Sunday, 10 June 2012

The Roaring Twenties And The Glorious Thirties

That was a  period of great excitement and patriotic fervour. 
Happily, I was at the midst of all this excitement at Madurai.

Those were days when communication facilities were primitive and instant reporting was unimagined.
We depended upon National dailies like The Hindu and The Swadesamithran for news. They did full justice to the National Movement by reporting in full, page after page of speeches by great leaders like the Mahatma and Nehru.

We waited, often impatiently for the arrival of the papers and went through the speeches from beginning to end with religious zeal. 
Fired by the spirit of the day, we spoke all day of Satyagraha and boycott.
We made it a point to spin on the takli and wear only kathir.

At Gandhigram, when I was much older

Dreams of freedom, spun on the wheel

We were young boys in the fourth form and the year was 1929. The Simon Commission was deployed and there was a national hue and cry for it's boycott. On the day the Commission visited Madurai, we planned secretly, to participate in the boycott with high hopes to be arrested, what a badge of honor it would be!

We skipped school without notice, stood in one of the thoroughfares through which the commission was to drive past, hoisting black flags in our hands, ready with the slogan "Simon Commission go back!". 

Oh! But what a flop!
The Commission had taken a different route, anticipating protests.
And us young boys, it was no wonder we returned home with sheepish faces!


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