The Role of South India in the Freedom Movement
- Kittu Reddy
- Savitri Foundation, New Delhi
This book presents the story of the freedom struggle that developed in South India and the ideals that inspired the national struggle for freedom in South India. The presentation has two aspects; one, dealing with the events and incidents in which the freedom fighters were involved and two, the ideals and values that inspired the freedom fighters. The first represents the external side of the movement and the second the inner and deeper part. It is evident that the inner part is more important as it portrays the lasting and abiding values and ideals that led and inspired this movement. We shall therefore first trace and identify the source of the inspiring ideals that were at the root of the Indian nation. The Psychological Unity of India In the history of India, we shall note that India became a nation state only in recent times; in a sense, only after the conquest by the British. However, the psychological sense of unity was there from the most ancient times. India had a fundamental cultural and spiritual unity rather than a political and economical unity. For in India the spiritual and cultural unity was made complete at a very early time and it became the very basis of life of all this great surge of humanity between the Himalayas and the two seas. The peoples of ancient India were not so much distinct nations, sharply divided by a separate political and economic life; rather, they were sub-peoples of a great spiritual and cultural nation, itself firmly separated physically from other countries by the seas and the mountains, and from other nations by its strong sense of difference, its peculiar common religion and culture. The whole basis of the Indian mind is its spiritual and inward turn; its propensity has always been to seek the things of the spirit and the inner being first and foremost and to look at all else as secondary, dependent, to be handled and determined in the light of the higher knowledge; the outer world was seen as an expression, a preliminary field or aid to the deeper spiritual aim. In other words, this approach led to a tendency to create whatever it had to first on the inner plane and afterwards in its other and outer aspects. The early mind of India understood the essential character of this problem. The Vedic Rishis and their successors made it their chief work to found a spiritual basis of Indian life and to effect spiritual and cultural unity of the many races and peoples of the peninsula. What were the methods adopted by the ancients to bring about this spiritual and cultural unity? Observing the religious and spiritual tendency of the Indian people, the ancient seers adopted a combination of different psychological and practical methods to bring about spiritual and cultural unity. As a first step, they created sacred religious places and distributed them all over the country; some of the places are in Haridwar, Prayag near Allahabad, Gaya, Nasik, Dwarka, Puri, Kumbakonam and Rameswaram. One may also note the great influence of temples all over India. Not only were they religious places of worship, but structures of grandeur and beauty. There can be no doubt that the temples of India were a very powerful unifying factor. Starting from the South in Madura and Rameswaram right up to the north in Kashmir, in the East from Dwarka to the great temples in Assam, they have been a powerful religious, cultural and aesthetic unifying force. Another method they adopted was the repetition of the sacred text, which in ancient times Indians used every time they bathed: Gangecha Jamunechaiva Godavari Sarasvatee Narmada Sindhu Kaveri jalesmin sannidhim kuru And it means: May the Ganges, the Yamuna, the Godavari, the Sarasvatee, the Narmada, the Sindhu and the Kaveri enter into this water.