Veerapandiya Kattabomman

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Veerapandiya Kattabomman
Palaiyakkarar of Panchalankurichi
Veerapandiya Kattabomman postage stamp.jpg
Veerapandiya Kattabomman postage stamp released by India Post
ReignEnded 16 October 1799
SuccessorBritish Rule
Born3 January 1760
Panchalankurichi, Tamil Nadu, India
Died16 October 1799(1799-10-16) (aged 39)
Kayathar, Tamil Nadu
SpouseJakkammal[citation needed]
FatherJagaveera Kattabomman[citation needed]
MotherArumugathammal[citation needed]

Veerapandiya Kattabomman (a.k.a.Veerapandya Katta Brahmana)[1][2][3] was an 18th-century Palayakarrar and chieftain from Panchalankurichi in Tamil Nadu, India. He refused to accept the sovereignty of the British East India Company and waged a war against them. He was captured by the British with the help of the ruler of the kingdom of Pudukottai, Vijaya Raghunatha Tondaiman, and was hanged at Kayathar on 16 October 1799.[4]

There are various traditional stories told of Kattabomman that tend to glorify him and his petty kingdom. He was a Vatuka (northerner), a loose term for a group of Telugu-speaking castes which includes families who claim to have moved south to settle in the arid Tirunelveli region after the collapse of the Nayak-controlled Vijayanagara Empire in 1565. They had previously had some prominence in the imperial court and may have been adept at farming in dry conditions, although it is also possible that they had no choice but to settle where they did because the other significant community of Tirunelveli – the Maravars – had already occupied the more favourable areas. Kattabomman was a member of the Kambalatar caste, with the other two Vatuka communities being the Kammavars and the Reddies.[5]

The Tamil language film Veerapandiya Kattabomman, starring Sivaji Ganesan, is based on his life.[6]


Kattabomman memorial at Kayathar

The historian Susan Bayly says that Kattabomman is considered a Robin Hood-like figure in local folklore and is the subject of several traditional narrative ballads in the kummi verse form. The site of his execution at Kayathar has become a "powerful local shrine" and at one time sheep were sacrificed there.[7] The Government of Tamil Nadu maintains a memorial at Kayathar and the remnants of the old fort at Panchalankurichi is protected by the Archaeological Survey of India.[8][9] In 2006, the Tirunelveli district administration organised a festival at Panchalankurichi on his birth anniversary.[10]

To commemorate the bicentenary of Kattabomman’s hanging, the Government of India released a postal stamp in his honour on 16 October 1999.[11] The Indian Navy communications centre at Vijayanarayanam is named INS Kattabomman.[12]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Narwekar, Sanjit. Directory of Indian film-makers and films.
  2. ^ "The Hindu: Glimpse into history". 20 July 2011. Retrieved 5 March 2018.
  3. ^ "The hindu news". 22 January 2005. Retrieved 5 March 2018.
  4. ^ Yang, Anand A. (November 2007). "Bandits and Kings: Moral Authority and Resistance in Early Colonial India". The Journal of Asian Studies. 66 (4): 881–896. JSTOR 20203235. (Subscription required (help)).
  5. ^ Dirks, Nicholas B. (1987). The Hollow Crown: Ethnohistory of an Indian Kingdom. Cambridge University Press. pp. 60–70, 174. ISBN 0-521-32604-4.
  6. ^ Guy, Randor (9 May 2015). "Veera Pandya Kattabomman 1959". The Hindu. Retrieved 20 February 2017.
  7. ^ Bayly, Susan (1989). Saints, Goddesses and Kings: Muslims and Christians in South Indian society, 1700–1900. Cambridge University Press. p. 207. ISBN 0-521-37201-1.
  8. ^ "Tourism in Thoothukudi district". Government of Tamil Nadu.
  9. ^ "Jayalalithaa inaugurates memorial for Veerapandia Kattaboman". The Hindu. 19 June 2015.
  10. ^ "Kattabomman festival celebrated". The Hindu. 14 May 2006. Retrieved 2018-03-04.
  11. ^ "Tamilnadu postal circle — stamps". Tamil Nadu post.
  12. ^ "INS Kattabomman". Global security.

Further reading[edit]