First ever Freedom fighters from Tamil Nadu banished by the East India company in 1802

Noshwind -
 In the annals of Indian history with respect to  independence  struggle against the British under the East India company rule, some historical events taken place in Tamil Nadu either went unnoticed or did not get publicity. In the school history text  books, there is no mention of such early freedom movements in the state except  the exploits of the Palayakara  chieftain Veerapandya Kattabomman of Panchalamkuruci (in Tirunelveli Dist.,) and Mardu brothers. The Palayakarars of the southern most part of Tamil Nadu were a force to reckon with and many of the chieftains did not like the British company taking over their land - their place of birth and their  audacity to ask them to pay land tax. The East India company who got the authority to collect tax from them for  Nawab of Arcot who ultimately became a victim of early  colonial rulers' wheeling and dealing, and dishonesty. They somehow managed to put down the 1801 revolt by the Palayakarars  (Polygars) and later successfully tracked down  their arch enemy Kattabomman and, at laat, caught him and hanged him to death in 1799.  In the war, this great warrior and freedom fighter's family members and relatives were perished. So were their dwellings and fort.

In the wake of Kattabomman's death and his upraising, the British tailed the people who supported him, and the other chieftains  Maruthu  Brothers. They finally  rounded up  73 rebels. Most of them were Kattabomman's followers and belonged to Palayakarar community. About 216
years ago these people were banished from India - their home land to Prince Edward Island in Penang by the EIC officials to instill fear among other rebels not to revolt against the British who were in an expansionism mode. The great warrior of Srirangapatna, Tipu Sultan, having been killed in 1799 in the final Angelo-Mysore war, it was an open range for the British. They subdued the Marathas and the British had difficulty to expand farther down south because both Hyder Ali and his son Tipu Sultan set the road blocks for them. With their arch rivals gone, the task became easy for them to capture the Peninsular land up to Kanykumari, the southern most tip.
Kattabomman and his brother Umadurai. Partheesh Creationz
 freedom fighters Marudu Pandyan brothers Sivagangai District
Above image: Periya Marudhu and Chinna Marudhu, widely known as Marudhu brothers, ruled Sivagangai, a small kingdom  in south Tamil Nadu. They were not kings by blood line. However, they were quite helpful to Queen Velunachiyar whose husband and others were killed by the British.  Marudhu brothers were well trained in the martial arts and Sword fights. The news of Kattabomman, a ruler of neighboring state, was hanged by the British for refusing to pay taxes angered the Marudhu Brothers and they daringly issued 'a proclamation of Independence from the British supremacy.' They fought bravely  against the British and their treachery. The British thought they were  a menace to their  growth and expansion, and,  at last,  captured  them  and hanged them on  24 October 1801 in the fort of Tirupputhur (Sivaganga district).

Coming back to 73  condemned rebels, the British in February 1802  took them to Tutukudi (present day Thoothukudi). According to historian Rajayyan of M.K. university, Madurai, they were under the custody of military officer one Col James Welsh. Among them, Vengum Periya Wodaiyana Thevar of Sivaganga; Doraiswamy, the son of Chinna Marudu; Jagannatha Ayyar, rebel amildar of Ramnad; and others  were  tagged as  the ‘chief rebels. These rebels  and others from south Tamil Nadu  became the first ones to have been banished from their motherland to an unknown destination in Penang. Rajayyan mentioned that Doraisamy returned to India  and could not go to his native place Sivaganga and died in Madurai in 1823. 

On this day when we are celebrating the 72nd Independence Day, we must remember  and express our gratitude to these great rebels who were the earliest unsung Indian freedom fighters from Tamil Nadu who had nothing to offer except their own lives to make India a Free Country in course of time.  .'