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The Polygar
Polygar
Wars or Palaiyakkarar
Palaiyakkarar
Wars were wars fought between the Polygars
Polygars
(Palaiyakkarars) of the former Tirunelveli
Tirunelveli
Kingdom in Tamil Nadu, India
India
and the British East India
India
Company forces between March 1799 to May 1802 or July 1805. The British finally won after carrying out gruelling protracted jungle campaigns against the Polygar
Polygar
armies and finally defeated them. Many lives were lost on both sides and the victory over the Polygars
Polygars
brought large parts of the territories of Tamil Nadu
Tamil Nadu
under British control, enabling them to get a strong hold in Southern India.

Contents

1 First Polygar
Polygar
War 2 Second Polygar
Polygar
War 3 Results 4 Later day folklore 5 See also 6 Notes 7 References 8 Further reading

First Polygar
Polygar
War[edit] The war between the British and Kattabomman
Kattabomman
Nayak of Panchalankurichi Palayam in the then Tirunelveli
Tirunelveli
region is often classified as the First Polygar
Polygar
war. In 1799, a brief meeting (over pending taxes) between Kattabomman
Kattabomman
and the British ended in a bloody encounter in which the British commander of the forces was slain by the former. A price was put on Kattabomman's head prompting many Polygars
Polygars
to an open rebellion. After a series of battles in the Panchalankurichi fort with additional reinforcements from Tiruchirapalli, Kattabomman
Kattabomman
was defeated, but he escaped to the jungles in Pudukottai
Pudukottai
country. He was captured by the British with the help of Ettappan, Pudukottai
Pudukottai
Raja after his backroom agreement with the British. After a summary trial, Kattabomman
Kattabomman
was hanged in front of the public in order to intimidate them in Kayatharu. Subramania Pillai, a close associate of Kattabomman, was also publicly hanged and his head was fixed on a pike at Panchalankurichi for public view. Soundra Pandian, another rebel leader, was brutally killed by having his head smashed against a village wall. Kattabomman’s brother Oomaidurai was imprisoned in Palayamkottai prison while the fort was razed to the ground and wealth looted by the troops. Second Polygar
Polygar
War[edit] Despite the suppression of the First Polygar
Polygar
War in 1799, rebellion broke out again in 1800. The Second Polygar
Polygar
War was more stealthy and covert in nature. The rebellion broke out when a band of Palayakkarar armies bombed the British barracks in Coimbatore. In the war that followed, Oomaithurai allied himself with Maruthu Pandiyar and was part of a grand alliance against the company which included Kerala Varma Pazhassi Raja of Malabar. The Palayakarrars had artillery and a weapon manufacturing unit in Salem and Dindigul
Dindigul
jungles. They also received clandestine training from the French in the Karur
Karur
region.[1] The British columns were exposed throughout the operations to constant harassing attacks; and had usually to cut their way through almost impenetrable jungles fired on from undercover on all sides. The Polygars
Polygars
resisted stubbornly and the storming of their hill-forts proved on several occasions sanguinary work. The British finally won after a long expensive campaign that took more than a year. The Company forces led by Lt. Colonel Agnew laid siege to the Panchalankurichi fort and captured it in May 1801 after a prolonged siege and artillery bombardment. Oomaithurai escaped the fall of the fort and joined Maruthu brothers at their jungle fort at Kalayar Kovil. The Company forces pursued him there and eventually captured Kalayar Kovil in October 1801. Oomaithurai and the Maruthu brothers were hanged on 16 November 1801 at Odanilai.[2][3] Results[edit] The suppression of the Polygar
Polygar
rebellions of 1799 and 1800-1805 resulted in the liquidation of the influence of the chieftains. Under the terms of the Carnatic Treaty (31 July 1801), the British assumed direct control over Tamil Nadu. The Polygar
Polygar
system which had flourished for two and a half centuries came to a violent end and the company introduced a Zamindari
Zamindari
settlement in its place.[citation needed] Later day folklore[edit] In subsequent years, legend and folklore developed around Dheeran Chinnamalai, Kattabomman
Kattabomman
and Maruthu Pandiyar.[citation needed] See also[edit]

Indian rebellion of 1857 Veeran Sundaralingam Rani Velu Nachiar Tipu Sultan Hyder Ali

Notes[edit]

This article includes a list of references, but its sources remain unclear because it has insufficient inline citations. Please help to improve this article by introducing more precise citations. (August 2009) (Learn how and when to remove this template message)

^ Gopal Naicker Memorial ready for inauguration - The Hindu - PALANI, June 22, 2012 ^ Francis 1989, p. 261. ^ Dirk 1988, pp. 19–24.

References[edit]

Dirk, Nicholas (1988), The Hollow Crown: Ethnohistory of an Indian Kingdom, pp. 19–24, ISBN 978-0-521-05372-3  Francis, W. (1989), Gazetteer of South India, 1, Mittal Publications, p. 261 

Further reading[edit]

Wikimedia Commons has media related to Polygar
Polygar
War.

N. Rajendran, National Movement in Tamil Nadu, 1905-1914 - Agitational Politics and State Coercion, Madras Oxford University Press. M.P. Manivel, 2003 - Viduthalaipporil Virupachi Gopal Naickar (Tamil Language), New Century Book House, Chennai Prof. K.Rajayyan M.A., M.Litt, A.M. Ph.D., A History of Freedom Struggle in India Prof. K.Rajayyan M.A., M.Litt, A.M. Ph.D., South Indian Rebellion - The First War of Independence (1800–1801) Welsh, James (1830). "Poligar War". Military Reminiscences: Extracted from a Journal of Nearly Forty Years' Active Service in the East Indies. 1 (Two volume, 2nd ed.). Smith, Elder, and Company. pp.

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