Gandhi’s Travels in Tamil Nadu
A. Ramasamy, Translated from the original Tamil by P. C. Ramakrishna
140 x 216 mm
Year of Publishing
Territorial Rights
Orient BlackSwan

Gandhi’s Travels in Tamil Nadu highlights the deep and abiding connection and friendship Gandhi had with Tamil Nadu and its people, from the time that he, as a young lawyer, led the struggle of Indian contractual labourers, many of them Tamilians, against the colonial government in South Africa, to when he returned to India to lead the Congress and the freedom movement. It covers the period from his very first visit to (what was then) Madras State/Province in 1896, to his last visit to the state in 1946, a year before Independence.

Painstakingly retracing Gandhi’s footsteps in the land of Valluvar, A. Ramasamy travelled across the country, met and corresponded with people associated with Gandhi, pored through government archives, letters, books and newspapers of the period, collecting important and interesting details. We learn it was in Tamil Nadu that the British Parliamentary delegation held discussions recognising that India’s freedom was inevitable. We learn about fearless young martyrs like Valliammal, and of the publicised argument between Annie Besant and Gandhi over his 1916 speech in Benares. It was also the Tamil student fraternity that first gave Gandhi the title ‘Father of the Nation’.

The volume also underscores the vital contribution of the Tamil people to the Indian freedom struggle, and draws our attention to the many Tamilian heirs to the Gandhian legacy who continued his work well after him. Rich in anecdotal and historical detail, carefully compiled, this book would interest anyone who wishes to know about Gandhi’s evolution as a leader, his unique relationship with Tamil Nadu, and the larger history of the freedom movement.

A. Ramasamy (late), from Pudhuthamaraipatti village in Madurai district, Tamil Nadu, was a journalist who served as news editor of the dailies ThamilNadu, Gramarajyam-Weekly and Dinamani. A staunch Gandhian, he was secretary of the Gandhi Manram and the Harijan Seva Sangam, Madurai, and also translated works of Gandhian literature. He authored several books in Tamil, including Ellayil Thollai, Porkalathil Bharatham, Lykkia Naadugal Sabai, Kulandhai Gandhi, and Thamizhnaattil Gandhi, which took him three years to complete.

P. C. Ramakrishna is a theatre actor and member of The Madras Players, India’s oldest English theatre group. He has translated, dramatised and staged the Tamil novel Karunai Kolai by Sivasankari as Mercy in English. A leading voice professional who has lent his voice to documentaries, films and audio books, he is the author of Find Your Voice. He is also a co-translator of Katha Vilasam, a multi-author anthology of fifty Tamil short stories, edited by S. Ramakrishnan.

Author's Preface
1. Balasundaram Meets Gandhi
2. Valluvar and Gandhi
3. The Plight of Tamilians on Gandhi’s Arrival
4. The Moral War of South African Indians
5. Tamil Women in the Struggle
6. Three Martyrs: Valliammal, Nagappan and Narayanasami
7. Thambi Naidu and Other Martyrs
8. The Overall Contribution of Tamils
9. Gandhi’s Praise for Tamils
10. Indian Opinion

11. In Balasundaram’s Land
12. An Exploratory Tour, 1915
13. The Besant–Gandhi War, 1916
14. En Route to Ranchi, 1917
15. The Moral War Begins, 1919
16. In the Thick of Non-Cooperation, 1920
17. The Golden Age of National Service, 1921
18. A Revolution in Apparel
19. Kanyakumari Darshan, 1925
20. The Cheramadevi Tangle
21. Khadi
22. The Khadi Tour, 1927
23. Madras Congress, 1927
24. In the Midst of the Andhra Tour
25. The Vedaranyam War
26. The Marriage of Lakshmi and Devadas
27. Abolition of Untouchability
28. Harijan Tour, 1933
29. Harijan Tour, 1934
30. On the Way to Nandi Hills, and Back, 1936
31. Temple Tradition, 1937
32. The Hindi Sammelan, 1937
33. The ‘Tamil’ Gandhi
34. Hindi and Gandhi
35. The Final Trail
Appendix: A Chronology of Gandhi’s Tours in Tamil Nadu, 1896–1946

1. Book Review | Published in The Book Review Literary Trust, August 2023.
2. Book review | Published in the Governance Now, 23 June 2023.
3. Book review | Published in the Frontline, 15 June 2023.
4. Book excerpt | Published in, 3 June 2023.
5. Book review | Published in the Asian Review of Books, 8 May 2023.
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