V. O. Chidambaram Pillai:
The Prime Minister paid tribute to V. O. Chidambaram Pillai, the legendary freedom fighter on his 150th birth anniversary.
- He was popularly known as Kappalottiya Tamilan (The Tamil Helmsman) and Sekkizuththa Semmal (scholarly gentry who suffered at the oil press).
- Vallinayagam Olaganathan Chidambaram Pillai (VOC) was born 5th September 1872 to an eminent lawyer Olaganathan Pillai and Paramyee Ammai in Ottapidaram, Tirunelveli district of Tamil Nadu.
- By 1906, VOC won the support of merchants and industrialists in Tuticorin and Tirunelveli for the idea of establishing a Swadeshi merchant shipping outfit by the name of the Swadeshi Steam Navigation Company (SSNCo).
- He established many institutions like Swadeshi Prachar Sabha, Dharmasanga Nesavu Salai, National Godown, Madras Agro-Industrial Society Ltd and Desabimana Sangam.
- VOC and Siva were aided in their efforts by a number of Tirunelveli-based lawyers, who formed an organisation called the Swadeshi Sangam, or ‘National Volunteers’.
- The nationalist movement acquired a secondary character with the beginning of the Tuticorin Coral Mills strike (1908).
- Even prior to Gandhiji’s Champaran Satyagraha (1917), VOC took up the cause of the working class in Tamil Nadu, and thus he is a forerunner to Gandhiji in this respect.
- VOC, along with other leaders, resolved to take out a mammoth procession on the morning of 9th March 1908 to celebrate the release of Bipin Chandra Pal from jail and to hoist the flag of Swaraj.