PM Narendra Modi hails freedom fighter VO Chidambaranar on his 150th birth anniversary

Chennai: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday (September 5) hailed the contributions of freedom fighter V O Chidambaranar on his 150th birth anniversary while Tamil Nadu government observed the day as a state event with Chief Minister M K Stalin and leaders cutting across party lines honouring the state’s icon of the freedom movement.

PM Modi tweeted: “Remembering the visionary V O Chidambaram Pillai on his Jayanti. He made pioneering contributions to our freedom movement. He also envisioned a self-reliant India and made key efforts towards it, especially in the ports and shipping sectors. We are deeply inspired by him.”

Stalin garlanded a decorated portrait of VOC, abutting a statue of the leader and paid floral tributes, followed by state Ministers including M P Saminathan, K N Nehru, MPs and MLAs. Chidambaranar’s life-size statue, which was decked with garlands and flowers for the anniversary is in the Chennai Port premises.

VOC (5 September 1872 – 18 November 1936) is an icon of freedom movement in Tamil Nadu and respected for his sacrifices for the sake of nation.

Stalin released leaflets in Tamil and English on the life and times of the freedom fighter and the first copies were received by Nehru. Union Minister of State for Fisheries L Murugan was among others who recalled the yeoman services of VOC to the nation and paid tributes.

An arterial road, renamed after VOC in Tuticorin was declared open by Minister for Social Welfare P Geetha Jeevan, along with party MP Kanimozhi and they also garlanded a statue of the leader in the southern port city. Fisheries Minister Anitha Radhakrishnan visited VOC’s memorial at Ottapidaram in southern Tamil Nadu and paid floral tributes.

Telangana Governor Tamilisai Soundararajan was among others who visited the freedom fighter’s memorial at Ottapidaram and paid homage. Participating in an event to honour the leader, Soundararajan paid rich tributes and underscored his contribution to India’s freedom movement including his Swadeshi Steam Navigation Company initiatives.

BJP Tamil Nadu unit chief K Annamalai, who paid floral tributes at VOC Manimandapam in Tuticorin, tweeted “V O Chidambaram Pillai born on Sep 5, 1872 in Ottapidaaram, Thoothukudi, fondly called as VOC is a freedom fighter of the highest order.”

Annamalai said VOC was a famous lawyer and writer during his hey days. “He sacrificed everything at one go and started a shipping company Swadeshi Steam Company to take on the British monopoly in shipping. United our workers against the unjust trade practices of Britishers. The British government arrested him and made him to do merciless hard labour in Coimbatore prison. He sacrificed everything for our freedom & for our nation.”

Dravidar Kazhagam chief K Veeramani garlanded a statue of VOC in Tiruchirappalli. To honour V O C, Stalin had on Friday announced a 14-point programme which includes refurbishing his memorials and instituting an award in the leader’s name as a mark of respect to his contributions -by working in various spheres including shipping- to the freedom movement.

(With agency inputs)

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