- Polygar War
Polygar War or Palayakarar Wars refers to the wars fought between the
Polygars(" Palayakarrars") of former MaduraiKingdom in Tamil Nadu, Indiaand the British colonial forces between March 1799to May 1802. The British finally won after carrying out long and difficult protracted junglecampaigns against the Polygar armies and finally defeated them. Many lives were lost on both sides and the victory over Polygars made large part of territories of Tamil Nadu coming under British control enabling them to get a strong hold in India.
First Polygar War 1799
The war between the British and
KattabommanNayak of PanchalankurichiPalayam in the then Tirunelveliregion is often classified as the First Polygar war. In 1799, a brief meeting (over pending taxes) between Kattabommanand the British ended in a bloody encounter in which the British commander of the forces was slain by the former. A price was put on Kattabommanhead prompting many Polygars to an open rebellion.
After a series of battles in the Panchalankurichi fort with additional reinforcements from
Thiruchirapalli, Kattabomman was defeated but he escaped to the jungles in Pudukottaicountry. Here he was captured by Pudukottai Rajah (after an agreement with the British) and after a summary trial Kattabomman was hanged in front of the public in order to intimidate them, near KayattarFort, close to the town of Kovilpatti and in front of fellow Polygars too who had been summoned to witness the execution.
Subramania Pillai, a close associate of
KattabommanNayak, was also publicly hanged and his head was fixed on a pike at Panchalankurichi for public view. Soundra Pandian Nayak, another rebel leader, was brutally done to death by having his head dashed against a village wall. Kattabomman’s brother Oomaiduraiwas imprisoned in Palayankottai prison while the fort was razed to ground and his wealth looted by the troops.
econd Polygar War 1800-1802
Despite the suppression of the First Polygar War in 1799, rebellion broke out again in 1800. The Second war was more stealthy and covert in nature. The leaders operated more cohesive and united with people from
Keralaand Mysoretaking part. Also it marked the joining of entire west Tamil Nadu, Malabarand south Mysoreregions (which was under British domain after the death of Tipu Sultan).
The Palayakarar army initially made surprise attacks in night to the British
barrackscausing heavy damage but went into a full scale war after the death of Tipu Sultan. The war often classified as guerilla warfarein nature made the British troops difficult to suppress.
The Palayakarrars were all in control of their forts, had artillery and even had a weapon manufacturing unit in Salem and
Dindiguljungles. They also received clandestine training from the French in Karurareas.The confederacy of the new forces consisted of Marudhu PandianBrothers of Sivaganga, Gopal Nayak of Dindigul, Kerala Vermaof Malabarand Krishnappa Nayak and Dhoondaji of Mysore.
The rebellion broke out when a band of Polygar armies bombed the British barracks in
Coimbatorein 1800. The British columns were exposed throughout the operations to constant harassing attacks; and had usually to cut their way through almost impenetrable jungles fired on from undercover on all sides. The Polygars often had artillery and resisted stubbornly and the storming of their hill-forts proved on several occasions sanguinary work.
By May 1801, it had reached the Southern provinces where Marudu Pandian, Melappan and Puttur provided the leadership. Oomathurai, the brother of
Kattabomman Nayakemerged as a key leader. In February 1801, Oomathurai and two hundred men by a clever tactic took control of Panchalamkuriclli Fort, in which Oomathurai's relatives were imprisoned. Its fort now re-occupied and reconstructed by rebel forces Panchalamkurichi became the nerve centre of the uprising.
British dismay was boundless. As one eyewitness put it: 'to our utter astonishment, we discovered that the walls which had been entirely levelled were now rebuilt and fully manned by about fifteen hundred Poligars'.
Three thousand armed men of
Maduraiand Ramanathapuramdispatched by Marudu Pandiyan Brothersjoined up with the Panchalankurichiforces.
The British finally won after a long expensive campaign that took more than a year. However, the superior British military who had recently defeated the powerful
Tipu Sultanof Mysorequickly asserted itself. The British had better artillery compared to the Polygartroops who had country-made gunfire artillery, barring a few proper ones received from erstwhile Tipu Sultan's army. The war being regional in nature, the British forces could easily mobilize additional forces from other regions.
Polygarforces based at Panchalankurichiwere crushed and by the orders of the colonial government, the site of the captured Panchalankurichi Fort was ploughed up and sowed with castoroil and salt so that it should never again be inhabited.The colonial forces quickly overpowered the remaining insurgents. The Marudu brothersand their sons were put to death, while Oomathurai and Sevathaiah were beheaded at Panchalankurichi on 16 November, 1801. Seventy-three of the principal rebels were sentenced to perpetual banishment. So savage and extensive was the death and destruction wrought by the English that the entire region was left in a state of terror.
The suppression of the
Polygarrebellions of 1799 and 1800-1801 resulted in the liquidation of the influence of the chieftains. Under the terms of the Carnatic Treaty (31 July, 1801), the British assumed direct control over Tamil Nadu. The Polygar system which had flourished for two and a half centuries came to a violent end and the Company introduced a Zamindarisettlement in its place.
Later day folklore
In subsequent years, a good deal of legend and folklore would develop around
Kattabommanand the Marudu Pandiyan Brothers. Long after Kattabomman's execution, Kayattar, his place of death, remained a place of political pilgrimage.
* N. Rajendran, National Movement in Tamil Nadu, 1905-1914 - Agitational Politics and State Coercion, Madras Oxford University Press.
* M.P. Manivel, 2003 - Viduthalaipporil Virupachi Gopal Naickar (Tamil Language), New Century Book House, Chennai
* Prof. K.Rajayyan M.A., M.Litt, A.M. Ph.D., A History of Freedom Struggle in India
* Prof. K.Rajayyan M.A., M.Litt, A.M. Ph.D., South Indian Rebellion - The First War of Independence (1800-1801)
Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.
Look at other dictionaries:
Palaiyakkarar — Palaiyakkarar, poligar, polygar or palegar was the title for a class of territorial administrative cum military chiefs (Knights and Barons) appointed by the Nayak rulers of South India (notably Vijayanagar Empire, Nayaks of Madurai and the… … Wikipedia
Madurai Nayak Dynasty — Madurai Nayak Kingdom Approximate extent of the Madurai Nayakar Kingdom, circa 1570 CE. Official language Telugu, Tamil Capitals Madurai 1529 – 1616, Tiruchirapalli1616–1634, again Madurai 1634 – 1695, Tiruchirapalli1695 1716,Madurai 1716–1736 … Wikipedia
List of Tamil people — This is a list of famous and notable Tamil people.This would include persons who are known to a large number of people and is not based on the extent of their popularity. Neither is the list viewed from the context of the present. Their fame… … Wikipedia
List of people from Tamil Nadu — This is a list of famous and notable people from Tamil Nadu state in India include persons who are known to a large number of people and is not based on the extent of their popularity. Neither is the list viewed from the context of the present.… … Wikipedia
Veerapandiya Kattabomman — ( ta. வீரபாண்டிய கட்டபொம்மன்) also known as Katta Bomman was an 18th century Indian Palaiyakkarar chieftain from Panchalankurichi and who was one of the earliest to oppose the British rule. He waged a war with the British six decades before… … Wikipedia
Chokkampatti — is traditionally recognized as one of the 72 palaiyams of Madura. This Palayam is also referred to in the early records as Vadagarai or Vadhagerri.  Contents 1 Earlier location 2 Internal Civil war 3 … Wikipedia
History of Tamil Nadu — A temple from the Chola period. The Cholas united most of the south Indian peninsula under a single administration during the tenth and the eleventh century CE. Part of a series on Histo … Wikipedia
Dheeran Chinnamalai — Chieftain of Kongu Nadu, Freedom Fighter Artist s rendering Full name Chinnamalai (Theerthagiri Sarkkarai Mandraadiyaar) … Wikipedia
Veeran Sundaralingam — Born unknown Died 1799 Sundaralinga Kudumbanar (died 1799), also known as Veeran Sundaralingam (Tamil: வீரன் சுந்தரலிங்கம்), was an 18th century CE general from Tamil Nadu, India. He was born in Gavarnagiri village in Tuticorin district. He was a … Wikipedia
Nerkattumseval — city … Wikipedia