The Prime Minister of a Princely State chose to proclaim war against the East India Company much against the choice of his King, for the sake of his motherland. The lionheart who fought this mighty war was the then Diwan of Travancore kingdom -Velayudhan Chenbaka Raman Thampi Dalawa and the year was 1809.
When his island of resistance crumpled, Dalawa chose to end his life, the barbaric English men, devoid of humanity, chose to take revenge on his dead body. Dalawa’s dead body along with his brother Padmanabhan Thambi (who was still alive) was dragged through the streets and the naked body was displayed in public. His brother was hanged in public near the Ananthavallishewaram temple in Kollam.
Dalawa’s body was taken to Thiruvananthapuram, the capital of the Travancore kingdom, the head was chopped off and displayed in the public. Later his body was disposed of in the Ulloor hills.
Not satisfied with all these savage acts, English men destroyed his ancestral home in Thalakulam and a pond was dug in the place.
Today, March 29 2022 is the 213th death anniversary of the insurmountable rebel of the Thiruvithamkoor, Velu Thampi Dalawa.
This episode demeaned by the British historians as a mere rebellion (Travancore Rebellion) is but the story of our great ancestors who stood for the Dharma of the land.
The Maharaja of Travancore then was Avittom Tirunal Balarama Varma who was but a mere pawn in the hands of his ministers and was also subservient to the British regency. The men of the English East India Company were then bent on looting Travancore. Under the pretext of The East India Company–Travancore Subsidiary Alliance Treaty, they extracted a huge sum of money from the kingdom, for which huge taxes were imposed upon the common men.
Velu Thampi Dalawa, who rose from the position of a Tahsildar (Karyakaran) in the southern part of the kingdom to the present position due to his leadership with an innate quality of questioning Adharma and patriotism was not ready to fulfil this financial obligation to the ECI.
Along with the Dalawa of Cochin, Paliath Achan, Veluthampi planned to assassinate the resident Colin Macauley. He was able to garner military support from the French. Inspired by his Kundara Proclamation of January 16, 1809, the people who loved their land came forward to fight against the English. Battles were fought in places like Neendakara, Kureepuzha, Thattamazha in Kollam. His men resisted the British army led by Col. St. Leger in the Aralvaimozhi Pass, the southern border of the Travancore kingdom too.
When the forts of Udayagiri and Padmanabhapuram fell to the British on February 19, the Raja of Travancore succumbed to the Britishers and appointed a new Dalawa. Thus, more than the military might of the British dominion, the infighting and disloyal deeds of the various stakeholders brought defeat to the great fighters. Velu Thampi killed himself with a dagger and the rest is history.
Chenbaga Raman Velu Thambi is the greatest leader of the masses, who was never bothered about his position, power or life itself. He stood for the integrity, self-reliance and self-respect of the nation. Time has proved that Velu Thampi was right and not the men in power.
About the Author
Dr. Savitha A.R is an academician and columnist who has got Sixteen years of experience in the teaching career and is currently serving as the Assistant Professor and Head of the Research Centre in English, Sree Ayyappa College for Women, Kanyakumari district. She completed her Graduation and Post-graduation with Gold Medals. Her area of specialization is Disability Studies and Rights, India Studies and Indigenous Knowledge Systems and has got 30 publications to her credit. She is nominated as a Member of the Senate by Hon. Governor of Tamilnadu and is also the member of Part II English, Board of Studies of Manonmaniam Sundaranar University. A public speaker, she travels extensively to give motivational and awareness talks inside and outside the state. She believes that the real learning happens outside the four walls of the classrooms and works towards the same. She has received Certificate of Appreciation from the District Collector for the Services rendered to the Society during Ockhi Relief Works as YRC Co-ordinator in the Republic Day Celebration, 2018, Inspirational Women Award – 2020 and Ambassador of Goodwill Award – 2021 appreciation of humanitarian services in the field of Disaster Risk Reduction.