Periya Maruthu or Vella Maruthu (1748-1801) and his younger brother Chinna Maruthu (1753-1801)were able generals of Muthu Vadugar of sivagangai.After Muthu Vadugar’s death in the Kalaiyar Kovil battle Maruthu brothers assisted in restoring the throne to velunachiyar .In the last year’s of the eighteenth century Maruthu Brothers organised resistance against the British.After the death of Kattabomman,they worked along with his brother Oomathurai.They plunded the granaries of the Nawab and caused damage and destruction to company troops.
Rebellion of Maruthu Brothers (1800-1801)
Despite the suppression of Kattabomman’s revolt in 1799, rebellion broke out again in 1800.In the British records it is referred to as the second palayakkarar war.It was directed by a confederacy consisting of Maruthu Pandyan of Sivagangai,Gopala Nayak of Dindugal,Kerala Verma of Malabar and Krishnaappa Nayak and Dhoondaji of Mysore .In April 1800 they meet at Virupachi and decided to organise an uprising against the company.The uprising,which broke out in Coimbatore in June 1800,soon spread to Ramanathapuram and Madurai.The company got wind of it and declared war on Krishnaappa Nayak of Mysore ,Kerala Varma of Malabar and othres.The Palayakkarars of Coimbatore,Sathyamangalam and Tarapuram were caught and hanged.In February 1801 the two brothers of Kattabomman,Oomathurai and Sevathaiah , escaped from the palayamkottai prison to Kamudhi,from where Chinna Maruthu took them to Siruvayal his Capital.The fort at Panchalamkurichi was reconstructed in record time.The British troops under Colin Macaulay retook the fort in April and the Maruthu brothers sought shelter in Sivagangai.The English demanded that the Maruthu pandyars hand over the fugitives (Oomathurai and Sevathaiah).But they refused.Colonel Agnew and Colonel Inners marched pandyars issued a Proclamation of Independence which is called Tiruchirappalli proclamation.
Proclamation of 1801
The proclamation of 1801 was an early call to the Indians to unite against the British, cutting across region ,caste ,creed and religion.The Proclamation was pasted on the walls of the Nawab’s palace in Tiruchirappalli fort and on the walls of the Srirangam temple .Many Palayakkarars of Tamil country rallied together to fight against the English.China Maruthu collected neraly 20,000 men to challenge the English army.British reinforcement were rushed from Bengal,Ceylon and Malaya .The rajas of Pudukottai, Ettayapuram and Thanjavur stood by the English split the forces of the palayakkarars soon.
Fall of sivagangai
In May 1801,the English attacked the rebels in Thanjavur and Tiruchirappalli .The rebels went to Piranmalai and Kalayarkoil.They were again defeated by the forces of the English.In the end the superior military strength and the able commanders of the English company prevailed.The rebellion failed and Sivagangai was annexed in 1801.The Maruthu brothers were executed in the fort of Tirupathur near Ramanathapuram on 24 October 1801.Oomathurai and Sevathaiah were captured and beheaded at Panchalamkurichi on 16 November 1801.Seventy -three rebels were exiled to Penang in Malaya.Though the Palayakkarars fell to the English,their exploits and sacrifices inspired later genarations .Thus the rebellion of Maruthu brothers,whish is called South Indian Rebellion,is a landmark event in the history of Tamilnadu.
The suppression of the palayakkarars rebellions of 1799 and 1801-1801 resulted in the liquidation of all the local chieftains of Tamilnadu.Under the terms of the Carnatic Treaty of 31 July 1801,the British aasumed direct control over Tamilagam and the palayakkarar system came to an end with the demolition of all forts and disbandment of their army.