Merger of Kanyakumari with Madras State

The present-day Kanyakumari district of Tamil Nadu state in India was originally a part of the Travancore-Cochin state. Between 1945 and 1956, especially after the Government of India announced plans to reorganize states along linguistic lines, the people of Tamil-majority Kanyakumari campaigned for its inclusion in the Madras State (later Tamil Nadu) instead of the Malayalam-majority Kerala state. In Tamil, the campaign is also known as Therkku Ellai Porattam ("South Frontier Struggle").

The campaign was successful: Agastheeswaram, Kalkulam, Thovalai, Vilavancode and half part of Shenkottai taluks were merged with Madras as per the States Reorganisation Act, 1956.[1] The first four were combined to form the present-day Kanyakumari district, while Shenkottai was merged with the Tirunelveli district.

BackgroundEdit

Tamils lived in large numbers in the Thovalai, Agastheeswaram, sengottai taluks of erstwhile Tranvancore State. In the Tamil regions, Malayalam was the official language and there were only a few Tamil-medium schools. So the Tamils met many hardships. Travancore State Government continued rejecting the requests of Tamils.[2]

During that period the Travancore State Congress favoured the idea of uniting all the Malayalam speaking regions and the formation of a "Unified Kerala". In protest against this idea, many Tamil leaders vacated the party. Although 80% of the place where malayalam speakers ,a few tamil peoples argue for making kanyakumari with Madras Presidency .They gathered together at Nagercoil on 16 December 1945 under the leadership of Sam Nathaniel and formed the new political party All Travancore Tamilian Congress. That party was continuously compelling for the merger of Tamil regions in Travancore with Tamil Nadu.[3]

Travancore Tamil Nadu Congress (T.T.N.C)Edit

In the working committee meeting of Tamilian congress at Eraviputhur on 30 June 1946, the name of the political party was changed to Travancore Tamil Nadu Congress (T.T.N.C). T.T.N.C was popular among the Tamils living in Thovalai and Agateeswaram Taluks. Mr. Ma. Po. Sivagnanam (Ma.Po.Si) was the only leader from Tamil Nadu who functioned in favour of T.T.N.C.[4]

After the independence of India, State Assembly Elections were announced in Travancore. As a consequence, T.T.N.C improved its popularity among Tamils. A popular and leading advocate from Vilavancode Mr. A. Nesamony organised a meeting of his supporters at Allan Memorial Hall, Nagercoil on 8 September 1947. In that meeting it was declared that they must achieve their objective through their political organisation, the T.T.N.C. And T.T.N.C started gaining strength and momentum in Kalkulam - Vilavancode Taluks.[5]

1948 police firingEdit

During the election propaganda campaign, clashes occurred between the Tamil Nadar community and the Malayali Nair community at various places in Kalkulam - Vilavancode Taluks. police force suppressed the agitating Nadars. On February 1948 police opened fire and two Tamil speaking Nadars were killed.[4]

T.T.N.C won in 14 constituencies in the election to the State Legislative Assembly. Mr. A. Nesamony was elected as the legislative leader of the party. Then under his leadership, the awakened Tamil population was prepared to undergo any sacrifice to achieve their goal.[6]

1952 general electionsEdit

In 1950, a meeting was held at Palayamkottai to make compromises between state congress and T.T.N.C. The meeting met with failure and Mr. Sam Nathaniel resigned from the post of president of T.T.N.C Mr. P. Ramasamy Pillai, a strong follower of Mr. A. Nesamony was elected as the New President.[5]

The first general election of Independent India was held on 1952. T.T.N.C won 8 legislative assembly seats. Mr. A. Chidambaranathan became the minister on behalf of T.T.N.C in the coalition state government formed by the Congress. In the parliamentary Constituency Mr. A. Nesamony was elected as M.P. and in the Rajyasabha seat. Mr. A. Abdul Razak was elected as M.P. on behalf of T.T.N.C.[5]

In due course, accusing the Congress government for not showing enough care the struggle of the Tamils, T.T.N.C had broken away from the coalition and the Congress government lost the majority. So fresh elections were announced. In 1954 elections, T.T.N.C gained victory in 12 constituencies.[5]

1954 police firingEdit

Pattom Thanu Pillai was the chief minister for Thiru - Kochi legislative assembly. He engaged hard measures against the agitations of Tamils. Especially the Tamils at Devikulam - Peermedu regions went through the atrocities of Travancore Police force. Condemning the attitude of the police, T.T.N.C leaders from Nagercoil went to Munnar and participated in agitations against the prohibitive orders. The leaders were arrested and an uncalm atmosphere prevailed in South Travancore.[7]

On 11 August, Liberation Day celebrations were held at many places in South Travancore. Public meetings and processions were organised . Communists also collaborated with the agitation programmes. Police opened fire at the processions in Thoduvetty (Martandam) and Puthukadai. Nine Tamil volunteers were killed and thousands of T.T.N.C and communist sympathizers were arrested in various parts of Tamil main land. At the end, Pattom Thanu Pillai's ministry was toppled and normalcy returned to the Tamil regions.[6]

States Reorganization CommissionEdit

The central government had appointed Fazal Ali Commission(1953 dec) for the states reorganisation based on language. It submitted its report on 10 August 1955. Based on this report, Devikulam - Peermedu and Neyyattinkara Taluks were merged with Kerala state.[8]

On 1 November 1956 - four Taluks Thovalai, Agastheeswaram, Kalkulam, Vilavancode were recognised to form the New Kanyakumari District and merged with Tamil Nadu State. Half of Sengottai Taluk was merged with Tirunelveli District. The main demand of T.T.N.C was to merger the Tamil regions with Tamil Nadu and major part of its demand was realised. So T.T.N.C was dissolved thereafter.[6]

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ Jebagnanam Cyril Kanmony (2010). Human rights violation. Mittal Publications. p. 41. ISBN 978-81-8324-347-6.
  2. ^ V. S. Sathianesan - Tamil Separatism in Travancore
  3. ^ R. Isaac Jeyadhas - Kanyakumari District and Indian Independence Struggle (Tamil)
  4. ^ a b D. Daniel - Travancore Tamils: Struggle for Identity.
  5. ^ a b c d B. Yogeeswaran - History of Travancore Tamil Struggle (Tamil)
  6. ^ a b c D. Peter - Malayali Dominance and Tamil Liberation (Tamil)
  7. ^ R. Kuppusamy - Historical foot prints of a True War (Tamil)
  8. ^ B. Mariya John - Linguistic Reorganisation of Madras Presidenty