Unsung Heroes | History Corner | Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav, Ministry of Culture, Government of India

Unsung Heroes Detail

Unsung Heroes Detail

Nagammai

Salem, Tamil Nadu

November 21, 2022 to November 21, 2023

Nagammai was born in 1885 to Rangasamy and Ponnuthai in Thathampatti, Salem. Nagammai was raised with a conservative outlook towards life and religion and married E.V. Ramasamy Naicker, She played a part in the Vaikom Satyagraha and the temperance movement aimed at curbing alcohol consumption in colonial India. While its origins can be traced back to 1907, it received popular support after joining hands with the nationalist movement. Mahatma Gandhi encouraged Indians to boycott alcohol deeming it a foreign import. The Congress policy of prohibition was formulated in their household under the supervision of Gandhi. Nagammai and Kannamal, Ramasamy’s sister, who was actively involved in the process. When Gandhi announced that members of Congress should participate in the picketing of toddy shops, Nagammai and Kannamal joined the agitation and helped it gain momentum, forcing the British government to agree to certain compromises. During this time, the agitation turned violent and when Gandhi was asked by frontliners of the Congress to stop the protests he admitted that the decision of stopping the agitation was no longer in his hands but in those of two women in Erode – Nagammai and Kannamal.

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