Great Indian freedom fighter Satyamurti Iyer


Fredom fighter.S. Satyamurti,
 Tamil Nadu, South India produced a galaxy of patriots and freedom fighters against the British rule and they followed their own methods of protests to put an end to oppressive, unjust British rule in India. They did make a lasting impact on India's political struggle against foreign rulers. Carried by anger and frustrations, some took to violence as the only recourse available to get freedom, many  protested  against the British by way of refusing to pay taxes and disobey their laws. For some well educated people, fiery speeches and corresponding action helped them  touch  the emotions and sentiments of the people. Not only that,  they worked in unison with other national leaders of repute like Gandhiji, Goghale, Tilak, Patel, Nehru, et al to speed up the process of freeing India  from the British  yoke.  One such dynamic man  drew the attention of not only the people of Tamil Nadu,  but also people of other regions and  leaders from other states had begun to listen to his inspiring speeches  and consider  him a great asset. In particular, Congress party  leaders who formed the vanguard of  freedom fighters,  felt that way. The charismatic person was none other than  S. Satyamurti, who subsequently became a leading Congress leaders of India.  Satyamurti is regarded as the mentor of  K. Kamaraj, Chief Minister of Madras state  from 1954 to 1962. He took to  active politics  on the advice  of S. Srinivasa Iyengar,  a leading lawyer and politician, who would later become his mentor.
S. Satyamurti, Lawyer and freedom fighter. released in
S. Satyamurti,  born on August 19th 1887 at Thirumayyam in the former Pudukottah State of present day Tamil Nadu. His father was Sundra Sastriar, a scholar and a pleader by profession.  After finishing Intermediate in the Pudukottah Maharaja's  College,   he joined  the Madras Christian College for his B.A.(History). After graduation, he took up the post of  a tutor in the same  college before joining the Madras Law College. Upon successful completion of Law,  he immediately  joined as an apprentice  in the Chambers of  Mr. V .V. Sreenivasa Iyengar and later with  Shri S. Sreenivasa Iyengar,  former President of the Indian National Congress.

Lokmanya Tilak  and  Srinivasa Sastri spotted the hidden qualities of  leadership, eloquence, dignity and integrity in Satyamurti, a  fitting tributes from two great luminaries of those times. Satyamurti was chosen to accompany  such giants in 1919 as Secretary of the Congress delegation  to England  in connection with the passage of the Montage-Chelmsford Reforms by the British Parliament, in London.  Satyamurti landed in England  in 1926 and this time, on behalf of  the Swaraj Party,  to explain to the British public the Indian Point of view - the kind of lives Indian are living and how the British Crown and the British politicians wantonly  dodging the question of giving freedom to India. Between 1930-1932, Satyamurti, responding to the clarion call of the Mahatma for non co-operation with British ruler, defied prohibitory orders, courted  imprisonment and  was sentenced to rigorous imprisonment.

In the realm of education,  Satyamurti Iyer  played a vital role  and was instrumental in the establishment of a private institution promoted by the Rajah of Chettinadu Sir. Annamalai Chettiar named  Annamalai University at Chidambaram, T.N. Since mid-twenties, Satyamurti had been an active and eloquent member of the Madras University Senate and Syndicate. He introduced  numerous reforms in the educational field. In 1939, during his tenure as  the elected Mayor of Madras, he made sincere efforts to improve the civic amenities of the growing city. Further, because of WW II threats, the growing city was facing drinking water scarcity. It was only through Mr. Iyer's efforts  the Poondi Reservoir Scheme, now called the 'Satyamurti Sagar,' was initiated to help the city solve the drinking water problem.  Satyamurti participated in protests against the Partition of Bengal (1905: introduced by Lord Curzon), Rowlatt Act (1919: indefinitely extending the emergency measures of preventive indefinite detention, incarceration without trial and judicial review) and the Jallianwala Bagh massacre (April,1919) and the visit of  Simon Commission (1928) led by Sir. John Simon to India which purposely excluded Indian members.

Again upon the call of leaders like Gandhi and Rajaji, in 1940 Satyamurti  participated in the 'individual satyagraha' campaign, defying a prohibitory order and making  anti-war speeches that invited a lot of trouble for him. This time his imprisonment lasted eight months and again hewas arrested in 1942 upon his arrival from Bombay for having participated in the Congress meeting that adopted ''Quit India ''resolution. He was  again detained in Amraoti  along with other leaders from the south. He died on 28th March, 1943 in the Madras General Hospital, as a martyr for freedom.  The Postal Department in 1987 issued a commemorative stamp on Shri S. Satyamurti in his honor  as part of  series  on India's Struggle for Freedom.

Besides his  political life, Satyamurti Iyer devoted considerable time to the  promotion of Carnatic music and resurgence of classical dance. For some time, he became the Vice-President of Madras Music Vilas Sabha, an amateur theatrical group of considerable repute that nourished young talents.


   (minor corrections made - November 15, 2015)