Thalakkal Chanthu

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Thalakkal Chantu also spelled Thalakkal Chandu was an archer and commander-in-chief of the Kurichya soldiers of the Pazhassi Raja who fought the British forces in the Wayanad jungles during first decade of the 19th century.


Chanthu began his career under Edachena Kunkan who later promoted him to one of Raja's generals. Pazhassi Raja as well as his generals and troops saw Chanthu as their ablest war leader.[citation needed] Often Raja himself would say to his followers "Even if all Nairs were to desert me, I still would be able to fight the Company (English) provided I have this Kurichia with me!" When Chanthu was caught and hanged, Edachena Kunkan is reported to have said "I have lost my right arm".[1][full citation needed]

Panamaram fort massacre[edit]

The British East India Company had fixed a very high revenue tax on agricultural produce of Wyanad farmers causing widespread dissent. One of the Company peons was killed by Edachena Kunkan when the peon demanded paddy from a Kuruchiya man.[2] This prompted the entire Kuruchiya tribe to join hands with Edachana Kunkan who was carrying on a fight against the British on behalf of Pazhassi Raja. The rebellion on 11 October 1802 by a group of tribal soldiers (comprising 175 Kurichya archers), led by Thalakkal Chandu and Edachena Kunkan, captured the British fort at Panamaram which was manned by the I battalion of 4th Bombay infantry.[2] Commanding officer Capt. Dickinson and Lt. Maxwell were killed in action along with entire detachment of 70 soldiers which was guarding the fort.[2]

The British forces launched a retaliatory attack and trapped Thalakkal Chanthu on 15 November 1805. He was executed under a Koly tree. Edachana Kunkan was killed by the British army at Panniyil later (now called Pannichal, Kerala).[3]


A memorial to honour Chanthu was constructed by the Kerala State Government and inaugurated on 22 September 2012, near Panamaram Fort on the banks of Kabini.[4] The memorial, which is in the form of a museum, displays the models of arms used by Chanthu and his tribesmen, the Kurichiya archers and the tribe's traditional agricultural implements.[4]


  1. ^ Malabar Manual by William Logan & Kerala Simham by Sardar KM Panikker
  2. ^ a b c Logan, William (1989). Malabar Manual, Volume I ([Facsim. ed.]. ed.). New Delhi: Asian Educational Services. pp. 539, 540. ISBN 9788120604469. 
  3. ^ "Demand for memorial to tribal warriors". The Hindu. 15 November 2008. Retrieved 25 October 2012. 
  4. ^ a b "Monument to honour Chandu". The Hindu. 22 September 2012. Retrieved 22 October 2012.