Published on: September 6, 2021


V. O. CHIDAMBARAM PILLAI What is in news : The Prime Minister has remembered freedom fighter V. O. Chidambaram Pillai on his Jayanti.

Limeira About :

  • Full name – Valliappan Olaganathan Chidambaram Pillai
  • Famously called : VOC
  • Birth : 5 September 1872
  • Place : Tirunelveli in modern Tamil Nadu.
  • Entry into politics
    • Happened in 1905
    • Joined the Congress Party after the Bengal partition
    • Follower of Bal Gangadhar Tilak. He was also a great believer in the Swadeshi movement.
  • Establishment of navigation company : In 1906, V.O.C decided to establish an Indian shipping company called the Swadeshi Steam Navigation Company. The company was founded on 16 October 1906, largely due to the efforts of V.O.C with support from his merchant-friends. This was a hit for the British company which began to take reactive steps.
  • Along with a fiery speaker Subramania Siva, V.O.C started the ‘Swadeshi Sangam’.
  • A turning point in V.O.C’s life came with the Tuticorin Coral Mills strike in 1908. The workers at the British-owned mill were unfairly treated. 59% of the workers were aged 14 – 16. They had to work from 5:00 am to 7:00 pm. In February 1908, they decided to go on a strike demanding better pay and a reduction in the number of working hours.
  • Was subject to hard labour in prison and his health suffered a great deal. For instance, he was put in place of an ox and made to draw an oil press in the hot sun. His sentence was reduced and he was released in December 1912.
  • Spent a lot of his energies in setting up labour unions in the state of Madras.
  • Books – Meyyaram, Meyyarivu, Autobiography, commentary on the Thirukkural, compiled works of Tolkappiyam, etc.
  • Died in the Tuticorin office of the Congress Party on 18 November 1936. He was 64.
  • Referred as ‘Kappalottiya Tamilan’ (The Tamil Helmsman).
  • Tuticorn port is named after him