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 V. O. Chidambaram Pillai

A commemorative postage stamp on the Birth Centenary of Kappalottiya Tamizhan Indian Tamil Freedom fighter and politician, founder of first indigenous Indian shipping service between Tuticorin and Colombo, Swadeshi Steam Navigation Company (SSNC) :

Kappalottiya Tamizhan and Swadeshi Steam Navigation Company (SSNC)Issued by India

Issued on Sep 5, 1972

Issued for : The Indian Posts & Telegraphs Department is proud to honour this illustrious patriot by issuing a special postage stamp on the 5th September, 1972, on the occasion of his birth centenary. 

Description of Design : The design of the stamp is horizontal and depicts a portrait of V. O. Chidambaram Pillai with a ship sailing on seas in the background.

Type : Stamp, Postal Used

Colour : Monstral Blue & Red Brown

Denomination : 20 Paise

Overall Size : 3.91 X 2.90 cms.

Printing Size : 3.56 X 2.54 cms.

Perforation : 13 x 13

Watermark : Printed on unwatermarked adhesive stamp paper

Number Printed : 30,00,000

Number per issue sheet : 35

Printing Process : Photogravure

Designed and Printed at : India Security Press

Name : Valliappan Olaganathan Chidambaram Pillai

Born on Sep 5, 1872 at Ottapidaram, Tamil Nadu, India

Died on Nov 18, 1936 at Thoothukudi (Tuticorin), Tamil Nadu, India

About : 

  • V. O. Chidambaram Pillai (popularly known as V.O.C.) was one of the colourful figures in Indian political life. He was an erudite scholar in Tamil, a prolific writer, a fiery speaker, a trade union leader of unique calibre and a dauntless fighter for the freedom of Nation. His life is a story of resistance, strife, struggle, suffering and sacrifice for the cause of political, social and economic emancipation of India.
  • V.O.C. was born at Ottapidaram village in Tirunelveli district of Tamil Nadu on the 5th Sept., 1872, as the eldest son of Ulaganatha Pillai and Paramayi Ammal. He had his high school education at Tuticorin and studied further In Tiruchirapalli qualifying to practise law In 1895. As a lawyer he won the esteem of eminent judges for his sincerity and ability in championing the causes of the oppressed.
  • Events of freedom struggle attracted V. O.C. He organised people to fight the foreign economic imperialism also by challenging the monopoly of the British Maritime trade in India in 1906, he formed the Swadeshi Steam Navigation Company having regular services between Tuticorin and Colombo. His courage and determination to run the Swadeshi Steam Navigation Company against the stern opposition of the British traders and the Imperial Government won the proud acclaim of one and all. Added to this, V.O.C. organised Tuticorin “Coral Mills” strike and broke the tyranny of the British capitalists, who at the end agreed to enhance the wages and reduce the working hours. As an organiser of many institutions, like the “Swadeshi Prachara Sabha,” “Dharmasanga Nesavuchalai,” “National Godown,” “Madras Agro-Industrial Society Ltd.” and “The Desabimana Sangam,” V.O.C. stands out as a towering personality.
  • V. O. Chidambaram Pillai took an active part in the freedom struggle and he was close friend of dynamic leaders like Bal Gangadhar Tilak and Bipin Chandra Pal. After his return from the Surat Congress in 1907, he became a hardliner in his political aspirations. His powerful personality won mass appeal leading to upheavals at Tuticorin and Tirunelveli. Charged with offences of sedition he was sentenced for 40 years of imprisonment. On appeal the sentence was reduced to six years.
  • After his release in 1912 he turned to his chosen world of ideas. He completed his autobiography which he started writing in person, in Tamil in a verse form. His translation of some of James Allen‘s brilliant books earned him an indisputable reputation of being an erudite Tamil scholar. His original Tamil works like “Meyyaram” and “Meyyarivu” speak out of his creative mind so restless for its uninhibited expression.
  • V.O.C. attended the Calcutta Congress in 1920, but gradually withdrew himself from active part in politics and devoted his time to the practice of law where he gave his services free to noble causes. He passed away on the 18th November, 1936.
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