Her short span of life did not deter this courageous Tamil girl from leaving an impressive imprint in India
`s history of freedom struggle. The concept of Indian `TRI COLOUR` solely belongs to her. No wonder Mahathma Gandhi, the Father of Nation, had held her in high esteem.
A South African Tamil lady named Thillaiyadi Valliammai. She worked with Gandhi in his early years when he toned his nonviolent methods in South Africa, fighting the apartheid there. It is these techniques that he would later use in India against British colonial rule. Valliammai joined Gandhi*s movement at the age of 16 and died during the anti-apartheid agitation. Gandhi said that her sacrifice increased his resolve to fight.
After passing his matriculation in 1887, Mahathama Gandhi went to England to get higher studies in Law. In 1893, he went to South Africa. There he was appalled by pathetic conditions of coloured people and discrimination against the Indians and South Africans. He adopted a new method of light against the British rulers. He practiced peaceful resistance to racial discrimination. His weapons were Satyagrah(truth) and Ahimsa(non-violence). Many youngsters followed him. Thillaiyadi valliammai, a young Tamil girl was an example. She sacrificed her life for this fight against British rulers.
She was born to R.Munuswamy and Janakiammal, a young immigrant couple from a small village called Thillaiyadi in Thanjavur, Tamil Nadu. They went to Johannesburg the gold
mining city of South Africa in search of wealth. Her father was a trader and owner of a confectionery shop. Since her mother
Janaki hailed from Thillaiyaadi village and her daughter Valliammai came to be popularly called Thillaiyadi Valliammai.
The young Indian lawyer Mohandas Gandhi began his protest march against the discrimination of Indians and other South Africans. Young Vallimmai and her mother joined this march of women from Transvaal to Natal, which was prohibited by the government of South Africa.
Valliammai, 16 years of age was arrested by the South African police while she was in the protest march and spent three months in Jail. She suffered a fatal fever in jail, when she was released, she was very weak and could barely walk. She heard some South African prison officers yelling at her, `why don`t you people register and become South Africans instead of Indians. Your India doesn`t even have a flag and it is not even a country. What are you really fighting for.`
If having a flag is what would give form to India, then here it is, she said, tearing off her saffron-white-green sari and she waved it triumphantly, MY FLAG! MY MOTHERLAND!
Mahathma Gandhi met her and asked: Do you not regret having been to jail? Look at you! If going back to jail again would add to the cause, I would do it again she replied.
She gave us our National flag (Gandhi designed the flag with the same three colours as her sari), a greater resolve (in his own words) to Gandhi`s freedom fight, undying fiery guts to women and a soul full of strength for her, our country.