Velu Nachiyar

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Rani Velu Nachiyar
Queen of Sivagangai
Princess of Ramanathapuram
Sivagangai Aranmanai.jpg
Statue of Rani Velu Nachiyar at the historic palace and her residence, Sivagangai
Reign c. 1780-c. 1790[1]
Successor Vellacci[2]
Born 3 January 1730
Ramanathapuram, Tamil Nadu, India
Died 25 December 1796
Sivaganga, Tamil Nadu, India
Father Chellamuthu Sethupathy
Mother Muthathal Nachiyar
Religion Hinduism

Rani Velu Nachiyar (1730-1796), was a queen of Sivaganga estate in 1760-1790. She was the first queen to fight against the British colonial power in India, even long before the famous Rani of Jhansi.[3][4] She is celebrated by Tamilians as Veeramangai (brave women).


Velu Nachiyar was the princess of Ramanathapuram and the only child of Raja Chellamuthu Sethupathy and Rani Sakandhimuthal of the Ramnad kingdom.

Nachiyar was trained in war match weapons usage, martial arts like Valari, Silambam (fighting using stick), horse riding and archery. She was a scholar in many languages and she had proficiency with languages like French, English and Urdu.[5] She married the king of Sivagangai, with whom she had a daughter. When her husband, Muthuvaduganathaperiya Udaiyathevar, was killed by British soldiers and the son of the Nawab of Arcot, she was drawn into battle. She escaped with her daughter and lived under the protection of Palayakaarar Kopaala Naayakkar at Virupachi near Dindigul for eight years.[6]

During this period, she formed an army and sought an alliance with Gopala Nayaker and Hyder Ali with the aim of attacking the British, whom she did successfully fight in 1780. When Velu Nachiyar found the place where the British stored their ammunition, she arranged a suicide attack: a faithful follower, Kuyili, doused herself in oil, set herself alight and walked into the storehouse.[7] Velu Nachiyar formed a woman's army named "udaiyaal" in honour of her adopted daughter, Udaiyaal, who died detonating a British arsenal. Nachiyar was one of the few rulers who regained her kingdom, and ruled it for ten more years.[8]1790, The throne was inherited by her daughter Vellacci.[9]

Velu Nachiyar was the first queen to fight for the freedom from the British in India. She granted powers to the Marudu brothers to administer the country in 1780. Velu Nachiyar died a few years later,on 25 December 1796.[10]

Popular culture[edit]

On 31 December 2008, a commemorative postage stamp in her name was released.[11]

Professor A.L.I., a Tamil-American hip-hop artist, released a song dedicated to Velu Nachiyar entitled "Our Queen" as part of his Tamilmatic album in 2016.[12]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ K. R. Venkatarama Ayyar, Sri Brihadamba State Press, 1938, A Manual of the Pudukkóttai State, p.720
  2. ^ K. R. Venkatarama Ayyar, Sri Brihadamba State Press, 1938, A Manual of the Pudukkóttai State, p.720
  3. ^ The Hindu - 10-Aug-2010
  4. ^ The News Minute -3 January 2017
  5. ^ The News Minute -3 January 2017
  6. ^ "Uphill, for history’s sake". The Hindu. India. 24 December 2007. 
  7. ^ "Of woman power and Tamizh glory". IBN Live. Chennai, India. 14 June 2011. 
  8. ^ The Hindu - 14-Aug-2010
  9. ^ K. R. Venkatarama Ayyar, Sri Brihadamba State Press, 1938, A Manual of the Pudukkóttai State, p.720
  10. ^ "History-Sivaganga district". Sivaganga dist. - Tamil Nadu govt., India. Retrieved 24 November 2011. 
  11. ^ "India Post - Stamps 2008". Postal department, Government of India. 
  12. ^ "International Women's Day Dedication to Queen Velu Nachiyar".