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Puli Thevar

Among the Palayakkarars, there were two blocs, namely the Western and the Eastern blocs. The Western bloc had Marava Palayakkarars and the Eastern bloc had Telugu Palayakkarars.

Puli Thevar

 

Among the Palayakkarars, there were two blocs, namely the Western and the Eastern blocs. The Western bloc had Marava Palayakkarars and the Eastern bloc had Telugu Palayakkarars. Puli Thevar of Nerkkattumseval headed the former and Kattabomman of Panchalamkuruchi led the latter. These two Palayakkarars refused to pay the kist (tribute) to the Nawab and rebelled.

 

Many of the neighbouring Palayakkarars put up certain pretexts and did not pay the tribute. Mahfuz Khan, with the assistance of the British army under Col. Heron undertook an expedition to suppress the revolt in March 1755. Puli Thevar and the Marava Palayakkarars of the Western bloc stood firm against the British. Col. Heron decided to deal with the Maravas firmly.

 

Col. Heron tried to change the mind of Puli Thevar by diplomatic moves and by show of force. But he failed in his attempts. Puli Thevar proceeded to consolidate his position by organising the Marava Palayakkarars of the West into a strong confederacy. He also attemp-ted to get the support of Haider Ali of Mysore and the French against the British. The British approached Ramnad, Pudukottai and the Dutch for help. Haider Ali couldn't help Puli Thevar due to a Mysore-Maratha struggle. Yusuf Khan (Khan Sahib) was entrusted by the British with the duty of tackling Puli Thevar and his allies.

 

Puli Thevar attacked Madurai and captured it from Mahfuz Khan. Puli Thevar's military success had no parallel. The native ruler triumphed against the British. It is a clear demonstration of the Marava might and the heroism of the patriots. But Yusuf Khan recaptured Madurai. With the help of the Palayakkarars of the Eastern bloc and the king of Travancore, Yusuf Khan had many victories. After fierce battles, Nerkkattumseval was attacked in 1759. In 1767, this city was captured by Col. Campbell. Puli Thevar escaped and died in exile without finally fulfilling his purpose of checking the growth of the British influence. Although his attempt ended in failure, he leaves a valiant trail of a struggle for independence in the history of South India.

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