Velunachiyar-India’s Joan of Arc

Veera Mangai Velunachiyar was one of the queens in the 18th century in South India. She rebelled against the British Empire and fought for the freedom of India.  She was born in 1730 AD to the Mannar Sellamuthu Sethupathy and to Rani Sakandhimuthal of  Ramnad Kingdom.  She was the only daughter of this Royal family. The Royal couple had no male heir.  The royal family brought up the Princess, Velunachiyar, like  Prince of Ramnad due to this reason. She was trained in the skills of using weapons and also in martial arts like Valari, stick fighting  etc. She learnt horse riding and archery earlier. The Royal couple had engaged teachers to teach her many languages like French, English and Urdu. Thus this young brave Princess had excellent training in all war techniques. She was a scholar in many languages and was ready to rule the Ramnad Kingdom . She married Sivagangai Mannar Muthuvaduganathar at the age of sixteen.  In the year 1772 , the English invaded her kingdom . Velu Nachiyar heard that her husband Raja Muthu Vaduganathar and her daughter young Princess Gowri Nachiyar were killed in Kalaiyar Koil war. This war was held in Kalaiyar Koil palace. British troops attacked the palace under the command of Lt.Col. Bon Jour . She was very much worried and wanted to take revenge. Dalavay Thandavaraya Pillai and Maruthu brothers sustained injuries. They promised to recapture the samasthan to punish the English. Dalavay Thandavaraya Pillai, an incredible and distinguished person was the most powerful administer in Sivagangai samsthanam.  Thandavaraya Pillai, the loyalist served (1700-1773) as Palavay and also as Pirathani under the three rulers of Sivagangai samsthanam. He was responsible for the development of Sivagangai samsthanam . At first he served the King Sasivarna Periya Udaiya Thevar during 1730-1750. Later he served under Muthu Vaduganatha Thevar, the King during 1750-1772 . He also served as *Pirathani to the queen Rani Velu Nachiyar.Here Dalavay means  military chief and the Pirathani means  chief minister. Pirathani was responsible for  the improvement of Foreign affairs. Thus the two charges were the most important and also  powerful .

He rendered his service with loyalty from the beginning of this samsthanam. He administered well and helped in the development. The King Udaiya Thevar was very much pleased because of his good administration and granted him his hereditary management. It shows the significance of loyalty of Dalavay Thandavaraya Pillai.   He advised Veera Mangai Velunachiar to move to different places often in order to avoid British invaders . Meanwhile Dalavay Thandavarayan Pillai wrote a letter to Sultan Hyder Ali on behalf of Velu Nachiyar to provide 5000 infantry and 5000 cavalry to defeat the British army. But unfortunately he passed away due to old age. She decided to meet Hyder Ali after the demise of Dalavay Thandavarayan Pillai  at  Mysore with the help of his son. She could explain in detail in Urdu all her problems with East India Company. She explained him her strong opposition of British regime. Hyder Ali was very much pleased and promised to help her in this conflict. He accepted her request with sympathy and provided the necessary military assistance. He ordered Syed Karki of Dindigul fort gladar to provide the required military equipment to Rani Velu Nachiyar. He released 5000 infantry and 5000 cavalry to Rani Velu Nachiyar immediately. Her troops advanced to Sivaganga with the help provided by Maruthu brothers. The Nawab of Arcot put so many hindrances to avoid the advancement of Rani Velu Nachiyar’s combined troops. The queen and Maruthu brothers overcame all hurdles. They geared up the troops and entered Sivaganga. She defeated the Nawab of Arcot and took him as a captivator. She re-captured her Sivaganga samsthanam with the help of Hyder Ali and crowned as queen of the Sivagangai seemai. Velu Nachiyar is the first queen who raised the revolt  against the British emperor, according to historians. Prof.Sanjeevi  mentioned in his ‘ Maruthiruvar’ book that ‘ the bravery queen Velu Nachiyar raised revolt against English emperor and fought for the freedom of India 85 years before Jhansi Rani’s freedom struggle in North . Venkatam further stated that Velu Nachiyar is India’s Joan of Arc

Categories: Editorial, India