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Parali S. Nellaiappar

(1889 – 1971) – (Tamilnadu)

Parali S. Nellaiappar (Aged 82) was born on September 18, 1889 in Paralikottai, a small village in the Tirunelveli district of Tamil Nadu, India. He was the second of three sons of Subramania Pillai and Muthulakshmi Ammal. Parali Su. Nellayapar was a multifaceted poet, writer, journalist, publisher, freedom fighter, and volunteer of V.O. Chidambaram Pillai referred as VOC. He was also a patron of Subramania Bharathi.

Nelliappar’s elder brother, Shanmugasundaram Pillai, collaborated with V.O. Chidambaram Pillai to promote and strengthen the Swadeshi movement. He sold many shares of the Swadeshi Shipping Company in Trichy and surrounding districts, raising thousands of rupees. Shanmugasundaram Pillai also introduced Subramania Siva, who hailed from Vathalakundu in Madurai district, to VOC when he brought him to Thoothukudi. Subramania Siva referred to Nellaiappar as “Vande Mataram Pillai.”

The younger of Nellaiappar named Kulandaivelan worked as an accountant in the shipping company of VOC. Later, he assisted Nellaiappar in running the magazine Lokopakari.

Nellaiappar supported various freedom fighters, such as VOC, Subramania Sivam, Subramania Bharathi, Neelakanta Brahmachari, Aurobindo, and V.V.S.Iyer, during their struggles for freedom. VOC organized a strike with the help of bleachers, servants, and cooks working in British households to protest against the British rule, and Nellaiappar played a significant role in supporting the project.

On March 12, 1908, V.O. Chidambaram Pillai and Subramaniam Siva were arrested for running a shipping company, holding a procession, and calling himself Vande Mataram. VOC and Subramania Siva had defied the police ban by organizing a procession on March 9, which was attended by Nellaiappar. The two were taken into custody at the district collector’s office in Kokrakulam, Tirunelveli, and imprisoned in Palayamkottai jail. VOC’s defiance of the police ban was to celebrate the release of freedom fighter Vipin Chandrapal on the third Monday of March 1908.

Nellayapar printed a leaflet to hold a meeting to condemn this. The police arrested him for that. The court sentenced him to one month in prison. In Palayamkot, he was kept in jail along with VOC and Subramania Shiva. In 1930, he participated in the salt satyagraha held at Maraikadu Vedaranyam, for which he was sentenced to six months in jail.

In 1932, he accepted the orders of Gandhiji and led the protest in Chindarippet, Chennai, picketing a black shop and protesting in front of a foreign cloth shop. In 1941, he participated in the individual satyagraha campaign and was kept in Bellary Jail for six months.

Nellaiappar was naturally poetic. He composed poems while he was in Thoothukudi with VOC. When he was with Bharati in Puduvai, he read his songs and knew the poetic techniques to the extent of commenting and correcting them. While Bharathidasan was working in Desapakthan magazine, Namakkal V. Ramalingam Pillai edited and published songs written by him.

In 1966, Nellaiappar compiled the poems he had written for nearly 50 years and published them in a book titled “Nellaith Theral” which spanned 142 pages. He also authored other poetry books such as “Bharati Bhartiya” and “Uyum Path”. Despite never marrying, he adopted and raised a girl named Poongodai in his later years. Nellaiappar passed away on Monday, 28th March 1971 in Crompettai, Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India.