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VCK wants Paraiyar Rebellion in 1785 to be recognised as freedom struggle

D. Ravikumar, MP, says it lasted for more than 10 years from 1785 to 1796 in Chennai and Chengalpattu districts

August 25, 2022 12:41 am | Updated 07:55 am IST - CHENNAI

D. Ravikumar

D. Ravikumar

Viduthalai Chiruthaigal Katchi (VCK) general secretary and Villupuram MP D. Ravikumar on Wednesday requested Chief Minister M.K. Stalin to recognise the ‘Paraiyar Insurrection’ in Chennai in 1785 against the British rule as part of the freedom struggle. 

In a letter, Mr. Ravikumar said the ‘Paraiyar Insurrection’ had lasted for more than 10 years from 1785 to 1796 in Chennai and Chengalpattu districts. 

“In November 1785, the Paraiyars living in the Poonamalee area had captured some British soldiers, tied them up and kicked them. Richard Dighton, who was in charge at the time, feared that his life was in danger and that his office at Sethpet would be attacked and requested the Governor to send a ‘company’ of soldiers,” Mr. Ravikumar wrote, quoting from Dialogue and History-Constructing South India 1795-1895 by historian Eugene Irschick.

He added that efforts made by Collector Lionel Place to arrest Pettiah, Poonamalee Kutty, Mangadu Kompan and Bummel Kannaiyan, who led the rebellion, were unsuccessful. 

“Collector Lionel Place reports that in 1796 there was a Paraiyar chief named Periyathambi in Periya Paraicherry, north of Pethanayakkan Pettai in Chennai. British documents indicate that Periyathambi wrote a letter to the Paraiyar community of Karunkhuzi in Chinglepet district urging them all to leave for Chennai,” noted Mr. Ravikumar. 

He added, “Subaltern historians have pointed out that the forms of struggle that Mahatma Gandhi advocated after he took over the leadership of the Congress in 1919, such as non-cooperation, boycott, disobedience and direct action to fill prisons, were used by the people before that. The British government documents reveal that these forms of struggle were used by the Paraiyar community in the then Chennai and Chingleput districts of Madras Province against the British rule.”

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