|Rani Velu Nachiyar of Sivaganga, TN, you tube.|
|Queen Velu Nachiyar of Sivaganga, TN istampgallery.com|
The 18th century woman ruler of a small kingdom called Sivaganga in South Tamil Nadu was one among a few Indian women who, with firm determination, fought against the foreign aggressor - the English company and their hegemony. She daringly exposed their atrocities against the Indian natives and other indian rulers. Her war exploits as a woman made her a subject of many folklores in this part. She left behind a permanent mark in Indian History and her legacy will continue for many centuries down the line. Because of the English company's unethical and dishonest approach she lost her husband and the ruler's first wife, besides her own kingdom. Not withstanding all the pains and sufferings and life in exile never had she lost her trust and belief in getting back her kingdom. Just like the Phoenix bird that emerged alive from the ashes, she came back with more vigor and better motivated and, at last, seized her kingdom after driving the British and their alley Arcot Nawab and his army from her soil. A horrible blow to them by a courageous woman from Sivagangai Seemai.
|Veeramangai Velu Nachiyar of Sivaganga. thehindubusinessline.com/|
|Velu Nachiyar Memorial Block buildingsivagangaiseemai.com/|
Evey thing happened to her in a flash - her happy days with her husband, King Muthu Vaduganatha Thevar, and her infant daughter, Vellachi, in the kingdom of Sivaganga and other family members. Her peaceful life ended brutally one evening in the temple of Kalaiyar Koil.
|Veera mangai Rani Velu Nachiyar of Sivaganga, Tamil Nadu, earliest freedom fighter against the British|
Anticipating Queen's safety, her loyal body guards Udaiyal and other female warriors had stayed behind in Kollangudi to retard the the advance of trecherous army of Wallajah. They captured Udaiyal to find out about the whereabouts queen and her daughter. Whn she refused to budge Nawab Wallajah, in rage, had her head cut off without any mercy. When queen Velunachiyar heard about the gory details of her guard's death, she vowed to take revenge on Nawab Wallajah and the British and take back her kingdom - her soil
Determined to get her kingdom back with well-planned secrete war preparations, in 1780 Rani Velu Nachiyar raided the British settlements in a lightning speed with her well trained troops and overwhelmed the British army which faced defeat. With help from Hyder Ali, the arch enemy of Nawab Wallajah and her specially trained women army headed by Kuyili (a human bomb) after years of toil and planned preparations, she got her kingdom back. An interesting fact about Velu Nachiyar's war preparation was she was the first woman in history to have employed a human bomb that gave hell to the English troops.
At Sivaganga fort the Udaiyal army women suddently overwhelmed the English soldiers on guard and and entered the gate. Kuyili, upon noticing the ammunition depot right behind the temple, doused herself with the ghee stored in the temple near-by and then rushed towards the depot. After killing the guard, she picked up the torch she lit herself in the ammunition depot. In the huge explosion in the fort, that followed, the English lost all the ammunition so was their firing power. Kuyili, was a great woman who sacrificed her life to help Rani Velu Nachiyar get her lost kingdom back. Upon hearing the paiful news of Kuili's death in the interest of her kingdom, Rani Nachiyar remained on her horseback just tongue-tied.
Rani Velu Nachiyar defeated the English in 1780 and took back her home, avenging the unjust death of her husband and her loyal soldiers Udaiyal and Kuyili. Her reign as the ruler of Sivaganga lasted for roughly 10 years before handing over the responsibility to her daughter Vellachi
Her earlier fight against the oppressive EIC is an inspiring one, a saga of bravery, skill and military strategy. The European powers operating in this part had an added advantage as there was lack of unity among the small princely states. Consequently, the diabolical British created an atmosphere charged with intrigues, treachery, bribery and treason. The Nawab of Arcot became a partner. This was the reason why she had to leave her kingdom secretly to find the right time to attack the enemy. Daughter of king Sellamuthu Sethupathi of Ramanathapuram, Queen Velu Nachiyar was born in 1750 and Sakkandhi was one of the palayams of Sivagangai where she grew up as a courageous and talented women.
Rani velu Nachiyar is symbol of armed resistance, wisdom and courage to foreign rulers and is a legend in Tamil Nadu, in particular, south Tamil Nadu. A commemorative postage stamp on 31 December 2008 was released by the Indian government in her honor.