Maruthu Pandiyar

The Marudhu Pandiyar brothers (Periya Marudhu and Chinna Marudhu) ruled Sivagangai, Tamil Nadu towards the end of the 18th century. The Marudhu brothers were the first to issue a proclamation of independence from the colonial British rule from Trichy Thiruvarangam Temple, Tamil Nadu on 10 June 1801, more than 56 years before what is generally said to be the First War of Indian Independence which broke out mainly in Northern India in the year 1857.

Childhood

The Marudhu brothers were the sons of Udayar Servai alias Mookiah Palaniappan Agamudayar Servai and Anandayer alias Ponnathal.Marudhu Pandiyar, the Elder was born on 15.12.1748 in a small hamlet called Narikkudi near Aruppukkottai in then Ramnad principal state (now Virudhunagar district). In 1753 the younger Marudhu Pandiyar was born in Ramnad. Their father "Udayar Servai" served as the General in the Ramnad state military and he shifted his family to Virudhunagar from Narikkudi.

Early life

The Marudhu brothers were trained in native martial arts at Surankottai which traditionally served as a training centre for the Ramnad state army. The Valari boomerang is a peculiar weapon unique to India used originally by the indigenous people (ancient Tamils) of the South Asia. Two forms of this weapon are used in India. These are normally made of wood. They are known as Valari sticks in Sangam Tamil. It is said that Marudhu brothers were great experts in the art of throwing the Valari stick and using it as a weapon. It is said that Marudhu brothers successfully used Valari in their Poligar Wars against the British colonial forces. They contested in and won many competitions of martial arts and distinguished themselves as brave warrirors. The Raja of Ramnad Muthu Vijaya Raghunatha Sethupathy issued the title of Pandiyas to honour the Marudhu Pandiyargal.

Marudhu Pandiyars Battles against the British

They were in close association with Veera Pandiya Kattabomman of Panchalankurichi. Kattabomman held frequent consultations with the Marudhus. After the execution of Kattabomman in 17 October 1799 at Kayattar, Chinna Marudhu gave asylum to Kattabomman's brother Oomaidurai. But the British took this reason to invade and attacked 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 such a serious threat to their future in India that they rushed additional troops from Britain to put down the Maruthu Pandiyars' rebellion. These forces surrounded the Maruthu Pandiyars' army at Kalayar Koil, and the latter scattered. The Maruthu Brothers and their top commanders escaped. They regrouped and fought the British and their allies at Viruppatchi, Dindigul and Cholapuram. While they won the battle at Viruppatchi, they lost the other two battles.