The Marudhu Pandiyar brothers (Periya Marudhu and Chinna Marudhu) ruled Sivagangai, Tamil Nadu, India, towards the end of the 18th century. They were the first to issue a proclamation of independence from the colonial British rule from Trichy Thiruvarangam Temple, Tamil Nadu on 10 June 1801, 56 years before what is generally said to be the First War of Indian Independence which broke out mainly in Northern India in 1857.
Periya and Chinna Marudhu, sons of Mookiah Palaniappan, and Anandayer, also known as Ponnathal. The elder brother was born on 15 December 1748 in the small hamlet of Narikkudi near Aruppukkottai in then Ramnad state (now Virudhunagar district); the younger was born in Ramnad in 1753. Their father was a general in the Ramnad state military, and he moved his family to Virudhunagar from Narikkudi.
The Marudhu brothers were trained in native martial arts at Surankottai, which traditionally served as a training centre for the Ramnad army. Muthu Vaduganadha Thevar, the Raja of Sivagangai, a principal state near Ramnad, came to know of their brave and courageous deeds (They were believed to have killed a couple of tigers that had entered their kingdom. Although the accuracy of the story is questionable, it gave them a legendary status and made them well known throughout the kingdom) and requested the Ramnad king to assign them to serve the Sivaganga state army. They were good at aerodynamics and craftsmanship and is said to have invented the Valari, a variant of the boomerang. They were in close association with Veerapandiya Kattabomman of Panchalankurichi. Kattabomman held frequent consultations with Marudhus. After the execution of Kattabomman in 17 October 1799 at Kayattar, Chinna Marudhu gave asylum to Kattabomman's brother Oomadurai (mute brother). But, the British took this reason to invade and attacked Sivaganga in 1801 with a powerful army. The Maruthu Pandiyars and their allies were quite successful and captured three districts from the British. British considered it as a serious threat to their future in India that they rushed additional troops from Britain to put down Maruthu Pandiyars' rebellion. These forces surrounded Maruthu Pandiyars' army at Kalayar Koil, and the latter scattered. The Maruthu Brothers and their top commanders escaped. They regrouped and fought the British and their allies at Viruppatchi, Dindigul and Cholapuram. While they won the battle at Viruppatchi, they lost the other two battles.
The Marudhu Pandiyars, along with the war leader Sivanandi and many of their family members, were captured at Cholapuram. They were hanged in the fort of Tirupputhur, in what is now Sivaganga district, Tamil Nadu, on 24 October 1801.
Maruthu Brothers are good in aerodynamics and invented many variants of spears and boomerangs. They also founded guerilla war tactic in India during the early stages of colonisation. A commemorative postage stamp was released in October 2004. Every year people conduct Maruthu Pandiar Guru Puja in October.
- Indian independence activists
- Veerapandiya Kattabomman
- Dheeran Chinnamalai
- Kalayar Kovil
- Rani Velu Nachiar
- Veeran Sundaralingam
- Mahradū, an Indian story, with some observations on the present state of the british empire. p. 17.
- "Stamp on Marudhu Pandiar brothers released". The Hindu. Madurai, India. 25 October 2004. Retrieved 2016-08-12.
- Southindian states website Archived 18 September 2010 at the Wayback Machine.
- "Stamps 2004". Indian Postal department. Retrieved 4 January 2012.
- "Thousands pay homage to Marudhu Brothers". The Hindu. Madurai, India. 28 October 2010.