The revolution of 1857 is known as the first freedom struggle of India. This revolution is recorded in history with this name. There have been many such kings and emperors in Indian history who did not allow foreign powers to easily set foot on the soil here during the freedom struggle. In Indian history, many stories are prevalent on kings, princes, emperors. But there is little talk about queens. Even if it is, then only in name.
Whereas the truth is that many brave women took birth on the land of India and sacrificed their lives laughingly to protect it. Rani Velu Nachiyar was one such brave queen. Who is fought with the British before Rani Laxmibai.
The Biography of Rani Velu Nachiyar:
Rani Velu Nachiyar was born on the soil of Sivagangai region of Tamil Nadu and was the first queen to win a war with the British. She fought with the British long before Rani Laxmibai of Jhansi and made them chew gram. Tamils call her as Veeramangai (brave woman). According to media reports, on January 3, 1730, she was born to Raja Chellamuthu Vijayaragunatha Sethupathi and Queen Sakandhimuthal of the Ramnad kingdom.
She known Many languages like English, French and Urdu:
Like any prince, Queen Velu was trained in martial arts, horse riding, archery and various types of weapons. Apart from this, she was also taught many languages like English, French and Urdu. In 1746, when Velu Nachiyar turned 16, she was married to the Sivaganga king Muthuvaduganathaperiya Udaiyathevar. Both had a daughter, who was named Vellachi. After ruling peacefully for almost 2 decades, the eyes of the British fell on this state.
The attack of British on Sivaganga:
In 1772, the British forces of the East India Company and the forces of the Nawab of Arcot together attacked Sivagangai. Velu Nachiyar’s husband and many other soldiers were killed in this war known as Kalaiyar Koli War. It was one of the most destructive wars of that time. The British army did not spare anyone, children, old people and women were all put to death. Velu Nachiyar and his daughter managed to escape safely.
Velu Nachiyar and her daughter Vellachi moved to Gopala Nayaker’s house in Dindigul, Tamil Nadu with the help of the Maruthu brothers of Sivaganga and a few others. Staying here, the queen made plans to take back her kingdom from the British and increased friendship with many rulers.
Meeting Hyder Ali of Mysore:
According to an article published in Feminism in India, Rani Velu was intent on expelling the British from her soil at any cost. During stay in Dindigul that she met Hyder Ali, the ruler of Mysore. Rani Velu surprised Hyder Ali by talking in Urdu and introducing her daring.
She ready to fight against the british help of Hyder Ali:
Hyder Ali also promised all possible help to the queen in fighting the British. Hyder Ali also built a temple inside his palace to prove his friendship to Queen Velu. Sultan Hyder Ali sent him an invitation to be his guest at Dindigul Fort. Hyder Ali also helped the queen by giving 400 pounds and 5000 soldiers. Queen Velu Nachiyar slowly started gathering her army.
She returned Sivganga:
The Nawab of Arcot could not breathe a sigh of relief. According to an article in The Logical Indian, his opponents were increasing and this was a matter of great concern. He invited Rani Velu Nachiyar, Marutu brothers to return to Sivaganga and rule, provided they paid a certain amount to the Nawab. Queen Velu returned to Sivaganga with her daughter and Marutu brothers and in 1780, She ruled as a queen in her husband’s place. Vellu Marutu became the commander of the Marutu brothers and Chinna Marutu became the minister.
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She fought against the British:
It was only in 1780 that Rani Velu Nachiyar and the English army came face to face. According to an article in Cultural India, Queen Velu got news of were kept arms and ammunitions of British.
Rani Velu planned to carry out the first suicide bombing recorded in history. The commander of the queen’s army and her loyalist Kuyili proceeded to sacrifice herself for this plan. Quili poured ghee on himself, set it on fire, and the ammunition and weapons of the British jumped into the house. In this way, Brave Kuili weakened the British army and attained martyrdom. Quili is also considered the first suicide bomber in history.
Many historians also call Kuili the adopted daughter of Queen Velu. The queen had another adopted daughter, Udaiyaal. In another attack, Udayyal sacrificed hemself and destroyed the British armory. The queen formed a army of women in her memory in her name.
She succeeds to run away the British:
The queen filled the spirit of patriotism among many people with skillful strategy and martial arts. The British had to leave Sivaganga and run away and they did not look at this state again. Queen Nachiyar ruled Sivaganga for almost a decade and declared her daughter as the heir. The friendship between Hyder Ali and Rani remained. Rani Velu loved Hyder Ali’s son Tipu Sultan as a brother.
Rani Nachiyar died in December 25, 1796. But the flame of patriotism that Rani had ignited in Sivaganga and Tamil people against the British kept burning. On December 31, 2008, Indian Post issued a postage stamp in honor of the queen. January 3 is celebrated every year as the birth anniversary of Queen Velu Nachiyar.
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