THE DEMISE OF NAGAMMAL

My beloved wife and an endearing lover
        Nagammai breathed her last at 9.45 p.m.

        on the 11th of May, 1933. Shall I feel miserable or be merry? Does the demise of frail Nagammal prove to be a loss or gain? Arriving at a decision in this context is next to impossible.

However, I have lived in all these 35 years after having married her as a partner of my life. True it is that I have taken her as my partner but it doesn’t come to my memory whether I was a partner to her. Undeniable fact it is that Nagammal was a source of strength in every aspect of my progress in life when I was leading a life of care free minor, extravagant and luxurious. I strongly advocate to others the liberty and freedom of women. But I am not qualified to say that I have applied even one percent of that advocacy in the case of my endearing Nagammal.

But Nagammal behaved ten times more in abiding with the harshness and cruelty of puramic and sastraic dictates that speaks of enslavement of women and domination of men. I am ashamed to say that this submissiveness of hers, I too have accepted and approved of. Every moment I realize that Nagammal desired to be alive furthermore, for my sake only and not for herself. For all these, I have got only one justification and that too, a slender one.

I have made use of her activities for the sake of public welfare and for the cause of Self-Respect Movement. It is a fact, widely known that when I was in Congress Party, Nagammal co-operated with me in agitations, in Vaikom Satyagraha and even in Self- Respect campaign.
Hence, shall I say now that an implicit slavish woman has gone off? Shall I say a supporter has gone? Shall I say that my conjugal felicity has gone? Shall I say that my embodiment of feelings has gone? Shall I say that my perseverance has gone? Shall I say that everything else has gone? Nothing is understandable. Everything is incomprehensible.

Whatever it is, the demise of Nagammal is a wonderous event. Nagammal is expired. Not a surprise it is. It is natural. But still, no one can say that she was a simple short-lived woman. Her age was forty eight and it is slightly lesser than one half of a man’s longevity. The average age of an Indian is twenty three and a half years and therefore she lived double the life of an Indian. Proverbial it is among a set of religionists that one should weep at the birth and laugh at the death. Hence I should consider that the death of Nagammal may be deemed as an event of happiness and gain instead of deeming it as an event of misery and loss. This is in a way a truth, more than a desire.

May be in my life, in the days to come, what is going to happen may be special events or concerns. If she were alive to see them, she might feel miserable and unhappy. In not withstanding her agony, I may even be trickling with tears. But her death has given me more freedom and I am deprived of the botheration of domestic chores of the family.

The death of Nagammal, I take into account for my happiness and gain. To that extent, she would not consider either my sickness or death. She would act quite opposite to it and feel miserable. Hence her demise, earlier to that of mine is extremely good.

To my friends, the death of Nagammal may appear to be an irremediable loss. It is not correct thinking. Let them see patiently what is going to happen here after. They would consider that her death is a blessing in disguise. The main reason for that eventuality is her separation from me for about a year of my foreign tour. Secondarily her worry that my trip to Russia would be extremely dangerous.

The third reason is her fear, felt within, having heard of my programmes of new and future activities. It is these paltry reasons that proved to be disastrous to her. More serious to these such as separation, risk and economic problems, likely to take place in future would have made her extremely embittered. Hence I believe that those of my friends who weigh these pros and cons would not regret the death of Nagammal. Even two or three years earlier, I had thought of constantly on touring for the rest of my life not luxuriously and not for the collection of money and offerings as Sankaracharya does; and not of owning a separate house nor of keeping a permanent residence. No obstacle had been there for these. It is a matter of great happiness that such barrier is no more and hence the expiry of Nagammal be a blessing for us

Editorial – Kudi Arasu, 14th May 1933
Translation by : Dr.Palani Arangasamy

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