|Raja Jagavira Rama Kumara Ettappa and Diwan Ranganadha Chettiar.en.wikipedia.org|
The vast Ettayapuram estate or Samasthanam
|Ettapuram palace, Tamil Naduen.wikipedia.org|
Ettyapuram produced a galaxy of eminent people, being the birthplace of the great Tamil Poet Mahakavi Bharathiar and Ilasai Sundaram, a great Tamil scholar. Muthuswami Dikshitar, one of the trinity of Carnatic music was associated with the ruler here. Dikshitar composed lots of Telugu compositions which are widely used in Carnatic music. Another great scholar was Umaru pulavar. He was a well-known Tamil Islamic scholar and wrote numerous poems related to the''Quran.'' All these scholars were patronized by the Ettapuram ruler. First freedom fighter against the British, Veeran Alghumuthu Konar was born here.
It is really unfortunate that the word 'Ettappan' carries a wrong, negative meaning in the local language - Tamil among the natives here. it is a sort of metaphor for ''squealer'' or ''whistle blower,'' considered the filthiest act by the locals here. Ettappan is synonymous with traitor or betrayer.
In the Indian society, as in many, the most despicable act is stabbing on the back of some body by the one or ones close to him. By the same token, the act of betrayal of a person close to him is also equally bad. The ruler of Eattaypuram Ettappan was accused of having betrayed the chieftain of Panchlamkuruchi Veera Pandya Kattabomman who, along with his brothers, rebelled against the British for having taken over their lands. In his last war against the British, Kattabomman had a severe setback and at last was hiding in Ettayapuram estate to avoid being caught and tortured.
The wrong conception had been that Kattabomman was arrested and later hanged to death by the East India company because Ettappan acted as a whistle-blower. Incidentally Kattabomman and his younger brother Oomathurai were the earliest freedom fighters against the British, far earlier than the famous ''Sepoy Mutiny'' of 1857 that started off at Meerut city, now Central India over the use of greased cartridges for the Enfield rifles. The grease was supposed to contain pig or cow fat - shunned by both Hindus and Muslims. The soldiers belonging to the above faiths revolted against the British over the use of greased cartridges.
It was Vijaya Raghunatha Tondaiman, Maharajah of Pudukottai, a close alley of the British, who helped the British capture Kattabomman under compelling circumstances. Had Maharajah supported Kattabomman (which he definitely could have done), the British would have stripped the ruler of all his regal powers and taken over his small kingdom. Over night his majesty would have become a pauper had he acted against the British interest in haste!!
Ettaiyapuram was in the north-eastern corner of composite Tinnevely district. The estate covered a vast area of 570 square miles (1,500 km2) and 374 villages and in 1901, had a population of 154,000. The headquarters of the estate was the town of Ettaiyapuram.