She was the first queen to fight against the British in India

The government will build a memorial for freedom fighter and queen of Sivaganga, Velu Nachiyar, Chief Minister Jayalalithaa told the Assembly on Friday.

She made the announcement following a request from CPI deputy leader M. Gunasekaran, representing Sivaganga constituency.

Velu Nachiyar, the daughter of Sellamuthu Vijaya Regunatha Sethupathy of Ramanathapuram, was the first queen to fight against the British in India. She was married to Muthu Vaduganatha Thevar, the second Rajah of Sivaganga, who was killed in a combined attack by the forces of the Nawab of Arcot and the East India Company in 1772.

“The Rajah and many of his followers were killed and the Nawab named Sivaganga as Hussain Nagar. Velu Nachiyar and her daughter fled to Dindigul and they were joined by the Marudhu Brothers, Vella Marudhu and Chinna Marudhu. They were given asylum by Hyder Ali,” said M. Balakrishnan, the author of A Struggle for Freedom in the Redsoil of South.

Mr. Balakrishnan said Velu Nachiyar’s confidant was Tandavaraya Pillai, the Dewan of the Sivaganga and he preferred asylum in Virupakshi on the bank of Kudamuruti River. He and the queen sought military assistance from Hyder Ali to take on the Nawab, but Tandavarayan Pillai died in a few months, forcing the queen spent seven years in exile in Virupakshi.

After the death of Tandavaraya Pillai, Marudu brothers gained prominence and they with help from Syed Sahib, the brother-in-law of Hyder Ali, took on the Nawab and East India Company forces.

“When the Army of Marudhus reached the Sivaganga palace, the enemies attacked them. But the inhabitants joined them and the ill-disciplined forces of Nawab offered no resistance. The Rani, accompanied by Marudhu brothers entered Sivaganga and Vellachi, her daughter, was proclaimed queen of Sivaganga. Maurudhu brothers assumed charge as ministers,” said M. Balakrishnan.

According to East India Company documents, the Queen died under somewhat suspicious circumstances.

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