|Vanchinathan who killed Collector Ashe, TN.peoplepill.com|
|/Robert Ashe ICS, British Raj. Tamil.oneindia.com|
Robert William Ashe I.C.S. (23 November 1872 – 17 June 1911), native of Ireland was the acting Collector and District magistrate of Tirunelveli district in Tamil Nadu during the British Raj. .L.M.Wynch, the former Tirunelveli District Collector was more aggressive than Ashe to get rid of Swadeshi movements in that part. However, both collectors, it is said, sided with the main English company A & F. Harvey and co that managed the streamer operations and the coral textile mill in Thoothukoodi........................
Among the Indian states, creating a controversy over past or present political leaders has been going on for some time and hardly people in public will give serious attention to them unless they are corrupt to the core and seriously indulged in cast-based politics. Creating row over a true nationalist and patriot who gave up his life for India's freedom from the British and making attempts to tarnish his image after a lapse of roughly 109 years is something that is not palatable; simply it is sickening.
That a Dalit outfit in 2015 paid floral tributes to British India Collector Robert William d’ Escourt Ashe, who was assassinated by martyr Vanchinathan (1886 – 17 June 1911) at Maniyachi Junction long ago is something people never heard of before. Honoring a man who was part of the unjust British rule in the part of south Tamil Nadu Thirunelveli is not patriotic people are accustomed to. For the first time in the annals of history of Independent India such an unpatriotic tribute was paid to an English man who literally ruined the life of an eminent lawyer, a labor expert and a patriot V.O.Chidambaram, a disciple of Bala Gangadhar Tilak. Mixing politics with caste, religion, language, etc is not conducive to social harmony. Nor does it improve the standard of our life. Such subjects are fodder to the mischief mongers in our society.
Aathi Thamizhar Katchis ( a new party oufit) spokesperson said, they paid floral tribute to the slain British Collector (of Thirunelveli) Robert Ashe because Britain and the collector never supported untouchability. The party further stated that the dalits were not allowed to take bath in the Courtallam water falls and the English Collector stopped this kind of caste discrimination in the past..
Every year since 2015, when floral tributes have been paid annually to patriot Vachinatahn at Maniachi and at Senkotta (Vanchi's birth place) by the public, some outfits with a small group of members. also pay floral tribute to Collector Ashe at different places including his tomb on English Church premises opposite St. John’s College, Palayamkottai, Thirunelveli. Countless people in this
part of south Tamil Nadu resent it very much and are of the view the Tamil Nationalist outfit purposely is trying hard to mislead the youths by twisting the history and tarnishing a true patriot's name and this way they can gain publicity for their party.
Vanchinathan happened to be a nationalist par excellence and was an active freedom fighter with a soft corner for VOC. This misguided Tamil Nationalist oufit(s) would have gullible youngsters believe that Vanchinathan shot Collector Ashe dead because he was sympathetic to the Harijans. The party leader went one step further and said Vanchinathan' s action was based more on caste factor than love for the country. The collector and his wife were sympathetic to the Dalits. One Ravikumar Stephen, a Christian priest, it is mentioned in the media, was responsible for this misinformation on Vanchi. According to some local people, such an act was to create mischief in otherwise a quiet society..
“In his message of reconciliation to Harihara Subramanian, son of Vanchinathan's younger brother through e-mail on June 18, 2011, Robert William D'escourt Ashe's grandson, Robert W D E Ashe, referred to Vanchinathan as an idealist political campaigner whose zeal for the freedom of his country sent Robert (Ashe) to his early grave". This clearly shows the true motivation of Vanchinathan behind his killing of the English Collector. The Tamil Nationalist party's unsubstantiated remark on patriot vanchinathan is uncalled for and is made with sole intention to malign his name; an opportunity to use caste as a trump card.
|Location Vanchimaniachchi railway jct, TN, thehindu.com|
Prof M. Sivasubramaniam, a noted historian, well-versed with the Ashe murder case noted: ..... ".the Ashe murder trial was handled by three judges ,Charles Arnold White, Justice Ayling and an Indian judge C Sankaran Nair. They concluded in their final judgment, “The murder of Mr Ashe was a direct consequence of his (Ashe's) conduct at Tuticorin with reference to the Coral mill strike on February 27, 1908 and the conviction of Subramania Siva and Chidambaram Pillai."........ 'The judges are said to have mentioned that Ashe's activities as the sub-collector in Tuticorin to destabilize the Swadeshi Steam Navigation Company was one of the main causes of the murder.'
|VanchiManiyachchi railway jct. TN.dtnext.in/News|
|Postal stamp (1972), patriot VOC en.wikipedia.org|
No doubt legendary freedom fighter V.O. Chidambaram was the first Indian to set the Swadeshi movement in motion in the fast mode in our country. He founded Swadeshi Shipping Company (1906) against the British monopoly. He ran the passenger steamer from Toothukoodi to Ceylon. A & F Harvey group (later it became Madura Coats) that managed the English shipping company and also the Coral textile mills in Toothukoodi had a row with VOC who supported the textile labor union and tried to redress their grievances with the company management. At one point of time VOC conducted many protests (defying 144 promulgation) against the British Raj backed by other patriots. His growing influence on the mass in that region had to be stopped soon. So the British govt. through Collector Ashe charged VOC with sedition, and a sentence of two life imprisonments (forty years) was imposed. He was confined in the Central Prison, Coimbatore from 9 July 1908 to 1 December 1910. While in jail VOC was badly treated by the prison officials. All these atrocities against VOC saddened Vanchinathan, a follower of VOC . He concluded that Ashe’s suppressive measures caused the collapse of Swadeshi Steam Navigation Company in 1911 that posed a serious threat to the colonial rulers’ maritime interests and hegemony. Vanchinathan shot the then Collector of Tirunelveli point-blank at Maniyachi Railway Junction (17 June 1911) when he was waiting along with his wife in a separate bogie on the side track to board the Boat Mail to go to the summer hill station Kodaikanal. Within the next few minutes, Vanchi sacrificed his life by shooting himself with the Belgium-made pistol on the station premises to avoid being caught by the police.
Kicking up a row to tarnish the image and integrity of a patriot who died long ago for our country in the name of caste, color, creed, religion, etc., is in bad taste and it will take the country no where.