Role of South Indians in freedom struggle not highlighted:Chidambaram

The role played by South Indians in the freedom struggle had not been properly brought to light by historians though they were the first to oppose British Raj a century before the 1857 Sepoy Mutiny, Union Finance Minister P Chidambaram said today.

Releasing a 20-minute documentary on Veeran Azhagu Muthu Kone of Tirunelveli District in Tamil Nadu, considered India's first freedom fighter belonging to the 17-18th century, he said,"Even now the textbooks mention only Sepoy mutiny as the first freedom struggle against the British."

But over 100 years prior to that, Kone had fought against the Britisher's agent.
Thereafter, people like chieftains Veerapandia Kattabomman and Pulithevan had fought against them. All these did not find a place in the history, Chidambaram said at the function here.

"Only through documents and the local historians and their essays do we know about the blood shed by martyrs like Muthu Kone," he said.

"Along with Kone seven people were tied to the canon and shot dead in a brutal way and the hands of hundreds of people were cut off for opposing the British agent (in 1739). We should be proud that Tamils were the first to shed their blood for the country's freedom," Chidambaram said.

He also said there was another thing that,"We, as Indians, should learn from the freedom struggle. We should be united. The British had engaged only Indians or their puppets to rule this part of the country and collect tax etc."

He said Kone, a Yadava, had taken sword and shield and war techniques to rise to the level of commander to fight British. "Now the Yadava Community, a Backward Class here, should take up education and science to come up in life."

"They should equip themselves with education to make a claim, and emerge as a strong community. Several backward communities have risen in their level by studying and equipping themselves with education. You should also equip yoursevles,"he said.

"Only If you qualify yourselves...can you demand and get what you want from the government," he said.

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