தமிழக போர்குடிகளிடம் ஆயுதபரிமுதல் செய்த ஆங்கிலேயர்

விடுதலை போராட்டம் உச்சகட்டத்தை அடைந்து 19 நூற்றாண்டின் தொடகக்த்தில் முத்துராமிலிங்க சேதுபதி,கட்டபொம்மன்,மருதுகள் என்று தென்னக பாளையக்காரர்கள் அனைவரும் தோற்ற தருனம்.

தளபதி அக்கினியூவின் அந்த ஆலோசனையை ஆங்கிலேய கம்பெனித்தலைமையை அப்படியே ஏற்றுகொண்டது. திருநெல்வேலி,மதுரை,இராமநாதபுரம்,சிவகங்கை,திண்டுக்கல் சீமைகளில் உள்ள அமில்தார்கள்,குடிகளிடம் எஞ்சி இருந்த ஆயுதங்களைப்பறித்து கைப்பற்றும் பணியில் ஈடுபட்டனர்.சிவகங்கை சீமையில் இந்த பணிக்கு வைகுந்தம் பிள்ளை என்பவரை புதிய  நியமனம் செய்து இருந்தனர்.பரங்கியர்களது திட்டத்தின் வெற்றியை குறிப்பதுடன் அந்த சீமை மக்கள் மீண்டும் ஒரு ஆயுத போராட்டத்திற்க்கு ஆயத்தமான நிலையில் இருந்தனர் என்பதையும் புலப்படுத்துகின்றன.

இப்படி மூன்று மாவட்டங்களான இராமநாதபுரம்,சிவகங்கை,திருநெல்வேலி மாவட்டத்தில் உள்ள மறவர்,கள்ளர்,அகம்படியார்,கம்பளத்தார் போன்ற போட்குடிகளிடம் இருந்து கைப்பற்றப்பட்ட ஆயுதங்களின் அறிக்கை இதுவே.

Lord Agnew’s ban carrying weapons was crucial to the urgent task of depriving the Tamil military castes of their traditional status in the southern provinces. The woods and fortresses of the turbulent Poligars of Tirunelveli,Ramnad,Sivagangai,Madurai were destroyed and removed from all maps and official documents (They remained so, until the time of Karunanidhi) 11. Lushington, one of the first British officials to be sent to the Tamil region, had noted that the military castes by remaining armed amidst an un-warlike population wholly devoted to agriculture stood between the East India Company’s coffers and the vast revenues of the land (Caldwell: 1888, chapter 9). The demilitarization of the Tamil region occurs of Maravars of Ramanathapuram and Sivagangai to seized the wepons to prevent the people for the rebellions would be planned by by the people 12.
Arms Seized in Ramanathapuram ,sivagangai,Tirunelvelli by British East india company.

Statistical Records 16-01-1802 in below,

Type of Weapon Tinnevelley Sivagangai Ramanathapuram Total
Musket 1602 1050 457 3109
Muscle loading Gun 686 570 1256
Hand Gun 815 19 834
Wall-Piece 152 40 192
Gingoly(Cannon) 3 6 9
Long Spear 2300 1900 4200

 

5558          1050              2992                9600

11   Madurai District records vol 1178A 1802,p.252

12   Madurai District records 1139,1802, p.27

Type of Weapon Tinnevlley Sivagangai Ramanathapuram Total
Musket 2438 1639 1037 5114
Cannon 16 16
Match lock 979 944 1584 3507
Hand gun 126 19 67 217
Musket with match lock 221 8 234 463
Gun-Barrel 235 78 147 460
Gingoley(Cannon) 16 14 13 43
Spear 3183 3275 4117 10375
Spear-Head 703 108 425 1236
Spear-Hold 112 112
Gun-powder 426 91 281 801
Hand Gun 27 1 28

21-02-1802 Military Report of Wepon Seized are,

31-03-1802  Date Report 13 (04-11-1801 to  31-03-1802 )

Type of Weapon Tinnevlley Sivagangai Ramanathapuram Total
Musket  4149  2096  1848 8094
Match lock 1281 1229 2517 5027
Spear 4730 3640 5409 13779
Hand gun 450 42 101 593
Lance 2090 652 856 3548
Sword 1304 441 630 2375
Cannon 17 17 11 45
Gun-Barrel 268 90 227 585
Gun-powder 645 91 180 916

Total                           14,934                8298                          11780                            35012

These weapons are seized and some forts of Maravars are Banished by British company and expenses are listed below.

  1. Tinnevelly District   (Arcot Silver Coin)                           Rs.  27,342,4.40
  2. Sivagangai  Zamindari   (Arcot Silver Coin)                    Rs.  10,426,7.41
  3. Ramanathapuram  Zamindari   (Arcot Silver Coin)      Rs.   32,398,10.40

——————————

Rs. 70,168,2.27

——————————-

13 – Madurai District Records  31-03-1802  vol.1140 page 199;

14 Ibid 114 31-03-1802   pp225.

 

 

கருமருந்து போட்டு இடித்துபயன்படுத்தும்துப்பாக்கிகளும் ரூபாய் பத்தும்,இரட்டைகுழல் துப்பாக்கிக்கு ரூபாய் நான்கும்,வெடிகளுக்கு ரூபாய் ஐந்தும் அன்பளிப்பாக வழங்கி ஆயுதங்களை பறித்தனர்.15 இதற்காக ரூ.1,07,182,6.0 ஒதிக்கீடு செய்தனர்.

என்றாலும் 31/03/1802 வாய் இந்த வகையில் ரூ 70,145.10.10ம் சிறுகோட்டைகளை இடிப்பதற்ற்கு ரூ 15,948.7.12ம் செலவு செய்யப்பட்டதாக ஆவணங்கள் உள்ளன.18 இவ்விதம் பறிமுதல் செய்ய்ப்பட்ட ஆயுதங்கள் மதுரை,பாளையங்கோட்டை,திண்டுக்கல்,இராமநாதபுரம் ஆகிய கோட்டைகளில் அமைக்கபட்டு, இருந்த இராணுவப்பிரிவுகளுக்கு அனுப்பபட்டு,அங்கு அவைகள் முக்கிய அலுவலர்கள் முன்னிலையில் அழிக்கப்பட்டன. அழிக்க்கபட்ட கோட்டைகளின் முழுப்பட்டியல் கிடைக்கவில்லை.வடக்கே அரவக்குறிச்சி தாராபுரம் கோட்டைகள் தரைமட்டமாக்கப்பட்டன. மறவர் சீமையில் அனுமந்தகுடி,ஆறுமுகக்கோட்டை,முஷ்டக்குறிச்சி,முதல்நாடு,பந்தல்குடி,பெருநாழி,பரளச்சி,திருச்சுழி ஆகிய இடங்களில் இருந்த மண்கோட்டைகளும் அழிக்கப்பட்டன. இராமநாதபுரம்,பாம்பன் கமுதிக்கோட்டைகளை இடித்து விடுமாறு இராமநாதபுரம் ஜமீந்தாரினிக்கு ஆணை வழங்கப்பட்டது.19

நெல்லை சீமையில் மட்டும் பிரம்மதேசம்,கங்கைகொண்டான்,சங்கரநயினார் கோவில்,ஆழ்வார் திருநகரி,களக்காடு பகுதிகளில் இருந்த இருபத்து எட்டு கோட்டைகள் அழிக்கப்பட்டன குறிப்பாக பாஞ்சாலங்குறிச்சிக் கோட்டையை எந்தகாரணத்தைக் கொண்டும் எப்பொழுதும் யாரும் அதனை மீண்டும் பரங்கியருக்கு எதிராகப் பயன்படுத்தக்கொடாது என்ற நோக்கத்திற்காகவும் அந்தகோட்டையின் பாளையக்காரர்களை அவமானபடுத்த வேண்டும் என்பதற்க்காகவும் அந்தக்கோட்டையை இடித்து கோட்டையை இருந்த பகுதியில் எள்ளை விதைத்து எருக்கலை செடியை நட்டதற்கும் விவரங்கள் உள்ளன. இந்த கோட்டை இடித்து அழிப்பதற்கு 600 ஆட்களை நியமித்து இருந்தனர்.

தமிழக மக்கள் தலை கவிழ்ந்து நடக்கக்கூடிய இத்தகைய இழிசெயல்களை முன் எச்சரிக்கை பாதுகாப்பு என்ற பெயரில் அவர்கள் மேற்கொண்டாலும் அவர்கலை உள்ளுர பயமும் பீதியும் ஆட்டி அலைந்து  கொண்டிருந்தது. என்பதை  சுட்டும் நிகழ்ச்சி யொன்று திருநெல்வேலியில் நடந்தது. நெல்லையப்பருக்கு ஆண்டாண்டாக நடக்கும் ஆனிதிருமஞ்சன விழா.கோவில் திருவிழா என்றால் மக்கள் கூட்டம் இல்லாமலா இருக்கும்? கலெக்டர் லூஷிங்டனுக்கு உச்சந்தலை முதல் உள்ளங்கால் வரை நடுக்கம் கண்டது. ஆயிரக்கணக்கில் கோயிலில் கூடுகின்ற மக்கள் வெள்ளையர் எதிர்ப்புடன் நடந்து கொண்டால்? கும்பெனியரது சொத்துகளைக் கொள்ளையிட்டு கச்சேரியில் அடைக்கப்பட்டிருக்கும் சிறைக் கைதிகளை தப்புவிக்கும் முயற்சியில் ஈடுபட்டால்…அவனது சிந்தனை அவ்விதம் பீதியினால் நடுங்கியது. உடனே பாளையங்கோட்டையில் உள்ள மேஜர் ஷெப்பர்டுக்கு ஓலை அனுப்பினான். திருநெல்வேலியில் திருவிழா நடைபெறும் இரண்டு நாட்களிலும் கும்பெனிச் சிப்பாய்கள் நகரின் பல இடங்களில் நிறுத்தி வைத்து பக்தர்,பொதுமக்கள் நடமாட்டங்களைக் கண்ணும் கருத்துமாக கவணித்து வருமாறும் சுவாம்யின் பவனி முடிந்த உடன் மக்கள் கலந்து செல்லுமாறு செய்யும்படி ஆனைவந்தது. இப்படி எத்தனை திருவிழா கூட்டத்தைக் கண்டு பரங்கிகள் நடுங்கினார்களோ தெரியவில்லை.

The liberation struggle reached the peak of the early 19th century, and all the South Poligars such as Muthuramalinga Sethupathi, Kattabomman and Marudu.

This is the most important aspect of the game. Sivaganga, Madurai, Ramanathapuram, Sivagangai and Dindigul clad in the field of occupation of the remaining weapons. In Sivagangai a Pillai was appointed to the new Sivaganga  zamindari for the task of Sivagangai Pillai to control the program of the program is that the Zamindari people are once again armed with a weapon They are also aware that they are in good shape.This is the report of the weapons captured from the pockets of Maravar, Kallar, Agdamiyar and Kambalaathar in the three districts of this district, Ramanathapuram, Sivagangai, Tirunelveli District.

Guns and rubbish guns, duplicate guns, four rupees of ruptures and five rupees ruptured arms.However, 31/03/1802 of the Rs 70,145.10.10 bills were found to be worth Rs 15,948.7.12 per bribe. The weapons were confiscated in Madurai, Palayamkottai, Dindigul and Ramanathapuram, where they were sent to military units where they were the chief officers Was destroyed in the presence. The complete list of the destroyed fortresses is not available. Anumanthakudi, Arumugakkottai, Mushtaakurichi, Mutharadhi, Perunaali, Pandalkudi, Thiruchuzhi, Parlachi and muthalnadu forts were also destroyed. Ramanathapuram Jamindrani was ordered to demolish Ramanathapuram and Pamban Kamuthikottai.600 people were ordered to destroy this fort.

he people of Tamilnadu, in the name of preliminary warnings, are wary of fear and panic. A brief show was held in Tirunelveli.God shiva ceremony of the Nellaiyappar ceremony is celebrated in the temple. The collector shook the scalp from the scratch to Lushington. If thousands of people in the temple walk on the opposite side of the White House? If the company was involved in the attempt to save the prisoners who had been robbed in the concert and robbed the property … his thought was shocked by fear. Soon he sent the master to the Major Shepherd in the Palayamkottai. During the two days of the festival in Tirunelveli, the company soldiers were kept in various places in the city and the devotees took care of the people to see the movements of the people. No matter how many festivals are there,

Similarly, in the areas of Dindigul, Bodi and Pollachi, all the areas were confiscated and confiscated their weapons. They sent them to Madurai. There is also a message that people cannot even fire off the wild elephants. These hysterical rumors lasted until AD 1804. And collected statistics about the number of soldiers coming to the barracks and armed bearers, and wondering what could be done to deal with the attack by the insurgents. The Collector of company ordered the mobs to collect the brahmin community who work in temples and muds, and ordered them to exercise. These orders suggest that the parasites were shivering in fear when Sivaganga and the Liberation of people crushed. There are no upheavals that have provoked their awakening, but they are not united. They do not have weapons of massive explosives. Their struggle also became futile in the sea.

இதைப்போல் திண்டுக்கல்,போடி,பொள்ளாச்சி என்ற அனைத்து பகுதிகளில் உள்ள பாளையக்காரர்களுக்கும்  அறிக்கை அனுப்பி அனைவரது ஆயுதங்களையும் பறிமுதல் செய்தனர்.அவற்றை மதுரைக்கு அனுப்பி வைத்தனர். மக்கள் காட்டு யானைகளை அடித்து விரட்ட கூட ஆயுதமில்லாமல் தவித்த செய்திகளும் உண்டு.

கும்பெனியாரது பயங்கொள்ளித் தனமான இந்த வெறிச்செயல்கள் கி.பி.1804 வரை நீடித்தன. அத்துடன் அப்பகுதிகளில் உள்ள இருப்பத்தைந்து பாளையக்காரர்களிடமும்,ஆயுதம் தாங்கிப்போரிட கூடிய வீரர்கள் எத்தனை பேர் இருந்து வருகின்றனர் என்ற புள்ளிவிபரம் சேகரித்தனர் மேலும் கிளர்ச்சிக்காரர்களது தாக்குதல் ஏற்பட்டால் அதனைச் சமாளிப்பதற்கு என்ன செய்யலாம் என யோசித்தனர். கோவில்களிலும் மடங்களிலும் பணியாற்றும் பிராம்மண சமூகத்தினரையும் திரட்டி,அவர்களுக்கும் போர்பயிற்ச்சி கொடுக்கவேண்டும் என கும்பெனியார் தளபதிக்கும் மதுரை சீமை துனை கலெக்டர் காரோ உத்தரவிட்டான்.

சிவகங்கை சீமை விடுதலைப்போராட்டத்தை நசுக்கிவிட்ட பொழுதிலும் பரங்கிகள் எந்த அளவிற்கு பயத்தினால் நடுங்கிக் கொண்டு இருந்தனர் என்பதை இந்த உத்தரவுகள் தெரிவிக்கிறது. அவர்கலது பீதியை உறுதிபடுத்தும் வகையில் அவர்களது எழுச்சிமிக்க உன்ர்வுகளால் உந்தபட்ட கிளர்ச்சிகள் ஒயவில்லை என்றாஅலும் ஒற்றுமை இல்லை. பரங்கியருக்கு ஈடான வெடிமருந்து ஆயுதங்களும் அவர்களிடம் இல்லை. அவர்களது போராட்டமும் கடலில் பெய்த மழையாக பயனற்றுப் போயிற்று.

One of the first concerns of the British as soon as they conquered the southern parts of India was with the ancient and ingrained “habits of predatory war” among the Tamils. The extirpation of these “habits” and culture was considered essential to establishing their authority in Tamil society. The Tamil region was ceded to the British in July 1801; a proclamation was issued by them in December the same year, whereby the use of arms was suppressed and the military service traditionally rendered by the Tamil military castes was abolished.

It was stated in the proclamation that “wherefore the Right Honourable Edward Lord Clive…with the view of preventing the occurrence of the fatal evils which have attended the possession of arms by the Poligars and Servaikaras of the southern provinces…formally announces to the Poligars, Servaikaras and inhabitants of the southern provinces, the positive determination of His Lordship to suppress the use and exercise of all weapons of offence” and that the Palayams would be turned into Zamindari estates for the purpose of preventing the Tamil military castes from engaging in their customary military services. The British proclamation abolished the Palayam system “In the confident expectation of redeeming the people of the southern provinces from the habits of predatory warfare”, and in the hope of inducing them to take up “the arts of peace and agriculture”.

The demilitarization of the Tamil region did not spare even the Kallar caste which had rendered valuable service to the British in the important wars of the Carnatic,by which they subjugated the whole of south India.

The hereditary chiefs of this military caste were the kings of Pudukottai – the Thondamans, who had sided with the British against Hyder Ali and later his son, Tippu Sultan. In many of the early wars, the British fought on behalf of the Nawab of Arcot in south India, the Kallar had made up a sizeable portion of their forces. But the Kallar and the other Tamil military castes had to be disfranchised to rid Tamil society of its ancient habits and culture of predatory warfare.

the nineteenth century.

The task of disfranchising the Tamil military castes and destroying the structures of their traditional power in Tamil society was strengthened by the promotion of the Vellalas, Shanaras (Nadaras), Adi-Dravidas and the Nattampadis, who constrasted favourably with the Maravar and suited the aims of revenue, security and conversion. Among these, the Vellalas acquired the most favoured status for the following reasons:

(A) They were, according to the 1871 Madras census report, “a peace loving, frugal, and industrious people”. They were essential to consolidating the new revenue and the Administrative Manual (Coimbatore) noted that the Vellalas were “truly the backbone of the district. It is they who by their industry and frugality create and develop wealth, support the administration, and find the money for imperial and district demands.”

(B) It was ascertained that “according to native ideas”, husbandry was their only proper means of livelihood and that they had no established traditions of kingship, like Kallar and Maravar. The Madurai Manual noted that Aryanayaga Mudali, the great general of the sixteenth century was dissuaded from making himself a king on the ground that no Vellalan ought to be a king.

(C) They were found suitable for the expanding manpower needs of British administration. They were unsurpassed as accountants and many of them were employed as Karnams or village accountants.

(D) They were extremely conservative in their outlook. The Tanjore Manual observed, “in religious observances, they are more strict than the generaliry of of Brahmins; they abstain from both intoxicating liquors and meat.”

It is in this milieu that the Dravidian movement took shape as the pro-British of the de-martialized Tamil social order.

Caldwell also notes that, “Of the beneficial changes that have taken place since then, the most remarkable is that which we see in the Poligars themselves.” He claims with satisfaction that many among the regions martial classes were taking to agriculture; and of the Maravar, he says “the change wrought amongst the poorer class of the Maravas is not perhaps quite so complete…though once the terror of the country they are now amenable to law and reason…” Tamil society was thus ‘unity with itself’ and was realising its destiny under the British Empire. He asserts that “Race after race of rulers have risen up in this country, has been tried and found wanting, and has passed away.” But that the Tamils “accept our government readily and willingly as the best government they have ever had and the best they are likely to have in this age of the world.”

Under the “paternal government” of the English, Tamils were becoming a peaceful and industrious nation. The last “race of rulers” which had risen up and passed away in the Tamil country were the turbulent Maravar. English rule was the only one that was not found wanting because its principles and protestant ethos were in consonance with what Caldwell assumed were the ‘true’ religious and moral ideas of the Dravidian race.

Although as a historian, he was well aware of the hegemony of the Maravar’s martial culture in Tamil society, its exclusion from what he desired to portray as the true Dravidian civilization was central to the imperial and religious interests of Caldwell’s teleologial project. The English, in suppressing the martial castes, were restoring the soverignty of Tamil society’s “legitimate rulers” – the peasantry and lower classes.

In Caldwell’s view, the Tamil military castes had to seek “the safer and more reputable occupation of husbandmen” (Caldwell: 1888, p.229). However, he was deeply suspicious of their peace. Commenting on the Poligar wars, he wrote, “The population of the sequestered Pollams (Palayams) seemed to be delighted with the opportunity afforded them of trying their strength with the English once more, being thoroughly discontented, no doubt, with the peaceful life now required of them” (p.197). And he condemned a suggestion ventured by the author of the Tinnevely Manual, Mr.Stuart that the Palayam system of the Tamil military castes was histocially inevitable as the fiefdoms of medieval Europe – “It is so seldom that one hears a good word about Poligars that I quote these remarks of Mr.Stuart with pleasure…I fear, however, that the misdeeds of the Poligars were more systematic and audacious than those of the feudal nobles of Europe in the Middle Ages.” (p.59)

Apart from concerns shared with the British Government, the Bishop’s hostile attitude towards the Maravar arose from the bloody violence they unleashed on the Shanar, large numbers of whom were embracing the Protestant faith. For him, if the idolatory and the Sanskritic culture of the articulate Brahmins was a spiritual threat to the propagation of the Gospel, the violence and misdeeds of the Maravar against the faithful was a dire physical threat. In his scheme of Tamilian history, the culture and ethos of the classes through whom the British government and the Anglican Church sought to consolidate the gains of Tamil society’s demilitarization were seen by Caldwell as the true characteristics of the Tamils. The martial habits of the Maravar and the Sanskritic culture of the Brahmins were alien to the social order and moral ideals of the ‘true’ Dravidians.

These views were shared by many English missionaries of the 19th century who worked among the Tamils. Missionaries and administrators found evidence for this in many religious and didactic Tamil texts. Henry Martyn Scudder published a book in 1865, in which he “used Tamil texts and poems to support the missionary position that even in ancient Tamil texts many Christian ideas were present.” (Irshick; 1976, p.15). This belief led to the introduction of what were thought to be Tamil works, with little or no extraneous influence in institutions of higher education run by missionaries.

Thus, towards the latter part of the 19th century, there were large, disgruntled groups with a military past in the Bengal, Bombay and Madras Presidencies. They felt that the vast field of opportunities opened by the expanding Indian army was being unfairly denied to them. This grievance was further exacerbated by views of the British military leadership which relegated them to a non-martial status as races that were not fit to bear arms; in whom fighting qualities had declined.

The reaction of these groups was marked by a compulsion to emphasise the martial credentials of their cultures. Opposition to British rule which emerged among classes affected by the shift in recruitment toward the ‘martial races’ of North western India took shape into an ideology that asserted a national spirit which exalted military virtues and ideals as the cure for the ills of Indian society under the British yoke. Bal Gangadhar Tilak who emerged as a spokesman for the disfranchised military groups became the ideologue of this nationalist Indian militarism. Stephen Cohen has attempted to define Indian militarism in terms of Indian attitudes towards the British-Indian military structure and recruitment.

“There are two fundamentally different sets of Indian attitudes towards the British-Indian military structure, both of which may legitimately be labelled Indian militarism: modern militarism and traditional militarism…emerged in Bengal and western India and spread to other regions. Modern militarism stressed the value of the military as a national universal solvent; as an expression of the national will and demanded equalitarian recruitment. ‘Traditional militarism’ resulted from regional traditions and the recruiting practices of the British. It was confined to those castes and classes which exercised the use of arms as matter of birth right and was unevenly distributed throughout India…”(14)

At the turn of the [20th] century there were two groups in the Tamil region which had a decidedly militarist and anti-British outlook. (a) the adherents of modern Indian militarism – the terrorists – and their sympathizers. (b) the disfranchised traditional military castes. The dispersion of modern Indian militarism’s basic tenet – that the revival of India’s ‘heroic age’ and its war-like traditions and valus was necessary for national emancipation – invested the heroic past and martial cultures of the disfranchized traditional Tamil military castes with a nationalist significance and cogence. Modern Tamil militarism – the political idea that military virtues and ideals ‘rooted in Tamil martial traditions’ is essential for national resurgence and emancipation – was enunciated at this specific conjuncture in the school of Tamil renaissance established by Pandithurai Thevar – a noble belonging to the sethupathy clan of the dominant traditional Tamil military caste – the Maravar.

Tamil militarism then, is the effect of inter-related modern and traditional components; the former as nationalist renaissance ideology, the latter as caste culture. Traditional Tamil militarism in the Tamil region as elsewhere in India was confined to a group of castes which considered “the use of arms as matter of birth and right”. The Maravar were, according to the Madras Presidency census report for 1891 “a fierce and turbulent race famous for their military prowess” and were “chiefly found in Madura and Tinnevely where they occupy the tracts bordering in the coast from Cape Comorin to the northern limits of the Ramnad Zemindari.”(15) The Dutch found them to be the traditional soldier caste of Jaffna and availed themselves of their caste services as such (16) – one of the earliest instances of a colonial power making use of a specific military caste in South Asia.

Cohen notes two categories of traditional Indian military castes with different grievances at the turn of the 19th century. (a) “members of classes which were no longer recruited or recruited in small numbers”, (b) “those classes which constituted the army but sought even greater status as commissioned officers.”(17)

The Maravar and their grievances, however belong to a third category. They were a people whom the British attempted to totally demilitarize by depriving them of their traditional status in Tamil society through social, economic and penal measures. This was in direct contrast to the social and economic privileging of such castes and classes in the north, during the same period. They were not only disfranchised but were turned into and classified as a delinquent mass – the subject of a disciplinary and penal discourse – relegated to the fringes of the new social pact which was being established in the Tamil South of the Madras Presidency. The obliteration of their traditions and memory was considered essential to complete the process of demilitarization and pacification of the Tamil region. The martial races theory of recruitment and the subsequent martialization of the north futher erased their martial legacy and that of the Tamil South from the military ethnography of the subcontinent.

David Washbrook argues that “the subvention and protection of the north Indian dominant caste communities, and the martialization of their culture, were but two of the many ways in which south Asia paid the price of liberal Britain’s prosperity and progress.”(18) On the otherhand the strategy of emasculating and destroying the hegemony of Tamil military caste communities and the demartialization of Tamil culture were two important ways in which the Tamil South paid the price of India’s development as a nation.

The legacy of these strategies in the north and south of the subcontinent, embodied in the structure of the modern Indian army, is central to the emergence of modern Tamil militarism. The gains of this demartialization were consolidated by favouring and encouraging non-military castes in Tamil society which “contrasted favourably with the Maravar”.(19)

The more important of these were the Vellalas, Nadars and Adi Dravidas. The culture and values of the “peace loving” (Madras census, 1871) Vellalas who had “no other calling than the cultivation of the soil” eminently suited the aims of demartialization and suppression of the traditional military castes. In this the British were following local precedents which had been based on the principle that the best way to ensure control and security was to “have none there but cultivators” (21). Thus, under active British patronage the Vellala caste established its dominance, and its culture became representative and hegemonic in Tamil society. The Nadars and Adi Dravidas were considered amenable to conversion. A large section of them had become Anglicans. The recruitment base of the Indian army in the Madras Presidency was constituted strongly in favour of these groups. The Dravidian ideology emerged as the cultural and academic basis for their pro-British politics, led by the newly arisen Vellala elite.

The nascent Dravidian movement was clearly underpinned by the concerns of British administrators and Anglican missionaries (22) in consolidating the social, economic and religious gains of demartialization. This is why the early Dravidian school of Tamil studies and historiography had a strong political compulsion to reject, ignore or play down the dominant role of the traditional military castes in Tamil history and culture, and to assert that Tamil civilization was Vellala civilization. (Maraimalai Atikal, was the chief proponent of this view.)

Thus in the early decades of the twentieth century we find two contending narratives (23) of Tamil national identity – the ideology and caste culture of the anti-British and “turbulent” military castes and the ideology and caste culture of the pro-British and “peace loving” Vellala elite – claiming authentic readings of the Tamilian past and present. The one claiming that the “pure Tamils” were Vellalas. The other claiming that all Tamils are Maravar and that the Tamil nation was distinguished by its ancient martial heritage. How then did Tamil militarism which originally was related to a political and social milieu that was opposed to the Dravidian movement become its dominant feature in the [nineteen] fifties and sixties to the levelof strongly impacting on the Tamil nationalist movement in Sri Lanka’s north and east?

It was related politically to changes that took place in the Dravidian movement and the changes that took place in Maravar – Indian National Congres relations after the [19]30’s. In the Dravidian movement the change was connected mainly with, (a) the rejection of the pro-British elitist leadership of the Justice Party in 1944. (b) the radical change in the attitude towards British rule and imperialism in 1947048 which gave rise to sharp differences within the movement.

Relations between the Indian National Congress and the Maravar began to deteriorate when the moderate Brahmin leadership of the Madras Presidency Congress preferred not to oppose the harsh measures of the British against the Tamil military castes. The contradiction became sharp when Pasumpon Muthuramalinga Thevar the powerful and influential Marava leader, joined the Indian National Army under Subash Chandra Bose and began organizing the Forward Bloc against the Congress in the Tamil region.(24) The antagonism climaxed in a violent caste conflict in 1957. The Congress government arrested Muthuramalinga Thevar in connection with the riot. The DMK which had very little influence in the southern districts of Tamil Nadu at that time made a strategic intervention at this juncture in Maravar affairs. M.Karunanidhi, the only DMK candidate to be elected in the southern parts at that time, was chiefly responsible for co-opting the Maravar into the DMK; and for making the culture of the Tamil military castes a dominant and essential component of Tamilian national identity.

Thanks :

Great Writer of Tamil Eelam D.P.Sivaram alias Dharamarathinam Sivaram

Madurai District Records 1802.

Madurai Country Manuel-Nelson

History of Tinnevelly  – Robert Caldwell Bishop

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