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Sardar Vedaratnam

(1897 – 1961) – (Tamilnadu)

Sardar Vedaratnam Pillai (Aged 64) was born on February 25, 1897, in Vedaranyam, Nagapattinam, Tamil Nadu, India. He was an Indian freedom fighter, a leader of the Indian National Congress, and a famous philanthropist who served as an MLA for three terms over a period of 14 years. He is known for his heroic contributions in the salt march of Vedaranyam in 1930, alongside C. Rajagopalachari.

Following the influence of Gandhiji, Vedaratnam opted to boycott foreign cloth (Swadeshi) and strictly made and wore pure cotton clothing. He encouraged those around him to do the same. He was also passionate about the Freedom Struggle, and spent much time protesting and even getting arrested for doing so.

In 1931, Vedaratnam was conferred with the title of ‘Sardar’ at the meeting of the Tamil Nadu Agriculturists and laborers at Tirunelveli for his exploits in the Vedaranyam Salt March. He was multilingual and patronized many native arts.

In 1946, he founded the Kasturba Gandhi Kanya Gurukulam, a rural, charitable women’s welfare organization situated in Vedaranyam. This orphanage has continued its services of feeding, sheltering, and educating many helpless girl children since then.

The rural women welfare organization that he founded has provided succor to thousands of poor girl children over the years and is fully functional to this day. Many visitors from various countries have paid visits to Gurukulam and have appreciated their services. Vedaratnam won three elections to be a Member of the Legislative Assembly of Madras State, which is now known as Tamil Nadu. All of the compensation that he earned in this position, he donated to Shri Ramakrishna Mission. He also served as the lone Secretary for the Tanjore District Congress Committee for ten years. He passed away on August 24, 1961.