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CHAPTER – II EMERGENCE OF PALAYAMS The term “poligar” derives from Palayakaran in Tamil indicating the holder of a palayam which

usually meant an armed camp.1 In Kannada it was called as ‘Peleyara’, in Telugu as

“Palegadu” and in Marathi “Palagar” conveyed the same meaning as the holder of camp or barony on military tenure. They had

collected the revenues mainly for the maintenance of the military force. The poligars of Tamilnadu controlled their pollams as that of the feudal barons of Medieval Europe during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries and represented an important institution in the history of southern part of the Indian peninsula.2 Before the advent of the Nayaks of Madurai, the old system of Desakaval, Sthalamkaval were in vogue. But the Nayak rulers of

Madurai had modified and corrected the system and introduced in such a way, so as to establish their hold over the territory since the pancha pandyas were spearheading their struggle for independence from Tenkasi and other Mavali chiefs such as from Manamadurai, the Chola Princes, the local Chieftains, the Sethupathis of Ramnad

K. Rajayyan, “Indian in the Eighteenth Century”, Prof. A.P. Ibrahim, Kunju’s Felicitatin Volume, Trivandrum, 1982, pp.1-3. 2 R. Sobhanan, “Origin of Poligar Systems” Poligars and Pattagars, p.53.

and others causing troubles, Narks maintained this institution. Guided by these Viswanatha Nayak saw the wisdom of effecting a settlement which would pacify the chieftains and serve the needs of the times. The result was the acceptance of the Poligari system. K. Rajayyan too conformed this view and points out that “the collapse of the established order, the constant presence of the threat of foreign invasions the independent spirit of the inhabitants and the inability of the new sovereigns to assert their authority in overwhelming strength created a situation favourable for the rise of the poligari system”.3 With these end in view, Viswanatha and Ariyanatha allowed the Poligari system in the areas with slight modifications. Hence

the palayams were not an invention of the Nayak rules but a development of existing set up.4 As a result of these, Naik Viswanatha gave recognition to 72 palayams and entrusted the defence of each of the 72 bastions of the Madurai fort with a poligar. Either through their inheritance

from the ruling houses of the past or by their military might or in recognition of their distinguished service to the state, the poligars gained possession of their territory.5
3 4

Out of the 72 palayams

K. Rajayyan, Rise and Fall of the Poligars of Tamilnadu, University of Madras, Madras, 174, p. R. Sathianathaier, The History of the Navaks of Madurai, rpt., Asian Educational Service, New Delhi, pp.58-62. 5 Ibid., p.6.


Mahalingam points out that with the expansion of the Empire in the south. A History of Maravas 1700-1802.XLIII.10.V. Vol. Madurai Publishing House. most of them were functioned under Kambalattar as chieftains and were made poligars of the territory.6 The establishment of Kambalattar palayams might have accelerated the Kambalattars to move in groups and to settle in those places where their kith and kin were living in neighbouring parts of Tamil land. 1914.29. p. p. S.113. p. by that time. T. 6 7 S. Since they could not rely on local inhabitants they were living with their own people. Kadhirvel. 8 LA.7 Telugu dynasty got the support of Telugu army too resulted their expansion into every quarters of the empire. a large class of dependents and fortune seekers migrated to provincial courts.8 Viswanath also encouraged their immigration into particular place of Tamil region with the intention of getting the tacit help of his own men in resisting the native opposition. Mahalingam.created. They rose to high position by sheer dint of their merit and devotion to duty. Kadhirvel also says that it seems probable that a few Nayak Palayams might have been created by the Nayaks to maintain balance of power had paid good dividends. 3 . Naturally it led to the migration of men and women of the community from the Vijayanagar Empire resulted the rise of Kambalattar population. Madurai. op.V.. 1979.cit. T.

Emmakkalapuram 14. Nilakkottai 10. i. Gundappanaickanur 6. Naduvakurichi 5. Devathanapatty 8. Kolarpatty 22. Elumalai 26.Koil Olugu records that Viswanatha built many houses and encouraged their rehabilitation. ulliappanaickanur 19. Thalaivancottai 6. Elayirampannai 14. namely Kolarpatty. Rajayyan in his History of Madurai remarks that there were 31 palayams in the district of Tirunelveli. Ambathurai 12. Erassakkanaickanur 3. Avudaipuram 31. we come to know that there were 24 Palayams in Dindigul region. But Guruguhadasa Pillai in his work Tirunelveli Seemai Charitram says that there were 32 palayams in the Tinneveli district. Madur 17. Virupakshi and 24. The following Palayams in the Tirunelveli region and settlement with the East Indian Company for Fasli 1199/1200 i. p. Kulathur 28. Ammaiyanaickanur 11. Surandai 7. Idaiyakottai 20. Sennelgudi 27. Kadalkudi 16. Pavali 19. Saptur 24. 1979-90. Vadakarai 7. Seithur 30. Urkad 10. 11 They were as follows: 1. Mannarkottai 18. Nagalapuram 15.39. Chokampatty 23. Mambarai 21. Kombai 2. Attankarai 17. Bodinaickanur 5. Thavasimadai 13. Singampatty 9. Further. The following are the thirty one palayam – 1. Sandaiyur 25. Kollapatty 21. Ayakudi 22. Thottiankottai 9. Melmandai 13. Maniachi 11.e. Kannivadi. Maranoot 15.10 From Nelson’s “The Madura Country” A Manual. Ettayapuram 3. Kollamkondan. K.Palani 23. Uthumalai 4. 11 9 But Revenue Settlement Record Fazli 1199/1200.. Peraiyur 29. Sukkampatty 16. Sivagiri 2. 10 4 . Poligar memoris states that numerous adventurous chieftains migrated to the Tamil Country accepting grants of lands. 1979-90. Eriodu 18. Panchalamkurichi 12. The availability of the large tracts of uninhabited lands was also one of the factors which attracted Kambalattars to penetrate into the various parts of Tamil land. Kadumbur 8.e. Alagapuri 20. Thevaram 4.9 Madurai district records also confirm the list except one palayam.

Regarding the existence of 72 palayams there were different accounts by different scholars.Cumbum and Gudalur were under Amani or direct collectorial management. Valayapatti 2. Manapparai Palayams – 1. Jothilnaickanur 9. The two palayams included in the list of palayams of Dindigul region. Nadukkottai 7. Lingamanaick of Natham was also one of the leading Palayams. Kilakkottai 8. Veeramalai 4. If we take into consideration of the above places as palayams the number arrives at 73. Pulliappa Naickanur 3. Ramagiri 6. But the popular and widely accepted notion is that there existed 72 palayams only. Another hurdle is whether Manapparai was a palayam or not? From the records Manapparai was also treated as a palayam. Cadavoor 5. Valeakunrum 4. Gowri in her work points out that there were 10 palayams in Madurai district and 6 palayams in Manaparai taluk. Nilakottai 6. Marungapuri 3. by Kulasabanathan gives names of the different Palayams. From these factors we can also include Natham in the list. Togaimalai 5 .12 Among the Palayams of Madurai. Utthappa Naickanur 10. the places like pulliappanaickanur and Nilakkottai are repeated. Kumaravadi 2. Sirupalai 5. The details of Palayams as gleaned from the poem is as follows: 12 Madurai Palayams – 1. R. Doddappa Naickanur. The poem quoted in the book “Kathir Kamam”.

Eriodu. the Nayaks of Madurai. Ambathurai. Uttappanaickanur and Doddappa Naickanur in Madurai district. Cadavoor. Kadalkudi. Errasakanaickanur. Maranootu. Mannarkottai. and aptitude for sacrificing themselves for the cause of their sovereigns. Virupakshi region. Thottiankottai. devotion to duty. Senelgudi and Kulattur in Tirunelveli region. Sukkampatty. Madur. Attankarai. Emmakkalapuram. Ramagiri and Togaimalai in the Manapparai region and Nattam. Thevaram. Nagalapuram. Ammaiyanaickanur. Marungapuri. Kumaravadi. Ayakudi. WARFARING ACTIVITIES OF KAMBALATTU POLIGARS The Kambalattu poligars.Of the above 72 palayams nearly 47 were the Kamabalattar Palayams and were under the control of the Kambalattu Poliagars. Melmandai. Elumalai. Pavali. 6 . Sandaiyur. Nilakottai. Bodinaickanur. Kannivadi in Idaiyakottai. Peraiyur. Thavasimadai. were noted for their heroism. Devadhanapatty. according to Mackenizie Manuscripts. They were Panchalamkurichi. Dindigul Mambarai. Pulliappa and Naickanur. Due to their valour and unflinching loyalty they rose to the highest position and respect. Jothilnaickanur. Ettayapuram. Veeramalai. Kollapatty. Saptur. Gundappanaickanur. honesty.

13 14 Mackenzie Mauscript. poligars of the community rendered their loyal Some of the support to Viswanatha during his southern expeditions against the Pancha Pandyas in the battle of Kayattar.The Kambalttu Cheiftains. Nilakkottai. The noted among them were the Poligars of Virupakshi.. Panchama Naick of Ammayanaickanur. accompanied Kotiam Nagama Nayak during his southern expeditions and did an exemplary service for the success of Nayak Chief. Ramppayan. Kulappa Naick of Nilakottai and Sakara The Poligar of Sukkampatty Thammaya Nayak of Mambarai. 15 Ibid. the commander-in-chief and prime minister. D 3004..15 During the succession dispute between Ragunatha Thevan and Thambi (illegitimate son of Kuttan) the Raya issued the instruction forthwith to several poligars to furnish large bodies of troops for the chastisement of the rebel Sethupathi Ragunatha Thevan. Idaiyakottai. Dhandu Kulappa Nayak of Bala Muthaiah of Sukkampatty. D 3161. afterwards Poligars of the respective Palayams. Jothilnaick of Chensuvadi and the poligar of Thottainkottai took a leading part in the battle. Eriodu.14 Somayanaick of Ramagiri. Ibid. D 3846.13 accompanied Viswanatha when he was commanding the army to the south so as to punish his disobedient father. Thoppula Naick of Reddiambadi. 7 .

Nizam and Nawab of Arcot played a key role. 8 .16 Poligars of Nilakkottai. Thottiankottai and Virupakshi played a leading role towards the cause of their sovereign in the struggle.. D 011. When there was a ‘struggle between Chokkanatha of Madurai and Vijayaragunatha of Tanjore. Sukkampatty. Ayakudi.17 CLASHES AGAINST BRITISH After the death of the Emperor Aurangazeb in 1707 and Queen Meenakshi in 1737.. 16 17 Ibid. Reddiambadi. Ibid. The gallant Ranghana Nayakkar was sent with him as his second in command and every precaution was taken to ensure speedy and decisive success. D 3161. The indigenous powers like the Marathas. Kampanna Kondammanaick of Ayakudi Thirumalai’ pappala Chinnappa Nayak of Virupakshi and Somayya Naick of Ramagiri accompanied him and proved their honesty in all possible ways.was directed to march against Ramnad and bring the Dalavay to Madurai dead or alive. a power vaccum arose as far as the southern part of India was concerned. Both the indigenous and foreign powers interfered in the power struggle relentlessly so as to establish authority over others. the other local rulers sohas Hyder and Tippu of Mysore. the Raja of Tanjore. Chensuvadi.

dated 2295 of 1796. dt. Vol. 21 Ibid. Madurai District Records.. were the hardiest and bravest of the whole”. “Military Reminiscences”. 18 19 21 The collector General Welsh.6. dt. As General Welsh points out the poligars of this community. So. 20 Ibid.20 The Poligars of Kannivadi gave protection to Gopia Naick of Devadhanapatty and therefore warned seriously.the Tondaiman of Pudukkottai.7. etc. the Sethupathis of Ramnad. The Kambalattu poligars were freedom loving people and hence they opposed the foreign domination whenever they faced.18 The Board of Revenue urged the necessity of adopting coercive measures for curbing the spirit of disobedience evinced by the poligars in the Dindigul region. Thottia Naicker were “a race of rude warriors habitated to arms and independence had been but lately sub-dued and those of panchlamkurichy.95. southern province was a battle ground for the foreign and auxiliary powers of the land. 30. Eventually the English by having superior arms and tactics succeeded. Vol.57. p. Vol. 28.19 The Devedhanapatty poligar was dispossessed of his palayam due to his disobedience. had their own aspirations.95. 9 . Between 1747 and 1792 (the treaty of Carnatic between the English and the Nawab of Arcot) there were Kalaidoscopic political change and battles galore.1111. Gopia Naick of Devadhanapatty and Gopala Naick of Viruppakshi..1113.1106. especially Vellaia Naick of Palani.

The English excercised military authority and controlled foreign affairs while the Nawab administered revenue and justice in the territory.389.Wilks.Rajayyan. dt. 22 Kamiah Nayak.95. rpt. intrigues. interferences. p. Asian Educational Publishers. Historical Sketches of the South India in an attempt to trace the History of Mysore. formulated and established a dual system of administration in the southern region of Tamilnadu. 1989.Rajayyan points out that finally the civil authority succumbed to the authority which wielded the power of sword. New Delhi. p. The British East India Company had got also the right to collect the customary tribute from the poligars.. 23 After 1763.1. the Poligar of Saptur had been overthrown when he failed to pay tribute. As K.also warned the Poligar of Kannivadi for oppressing his ryots and protecting those who were disobedient to the East India Company contrary to his promises. Madurai. the British interfered in the affairs of the native rulers in collusion with one power against the other and accelerated the rate of its sphere of interest in the southern parts slowly but surely. 10 . Vol.322.6.1113. 22 23 Ibid. M.24 Hence the Poligars were required to serve two masters both the Nawab and the East India Company.. 1973. Since the Poligars were permitted to retain their armed forces. The co-existence gave way to British hegemony. 30. Madurai University. Vol. 24 K. History of Madurai. The conclusion of company’s treaty with the Nawab of Arcot in 1787. was caught and executed.

27 Political dispatches to England.342. peasants were deprived of their right to due share of their crops and what remained to them was “Vellum. The hereditary rulers were treated in a humiliating way. 11 . The company had also deprived rulers of Carnatic and Tanjore of their political rights. The company directed the Poligars not to obey the orders of the new Nawab Umdut-Al-Umra unless it was proceeded through the company’s direction.318.27 There were many factors for the insurrections of the poligars against the authority of the East India Company. op. Vol. Ibid.316.26 The earnest attempt of the company to modify the provisions of the Treaty of 1792 bore no fruit till the death of Nawab Mohammed Ali in October 1795.83-84..cit.25 Mean while the agents of the Nawab also instigated the Poligars to withhold their tribute to the company. scant respect was paid to the age old inherited customs of the land. the sons of the soil were treated like dogs. pp.2.. and conflicts were common between themselves and seldom hesitated to defy the company’s authority. 28 K.commotion.28 The company set aside the rulers of the succession of Poligars in their pollams concerned and nominated persons according to their whims and fancies. p.Rajayyan. p.. Vol. p. As a part of its global struggle the French Directory sent its emissaries to the 25 26 Political dispatches to England. water”.2.5. Vol.

91. the evil forces combined together in oppressing the people. The Sultan of Mysore also promised help to the rebels.4729.. So the poligars held that the English were responsible for this predicament. 30 31 12 . The dual system also created ill-feelings between the Company and Poligars.C. but the English refused to defend Poligar’s interest as the sovereign rights of the Nawab came in the way.Vol. R. Bribery and corruption crept into every department of the revenue administration.344. and so their subsequent resistance to authority assumed anti-British characters. p.Rajayyan. Despite the starvation and mass exodus. At the same time the poligars could not appeal to arms as the English undertook to enforce obedience of the chiefs to sircar.. op.cit.southern province for propagating revolutionary principles and kindling nationalist risings. Inefficient administration and natural calamities too intensified the unrest among the inhabitants.31 VEERAPANDYA KATTABOMMAN AND POLIGAR WAR 29 Ibid. The Poligars paid tribute to the company on the condition of protection from the latter. In 1748 the monsoon also failed. p.29 The company officials terrorized the inhibition and flourished on the extracted wealth and the spoils of the artificial famine.325. K.30 The renters and assignees increased the prices of their articles. p.

253. p. n. Tirunelveli was a rude man had insulted Kattabomman. 36 R. op.C. Yelayirampannai and Kulattur formed a confederacy besides the rebels of Sivaganga and Ramnad.50-51.The discontented people had made up their mind to support the Poligars who were not in good terms with the Company. p. 35 K.98.C.d. R. Virupakshi. Vol.2904. 13 . pp. 32 33 Revenue Sundries.96. Hence Lord Wellesly sent a large army to the south for the suppression of Polligar rebellion. the Collector of Peiscush.350.450-451..1562-70.Vol.33 William Collins Jackson.Rajayyan. Bannerman’s ultimatum to Kattabomman to meet him at Palayamkottai on 4th September ended in vain. The rebel Poligars of Panchalamkurichy. pp.32 They had refused not only kist but also made frequent incursions into the Sarkar village. Vol.36 So the British forces marched towards Panchalamlkurichy “The Gibralter of the East” on the 5 th September. John Bannerman.34 The poligars refused to meet even the Collector Stephen Rumbold Lushington despite his repeated requests in this regard. 34 Military Consultations. pp.35 Maj. the Cammander of the British forces assumed its command in June 1799 and started his military operations against the rebel poligars.cit.. the poligar of Panchalamkurichy led to the Poligar rebellion of 1799.Vol.26.

. pp. to their surprise. op. 1799.39 Despite the set back..354.C.2715-18.Rajayyan. Thus: “the attempt was preserved in so long as there was a shadow of success and never was European energy more gallantly displayed than the officers on this unfortunate occasion”..Vol. Major Bannerman’s Letter dated 5th September. K.38 The reverses of te besiegers were partly due to the heroic resistance of the rebels and partly the calculated indifference of the Indian troops in the Company’s service.Vol.Again the attempt of Bannerman for negotiation through Ramalinga Mudaliar had also ended in failure. the disappointed commander of the forces recorded his feelings. Now.cit..98.98. At last the Company’s forces faced the resistance of the rebels with great tenacity of purpose and dexterity of skill. pp. By that time the rebel forces at Nagalapuram. 14 .37 Therefore Bannerman ordered his troops to advance so as to breach the walls of the mud fort and seize it. The British thought that the fort was not a vulnerable one for their attack. the British forces under Bannerman continued the siege and reinforcements came from different places for further attack. p.C. Kollarpatty and Kovilpatty were defeated and several other poligars surrendered 37 38 R. The poligars had no other way than to evacuate the “Dreaded Fort”. 39 R.2706-11.

and pledged their loyalty to the company. Major Bannerman’s Letter dated 17.10. p. p. 296.41 The Madras Council condemned the relatives of Kattabomman to perpetual imprisonment and shut them in the fort of Palayamkottai. On the 16th October 1799. He was taken to a conscipicuous spot and executed”. Nagalapuram. Kadalkudi and 40 41 M. Vol.1799. R. pp. They blocked the pollams of Panchalamkurichy. R.2879. 15 .C Vol.2877-84. Kollarpatty.42 Yelayirampannai. he walked with a firm and daring air and cast looks of sullen contempt on the Poligars to his right and left.C. Sivasubramaniapillai. 42 Lord Clive in Council.98. 8th November 1799. Being “undaunted. Minister of Kattabomman They captured and Soundara Pandya Nayak. Bannerman brought the rebel chief to an assembly of the poligars at Kayattar and sentenced him to capital punishment while the numerous chiefs witnessed the whole scene in awe and astonishment. supercilious in the course of mock trial.C.98. Kattabomman behaved like a rebel leader..2918. brother of the poligar of Nagalapuram as prisoners and hanged them publicly at Nagalapuram and Gopalapuram respectively.40 Meanwhile Kattabomman and his supporters were arrested from the jungles of Kalapore in Pudukottai and handed over to the English by Raja Ragunatha Tondaiman.

2797-2804.Kulattoor.48 The British drastic measures against the poligars has aimed to annihilate their spirit of independence and 43 44 R. poligars were razed down and forbidden.45 The Poligars of Kollarpatti. p.C. All the forts of the The company had also ordered that all the inhabitants of pollams to surrender their fire arms and prohibited them from manufacturing such weapons.44 In 1799 the Company assumed the administration of the village watch from the Poligars and entered into a settlement with the Nawab.98.Vol.43 Parts of the territory of Panchalamkurichy were ceded to the Poligars. November 1799.98.C. against poligars and the common people.46 Despite these retaliatory measures.Vol.. the fort was razed to the ground and their armed men disbanded. p.110. Maniazhi and Melmandai with honours. p. Nagalapuram and Ezhayirampannai were captured and imprisoned at other places.51.. the British Government imprisoned his brothers Umathurai and Sevathaih with some relatives into prison at Palayamkottai. 24th June 1800. 45 T. Secret Sundries. 16 .21. 46 R. Vol. 47 Madras Council 8. p. pp.47 The company rewarded its allied poligars of Ettayapuram.1579-80. 48 A.Welsh Military Reminiscences. Vol-I. END OF UMATHURAI After the hanging of Kattabomman. Vol.C.1080-81. the company had also resorted to enforce repressive measures. Kulathur.2948.

the insurgents 336 in number led by Kaduvetti Naicker and Pandian Sherogar 49 50 started from Panchalamkurichi.46-47. but it had produced disastrous consequences.50 In January 1801. 17 . However the repressive policy in consequence prepared the minds of the people for more determined struggle against the English. in groups towards Bishop Caldwell.power of resistance. Of the seventeen persons imprisoned at Palayamkottai.. Meanwhile the rebels in the prison had secretly established communication with their outside leaders and planned a scheme to liberate themselves from the clutches of the company.172. In 1801 rebellion started in various parts of South India. The rebel leaders held secret meetings at Kombadi Sillankulam and Oddanatham and chalked out of secret plan to free the imprisoned leaders kept in the prison of Palayamkottai. Tirunelveli. after the fall of Panchalamkurichi in 1799.two of them had been died within fifteen months due to the unhygienic conditions prevailed in the prison and the inhuman treatment meted out by them. p. Hence planned a diplomacy to liberate them from their perpectual imprisonment. were not only sympathetic towards the rebels of Panchalamkurichi shut into the prison of Palayamkottai.49 Gopalnaick the poligar of Virupatchi and the organizers of Dindigul league. Jagavira Pandyanar-Panchalamkurichi Veera Charitram Vol-II. p.

and by the clever strategy of rebel prisoners in the Palayamkottai for they escaped on 2nd February 1801 and renewed Poligar wars against the British. distributing the holy ash and securing offerings from the votaries. amidst the support of outsiders. The sepoys of the fort wanted to make purchases. chanting man thrans. finally the hawkers moved to the street of the govt and shouted “Plantain leaves”. In order to avoid suspicion with the enemy of its agents. The local inhabitants could not purchase from these people because of the exorbitant prices they demanded from the buyers. The procession went through the streets around the fort and the prisoners inferred that the relieving party had arrived. p. playing kavadi. the rebels reached Palayamkottai.281. ESCAPE AND RENEWAL OF WAR However. blowing the conch shells. according to the predetermined plan. but turned away on learning the high prices.217.C.51 51 Everything proceeded M. plantain leaves and fruits. they disguised themselves as pilgrims going to the sacred temple of Tiruchendure. the brothers of Kattabomman and few others.Vol. 18 . Sevatiah and Duraisingam. A few days later they reappeared in the town as hawkers.Palayamkottai. carrying loads of fire wood. “Fire wood” and “Fruits”. Clad in yellow clothes. The chief rebels escaped from the prison were Umathurai.

The fugitives joined by large groups of armed men at Palayamkottai and on the way. When large sectionof people belonging to various communities rallied to the support of the rebel leaders.2671..52 Despite the situation the insurrections spread from the Walnaad Hills to other parts. Vol. the people revolted against the British and reconstructed the demolished fort of Panchalamkurichy with mud. a rugged area of difficult access situated on the borders of Panchalamkurichy. the rebels occupied all the territories extending from Panchalamkurichy to Srivaikundam and Alwarthirunagari and 52 53 Ibid. Umathurai was declared as the chief Poligar of Panchalamkurichy and all the inhabitants had been summoned to join their ranks.296.. sand and husk and put it in a defensible state within six days.289. Within a short span of time. Ibid. rushed to the Walnaad hills. pp. The rebels had taken the military posts in various parts of the Panchalamkurichy surprisingly and established their authority.2504-06.53 Responding cheerfully. The inhabitants of the circar territory and the servants of the Nawab had also joined the rebellion. Though the forces of the Company pursued the rebels in quick succession they could not capture the fugitives. 19 .Vol. the rebellion became a most popular movement. p.

881-882.728.57 Then the company’s forces encamped near Panchalamkurichy on the next.279. Kulattur and Yezhayirampannai and converted them as their stronghold.285. Loyal Poligars to the company like those of Ettayapuram and Sivagiri furnished information about the rebel movements.Vol..880.56 However. Vol. p.C. Kolarpatty. To their astonishment they found the demolished fort “raised as it were by magic in six days” and every part of it well manned by thousands of armed men.Vol. p.279. 58 M. 55 The insurgents overpowered the Company’s garrisions at Tuticorin easily and made all preparations to capture Tirunelveli and Palayamkottai. six miles short of Panchalamkurichy. Cadalkudi. 57 Ibid.886-887.54 Subsequently the rebels rebuilt the demolished forts of Nagalapuram. 56 Ibid. Colin Macaulay.. Vol.58 The rebel forces defended the pagoda of Ottapidaram and compelled 54 55 Ibid. Ibid. p. pp..279.. then to Kayatar and reached Kadayanallur. pp.released the prisoners who were under the company’s military custody. the Company’s commanding officer on knowing at Tirunelveli deployed the company’s forces in the strategic places and then marched their forces towards Sankarankoil.279. 20 . Vol.988.

On previous occasions. Colin Macaulay. sought to storm the fort but miserably failed. 21 .280. The British could never reach the rebels and could seldom imagine from where the blow was struck. The rebels appearing on any part of the wall were instantly shot though quickly replaced by others. pp. Alexander Heron. the English army could’nt overpower the rebels. Behind lines of the spikes 59 60 Ibid. Vol.60 The complete failure of the British forces in this savagous battle appeared to them perfectly inexplicable as the success of the insurgents in their defence of the breach seemed miraculous.59 While the rebels were gaining victory the company sent reinforcements into Tirunelveli. They were also successful in repulsing the attack of Captain Hazard over Kadalkudi.1781-83. During the struggle. Sheppard and overwhelmed it. The rebels directed all their efforts to reduce the Company’s military post at Srivaikuntam under Maj. this was the fifth reverse of the British forces at Panchalarnkurichi. Macaulay assembled with the forces at Kayattar on the 30th March 1801 and advanced towards Panchalamkurichy to meet the challenges of the rebels. Willam Fullarton John Bannerman.the alien army to retreat. Despite the heavy preparations.. But it was in the immediate defence of the breach that the defenders wrought havoc on the hostile columns.

the English instituted a blockade of the fort of Panchalamkurichi and waited for the arrival of reinforcements from Madras. Having failed to surmount the rebels. Ramnad and also took shelter under Gopala Nayak of Virupakshi in the Dindigul the insurgents standing on an elevated spot kept up a heavy fire. Arcot. Hence the grand army under the command of Agnew marched from Kovilpatti to Panchalamkurichi on the 23rd of May. In the arduous contest that ensued both the combating parties suffered equally heavy loses. Yet the British fired heavily without interruption. enabled them to repulse the successive assaults. made The breaches on the fort and was finally it was taken by strom. while others posted on the bastions engaged the advancing troops in a deadly contest. 22 . Therefore James Welsh declared “the system of defence adopted by these savages would have done credit to any engineers. insurgents left the fort with a thousand of their compatriots dead. The gallantry and devotion that endowed them with what they lacked in discipline and striking power. On the 26th May the British forces advanced to the fort with a heavy cannon fire but the rebels repulsed the enemy’s on slaught heroically. The vanguished rebels led to the Marava states of Sivaganga. Malabar etc.

No council assembled at which he did not preside. He took no retailiatory measures on individuals. He believed in the mass movement against the English and sought the co-operation of the different sections of the people but could not succeed in that endeavour. a deaf and dumb brother of Kattabomman. Colonel James Welsh who had taken part in the second poligar war. He pursued the guerilla tactics against the enemy’s forces as he was well aware of the inferiority of the Poligars in arms. his slight sign was an oracle and every man flew to execute whatever he commanded.The leader of the rebellion was Umathurai. “the Oomee was adored. as Mookah by the Muslims and Swamy among his followers. He was called in different appellation by different people like Dumby or Oomee among the English. no daring adventure was undertaken which he did not lead”. As a man of sickly appearance. describes. he possessed a masterful mind and commanded tremendous influence on the rebels. for they permitted the English officer at Tutukudi to go off in safety and generously granted full liberty to Macaulay’s troops after the discomfiture at 23 . ammunition and strength of troops. Being a man of action mathurai executed all the schemes which aimed at the annihilation of the Company’s administration.

Together with his brother Kattabomamn. As a dreadful enemy of the English. p. History of Madurai. Madurai. This was the signal for the attack. He accompanied his brother to Ramnad and when the sepoys appeared to arrest his brother. 1981. Umathurai with his wounds still unhealed joined in hands with the rebels of the Maravas at Kamudi. drew the other hand across and swept them off. he master minded the formulation and execution of the plans which were aimed at the annihilation of imperialism. In general Umathurai was a brave.Rajayyan. alerted his followers and manoeus to escape. He method of representing the English was extremely simple by which he collected a few little pieces of straw and arranged them on the palm of his left hand to represent the British force then with other signs characteristic of a man and a whizzing sound. he engineered the organization of the Tirunelveli league against the company in 1789. god-fearing and a intelligent man.Panchalamkurichi.362. 24 . They were driven by the English and Ettayapuram troops from pillar to post and the captured prisoners were executed by Agnew himself on the 28th of May.61 61 K. After the fall of Panchalamkurichi the rebels headed by Umathurai fled towards north.

His qualities made James Welsh to pay a glowing tribute that “he was one of the most extraordinary mortally I ever knew”.cit. Marudu Pandyan sent a body of 3000 armed men under the command of Umathurai.33. Anxious to relieve the hard pressed rebels of the east. Being very strong. James Welsh. he recalled him. his capital and attended solicitously to his welfare. but as the threat to Kalayarkovil assumed serious dimensions. CONCLUSION He was very considerate to the weak and helpless. and distributed them to the poor and made offerings for the recovery of the affected rebels.63 The role of palayam was quite considerable for the effective administration of Naikhs in the beginning was transformed into rebel activities in the later days with the emergence of poligars systems. 25 ..5051-52.p..62 The women of Maruthu too distributed sundry articles in charity seeking the mercy of the god for the safety of Umathurai. The women of the town collected sundry articles.. The villagers came from the remote places visited the rebel leader Umathurai and gave him with rich presents.When Umathurai reached Kamudhi. the poligars soon raised their arms and 62 63 Madras Council-1801 military 285-pp. Chinnamarudhu took him to Siruvayal. op.

Marudhu and others and took consertive and continuous effort for their annihilations. became martyr saved the seed for the annihilation of British and their upon all the neighbouring and successive poligars rallied under their leaders such as Umathurai. 26 . Kattabomman. GopalaNaik. being a victim.made insurgence when the English rulers interfered their affairs in the form of collecting “Kisthi” tax.