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The past is present

...in the hearts and minds of Chennaiites who pick unforgettable chapters from the history textbooks of India that left a deep impression on them

Published: 15th August 2019 06:21 AM  |   Last Updated: 15th August 2019 06:21 AM   |  A+A-

Express News Service

CHENNAI: ...in the hearts and minds of Chennaiites who pick unforgettable chapters from the history textbooks of India that left a deep impression on them

Hema Mani, HR director
What I recollect from my textbooks are the hard struggles our former leaders put themselves through to win us our freedom. To date, nobody comes close to the vision, resilience and leadership that Mahatma Gandhi provided. His book Experiments with Truth still holds a proud place at our home. He was like this banyan tree in my mind and everyone else who did anything for freedom came around this big banyan tree. Studying about how Gandhi took charge and set out for the Dandi March to profess ‘Make in India’ was extremely interesting and a lesson for courage.

Indira Reddy, 26, educator
The chapter that struck me the most from the freedom struggle was the Non-Cooperation Movement and the concept of Satyagraha. Despite the anger and hatred towards the British rule, Gandhi was able to put forth the idea of holding on to truth and resisting without violence to achieve independence. This ideology inspired other leaders of civil rights movements all over the world and is something that we can be proud of in our history.

Aditya Balaji, 25, strategic consultant
The Polygar wars starting from the initial wars between the local chieftains of the South against the Nawab of Arcot who wanted to levy taxes on behalf of the British was a fascinating period. The history of the struggle for independence in south India dates back to the mid 18th century, starting from Puli Thevan’s resistance to the battle between the western polygars and pro-British eastern polygars of the state. This topic is often glossed over in many textbooks but is important to the context of the state, before the adoption of Gandhian values in the early 20th century. It has given us many leaders from Puli Thevan to the Marudu brothers, Veerapandiya Kattabomman, Oomathurai and Dheeran Chinnamalai and the sepoys of Vellore. 

Aditi Bharat, 26, HR professional
Although, I loved learning about the entire independence struggle, the Jallianwala Bagh massacre is one I remember learning about vividly. The British attacked an unarmed group of people in Amritsar killing more than 1,000 people. General Dyer, a feared general, was even lauded by the British for his gruesome action. I still shudder at the thought of people jumping into the well, in an attempt to save themselves. The Jallianwala Bagh in Amritsar is still a reminder of the sacrifice made by the people of this beautiful free land.

Aravind Sundar, 26, digital marketer
To many, including me, Jhansi ki Rani is a superhero. She fought against all odds and stood bold every time, even when the rebels reached her and she had to make a choice between the British or them. She is the ultimate symbol of resistance against the British Raj for Indians. Different incidents like this have gotten us independence and is a testament of bravery, strength and determination of leaders like these. Happy Independence Day.

Amrutha Satish, 28, IT analyst
My favourite story of the freedom struggle is Rani Laxmibai’s revolt against the Britishers. She was the epitome of bravery and individuality. It was impossible not to picture her riding on a horseback with a child strapped to her back. To be able to take care of a child and go to war to fight for her people, she was ahead of her time and will always remain as one of the most important revolutionaries of the fight for freedom.

Samyuktha Vibhu, 25, financial planner
Bhagat Singh and the Jallianwala Bagh massacre left a deep impression on me. While violence may not be the answer, his commitment and sacrifice inspired feelings of patriotism. What struck me then was that Bhagat Singh was only a few years older than me when he revolted against the Britishers. Visiting Jallianwala Bagh and the Partition Museum in Amritsar last year brought chills down my spine. Even after all these decades, you can still feel the weight of these tragedies hang in the air.

More from Chennai.

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