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Part 3: Anna in the dock (1953)

by Sachi Sri Kantha, September 16, 2009

The main objective of the DMK that got recorded in the judgement of this trial of Anna and his companions was “the creation of a sovereign democratic Dravidastan”. The name ‘Dravidastan’ was formulated imitating Pakistan that was formed from India in 1947. At that time, the DMK was only a social welfare organization active in Tamil journalism, Tamil stage and cinema, devoid of political representation at the Madras state and the Indian parliament. The judgement also records that the DMK came into existence on 17-9-1949, and in 1953 had a membership of over 100,000 persons in Tamil Nadu.

Part 1 of series

As 40 years have passed by since the death of DMK’s founder leader C. N. Annadurai (1909-1969), it is reasonable to assume that only those who are round 60 years or above now can claim personal acquaintance with Anna. This number is dwindling with the years. Among the members of the current DMK cabinet headed by M. Karunanidhi in Tamil Nadu state assembly, eleven individuals (those born before 1950; namely Karunanidhi, Anbazhagan, Arcot Veerasamy, Ko. Si. Mani, Veerapandi Arumugam, Durai Murugan, Suba Thangavelan, K.K.S.S.R. Ramachandran, Ubayadullah, Mohideen Khan and Selvaraj) can claim some degree of acquaintance with Anna on a personal basis. Two of the younger women cabinet members were born after Anna’s death.

Verdict on Verdict 1953 C. N. AnnaduraiFor educational purposes and the record, I provide below excerpts from a book ‘Verdict on Verdict’ by A.S. Venu that was published in 1953. This is the oldest document on DMK in my possession, on the early days of DMK. It tells the story of a July 1953 agitation initiated by the DMK in the then Madras State, whose then chief minister was C. Rajagopalachari, representing the Indian National Congress. As a result, Anna and his leading lieutenants were arrested and placed on trial.

This trial was touted by the DMK press, as ‘The Big Five Trial’. It is interesting to note that the then pecking order of the DMK was as follows: C.N. Annadurai, E.V.K. Sampath, R. Nedunchezhiyan, K.A. Mathialagan and N.V. Natarajan. The current DMK head M. Karunanidhi was not ranked among the DMK’s top five in 1953. But he receives mention in chapter 2, and in item 14 of the Judgement delivered by M.A. Venkataramana Naidu, the chief presidency magistrate.

The main objective of the DMK that got recorded in the judgement of this trial of Anna and his companions was “the creation of a sovereign democratic Dravidastan”. The name ‘Dravidastan’ was formulated imitating Pakistan that was formed from India in 1947. At that time, the DMK was only a social welfare organization active in Tamil journalism, Tamil stage and cinema, devoid of political representation at the Madras state and the Indian parliament. The judgement also records that the DMK came into existence on 17-9-1949, and in 1953 had a membership of over 100,000 persons in Tamil Nadu.

The Big Five Trial in 1953

[source: Verdict on Verdict by A.S.Venu, Kalai Manram, Madras, 1953, 104 pp]

Publisher’s Note (provided in full)

Authors’s Preface (provided in full)

Chapter 1: Wages of Service (provided in full)

Chapter 2: Agitations (provided in full)

Chapter 3: Trial: Anna’s Statement, and Magistrate’s questions to Anna [partial text only]

Chapter 4: Judgment (CC No.5353 of 1953. dated 1st Sep. 1953) [partial text only]

Publisher’s Note

The sensational trial of the leader C.N. Annadurai, whose leadership of the Dravidians would lead the Dravidians from becoming free citizens of sovereign democratic republic – Dravidasthan – free from North Indian exploitation of any kind would go into the pages of Dravidian history under ‘golden days’.

This trial which is of universal importance, bringing to the ears of those who till now had a dejection to the very ideology of Dravidasthan, would be much benifitted in, we feel by bringing out this book ‘Verdict on Verdict’.

The author of this book, who is none else than the personal assistant to the great leader C.N. Annadurai, has dealt in detail the ins and outs of the present implication of the ‘Big Five Trial’. Being written in the heat of passions and emotions of the hour, the author thinks that the deeper purpose may be served by this book. The author has clearly brought out that the agitation is not of the few leaders, and is undoubtedly of the entire Dravidian nation – who are now subjected to domination by the North. It is for every Dravidian to push on with the work chalked out by the leaders.

The author Mr. A.S. Venu, whose intelligence and experience are of a high order, whose works are marked by ability, energy, enthusiasm and lucidity, whose meritorious services to Dravidians in the past, his contribution to educating public as a journalist and of late his services as personal assistant to the leader Mr. C.N. Annadurai, needs no introduction to the people in the South. While thanking him for permitting us to bring out this book, we are sure our readers would be much benefited. It is in this hope the book is presented to the public.

Kalai Manram

Author’s Preface

The sensational trial of the leaders Messers C.N. Annadurai, K.A. Mathialagan, E.V.K. Sampath, V.R. Nedunchelian and N.V. Natarajan, who constitute the ‘Big Five’ of the Dravidian Progressive Federation, the most powerful and overwhelmingly supported organization of the masses came to an end on the 1st September 1953, when they were convicted and sentenced to imprisonment by the Chief Presidency Magistrate at Madras.

This book is an unusual attempt to give vent to the real motives of the Dravidians, by giving a detailed account of the formation of the Dravidian Progressive Federation, its aims and aspirations, the past activities and notable achievements of the party and the latest agitations sponsored by the Dravidian Federation, with a view to understand the progress of the trial with lively interest. The full text of the trial, including the prosecution proceedings and the detailed text of the judgment are the hall marks of the book. It will not be exaggeration to say here that the various controversial points, disputable utterances, which came from the lips of the learned Chief Presidency Magistrate, and most vital of all his charges against the Dravidian Progressive Federation, are seriously and comprehensively brought out in this book, so that it would clear the suspectors of the Dravidian Progressive Federation, the false misrepresentation and gross untruths.

Being unlettered in law, I do not venture to analyse the legal implications in this ‘Big Five Trial’ and as a matter of fact I do realize that any man in the position of a Chief Presidency Magistrate could no nothing more than what has been done. But one thing is undesirable. The judgements delivered in courts are not free and outspoken. However different the judgment of one’s conscience might be, various other factors have to be reckoned with in pronouncing judgment, and with special attention to cases of this sort. In every day walk of life every thinking citizen is a judge in the sense of the term that before coming to a conclusion everyone judges. Thus we see that judgment is the indispensable creed of the entire humanity and to that humanity I wish to place this book for the verdict of the people. That popular judgment has life and zeal. It has more value than that delivered in the four walls of the court wherein all other aspects are of no concern except law.

We have experienced that law has no respect for personalities and we need not be abated at the leaders being convicted by the influence of law. History of free nations reveal, the grotesque blunders law inflicted on the people and their agitations and more of all the cruelty, ‘law’ affilicted on the leaders whose only unlawfulness was their love towards motherland.

What a panorama arises in the mid when we think of great leaders like Mahatma Gandhi, Lenin, Voltaire, Rousseau, Ingersoll and hundreds of such, to what hardship they were led to, how cruel ‘Law’ has been. It is no wonder today Com. C.N. Annadurai the spearhead of the South is imprisoned along with his comrades by the cruel eyes of ‘Law’. The leaders on hearing imprisonment simply smiled. They have not expected better courtesy.

The followers of the DMK who crowded round the court, the slogans raised by them renting the skies, the sobbing of the women folk, shades of grief in the faces of the sons of the soil, and everyone rushing to bid farewell were not merely touching but to every level headed politician, struck the thought – that ultimate success would be for the DMK. In fact ‘Dravidasthan’ would be a reality taking an account of the savants.

At that critical hour, dawned an idea to me – and now it is in your hands, as a book. I have captioned the book as ‘Verdict on Verdict’. The learned Chief Presidency Magistrate is of course the authority on law and his verdict as I have stated is based on facts concerning law. But such thoughts as why, one stoops to unlawful things, under what circumstances people fail to respect law has no concern nor has any part to play in the law courts. Over such a verdict, only the favoured would rejoice. To the masses who have keenly followed the ‘Big Five Trial’, and to those who have brains to think for themselves the real implications under which the verdict was delivered could not go unconceived. Their verdict and the verdict would naturally differ since the verdict of people is not based on mere law alone. Various other factors, have a notable part to play in the verdict of the people and so I believe the captioning of the book as ‘Verdict on Verdict’ is apt.

I have undertaken a very responsible task to discourse here for a little on the DMK, the ‘Big Five’, their manner of appearance in politics, in short – on the ‘heroes’ of the day, their reception and performance. Let me confess that I am not ambitious that this book should shine in this world as a literary piece, nor is it my intention. I would only feel that I have contributed my little service if this book would serve the purpose of clearing the anti-propaganda against the DMK by the so-called nationalists and of the unholy propagations of the Brahmin monopolized press that seeks to keep the masses thoroughly misconceived. Denunciation of the DMK are still rampant; and decrying the doctrine of Dravidasthan is still the pastime of the disgruntled politicians in the South. It is to them and in particular to the masses to know the truths that I have ventured on this work. The present methods of the Congress with Rajaji at the top, adopts certain curious methods curious to advanced political countries, and unknown in the fields of developed democracy. It is to expose the immoral actions and to warn the public from becoming victims to these evil politicians that I have thought of this work. It is for the reader to judge the sentiments expressed. Reader is my judge. His judgment is my verdict.


Madras, 5-9[Sept]-’53.


Chapter 1: Wages of Service

The learned Chief Presidency Magistrate in convicting and sentencing comrade C.N. Annadurai and four others of the Dravidian Progressive Federation has in my humble opinion failed to take a comprehensive view of the whole situation in Dravidasthan. No other event was of such a great universal importance in the past history of Dravidians as this trial of the ‘Big Five’ was.

There were days when the very word ‘Dravidian’ was shunned. Critics were not wanting who questioned the very validity of the term ‘Dravidian’, mainly to shield their own nests. It did not take long for us to quote from the pages of history, from the works of Tamil scholars to prove that Dravidians were a very progressive, and highly cultured nation. It was later on that the critics changed their angle of attack. They had spent sleepless nights and restless days, exhausting all means to crush our movement. But fortunately for us the Dravidians who were in the Justice Party (South Indian Liberal Federation) answered the call of comrade C.N. Annadurai, who with indefatigable zeal changed the party’s name as Dravida Kazhagam, and it was in the year 1949 that the progressive elements of the Dravida Kazhagam came out under the new body Dravidian Progressive Federation. In this short period of four years the party has grown to be a mighty organization. It has now a membership of over a lakh of members, constituted into organized bodies.

There were parties after parties coming in and fading out. There are a few parties in existence for a long term. As a matter of fact I can say there has not been a party that has a record of service as the DMK. Our party was born in the Congress rule and it has grown as a big body in the same rule. Today the only oldest party in India, which is undoubtedly the Congress, is out to crush us, without any concept. The arrest of our leaders is itself an act that amounts to say, the party in power reckons the doings of the DMK.

The leaders of the DMK never failed to give a lending hand to the Congress Ministry, whenever anything sanguine was sought for. It cannot be hushed up that we went to the rescue of the handloom workers by encouraging in all possible ways. It is not to be forgotten that the DMK contributed a quarter of a lakh to the Tanjore cyclone relief. In the fields of education DMK has done its utmost. In short, social service, without any hope of reward has been the concern of the DMK. But, unfortunately the Congress failed to realize the existence of DMK and a leader like C.N.A, the selfless sacrificing reformer, an ardent lover of peace, democracy and progress, who has made every man think clear, who is today the favourite and most loved brother (ANNA) of everybody behind prison bars. This ungrateful act of the party in power and this cruel cut of modern Brutus Rajaji has no parallel in the history.

The only charge against Anna is that he loved his country men, lives for them, loves to see them free. We have seen that Gandhi’s love for country met with punishment of ten times. It has been so in very many cases. Love will fetch punishment only. It is no wonder Anna is punished. This punishment may please many and much more Mr. Rajaji. I am not concerned with the fulminations of an inane mind so engrossed by evil thoughts and hateful ideas that has lost all sense of proposition but as one interested in the growth of democracy I should like to know what the promoters of democracy view about this ‘Big Five’ trial. It is only a threat to lovers of Dravidasthan. For all the services of the DMK in the difficult days for all the love it had on the people the wages are paid in the form of imprisonment.


Chapter 2: Agitations

July 13 – the memorable day, when the general executive of the Central Dravidian Progressive Federation met at ‘Arivagam’ to discuss and take decisions to conduct three agitations namely –

(1) Pulling chains of trains in Tamil Nad during day time on July 15 to express protest against the statement made by the prime minister of India doubting the agitation of the party as ‘childish and nonsense’.

(2) To change the name board of the station to its original name Kallakudy as found in revenue records to express the feeling of Dravidians that the North Indians are exploiting the south and the sons of the soil.

(3) To conduct the last resort ‘Marial’ at the residence of the chief minister Sri Rajagopalachari as long as the Assembly lasted with a view to persuade him to give up the revised elementary education scheme.

These three agitations of the DMK are not against the interests of the people dwelling in the south. Let us take them one by one.

The first agitation is ‘Stopping Trains’. It is not that the DMK men are incapable of causing damage by burning railway stations, or removing railway lines as done by the Congressites during August disturbances under the label of ahimsa and nonviolence that the DMK men stooped to stopping trains by pulling chains. Anna has clearly viewed the situation as a sound politician and guided his followers to stop trains only by pulling chains. His word was respected and naturally the trains stopped at over 500 places all over Tamilnad. There was not the least harm contemplated or done anywhere by the DMK men. The trains were stopped during day time only as it would otherwise cause inconvenience to the traveling public. The trains were stopped for a while and let off free to go. The government could have handled the situation better and the lives of those who succumbed on account of the police shooting could have been saved if only the government did not arrest Anna. The unique leadership of Anna would have made his disciplined followers to act up to the resolution only for a few seconds. The motive of the resolution is not stopping trains. It is on the other hand to make the prime minister repent for his haughty and unwarranted expression ‘childish and nonsense’. Even the learned chief presidency magistrate does not feel much about this. He is of the opinion that the Dravidians could have tolerated the damaging remarks of the prime minister Nehru! Now I ask the well wishers of the country and lovers of democracy whether it is justifiable on the part of so big a leader as Nehru to call the agitations of Tamilians as ‘childish nonsense’? Does not decency and decorum in the realms of democracy compel the due respect of the opposition? Pandit Nehru if he had been a bit wiser, ought to have discussed with our leaders the problems in all its angles. Unfortunately that standard of politics is quite extinct in India. Is it the privilege of the prime minister to go on talking as he pleases condemning and ridiculing the south Indians. How could it be tolerated and who could fail to appreciate the sincerity of DMK in keeping up the self respect of the south Indians aloft. Though Anna was arrested previous to the date of agitation the very fact that the agitation was widely carried out with vigour and awe shows the depth to which the entire country feels of Pandit Nehru’s remark. I do not think it arrogance or mere haughtiness that led Mr Nehru to tamper the Tamilians by such an expression. It may be he was unaware of what he said in the heat of speech making. However, Tamilians have taught a bitter lesson to Pandit Nehru, and the DMK’s first agitation ended in flying colours. It is true several thousands are in prison. Their suffering is after all a trifling compensation to the reward which will ever adorn the pages of history; as a nation, that could not withstand humiliation by others.

Coming to the Dalmiapuram agitation, kindly critics may ask whether North Indian exploitation could be put an end to by merely changing the name board. There are still another class of journalists who do not feel of any North Indian exploitation. But to those who have gone through the pages of Indian constitution, I believe beyond any shadow of doubt that south is always a submissive state of the Centre, would not warrant any dispute. Pooling the bulk of the revenue of this state at the Centre, our ministers go with a begging bowl and often return with mere sweet words. This fact is undeniable. The sons of the soil who are lowly and needy, who are depressed daily and oppressed by the North Indians feel it a sin to be born a Dravidian. The DMK is the only organization that stands for the complete eradication of North Indian exploitation with a view to give life and happiness to the sons of the soil. The North Indians have the audacity of not only exploiting us but also creating colonies of their own in the right centre of our land. Unless this colonization of the North Indians is nipped in the bud there is every possibility of the Dravidians becoming like the South Africans where white settlers have become the owners and the sons of the soil – mere aliens. This view may not be appreciated by the learned chief presidency magistrate who in our opinion had not studied the problem in all its bearing. To us it is a very important matter and to every self-respecting son of this country it cannot be considered ordinary as the learned chief presidency magistrate has pointed out that Dalmiapuram is afterall a wayside railway station. It is not the name board of the wayside railway station that motivated the DMK to carry on agitation. It is in fact an open agitation against the fast increasing exploitation of the south by the North Indians. In short, this agitation is a prelude to Dravidasthan. The leader of this agitation, Mr M Karunanithi who is now under going imprisonment has again and again made it clear to the public through press and on platform the real implication of the agitation.

Coming to the last of the agitations even as learned as the chief presidency magistrate has failed to comprehend the circumstances that lead the DMK to picket in front of the residence of Sri C. Rajagopalachariar. But the public cannot be hoodwinked. In these days of democracy it is highly idiotic on the part of a man in power to ignore the elected representatives. It is like fooling public if not mere mockery at democracy. The chief minister has not cared to consult the House or even his ministers before introducing, the New Elementary Education Scheme. This is not only obnoxious but also harmful to the majority of the state. The learned chief presidency magistrate may differ from us. But it is a matter of individual opinion. But taking collective opinion and taking democratic view of things ‘picketting’ is recognized in a very well advanced country like Britain as one of the lawful modes of drawing public attention. May be the learned chief presidency magistrate is not aware and therefore he thinks picketing is outmoded and unlawful. We do not quarrel with his opinion. But we sympathize with him for his ignorance. He is further wrong in further saying that picketing interferes with the freedom of the individuals or group of individuals or anybody. It has been established in the course of evidence in this case, that neither the chief minister nor any member of his family was hindered from going out or coming in. There was no restraint of any kind. All that the picketeers intended was merely shouting slogans. But no sketch of imagination it can be connected with physical force. Even during the British Government the picketing of toddy shops was recognized as a lawful act of educating the public. But under this ‘Ram Raj’ people are deprived of their right even to express their opinion against any measure of the government. It is a universally known fact that picketing is an effective method by which public opinion could be crystallized. In England where there is a parliament, labourers whenever they go on strike also resort to picketing because that is the ideal way to draw the attention of the public and the government inspite of the fact that they have got a legislature and an elected parliament. It cannot be forgotten or even hushed up of the great ordeals DMK underwent previous to picketing to make the chief minister withdraw his New Elementary Education Scheme.

Apart from the DMK, distinguished educationists, leading editors, sound politicians in the various parties of this country and above all even Congressmen criticized the New Elementary Education Scheme. Resolutions were communicated by public bodies conference of the DMK, brightmen in the Legislature have all opposed. But Rajaji did not budge an inch. He was resolute, if not adamant. He persisted in his policy. This would naturally provoke anybody to act up to the hour and make Rajaji realize the need to respect democracy. Any amount of opposition in the legislature had no avail. So the DMK ventured on agitation. Further more the New Elementary Education Scheme is nothing but making the state go back to the days of Varnashrama dharma. Such a motive underlying the scheme, particularly stressed by one who was not elected by the people, who has no guts to face an election ever since he assumed office; quite well indicates that there is no support for him. Naturally his scheme has no backing. As a decent politician Rajaji should have given the scheme or invited the opponents of the scheme to suggest means to reform elementary education. This he failed to do. Under these circumstances what is wrong in the followers of Anna picketing in front of Rajaji’s house to persuade him to give up his policy.

It is for these three agitations the executive committee of the DMK met. There was nothing of the sort to plan against the Congress government. It has been the duty of DMK as the watchdog of politics and as vanguard of the masses to bring to right political drifting of the Congress. This time at the executive meeting the ‘BIG FIVE’ were arrested by the deputy commissioner of police (law and order) Mr. F.V. Arul. The leaders were taken in a police van with the vast crowds that collected in so short a time, shouting ‘Dravidanad for Dravidians’, ‘Long Live Anna’, ‘Down with Rajaji’s Scheme’.


Chapter 3: Trial

[abbreviations: A-1= accused 1, PW-1 = prosecution witness 1]

Anna’s Statement

Mr. Annadurai (A-1) in the course of his statement, which he read in the court, said, “Permit me, your Honour, to place certain salient features pertaining to the case, We are alleged to have committed various offences. On the use of the legal arm, we stand here as abettors of certain crimes. I do not know whether there is any provision in the legal code, as I am unlettered in law, but I am certain there is ample provision in the moral code for the alleged offender to explain the circumstances and the environment in which he is placed, not with a view to escaping punishment, but to place before the court of justice, and through it the public all the facts so that there can be a correct appraisal of the whole state of affairs.”

Referring to his party, he said that it was a democratic organization, having branches in all towns and cities throughout Tamil Nad with over a lakh of members on its rolls, as PW-1 himself had stated. While, given the time and opportunity, they could unseat the present regime, yet they stood as abettors of certain offences.

Explaining the objectives of the DMK, A-1 said it was to liberate ‘their homeland from the clutches of Northern Indian domination’. The DMK was pledged to work in a ‘peaceful and constitutional manner,’ and the various prosecution witnesses and the exhibits filed in the court, had borne ample testimony to the fact. He said, ‘The keynote of our exortations even during the din and buzzle of the agitation has been dignity and discipline.’ In the social sphere, the DMK aimed at reshaping the present set up into a classless and casteless society and was working incessantly for it, but in a peaceful, non-violent and dignified manner. He added, ‘Violence we exchewed as inhuman and derogatory to democracy. We never planned communal hatred, and bickerings. In fact, we gladly welcomed all communities, including Brahmins, to come into our fold and work for the liberation of our homeland.’

Proceeding he stated, ‘The Dravidian nation finds itself today enslaved, exploited, insulted and driven from pillar to post, their culture is damned, their education ruined, and their economy jeopardized. There is enough material for a conflagration and to make people lose their balance, but the DMK was able to make them remain peaceful, nonviolent, and disciplined, because the DMK believes that the constitutional method is not cowardice.’ While law-breaking was an offence, there were law-breakers and law-breakers. Some people become law-breakers for selfish nefarious purposes. Such people were social pests. But some people were dubbed law-breakers by ‘autocrats with or without crown, who make law an impediment in the fight for righteousness.’ The nobler the cause, the greater become the persecution. They should not be dubbed law-breakers in the ugly sense of the term.

‘The prosecution’, he stated, ‘has been laboriously building up the case bringing in witnesses and filing exhibits of resolutions passed by the working committee of the DMK, a portion of my speeches at the DMK conference at Madras, certain announcements and articles published in Nam Naadu. I do not deny the authenticity of any one of these. In fact, I am surprised to find them so effective; nearly 5,000 people had courted imprisonment.’ He contended that all this was a proof that the cause for which they were working had the sanction of the people. He said picketing before the Chief Minister’s residence had been singled out as an offence. He was sorry that his comrades had not been charged for picketing, but instead they were charged for taking out processions, without licence and for forming themselves into unlawful assemblies. This was hitting below the belt. The DMK adopted all kinds of democratic methods to impress the powers that be to hear the voice of the people and to respect their wishes and to concede their demands, but not a smile or nod came from them. The Government of the day showed disrespect to all canons of democracy. He said, ‘Is it not then open for the DMK to find out other means of approach? We are not particularly enamoured of Bazllulah Road. But where else can we go to than to the residence of the chief minister to place our grievances – the peoples’ grievances. Is it a crime to express the peoples’ grievances, peoples’ thoughts, in a peaceful, orderly and dignified manner?’ The agitation took place only after they had exhausted all avenues of democratic approach,’ he said.

He added, ‘Your Honour, I am not analyzing the term abetment at all. I am not denying any one of the statements made by the prosecution. I am only asking whether, under the circumstances, these are offences at all? Are they not necessary steps we are forced to take, because of the autocratic way in which the party in power brushed aside the peoples’ wishes and demands? The dictum was that the voice of the people was the voice of God. But the Chief Minister had refused to hear the voice of God as well as the voice of the people.’

Magistrate: ‘The object of making the statement is to explain the evidence and not to make a speech. You have referred to things with which I am not concerned.’

A-1 said that he wanted the country to know about it.

Magistrate: My concern is whether any offence is committed or not. I am not concerned with other things.

Magistrate’s Questions

The Magistrate then put some questions to A-1.

Q: There was a meeting of the Executive Committee on July 13?

A: Yes.

Q: At that meeting, the resolutions recorded in the minutes book were passed?

A: The Second and Third resolutions were passed.

Q: You have heard witnesses speak of the stopping of trains at Dalmiapuram, Tuticorin, Basin Bridge, and also processions taken out at Thyagaraya Nagar. It is said that these things were done in pursuance of the resolutions passed by the Executive Committee?

A: I admit they have passed resolutions.

Q: I am not referring to the passing of resolutions. The stopping of trains at these places was the result of the resolutions passed by your Executive Committee on the 13th. You admit?

A: Yes.

Q: They were the direct result of the resolutions?

A: Yes.

Q: As for the processions in Thyagaraya Nagar concerned?

A: They were natural outbursts and not due to the resolutions. I do not know what happened.

Q: You did not want them to hold processions, nor did the Executive Committee?

A: No. The Executive Committee asked them only to go for picketing.

Q: I would like to understand whether you instructed them to defy the order under Section 41 of the City Police Act?

A: That question does not arise at all. We contemplated only picketing. We did not imagine there would be a police order and so we did not also contemplate any violation of the order.

Q: They say that the leading of processions by DMK men was the result of the resolutions?

A: It cannot be.

Q: Were you aware of the order under Section 41?

A: As a matter of fact, I am not aware of it. The Executive Committee passed other resolutions for July 8 processions. For that, we said that, even if there was a prohibitory order, they must conduct a procession. Since we were arrested on the 13th, we did not know what took place on the 14th.

Q: You seem to have given a message immediately after the arrest or sometime after the arrest?

A: It was an oral message and they have embellished it with words.

Q: Is the substance of it correct?

A: Yes, your Honour, the substance is the same. Only, I did not say it in so many words.


Chapter 4: Judgment CC. No. 5353 of 1953 dated 1st September 1953

[abbreviations: A-1= accused 1 (Annadurai aka Anna), IPC = Indian Penal Code, PW = prosecution witness, Ex. P = Exhibit for prosecution ]

[Note by Sachi: The Judgment consists of 54 items. For brevity, I provide here only items 1-19 and 54-59. The dates recorded appear in the order: date-month- last two digits of the year. Colloquial non-English words, other than Sri (a honorific prefix in India) are shown in italics. The dots, wherever they appear, are as in the original.]

[1] In this case (1) Sri C.N. Annadurai, (2) Sri K.A.Mathialagan, (3) Sri E.V.K.Sampath, (4) Sri R.Nedunchelian, and (5) Sri N.V. Natarajan have been charged by the Inspector of Police Central Crimes Section, Egmore, Madras with having committed offences under section 117 read with section 341 IPC, 41 of Madras City Police Act and sect.108 and 122 of the Indian Railways Act.

[2] The prosecution examined 11 witnesses namely (1) Sri V. Kulandaivelu (PW 1) the A.C. of Police in charge of the Intelligence Section Crimes Branch, (2) Sri L. Gopal Rao (PW 2), a Tamil shorthand Inspector attached to the Crime Branch of the Madras City Police, (3) Sri J.S.Joseph Jaggaraj (PW 3) a shorthand Inspector attached to the Shorthand Bureau at Vellore, (4) Sri P.R.Padmanaba Iyer (PW 4) deputy Superintendent of Police, Musiri, (5) Sri N. Kulanthai (PW 5) deputy Superintendent of Police, Tuticorin, (6) G. Santhanakrishnan (PW 6) Inspector, Railway Police, Madras, (7) Mr. R.A. Timms (PW 7) Inspector of Police, ‘H’ Division, Madras, (8) V. Ramasamy (PW 8), the press clerk attached to the Chief Presidency Magistrate, (9) Sri C. Sundaram (PW 9) Inspector of Police, ‘J’ Division, (10) M.R. Raman (PW 10) and (11) Sri E.T. Vairamuthu, Inspectors of Police attached to the Crimes Branch of the Madras City Police.

[3] The list of their evidences is this: The accused are members of a political organization called D.P.F. also known as DMK (which will hereafter be called or referred as DMK) with its headquarters at 24, Suriya Narayana Chetty Street, Royapuram, Madras. It came into existence on 17-9-1949. It has a written constitution (Ex. P-18). There is nothing secret about it. It has a flag of its own. It has branches all over Tamilnad. The party at among other things the establishment of a casteless and classless autonomous Dravidian state free from North Indian exploitation and Brahmin domination. It has a membership of over a lakh of persons spread all over Tamilnad. The members subscription is eight annas. ‘Nam Nadu’ printed and published by 4th accused from Madras is the party’s daily paper. It has started publication on 15-6-53. It is priced at one anna per copy. 15 to 17 thousand copies have been circulated. ‘Dravidian’ is its weekly and it is published by 5th accused who has started it on 16-5-52. The affairs of the party are managed by an executive committee consisting of 17 members including the accused. Accused 1 is the general secretary, accused 2 and 4 are its assistant secretaries. Accused 5 is the secretary of the constitution committee. The executive committee lays down the general policy and directs its activities of the party. The accused became members of the executive committee on 10-5-53. The accused are the ‘Big Five’ of the party.

[4] In July 1953 the police had information that the DMK intended to conduct three agitations namely – (1) to pull the chains and stop the trains in Tamilnad during the day time on 15-7-53 to protest against the words alleged to have been used by the prime minister calling their agitation as nonsense and ‘stupid’ etc., (2) to start satyagraha at Dalmiapuram which according to the DMK sounded of North Indian exploitation and change the name into Kallakudy and (3) to organize a procession every day during the assembly and to hold demonstrations by picketing before the residence of the chief minister at Bazulla Road, Theagarayanagar, with a view to persuade him to give up the revised Elementary Education Scheme.

[5] The issue of Nam Nadu (ex.P-3), dated 7-7-53 stated that on the 15th July trains will be stopped as a protest against the remarks of the prime minister. The issue of Dravidian (ex. P-4), dated 10-7-53 made a reference to the said impending agitations. The issue of Nam Nadu (ex.P-5), dated 8th July 1953 containing report of a speech made by 1st accused at Chidambaram (exhibit P-5a) and other articles (exhibit P-5b) and the issue of Dravidian (exhibit P-4), dated 10th July 1953 also made reference to these agitations.

[6] There was a district conference of the DMK on 11th July 1953 and 12th July 1953 in a specially erected pandal in the Napier Park, Chintadripet, Madras. All the accused took part in it and made speeches. PW 2 and 3 recorded the speeches. (ex P-7 to 11) are the translations of the speeches of A1 to A5 respectively. They also dealt with the proposed agitations.

[7] By an order, dated 27th June 1953 the commissioner of police in exercise of the powers conferred on him by section 41 of the Madras City Police Act had prohibited meetings, assemblies, gatherings, in any public place, street, road or thoroughfare, within the limits of the Madras City, except under a license in according with the conditions imposed therein. In the interest of public peace the order was to be in force till 31st August 1953. This order itself was a revival and an extention of the previous orders issued from time to time which were in force from 29th April 1950 (see exhibit P-6 and P-21).

[8] On 13-7-53 (PW 1) had information about 7 pm that the accused were holding an executive committee meeting at the party office in Royapuram and are likely to take certain decisions. So, he proceeded to the party headquarters at 7:15 pm and found the accused and 20 to 30 others holding a meeting within closed doors. He entered the room as the meeting was taking place and found that they had finished their deliberations. PW 1 asked for the minutes of the meeting and A-1 gave (exhibit P-1) to him. The minutes are in the writing of A-2 and are signed by A-1, A-3, A-5. The accused were arrested before the remaining accused affixed their signature at the end of the minutes book at the commencement of the proceedings.

[9] (i)The resolutions passed by the committee were to the following effect:

(ii) This committee resolves to do mariyal at the chief minister’s residence on 15-7-53 as a protest against the new educational scheme and nominates Mr. E.V.K.Sampath to lead the marial. (ii-a) This committee empowers the general secretary to continue the marial and chalk out programme as he deems fit. (ii-b) This committee appeals to the district committee of Madras to offer all kinds of assistance and cooperation including funds to make the marial a success.

(iii) This committee approves of the nomination of Mr. M. Karunanithi to lead the Dalmiyapuram struggle and empowers the general secretary to chalk out programme and to advice the action committee as and when the occasion arises.

(iv) This committee ratifies the statement of the general secretary that a ‘Stop-Train’ campaign should be conducted on July 15th to bring to the notice of the prime minister Nehru the condemnation of the Tamilians for his utterances and calls upon the units of the DMK to make the ‘Stop Train’ campaign a grand success.

[10] The accused were arrested under section IPC. When the arrested were being arrested PW 10 was keeping watch outside the party headquarter. He saw an excess crowd of 30 to 40 persons waiting outside the party headquarter to know the results of the decisions of the party. Some of them were delegates who had attended the conference of the DMK on the 11th and 12th July 1953. It was announced to the crowd that the Big Five had been arrested and that the decision of the party should be given effect to and the agitation carried on. The crowd dispersed after the accused were taken away. Accused 1 gave a message (Exhibit P-19) published in Nam Nadu, dated 14th July 1953. In the same issue another article appeared (Exhibit P – 19b) under the heading ‘Anna has been Jailed’. The resolutions of the executive committee were also found printed (Exhibit P-19d). The issue also contained a list of persons who were to take part in the 1st days agitations. Accused 1 message exhorted his followers to carry on the agitations referred to in the above resolutions of the executive committee peacefully and with dignity.

[11] PW-7 was one of the police officer who arrested the accused. He took them to the Office of the Commissioner of Police and registered a case in the Crime Cr. No. 420 of 1953 (Exhibit P 17) is the F.I.R. Further investigation was taken up by PW-11 who after completing investigation filed the charge sheet along with written complaints (Exhibit P-22) under the signature of the Commissioner of Police on 24th July 1953.

[12] As a result of the resolutions passed by the executive committee of the DMK, several incidents occurred all over TamilNadu.

[13] For example, in Dalmiapuram on 14th July 1953 PW-4 learnt that the members of the DMK were resorting to direct action by taking out procession, pasting of Tamil posters over the station board and stopping all the trains. On the morning of 15-7-1953 twenty five volunteers led by Karunanithi came carrying placards and shouting slogans to the railway station. They pasted Tamil posters with the name Kallakudy over the name Dalmiapuram in the railway station boards. As soon as the train came at 9:50 am, Karunanithi and five others went and laid themselves across the line in front of the engine. Persuasion had no effect. So, the men were arrested and removed. Immediately another batch of DMK men came and laid themselves across the rails. They were also arrested. The crowd then went away. The same thing was repeated by the DMK when the train from Trichy came at about 11:15 am. There was then a crowd of 2,000 men on the platform. Once again 25 volunteers laid themselves across the track in front of the engine and obstructed the movement of the train. They would not leave the track in spite of persuasion. So the police arrested themen and took them to custody. The volunteers shouted slogans like ‘Down with Rajaji, Down with Nehru, Down with North Indian Exploitation. We will change the Dalmiapuram and nothing can prevent us’ and so on. The next train was due at 1:58 pm. By 1 pm a crowd collected at the station and was conducting itself in an unruly manner. PW 4 cleared the crowd from the platform. About 300 persons who claimed to have tickets were allowed to remain on the platform. All of them were DMK members. They were shouting to the effect that they had come there at the behest of Anna and by the direction of the executive committee. The train bound for Trichy arrived at 1:58 pm. The volunteers made a rush towards the engine. Ten or twelve of them actually squatted in front of the engine. The sub-divisional magistrate had to declare them to be members of an unlawful assembly and asked them to disperse. They did not disperse. So by the direction of the sub-divisional magistrate they were lathi charged. Some of the volunteers had to be removed forcefully. A part of the crowd ran and hid behind the goods trains. Another part entered the train. There was stone pelting and one stone hit engine driver. He was dizzy for a minute but soon recovered and started the train. The train moved to a distance of 400 feet. In the meantime the crowd emerged towards the train and gathered in front of the engine. About 100 persons squatted in front of the engine and a crowd of 2,000 persons stood along the track. The police were surrounded on all sides. The sub-divisional magistrate had therefore declared the [gathering] to be members of an unlawful assembly and asked them to disperse. As they failed to obey the direction lathi charge was ordered. There was heavy pelting of stones on all sides. Many policemen including PW-4 were injured. So the lathi section was recalled and as the position became precarious the sub-divisional magistrate gave the order to open fire. After giving due warning PW-4 opened the fire. The firing was stopped when the crowd showed signs of retract. After this the next train passed without any incident.

[14] In Tuticorin (PW-5) arrested Sri K.V.K. Samy and Rathinam, members of the action committee of the DMK on 14-7-53 as they had planned under instruction from the Central Committee. The next morning at 6 am on 15-7-53 he arrested two more persons namely Sri Thangapalam and Sivasami at the railway station as they were giving instructions to their followers to stop the train. The Coimbatore passenger [train] started at 6:25 am. It was stopped in four places by pulling the chain by the DMK volunteers. The railway authorities disconnected the vacuum brakes. The train moved towards the Melur railway station. PW-5 then found Sri Natarajan, secretary of the DMK along with about 150 volunteers sitting on the railway lines and preventing the train from proceeding further. In spite of repeating warnings the squatters refused to move. Thereupon PW-5 arrested Sri Natarajan. About 1,000 persons who were members and sympathizers of the DMK were standing on the railway track shouting slogans and encouraging the squatters. PW-5 thereupon sent intimation to the sub collector who arrived at 7:30 am. PW-5 thereupon arrested six persons who were sitting in the front. Even then the others refused to move. After due warning a lathi charge was ordered on the squatters. The crowd on both sides began to pelt stones. So lathi charge was stopped. Sri Natarajan stated that they would go away by 8:30 am. By this time the deputy collector arrived. Sri Natarajan told the collector that they would go away if the arrested men were released. The collector ordered their release. Again they went and sat before the engine. The collector then ordered another lathi charge. Stone pelting increased. The mob became violent. The situation became uncontrollable. The collector thereupon ordered the opening of fire. The fire was accordingly opened after full warning. Three persons died on the spot and one died in the hospital. The train moved after the track was cleared. Immediately after the shouting the train was again stopped by the DMK volunteers within two furlongs. The railway police escorted had to open fire again. A section of the mob set fire to a railway bridge, burned two sleepers, removed keys from railway lines, and cut the telephone wires. Brahmin houses were attacked by another section of the mob. Windows and furniture were broken. Jewels were ceased from the women. A brahmin boy was cut with an arival, in the forearm. There was even an attempt to murder a brahmin child.

[15] In Madras according to PW-6 at 9 am on 15-7-53 the Grand Trunk Express left Madras Central station. Six minutes later behind Basin Bridge opposite the Stanley Nagar, a group of about 100 persons carrying the party flags and shouting slogans blocked the passage of the train. The men were members of the DMK. They were shouting slogans like ‘Release Anna’, ‘Down with Rajaji’, ‘Down with Nehru’, ‘Down with Achariya Educational Scheme’. As the men blocking the train would not move in spite of persuasion the foremost of them were arrested and charged under section 122 and 128 of the Indian Railway Act before the Fourth Presidency Magistrate and convicted and sentenced to imprisonment. On the same day at 11 am at the same place the Meals Local [train] coming from Royapuram to Perambur was simultaneously stopped. A crowd of about 500 boisterous men, some of whom were carrying the party flags shouting party slogans.11 of them were prosecuted under section 122 and 128 of the Indian Railway Act before the same magistrate, and convicted in due course. There were seven other such incidents. Of them two were cases of pulling the chains. In all the cases the accused belonged to the DMK and they were all tried and convicted.

[16] The Theagaroya Nagar where the chief minister was in residence at Bazulla Road, the DMK men began taking out procession. On 14-7-53 Mrs. Satyavani Muthu led the procession. It started at 10 am near the Rajakumari Talkies. The processionists said that they were going to do satyagraha before the Rajaji’s House, under the instructions of the executive committee. The procession was stopped as it was unlicensed. As the procession refused to disperse they were arrested and subsequently a case was registered against them under section 147 IPC and 41 of the City Police Act. On 15-7-53 at about 8 am another procession was attempted to be taken out in the direction of Rajaji’s House to do the marial. The procession being unlicensed was again stopped and the processionists were charged under section 188 IPC and section 41 of the City Police Act. The last of the procession was on 30-7-53 and it was led by R.T. Arasu. It also went towards the Rajaji’s house. As it was also unlicensed and as it would not disperse its members were arrested and a case registered against them under section 147 IPC and section 41 of the City Police Act. From 14th to 30th July there were, besides processions already mentioned, 20 other processions of the DMK men with similar objectives.

[17] All the five accused filed a written statement which are mostly propagandistic and much that is irrelevant to the issues involved in the case.

[18] According to A-1, the DMK is a speak-head [?] of the liberation movement in Dravida Nadu having in its objective the carrying out of a separate sovereign state named Dravida Nadu comprising of Tamils, Telugus, Kannada and Malayalam. The accused are the torch bearers. The aim of the DMK is to reshape the present set up of society into a classless and casteless society and work incessantly for the attainment of this objective, in a peaceful, nonviolent, constitutional and dignified manner. Accused 1 concedes that law breaking is an offence but states that there are law breakers and law breakers. There are some who for selfish reasons and nefarious ends become law breakers and try all means of escape. There are social pests and they are dangerous to the growth of democracy. But there are other set of people who are dubbed as law breakers, but who work for a noble cause…such law breakers are not to be clubbed with the law breakers in the ugly sense of the term…The verdict of history is that the so-called law breakers of yesterday became the law givers of today.

Admitting the authenticity of the resolution of the executive committee of the DMK and the speechers reported which have been filed in the case A-1 proceeds to state, “I am surprised and pleased to find them so effective and nearly 5,000 of my comrades courted imprisonment…The DMK adopted all kinds of democratic methods to impress the power that be to hear the voice of the people to respect the wishes to concede their demands. Nor a smile nor a nod came from the power that be. They stood in stonely silence mocking at democracy itself…Is it not then open to the DMK to find out other means to approach, we are not particularly enamoured of Bazulla Road. But where else can we go than to the residence of the chief minister to place our grievances, the peoples grievances. Is it a crime to express the peoples thoughts and wishes in a peaceful ad orderly and dignified manner? Referring to the other agitations, A-1 asks, “The other two agitations shape only after we have exhausted all avenues of democratic approach. When democracy is made a mockery is it a crime on our part of the DMK to organize agitations and conduct protest to make the Government look into the state of the country…I am not denying anyone of the statements of the prosecution side but I am only asking whether under these circumstances these are offences at all…We find an open conspiracy as it were on the party in power to perpetuate all the injustices and inequality today to take back the country to the ages of Devas, Vanaras, Parnasalas and the Yoga Kundas. This is cutting straight at our effort to get a modern cultured sovereign republic Dravidasthan. We have hence to take measures on behalf of the people for whom we work to put a halt to made progress backwards.”

[19] The statements of the other accused are in similar strain.

[54] The accused have undoubtedly a large following. They are held in high esteem, by a vast section of the public. It is not for me to say how far their objectives are justifiable. The establishment of a casteless and classless society may be a laudable aim. But it is extremely doubtful whether for attaining that aim the creation of a sovereign democratic Dravidasthan in a world that is drifting to be one, is either desirable nor necessary. Anyway I am not concerned with the objectives of the DMK or with the ethics of the action of its members. My duty is to ascertain whether any act or acts have been which is or are contrary to the provisions under law. I have held that they did commit such acts and that being so, they have necessarily to suffer the consequences of their acts.

[Note by Sachi: Item 55 is missing in the original.]

[56] To me it appears that the accused took serious risk in inciting their men to start the agitations referred to in the resolutions. I venture to think that the issues involved did not warrant the actions proposed. Was the characterization by the prime minister of their movement as ‘childish and nonsense’ of such great importance; Was the retention of the name Dalmiapuram, a wayside railway station so obnoxious or intolerable as to lead the DMK to take a very grave step of dislocating even temporarily the means of communications and cause annoyance and inconvenience to thousands of traveling public? Again is marial before an individual at or his residence the only method by which people could express their displeasure or disapproval of a scheme? Could it not have been expressed in some lawful way? Marial is an out-moded and unlawful method and could and should have been eschewed specially when there has been a legislature composed of members elected through adult suffrage and through whom appropriate remedies could have been sought. A man’s individual liberty should be held sacrosanct. His home must be kept free from interference of any kind. The heat of politics must be confined to public forums and market places. No man can view with equanimity the invasion of his right to be left at place in his own house and to move as he pleases. The methods advocated by the accused therefore deserve to be condemned.

[57] In the circumstances, I convict the accused of the offence with which they have been charged, but in view of the fact that they have been most anxious to see that their men behaved in a peaceful, nonviolent and dignified manner and in view of the fact that the agitations have now ceased, I do not think that a severe sentence is called for. I feel that the ends of justice would be served by my sentencing each of the accused to imprisonment till the raising of the Court and to pay a fine of rupees five hundred and in default to suffer simple imprisonment for three months. I order them accordingly.

[58] The accused are temporarily placed in ‘B’ class.

(signed) M.A. Venkataramana Naidu

Chief Presidency Magistrate.

Part 4 of series




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