|Sivaganga, Location in Tamil Nadu, India. en.wikipedia.org|
|Rani Velu Nachiyar of Sivaganga, Tami Nadu, India.swapsushias.blogspot.com|
Not satisfied with turning the affluent Indian Maharajahs and Nawobs of North India into penniless and powerless rulers, the British East India company moved down south with the help of some traitors and reduced many local Maharajahs and rulers to poverty and squalor. Thus, through out India, the corrupt British company earned a bad name and as for the crown, it got a bad rap for being a mute spectator to their atrocities in the Indian sub continent.
|Rani Velu Nachiyar of Sivaganga, Tami Nadu, India.en.wikipedia.org.|
|Sivaganga palace entrance, Tamil Nadu, India.en.wikipedia.org|
Rani Velu Nachiyar, the princess of Ramanathapuram and daughter of Chellamuthu Sethupathy married the king of Siva Gangai and had a daughter - Vellachi Nachiar by him. Her husband Muthu Vaduganatha periya Udaiyathevar was killed along with his second wife by the British and their alley, the Nawob of Arcot's son in a battle. Undaunted by the unstable and unfavorable political situation on account of lack of male member in her family to rule the kingdom with frequent threats from the British and Arcot Nawob forces, she made up her mind to fight back her enemies at the right opportunity. So, after some deliberations, she escaped with her daughter and went to Virupachi near Dindigul (now in Tamil Nadu) and sought the help of Hyder Ali of Mysore, a sworn, but fearful enemy of the British, who was camping there. Palayakarar one Gopala Nayak was quite helpful to her in her stay there. During her long stay at Dindukal for about eight years, burning with anger, revenge and patriotic fire, she formed a formidable army and entered into an alliance with Hyder Ali.
In 1780 Rani Velu Nachiyar attacked the British settlements in a lightning speed that they had not seen before. She developed a separate well trained women's army whose members were equally brave, patriotic and disciplined. In the battle, upon finding the ammunition depot, Velu Nachiyar had her first human bomb - a dedicated woman warrior by the name of ''Kuyili,'' carry out the difficult job. That brave, young woman, after dousing herself with inflammable oil, walked into the arsenal and lit herself. Seconds later the entire place was ablaze. There was, nothing but destruction and chaos all around. After this humiliating defeat by an army led by a dynamic, woman warrior, the British left the place for good, never to turn back. This patriotic young woman, who was a human bomb, sacrificed her precious life for the freedom of her mother land from foreign rulers.
Velu Nachiyar, as a ruler kept the woman's army and named it “udaiyaal” in honor of her adopted daughter — Udaiyaal, who died detonating a British arsenal at the battle. Her courageous exploits against the British company took place long before the Sepoy mutiny of 1857.
Queen Velu Nachiar found successors in Marudu brothers who were equally competent to administer the country in 1780. Velu Nachiar died after a few years later. Her date of death was not well recorded.
The Indian government honored this great, valiant patriotic queen from the south by releasing a commemorative postage stamp on December 31 2008. This remarkable woman's courageous exploits are well niched in the annals of Indian history and they will keep inspiring people for generations to come.
(revised November 22, 2015)