of Ceylon. 
      • Inspired by freedom fighter Ramakrishnananda, he set up the Swadeshi Steam Navigation Company on November 12, 1906. 
      • With the help of other Swadeshi members Aurobindo Ghosh and Bal Gangadhar Tilak, V.O.C bought two steamships S. S. Gaelia and S. S. Lawoe to start his shipping company.
    • Nationalistic Spirit:
      • He took the support of workers of Coral Mills in Tirunelveli.
      • He got the support of the press in the country which praised his nationalistic spirit elaborately.
      • During his days in prison, V O Chidambaram Pillai did not receive the treatment shown to other political prisoners; rather he was made to engage in hard labor in prison just like other convicts.
      • The title of barrister was taken away from him, meaning that V.O.C could not practice law anymore.
    • Literary Works:
      • He started his autobiography while in prison and completed it soon after his release in the year 1912.
      • V O Chidambaram Pillai was the author of a couple of novels; he translated several James Allen works in Tamil and made compilations of important Tamil works like the Thirukural and the Tolkappiam. 
    • Death:
      • V O C was never successful in repaying his debts and lived in poverty till the end of his life on November 18, 1936. 
      • V O Chidambaram Pillai breathed his last at the Indian National Congress office in Tuticorin.

    Source: Print