History can be erased from the text books but not from the collective memories.
A monumental example of the power of the common man and social media is what that is happening today – the netizens celebrating the Jampu Theevu Prakadana Naal or the Day of Declaration of JambuDvipa.
A leaf from history, of which most of us are unaware of – a declaration against the Europeans (Dutch – East India Company) by the Maruthu Pandiyar Brothers, the chieftains of the Sivaganga Palayam on June 16, 1801. Chinna Maruthu Pandiyar, youngest of the Maruthu brothers pasted this in the Thiruvarangam temple and the outer walls of the Malai Kottai, Tiruchirapalli, to be read by all.
Veera Pandiya Kattabomman and Maruthu Brothers were among the brave sons of the soil, the chieftains of the Palayams / semi-independent principalities, who were not ready to accept the supremacy of the British. They refused to pay the taxes to the latter and fought against the Army led by Lieutenant Colonel Patrick Alexander Agnew. Masters in guerilla war tactics, they gave a tough challenge in the Polygar War against the Britishers who were caught up in the dense forests.
First of its kind against the Britishers in the country – fifty six years before the first War of Independence – it was addressed not to the people of Sivagangai or South India, but to the whole of Jambudvipa (one of the seven continents mentioned in the puranas) and to the people covering all caste and creed.
The declaration points out the divisiveness among the people that lead to the intrusion of the foreigners and the poor financial condition of the people under the British rule
Written in a fierce language, it reminded the people to get united, stand against the intruders and annihilate the Europeans at the first sight. It warned the people who worked in the British army as Subedhars, Havildars and Sepoys that they would never attain ‘moksha’. Any one who tears off the declaration from the wall will be considered as indulging in the sin equal to that ‘Panchama Pathakankal’ (five Sins) .
The Polygar Wars ended in October 1801, After a month on 16 November, Maruthu Brothers were hanged along with their family members whose exact number is still in dispute, the official records of Britishers claim it to be 500, whereas the locals give a count of around 3000. Their heads were chopped off and displayed in front of the Kalayar Temple after two days.
Not only the rule of ‘Palayakkarars’ was replaced with the ‘Zamindar’ System, but also their heroic deeds to protect their motherland were pushed into oblivion.
Those who have read the declaration are supposed to propagate what is told in it. Have the generations that followed who chose to forget, done the Pancha Pathakam? The gen-next is on their way to undo the mistakes of the past and they are celebrating their past through their shares and hashtags, #1801Jambutheevuprakadanam
Article by Savitha AR