Veerapandiya Kattabomman was an 18th-century Palayakarrar and chieftain from Panchalankurichi in Tamil Nadu, India who waged a war against the British East India Company. He was captured by the British and hanged in 1799 CE.
Early life and accession
Veerapandiyan was born to Jagaveera Kattabomman and Arumugattammal on 3 January 1760. Veerapandiyan was called ‘Karuthaiah’. and had two younger brothers Dalavai Kumarasami and Duraisingam. On 2 February 1790, Veerapandiyan became the ruler of Panchalankurichi.
Fight against British
Kattabomman refused to accept the sovereignty of British East India Company, and fought against them.
Kattabomman was betrayed by the then ruler of the kingdom of Pudukottai Vijaya Raghunatha Tondaiman to the British on 1 October 1799. He was subsequently arrested at Kayathar, interrogated till 16 October 1799 and sentenced to public hanging. On 16 October 1799, he was hanged at Kayathar in Thoothukudi District, Tamil Nadu.
Tinnevelly Gazetteer of 1917, H. R. Pate notes the presence, in Kayatharu, of "a great pile of stones of all sizes, which represents the accumulated offerings by wayfarers of the past hundred years. Folk songs recalling the heroism of the Poligar leaders remain alive in Tamil Nadu to this day...". The popular Tamil slang for a traitor or committing treason is Ettapa or Ettapan, courtesy the Ettayapuram Polygar who was involved in the betrayal of Kattabomman. Veerapandia Kattabomman festival is celebrated at Panchalankurichi on his death anniversary.
In 1974, the Government of Tamil Nadu constructed a memorial at Kayathar and the remnants of the old fort at Panchalankurichi are protected by the Archaeological Survey of India. Another memorial was inaugurated by the government on 18 June 2015. A statue of Kattabomman is put up in Wellington, Tamil Nadu. To commemorate the bicentenary of Kattabomman’s hanging, India Post brought out a postal stamp in his honour on 16 October 1999 . The communication center of Indian Navy at Vijayanarayanam is named as INS Kattabomman. Till 1997, Tirunelveli division of the Tamil Nadu state transport corporation of was known as Kattabomman Transport Corporation. Veerapandia Kattabomman Panpattu Kazhagam (Veerapandia Kattabomman Cultural association) is an organization named in his honor.
A 1959 Tamil film starring Sivaji Ganesan in the lead role was based on the life of Kattabomman.