Veerapandiya Kattabomman

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Veerapandiya Kattabomman
Palaiyakkarar of Panchalankurichi
Veerapandiya Kattabomman postage stamp.jpg
Veerapandiya Kattabomman postage stamp released by India post
Reign 2 February 1790 – 16 October 1799
Successor British Rule
Born 3 January 1760
Panchalankurichi, Thoothukudi district, Tamil Nadu
Died 16 October 1799
Kayathar, Thoothukudi district, Tamil Nadu
Spouse Jakkammal
Full name
Veerapandiya Karuthaiah
Dynasty Nayak dynasty
Father Jagaveera Kattabomman
Mother Arumugathammal
Religion Hinduism

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.[1]

Early life and accession[edit]

Veerapandiyan was born to Jagaveera Kattabomman and Arumugattammal on 3 January 1760.[citation needed] 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[edit]

Kattabomman refused to accept the sovereignty of British East India Company, and fought against them.[2]


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.[2]


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.

Honor and Monuments[edit]

Kattabomman memorial at Kayathar

Kattabomman's story is celebrated in many legends and epic poetry in Tamil. Kattabomman is today recognised by the government as one of the earliest independence fighters opposing the British.

  • India's premier communication nerve centre of the Indian Navy, at Vijayanarayanam, about 40 km from here, is named as INS Kattabomman.[8][9]
  • Till 1997, the state transport buses of Tirunelveli District was named Kattabomman Transport Corporation.
  • Veerapandia Kattabomman Panpattu Kazhagam (Veerapandia Kattabomman Cultural association) is an organisation named in his honour.
  • The district administration celebrates `Veerapandia Kattabomman festival' at Panchalankurichi on his anniversaries.[10]


Much of the modern currency of the legend comes from the 1959 motion picture starring Chevalier Sivaji Ganesan in lead role portraying the life of Veerapandiya Kattabomman. The Movie directed by B.R. Panthulu starring Nadigar Thilagam Sivaji Ganesan got a wide international recognition and earned many international awards for his epic performance and this particular film is one of the most remembered in his 45 years of filmdom. The film received ubiquitously positive reviews and adjudged the best film at the Cairo International Film Festival and Sivaji received the prize for best actor from Col. Nasser, the then president of Egypt.

See also[edit]