Gandhiji loved Tamilnadu, and particularly Madurai. He visited Madurai six times – in 1919, 1921, 1927, 1934 and 1946, and once enroute Travancore (1921)
Feb 3, 1946 – He visits Madurai after 9 years, just for a day. The main purpose was to have a darshan of Meenakshi Amman.
1939 – The Temple entry movement especially at Madurai, was one of the greatest reforms, where all the people could enter for worship. Gandhiji did not make a visit then, but comes later in 1946.
At Samayanallur station, just before Madurai, huge crowds flock to see Gandhi, due to the pre-Independence wave and also due to the fact that Gandhi visits them after a long time. He is requested to get off at Samayanallur and driven in a car to Madurai. Even before that, people stop the special train near Gandhigram and he addresses them.
Gandhi reaches the Pandaya Thidal grounds around 8 pm, amidst uncontrollable crowd of five lakhs people, shouting and yelling that they can’t see him. Gandhiji gets irritated and asks them to be quiet. They don’t listen, and so halfway he stops his speech, asks them to switch off the light on the stage at around 8.45 pm, closes his ears and lies down as a mark of Satyagraha!
Seeing this, people also resort to counter – Satyagraha asking him to speak and also want to see him at close quarters. This goes on for one and a half hours, and finally he continues his speech. He mentions about this incident later in his Harijan magazine, and apologizes that he was tough with people of Madurai and that he should have been more patient.
The next day morning he has a darshan of Madurai Meenakshi. He also instructs the archaka to do the archanai slowly and not rush through, (typical of Gandhi.)
In the visitors book he writes down that it was one of his best days!
Mobbed by the crowds again, he is afraid to step out. So they take him by car in all the four mada veedhis.
Reference book: Gandhi at Madurai
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