Monday, January 26, 2009

Thillaiaadi Valliammai

Thillaiaadi Valliammai (22 February 1898 - 22 February 1914) was a South African Tamil woman who worked with Mahatma Gandhi in his early years when he toned his nonviolent methods in South Africa fighting its apartheid regime. Valliammai joined Gandhi's movement at the age of 16 and died soon thereafter during the anti-apartheid agitation. Gandhi later said that it was her sacrifice that increased his resolve to fight for Indian independence. In 1913, Valliammai took part in Gandhi's fight for abolition of the Indian Poll Tax. Although she was imprisoned by the British colonial government and later allowed to be released due to her illness, Vallimmai refused to do so until after the abolition of the Tax in 1914. Thillaiaadi Valliammai Memorial Hall including a public library was instituted in 1971 on a 2452 sq.m land by the Indian Government in the village of Thillaiaadi in Nagapattinam, India.The Library also functioning regularly in this memorial. Situated in Thillayadi Valliammai Village at Tharangambadi Taulk. Valliammai had never been to India. She was born in Johannesburg, South Africa to R. Munusamy Mudaliar, a trader and owner of a confectionery shop, and his wife Janaki. Since Janaki is believed lo have hailed from Thillaiaadi village in India, her daughter Valliammai came to be popularly called Thillaiaadi Valliammai. Other buildings in her name include Thillaiaadi Valliammai Nagar and the Thillaiaadi Valliammai High School in Vennanthur.


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