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Travancore King Marthanda Varmas Senathipathi Velu Pillai Dalawa


Velayudhan Chempakaraman Thampi was born in the village of Kalkulam to Sri Kunjumayitti Pillai and his wife Valliyamma Pillai Thankachi on the 6th of May 1765, at Thalakulam Valiyaveedu, near the town of Nagercoil (around 16 km from Nagercoil) in present day Indian state of Tamil Nadu which then comprised a southern district of the Travancore country. He came from a family that had been honoured with the high title of Chempakaraman for their services to the state by Maharajah Marthanda Varma. Velayudhan Thampi, better known as Velu Thampi, was appointed a Kariakkar or Tahsildar at Mavelikkara during the initial years of the reign of Maharajah Bala Rama Varma. His full name was "Idaprabu Kulottunga Katirkulatu Mulappada Arasarana Irayanda Talakulatu Valiya Veetil Tampi Chempakaraman Velayudhan..".[1]

Velu Thampi was not an able statesman like Ramayyan Dalawa or Raja Kesavadas his immediate two predecessors. He was of rebellious nature.

A conspiracy was formed against him under the influence of Kunjunilam Pillai, a powerful cabinet official of Travancore who succeeded in getting the Maharajah to sign a royal warrant to arrest and immediately execute Velu Thampi Dalawa.

Maharajah in a negative light, who ordered the immediate execution of the two men, Chempakaraman Kumaran Pillai and Erayiman Pillai

One Krishna Pillai, a commander of a regiment, had his legs tied to two elephants which were driven in the opposite direction, tearing him to pieces.[

However, Velu Thampi himself had disbanded most of the States's Army following the mutiny against him in AD 1805. Velu Thampi may not have realized a number of his supposed friends were planning to betray him and that the Maharaja, who was notorious for his weakness of character, would not hesitate to sacrifice his former Dalawa to normalise relations with the East India Company.

In memory of the courage of Velu Thampi Dalawa, the Kerala State Government instituted a memorial, a research center, a museum, a park and a statue at Mannadi. Another statue of Velu Thampi Dalawa can be found in front of the "old secretariat" of Kerala in Trivandrum.

The sword that was used by Velu Thampi Dalawa to fight against British imperialism, was kept with the Kilimanoor royal family, for about 150 years. It was presented in 1957, to India's then president Rajendra Prasad by a member of the royal family.

On June 20, 2010 it was brought back to Kerala and was placed at his ancestral house at Tripthi Shastamangalam, Trivandrum.[5]

The Dalawa was now disillusioned with the British whom he had considered a friend and who considered any "aggression on Travancore as an aggression on themselves" as per the previous treaties. His discontent was first given vent to by the assassination of the ambassador of the Resident in the court.Velu Thampi Dalawa and the Paliath Achan, Govindan Menon, met and decided on the extirpation of the British Resident and end of British supremacy in their respective states. Velu Thampi organised recruits, strengthened forts and stored up ammunition while similar preparations was made by the Paliath Achan in Cochin. Velu Thampi applied to the Zamorin of Calicut and to the French for assistance, but both did not acknowledge the request. The plan of the Paliath Achan and Velu Thampi was to unitedly attack the Fort of Cochin and murder the British Resident Major Macaulay and Kunju Krishna Menon. Another force was appointed to attack the British garrison at Quilon. This was in the year 1807.


The Vēḷir (Tamil: வேளிர்) were a royal house of minor dynastic kings and aristocratic chieftains in Tamilakam in the early historic period of South India.[1][2] Extolled in Sangam literature for their charity and truthfulness, they were the ancestors and head of the modern Tamil Veḷḷālar caste.[

However, they are still considered to be the actual descendants of the Vēḷir - "But this does not mean the Vellālars may not be the descendants of the Vēlir; probably they are; but the words Veḷḷālar, Vēḷāṇmai, Vēḷālar, are derived from their art of irrigation and cultivation rather than from their original chieftainship."[7][8] Vassals of the three main Tamil dynasties of Tamilakam ? Chola, Chera and Pandya, the Vēḷir had close relations with them through marriages and coronation right.[4][9] The Vēḷir were crowned with the epithet Satyaputo "members of the fraternity of truth" for their virtues, and their lands were often hill/mountainous terrain.

There were twelve to thirteen Vēḷir dynastic families of fame in the Sangam age. Seven kings from seven dynastic clans of the Vēḷir royal house formed the Kadai Ezhu Vallal (The last of the 7 (lines) of Great Patrons), liberal patrons of arts and literature in ancient Tamilakam. Vēḷir became a title inherited by Veḷḷālar chiefs of the medieval period.[10]

The Kongu Vēḷir dynasty ruled Kongu Nadu, while the Vēl Pāri dynasty produced numerous kings ruling Parambu Nadu, the most popular of whom was a close friend of the poet Kapilar. The Irunkōvēl line ruled over Ko Nadu and their most famous ruler, Pulikadimal, was a contemporary of Karikala Chola and Kapilar. The most heralded of the Āviyar line was Vaiyāvik Kōpperum Pēkan, a contemporary of the poet Paranar, and renowned for his generosity. The Malayamān Vēḷir dynasty ruled Nadu Naadu around Tirukoilur, their royal emblem featured a horse and their most famous king was Malaiyamān Thirumudi Kāri. Both he and his son Thaervann Malaiyan assisted the early Cholas and Cheras. The most famous Vēḷir dynasty was the Athiyamān dynasty, and this dynasty's powerful and most famous king was Athiyamān Nedumān A?i. His son Elini ruled Kudiramalai of the ancient Jaffna kingdom and Vanni, a co-ruling contemporary of the famous king Korran. These kings belonged to a prolific Tamil horseman tribe.[11][12] The ancient Tamil Naka Oviyar tribe of the Vēḷir house, whose nation stretched to the Tamil emporiums of Mantai and Kudiramalai, had the famous king Nalliyakkotan who ruled this region and is paid tribute to in the Ciṟupāṇāṟṟuppaṭai.

Each of the Vēḷir dynasties ruled from their own capitals and utilized the seaport of Arikamedu.

According to Tamil mythical tradition, the Velirs came to south from the city of Dwarka in north India under the leadership of the Vedic sage Agastya just after the collapse of the Indus Valley Civilization and belonged to the Yadava Kshatriya clan.

Numerous poems in the ancient Sangam literature extol these chieftains' charity and truthfulness. Among the most prominent were those known as the 'seven patrons' (kadaiyezhu vallal); Paari, Malayaman Kaari, Ori, Adigaman, Avi, Nalli and Veliyan. Athiyamān Nedumān A?i and his son Ezhini, were Adigaman chieftains, based in Tagadur. They were contemporaries of Auvaiyar. The Sangam poem "Thagadur yathirai", now lost, was written about his battle with the Chera king. Another Velir was Irunkōvēl (Purananur-201 by Paranar) who ruled from Koval (modern day Tirukovilur) on the banks of the Pennai, (the present Ponnaiyar River) which presently discharges into the sea at Cuddalore in Tamil Nadu. It is likely that the course of the river has changed to the south over many centuries. Other Velir chiefs of repute include Alumbil Vel, Alandur Vel and Nangur Vel[14][15] In Sangam literature the more prevalent word used is Vel, such as in the names Vel Avi and Vel Paari.

Potsherds with early Tamil writing from the 2nd century BCE found in excavations in Poonagari, Jaffna bear several inscriptions, including a clan name?vela, a name related to velir from the ancient Tamil country.[18]

Thayumanavar Swamigal - son of Kediliyappa Pillai - Saiva Vellalar


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