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18 February 1905|
Maramon, Travancore, British India
|Died||8 August 1980
Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh, India
|Alma mater||Allahabad Agricultural Institute|
Titusji was the only Christian among the 78 marchers selected by Mahatma Gandhi to take part in the 1930 Dandi March, to break the salt law. He served as governing secretary for Gandhi's Sabarmati Ashram milk project near Ahmedabad. Mr. Gulzarilal Nanda (who later became Prime Minister of India) was the secretary of another unit. Both of them were trusted friends of Gandhi. His given name was Titus Theverthundiyil, while "Titusji" was the honorific given to him by Mahatma Gandhi.
Titus, born on 18 February 1905, was born to a farming family, (Theverthundiyil, Maramon) in Travancore. After his high school graduation, he taught in a school in Vadaserikara (a village about 20 km away from Maramon), for a few years. Then he joined the Allahabad Agriculture University and passed an Indian Dairy Diploma course with distinction. After that he joined Mahatma Gandhi in Sabarmati Ashram.
Titus got married in 1933, and his wife Annamma joined the Sabarmati Ashram. The newly married Annamma donated her gold wedding ornaments to the ashram.
Salt march to Dandi
The Salt Satyagraha was a campaign of non-violent protest against the British salt tax in colonial India which began with the Salt March to Dandi. It was the first act of organised opposition to British rule after Purna Swaraj, the declaration of independence by the Indian National Congress.
When Mahatma Gandhi decided to break the salt law, Titus was one of the 78 people he chose to accompany him. On 12 March 1930. Gandhiji, Titusji and the others marched from Sabarmati Ashram to Dandi beach, in Gujarat to make salt in the symbolic way. Titus was the only Christian in that group.
A growing numbers of Indians joined them along the way. When Gandhi broke the salt laws in Dandi at the conclusion of the march on 6 April 1930, it sparked large scale acts of civil disobedience against the British Raj salt laws by millions of Indians. Gandhi and the others were beaten up and arrested by the British.
Gandhi's visit to Kerala
On 15 March 1925, Mahatma Gandhi visited Titusji’s house in Maramon (Theverthundiyil) on his way to the famous Hindu temple in Aranmula near Chengannur. This was considered one of the greatest events in Central Travancore. In and around Maramon, thousands witnessed his visit.
After Independence, Titusji settled in Bhopal. In 1970, he published the book "The Bharat of my Dreams".
He died on 8 August 1980, at the Kasthurba Hospital in Bhopal.
Re-enactment in 2005
To commemorate the Great Salt March, the Mahatma Gandhi Foundation proposed a re-enactment on the 75th anniversary. The event was known as the "International Walk for Justice and Freedom". Mahatma Gandhi's great-grandson Tushar Gandhi and several hundred fellow marchers followed the same route to Dandi., Fifty-two-year-old Thomas Titus, the son of Titusji and a general manager with a hospital in Bhopal, was invited by Kanti Gandhi, Gandhiji’s grandson, to take part in the yatra.
The start of the march on 12 March 2005 in Ahmedabad was attended by Sonia Gandhi, Chairperson of the National Advisory Council, as well as several Indian Cabinet Ministers, many of whom walked for the first few kilometres. The participants halted at Dandi on the night of 5 April, with the commemoration ending on 7 April.
- "Mass civil disobedience throughout India followed as millions broke the salt laws", from Dalton's introduction to Gandhi's Civil Disobedience. Gandhi & Dalton, 1996, p. 72.
- Thomas John Nalloor. www.kuwaitmarthoma.com/e-library
- "Gandhi's 1930 march re-enacted". BBC News. 2005-03-12. Retrieved 2007-12-27.