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Vanchinathan Profile

  • Name:
  • Vanchinathan
  • Died:
  • July 17, 1911
  • Father:
  • Raghupathy Iyer
  • Mother:
  • Rukmani Ammal
  • Spouse:
  • Ponnammal

Vanchinathan Biography

Vanchinathan, popularly known as Vanchi, was an Indian independence activist associated with Indian freedom struggle movement. An idealist political campaigner, he is best remembered for having shot dead Ashe, the Tax Collector of Thirunelveli at Maniyachi Railway Junction, when the Train he was traveling in was halted there briefly. But later he committed suicide by using his pistol. He was only 25 years old. It seemed he had planned his suicide, soon after the success of his mission. In Pondicherry, those revolutionaries who involved in this plot included his guru V. V. S. Aiyar and Subramanya Bharathi. Aiyar trained Vanchinathan to execute the plan in all perfection, which he succeeded though gave his life.


Vanchinathan was born in 1886 in Shenkottai as Shankaran into a Brahmin Iyer family. Raghupathy Iyer and Rukmani Ammal were his parents. He completed his graduation from Moolam Thirunal Maharaja College in Thiruvananthapuram and by that time he was married to Ponnammal. He got a government job soon after studies. He worked in forest department briefly before killing Ashe, and himself.


Ashe was instrumental in working against the Swadeshi shipping company, a move initiated by V. O. Chidambaram Pillai, which caused a drift. Got influenced by the powerful speeches of V. O. Chidamabaranar and Subramania Siva, he plunged into the revolutionary movement at an age of 25 and decided to assassin Ashe, the Collector of Tirunelveli. He closely worked with V. V. S. Aiyar who trained him to execute the plan. Ashe was accompanied by his wife to Kodaikanal and when the train was halted in Maniyachi Railway Junction, Vanchinathan with his companion entered the coach and fired him with a pistol.


Then he ran along the platform and took cover in the latrine. But later he was found dead, shot to himself. A letter was found in his pocket. As he belonged to a Brahmin Iyer family, his orthodox father refused to accept his body and no post death Hindu rituals were done by his family. A railway station in Tamil Nadu is named in his honour as ‘Vanchi Maniachi’. Tamil Nadu Government has decided to build a memorial in his birth place.

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Updated: January 18, 2016

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