Staff Reporter

However, little is being done to protect the remains of battle

Tiruvannamalai: The just-concluded ‘by-election battle of Vandavasi’ might have little impact on State politics, but the town is now poised to cross the 250th anniversary of a war whose results had largely influenced the history of the whole sub-continent.

The Battle of Wandiwash was fought between Anglo-French forces in 1760 to gain control over the Vandavasi fort.

The English forces led by Eyre Coote overpowered the French forces led by Thomas Arthur de Lally at Vandavasi on January 22, 1760. Historians regard this as a decisive war which triggered the imminent fall of French forces in India altogether and paved the way for a full-fledged ‘British Raj.’

The 250th anniversary of this battle falls on January 22, 2010. However, little is being done to protect the remains of the battle, the mutilated earthen walls of Vandavasi fort, the disfigured moat which serves as a storage for sewage and is a breeding ground for mosquitoes and a number of cannons scattered around the town. If maintained well, these archaeological objects, apart from being a repository of historical facts, would serve as a tourist attraction as well. When the attention of Collector M.Rajendran was drawn to this historic event, he eagerly said: “Let us take measures to commemorate the event.”

Althought the celebration may not be on the scale of ‘Vellore Mutiny,’ commemorating the event, preserving available historic evidence and recalling events surrounding the battle will help future generations remain historically sensitive, according to history researchers A.Sivasubramanian and M.D.Rajukumar.

For example, in the Battle of Wandiwash, natives served in both the armies as sepoys. Hence, irrespective of which side gained victory, fall of India to European invaders was inevitable then. This is because of insensitivity of geopolitics of the day and lack of foresight on the part of native rulers. Sociologists feel that lessons learnt from such episodes will help.