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Gandhimathi (novel)

From Tamil Wiki

இந்தப் பக்கத்தை தமிழில் வாசிக்க: காந்திமதி (நாவல்)

Gandhimathi (1926), written by Melaisivapuri Pannaiyappa Chettiar, was one of the early Tamil novels that forthrightly promoted Gandhian principles.

Creation, Publication

Pannaiyappa Chettiar was from Melaisivapuri near Karaikudi of Chettinadu. He was involved with the Indian National Congress of India and was one among the extremists of the Congress. He wrote three detective novels namely, Manivasagan, Shanmuganadhan and Amirtham with a character named detective Ranganadhan as their protagonist.


Though the novel is a love story, its structure is built around characters going into monologues about the freedom struggle. The novel begins with the protagonist Kalyanasundaram giving a speech. "Our countrymen, who have thus far lived a blissful life in communion with nature, now live in shackles. Can a slave be joyful? Joy comes with freedom" says Kalyanasundaram in his speech. The novel progresses through monologues and speeches like this.

Literary Significance

The novel was written during the period when Gandhi joined the Congress and began his non-cooperation movement. There was a split headed by Motilal Nehru in the Congress party following debates on Indians contesting in elections to form the councils. These debates are being discussed in the novel. The novel can be read as record about how political ideas were discussed by ordinary people in their everyday lives during the period. "These days the desire to form councils has become widespread. Khadar movement is being neglected and there is a certain lethargy everywhere. Clashes between castes and creeds have been commonplace. The members who entered the council foolishly believed that the British Government can be persuaded by their oratory skills" says Kalyanasundaram.

Ra. Vichalam, who had researched about 32 novels centered around Gandhian principles dating from 1922-2006, remarks, "It discusses nationalism, freedom, Gandhism and combines them with the inner virtues of the Tamil mind like courage and love."


Tamil novel - Siddhi Sivapathasundaram, a Christhuva Ilakkiya Sangam publication.

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