Oomathurai, alias Duraisingam was the younger brother of Palayakkarar Chieftain and well-known freedom fighter Veerapandiya Kattabomman and his parents were Jagaveera Kattabomman and Arumugattammal from Rajakambalam Nayakar (Nayak) Community who had roots in present day Andhra state - Telugu country. Their mother tongue was Telugu
According to records by Europeans, Duraisingam had speech impairment since early stage and his oratorical ability was very much limited. Hence the name: Oomathurai (in Tamil Oomai means dumb). His other elder brother was Dalavai Kumarasami (Sivathiah), also a great warrior and freedom fighter.
Though he had speech problems, when it came to valor and courage none could equal him and he was an able and competent warrior, nothing could stop him once he made up his mind to attack the enemy line. Because of his active participation in wars between the British and Palayakkarars (Poligars) in early 1800s, in his capacity as the younger brother of Veerapandya Kattabommen, the British company officials kept an eye on him. In the first war against the British, he was captured and sent to Palayamkottai prison. However, in February, 1801 he tactfully escaped from the jail and rebuilt the Panchalankurichi fort, the seat of his brother Kattabomman. The Palayakkarars, who had been tilling the lands for centuries were forced to pay ''kisti''land tax to the British East India company. The Nawob of Arcot, who had the regal authority over these lands, was unable to collect taxes from the local Palayakkarars. Unable to pay their fees due to the British, the Nawob gave the collection rights (revenue rights) to the British. Under the British yoke, the local land owners suffered a lot and, in many cases, they used force to collect tax from the land holders. Hence the Palayakkarar Chieftain Kattabomman, his brothers and others not only did they refuse to pay taxes but also relentlessly waged wars against the British East India company and their treacherous way of squeezing the land owners.
|Oomathurai ,Veerapandya Kattabomman. movie-trailer.apps15.com|
In the second Palayakkarar war against the British, he had an alliance with Marudu brothers of Sivaganga, Dheeran Chennamalai and Kerala Verma and successfully fought the enemies. The fort at Panchalamkuruchi was captured finally by the English forces led by Lt. Colonel Agnew in May, 1801 because of prolonged siege and artillery bombardment. Oomathrai before managing to escape from the battle, had set ablaze the ammunition depot of the British army. Several British soldiers were killed in the explosion. Now the British rulers wanted to catch Oomathurai and try him for war crimes. In the mean time, valiant Oomathurai joined the Marudu brothers in the Kalayar Kovil jungle. The British forces pursued them and at last captured Oomathurai along with the Marudu brothers.
Oomathurai was hanged on 16 November 1801 with no proper trial. Reason for the death sentence: Along with his brothers Kattabomman and Kumaraswami, Oomathrai was against the British interest and rebelled against them.This was the end of a great patriot who continuously fought against the British rule till his last breath.
Near Thirumayam town on the high way between Puddukottai and Thruppathur-Madurai, if you travel either by bus or car, you can not miss the majestic sight of a high walled big fort at higher elevation and this fort is now being maintained and administered by the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) as a monument. It was once a stronghold of rebel chieftains in the Polayakkaraar (Polygar) Wars.
It was at this fort, Oomathurai was captured by the British forces . This fort was at that time under the administration of the princely state of Pudukotta.
Major James Welsh (1830). Military reminiscences : extracted from a journal of nearly forty years' active service in the East Indies. London : Smith, Elder, and Co.
Robert Caldwell (1881). A Political and General History of the District of Tinnevelly, in the Presidency of Madras. E. Keys, at the Government Press. pp. 195–222.
(Re-modified 18 May 2017)