Veerapandia kattabomman from the far south region of tamilnadu was born on 3rd january1760 near ottapidaram, Tuticorin district of today.

Kattabomman was the eldest son of jegaveerapandian and aarumugathammal. Jegaveerapandian was the chief jagir of Panchalakurichi. Veerapandia kattabomman succeeded his father in 1790.He was married to veera jaggamal. The couple had no issues.

Kattabomman had 2 brothers – Umaithurai and Duraisingham. They also had 2 sisters. The kattabommu brothers were benevolent jagirdaars and staunch devotees of Lord Karthigeya of Tiruchendur. It is believed that he would have his afternoon food only after hearing the ringing of the bells of tiruchendur temple denoting that the uchikaala puja for lord karthigeya was over.

The British were slowly making inroads in tamilnadu, then called Chennai province. They were in the process of planting the Union Jack in several small princely dominions of tamilnadu.

The Panchalakurichi fort was also in their list for annexation. The British Officers approached Kattabommu and demanded he pay taxes to the British and become a vassal. Kattabommu as expexted rejected this demand. In 1797Lord Allen then in charge, started the attack. In the ensuing war in1797-98 the british troops were defeated and chased away.

Not able to digest this humiliation in the hands of a small chieftain, the British vowed to put an end to this disgrace. The Tirunelveli collector Lord Jackson invited Kattabomman for talks. He made kattabomman travel here and there for the meeting. Finally in 1798 he met Kattabomman inRamanathapuram, a place near Rameswaram the famous abode of Lord Ramanathaeswara and his consort Godess Parvathavarthini where hindus perform the last rites for their pitrus combined with the Kashi and Prayag shetraas till today.

Lord Jackson had planned to arrest Kattabomman during this meeting. But Kattabomman escaped and fled back to Panchalakurichi. Following this incident in 1799 the British troops led by General Bannerman attacked Panchalakurichi. Though the british troops suffered heavy casualties the Panchalakurichi fort could not withstand the attack of the more sophisticated arms deployed by the invading army. Kattabomman fled from the warfield.
He took asylum at Pudukottai Palace, ruled by his close friend King Vijayaraghunatha Thondaimaan.It is largely believed that Kattabomman was betrayed by this royal friend of his who helped the British capture him.

On october 16 1799 on the orders of LordBannerman Kattabomman was hanged to death at a place called kayattaru, near Tuticorin.Kattabomman’s two brothers continued the fight against the British for a short period.In 1790 a large contigent of British troops under General Macaulay laid seige and on 24 may 1801 captured the Panchalakurichi fort.Umaithurai and Duraisingam the two brothers of Kattabomman escaped only to be captured by the british troops. Both of them were sent to the gallows and it was done in Panchalakurichi. “Panchalakurichi” was erased from the indian map but they could not erase the memory of its men of valour.

In 1959 the film titled” Veerapandia Kattabomman” was produced by a man from Karnataka by name Mr. Pantulu. Shivaji Ganesan the most versatile actor of India played this title role also to perfection like so many other legendary roles he had adorned. The dialogues between Lord Jackson and Kattabomman are so famous that even today some of us can recite them in our sleep too.

Shivaji Ganesan won the best actor award in the 1960 CairoFilm Festival for his performance in this film. Thus Veerapandia Kattabomman became the first indian to win an award in a foreign festival.

Perhaps this accolade would make him rest in peace.

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