Southern India is said to have fought the British long before establishing their stronghold in the rest of the country. Rani Velu Nachiyar was born 293 years ago, in 1730, and she became the country's first female freedom fighter against the cruel East India Company. Called Veeramangai by the Tamils, she was born to King Chellamuthu Vijayaragunatha Sethupathy and Rani Sakandhimuthal of the Ramnad kingdom.
Even though she was the only child, the King had raised her just as he would have raised a male heir, adept with all swordsmanship skills and fighting with a mace.
Adept In Martial Arts & Proficient In Several Languages
The princess was trained in several martial art forms like Valari and Silambam and was an ace horse-rider and archer. In that era, she earned proficiency in English, French and Urdu. In 1746, she was married to King Muthuvaduganathaperiya Udaiyathevar. She was drawn into battle with the British when her husband was killed and the Nawab of Arcot. After his death, she escaped with her daughter and lived under the protection of Palayakaarar Kopaala Naayakkar at Virupachi near Dindigul for eight years.
Succeeded Her Husband & Started Ruling In 1780
The Nawab of Arcot was frustrated against the several forces joining hands against him. Therefore, he ordered Velu Nachiyar and Marudu brothers to return to the province and rule if they paid a sum to the Nawab. Thus, the princess, accompanied by the Marudu Brothers and her daughter, returned to Sivaganga. An agreement followed, and Rani Velu Nachiyar started governing the country of Sivaganga, Vellai Marudu became the commander-in-chief, and Chinna Marudu became a minister. Now, the widowed queen Velu Nachiyar succeeded her husband in 1780.
Rani Velu Nachiyar was the first queen to fight for freedom from the British in India. She granted powers to the Marudu brothers to administer the country in 1780. Velu Nachiyar died a few years later, on 25 December 1796.