|Rani Velu Nachiyar|
|Queen of Sivagangai
Princess of Ramanathapuram
Statue of Rani Velu Nachiyar at the historic palace and her residence, Sivagangai
|Reign||c. 1760-c. 1790|
|Born||3 January 1730|
|Birthplace||Sivaganga, Tamil Nadu, India|
|Place of death||Sivaganga, Tamil Nadu, India|
Rani Velu Nachiyar (Tamil: இராணி வேலு நாச்சியார்) was an 18th-century Indian queen from Sivaganga. Rani Velu Nachiyar was the first queen to fight against the British in India, even preceding the famous Rani Laxmibai of Jhansi.
She was the princess of Ramanathapuram and the daughter of Chellamuthu Sethupathy. She married the king of Siva Gangai and they had a daughter - Vellachi Nachiar. When her husband Muthuvaduganathaperiya Udaiyathevar was killed, she was drawn into battle. Her husband and his second wife were killed by a few British soldiers and the son of the Nawab of Arcot. She escaped with her daughter, lived under the protection of Hyder Ali at Virupachi near Dindigul for eight years. During this period she formed an army and sought an alliance with Gopala Nayaker and Hyder Ali with the aim of attacking the British. In 1780 Rani Velu Nachiyar fought the British with military assistance from Gopala Nayaker and Hyder Ali and won the battle. When Velu Nachiyar finds the place where the British stock their ammunition, she builds the first human bomb. A faithful follower, Kuyili douses herself in oil, lights herself and walks into the storehouse. Rani Velu Nachiyar formed a woman's army named “udaiyaal” in honour of her adopted daughter — Udaiyaal, who died detonating a British arsenal. Nachiar was one of the few rulers who regained her kingdom and ruled it for 10 more years.
Velu Nachiyar is the first queen who fought for the freedom against British in India and succeeded. The Queen Velu Nachiar granted powers to Marudu brothers to administer the country in 1780. Velu Nachiar died a few years later, but the exact date of her death is not known (it was about 1790). Marudu brothers are the sons of Udayar Servai alias Mookiah Palaniappan Servai and Anandayer alias Ponnathal. They are native of Kongulu street of Ramnad. They belonged neither to the family of the ancient poligars nor to their division of the caste.
On 31-December-2008, a commemorative postage stamp on her was released.
- The Hindu - 10-Aug-2010
- "Uphill, for history’s sake". The Hindu (India). 24 December 2007.
- "Of woman power and Tamizh glory". IBN Live (Chennai, India). 14 June 2011.
- The Hindu - 14-Aug-2010
- "History-Sivaganga district". Sivaganga dist. - Tamilnadu govt., India. Retrieved 24 November 2011.
- "India Post - Stamps 2008". Postal department, Government of India.
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