Tirupur ‘Kodi Katha’ Kumaran – The man who held on to/saved the National Flag

Many heroic incidents happened during the Independence movement against the British. One of them is the ‘Kodi Katha Kumaran’ episode, which I studied as a part of my Tamil language syllabus during school. ‘Kodi Katha’ Kumaran means ‘A man (Kumaran) who saved the National Flag’.

Tirupur is a town near Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu, India. It is famous for garment manufacturing/garment export industries. It is also famous for ‘Tirupur Kumaran’, whose statue has been erected in a central point of the town.

In 1932, Kumaran organized a Dharna (Protest March) against the British in Tirupur. He was carrying the Indian National Flag, which was then banned by the British. So, the British officials got angry and started assaulting the protesters, which included Kumaran, and asked him to put the flag down.

It seems, Kumaran held on to the Indian Flag even after repeated beatings by the British officers, on the street. He was mortally wounded during this incident. It is said that even when he fainted and died, he held on to the Indian Flag and did not let it fall down.

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What is it about a Flag? Isn’t it supposed to be just a piece of a cloth? Isn’t it supposed to be the symbol of a concept, than the concept itself?

In this famous video from the movie Roja, we have Arvind Swamy stopping the Flag from getting burnt. Helped with some excellent music/fantastic lyrics, this video might bring tears to your eyes if you are watching it for the first time.

These days, one might wonder if the association with our Flag is restricted to Independence day, Republic day, and a rare movie scene?

More importantly, is Nationalism as a concept slowly weaning away? It took 150 years of foreign rule to realize that we belong to a single country, and we are becoming global citizens already?

India & The European Union are two unique experiments in this world. If these concepts don’t succeed, there can never be a unified world citizenry on equal terms.

Destination Infinity

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22 Replies to “Tirupur ‘Kodi Katha’ Kumaran – The man who held on to/saved the National Flag”

  1. Fighting for a flag which is being desecrated is indeed a heroic gesture. However I think that at times we go too far when we punish those who mishandle a flag without meaning to. Everything has to be seen in perspective.
    When it comes to the EU, they consciously decided to come together and still there are problems! When it comes to the unification of India, we know its a good thing, because without it we would not have been a strong country. But we have to accept that there are bound to be problems which can be solved if we treat every region of India with equality.

    1. Do we treat the regions / smaller states in North East India with equality? If we had, there wouldn’t have been so many insurgencies there.

      Will things improve with time? Maybe yes and maybe no. The success of the Indian model and European model are very critical for harmony in a globalized world economy. Would we live up to it? That’s something that needs to be seen.

      Destination Infinity

  2. I have read about ‘kodi kaaththa kumaran’. The patriotism in those days were in the peak because we were ‘ruled’ by foreigners. No ‘naane raaja naane manthiri’! So, that type of patriotism will not be visible. But do you remember, during Kargil war, the whole country was emotional. When time comes, people will act accordingly.

    I have noticed one more thing. People who live abroad, think of their country more than people who are here, because we are here in our own place. Once you go out, you will be proud about our country/flag.

    The ‘Roja’ scene is memorable, D.I. Watched it again. Thanks.

    1. Even during the recent India Against Corruption movement, there was spontaneous support from different sections of the people.

      Patriotism is a concept born out of collective responsibility. Even if one is not so patriotic, its important to show some sense of collective responsibility – like not filling up the vacant land on the street with garbage, etc. Are we capable of that, or do we indulge in collective responsibility only if we have a personal gain?

      People living abroad go there with the concept that everything abroad is better and everything at home is worser. Once they discover that there is more to that equation that they initially thought, nationalism becomes a good excuse to long for those things that they miss out there.

      One cannot have the cake and eat it too, and often people find it out the hard way.

      Destination Infinity

  3. During those day people genuinly loved the country nowaday no one does , they say it a lot but inside they dont …

    National flag is a think of Pride .. I got one in my house which i brought when i came to uk.. dont know if its love or patriotism or whatever , I had it in my mind to bring the flag with me .. maybe its still a thought that India will be a nation what it used to be and the people will care and love for it as they did then.

    Loved the scene..

    Bikram’s

    1. I think, people are not capable of ‘genuinely’ loving a country. Not back then, not now, not in the future. There are always some external factors influencing our thoughts. And certain factors influence our thoughts positively and make us happier.

      Back then, expressing your patriotism was one concept which made people happy, feel accepted within the society. Even the society reciprocated by appreciating their thoughts/ actions.

      They had something to gain by being patriotic. Be it happiness, name, fame, or what ever.

      We’ll have to someday accept the fact that human beings are the most selfish creatures that ever lived on this planet. There is nothing wrong about it, after all its a part of our survival instinct. But why hide it from others and ourselves, when we know that our acts of selflessness are actually selfish?

      Destination Infinity

  4. I am sad to say that the concept of nationalism is slowly wearing away. And the fact that this is happening mainly due to a flawed political, social and educational setup makes it worse. Very few people genuinely feel for the nation. 🙁 🙁

  5. There should be a lot more sense of nationalism in India – that is typically the case when the economy grows at this pace. During my last trip to India in 2010, I noticed people have changed and care about the country but of course politicians need to change too.

  6. I am not a supporter of nationalism as we are born in this world and should be free enough move everywhere and also should love each and every part of the world as one…

    But the significance of Kodi Kaatha Kumaran can’t be diminished in Indian freedom fight and surely it should have inspired many people to join the fight against British. A great man!!!

    1. Freedom and equality starts at home. Its important for a nation to treat all its states equally and give equal opportunities to all its people. Its important for every nation, not only ours. Only then, we can even dream of an unbiased / equal opportunity world.

      Destination Infinity

  7. well from my recent experience with a north Indian lady,(refer my tweets)mI can say respect for flag etc is secondary…people dont even have the basic knowledge about their country and the states!

  8. Hai,he was proud to say that Indian lived in TamilNadu so its lucky that he one who don’t live the Indian flag
    so Harini solute the flag and him.
    JAI HIND…………………………………………………………………………………… VANDAY MADHARAM

  9. I am liveing proud of india. Thanks for all freedom fighter. I am hometown was tiruppur. Kodi katha kumaran very very proud of mr. Kumaran.

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