V O Chidambaram Pillai: Freedom Fighter and Leader of INC

Who was Chidambaram Pillai?

V.O. Chidambaram Pillai, also known as VOC (Valliyappan Olaganathan Chidambaram Pillai) and Kappalottiya Tamizhan (“Tamil Helmsman”), was a freedom fighter and former leader of the Indian National Congress.

He was Born on September 5, 1872, in Ottapidaram, Tamil Nadu, V.O. Chidambaram Pillai had a humble beginning. His parents were Valliyappan Olaganathan and Chinnamal of Tharuvai Maravar community. His father was a prosperous merchant.

Role Played in Indian Freedom Movement

In 1906, VOC founded the Swadeshi Steam Navigation Company (SSNCo), establishing the first indigenous Indian shipping service. This groundbreaking venture aimed to break the monopoly of British shipping companies and promote Indian trade. His commitment to Swadeshi and economic self-reliance made him a prominent leader in the fight against British imperialism.

Companies and Institutions by V.O.C

Valliyappan Olaganathan Chidambaram Pillai established many institutions such as Yuvanesh Prachar Sabha, Dharmasanga Nesavu Salai, National Godown, Madras Agro-Industrial Society ltd and Desabimana Sangam.

V.O.C was an active member of the Indian National Congress and played a significant role in organizing civil disobedience movements and boycotts of British goods.

Today, India stands as one of the world’s fastest-growing economies, and VOC’s vision of economic self-reliance continues to guide the nation towards prosperity.


  1. Meyyaram (1914),
  2. Meyyarivu (1915),
  3. Anthology (1915),
  4. Thirukural with literary notes of Manakudavar (1917),
  5. Tholkappiam with literary notes of Ilampooranar (1928),
  6. Autobiography (1946).

Death: V.O. Chidambaram Pillai was died on 18th November 1936 in the Indian National Congress Office at Tuticorin.

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