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Savadi S Arunachalam

(1893 – 1938) – (Tamilnadu)

Savadi S Arunachalam known as Savadi S Arunachalam Pillai (Aged 45) k was born in Sengottai, Tirunelveli, Tamil Nadu, India, in 1893. He was an active participant in the Indian freedom struggle and was associated with the Ash Durai shooting case involving Veera Vanchinathan.

On April 10, 1910, along with Nilakanta Brahmachari, Dharmaja Iyer, Vanchinathan, and a few others, Savadi S Arunachalam Pillai founded an organization called Bharatha Matha Sangam at Madathukadai Chidambaram Pillai’s house in Thenkasi.

On April 14, 1911, a secret meeting was held at Arunachalam Pillai’s house with Vanchinathan, Nilakanta Brahmachari, and Ottpidaram Madasamy. Here they plotted the assassination of influential British men, including Robert Ashe, the district collector of Tirunelveli, also known as Collector Dorai. Vanchinathan was selected as the prime hitman to carry out the killing.

On June 17, 1911, Vanchinathan shot Ashe at point-blank range when Ashe’s train had stopped at the Maniyachi Station en route to Madras. Vanchinathan committed suicide with the same rifle thereafter.

Evidence such as “Thilakar Case file,” “Bharathiyar’s Jema Boomi Poet Book,” and “Prospects of Calcutta Medical College” were found at Savadi S Arunachalam Pillai’s house during the investigation of the Ashe assassination case. Based on this, Arunachalam Pillai was arrested on June 23, 1911, in Calcutta College hostel and imprisoned in Chennai Central Jail.

The Ashe assassination case ran for 80 days, during which Savadi S Arunachalam Pillai was brutally tortured to gain information about the people involved in the assassination plan. For about 237 days, he was continuously tortured. As there was a lack of evidence, Arunachalam Pillai and four others were eventually released.

After losing his medical studies and assets, Savadi S Arunachalam Pillai participated in the 1919 non-cooperation movement against the British. In 1925, he started a boys’ hostel for Harijans, and in 1930, he encouraged many people to participate in the Salt Satyagraha. He passed away on April 27, 1938.