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Wednesday, October 27, 2021

the inspiring life-history of Marudhu Pandiyar .. .. .. 'Sivagangai Seemaiyile'

Another one – Indian History – terse statement – freedom was gotten by Gandhi, Nehru and Congress without dropping blood !  (and the real life stories of so many who gave their blood and life for the Nation was forgotten – the first war of Independence – the act of total defiance was ridiculed as mere Sepoy mutiny!!) – have you ever heard of these warriors astride horse ?

How and why our minds were poisoned that the colonial rulers were kind, merciful – as they looted Nation’s wealth, butchered, maimed and cruelly treated our leaders, and used our country men in some wars in far away places in extremely unkind weather – not knowing what they were fighting for !!

October 24, 1801 was most gruesome – at the centre was the public hanging of  two middle-aged brothers – and alongside scores of those associated with them - their commanders and servants, their sons and even their young grandsons  hanged alongside them, supposedly from palmyra trees around the fort.  As we read this small piece of History of inspiring real-life story of two brothers – some prescripts too.  They were adept in Valari – sort of boomerang !

·         Robert Clive is well known to us through History books - Edward Clive, 1st Earl of Powis, PC (1754 – 1839), was a member of House of Commons. He  was the eldest son of Robert Clive, 1st Baron Clive ("Clive of India"),  the British appointed him as Governor of Madras from 1798 to 1803

·         A Tamil bio-pic produced by Kavignar Kannadasan, directed by K Shankar, starring SS Rajendran, S Varalakshmi, MN Rajam hit the screens in 1959 !

·         The Govt owned bus service in the city (now State Transport Corpn) was earlier called Pallavan Transport.  Those days there were transport Corporations named as :-   Pallavan, Cheran,  Chozhan, Pandiyan;  Thiruvalluvar, Mahakavi Bharatiyar, Dheeran Chinnamalai, Marudhu Pandiar, Kattabomman, Rani Mangammal, Rajiv Gandhi and more………..

·         In Oct 1799 a proclamation by Major Bannerman, addressed to the inhabitants of the Tinnevelley Palayams after the rebellion of the Tinnevelly Palayagars, ordered the surrender of arms and threatened those who retained them, with death.  In conformity with these instructions, Lord Olive in  1801 issued a proclamation addressed to the Palayagars, Sherogars and inhabitants of the Southern Provinces announcing the determination of the Government to suppress the use and exercise of all weapons of offence without the 'authority of the British Government.

After the execution of Kattabomman on 16th October 1799 at Kayatharu,  Chinna Marudhu gave asylum to Kattabomman's brother Oomathurai. British used this reason to invade and attack Sivaganga in 1801 with a powerful army. The Maruthu Pandiyars and their allies were quite successful and captured three districts from the British. The British considered it as a serious threat to their future in India that they rushed additional troops from Britain to put down the Maruthu Pandiyars' rebellion.  It is the real-life story of Marudhu Pandiyars (Periya Marudhu and Chinna marudhu) – who ruled as Kings of Sivagangai and fought the British East India Company and were hanged by the British.

Periya and Chinna are direct references to the elder and younger brothers – the elder was actually Vellai Marudhu – who hailed in the family of Servaikara who were mentioned in English texts as Sherogars !! By some accounts, Marudu was a family title and not a personal name, perhaps reference to Marudu tree -  the Terminalia Arjuna - worshipped as the living symbol of Lord Subramanya and Marutha malai (hill of Arjun Tree) – at the temple of Nainarkoil, Lord Shiva is worshipped as Marudappar or Marudeswarar.  It is also recorded that periya Marudu was an able sportsperson of valour – good in hunting and shooting.  Chinna Marudu was sovereign of an extensive and fertile country, and his general residence was at Sherewele (Siruvayal).

After the death of the Pradhani, (Thandavaraya Pillai) the Marudhu brothers who were with the Queen (Velu Nachiyar) became prominent. The Marudhu brothers took a lead in the affairs of the occupied territory. Second Mysore War in 1780 provided the right opportunity. When Hyder Ali fell upon Arcot in 1780, the Marudhus desolated the Nawab’s territories at Madurai.  The regions around Sivaganga came under complete control of Marudhu brothers.  Though  the widow of Muthu Vaduganatha Thevar, Velu Nachiar was in the reins,  the de-facto rulers were the Marudhu brothers. Determined to suppress the Marudus, the Nawab in 1786 sought military assistance from Fort St. George on the alleged ground that the Marudus refused the payment of the tribute of two lakhs of rupees, that they neglected the administration of their territory and that they committed depredations upon Ramanathapuram. Mohammad Ali  despatched a body of troops but were defeated. Mohammad Ali in 1789 again appealed to the Madras Council for aid. John Holland, the successor of Sir Archibald Campbell in the Presidency, furnished an army for operation in Sivaganga. 

On the 29th April, 1789 the British forces led by Colonel James Stuart arrived at Tirupattur in Sivaganga.  Marudhus fought valiantly.  Stuart won the allegiance of Du Pre, a French General and the allied forces  advanced to Kalayarkoil, and captured it after a short cannonade. The outbreak of the Third Mysore War in 1790 led to the assumption of the revenue administration of the Carnatic. After signing the Treaty of 1787 the Nawab made no attempt to improve the administration. His efforts to put down the defiant poligars invited more financial embarrassment. The Carnatic treaty of 1792 was very advantageous to the Company. It gave the English the military and financial control over the Nawab.

With some of the  chaotic local Chieftains supporting the allied forces and with the support of traitors, Marudhu Pandiyars fell victims and were captured and later hanged at Tirupattur fort on 24th October 1801.  They are locally worshipped BUT Nation perhaps has not recognized the warriors – students should be reading such inspirational uprisings and the Nation’s military response to ruling East India Company, the French, Dutch and British rulers.

The movie produced by Kavignar Kannadasan referred earlier was titled “Sivagangai Seemai” and was based on the history of Marudu brothers.  Here is a song from the movie :


With regards – S. Sampathkumar
24th Oct 2021.



  1. தூக்ககரமான சரித்திர நிகழ்வுகள். ஆச்சர்யகரமான தியாகங்கள் ellame

  2. எல்லாமே மறக்கப்பட்டு அல்லது மறைக்கப்பட்டு விட்டன.