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After independence, the student community encountered some

important events and evils, and took active part in solving them for their own
benefit and for the country’s benefit. In this chapter, Dravidian Movement
and Reorganisation of the Madras Presidency are discussed in detail. Robert
Caldwell coined the term ‘Dravidian’ which means South Indian. The term
Dravidian consists of the languages of Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam, Kanada, Tulu
and Brahi. In this chapter, the Dravidian movement - anti-Brahmin movement,
issues of Communal G.O, struggles to remove Selection Examination, Tamil
Nationalism and anti-Hindi agitation are discussed.


Students and Anti-Brahmin Movement
During the Vedic Age, the Hindu society was divided into four varnas or
classes named as Varnasirama Dharma. The highest class in the hierarchy was
the Brahmins or priests followed by the kshatriyas or warriors; the vaisyas, the
farmers and artisans, constituted the third class. The lowest class in the
hierarchy was the sudras, who were responsible for serving the three higher
groups.1 Among them the Brahmanas had the right to get education. In a
letter, Robert De Nobili the missionary stated on November 22, 1610, about
the Nayaka king’s educational system “There were above 10,000 students at
Madurai: all were Brahmins, because they only had the right to learn high
level arts...”.2

K.Varadharasan quoting from C.J.Bakkar’s research work, gives the

following statistics about the percentage of Brahmin and non-Brahmin students
in schools and college.

C.F. Fuller , The Canephor Flame: Popular Hinduism and Society in India, Princeton
University Press, (Princeton,1992) , p. 70
K.Veeramani, Manavak Kanmanigale ! Dravidar Manavar Kazhagatthil Cheravendum-An?
(Tamil), Dravidar Kazhaga Veliyeedu, (Chennai, 2005), p. 4.
Percentage of Education of Brahmins and Non-Brahmin Students in
Schools and Colleges during 1889 to 1926


Year Total Percentage of Percentage of

Students Brahmins Non- Brahmins
1889-90 68,370 31.2 40.7
1910-11 1,52,413 34.3 42.4
1920-21 1,61,796 37.8 45.1
1925-26 1,76,144 30.8 48.8


Total Percentage of Percentage of

Students Brahmins Non- Brahmins
1889-90 02,688 76.7 12.5
1910-11 03,741 68.5 20.1
1920-21 07,580 64.2 21.9
1925-26 12,258 53.7 32.3
Source: K.Varadarasan, Saathi-Matham-Varkkam(Tamil), Bharathi Puthakalayam,
Chennai, 2007, pp. 52-53.

This shows the dominance of Brahmins in the field of education. Hence

Brahmins entered Government services in large numbers. This was quite unfair
and unjust for the non- Brahmin Tamils of the Presidency. So Justice Party was
started to carry out the struggle.

Formation of Justice Party

The purpose of the Madras United League was to advance non-
Brahmin political power and establish a Dravidian State. It was succeeded
by the South Indian Liberal Federation, commonly known as the Justice Party.3
South Indian Association, South Indian Dravidian Association and South Indian
Peoples Association all joined together and named as Justice Party. Justice was

Patricia Captain, Class & Gender in India, Women and their Organizations in a South
Indian city, Tavistock Publications Ltd., (London, 1985), p . 25.

an English news paper published by the South Indian Liberal Federation which
became the name of the party later.

E.V.Ramasami Naicker became the leader of the atheist movement and

founder of rationalist Self-Respect Movement. He initiated a spark which
would spread like a forest fire in Tamil Nadu. Most of the students fought for
the social discrimination like castism and untouchability.

Non-Brahmin Youth League

A Non- Brahmin Youth League was organized by Ethiraj Surendranath
Arya. He proclaimed that “I have taken up the cross, the shield and the sword for
the cause of Justice Party which stands for liberty, equality, fraternity and
progress of all communities”.4 On January 20, 1929 a Youth Conference was
held under the presidentship of Srinivasa Ayyangar in which the rival groups
composed their differences and agreed to run a United Youth Conference. The
importance of Dravidian movement was discussed in this conference.5 There
were trouble in the colleges and schools in spite of the efforts of the boycotters
to enlist the sympathies of students.6 The League came to be recognized as a
minor counter – revolutionary force after a meeting held in Madras on February
14, 1929, organized by V.T. Arasu.7

Conference of the Non-Brahmin Youth League

The Non-Brahmin Youth League of the province conducted a conference
in Madras. It was the first occasion the non-Brahmin young men from all over
the province were brought together to discuss the various problems that
confronted them and to find a solution for them. Youth is universal. It knows no
differences of creed or caste or sex or religion. And the organizers illustrated this
by their choice of leaders. The great talismanic word of that day is ‘’self-

P.Rajaraman, The Justice Party-A Historical Perspective 1916-37, Poom Puzhil Publizeshers,
(Madras,1988), p. 185.
Fort Nightly Reports, Government of Madras, (Madras, 1.2.1929), p. 1.
Fort Nightly Reports, Government of Madras, (Madras, 4.3.1929), p. 5.
Under Secretary Safe File (Secret), No.774, Government of Madras, Madras, 12.10.1931.

respect’’ which opened the gates of freedom for all, socially and politically.8 All
eyes were turned expectantly on the youth of the nation. The young blood
wanted to dare and do; the youth were inspired by the spirit of adventure. It was
thought that the dynamic energy of the youth could be utilized to the best
advantage of the nation.9 The incident which took place at Cheramadevi
Gurukulam was the outstanding example.

Separate Dining At Cheramadevi Gurukulam

Varadarajulu Naidu was the President of the Tamil Nadu Congress
Committee in 1924. He came to understand that the Brahmin and non-Brahmin
inmates in V.V.Sathyanatha Iyer’s Gurukulam in Cheramadevi were having
separate dining halls. The Congress President regarded this segregation as
contrary to Congress aims of removing untouchability. Therefore,
E.V.Ramasami Naicker and his supporters came out of the Congress
Committee protesting against the Congress stand in this affair and started
Self-Respect Movement in 1925, which is the genesis of the Dravidian
political parties in Tamil Nadu.10 To discuss the Cheramadevi issue, a
Conference was held on November 1925 at Kancheepuram.
C.Rajagopalachariar and T.S.S.Rajan expressed their views that the Tamil Nadu
Congress Committee should not interfere in this issue.

E.V.Ramasami Naicker and Temple Entry Movement, 1927-1929

After the formation of Self-Respect Movement E.V.Ramasami Naicker
organised Temple Entry Movement. Temples are considered as the abodes of
Gods. But certain sections of the Hindu society like the Nadars and other
depressed class people like the Dalits were not permitted to enter the temple
located at Tanjore, Kamudhi, Kalugumalai, Srivilliputhur and Sivakasi, all in
Tamil Nadu. They were considered to be meant for the Brahmanical deities. In

Mirror of the Year, A Collection of Sir. A Ramaswami Mudaliars Editorial in Justice, Dravidar
Khazhagam, (Madras, 1927), p. 327.
Ibid., p. 330.
Gazzetteers of India, Tirunelveli District Gazetter, Vol.I, Government of Madras, (Madras, 2002),
pp. 266- 267.

Tamil Nadu the Nadars were the first people to fight for the cause of
temple entry. In order to attain the temple entry right, they agitated in the
temples at Tanjore, Madurai, Erode, Arupukottai, Kamudhi, Kalugumalai,
Srivilluputtur, Sivakasi, Tirunelveli and Tiruchendur.11 With the rise of
E.V.Ramasami Naicker, a demand was made on behalf of the depressed class
people whom they said were not only entitled to enter the temples but also
could go up to the sanctum sanctorum. In January 1927, some non-
Brahmins made an attempt to enter the Madurai Meenakshiamman temple,
but were prevented. E.V.Ramasami Naicker acting as the Chairman of the
Devaswam Committee of Erode unanimously passed a resolution in favour of
temple entry of all classes of people.12 Students also took part in the temple entry
movement. The temple entry was led by A.Vaidyanatha Iyer who took a batch
of five Dalits to make their first entry into the Meenakshi Temple on July 8,

Dravida Students Association

Students realised the importance of Dravida student association after the
temple entry movement. At Kumbakonam Government Arts College, the Anti-
Brahmin Movement was organized in 1943. At that time “Dual Tumbler
System” was in practice in this college. It was opposed by the students of the
college led by Dhavamani Rajan and Kavinjar Karunanandam (Kudanthai
College students). Dhavamani Rajan became the leader of Dravida students. He
started the Tamil Nadu Dravida Students Association. In 1944 for the first time
he conducted a State Dravida Students Conference on February 19 and 20, 1944
at Vani Vilas Theatre at Kudanthai.14 Dhavamani Rajan and Kavinjar
Karunanandam collected Rs. 200 for expenses.15 Dhavamani Rajan also arranged
an All Dravida Student Movement and made all the students from Tamil Nadu

C.Paramarthalingam, Social Reform Movement, (Madurai,1995), pp.203-206.
Kudi Arasu, Chennai, 2.2.1930.
The Hindu, Chennai, 10.7.2012.
Interview with Dr. M.Renganathan,(close relative of S.Dhavamani Rajan), Madurai, on 24.5.2012.
Kavinjar Karunanandam, Anna Sila Ninaivugal (Tamil), Muvendhar Acchagam, (Chennai, 2005), p.

to meet on one platform. Hence Dhavamani Rajan was praised as “Mother of
Dravida Student Movement”. Students R.Nedunchezhian, K.Anbhazhagan,
Elamvazhuthi, and K.A.Mathiyazhagan attended this Conference from
Annamalai University C.N.Annadurai (former Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu)
spoke to the students. The Kudanthai Conference revealed the hidden student
power to C.N.Annadurai. From this time onwards, Dravida Students Movement
rapidly developed.16 A Dravidian Student Association Conference was held in
Madurai on October 20, 1944. It was attended by 600 students’ representatives
and 1,000 visitors from various colleges affiliated to the University of Madras. A
permanent central student secretariat with Dhavamani Rajan as Secretary was set

Some of the students’ activities for the Dravidian movement were

discussed in the following paragraphs.

In one case, in the community certificate Ganapathi Ramasubaiya wrote

his community as ‘Dravidan’ at the time of his admission in Thirupathur
Corporation High School in June 1947. So the school administration did not
permit him to join. Hence he wrote as ‘non-Brahmin’.18 Students had that much
affection towards this movement.

Before independence, in Harding Hostel managed by the Municipal High

School, Myladuthurai, served food for Brahmin, Non – Brahmin and Harijan
students in three separate dining halls. After the declaration of independence
when the Headmaster announced that there would be inter-dining for all students

Souvenir,Dhavamani Rajan Mani Vizha Malar, Dhavamani Rajan Mani Vizha Committee, 3.4.1981,
E.Sa.Viswanathan, The Political Carieer of E.V.Ramasami Naicker, A Study in the Politics of Tamil
Nadu 1920-1949 , Ravi &Vasanth Publishers, (Madras, 1983), p. 307.
Thoopur Thiruvengadam, Anbhuch Chezhiyan. Ne., Sedhu Era., Manavar Thi. Mu.Ka.
Varalaru, (Tamil), (Student DMK History), Thenpulam Pathippagam, (Chennai, 2004), p. 60.

in one and the same dining hall, Brahmin students protested against this equality
of castes, and withdrew from the hostels to protect their orthodoxy.19

On February 14, 1949, at Thiruvengada Native Language College, there

arose problem among students in the hostel regarding the inter-dining. Among
96 students, 30 were Brahmins and they refused the inter-dining and they did not
sit and eat with other caste students. When the then Education Minister Anantha
Sayanam, visited the place, students reported it to him. He recommended to the
college committee to give money to them. Even though the Education Minister
told the Committee not to issue money to Brahmin students, the committee
ordered to issue 15 Rupees per month to the Brahmin students from July.20
The Dravida Kazhagam turned its attention to erase the word
“Brahmin’’ from the name boards of hotels on May 5, 1957. They were
convicted under section 41 and 71 (XI), City Police Act. The picketing was
finally called off on December 31, 1957.21 E.V.Ramasami Naicker was one of
the important leaders at that time, and his action encouraged the student
community against the Brahmins. E.V.Ramasami Naicker and C.N.Annadurai
were warmly invited by the college students to their colleges to deliver
speeches. Because of their scientific ideas and truthful message, thousands of
students were attracted towards Dravida Kazhagam.22 Through these efforts the
student community strengthen the Dravidian Movement and student’s unity.

Students and Selection Examination (1949)

Students agitated against the Selection Examination in colleges. In the
Selection Examination students were selected for final appearance in the
University Government examination. Detention followed, and this was opposed
by the students. Among 293 students, 17 students were not allowed to write the

Interview with Dr.C.Venkatesan an inmate of the Hardinge Hostel in the 1940 dated 21-08-2013.
Viduthalai, Chennai, 16.2.1949 .
Report of the Administration of the Police of the Madras State, Government of Madras, Madras,
1957, p.86.
Interview with Ela. Pughazhenthi, DMK State Student Wing Secretary , on 19.2.2010, Anna
Arivalayam, Chennai.

exams in Government Mohammadan College, Madras.23 About fifty percent of
the students stayed away from their classes on January 7, 1949 to protest against
the detention of students for the University examinations. Two of those detained,
resorted to a hunger strike but gave it up the next day.

On January 11, 1949 two hundred first year students of Trivandrum

University stayed away from their classes to oppose Selection Examination.
Students of Alwai, Kottayam and Chenganacheri revolted against the system of
exam. The Travancore circar announced in its report that all the precautionary
activities were taken by the Government to run the classes as usual.24 On
January 18, 1949 at the Madras Legislative Assembly, the Education Minister
said that Government did not issue any written or oral instruction to the
Principals to select students for final examination by compulsory selection

Ernakulam St.Albert College students abstained from the Selection

Examination and did not attend the classes. At Nagercoil Scott Christian
College students opposed the Selection Examination and conducted strike
for ten days to support Bandalam College students. The demand of promoting
all junior class students to senior class was ignored by the Principal. They
agitated for the abolition of the Selection Examination. Because of the student
agitation the Government later withdrew the Selection Examination.

In the meantime, a number of student delegates attended the All

India Student’s Conference at Hyderabad .26 They sought remedies for their
grievances. These conferences encourage students to fight for their rights and

Viduthalai, Chennai, 3.1.1949.
Viduthalai, Chennai , 12.1.1949.
Viduthalai., Chennai , 20.1.1949.
Report on the Administration of the police of the Madras State, Government of Madras, Madras,
1953, p. 39.

Indisciplinary Activities of Students
In 1949 the Vice Chancellor of the Annamalai University took
disciplinary action against 32 students of whom 15 were expelled. He also
ordered the postponement of the reopening of the engineering and technology
sections of the university. As trouble was expected at the time of the reopening
of the other sections, orders under section 144 Cr P.C were promulgated and
strong precautionary measures were taken in the University campus.27 The
atmosphere in the Annamalai University came back to normal. A couple of
students attempted to revive trouble but were arrested.28

The New Scheme of the Government of India

The Government tried to remove indiscipline among the students by
introducing new schemes. The posters entitled “students trained for leadership”
received from the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, Government of
India, were distributed to the following institutions: i.e.
• Madras infantry Battalion, NCC, Fort St George,
• Madras infantry Battalion, NCC, Trichy,
• Madras Engineering Centre, NCC , Engineering College, Guindy,
• Madras EME Section, NCC, Engineering College, Guindy,
• Madras Medical College, NCC Madras Medical College, Park Town,
• Annamalai Ind NCC, Annamalai Nagar,
• Madras Signal Section NCC, Annamalai Nagar,
• University of Madras, Chepauk, Madras,
• Annamalai University, Annamalai Nagar,
• and Andhra University, Waltair.

Posters entitled “Students, serve your country” were also distributed to

some of the above mentioned colleges.29 The National Cadet Corps Act was
passed by the National Cadet Corps Committee, which recommended that the
provinces may organize National Cadet Corps, Junior and Senior Divisions. As

Fort Nightly Report , Government of Madras, (Madras, 1949 ), p. 119.
Fort Nightly Report, Government of Madras, (Madras, 1949), p. 145.
G.O.No.3645, Education Department, 25.11.1949.

per the report, the main object of the scheme was to inculcate discipline,
leadership, initiative and loyalty among pupils at an impressionable age so as to
enable them to be prepared and ready for any emergency that may arise in the
country. The training was considered purely as education.30

Dravidian Nationalism and Dravida Nadu for Dravidians

Dravidian Movement believed in principles like the negation of the
Varnasirama Dharma and the caste system, the eradication of the four types of
Varnasirama Dharma and brining about equality, strong emphasis on secular
human understanding, the promotion of the same and the establishment of the
relevant life system.31

Students attended one session of a meeting per week where

E.V.Ramasami Naicker’s vision, and his historical significance were recounted
by lectures.32 In 1940, a Justice Party Conference held at Tiruvarur where the
ideal of sovereign independent Dravidasthan took final shape in Kanjeepuram
Conference. Dravidasthan attracted some attention in the press.33
E.V.Ramasami Naicker unveiled the map of Dravida Nadu comprising the area
where Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam and Kannada were spoken. DK formed by
E.V.Ramasami Naicker in 1944 vigorously propagated the idea of separation.

The valuable speeches of the leaders attracted the students to do

something for the society. During this period, R.Nallakannu, a student studying
B.O.L., came out from his studies and involved himself in social service.34
C.N.Annadurai went to Sivagangai to open the Ramachandrans park. His lecture
attracted 18 years old school student S.S.Thennarasu who dedicated himself to

G.O.NO. 205, Education Department , 2.7.1949.
V.Renuka Devi, Dravidian Movement Its Genesis and Growth, Nakkeeran Pathippagam, (Chennai,
1999), p. 10.
Anthropologic, Vol.45, No.2 , Caladium Anthropology Society, , 2003 , p. 270.
Fort Nightly Report, , Government of Madras, (Madras, 7.12.1944), p. 2
Fort Nightly Report, , Government of Madras, (Madras, 2.4.1948), p. 2.

the society35. The welfare agenda in Tamil Nadu was influenced by
Dravidian ideology as inspired by E.V.Ramasami Naicker in pre-independent

Communal G.O. and Students Role in Reservation

The Communal G.O. of 1912 was a stepping stone to the backward
and non-Brahmin students for their development. The Communal G.O is a
Government Order, by which each community is assigned a specified proportion
of places in the public services and educational institutions. The proportion is
different for each community and is based on its numerical strength, educational
position and economical condition. In 1935, the Nadar Mahajana Sangam
requested the Government of Madras Presidency to include the Nadar in the
list of the Backward Classes so that the concessions might be extended to
Nadar students. ‘This shows that on one side the non-Brahmins started
fighting against the Brahmins and on the other side some were in favour of
Backward Classes because they have to remain in the same category to
receive the privileges and concessions from the Government. Still now it is
continuing36. The Madras Public Service Commission in one of its
notifications in April 1948 stated that Harijan candidates possessing a
minimum of 35 percent marks in the Secondary School Leaving Certificate
Examination (S.S.L.C.) could be considered for employment in the
Government clerical cadre. Provisions were also made for the direct
recruitment of qualified Scheduled Caste candidates to the Madras
Veterinary Services and the Madras Cooperative Subordinate Services.37
Hence other students raised their voice to receive the same privileges.

Souvnier, South Region Dravida Munnettra Kazhagam , p.35
Christopher Jaffrelot, India’s Silent Revolution: the Rise of the Lower Castes in North
C. Hurst of Co.(Publishers) Ltd, (London, 2003), p. 162.
G.O. NO. 974, Public Services Department, 29.4.1948.

Shenbagam Durairajan Case
Soon after the commencement of the Constitution, the Communal
G.O was challenged as violative of its provisions. The number of students
who applied to join in Medical Colleges in the state was 1346. Out of this, the
Government’s selection team interviewed 883 students directly and
selected only 304 students after conducting tests. Based on allotment of seats
in special categories, Government selected 15 students. An appeal was filed in
the Supreme Court of India against the High Court judgement which was
contradictory to the Indian Constitution regarding the admission of
students in Government Engineering Colleges and Medical Colleges. Two
affected parties Shenbagam Durairajan and C.R.Srinivasan filed a case insisting
that Communal G.O. blocked their admission to Guindy Engineering College.
The already existing reservation system of Muthiah Mudaliar was banned
due to the case filed by Shenbagam Durairajan. Strong reactions surfaced
against the judgement of the Madras High Court Bench.38

In Shenbagam Durairajan Vs State of Madras, the allotment of seats

in Medical Colleges, was challenged as violative of Article. 15 (1) and 29
(2) of the Constitution of India 1950. C.R.Srinivasan challenged it with respect
to Engineering Colleges. The Madras High Court held the G.O. void as it was
against the express provisions of Article 24(2) of the Constitution.39

The High Court issued a writ in both cases, holding that the Communal
G.O. as applied to admission to educational institutions was repugnant to
the clauses in the Constitution prohibiting discrimination against any
citizen on grounds only of religion, race, caste, sex or place of birth.
There upon there was a widespread agitation urging the Government to
take suitable measures for the retention of the Communal G.O. Article
16(4) of the Constitution says, ‘nothing in this article shall prevent the

The King’s Rally, Vol. XXVII, No.10, October, 1950, p. 274.
A.K.Rajan, Reservation and Some other Important Issues Under the Constitutions ,
( Chennai, 2009), p. 43

State from making any provision for the reservation of appointments or
seats in favour of any backward class of citizens which in the opinion
of the State was not adequately represented in the services under the State’.
The trouble rather was about the applicability of the G.O. to admission to
educational institutions such as the Medical and Engineering Colleges.40

The Verdict of Supreme Court

The Supreme Court gave its verdict that the Communal G.O. was
against the Constitution Rule 29 (2). So according to Act No .13, it was
ineffective and the appeal of Chennai Government was dismissed. As a
result of this, M.Kumaraswamy Mudaliyar’s resolution was passed in the
Madras Legislative Council demanding a proper system providing equal
chance for all communal groups in Government college admissions and
appointment in Government Offices. Serthalai SNTB Board also demanded
the Government to offer equal justice irrespective of their caste in the
admission of students and appointment of staff in the Thiruvithancore -
Cochin Samasthanam. The injustice done to the marginalized was a great shock
to the Dravidian students. E.V.Ramasami Naicker called an all party meeting
on April 13, 1950 and explained to the participants the history of
Communal G.O., and under what circumstances it was passed as a
Government Order.

Students Demonstration
To oppose the Supreme Court decision the revolt started in the
Pachaiyappa College. Students from Andhra Pradesh, Kerala and Karnataka all
joined with Tamil Nadu students and revolted. Vaniyambadi College, Arts
College, Salem and Virudhunagar College students held processions. Work
stopped at Annamalai University. The Madurai American College students
revolted. Hartal was observed at Kudanthai and Kervai. Trichy and Tirunelveli

The King’s Rally, Vol. XXVII, No.10, October, 1950, p. 272.

colleges were closed. Apart from that, school students from all places raised
their voice in order to practise the Communal G.O.41

Scholarships were granted to the college students on condition that they

should not participate in politics or subversive activities of any kind but
should confine themselves only to their studies, and that if they participate in
politics or subversive activities of any kind their scholarship would be
cancelled. Undertakings to the effect were obtained from the scholarship holders.
Principals of the colleges concerned were also requested to bring to the
notice of the Director, about the names of the scholarship holders whoever

Students Support to Communal G.O.

The Pachaiyappa’s College students, for example Dindivanam
Ramamurthy, Thirumurthy, R.Nedunchezhian and his brother-in-law Subbaiah
Ma.Ki.Dasaradhan, gathered in the Hostel Room No.72 of Nellikuppam V
Krishnamurthy, discussed about the problem and arranged a procession in
favour of reservation allotment according to Communal G.O. They picketed on
August 31, 1950 demanding that the Communal system must exist. The college
remained closed for the whole day. All the colleges in Chennai conducted a big
rally. Virudhunagar Senthil Kumara Nadar College students, Government
Arts College joined together to conduct a meeting strongly condemning the
verdict of the High Court.43

At Salem two thousand and five hundred students organized a big

rally and conducted a meeting in favour of the Communal G.O. In Tanjore
traders and workers supported this. At Chidambaram, around thousand students
of Annamalai University shouted slogans of “Retain Communal G.O.”, “Amend
the Constitution”, “Boycott Classes”. In the University a meeting was organized

Students DMK , op.cit., p.96.
G.O. NO. 292, Education Department, 3.2.1950.
Viduthalai, Chennai, 3.9.1950.

under the leadership of comrade Elanchezhian, a Law College student.44
E.V.Ramasami Naicker convened a Conference of Non-Brahmins in Trichy on
December 3, 1950. It was a massive meeting attended by representatives from
all parties. They unequivocally demanded that the Communal G.O. should be
revived and given effect to it immediately.

Tamil Nadu Reservation Formula

After the reorganisation of states the reservation formula followed in
Tamil Nadu was SC 16 percent, BC 25 percent and OC 59 percent. Article
16(4) of the Indian Constitution enshrines in it the concept of affirmative
discrimination. It states clearly that due to historical reasons certain sections of
our society have been exploited perpetually. In order to place them on an equal
footing and to facilitate their growth and development our constitution provides
certain privileges to them. Parliament in pursuance of this, policy has provided
for reservation in education, jobs etc. Students from many educational
institutions came out from their classes and agitated against the government
activities regarding the Communal G.O. In 1971, Sattanathan Commission
recommended Introduction of "Creamy Layer" and altering reservation
percentage for Backward Classes to 16% and separate reservation of 17% to
Most Backward Classes (MBCs). The DMK Government increased OBC
reservation to 31% and reservation for SC/ST has been increased to 18%. Total
reservation stood at 49%.

Later the DMK Government raised the quota for BC to 31percent. Tamil
Nadu provided 69 percent reservations in jobs and admission for courses
including medical and engineering colleges. The Tamil people regained the
reservation rights as a result of the meeting conducted by Kuthoosi Gurusamy,
Muthaiah Mudaliar, C.N. Annadurai and Chengalvarayan. Now there is a rule
in Indian Constitution (46 Article) in support of caste wise and reservation wise

Vidutalai, Chennai, 5.9.1950

representation. According to that the Government had been able to do good for
the betterment of people who are educationally and economically backward
in the society.

Akil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad and Bharat Sevak Samaj

In the mean time Akil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) was founded
on July 9, 1949 by leading educationists, students and teachers in Delhi.45 It
later took roots in Tamil Nadu also. It was a happy thought of the nation’s
leaders that the idealism of youth should be canalized and directed
towards constructive work lest they should fritter it away through
indiscipline and heedlessness. The Bharat Sevak Samaj was supported
financially by the Central Government.

Program of Universal Primary Education, Caste Based Education

According to C.Rajajgopalachariyar scheme, most non-Brahmin students
would learn such skills as farming, barbering, laundering, shoemaking and other
low-wage skills for half-a-day while most Brahmin students would spend half-a-
day on "white collar skills" leading to higher salary white collar jobs which were
already dominated by Brahmins for years. Non-Brahmin leaders feared that this
would perpetuate the status quo, thus benefiting the Brahmin caste. They called the
new education scheme "caste-based education", in Tamil they called it as kula kalvi
thittam. Most non-Brahmins believed, rightfully so, that “only a full-day education
would bring more non-Brahmins into higher level jobs and uplift their lives”.
Opposition to C.Rajajgopalachariyar’s caste-based education scheme grew. Many
non-Brahmin leaders and organizations opposed it. Both DK and the DMK
opposed this scheme. There was a state wide struggle against the introduction of
caste based education. C.Rajagopalachariyar explained that he brought this new
scheme to train the students in their hereditary occupation.46 The members of
the DMK agitated against the introduction of the new system of elementary

Students and Youth, File No. 83 (1), AICUF, National Document Centre, p. 49.
N.V.Kalaimamani, Thesiya Thalaivar Kamarajarin Vazhkai Varalaru (Tamil) , p. 301.

education.47 Many parents refused to send their children to schools. 48 In villages
students strength decreased. Hence C.Rajagopalachariyar was forced to withdrew
his education scheme.49 Because of this scheme 700 teachers were removed
from service in Primary Schools in Tirunelveli district.50 The Education Minister
C.Subramaniyam legally announced in the Legislative Assembly on May 18, 1954
that, Chennai Circar (Government) decided “to abolish the new Education
Scheme of C.Rajagopalachariyar”. On June 1, 1954 at Andhra Legislative
Assembly P.T.Pattabiram Rao promised that “in the present year
C.Rajajgopalachari’s Varnasirama Education Policy would not be
promulgated”. Later the scheme was removed.51

K.Kamarajar and Changes in Education

On April 13, 1954 when K.Kamarajar became the Chief Minister of
Tamil Nadu, his first task was to abolish C.Rajajgopalachari’s kula kalvi thittam.
The Secondary Education Commission recommended to give new method of
education by understanding the lack of curriculum facilities in education and
recognising the ability and thoughts of students. The Educationists considered
that after secondary education a student should go directly to job. It may
minimise student indiscipline in society.52

After independence, due to economic problems and famine, students did

not go to school and schools were closed. To remove this K.Kamarajar
introduced School Reformative Conferences. The basic needs of the schools
were listed and categorised like Primary, Middle, and High School List; they
were prepared and read out infront of the public and Rs.1,36,000 was collected
from them. On November 22, 1958, a conference was held at Chengalpet. 826
schools participated and 23 lakhs of rupees was collected. With this, educational

Report on the Adminstration of the police of the Madras State, Government of Madras, Madras
1953, p.35.
Fort Nightly Report, Government of Madras, (Madras, 1953), p.11.
Viduthalai, Chennai, 12.3.1954.
Viduthalai, Chennai, 22.3.1954.
Viduthalai, Chennai, 2.6.1954.
Viduthalai, Chennai, 12.3.1954.

plans were completed.53 “C.Rajagopalachariyar closed many schools due to his
Kulakkalvi Plan, where as K.Kamarajar opened educational knowledge and
awareness in every nook and corner of Tamil Nadu”.54 More than that
K.Kamarajar met leaders of the students and advised them not to indulge in any
indisciplinary activities. Like the school started by the Socialists the DK started
a Student’s Training Centre at Mavoor (Tanjore) where 40 students were trained
for party work.. The instruction given was stated to be combined mainly in
oratory and party propaganda.

Tamil Nationalism and anti- Hindi Agitation

Introduction of Hindi in India
The Afghans, Persians, and Turks adopted Khariboli as a common
language of interaction with the local population during the period of Islamic
invasion and the establishment of Muslim rule in the north of India between the
8th and 10th centuries A.D. Hindi and Urdu languages have their origins in
Khariboli. Hindi and Urdu have a common form known as Hindustani.
Historical and cultural processes and the linguistic affinity that exists in Indian
languages led to the emergence of Hindi – Urdu as the lingua franca of major
areas of India. The Indian leaders adopted this as the symbol of national identity
during the struggle for freedom.55

Introduction of English in India

According to J.R.Firth, the British linguist, “The epoch of Akbar,
(Mughal Emperor of India) was the period of the formation of the Hindi
language”.56 But during the British rule, on the recommendations of Lord
Macaulay’s Report on March 7, 1835 the English East India Company

K.Sakthivel , op.cit., pp. 56-58.
Fort Nightly Reports, Government of Madras, (Madras, 1949), p. 2.
Encyclopedia Brittanica, Vol. II., p.579 and The Indian Review, Vol xxxi., (Madras, January 1930),

introduced English language in India.57 By Macaulay’s plan, English was
standardized in administration, courts and education in India. It was imposed in
the name of official language by the British in India.58

Introduction of Hindi in South India

M.K.Gandhi founded the Dakshin Bharath Hindi Prachar Sabha
(institution for the propagation of Hindi in South India) in Madras in 1918 “with
the bold and very ambitious aim of spreading the knowledge of Hindi in the
south”.59 Tamil nationalism took its roots in 1918 when M.K.Gandhi tried
to spread Hindi in Tamil Nadu. The Lahore All-India Students’ Convention
which met on December 30, 1929 passed a resolution on the vernacular as the
medium of instruction everywhere and Hindustani as compulsory second
language, and asked for compulsory military training in Universities.60

The Report of the Hortag Committee [1936] suggested that Indian

languages must be taught in the place of English. It proposed that English
should be taught as an optional subject. The idea of separatism sprang up
with the imposition of Hindi in 1937 which created fear in the minds of
leaders of Tamil Nadu that they would be reduced to a second class
citizenship. On March 26, 1937 addressing the Hindi Sahitya Sammelan at
Madras, M.K.Gandhi asserted that “despite his regard for Bengali, Tamil
and other languages, Hindi, otherwise and later known as Hindustani was
the only common medium”.61 In December 1937 K.A.P.Viswanathan,
T.P.Vedachalam and other leaders convened a Tamil Conference at Trichy.
People belonging to the Congress, the Justice party, the Muslim League,
Christian Associations, Scheduled Caste people and Tamil scholars
attended the conference in large numbers. All people supported the

Pugazhenthi, Muzhipor, Pallavi Pathippagam,( Erode), p. 25.
K. Anandam. Asu., Hindiya? Indiyava(Tamil)., Sivalinga Nurpathippukazhagam, (Erode,1978 ),
p. 16.
Ibid., p. iii.
The Indian Review, Vol xxxi., January 1930, p. 66.
Pratab Chandra Chunder, On Understanding Gandhiji, Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan , ( Mumbai,
2003), p. 18.

resolution that Hindi should not be imposed upon the people of Tamil
Nadu, and that it should not be made a compulsory language in schools. 62

Introduction of Hindi in Tamil Nadu (1938)

C.Rajagopalachariar became the Premier of Madras on July 14, 1937. He
was a supporter of propagating Hindi in South India. In the budget presented for
1938– 39, C.Rajagopalachariar, as Premier and Finance Minister, announced
under the schemes of new expenditure that provision had been made for the
teaching of Hindustani in 125 Secondary Schools. On April 21, 1938, a
Government Order was issued by the Madras Presidency regarding the
compulsory subject of Hindi in 125 schools.63 The teaching of Hindustani was
established in 60 high schools in Tamil Nadu, 54 schools in Andhra
Pradesh, 4 schools in Karnataka and 7 schools in Kerala. This number
includes 25 Government Secondary Schools i.e., all Government Secondary
Schools in which there was no provision for teaching Urdu. Of the other
100 schools, 73 were managed by Municipal Councils and District boards
and the remaining 27 were under private management. It was submitted by the
Director of Public Instruction and accepted by the Government and the same was
published on April 30, 1938. Already Hindi was being taught in various forms in
104 secondary schools in different parts of the presidency.64 It was proposed to
extend the scheme of teaching Hindustani in 1939-40 to 60 more Secondary

M.D. Gopalakrishnan, E.V.Ramasami Naicker Father the Tamil Race, Emerold, (Madras, 1991),
p. 35.
Ira Neduncheziyan, Thiravida Iyakka Varalaru, Navalur Nedunchezhian Arakattalai, (Chennai,
1996), p. 701.
Nambi Arooran, Tamil Renaissance and Dravidian Nationalism, 1905 – 1944, Koodal Publishers,
(Madurai , 1980), p. 195.
Ira, Neduncheziyan, Thiravida Iyakka Varalaru, op.cit., p.701.

List of secondary schools in which Hindustani was recommended to be
introduced in the year 1939-40.
District School Name
Municipal High School, Vizianagaram.
Municipal High School, Bimlipam.
Municipal Middle School,
Board High School, Narasapatam
Board High School, Narasannapeta.
Mrs. A.V.N College, Vizagapatam. (School
Maharajah’s College, Vizianagram. (School
Board High School, Samalkota.
EAST GODAVARI Veerasalingam High School, Rajahmundary.
P.R. College, (School Department), Cocanada.
Municipal High School, Ellore.
WEST GODAVARI Board High School, Undi.
Board Middle School, Akividu.
Municipal Branch Middle School,Bezwada
Board High School, Nandigama
Board High School, Tadanki
KISTNA DISTRICT Hindu College, (School Department),
Dornaka Diocesan Girls’s High School,
George Coronation School, Tirumella.
Board High School, Pedanandipadu.
GUNTUR Hindu College, Hindu School, Guntur
Taluk High School, Tenali.
St. Joseph’s Girls’ High School, Guntur.
Municipal High School, Nandyal.
KURNOOL Board High School,Atmakur.
Board High School, Markpur.
Board High School, Harpanahalli.
Board High School, Royadrug.
Municipal high School, Hindupur.
Municipal High School, Tadpatri.
Board High School, Uravakonda.
London Mission High School, Gooty.
Board High School, Rajampet.
Board High School, Pulivendla.

Board High School,Buchireddypalem
A.B.M. Girls’s Nellore
Corporation High School, Nungambakkam.
Kellet High School, Tirplicane.
Rama Krishna Mission High School, Mylapore.
MADRAS T.T.V. High School, George Town.
Progressive Union School, Madras.
Vidyodaya Residential High School,
Board High School, Walajapet.
Besant Memorial School, Adyar.
CHENGALPATTU Hindu High School, Madurantakam.
Pachayappa Branch Middle School, Little
Municipal High School, Walajapet.
Municipal High School, Thiruvannamalai.
NORTH ARCOT Board High School, Cheyyar.
DISTRICT Voorhees College, Vellore. (School
Hindu Middle School, Vaniyambadi.
Board High School, Madanapallee.
Board Middle School, Pakala.
CHITTOOR Theosophical High School, Manapalle.
Sherman Memorial Girls’s High School,
Board High School, Panruti.
Board High School, Portonovo.
Ramaswami Chettiyar’s Town High School.
Pachiyapp’s High School. Chidambaram.
Board High School, Pattukootai.
Board High School, Ayyempet.
Findlay High School, Mannargudi.
Little Folwer High School, Kumbakonam
Banadurai High School, Kumbakonam.
Central High School, Tiruvadi.
St, Josph’s Hiogh School for Girls,
Board High School, Musiri.
Ponnayya’s High School, Hridayapuram.
TRICHY Trichy.
National High School, Trichy.
St. Philomens’s Girls’ High School, Trichy.

Municpal High School, Palani.
Board High School, Cholavandan.
MADURAI Rangaswami Ayyar High School, Madurai.
St.Joshph’s School High School, Madurai.
Board High School, Kamuthi.
Board High School, Paramakudi.
RAMNAD Sri Meenakshi Sundareswarar Vidyasala.
Hindu High School, Watrap
Board High School, Kovilpatti.
Board High School, Nanguneri
TIRUNELVELI Caldwell High School, Tuticorin.
Hindu Middle School, Alwartirunagar.
Coronation High School, Srivaikuntam.
Municipal High School, Tiruppur.
Municipal High School, Pollachi.
COIMBATORE Board High School, Dharapuram.
Board High School, Erode.
Mahajana High School, Erode.
Board High School, Tiruchengodu
Board High School, Hosur.
Board High School, Manjeri.
Board High School, Cherukunnu.
Board High School, Quilandy.
Board Moyan Girls’ High School, Palghat.
High School, Ottapalam.
Zamorin’s College School, Palghat.
Board High School, Udupi.
Board High School, Coondapur.
Ganapat High School, Mangalore.
Source: G.O.No. 775, E.D.P.H. Department, 3.4.1939.

Opposition of Hindi Imperialism

In a meeting held at the Thevar Hall, Trichy in 1938 under the
presidentship of Somasundara Bharathiar it was decided to oppose the
imposition of Hindi in Tamil Nadu. Like freedom movement, Hindi agitation
also brought out many students as leaders of Tamil Nadu. From the beginning,
the student community of Tamil Nadu who were keenly watching the
language issue, heard the scholarly speeches, came to know the importance
of mother-tongue, were infuriated by ill-treatment to Tamil, and got down

into the field to oppose Hindi as a compulsory subject. As a 12 year old
boy, Arangannal was attracted with the speech of C.N.Annadurai and dedicated
his life to society.66

Picketing was conducted in front of the Hindu Theological High School

from July 1, 1938 with the purpose of preventing students attending the
school as it was one of the schools where Hindi was introduced.67 To oppose
Hindi, under the leadership of Pattukottai Azhagiri 100 youth walked from
Trichy to Chennai.

M.Karunanidhi the former Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu who loved his
mother-tongue Tamil very much in his school days, united many students and
started a few societies like the Children’s Reformation Society, the Youth
Society etc. Everyday evening he led a procession with some students in
Thiruvarur streets. They held flags in their hands, sang M.Karunanidhi’s songs
which depicted their feeling towards mother-tongue. M.Karunanidhi gave an
anti-Hindi slogan paper to his Hindi teacher which was written by the students;
for this act, the next day he got punishment in the class. M.Karunanidhi, said that
“I am one of the examples for how Hindi agitation attracted the students”.68 A

Student Sammelanam’ was organized by M.Karunainidhi and he became its
organizer. 200 students participated in it. M.Karunanithi, V.KO.Shanmugam,
Arangannal, Venkatachalam and S.B.Chidambaram joined together and
organized ‘Tamil Nadu Manavar Mandram’ at Thiruvarur. Bharathithasan also
sent a greeting song as follows.

‘jz;nghopypy; Fapy; ghLk; jpUthUhpy;

jkpo;ehL jkpo; khzth; kd;wq;fhz;”;!... 69

A.Nambi Arooran, op.cit., p. 34
History of Freedom Movement , Bundle No.106, Extracts From G.Os releating to Communal Anti-
Hindustani Movement in Madras Presidency, Government of Madras, Madras, p. 576.
Kalaingar M. Karunanidhi, Nenchukku Neethi , Vol.1, Tirumagal Nilayam, (Chennai, 2007), pp.
M.Karunanithi, Kalanjarin Pasumai Ninaivugal (Tamil), Bharathi Pathippagam,(Chennai, 2006),

In this meeting students R.Nedunchezhian, K.Anbhazhagan, and
K.A.Mathiyazhagan spoke about the glorious Tamil language and the
importance of Dravidian Movement.

Hindi in Tamil Nadu after Independence

On October 1947 there arose a revolt in the Annamalai University. On
that day the Dravida Kazhagam flag was flying on the top of the university
building which was taken away by the Congress students. After it was settled by
peaceful talks in the night, Congress members entered the hostel and beat the
Dravida Kazhagam students. K.A. Mathiyazhagan got a permanent scar on his
forehead. The case which was filed on Congress students was withdrawn but the
case which was filed on the Dravida Kazhagam student K.A.Mathiyazhagan
remained for one and half years and he was not permitted to write the
examination. At Udumbai a meeting was conducted. The police announced 144
Prohibition Act there. E.V.Ramasami Naicker and K.A.Mathiyazhagan were
arrested for their violation of the act.70 After the prohibition was withdrawn,
K.A.Mathiyazhagan completed his B.A. and joined the Madras Law College
where he met C.N.Annadurai. When K.A.Mathiyazhagan was a Law College
student, C.N.Annadurai wrote for the first time the name of the Dravida
Munnettra Kazhagam (DMK) in his note book. C.N. Annadurai and his
followers came out from Dravida Kzhagam and formed Dravida Munnetra
Kazhagam in 1949 by opposing the marriage of E.V.Ramasami Naicker with
Maniyammai and his decision regarding financial settlements with Maniyammai.

The Teaching of Hindi

The following Table shows that Hindi was taught as a language under
part II for Intermediate, B.A and B.Com courses.

K.Thirunavukkarasu., Dravida Iyakkath Thungal , 2010, pp. 119-120.

Hindi was taught as a language under part II for Intermediate,
B.A and B.Com courses in the following Colleges:

Sl.No College Name Course Name

1. Presidency College, Madras B.A and Inter Senior
2. Government Muslim College, Madras Junior Intermediate
3. Queen Marry’s College, Madras Inter and B.A
4. Government Victoria College, Palghat Inter and B.A
5. Government College, Mangalore Inter, B.A and B.Com
6. Government College for Women, Guntur Intermediate
Source: G.O.No.1332, E.P.H Department, 29.4.1949.

Minimum Mark Qualification in Hindi for the Promotion

The Congress Government of the Madras Presidency also introduced
a minimum mark qualification in Hindi for the promotion of students to
higher classes. It was opposed by the agitators. The Government did not have
the right to compel the immature minds to study anything that would not serve
any purpose. “If the student thinks that education is not more important than
nationalism, he should express his will to his parents and get out of the
school or college to do things as he likes”, said E.V.Ramasami Naicker.71

Participation of Teachers in anti-Hindi Agitation

Teachers also participated in the anti-Hindi agitations to show their
affection towards their mother-tongue. The participation of Government teachers
in the anti-Hindi agitations conducted by DK was discussed in the Tamil Nadu
Legislative Assembly. Some teachers’ names were included with certain
students of Senthil Kumara Nadar College, Virudhunagar.72 Like this many
teachers from several schools and colleges took part in the anti-Hindi agitation.
When the Madras Assembly Speaker Sivashanmugam spoke at Nellai
Sivagana Munivar Library, he mentioned that some of the Tamil teaching

Compiled by K.Veeramani, Collected Works of E.V.Ramasami Naicker E.V.R, The E.V.Ramasami
Naicker Self-Respect Propaganda Institution, (Chennai, 2008), p. 165.
G.O.No.1332, E.P.H Department, 29.4.1949.

teachers taught atheism and cultivated aversion (among students) towards
other languages.73

Anti-Hindi Conference
During the period of Omandhur Ramasamy, the Education Minister
Avinasilingam introduced Hindi as a compulsory subject in schools.74 While
speaking to the Theyagaraya College students, Omandhur Ramasamy (then
Premier) told that English must be taught from the beginning stage with
the regional language.75 On August 10, 1948 E.V.Ramasami Naicker started a
second anti-Hindi agitation. Another anti- Hindi conference was held under the
leadership of Maraimalai Adigal.76 These agitations were supported by former
Congress nationalists like M.P.Sivagnanam and Thiru V.Kalyanasundaram.
C.N.Annadurai was appointed as the leader for conducting the picketing
programme. Picketing was started at one of the schools in the city in the
morning of August 10, 1948. About 10 volunteers stood outside the school
shouting slogans and exhorting the students not to study Hindi. The leader
of the Anti-Hindi Struggle Committee, C.M.Janarthanam led a small crowd
of demonstrators consisting of 21 ardent members of the Tamizhaga Arasu
Katchi (TAK) to the Madras Legislative Assembly which was in session
on August 20, 1948.77

The involvement of School Students in anti-Hindi Agitation

Students from all over Tamil Nadu started to revolt against the
introduction of Hindi. On August 18, 1948, 3000 students led a procession in
Tanjore district. Teachers also joined them.78 On August 22, 1948, at Jimcana
ground, Chennai, Anti-Hindi Agitation Conference was held and many leaders

Viduthalai, Chennai, 1.9.1951.
Sa.Maruthavanam, Tamizhagam Kattha Thalaivar (Tamil, Meena Buddhaga Nilayam, (Chennai), p.
Viduthalai , Chennai , 17.7.1954
S. Annamalai, Thanthai Periyar: E.V.R. Vazhkkai Varalaru, (Tamil) , (Visalatchi Nilayam,
Chennai), 2003, pp. 128-129.
Fort Nightly Report, Government of Madras, (Madras, 22.8. 1948), p.2.
Viduthalai, Chennai, 28.8.1948.

were arrested.79 Opposing this on August 23, 1948, students did not attend their
classes at Annamalai Nagar. 500 students led a procession by 3 p.m. against
Hindi and condemned the arrest of the leaders.

A secret circular was issued by Chennai Education Director, to all District

Education Officer (D.E.O), High School Head Masters and Middle School Head
Masters. He mentioned in that circular, students planned to conduct anti-Hindi
agitations. So the heads of the concern institution must be careful and sent
details about students participation in anti-Hindi agitations activities everyday to

On August 26, 1948 at 8.30 a.m. 500 students from National High
School and Municipal High School of Mayavaram led a procession through
Pattamangalam Street to oppose the introduction of compulsory Hindi education.
The Education Minister, Avinasilingam Chettiar mentioned in the Assembly
meeting that “ Hindi was not a compulsory subject in schools”. But the
same minister wrote an article in a Government newspaper ‘Chennai
News’, “Only for this Hindi must be taught in all High Schools” and an
order issued by the Government in connection with that. The news in
Chennai newspaper regarding compulsory Hindi education made the whole
Tamil Nadu rise to a peak of anger. Many students of Municipal High School,
Chennai, standing in front of the gate, spoke about the condition of school,
the role of students and the importance of banning Hindi. The Headmaster
called five students, who were the leaders of the team and warned them
that they should not indulge in any such opposition. In case of
disobedience, severe action would be taken on those students as directed by
the Educational officers.

Viduthalai, Chennai 23.8.1948.
Viduthalai, Chennai, 27.8.1948.

Captain K.Ranganathan was arrested due to his 20 days protest near
Muthialpet High School. At Mylapore , 20 students signed a paper
informing that “ we don’t study Hindi” and handed it over to the picketing
leader. Similar incidents of picketing went on at T.T.V. High School, Hindu
Theological High School and also at Saidapet High School. The
Education Minister who had gone to speak at Salem College was strongly
opposed by the students, and they raised slogans against him.81 As a result of
the demonstration, Avinasilingam Chettiar, the Education Minister, invited the
leader of the Struggle Committee for talks which ended in failure. So the
leader of the Struggle Committee and General Secretary exhorted the TAK
members to get prepared for a long struggle.82

On August 27, 1948, at 2 o’ clock, thousands of students from

Namakal cut half-a-day classes supporting the leaders who opposed
compulsory Hindi and were arrested for the same. Then the students
conducted a grand procession. ‘Exploitation by North Indians Down Down”,
“Release our leaders”, “Hindi Down! Down!”, and “ Long live E.V.Ramasami
Naicker ” were some of the slogans shouted on the streets of Namakal. A
students public meeting was held in Victoria ground at 5.30 p.m 83 A Regional
Students Anti-Hindi Agitation Conference was held at Chennai, in the Memorial
Hall. Student representatives from all over Tamil Nadu participated in that. The
importance, and emergence of anti-Hindi agitation and the contribution
of students were discussed in this conference.84

On September 3, 1948 students of Muthiyalpet (Branch School) High

School gave a signed letter in which they expressed their dissatisfaction against
Hindi. At Thuraiyur Jamindar High School, Hindi was taught compulsorily by
the teachers. Students in the school shouted slogans against Hindi and some

Tamil Murasu, Chennai, 5.9.1948.
Viduthalai., Chennai, 4.9.1948.
K.A.Matiyazhagan, Dravida Manavar Iyakkam, Aivai Mandram, (Chennai, 1951), p.14.

burnt Hindi books. At Maignanapuram, when the exam paper for Hindi
was given, more than fifty students wrote “Long live Tamil and Hindi
Down! Down!” on the answer sheet. At Chennai Assembly, Comrade
G.Rajamannar argued and raised a question that , if Hindi was not
compulsory then how could a teacher slap a boy on his cheek. A dispute
was going on the topic “Should Hindi be a common language or not?” at
Chennai Christian College.85

On September 15, 1948 as per the instruction of E.V.Ramasami Naicker ,

Dravida Kazhaga volunteers made demonstrations in front of schools. Though
the authorities were stubborn in the initial stages and took stern steps
against the agitation they had to yield in course of time to the popular will,
and withdraw the scheme of compulsory study of Hindi. As a result of
this, on September 15 DK volunteers holding placards containing the matter
“Don’t go to school”, started picketing in front of each and every school of
Tamil Nadu without disturbance and violence. Government also allowed them
through a circular to do picketing near schools.86

On September 15, 1948 with the support of the, DK., High School
students of Tamil Nadu boycotted classes against the implementation of
compulsory Hindi. Students belonging to the Tanjore District Kuthalam High
School left the school and went in a procession. “The influence of the Aryans
and the Varnasrama principles correlated together to plot against the
Dravidian culture of the South. This was the fundamental reason for the
unity of hundreds of students who gathered in front of the Salem London
Mission High School.87

Viduthalai, Chennai, 4.9.1948.
Viduthalai, Chennai , 18.9.1948.
Viduthalai, Chennai, 26.9.1948.

On September 15, 1948 more than five hundred students boycotted
the classes, tore the Hindi books and went on a procession at Pudukottai.
Picketing was conducted in front of the following schools - Bhavani
Nattanmai Kazhaga High School, Srinivasa Rao High School (Ambur),
Edward High School , Sathur and Pudukottai Pragathambal Branch School;
students set fire to the Hindi books. Even a Brahmin student shouted
“Hindi, Down! Down! “At Papanasam High School, there was a different
scene - students came out of classes in groups and set fire to Hindi books.
As it was the last day of paying fees, some students wrote Hindi
Down! on currency notes and paid their fees. At Kumbakonam Town High
School, hundreds of students raised anti-Hindi slogans holding the tri
coloured national flags in their hands. College students went on procession
through the important streets of Kumbakonam.88

A student studying in standard 7 from Madras Muthaialpet High

School took part in a Tamil oratory under the heading “Tamil Language”
and said that a person whose life time would be sixty might die earlier at
40 to 45 by learning Hindi . Due to the disputes and debates and also the
agitation of Tamil teachers, Government asked the Director of Education to
take necessary steps to control it.89 Despite the blocking of some police
officials, Thiruvathipuram Board High School students set fire to Hindi
books. More than hundred students gave in written form that they would never
attend Hindi classes. Similar incidents went on at Thirukovilur and
Thirukattupalli. Picketing was conducted in front of St.Columbans High
School, St. Mary’s High School and St. Joseph’s High School in
Chengalpattu . On the same day evening, a protest meeting was arranged by
students at Durga ground. One of the students from Kancheepuram,
Kottarampalayam Pachaiyappa School, wrote a letter in support for the

Viduthalai, Chennai, 17.9.1948.
Viduthalai, Chennai, 27.9.1948.

success of picketing.90 On September 15, 1948, at Tanjore, Mannar Kudi ,
Ayyampettai, Rasipuram, Jayam Kondan, Ariyalur, school students held anti-
Hindi agitation demonstration.91 On the same day school students held anti-
Hindi agitations at Arakonam, Villivakkam, Thiruthurai Poondi, Thiruppathur,
Musiri and Kovilpatti.92

“We don’t study Hindi’’ was the shouting, heard from Krishnagiri
High School students. Picketing went on at the same time in Kadalur,
Thiruchengodu, Namakkal and at Srirangam schools. Due to the confusion
caused by some students bell rang 15 minutes earlier at Diamond Celebration
High School in Gopi. The Headmaster warned the students prior to the
picketing day that the participants would be dismissed. Yet the boys and
girls decided not to attend Hindi classes. Two students were arrested for the
same cause at Madras Pachaiyappan School. An eight year old student,
studying in Chidambaram Ramasamy Chettiar High School, tore his
Hindi books into pieces and threw it in front of the school. When other
students indulged in picketing, the school remained closed for the day.
Viruthachalam and Kulithalai High School students too promised that they
Parents also supported their wards. The Headmaster cancelled Hindi classes
instead Tamil and Maths were taught. He announced that there was no Hindi

E.V.Ramaswami Naicker, the leader of the movement, issued a

statement deprecating this action of the students, and advised them not to
boycott the schools but only to keep away from the Hindi classes.94 In
other states also the imposition of Hindi was opposed. In Bihar, 5000 students

Viduthalai, Chennai, 21.9.1948.
Viduthalai, Chennai, 22.9.1948.
Viduthalai, Chennai, 17.9.1948.
Fort Nightly Report, Government of Madras, (Madras, 20.9.1948), p. 2.

boycotted the primary and secondary schools to oppose the Government
introduction of Hindi.95

“The valuable speeches of the leaders attracted the students to do

something for the society which paved the way for them to enter into politics”.96
C.N.Annadurai went to Sivagangai to open the Ramachandrans park. The
lecture of C.N.Annadurai attracted 18 years old school student S.S.Thennarasu
who dedicated himself to the society. Due to affection towards their mother
tongue some of the DMK Party leaders changed their names, viz.,R.
Narayanaswamy alies R.Nedunchezhiyan, K.Ramaiah alies K.Anbhazhagan,
K.A.Soma Sundaram alies K.A.Mathiyazhagan and C.P.Chinnaraj to Citrarasu.
It encouraged the students to show more affection towards their mother tongue.97

The anti Hindi mobilization marked this fusing together of the

linguistic revival of the Tamil Renaissance with the Non-Brahmins
politics of the Justice party and the Self Respect Union into a potent
agitation around the “symbolically synonymous” concepts of Tamil
Dravidian non-Brahmin.

Government Action on Students

Disciplinary action was taken against those who took an active and
prominent part in the disturbances on September 24 and 25, 1949. A few were
arrested by the police for violating the Magistrate’s order under section 144 of
the Cr.P.C.

Viduthalai, Chennai , 6.2.1949.
Report of the Administration of the Police of the Madras State, Government of Madras, Madras,
1955, p.81.
Interview with Ela.Pughazhenthi,.Anna Arivalayam, Chennai on 13.4.2010 and Aaricchan, Kadum
Pottiyil Therthal Kalam Kandavargal, (Tamil), Pavana Pathippagam,(Thrunelveli,2005), p.53.

The following Table gives the name of students who were dismissed,
arrested, for whom issue of Transfer Certificates had been ordered
List of students who were dismissed is given below:

Sl. No Name Course

1. Venkatakrishnamachari M Engineering IV Year
2. Bhanumoorthy J Technology IV Year
3. Madhava Rao T. Engineering IV Year
4. Pankjakshan Nair S. Technology IV Year
5. Radhakrishnan Y.V Engineering II Year
6. Balasubramaniyan T.S. Technolocy II Year
7. Ramadoss K V Hons Economics
8. Narayanaswami R. Engineering IV Year
9. Raghuraman K. Engineering IV Year
10. Eipe Koshy V. Engineering II year
11. Anjaneyulu S.S.R Engineering IV Year
12. Veerabhadara Rao P Engineering IV Year
13. Krishna Rao B. Technology IV Year
14. Rajagopalan R. Technology IV Year
15. Seetharaman K. B.A IV Class
16. Thomas G. Engineering IV Year
17. Chalapathi Rao G. Engineering IV Year

List of students who were arrested

Sl. No Name Course
1. Venkatakrishnamachari M Engineering IV Year
2. Madhava Rao T. Engineering IV Year
3. Muthuraghavan N III Class
4. Gopalakrishnan K.R. I Class

List of students for whom issue of Transfer Certificates had been ordered
Sl. No Name Course
1. Nilakandan K II Class
2. Joseph A. Lucas I Class
3. Engineering I Year
4. Jambulingam T.M Engineering IV Year
5. Muthuraghavan N III Class
6. Ramaswami G. V Hons Mathematics
7. R.Namagiri III Hons
8. Venugopal K I Class
Source: G.O.No.587, Education Department, 24.2.1950.
In 1950, Education Minister Madhava Menon answered in the Assembly
in order to enable the heads of educational institutions to take disciplinary
action under the Madras Educational Rules against students who took part
in Communist activities. The Government had requested the Inspector -
General of police to instruct the police officers to furnish details of convictions,
subversive activities etc., of such students to the head of the institutions
through the District Magistrates concerned. 98

Assurance of Constitution of India

One of the important events that took place in Indian history was the
Framing of our Constitution which came into force on January 26,1950, and
with it, the struggle against the discrimination of languages also started. It
declared that Hindi should be the Official Language of the Union and the
English language should continue to be used upto 1965. A seminar was
conducted at Pachaiyappa’s College under the Presidentship of M.P.Sivagnanam
to discuss about the Indian Constitution. Rathinasamy, Economics professor
B.V.Narayanasami Naidu the Principal of that College and A.N.Sivaraman
Editor of Dinamani, participated. All revealed their dissatisfaction about the
Constitution with regard to official language. This seminar created awareness
in the minds of the students and they were able to know about the
official language policy mentioned in the Constitution.99

Report of the University Education Commission 1948

In 1948 the Government of India appointed a University Education
Commission under the chairmanship of S.Radhakrishnan. It was appointed “To
report on Indian University Education” and suggest improvements and
extensions that may be desirable to suit present and future requirements of the
country.100 This Commission stressed “Both from the point of view of
education and of the general welfare of a democratic community, it is
G.O. NO. 140, Education Department, 19.1.1950.
M.P.Sivaganam, Puthiya Thamizhagam Padaitha Varalaru, (Tamil), (Chennai, 2009), p.153.
N.Jayapalan, History of Education in India, Atlantic Publishers& Distributors, ( New Delhi, 2005),

quite essential that the study of educated youth should be through the
instrumentality of their regional language. Education in the regional language
will not only be necessary for their provincial activities, but it will enable
them to enrich their literature and develop their culture”. This commission
recommended that the medium of instruction at the university stage should
be the same as at the elementary level.101 At the same time, students must have
a chance to study Hindi. The provision for language in the schools may be
as follows: “(i) The mother-tongue or regional language part-I should be
compulsory (ii) English should be compulsory (iii) choice may be allowed
between part II of the mother- tongue or the regional language and any
classical or South Indian language (iv) choice may also be allowed
between Hindi and an additional craft or approved activity”. 102 A Report of
the UNESCO (1951) concluded that the Government should take necessary
steps to improve the vernacular languages in their country.

Introduction of Hindi as a Compulsory Subject

The Central Government again tried to introduce Hindi. On May 2, 1950
Tamil Nadu Education Minister Madhava Menon issued an order which made
Hindi as a compulsory subject in high schools. Revolt started all over Tamil
Nadu. So he cancelled the order on July 18, 1950 and Hindi was made as an
optional subject. C.N.Annadurai addressed a gathering of 2000 students at
the American College in Madurai where he spoke about the importance of
mother tongue.104 C.N.Annadurai declared that the DMK and the DK would
function as a double-barrel gun against Hindi imperialism.105 Despite serious
preparations the Thamizhaga Arasu Khazhagam (TAK) founded by M.P.
Sivagnanam could not effectively pursue the agitation while the DK and the
DMK pursued a vigorous policy of agitation till the Government made an

R.Nallakannu, Mozhi Vazhi Manilam “Tamil Nadu” (Varalatru Parvai), (Tamil), New Century
Book House, (Chennai, 2005), p. 82.
Madras Information, Vol.VI, September 1950, p. 36.
T. Alagarasan, Hindi Ethirppu Varalaru, (Tamil), Valanarasu Pathippagam,( Chennai, 1966), p. 26.
Fort Nightly Report, Government of Madras, (Madras, 13.3.1950), p. 3.
Kalaingar, E.V.Ramasami Naicker Piravamalirunthal...? (Tamil), (Chennai, 2008), p.15.

announcement to withdraw the introduction of compulsory Hindi and
introduced English and the regional language as compulsory subjects.106 At
Sattur and Virudhunagar in Ramanathapuram District there were clashes
between the Kazhagmites (the followers of the DK and DMK) and the
members of the Youth Congress and a number of arrests were made by
the police to bring the situation under control. In many places the
members of the Youth Congress removed the tar used by the Kazhagamites
to deface Hindi names on the name boards.107

The Students Conference of DMK

A State Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam Students Conference was
held at St.Mary’s hall on November 8, 1950 in Chennai under the leadership
of student Sathiyendran. C.N.Annadurai addressed the students.108 On August
29, 1951 in Salem College a DMMK* meeting was held. A similar DMMK
meeting was held under the leadership of S.Duraisami at Thirupur. Another
DMMK meeting was held at Karanthai. The Chennai Law College DMMK
meeting was held at Thennagam Office under the presidentship of
N.V.N.Somu109. DMMK meeting was held at Valparai. In all those meetings
students condemned the Hindi imposition.110

According to the G.O.No.2695 (Health, Education and Local

Administration, 30.12.1953), under the scheme of language studies approved
by the Government for secondary schools in the state, the study of Hindi
was made an optional subject as the Third Language, and the pupils
were to study the subject for two periods in a week. Hindi language study

Fort Nightly Report, Government of Madras, (Madras, 10 .8.1950) p. 2.
Fort Nightly Report, Government of Madras, Madras, 1953, p. 4.
Parthasarathi, T.M, op.cit., p.138.
*15 students joined together, started the Rational Youth Khazhagam which later changed into
Dravida Manavar Munnettra Khazhagam (DMMK).
* N.V.N.Somu was the student Secretary when he was studying in Standard 10. In those independent
days students conducted model parliaments in schools. N.V.N. Somu acted as opposition party leader in
a ‘model parliament’ held for all school students at Wesley High School, Chennai which helped him later
to become a political leader.
Nam Nadu, Chennai, 3.10.1959.

was optional in the sense that students who did not wish to learn Hindi
could learn an additional craft or engage themselves in any other approved
activity. The First Language under the scheme was the mother-tongue or the
regional language, and English was the Second Language of study and was
compulsory to all.111

Three Purged Struggle

During this period, there started a three sided struggle in Tamil Nadu.
The first one was at Chittoor, where people wanted to merge Chittoor with Tamil
Nadu, and this was supported by M.P.Sivagnanam and C.N.Annadurai. 144
Prohibition Act was promulgated at Thiruttani. To oppose this they followed
the stopping of trains, and many were arrested. Jawaharlal Nehru
condemned these activities and called the revolt as ‘Nonsense’ which was
vehemently opposed by the Tamilians who were wounded by the remark.112
The second issue which they opposed was the Caste Based Education. Third one
was the Dalmiyapuram (name of railway station) struggle. To oppose the
northern name (Dalmiya) by removing the Tamil name Kallakkudi, it was
decided to start a struggle against this. In this struggle, many volunteers
including M.Karunanidhi and Kannadhasan were arrested.113 These three great
struggles were called “Mummunai Porattam” or “Three Purged Struggle”.
Students also participated in these struggles. When Jawaharlal Nehru came to
Chennai to take part in a function of students parade at Rajaji Mandabam,
the DMK staged a black flag demonstrations and shouted “Nehru, go
back”.114 At Madurai 100 students hid themselves inside the college hostel, and
showed black flags to Jawaharlal Nehru when he came out from his Travellers
Bungalow. They held demonstrations in front of the American College, Madurai.
P.S.Maniyam, vakil V.Sangarapandyan, and former minister Thangapandyan

G.O.MS.NO.2695, Health, Education and Local Administration Department, 30.12.1953.
Dravida Nadu, Chennai , 26.7.1953.
Report on the Administration of the Police of the Madras State, Government of Madras, Madras,
1953, p. 35.
Ibid., p. 181.

helped these students.115 On the very first day of his college, N.V.N.Somu
participated in the Pachaiyappa’s College student struggle in 1952-53 against the
arrest of M.Karunanithi and N.V.Natarajan.

Report of the Secondary Education Commission of 1955

In 1952, the Government appointed a Committee consisting of 30
persons with Dr. A.Lakshmanaswami Mudaliar, Vice-Chancellor of the Madras
University as Chairman and other experienced educationists and experts in the
several subjects. The Committee was asked to advise them in the matter of
adoption of Tamil as the medium of instruction in Colleges and the
preparation of suitable technical terms in that language for higher studies.
The Committee was asked to suggest that ways and means by which a
scientific glossary of technical terms, scientific and otherwise, might be
prepared for adoption in the regional language.116

The Report of the Secondary Education Commission of 1954 stated

that “the mother-tongue is the most suitable language as the medium of
instruction for a child beginning its study”. According to G.O.No.167,
(Public Department) in examinations regulating entry into the public services
of the States, a candidate should have the option to elect as the medium,
the main language of the state or the Union language, namely English or
Hindi, or the language of a minority constituting about fifteen to twenty
percent or more in the population of the State. The competitive
examinations in this state for both the Gazetted and the non-Gazetted services
were conducted only in English and not in the regional language.117
While addressing in the Lok Sabha on April 6, 1955, said, “as a first step to
induct Hindi in the place of English, Hindi language would become an optional

Thoopur Thiruvengadam, Anbhuch Chezhiyan. Ne., Sedhu Era., Manavar DMK Varalaru,
(Tamil), Thenpulam Pathippagam, (Chennai, 2004) , p.114.
G.O. No. 697, Education Department, 10.4.1959.
G.O. NO. 167, (Public) (Partition), 17.1. 1956.

language for the examination of All India Service in 1960 and English would be
another optional language”.118

The Recommendations of Madras University

The committee made the following recommendations:
• The mother-tongue or the regional language should generally be the
medium of instruction throughout the secondary school stage, subject to
the provision that for linguistic minorities special facilities should be
made available.

• At the high and higher secondary stage at least two languages

should be studied, out of which one should belong to the mother-
tongue or the regional language.119

Burning of National Flag

In 1955, in response to the Union Government’s moves to introduce
Hindi, E.V.Ramasami Naicker appealed to the members of the Dravida
Kazhagam “to burn the national flag on August 1, 1955 as a symbolic act of
resentment against the imposition of Hindi on an unwilling people. In
connection with this agitation an order under section 114, Cr.p.c. was
promulgated in the city of Madras on July 29, 1955 to be in force for
two days on July 31, 1955 and August 1, 1955.120 Prime Minister Jawaharlal
Nehru contacted K.Kamarajar and requested him “to prevent E.V.Ramasami
Naicker from burning the national flag”. In the reply K.Kamarajar told,
“E.V.Ramasami Naicker is my friend, but Hindi is not a friend of
E.V.Ramasami Naicker”. On the request of K.Kamarajar, E.V.Ramasami
Naicker postponed the agitation of burning the Indian national flag.121
Finally on July 30, 1955, Chief Minister K.Kamarajar announced that Hindi
would not be made a compulsory subject in schools for examination purpose.
Hindi would not be imposed either by the Central Government or State
Government at any time. On the statement issued by the Chief Minister
Nam Nadu, Chennai, 7.4.1955.
G.O. NO.2016, Education Department, 17.12.1955.
G.O. No.2016, Education Department, 17.12.1955.
A.Ramasamy, Struggle for Freedom of Languages in India, Puthu Vasantham Pathippagam,
(Madurai, 2005), p. 116.

K.Kamarajar allaying all fears that Hindi would not be made compulsory
in this State, E.V.Ramasamy Naicker at the last moment called off the
agitation scheduled for August 1, 1955.122

Though the student community fought against Hindi, the following

budget shows the Union Ministry of Education’s Hindi Grants to State

Union Ministry of Education’s Hindi Grants to State Governments

Budget provisions Amount Sanctioned Amount utilized
(Rupees) (Rupees) (Rupees)
1954-55 445,000 279,001 100,567
1955-56 500,000 540,915 325,040
1956-57 800,000 283.905 164,963
1957-58 500,000 643,783 366,550

Note: The figures presented include the sum for the non-Hindi Union
territories also.
Source : Programme for the Development and Propagation of Hindi,
Government of Madras, (Madras, 1954), pp.31 and 46-69.

A memorandum was prepared and the leaders of the anti-Hindi agitation

submitted it to Official Language Commission appointed by the Central
Government to deal with the language issue stating that ‘Hindi should not be
imposed and English should continue as the union official language’. But the
Commission rejected it. The Commission submitted its report to the President
on August 6, 1956. It stated that “it is not practicable to adopt two Union
languages, one from the Indo-Aryan and the other from the Dravidian
families”. It also recommended the adoption of Hindi as Union language
only on the basis of majority and not on literary wealth. But the students
wanted to learn their mother- tongue first and after that, if it was
essential, they would be ready to learn Hindi or any other language.

G.O. No.2016, Education Department, 17.12.55.

Students and Rashtriya Swayam Sevakh Sangh
Government issued an order banning communal and political
propaganda in school premises; if such meetings were conducted it would
mean that school boys were free to join the Rashtriya Swayam Sevakh
Sangh (RSS) and other organizations.123 It was therefore, suggested that the
Government should pass an order making it obligatory on students to join
the Cub packs, Scout Troops or Cadet Corps of their respective schools and
prohibiting students below the age of 18 and all teachers from joining any
volunteer organization confined to any community or controlled by a
political body. The following instructions were issued by the Government
in connection with the activities of the RSS Sangh and they were
requested to see that they were strictly adhered to.

• No pupil of a school, student of a college and teacher under

training should be permitted to join RSS Sangh either as a member
or as a volunteer;

• No teacher of any recognized educational institution would be

permitted to associate himself with this organization and its
activities; and

• No school or college buildings or hostels or playgrounds would be

permitted to be used by the R.S.S. Sangh given for holding
meetings, or for drill and exercise.124

On December 10, 1948 on the instruction of K. Narasimhan, the local

organizer of the Rashtriya Swayam Sevakh Sangh, a batch of 50 persons
including some students attempted to take out a procession at Marina. They were
immediately arrested.125 The Government amended Rule 81 of the Madras
Educational Rules under which the buildings and the grounds of an educational
institution should be used mainly for school functions and for educational

G.O. NO. 257 , Public Department, 4.2.1948 .
G.O.NO.899, Health Education Department , 22.2.1957.
Fort Nightly Report, 22.11. 1948, p. 3.

purpose.126 In 1955 it was brought to the notice of the Government that the
management of the Theagaraya College, Washermanpet in Chennai, had allowed
the General Council of the DMK to meet in the college premises in which they
discussed about their party policies and the government activities.

It was brought to the notice that the management of the Muthiah

Chettiar’s High School, Purasawalkam, had placed the school premises and
playgrounds at the disposal of the R.S.S. Sangh for holding their officers training
Camp on May 6, 1955.127

The Ban of RSS in School

In 1956, it was brought to the notice of Government that the RSS Sangh
had been conducting its annual training classes in the premises of the
Vivekananda College, Mylapore. The Chief Minister took the view that
since representatives from various places had already arrived in Madras,
they might be permitted to have the use of the college that year. It was
stated that the camp of the Association would be in session for a period
of one month and that the classes would be held in which lessons
regarding cultural history of Bharath and other subjects like patriotism,
love of motherland, building up of character, creating a casteless outlook
amongst its members, training in games and other physical exercises would be
held. It was further stated that the aim of the Association was not political; their
only work was to build up social and cultural solidarity of the nation and make
the members conscious of their duties to their fellowmen and to the motherland.

Students and State Reorganisation

During the period 1953-58, democracy was striking roots in the Indian
soil. The political map of India was redrawn. New states based on language,

G.O. NO.536, Education Department, 5.3.1951and G.O.NO.899, Health Education Department ,
G.O. NO.769, Education Department, 30.4.1957.

economic viability and homogeneity of culture, were established on the
recommendations of the States’ Reorganisation Commission.128

Andhra Movement
In 1908 the circar issued an order. According to that, the orders should be
in Telugu in taluk offices, police stations, high courts, and registrar office.
Because of this order the Tamilians who lived there were not able to read their
mother-tongue Tamil. K.Vinayagam, Secretary of Security Council who was
born in Chittoor was forced to learn Telugu language. At the time of District
Kazhaga Rule, Tamil schools were totally destroyed. It was made compulsory
for the Tamil students to learn in Telugu schools.129 Meanwhile the Telugu
people wanted the separation of Andhra State.

The Andhra movement gained support in 1912. The First Andhra

Conference was held on May 25 and 26, 1913 had the touch of a new awakening
and a strong desire for progress and development of the Andhras which resulted
in the starting of institutions to spread knowledge and culture amongst the
people. 130

A committee consisting of Konda Venkatappaiah, Pattabi Sitaramaiah,

Mutnuri Krishna Rao and Valluri Suryanarayan toured Rayalseema, and
addressed public meetings at Nandyal, Gotty, Anantapur, Bellary, Chittoor,
Cuddapa and Nellore.131 But the people were not interested in the formation of a
separate province of Andhra Pradesh. When the Andhra Pradesh members of the
Madras Legislature requested the Government to pass a resolution on Andhra
Province, C.Rajagopalachariar, who was not in favour of Andhra Province,
outwitted the Andhra Pradesh members by making the Madras Legislature pass a

Verinder Grover, Rajana Arora., Federation of India States’ Reorganisation: Reconstruction and
Consolidation, Deep & Deep Publications, (New Delhi, 1994), p.xiii.
Pazha. Nedumaran, Thamizhan Izhantha Mann, Thamizhkulam Pathippalayam, (Madurai, 1995),
p. 36 .
G.O.No 457, Public Department , 6.4.1914.
P. Renganath Rao, Andhra Under British Rule , (Hyderabad , 1911) , p.85.

comprehensive restoration for the creation of Andhra Pradesh, Tamil, Kerala and
Karnataka provinces. Hyderabad state was liberated from Nizam on September
17, 1948, using military force which was known as Operation Polo, led by
Sardar Vallabhai Patel and made part of the Indian Union and became a separate

Linguistic Provinces Commission

On June 17, 1948 the President of the Constituent Assembly appointed a
Linguistic Provinces Commission consisting of S.K.Dar, a retired judge of the
Allahabad High Court, as Chairman and Pananlal, I.C.S(Retired) and Jagat
Narayana Lal, members of the Constituent Assembly, as members. It was also
known as the Dar Commission after the name of its Chairman.133

Not satisfied with Dar Commission’s report, another Committee

consisting of Jawaharlal Nehru, Vallabhai Patel and Patabhi Sitaramayya (JVP
Committee) recommended the postponement of linguistic provinces for few
years. On the other side the boundary dispute or separation of Andhra Pradesh
also created language issue. Though the committee’s recommendations were not
accepted by the Andhras, the Congress Working Committee recommended to the
Government of India to take steps for the creation of a separate province of
Andhra on November 16, 1949. The Madras Government appointed the partition
committee with Chief Minister Kumaraswami Raja as its chairman.134

Mulki Movement 1952

N.M.Jaisurya who was a Member of Parliament in 1950 from
Hyderabad noted that, “People have been looted apart from being oppressed
and insulted by the outside officials”. This behaviour led to an agitation against
non – Mulkis in August 1952. The agitation known popularly as the ‘Mulki
Movement’ lasted for more than one month. Students from all over the region
Economic and Political Weekly, January 13, 2007, p. 90.
Report of the Linguistic Provinces Commission, Constituent Assembly of India, (New Delhi, 1948), p.1.
Narayana Rao, Emergence of Andhra Pradesh, Bombay , 1973, p. 212.

actively participated in the movement which was suppressed by the
authorities. Aligning themselves with the students, even the Congress and
socialist parties took a stand against the formation of Vishalandhra.*135

Citing certain specific circumstances, students who were studying in

Ananthapur College informed the Chennai Government that they wanted to
leave their college and study in Chennai. This issue was under the consideration
of the Chennai Government. But the Andhra Pradesh Government did not
develop hostility with Chennai students. The Chennai Government was well
aware of the issues of the students.136 Finance Minister C.Subramaniam denied
what was said in the Assembly that “Andhra Pradesh Government treats Chennai
Presidency students with hostile attitude in Ananthapur Engineering College”.

The B.E. course students of Madras University enjoyed one great

advantage namely those B.E. students who were failed, were allowed not only
to write two examinations in a year but also permitted to continue their studies in
the next higher classes. But the Andhra University students were denied not
only the benefit of supplementary examinations but they must also repeat
another year in the same class. This procedure imposed great hardship both on
the students and their parents.137

Death of Potti Sriramulu

Potti Sriramulu, a Madras Telugu by birth, began a fast unto death on
October 19, 1952. After Potti Sriramulu’s death on the 58th day of his fast,
serious rioting followed. On October 19, 1952 Jawaharlal Nehru announced the
intention of the Government of India to set up an Andhra State which was to
comprise of all the Telugu speaking districts of the Madras province but without

Economical and Political Weekly, January 13, 2007, p.906.
* Vishalandhra = Vishal + Andhra, Vishal means broder, Andhra means Andhra State – that is
extensive Andhra.
Nam Nadu, Chennai, 2.4.1955.
Swatantra, Vol. IV, 23.7.1949, p.48.

the city of Madras138. The Jawaharlal Nehru, Vallabhai Patel and Pattabi
Sitarammayya Committee (JVP), report did not mention that the Madras city
should go to the Tamils. It was in favour of the Andhras.139 In the beginning
the Central leadership was not in favour of Vishalandhra. On October 1953,
Jawaharlal Nehru criticised the idea of Vishalandrha.

Andhra State was constituted as a result of the efforts to Telugu

speaking people of Madras State who wished to have a separate linguistic
state for promoting their own distinct language and culture. The Andhra
Pradesh was formed on October 1,1953, with Karnool as its capital and
T.Prakasam as Chief Minister after the Act of Parliament (The Andhra State
Act 1953) received the President’s assent on September 14, 1953. It was the
first State constituted on linguistic basis after independence.140 In Andhra
Pradesh, Telugu students studying in High Schools, Board Schools and
Management Schools were taught in both Telugu and Tamil.

When the Government did not take steps towards the formation of United
Karnataka, Narayana Achutapa, a twenty eight year old socialist worker of North
Kanara district in Bombay, began a fast unto death at Mongod since March 5,
1953. He withdrew his fasting on March15, 1953 after ten days as Nijalingappa,
the President of the Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee, assured him that
everything possible would be done for achieving the goal of a United Karnataka

Tamil Nadu for Tamilians

E.V.Ramasamy Naicker, President of the Justice Party put forward
his demand for ‘Tamil Nadu for Tamils’ on December 1938.142

N.Subramanian, History of Tamil Nadu AD 1565 – 1956, Koodal Publishers, (Madurai,) pp.246-247.
Narayana Rao, op.cit., p.211.
Report of the Committee for Consultation on the Situation in Andhra Pradesh, Government of
India, ( New Delhi, 2010), p. 1.
The Hindu, Chennai, 16.3.1953.
Anita Diehl, E.V.Ramasami Naicker E.V. Ramaswamy, (Delhi ,1978), p.62.

C.N.Annadurai quoted that it was the aim of the DMK to achieve Dravida
Nadu and until then fight would continue. Students should concentrate on their
studies; It may be useful for them in future for their entry into politics.
K.A.Mathiazhagan informed that they donated 801 Rupees collected from the
college students for the case of DMK volunteers.

Tamil-Telugu dispute about the city of Madras came to the fore-

front of politics as early as 1938. The Telugus suggested that Madras should
be made a joint capital, or it should be made into a Chief Commissioner’s
Province on the model of the present Delhi.143 Robert L Hardgrave stated
that, “ the membership of the Tamil Arasu Kazhagam was confined to the
city of Madras”. Owing to vigorous propaganda through the dual medium
of platform and press, young college students rallied round the leadership,
and carried the message of the TAK to the towns and far off villages.144

The Central Youth Organisation started by S.Sivan Pillai and

T.M.Sundaram, the Nanjil Tamizhar Congress started by R.Velayuthan,
V.Margandan and V. Dasu aimed at the merger of Kanyakumari district with
Tamil Nadu. In 1945 under the leadership of Sam Natthaniel, Nanjil Tamizhar
Congress became All Travancore Thamizhar Congress. M.P.Sivagnanam, Jeeva,
N.S.Krishnan gave strong support to them.

The Role of M.P.Sivagnanam in Thirupathi for Tamils

M.P.Sivagnanam renamed the “Pongal Festival as “Tamilar Tirunal’
and the same was celebrated with the help of the students of Pachaiyappa’s
College on January 14,1946. The Tamils claim for the city of Madras for
Tamil Nadu echoed in the meetings to counter the claims of the Andhras.145

Report of the Linguistic Provinces Commission, Government of India, (New Delhi, 1949),
Ma.Po.Si’s Autobiography, op.cit, p.398.
Ibid, pp.360 -361.

On August 16, 1947 M.P.Sivagnanam, with his volunteers went to
Thirupathi, and started a revolt asking “Thirupathi for Tamils”. This was known
as “North Boundary Struggle” and came to an end with the support of student
community.146 As Chairman of the Educational Council, M.P.Sivagnanam
put his head and heart in the improvement of standard of education and
condition of educational institutions. Having studied in Corporation school,
M.P.Sivagnanam was aware of the problems of the Corporation schools
which he wanted to ameliorate.147 His interest in the education of the Telugu
speaking minority deserves praise. The Telugu students formed nearly five
percent of the total students of the Corporation schools. He said that even if one
student wanted to learn Telugu, a teacher should be appointed.148
M.P.Sivagnanam had such feelings towards the Telugus. The Thamizhaga
Arasu Kazhagam (TAK) was the first political party to give lead to the
movement for renaming the State of Madras as “Tamil Nadu” even before
the martyrdom of Sankaralinga Nadar, who became a martyr 70 days after
the commencement of his fast unto death on October 18, 1956. Students
took fast for one day.149 M.P.Sivagnanam addressed many meetings among
college students about the rename of the state.

The situation became serious and Tamil Nadu Legislative Assembly

announced on February 24, 1961 the name change from Chennai to ‘Tamil
Nadu’ in Tamil and ‘Madras State’ in English. As per the announcement of
the government, the name “Tamil Nadu” was used in the proceedings of
Government within the State, Whereas the “State Madras” was in use in the
inter-State and Centre-State Communications.150

Varalatru Chuvadugal , p.413.
Proceedings of the meeting of the Council Madras Corporation, December 10,1952.
Proceedings of the meeting of the Council of Madras Corporation, March 9, 1953.
Puthiya Thalaimurai, Tamil Nadu, 13.3.2014, pp. 60-61.
Madras Legislative Assembly Debates, Vol.XXXIX, Government of Madras, (Madras, 1961),

Regarding the border between Arakonam taluk of Madras and the
Tiruttani taluk of Andhra Pradesh, 60.5 percent of the population of
Tiruttani taluk consisted of the Tamilians while the Telugus accounted for a
substantial minority. Adjoining these villages was a compact Telugu area in
Tiruttani, which has to be retained by the Andhra Pradesh. Puthur taluk, being a
Tamil area, was to be transferred to Madras.151 According to the Report of
Pataskar, Thiruvenkadam Hills did not form the northern boundary of
Tamil Nadu; they still lay far beyond the border. The Tamil areas in Puthur
and Chittoor would not also given to Tamil Nadu.152

States were reorganised on the basis of languages. It affected the studies

of students. In some places like Puthur, Chittoor Tamil areas were added with
some other States. So the students were forced to learn those language also
which created problems. Hence they started to revolt. Remembering his school
days V.S.Sekar Varma wrote “we were taught Tamil by Telugu teachers only. I
was punished severely when I refused to say namaskaram instead of saying
vanakkam in Tamil. Thousands like me accepted the call of M.P.Sivaganam
and struggled for the merger of Thirupathi with Tamil Nadu. For that we
were arrested and faced atrocities in the jail. We were ashamed. Finally we
received upto Thirutthani”. The Government sent orders to all the heads of
high schools and colleges in the province to drive out all Communist
minded students and their sympathisers from the educational institutions.153

Students in Kerala Movement

Causes for the Struggle

The suppression policies followed by the Travancore Samasthanam

towards the Tamilians were one of the important cause for the rise of Tamilians
against the Travancore Samasthanam. Another cause for their struggle was

Report of H.V. Pataskar on the Madras-Andhra Border Dispute, p.16.
M.P.Sivagnanam , Yenathu Porattam (Tamil), ( Madras, 1975), pp. 821-822.
Puccalapalli Sundaraya ,Telengana People’s Struggle and its Lessons, (New Delhi, 1972.) , p.

educational qualification and written tests were made compulsory for
Government services. Even for the appointment of engineers, judges and
Government pleaders, competitive examinations were conducted.

The struggle continued in the twentieth century mainly in Kalkulam

and Vilavancode Taluks. The main objective of the All Travancore Tamil
Sangam in 1944 sought the cooperation of the Tamils of Travancore to
work for the welfare of the Tamil children and to introduce Tamil
language as the medium in school courses and offices situated in the
Tamil areas of Travancore.154

There were about 20,000 students in the Thiru-Cochi Students Federation.

In Malabar the United Students Organisation (USO) was established in
1951 with the support from the All India Students Federation. The USO
appealed to the student community to participate in the movement for
unified Kerala. Similarly the Thiru-Cochi Students Federation submitted a
memorandum to the States Reorganisation Commission “to create States
on the linguistic pattern basis”.

Struggle for Devikulam and Peermedu

The States Reorganisation Commission had recommended the inclusion
of Devikulam, Peermedu and Neyyattinkara taluks with Travancore.155 The
recommendation was strongly opposed by the Travancore Tamilnad National
Congress (TTNC). It submitted a petition to the SRC insisting on
Devikulam, Peermedu and other predominantly Tamil areas to be joined
with Madras.156 The Government under Thanu Pillai, Chief Minister of
Kerala decided to drive away the Tamilians from those two Taluks. Nearly
400 Tamilians were arrested. The Government turned a deaf ear regarding

Report to Chief Secretary to Government and Dewan of Travancore, Inspector General of
Police, (Travancore, 30.11.1944).
The Hindu, Madras, 11.10. 1955 .
Ibid, November 22, 1955.

the atrocities in Devikulam and Peermedu. Hence it was decided to observe
June 30, 1954 as Devikulam Day. But the Magistrate promulgated 144 of the
Criminal Procedure Code, prohibitory order for a period of one month
from June 29 onwards to prevent the TTNC leaders and others to induce
the people. On July 3, 1954 A.Nesamony, Abdul Razaak and A.
Chidambaranatha Nadar went to Munnar to address a political meeting
where the police banned their entry. When they defied the prohibitory
order on July 4, the police arrested them and they were sentenced to six
months imprisonment. Hartals were conducted throughout the Tamil areas
of Travancore in protest against the arrest of the Tamil leaders.157

Under the leadership of P.Ramasami Pillai and Gandhi Raman Satyagraha

was started for Devikulam and Peermedu issues. Political parties and
organisations of Tamil Nadu such as TAK, Communist party, DK, DMK
supported the TTNC and the Tamils in this programme.158 At Nagercoil, when
the students protested against the arrest of the leaders and in support of the
Tamilians issue they were lathi charged by the police on July 26, 1954.159 In
this ‘Bharathi’ Mani, an S.S.L.C. student of Sedhu Lakshmi High School,
Nagercoil, participated with Dhanupillai who was his school mate and student
leader. 60 persons were arrested for raising the slogan ‘Tamil Nadu for
Tamilians’ and kept inside the van for 12 hours from noon 3o’clock to till the
next day morning 3o’clock. They were not given even a single drop of water and
finally released. The police left them in the darkness near the place called
Azhagiya Pandiapuram 14 k.m., away from Nagercoil.160 The students of
Marthandam also started agitations, damaged the telegraph and telephone
lines , and burned a portion of a transport bus near the High School. Police
stations at Thiruvattaru, Kuzhithurai, Susendram, Puthukadai, Eraniel, Thakkalai
were filled with agitators. The arrested students were left some miles away from

The Hindu , Chennai , 7.7.1954.
K.Sankaran Commission Report, Part I, Gazettee No. 51, 21.12.1954, p. 1
Travancore Government Gazette, No.51, 21.12.1954, p. 20.
Puthiya Thalaimurai, Chennai, 26.1.2012, p. 10.

their places. Many students and youth hid themselves for two months from their

A planned picketing at Sub-Registrar Office near Puthukadai on

August 11, 1954 was organised under the chairmanship of Kunjam Nadar.
The police without any warning entered into the crowd and started lathi
charge and firing. The merciless atrocities of police continued. Even the
students were not spared by the police. Inhuman treatment was meted out to the
prisoners in the name of law and order. There arose violence and spread
everywhere. Following this at Vilavancode Taluk, Irenipuram Government
High School 3000 boys and girls came out from the classes and led a
procession on August 11, 1954 demanding the merger of Kanyakumari with
Tamil Nadu. The Amsi school students led a huge procession towards
Thenkaipattanam. They condemned the Kerala Chief Minister and shouted
“separate Kanyakumari from Trivandram and join with Tamil Nadu”. The
procession went to Painkulam, Kaisundi and Pudhukadai. When the student
procession was in Painkulam a police van came and the policemen
threatened the students with guns and rifles. Fearing police action, students
ran inside the police station and post office at Pudhukadai and threw stones
at police van. On the evening of the same day, a public meeting was
conducted. A.Nesamony, Thanulinga Nadar, and William were the speakers.
As they did not get permission for the meeting, they conducted it as a
small meeting and spoke to the public about the present condition. On
August 10, 1954 at night police arrested S.Savarimuthu Nadar, S.Nesamony,
Ambi, G. Mariyadas and other leaders sleeping in Kappukadu. Police shouted
like “Ninakku Tamil Nadu Venumo” (Do you want Tamil Nadu) and beat the
leaders with their rifle which made the situation tense. When leaders were
arrested, students took the initiation.162

Pazha.Nedumaran, op.cit., , p.34
Interview with Vincent former student of Irenipuram Government High School at Kappukad on

The former student M.Cosman remembered the August 11, 1954
happenings. Under the leadership of Sahul Ahmed, nearly 500 students from
V.K.P. School, Kulachel led the procession. They marched along the important
streets and returned to their school. Because of the support of the teachers and
the Head Master, the students were not affected by the police force. Students led
processions in various parts of Tamil Nadu. Under the leadership of Sam at
Marthandam, and Eraniel Ravi (Son of P. Ramsami Pillai, Trivancore Tamil
Nadu Congress Secretary), students held huge processions. Eraniel Ravi’s head
was wounded by the police lathi charge. At Nagercoil students revolted under
the leadership of M.C. Balan.163

The struggle reflected in student activities. The feelings between the

Tamil and Malayala students of the Presidency College residing in the Victoria
Hostel, Triplicane, were strained during November 1955 consequent on a
Malayalee student assaulting a Tamil student. The mischievous elements were
expelled by the hostel authorities.164

On November 29, 1955, the Executive Council of the TAK passed a

resolution stating that “This Council opposes the State comprised of the
Tamil speaking areas as “Madras State” and stressed both the Governments
at the Centre and the State to name the state as “Tamil Nadu”. These
were rejected and hartals and demonstrations were held on February 7, 1956
throughout Tamil areas.

On February 20, 1956 students showed their agitation through strikes

and processions against the Devikulam, Peermedu problem. DMMK,
Secretary T.K. Ponnuvelu requested all the colleges and schools to be closed

Interview with Pulavar M. Cosman , former student of V.K.P. School , Kulachel , Marthandam , on
Report of the Administration of the Police of the Madras State, Government of Madras, (Madras,
1955), p.82.
Chattai, 11.12. 1955.

on February 20, 1956. Students were requested not to go to schools.166 While the
students struggle was in force in one side the Central Government passed the
States Reorganization Act which was not satisfied the Tamilians.

The States Reorganization Act Of 1956

The States Reorganization Act was passed in 1956. Thereby Tamil
Nadu had its northern boundary line starting near the Pulicat lake and
passing through a point between Tirupathi in the north and Tiruttani in
the South, it included the bilingual Taluk of Hosur in northern Salem. The
Malabar district was taken away and made part of the Kerala State.
Kollegal Taluk was included in the Mysore State; Devikulam and Peermedu,
two small towns on the borderland between Travancore and Tirunelveli
District were rejoined to Tamil Nadu. The whole of the Kanyakumari District
was taken away from Travancore and included in Tamil Nadu.167

The Commission referred two matters in regard to which they felt

some safeguards would be required for the linguistic minorities in the
States. The first was the protection of the rights of children to receive
instruction in their mother tongue. The Government of India already decided
that if there were 10 children in a class of 40 pupils in a school at the
primary level and whose mother tongue was a particular language,
instruction would be given in that language. The States Reorganisation
Commission also suggested that if 15 to 20 percent of the people of a State
used a language it should be used for official purposes in those areas,
and also for examination for public Services which was not implement.168

Even though state-wide hartal was held on February 20, 1956,

K.Kamarajar, the Chief Minister of Madras State, on October 31, 1956 gave his

Thoppur Thiruvenkadam, Ni. Anbucheziyan, Era. Sedhu, Manavar Thi. Mu. Ka.
Varalaru,(Tamil) Thenpulam Pathippagam, (Vellore, 2004), op.cit., p. 83.
N.Subramanian, op.cit., p.248.
G.O. NO. 167, (Public) (Partition) Department, 17.1.1956.

approval for the States Reorganisation Commission Report of the Government of
India. The State Legislature also accepted it. As per the States Reorganisation
Act, Vilavancode, Kalkulam,Thovalai, Agastheeswaram taluks and a part of
Shencottah taluk, from November 1, 1956, formed part of Madras State. Even
though the students, TTNC, and the public took much effort to safeguard
Devikulam, Peermedu they failed in their struggle.169 A combined meeting of the
Malabar, United Students Organisation USO and the Thiruvithancore-Cochi
Students Federation was held in Thiruchur from October 26 to 28 1956. It was
at this meeting that the Kerala Students Federation (KSF) was born. The State of
Kerala was also born on November 1, 1956. The heaviest task of India (State
Reorganisation) came to an end easily with the student support. Thus the student
community showed its strength in solving the issue of States Reorganisation. Its
well to conclude the States Reorganisation with the words of Dr.Ambedkar,
“Though the country and the people may be divided into different states for
convenience of administration, the country is one integral whole, its people a
single people living under a single imperium derived from a single source”. 170

After participating in agitations during the State Reorganisation, the

students of Tamil Nadu wanted to raise their voice in protest against Chinese
aggrandisement in the north-eastern borders of India.

The Hindu, 1.11.1956. (When Kamarajar handed over a part of Shencotai to Kerala, we lost
Kalladai river.)
Commission on Center-State Relations Report, Vol. 1, Evaluation of Centre State Relations in India,
(Delhi, 2010), p. I.