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Thursday, April 11, 2013

Mani mandapam for Veerapandia Kattabomman to come up at Kayathar

There is an interesting legend associated with this place – one of valour ~ once during a hunting expedition, this man was to witness  a remarkable incident which led to the building of the fort and the emergence of Panchalankuruchi.  It is stated that several dogs chased a hare, which had to run for its life. However, suddenly, the hare stopped, turned back and in a daring incident, gave the hounds a chase. ~ the man – the hero of folklore – Kattabomman – who stunned by this event,  thought that sure that place had special powers and to inspire its people to lead a brave life decided to build the fort in this very same area and named it Panchalankuruchi, after his grand father Panchalan.

Panchalankurichi situated closer to Ottapidaram, the birth place of VO Chidambaranar and less then 20 km from Tuticorin,  is a small village but has history associated with it.  Veerapandiya Kattabomman lived in the 18th century, was a Palayakkarar; a local chieftain, hailed to be one of the earliest to oppose British rule. Bomman refused to accept the soverignity of East India Company; history has it that he was hanged at Kayatharu in Tirunelveli District in 1799.  His brother Umai Thurai was also caught, but could escape and returned to fight the British, though eventually he was also hanged.  In subsequent years,  great deal of legend and folklore came to be associated with Kattabomman, Marudu brothers and the place of his execution became place of attendance.  Folk songs recalling the heroism of the bommu leaders remain alive in Tamilnadu. 

The popular Tamil slang for a traitor or committing treason  ‘ettappan’ originated from a person  by name Ettappan who was instrumental in the arrest of Kattabomman.  Kattabomman, a Nayakkar by caste was born in 1760 rose to become the King of Panchalankurichi and hanged in 1799.  The meeting of Bomman with Jackson representing British is legendary, more because of a film which is ranked by all tamil cine goers. 

The news now is that the Tamil Nadu CM Ms J Jayalalithaa resonding to the request of Kovilpatti MLA Kadambur Raju told the assembly that a memorial (manimandapam) would be erected at Kayathar, where Veerapandiya Kattabomman, a freedom-fighter who opposed British imperialism, was hanged to death.“No one can forget Kattabomman’s patriotism and sacrifice. My government will construct a manimandapam in Kayathar,” the Chief Minister said.

Reports quoting British office Colonel James Welsh in his memoir state that those of Panjalumcoorchy, were the hardiest and bravest of the whole.  While their chiefs were condemned to a perpetual and ignominious imprisonment, the fort of Panjalumcoorchy was ordered to be razed to the ground, with some others of less note,” Welsh had said.

The name and exploits became legendary more because of the 1959 tamil film “Veerapandiya Kattabomman”  written by Sakthi T. K. Krishnasamy and directed by B. R. Panthulu. Everybody aspiring to become an actor would try to repeat those immortal dialogues uttered by Sivaji Ganesan

கிஸ்தி, திரை, வட்டி, வேடிக்கை! வானம் பொழிகிறது, பூமி விளைகிறது! உனக்கேன் கொடுப்பது கிஸ்தி! எங்களோடு வயலுக்கு வந்தாயா? ஏற்றம் இறைத்தாயா? நீர் பாய்ச்சி நெடுவயல் நிறையக் கண்டாயா? நாற்று நட்டாயா? களை பறித்தாயா? கழினிவாழ் உழவருக்கு கஞ்சி கலயம் சுமந்தாயா? அங்கு கொஞ்சி விளையாடும் எம்குலப் பெண்களுக்கு மஞ்சள் அரைத்துப் பணிபுரிந்தாயா? அல்லது மாமனா? மச்சானா? மானங்கெட்டவனே! எதற்கு கேட்கிறாய் வரி, யாரை கேட்கிறாய் திரை? போரடித்து நெற்குவிக்கும் வேழை நாட்டு உழவர் கூட்டம் உன் பரங்கியர்கள் உடல்களையும் போரடித்து தலைகளை நெற்கதிர்களாய் குவித்துவிடும் ஜாக்கிரதை!.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
11th April 2013.


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