Dalawa Velu Thambi's sword - a tale of simple twist!

Vlu Thambi's famous sword, kerala..indiatimes.com

Among the exhibits in the Napier Msim of Truvananthpura, Kerala designed by architect Robert Chisholm the most popular exhibit is that of fine  sword  owned and widely used by none other than  Veluthampi Dalawa a farmer PM of Travancore kingdom and one of the first martyrs of the Indian freedom struggle. Coming from a humble family background from  the village of Kalkulam at Thalakulam (now in Kanyakumari district of Tamil Nadu) on sheer merit and hard work he became the PM _Dhalawa of  the erstwhile Kingdom of Travancore from 1802 to 1809. The ruler was Maharajah Bala Rama Varma Kulasekhara Perumal with whom Velu Thambi had a close rapport. Being an able administrator Velu Thambi had deep empathy for the people and their welfare. There were qualms about his inhuman treatment of criminals, corrupt and dishonest people. Literally to improve revenue  he ran the administration with iron fist. So  historians in the state believe that many of his positive aspects, dedication to duty  and his honesty  are relegated to the back stage and are largely unrecognized by contemporary history.

Though initially he was in the good book of the English company, the Dalawa became an arch enemy of the British  when they cheated him on the  Treaty of 1805. After this event his life became a sea-saw battle with the British and was caught in a web of intrigues and betrayals. But till his death he was hostile to the British and their interference in the kingdom.

Velu Thampi Dhalavai's sword at Napier Museum, T,V,puram, kerala 

When Velu Thambi realized that his capture by the British forces was immanent, it is said   he presented his famous Gold and Jewel studded sword to the then Raja of Kilimaanoor at Kilimanoor Palace on condition that  that the   British should not be allowed to lay hands on it. Velu Thambi was on a war expedition to Mannadi.  He gave the sword to the Royal family as a token of his gratitude for for hosting him and their timely help.   

How did the famous sword go the national Museum in Delhi? It was handed over to the then Indian president Dr. Rajendra Prasad in August 1957 on a visit here. 

patriot Velu Thambi's sword.youtube.com

patriot Velu Thambi's sword. thehindu.com

Above image: Dalava Velu Thambi's  battle sword, Napier Museum, Tiruvananthapuram, Kerala. The 200-year-old battle sword gently tapering at the end has shallow grooves on the side which is flat. This is for minimal friction in the hilt and  prevent slippery from blood during combat.  The grooves are also believed to  make the sword lighter without compromising on its strength.   As for the   sword without scabbard, its hilt is made of brass encrusted with silver strips. Yet another interesting feature is the presence of a hole in the rounded knob_ pommel at the end of the handle for lanyard or “laniere” (rope/strip). it is commonly used  to secure it to prevent getting lost. Itwas in the National Museum for more than five decades.  It was with  Kilimanoor royal family for more  about 150 long  years. At the Delhi museum historians argue, that it had not been given due importance.  ........ ...

In 2009 Velu thambi's sword had become a contentious issue when a history professor from Kerala on a visit to the National museum, New Delhi  found out that the  historical sword was not on display there. Further, no body gave him any convincing answer. Quite shocked he  made serious efforts about the whereabout of the sword through then President  Abdul Kalam. At last they found the sword in the Museum  itself  unused and uncared for.

The Kerala state government took up the matter with the central government and after long deliberations and official correspondence on June 20, 2010  the sword was returned  to its home-state on loan from the center and since then it has been in the famous Napier Museum Tiruvananthapuram, on display in a bullet proof glass case. 

As for the great patriot  Velu Thambi  that  ''When the sword of rebellion is drawn, the sheath should be thrown away’' 'is true.

https://philaindia.info/stamp-on-velu-thampi-dalawa the PD issued  stamp on the bitth anniversary of Chempakaran  Velaudhan alias Velu Thanbi Dhalava