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-P.L.Subila Preface Thiruvithancore, which was a part of Cheranadu was under the rule of Tamil Kings at the initial stages. Latter it changed into Malayalee rule. Namboodries have introduced Marumakkal vazhi Manmiyam to reduce the authority of Tamil Kings and the powers of Tamil Kings were diminished and were replaced by Malayali Kings. Because of this, the Tamil peoples were put to untold miseries. They were treated like less than animals. To my research view, it is like the miseries of the Israel people who suffered as slaves under the rule of Parvone King in Egypt. Likewise the Tamil people suffered in their own country. Many wise men tried to liberate these people. To be specific, the foreign Christian priests, the Indian incarnations like Vaikunda swami, Narayanaguru, Iyangali, Pulippanam Isakkimadan have struggled individually and through some organisations. Lastly, Kumari Thanthai Marshal Nesamani waged war through Thiruvithancore Tamilnadu Congress and succeeded the final victory and liberated the oppressed and in particular the Tamil people. Thiru. Ponnappa Nadar stood in shoulder to shoulder status while being served as a junior in legal profession to Marshal Nesamani and participated in the agitations with clean and honest hands. The agitational life of Thiru. Ponnappa Nadar is taken up for a research. Aim To disclose how Venadu, a part of Cheranadu changed into Thiruvithancore, how the sons of soil of Thiruvithancore suffered under the atrocities of Malayalis, how the Malayalam reigned over the Tamil language, how the ruling Tamils were changed into slaves, how they waged war to liberate themselves from the oppressive sufferings and above all how the Kumari Komethagam Ponnappa
2 Nadar waged his struggled life in the joint fight along with Marshal Nesamani, the founder of Thiruvithancore Tamilnadu Congress, are all the aim of this research. The field of research Cheranadu was one of the countries ruled by the triple kings. Venadu was a part of Cheranadu. Thiruvithancore is an expansion of Venadu. All the Tamil parts of Thiruvithancore such as Kumari District, Nedumangadu, Neyyatinkarai, Devikulam and Peermedu, where the Tamils struggled are adopted as the field of research. Adopted Tactics Historical books, the dailies Dinamalar and Thinathanthi and interviews with sacrificers are the inputs to the research, besides the interviews and collections from the home of Ponnappa Nadar.
The Approach Explanatory research approach is adopted with historical examples in this research. Documents Collection of news for the research is an important task. The collected documents can be divided into two parts. 1. Primary Sources 2. Secondary Sources
3 1. Primary Sources The primary sources are inducted from the Thiruvithancore Gazetteer, Thiruvithancore State Manual, Old age scripts, the order of Kings, Assembly and Parliament recordings. 2. Secondary Sources The secondary sources are inducted from the dailies, short books, the home of Ponnappa Nadar, his relatives and from the sacrificers. Informants The informations are collected from the sacrificers. Tools used To record the collected information, cardboards, pen and tape recorders are used. Language of the research This research is written in English. However, Tamil and Malayalam words are used in some places in English alphabet, but in the respective accent. Research segregation This research is segregated into 7 parts. In the first part, it contains preface, research heading, explanatory notes, aim, field, tactics, approach, tools used and the language of the research.
In the second part, research was carried out about the geographical status and the boundary of Thiruvithancore, the kings, the good things they did and the forts they constructed. In the part which deals with the agitations of Tamils and the organization, the research was made as to how the Tamil was replaced by Malayalam; the sufferings of the Tamils by this imposition and how this oppressed class struggled through the agitations. In the youth part, the parents of Ponnappa Nadar, his places of education, his friends, his ability, his marriage and how he had reformed himself as Kumari Komethagam (Kumari Sardonyx) are dealt with. The agitation was held under the leadership of Kumarithanthai Nesamani. Thousands of cadres and hundreds of leaders took part in the agitations. At the peak, some persons deserted and joined in other parties. But Ponnappa Nadar remained a staunch fighter with Nesamani till the end. He remained to be a most reliable person. Maya Ponnappan was another name he earned. The above details are dealt with in the part “the role of Ponnappa Nadar in the agitations of Tamils”. After his acquiring the degree in Law, he joined as a junior to Marshal Nesamani. He was a man of extreme patience. He used to file cases only after getting thorough information from the client. Generally his submissions to the court would be very polite and calm in support of his clients. He conducted cases to the Tamil agitators without collecting any fee. He took up honest cases only. Most of the cases ended a victory to him. Generally he used to compromise by negotiating between both the parties. Such legal related matters are dealt with in the part “Ponnappa Nadar as an Advocate”. The seventh part is the conclusion. The facts disclosed in the research are compiled and cogently given in this part. The Annexure contains the list of persons who were interviewed and the reference books. At the end of each part, the collected news and facts are given in concise form. The notes marked in each page are given at the bottom of the page.
Geographical status and the Kings of Thiruvithancore
Geographical status In ancient days Tamil was the spoken language in the entire Kumari Kandam which was submerged under the sea by tsunami. Kanyakumari District is one among the balance part of the land. After the submerging of the Kumari Kandam under the sea, the newly formed Himalayas was conquered and ruled by the Chera Kings. “Thenkumari vada perunkal, Kuna kuda kadala ellai”. (Kurunkozhiyur Kizhar- Purananooru- Ka.e) From the above poem in Purananooru, it is evident that the Tamil areas were bound North by Himalayas, South by Kumari, and East and West by Sea. Cheran was the first to enter Himalayas. Hence he was conferred with the title “Imayavaramban”. (Purananooru- ka. e) After the arrival of Ariyar, the boundary of Tamil areas was North by Venkadam, South by Kumari and East and West by Seas. Tamil area was divided into 13 zones at that time. They are: Pandi, Thenpandi, Kuttam, Kudam, Karka, Venn, Poozhi, Pantri, Aruva, Aruva vadathalai, Seetham, Maladu and Punnadu. Poozhi or sand laden area is considered as the part extending from Alappuzhai river bank to Ponnali river estuary of present day Kerala. This is sand
6 laden flat surface. Kudam or Kudanadu extended from Ponnali river estuary to the southern end of Periyar River estuary near Ernakulam. Kuttam or land of backwater is the area covering from the present day Kottayam to Quilon. Kuttanadu, the granary of present day Kerala State is situated in this land area. Ven or Venadu is situated south of Kuttam and it extends from south of Quilon up to Kanyakumari. Valleys and small mountains in this area consist of full of bamboo forests. Ven denotes the bamboo. Hence, Venadu means a place brimming with bamboo forests. Karka or land with rocks is situated east of Kudanadu. The hilly area of present day Vayanad District of Kerala and Coodalure area of Tamilnadu falls under the Karkanadu. Hence it is evident that the ancient Cheranadu consisted of the area between the Western range of mountains and Arabian Sea which covered a vast area of Boominadu, Kudanadu, Kuttanadu, Karkanadu, Venadu, Kongunadu, Cheethanadu and Pantrinadu. One among the above is the Venadu comprising Kanyakumari District.
Venadu Venadu means a country with full of bamboos. It also derived its name as it contained thirst quenching toddy. There is yet another reason of deriving the name as this area was ruled by a society of people called Vells. The Vells were the small area Kings under the rule of Chera Kings. Elanthottam Sugumaran had given a different definition to Venadu that it got its name as it was ruled by the Kings who were the descendants of Lord Muruga. This Venn Nadu got its name of Venadu in due course.
7 The areas covering the present day Kanyakumari District, Thiruvananthapuram District and certain part of Quilon District is denoted as Venadu. Venadu was the area between Quilon and Athancode as noted by Yavanar. As per the recording of Kanakasabai, the area south of Kuttanadu up to Kanyakumari was known as Venadu. The area between Quilon and Thiruvananthapuram was Venadu as per another claim. Of these, the findings of Sreedara Menon are acceptable. The capital of Venadu was Kalkulam. There is a fort at Kalkulam. It was known as Kalkulam Fort. Anantha Padmanaban was the Chief of Army at the beginning of the ruler Marthandavarma Maharaja. The above fort was built in his name and then changed as Padmanaban Fort in his memory.
How Venadu transformed into Thiruvithancore The credit of the creation of Thiru Koorai fully goes to the King Marthandavarma. He brought the areas of Senkottai, Kottarakarai, Quilon, Kottayam, Kayankulam, Ambalakarai and Nedumangadu under his control and expanded his country from Kanyakumari to Kochi. The name of Venadu was changed as Thiruvithancore. Later it was changed as Thiruvancode and then as Thiru + Ayan + Kodu and in due course it became Thirivithancode. It was called as Thiruvancore in English from the Sanskrit word Sree Vazhum Code. The definition of Sreedara menon claims the English name Travancore was derived from the original Malayalam word Thiruvithancore. The word Thiru + Athan + Code – Thirivithancode was called as Thiruvithancore by the British. Professor M.A.Nathaneal found that Kanyakumari is
8 the southern part of Thiruvithancore. Kumari remained world famous from the preancient days. Tholcopium says it as: Vadavengadam thenkumari auidai Thamizhkooru nallulahathu Purananuru says: Vadaa athu panittu neduvarai vadakkum Thenaa athu uruhezhu kumaryin therkum (-6) Thenkumari vada perungal Kuna kuda kadalavellai (-17) (-67)
Kumarium perunthurai ayirai manthi Thenkumari vada perungal Kuna kuda kadalavellai Thontru mozhinthu thozhil ketpa
This district remained a part of Thiruvithancore. The Tamilians were oppressed by the Government and by the high caste peoples. They suffered mental agony and struggled under the leadership of Marshal Nesamani and at the end joined with the Tamilnadu state. There were claims from some leaders to merge this part with Thirunelveli and name it after Nesamani or as Nanjil District. But Nesamani wanted it to be named as Kanyakumari District and conveyed this to Kamarajar, the then Chief Minister of Tamilnadu. Kamarajar had fulfilled the desire of Nesamani. Kanyakumari District was born thus with the annexing of a part of Senkottai Taluk.
KINGS WHO RULED THIRUVITHANCORE The Kings who ruled Thiruvithancore can be divided into ancient Kings and recent Kings. ANCIENT KINGS:Ayyanadigalar Ayyanadigalar is known as the first king among Venadu Kings. He came to rule in 849 A.D. He permitted to construct a Christian Church at ‘Kurakeni Kollam’. Marthanda Govarthan Marthanda was the next King. His name finds a place in the yutha copper inscriptions of Baskara Ravivarma in 1000 A.D. Ravivarman Ravivarman, popularly called as Samkrada Ravivarman made Quilon as his capital. His tenure of reign is considered as the golden period of Venadu history. He was the last king in the monarchy of patrilineal hierarchy. Veera Udaya Marthandavarma After the death of Ravivarma, Veera Udaya Marthandavarma became the King in the year 1314. He was the first king in the matrilineal monarchy. This kind of rule extended up to the 20th century.
10 Adithyavarman After Udaya Marthandavarman, Adithyavarman became the king. He was called as Adithyavarma savang kanatha. He ruled from the year 1376 to1383. His war and knowledge achievements find place in one of the stone inscriptions at the Srikrishna temple, Vadaseri. Another stone inscription at the Sripadmanaba temple, Thiruvananthapuram, contain notings about him and the construction of Srikrishnan temple by him Chera Udaya Marthandavarman After Adithyavarman, Chera Udaya Marthandavarman accepted the throne in the year 1318 and ruled up to the year 1444. His rule is considered the longest rule in the history of Venadu. Veera Marthandavarman Veera Marthandavarman accepted the throne in the year 1516. He built a fort at Kallidaikurichi and named it as Veera Marthanda Sathurvethimangalam. He also donated enough land to the Jain temple at Nagercoil. He exempted the Christian Fishermen from the imposed tax on them. At the latter part of his rule, the Vijayanagara King waged a war against Venadu. Vijayanagara army had defeated the King of Venadu at the bank of Thamirabarani River and seized some part from him. The siege of Thirumalainaickar At the latter part of 16th century, the Naicker rule became stronger. Viswanatha Naicken had created the family of Naicka Kings. He defeated the Pandia King in the year 1553 and victoriously led his army up to the border of Nanjilnadu. In the year 1662, an army under the leadership of Thirumalainaicker entered the eastern border of Venadu to annex a part of Nanjilnadu. Naicker army had seized some parts
11 of Nanjilnadu. Ravikuttipillai, one of the ministers of the King of Venadu was beheaded in this war. Umayammai Rani as a regent As Ravivarman, the legal heir of Venadu throne was minor; Umayammai Rani was crowned as a regent in the year 1677 and continued up to 1684. During her reign, Kalkulam was the capital of Venadu. During her reign, a Mogul Sardar had siege the southern part of Venadu and seized the part up to Thiruvananthapuram. Umayammai Rani had sought the help of Kottayam monarchy. Keralavarman, belonging to that family had extended a helping hand. In the war held at Thiruvattar, Mogul Sardar was killed and peace returned to Venadu. Ravivarman Ravivarman became major and accepted throne in the year 1684, and it was the end of regency rule of Umayammai Rani. Adithyavarman Adithyavarman came to rule in the year 1718 after Ravivarman. Ramavarman Ramavarman became the ruler in the year 1721. His next heir Marthandavarman entered into an agreement with Naickers on behalf of Ravivarman to build a fort to the British East India Company. Marthandavarma Marthandavarma became the king of Venadu in the year 1729. At that time, Venadu has a vast expand up to Varkalai in the north and Nagercoil in the south.
12 Venadu was called as Thiruvithancore from the rule of Marthandavarman. He named his place of residence as Padmanabapuram. Starting from the year 1729, he developed his country in a span of 27 years to the first place among other countries in India. Ananthapadmanaban Nadar from Pachanvilai in Kannanur was the Chief of Army to him and he remained in support for the expansion of the country and to suppress the civil revolt. He died in the year 1758. Dharmaraja Dharmaraja was also called as Ramavarma. He became the ruler after Marthandavarma. He died in the year 1798 at the age of 74. Hyder Ali Hyder Ali had dethroned the king of Mysore and appointed himself as the king of Mysore. He annexed the west coastal part up to Kochi with his country. Balaramavarma During his tenure Veluthambi was the Dewan and after him Umminithambi became Dewan. Balaramavarma died in the year 1810 on which the dark days of Thiruvithancore history came to an end.
RECENT KINGS Rani Gowri Lakshmibai After the death of Balaramavarma, Rani Gowri Lakshmibai became the ruler as he had no male heir. Mantro got appointment as Dewan. Gowri Parvathi Bai
13 Rani Gowri Lakshmibai died in the year 1815. After that her sister Gowri Parvathi Bai became the ruler and ruled the country up to the year 1829. Swathi Thirunal Ramavarma During his reign of 18 years, he made many achievements. His tenure of rule was considered as the Golden Days in the history of Thiruvithancore. He died in December 1846. Uthiram Thirunal After Swathi Thirunal, his youngest brother Uthiram Thirunal Marthandavarma got the throne. During his tenure of rule, not only the country improved in all respects but also the people lived in peace and ecstasy. He died in the year 1860. Ayilyam Thirunal Ayilyam Thirunal Maharaja came to power in the year 1860. Madavarao was the Dewan during the tenure of Uthiram Thirunal and he continued to remain as Dewan during his rule also. Because of difference of opinion with the king, Madavarao resigned as Dewan and left the country in the year 1872. Ayilyam Thirunal Maharaja died in the year1880. Sri Moolam Thirunal Sri Moolam Thirunal Ramavarma became the king of Thiruvithancore in the year1855. He had the good opportunity to rule the country for nearly 40 years. During his long rule, peace and non-quarrel prevailed in the entire country. He died in the year 1924.
Sethu Lakshmibai Sethu Lakshmibai got the throne after Sri Moolam Thirunal. She ruled the country only for 7 years but these years remained a heart filled joy. Sri Chithirai Thirunal Sri Chithirai Thirunal Balaramavarman got the throne in November 1931. When India got independence in the year 1947, the people of Thiruvithancore left the monarchy and joined the Indian federal rule. In 1st July 1949, he took charge as Governor of this new country.
REASONS FOR THE AGITATIONS OF THIRUVITHANCORE TAMILS AND THE ORGANISATIONS Reasons for the agitations of Thiruvithancore Tamils:Marumakkal Vazhi Manmiyam Venadu was a part of Cheranadu. Thiruvithancore was the growth of Venadu. Because of the arrival of Ariyar in Thiruvithancore, the patrilineal hierarchy rule was replaced by matrilineal hierarchy rule. The first reason for the fall of Tamils was the Marumakkal Vazhi Manmiyam. A new hierarchy called Marumakkal Thaya Murai was introduced in Thiruvithancore for the fall of Tamilian rule. Giving up of one’s right of property to the sister’s son or daughter was known as Marumakkal Thaya Murai Ariya Namboodris had created the above method. But they belong to Patrilineal hierarchy. According to Historians such as P.T. Srinivasa Iyangar, Ilamkulam Kunjampillai and Ilanthottam K. Sugumaran, Marumakkal Thaya Murai was introduced in Kerala in the 11th Century. Ilanthottam K. Sugumaran has also said that Marumakkal Thaya Murai was an arrangement with more than one husband. During the tenure of Aditya Varma in the year1304, the matrilineal descendency was accepted by the Thiruvithancore royal family. Veera Udaya Marthandavarma who ruled between the years 1314 to 1344 was crowned as the first king under the Marumakkal Thaya Murai. It was the fall of the rule of Chera Kings. This had paved the way for the creation of a culture, many husbands for one woman by setting aside the one woman for one man culture. The Nair and Vellalar communities which accepted the matrilineal hierarchy had considered the other communities, who refused to accept this method, such as Nadar, Fishermen, Parayar etc.,as despicable.
Marumakkal Thayam Marumakkal Thayam means the hierarchy through nephews. That is one’s sister’s children are considered as his heirs in this method. The introduction of this method was the aftermath of the many husbands culture. The mother of a child can be a sure thing, but in the case of many husbands, the father could not be confirmed and this situation brought into practice the Marumakkal Thayam. The family which followed the Marumakkal Thayam was called Tharavadu. All the heirs of a woman jointly lived in a single house in Tharavadu. Generally they eat at a single kitchen. Properties were administered by the eldest son of that family. He was called as karanavan. Some important castes in Thiruvithancore followed this method. Generally the Nairs and a part of Ezhavas followed this. There was lot of defects seen in this method. Because of this, strong oppositions erupted in due course in the families which followed this method. Difference of opinion developed between the wife of karanavan and sisters and quarrels started. Further accuse developed against the karanavan for his act of dictatorship. Another accuse arose that the wife of karanavan, called as Ammayee had rightfully taken away the revenue from the Tharavadu property to her and to her children. Alphens Nathaniel says that the introduction of Marumakkal Thayam in the place of patrilineal hierarchy in Cheranadu not only damaged the habits and culture of Tamils but also paved way for the newly created mixed language of Tamil and Samaskritham to become the ruling language. PIDAGAI Pidagai method Marthandavarma had submitted his country to his family God Sri Padmanabaswamy on 3-1-1750. He called himself as Padmanabadasan. During his tenure, Thiruvithancore state was divided into four parts viz. Padmanabapuram, Thiruvananthapuram, Kollam and Cherthalai. These parts were further divided into 32 Thaluks and 245 Pidagais.
Duties of Pidagaimen National council of Pidagaimen The duty of this council was to monitor whether the low caste people are regularly abiding the restrictions imposed on them. The members of this council were the Pillaimars called Nanjilnattu Nairs. Nearly 200 persons were members of this council representing two or three persons from each village. They assembled in December of each year at the time of Suchindram temble car festival and discuss about the caste rules and decisions arrived. They used to take the law into their hands and imposed harsh punishments to the people who violated the caste rules. Many times they ordered death sentence to the accused. The Pidagai council was very powerful that even the Kings were unable to act to their wishes. At this time Karnal Mantro was appointed as Dewan by Rani Gowri Lakshmibai. Mantro, not only an English representative but also served as Dewan, had introduced drastic changes in the Thiruvithancore administration which brought in a situation of social reformation. At the time of his taken over of charge, large scale misuse of authority and dishonesty were rampantly prevailed in all the departments. He wanted to bring in an honest government by eliminating the lapses and to protect the life and property of the people. As a first step to reform the government, he abolished the posts of Valia Sarvathikariyakarar and Sarvathikariyakarar. He had withdrawn the power to deliver justice and tax collection power only was given to the Kariyakarar. They were not called as Kariyakarar but their designation changed as Thahasildar. For every five important places he created Zillah Courts and formed a Court of Appeal and thus reformed the judiciary. He established a separate Huzur Court to enquire the Government employees. He traveled throughout the country and found out the wrong doing officials and imposed punishments. Because of his strict activities, the entire administration was reformed within a year. Mantro had already heard of the atrocities of Pidagaikarar and the distresses inflicted on the lower caste peoples.
18 While Karnal Mantro was staying at the Udayagiri Fort, some leaders of Pidagai entered into the Fort without any information and permission and tried to meet him. On hearing their arrogant activities, Mantro closed the Fort entrance and ordered to arrest them. The drum, sticks and emblems brought by them were broken by the officials. Further, the devils rule prevailed in Thiruvithancore was stopped by Mantro in 1811. Because of the abolition of Pidagai method, the problems of other caste peoples except Brahmins and Suthirar were brought to the direct attention of the Government. Through this, Thahsildars, Parvathikarars and National guards to protect the lands were appointed in the Revenue department. At the same time Mantro had established judicial Courts and separated the judiciary from Pidagai. Pidagai method was totally abolished by Mantro. But the Youngster’s Sangams created by the Pidagaikarar continued to give distress to the oppressed people. Veluthambi Thalavai Veluthambi Thalavai was born at Thalakulam near Eraniel in Kanyakumari District to the parents Kunnumayari Pillai and Thalakulam Valliammai Pillai Thankachi in Nair family on 23rd of Chithirai 1765. In the year 1783, while the king Karthigai Thirunal Ramavarma was staying at Padmanabapuram, his jewels and sword were stolen away. The responsibility of tracing and recovering them was entrusted with Veluthambi who was considered a militant youth among youngsters. Veluthambi strenuously acted and recovered the stolen items and submitted them to the king. From that day, a strong relation took place between Veluthambi and the Palace. The king appointed Veluthambi as a tax collecting official in Haranya Nallur(Eraniel). The 16 year old Avittam Thirunal Balaramavarma became the king when Karthigai Thirunal Ramavarma died on 17-2-1798. He ruled from 1798 to 1810. Veluthambi developed close relationship with his Father-in-Law Jeyanthan Sankaran Namboodri. After the death of then Dewan Kesavadass, Jeyanthan Sankaran Namboodri declared himself as Thalavai and he imposed tax burden on the people in a short period. Because of this, the people got angered against Dewan and expressed opposition. Veluthambi utilized this opportunity and he gathered thousands of people from Nanjilnadu, went in a procession to Thiruvananthapuram and siege the palace
19 demanding removal of Dewan. Finding the rage of the people with weapons, the king called Veluthambi and accepted to remove Jeyanthan Sankaran Namboodri. Namboodri was removed from the post on 20th June 1799 and appointed Ayyappan Senbagaraman Pillai as Dewan and Veluthambi as Minister of Commercial Tax. Ayyappan Senbagaraman remained as Dewan for a short period. After him Parasalai Padmanaban Senbagaraman Pillai was appointed as Dewan by the king. Veluthambi was appointed in a higher post called Sarvathiharam in 1801. Veluthambi who was actively anticipating the post of Dewan, started to device conspiracy within the palace. Important palace officials Kunjuneelan Pillai(Accountant) and Muthupillai(Political Advisor) helped Veluthambi in his plans. As the king was a minor, Veluthambi had brought all the powers of the palace into his control and in 1802, became Dewan with the recommendation of British official Macaulay. Latter he was called Veluthambi Thalavai. Dewan Veluthambi Thalavai wanted to make many reforms on reaching the power. As thieves were given severe punishment, the people lived without fear of theft. Private lands measured, trees counted and a new tax form Kandezhuthu was introduced. For the administrative convenience, the allowances of Government employees were reduced. Hence in 1802, the army men entered into a mutiny. Because of the mutiny of army in 1802, Veluthambi formed a Nair Army to protect the country. Here also problem developed because of the economical debacle. Veluthambi reduced the wages of Army men. He declared this action was necessitated to pay the arrears to the East India Company. Enraged over this, the Nair Army men started a revolution in 1804. As per the advice of the political opponents of Veluthambi, nearly 10,000 men paraded to Thiruvananthapuram. They opened the jails and released the inmates. They decided to kill Veluthambi and Macaulay. They insisted the king to remove Thalavai from the post immediately. King was upset without knowing what to do. Veluthambi surrendered before Macaulay when the Nair Army created by him was trying to kill him from Alapuzhai. On 16th November 1804, Macaulay had moved a part of East India Company Army from Kochi to Kollam and from Thirunelveli to Thiruvananthapuram and suppressed the revolt.
20 Effort of Veluthambi to kill Macaulay Veluthambi wrote letter to the head of East India Company, condemning the intervention of Macaulay in the internal affairs of Thiruvithancore. Because of this, the enmity between Veluthambi and Macaulay had increased. Veluthambi wanted to fight with Macaulay immediately. He released an advertisement from Kundarai on 11-1-1809 with the aim to gather the people against the British to revenge Karnal Macaulay. The wordings in the advertisement remained in such a way to instigate religious rage. Cruelties of Veluthambi Veluthambi was the first man in Thiruvithancore to induce the people in the name of caste and religion for the purpose of political gains. Among the many cruelties he did to this country, the worst was the sowing of seed in the name of caste, religion and language. The seed of religious aversion sowed at that time has been let loose in recent times to suit the situation. In Kerala and Kanyakumari it totally expanded and stabilised. He is the father of today’s caste revolts. Thollseelai Struggle During the tenure of Marthandavarma, a ban was introduced prohibiting the oppressed women from wearing top dress. A writer from abroad Cross had written that the breasts of a woman who lived in Europe for sometime was cut as she came in front of the Queen of Attingal with top dress as was followed in Europe. Top dress struggle Of the restrictions imposed on the oppressed caste people in Thiruvithancore, the important one was the dress code restrictions. The oppressed caste people should not wear any dress above the hip. Even the girls of them were not given the right to wear any dress covering their breast, a symbol of culture. But the
21 higher caste women were permitted to wear a shawl like dress covering the breasts from the shoulder. That top dress was the only distinguishing emblem to identify the upper caste from lower caste. Commenced as a small revolt in a village Kothanar Vilai in March 1822, this agitation continued for about 37 years continuously and which can be divided into three stages. First stage was held from 1822 to 1823, second stage from 1827 to 1829 and the third stage from 1858 to 1859. First stage Agitation This agitation commenced in May 1822 in Kalkulam and Eraniel Taluks. To find a solution to this problem, Meet Iyer had submitted a petition to the English representative Karnal Newall. Karnal Newall requested the Padmanabapuram Court to peruse and order judgment on this problem. The Court after enquiring the case had delivered a judgment in May 1823 in favour of Christians. Second stage agitation Second stage agitation started in 1827. In this agitation, the most affected places were Attoor, Thirparappu, Kannanur, Arumanai, Udayarvilai and Pulippanam. The Government orders issued in the year 1829 could not find a permanent solution to the top dress issue. This order made the Christian Nadar Women dissatisfied. Hence this problem again emerged after some time. Christian Nadar women wore another top dress, like before, over the kuppayam in violation of the Government orders. In the midst, Hindu Nadar women also started wearing the top dress by the courage and confidence inducted by a Hindu revolutionist Muthukutty Swamigal. Nair caste people indulged in stopping this.
22 Third stage agitation Third stage agitation started afterwards. After the published declaration of Queen Victoria in the year 1858, this agitation got vigorous. Agitation started in Neyyatinkarai and spread to Parasalai and Neyyur. In markets and shopping areas, the top dress worn Hindu Nadar women were attacked. Their top dress was torn out. Agitators entered into Neyyur and beaten up the people they encountered. The men hid themselves for fear of attack. Women and children took shelter in the Mission Bungalow. Some officials had cut and taken away a big tree of Gurubatham priest without paying the price. When obstructed this, they had beaten up him and his wife and son until they fell unconscious. Four Christians of Kallanguzhi were taken in the pretext of some Government works, but were beaten up and kept under custody and released after some days. One person was killed. After two days a temple also was burnt down. In December 30, there was a big clash in the shopping area of Kottar. Hindu Nadars joined hands with Christians in this and conducted counter attack. At this stage the then Missionaries, Kokks Iyer, Russel Iyer, Whitehouse Iyer, Louis Iyer and Peliss Iyer took heavy pains to suppress the agitation. Thiruvithancore Dewan and the King have half heartedly accepted to comply with the request of Nadar caste people because of the insistence of British Government. Based on this, an authorized communication was published on 26th July 1859. Nadar women of all religions was allowed to wear a kuppayam like Christian women or coarse dress like fisherwomen, but they should not wear top dress like upper caste women and there was no objection to cover the breasts in any form. Women equal rights agitation It was reported in the wise crack part of the Indian Express on 1-52002 that the thinking of a woman after she awake in the morning is, what kind of dress she wish to wear on that day. Dress to the body is more important than food.
23 There was no surprise in the courageous agitation of Thiruvithancore women for their rights. Publication of Queen Victoria British Government had directly taken over the rule of India from the East India Company in 1858. British Queen Victoria had delivered an address in the England Parliament to the people of the countries under her rule on 1st November 1858 as below: “One society or Government should not interfere into the religious regulations or social restrictions of other society. Government servants should not intervene and discriminate anybody in the customary affairs that is being followed in the respective societies. The violators of this order would be punished.” This declaration was sent to the King of Thiruvithancore by the Governor of Chennai. Revolt The declaration of the Queen was taken by both sides in their favour. Peoples again indulged in heavy revolts by casting explanations that, through the declaration of the Queen that one’s religious regulations or social restrictions should not be interfered with, the Queen supports their activities and violence. Christian women dressed themselves to their wishes stating that they have the right derived from their religious regulations. So violence spread to all the areas.
According to Koji Kavashahi, the notification of the Queen of England was just like adding fuel to the fire to the on going Thiruvithancore revolt. The revelers were very eager to see the Christian women in their old condition by claiming that “the Queen through her declaration had conveyed her dissatisfaction over the activities of the Missionaries; the British Queen had given the rights to the
24 people of Thiruvithancore to safeguard our culture; so it is the apt occasion to safeguard our social custom by not allowing the Sanatties to cover their breasts.” Therefore the cruelty of tearing the blouses of women by entering into the house got aggravated. Government intervention As Karnal Kallan was continuing as Thiruvithancore Resident for nearly 10 years from1840, the Missionaries thought that Kallan was acting in a manner to satisfy the Government and the upper caste people. The Missionaries felt that the activities of Kallan were not in support of their demands. But Resident Kallan was in belief that the Missionaries were the reason for the dressing of Hindu Nadar women by covering their breasts and for the commencement of revolt. The victory of women’s equal rights agitation The release of the publicity of the king Uthiram Thirunal Marthandavarma on 26-11-1859 was a milestone on the growth of culture of Nadar People. It was said in the same “Hindu Nadar women also wear blouse like Christian Nadar women and wear coarse dress around the neck and covering the breasts. Further, the Nadar women are permitted to dress covering the breasts but in other forms than the Nair women.” The actions of this publicity were released in a book by the British Government on 6-8-1859. The above publicity was for the Nadar women only, and the women of Eazhavar, Parayar, Pulayar etc. were not given the rights to dress covering the breasts. So the Missionaries not satisfied with this publicity, had taken efforts for Government notification for these people. On seeing the Nadar women moving the streets with neat dress, the Eazhava people came forward to fight for their rights. The Missionaries, who supported the reasonable agitation of the people, had written to the Governor of Chennai Dilivalian requesting for insisting the King on the right of people to dress. He had written letter to the new Thiruvithancore Resident F.N.Maltfy requesting to proceed with action. Accepting the request of Maltfy, the King Aiylyam Thirunal had issued a notification in 1865 that there was no impediment to all society people of
25 Thiruvithancore including Eazhavar, Parayar and Pulayar to dress covering the breasts. By this, the agitation held for about 43 years in Thiruvithancore for the equal rights of women came to an end. The dress agitation got its victory as it was guided by the God through his words “I was without dress, but you gave me dress” and his Missionaries along with the joint agitation of Christians and other than Christian Nadar women and men. By the rights got through the Christian Missionaries on that day, the women of today wears silky variety dresses by covering their body and move beautifully in the cultured world. Temple entry agitation Stone transport for temple, mortar plastering for temple and building the temple are all done by oppressed people. The statue of the installed God is also the architectural work of them. But a rule was devised prohibiting the entry of them inside the temple. All the oppressed people protested this. In particular the Nadar people who did all works went on agitation. Condition of temple on that day They were denied worship in the temple. The Brahmins who had no link with the temple did the pooja works. Nair was allowed next to them. The last row was Vellalar. Nadar, Eazhavar etc. had to stand 12 feet away from the temple surrounding. Harijans had to stand 62 feet away. The temple entry agitation commenced by Nadars at the middle of 19th century had aroused with new life under the leadership of Eazhavas at the start of 20th century. In the year 1905, an Ezhavar called Kochu Kunju Sanar, who was a member of Sri Moolam Popular Assembly, had raised the matter of allowing the Eazhavas near the roads of Haripad temple in the Assembly. Other Eazhava members S.Kumaravelu Panicker, V.R.K.Vaithyian and K.R.Panicker have also argued in the Assembly about the use of temple roads and entry into the temple.
26 The editor of the weekly Desabimani had written about the temple entry in the issue of December 1917. He also submitted a memorandum before the Sri Moolam Popular Assembly requesting the entry into the temple. With the blessings of Mahathma Gandhi, the agitation started on the scheduled day. Gandhiji had advised the followers about the agitation methods. The agitation methods were changed accordingly. Narayanaguru not only encouraged the agitators but also had donated Rs.1000/-. Periyar E.V.Ramasamy Naicker of Tamilnadu had also came with hundreds of followers and extended his full cooperation. He also took part in the agitation, jailed and earned the honour of Hero of Vaikom. In March 1925, Gandhiji came over to the agitation field, met them and encouraged them. Then he went to Varkalai to meet Narayanaguru. Eazhava people met him at that time and given a petition about their problems. He explained the stand of the Queen to them. He said the Queen considers it necessary to open the temple roads to all communities, but she remains unable to do anything until there is a change in the mentality of the people. In November 1925, the Queen notified that all the Hindus can use the roads used by the Christians and Muslims without any religious difference, but the temple precincts should only be used by the upper caste Hindus. The banned roads of three sides surrounding the Vaikom temple were opened. But the road in the eastern side remained closed to the oppressed caste Hindus and other religion people. The agitators continued with their agitation on the eastern side. As per the advice of Mahathma Gandhi, the agitation was given up on November 23. But this concession was not given to other temples of Thiruvithancore. After some days, the leader of agitation committee Gandhidass had announced that the agitation would commence on the eastern side of the temple. The upper caste people had indulged in anticipatory activities to defeat their efforts. District Magistrate had issued ban orders on the agitation leaders. However the agitators under the leadership of Gandhidass tried to enter into the temple precincts. The struggle of the agitators trying to enter the banned area violating the ban order and the stopping of them by anti agitation group, continued for some days. E.V.Ramasamy Periyar also took part in the agitation.
In May 1930, the agitation was again started. Eravipudur Gandhiraman Pillai who took part in the previous agitation now led the agitation. He and his followers who tried to enter into the banned area were arrested. One year imprisonment was ordered to Gandhiraman Pillai. But the High Court not only acquitted him but also ordered to permit all the people without any religious differences to use the streets in Suchindram. After this judgment, the oppressed people, without any obstruction, had used the streets for about a week. But during the festival, the Superintendent of Police Pichu Iyengar brought a special police force and prohibited the movement of the oppressed people in the streets. So Gandhiraman Pillai again planned to commence the agitation on 9th Feb 1931. Again the tense situation started. But after some days the agitation had weakened. In the year 1931, another big agitation commenced in front of Guruvayur temple demanding entry into the temple. This agitation continued for about a year but it also failed. However, though the immediate aim of entering the temple was not fulfilled, it greatly succeeded in awakening the sentiments of the people against untouchability. At this confused situation, the Dewan Sir C.P.Ramaswamy Iyer who realized the great danger awaiting the Hindu Religion, came forward to act swiftly. At last, the Government surrendered to the demand of the people. On his 25th birth day, 12th November 1936, the King Chithrai Thirunal released the historic fame temple entry declaration. By this, a full stop was affixed to the many century old big injustice practiced in Thiruvithancore. C.Rajagopalachari described this as an ahimsa revolution without blood shed happened in the recent times of human history. Prior to the year 1887, only the upper caste Hindus were able to worship the Arya Gods of Shiva, Vishnu etc. in Thiruvithancore. Lower caste oppressed Hindu people could only worship the small deities like samundi, kali, moden etc. Lower caste people should not be seen to the eyes of upper caste people. Even the shadow should not touch the upper caste people. Moreover, there was a plan to make a peculiar noise from behind a hidden place to show his identity. To liberate from such cruelty, individual agitators and many organizations came in. Bagavan Vaikunta swamigal, Sri Narayanaguru, Iyengali, Paul
28 V.Daniel, Kumarithanthai Marshal Nesamani are some of the individual important agitators. Among these, Marshal Nesamani led the joint agitation. Slaves While talking to their masters, the slaves had to cover their mouth with hand. While tanks or dams breaches, it was the practice prevailed to push the slaves into the breach and bury them there. The slaves of Thiruvithancore were sold at the price range of Rs.3, 6 & 18. Women were sold at half the rate of man. Slaves lived at a long distance in slum area from the living area of upper caste. According to Francis Pukkanan, the transaction of slaves took place in three methods. The first method was called Genmam, which means purchase at a price. Purchasing the slave by paying the entire cost was called as Genmam. The method of getting two third of the cost of slave and give up him was called Kanam or pledging. The person who took the slave on pledge had to pay the pledged some rice annually. The slaves could be received back on re-payment of pledged amount. The third method of transaction of slaves was Pattam or letting on lease. The person who bought the slaves in this method had to make a particular amount annually to the lesser. The annual lease amount for a gents slave was 8 panam and it was 4 panam for lady slaves. As the slaves were sold and purchased like animals, they were unable to live a disciplined family life. Separation of wife from husband and selling to another master and separation of children from parents were regular routine incidents. The master who purchased the slave’s wife could send her as wife to another slave. The masters had the rights to beat, sever the hand or leg and kill the slaves. Masters generally don’t give enough food to the slaves.
29 Abolition of slavery In the year 1843, the British Government enacted a Law for the abolition of slavery in India. But that Law did not bind the separate country of Thiruvithancore. As there was no other way, the King finally had published a historically important order about the abolition of slavery in the year 1853. It was said in this order that the children born to the Government slaves after 15th September 1853 would be considered independent man and some concession would be given to other slaves. It also banned the selling of children without concurrence of parents. But this order did not entirely liberate the slaves. They were not given equal rights before the Law. In June 1855, the King had issued an order fully liberating the slaves. By this the abolition of bondage system was legally accepted in Thiruvithancore. More than 10,000 slaves were liberated in Thiruvithancore. The right to property was also allowed. Free Labour Lower caste people were compelled to do free labour to the Government, temples and upper caste peoples. As the Government, temples and Brahmins were the owners of the lands, they were called landlords and these peoples as lessees. Sahudi They planned to seize all the lands of oppressed Tamil people. Many toiled Asans were killed. Their lands were confiscated and this land was named as Sagudi. Pogudi The hard worked people were chased to other countries and named as Pogudi.
Girl’s learning was banned. The practice of marriage among the matured people was changed and child marriage was introduced. The life of women got shrunk within four walls of the house. Widow marriage was refused. Moreover she was considered as a curse and subjected to aversion by the society. The Thiruvithancore once called as Darma boomi became Adharma boomi by these reasons. Letting out the land for low rate of lease to do work without wages was called viruthi. The persons who got land under this were viruthikarar. Palviruthi to supply milk to temples and Vediviruthi to conduct fireworks during festive seasons were given. The viruthi given for the supply of boats during festive seasons was called vallaviruthi. The works of constructing fence to lands, loading and unloading in carts, supply of grass to the King’s horses, repairing of Government buildings and watchman duty was carried out by the viruthikarar without getting any wages. The duty of viruthikarar did not end with the free labour. They had to supply their goods free of cost. It was also the duty of viruthikarar to supply leaf for writing, supply of oil, garland, milk etc. to the temples, supply of vegetables and firewood to the kitchens and supply of coconut leaves to the Government elephants. As the touching of lower caste people, seeing them and approaching near them were considered a taboo, these people did not approach the upper caste people nearer than a specified distance. Nadar or Eazhavar community people could stand 36 feet away from Brahmins and 12 feet away from Nair. The minimum distance between Pulayar and Brahmin was 96 feet and between Pulayar and Nair was 60 feet. If an upper caste man comes opposite when a lower caste man was walking on a road, the lower caste man had to go down the road and stand there until the upper caste man pass through that place. When he fails to do this, severe punishment was awarded. A Nair had the right to kill that person cutting him with a sword at that place. The Nair had no right to forgive a person who violates this rule. If he forgives him, the Nair would be awarded with death sentence by the King.
The lower caste people had no permission to visit the Government buildings, Palace and choultries which are used by upper caste people. They had to stand 50 to 60 feet away from Government offices and Courts. Lower caste people were prohibited from wearing the jewels made of costly metals like gold and silver. They had no permission to walk with an umbrella, whether it was scorching sun or pouring rain. They should not use footwear. Metal utensils should not be used. To rear milch cows, using vehicles for transport and living in tiled houses were not permitted. It was declared that the living huts of Fishermen should not be more than three feet in height. The sheds put up for marriage should not be decorated. Tax severity Women had to pay thali tax for wearing it. For wearing some sort of dresses and jewels, tax had to be paid. Permission had to be got by paying money to the Government to wear cap on the head, to use umbrella, to go in a pallakku, to grow mustache and to conduct marriage. For the hair on the head and for the breasts of women, tax had to be paid. The women in the age group of 16 to 35 years had to pay this tax. It is said that a woman hailing from Shertallai had cut her breasts in protest to this tax and thrown it in front of the tax collecting official and died. That place is called until today as Mulachi Parambu. Economically the Nadar community suffered many hardships. They had to loose a major portion of their income in the name of penalty, tax and donation. The most severe was the compensatory measure. The penalty amount paid by the convicted persons to the Government was called compensation. In the name of compensation, the Government officials used to collect any amount as they wish. The Poll Tax was another tax which made the Nadar community to suffer much. This tax was collected from all the men in the age group of 16 and 60 years. The relatives had to pay this tax for the dead also. Because of the incapacity to
32 pay this tax, many families migrated to the nearby Tamilnadu state. The Government was vigorous to collect this tax even from the relatives of such migrated people. Apart from the poll tax, some other taxes such as professional tax, house tax, property tax etc. were also collected from the Nadar community. For the ladder used by them to climb the Palmyra tree, a tax known as Enikkanam and Thalaikanam were collected. From the producers of toddy, a nazhi to each pot of toddy was collected as tax. A house tax known as Kuppa Katcha at the rate of one panam for each hut was also collected. At the time of change of roof to the house, a tax known as manai meipan kollumirai was collected. They had to pay tax to their land and the trees such as Palmyra, coconut, arecanut, mango, jack, tamarind, Alexandrian laurel etc. which grow there. The people who failed to pay tax were subjected to severe punishments. They were subjected to harassments like standing in the sunlight for hours with heavy stones on their back, hanging red hot iron rod inserted in the ear and jailing with harsh treatment. The name chanar was brought into practice to the Nadar in the 16th, 17th century. The south Thiruvithancore Nadar could not name their children perumal or to name their houses as complexes. Because of the tax burden, they got charred. Tax was imposed on thali, head and Palmyra. Vaikunda explains the sufferings of the clergy as below: Eapuli pol neesan eayiapolay santor Naipulipol neeson nallaru pol santor Bagavan Vaikundar was born in 1809 to bring the people to the shore from their sea of sufferings.
Everyone had to pay tax separately for their profession and for the tools they use for this purpose. Whether he is a musician or a dancer, one has to pay tax. Grass cutter or porter, he too had to pay tax. The tax collecting official had collected the tax manifold than the specified amount, but issued receipt to a lesser amount. At one time, 50 sakkaram was compulsorily collected from a Pulayan instead of only 2 sakkaram. To evade the payment of such higher than prescribed amount of tax, people used to pay bribe to the tax collecting officials. At one time 18 families of Thamaraikulam were compelled by the officials to make payment of 112.5 panam intended for the tax amount of a whole year through the village head Gurusamy. As one of them had pleaded his inability to make payment of the entire amount in one lump sum and requested for making a monthly payment, red hot rod was inserted in his ear and allowed to hang there for 80 minutes. Other two persons of the same village Narayanan and Maraperumal were subjected to this punishment for two hours. Many people of south Thiruvithancore were given such punishment as a routine. If any petition was given highlighting this harassment, the officials refuse to receive the same. Thus the major part of the income of lower caste people was not only sucked by the Government and higher officials but also the lower caste people had to bear with the harassment of the higher officials. The Tamil people, who bear with such sufferings, had started agitation campaigns. The seed of agitation was sown by the western missionaries. The agitation was inaugurated by saints and incarnations like Ayya Vaikundar, Narayanaguru, Iyengali. But Kumarithanthai Nesamani had created political party and converted the agitation into a cyclone and brought the victory. To say in short, the missionaries had sowed the seed for the agitation. Agitation was grown by Vaikunda swamigal. Kumarithanthai Nesamani converted this into a political movement and brought it to a victorious end.
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