|KATTABOMMAN The Better India|
|Chieftain Kattabomman 1760-1790 www.kattabomman.org|
Originally from the present day Andhra Pradesh ("Salikulam") , Veerapandiya Kattabomman's parents were Jagaveera Kattabomman and Arumugathammal. Born on 3rd January 1760. he had two younger brothers Duraisingam and Dalavai Kumarasami and both were early freedom fighters. Hailing from the village of Panchalankurichi in Thoothukudi district of Tamil Nadu, Kattabomman was one of the heads of Palayakarar
(Polygar) community. At the age of 30, on 2 February 1790, he became a local ruler - 5th in the Kattabomman clan.
The East India company, began their successful land grabbing spree starting from Bengal (then the most productive region) in the 18th century under the direction of Robert Clive who said: “We have at last arrived at that critical period, which I have long foreseen; I mean the period which renders it necessary for us to determine whether we can, or shall, take the whole to ourselves.”—Robert Clive, 1765 (Peers 101).
|Panchalamkuruchim etc. TN railmapindia.blogspot.com|
Inspired by Robert Clive and encouraged by the greedy British Crown, his well-motivated later administrators had carried on the British policy of ''divide and rule'' and annexed the Indian lands one by one. Now, they moved into the south, a huge ''open range'' that was up for the grabs. The Nawab of Arcot became a poor prey to their dishonest dealings and intrigues The Tango did not last long and having failed to repay the huge sum borrowed from the English company, the ruler of Arcot gave them the right to collect taxes and levies from the southern region to clear his debts. This was done to save his honor and retain the title. The British, in return, bestowed the Arcot ruling clan with regular dole and grant of lands to keep the royal family going. The famous Arcot Diamonds were gifted away by the Nawab's family to retain the British Crown's patronage.
Though other chieftains in the south went along with the plan of British take over, Kattabomman, being highly individualistic did not like to pay taxes (Kisti) to the foreigners. He vehemently opposed this proposal and refused to be subservient to the English company. As a matter of fact, in the past, some Palayakarars refused to pay taxes to the Nawab as they had been the owners of the land for a pretty long time prior to the Nawabs' rule. The English company in the name of collecting taxes plundered the regions by their repressive methods and treated the natives and the chieftains with contempt.
Infuriated Kattabomman refused to budge and finally war broke out between the English army led by Major Banerman and Kattabomman's army. The British had better artillery power and war machines and, at last, caused severe damage to the small fort of the local chief. Kattabomman's General Vellaiyathevan got killed and Injured Kattabomman and his associates fled away from Panchalamkurichi to avoid arrest and punishment by the company's army. They after considerable wandering took refuge in the Thirukalambur forests near Pudukottai of Padukotta kingdom. They were at large for a long time and the the English company was on the look out for the chief and his aids in that part of Tamil region. Unfortunately the ruler of the Pudukottai region Vijayaragunatha Thondaman could not do anything when the British army captured Kattabomman and his men. At stake were his life and his kingdom and the title, so he remained mute in the capture of Kattabomman that took place on 1 October 1799.
|1799 Kattabomman standing with the noose. thequoteunquote.com|
Kattabomman was interrogated, for just name-sake, till 16 October 1799 by the British. The Kangaroo court handed down the verdict after going through the so called war crimes committed by the chieftain. The great warrior and early freedom fighter from ''Then Seemai'' was sentenced to public hanging till death. On 16 October 1799, he was hanged under a huge tree at Kayathar near Tirunelveli town Tamil Nadu. When the noose was down on the neck. Kattabomman, stood courageously and never lost his cool temperament. Later, his fort was pulled down and his wealth was looted by the east India Company soldiers.
The EIC in the years 1798 and 1799 had a double header; they successfully eliminated two great opponents -Tipu Sultan of Srirangapatna, now in Karnataka and Kattabommen of Panchalamkuruchi, Tamil Nadu. Thus the whole of Indian subcontinent became crown's proud possession of the British empire. Thus India was tricked to become a yoked cash cow to improve the British economy manifold.