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Periya Marudhu

(1748 – 1801) – (Tamilnadu)

Vellai Marudhu (Aged 53) also known as Periya Marudhu born on 1748 in Mukkulam, near Narikudi, which is 18 miles away from Aruppukottai, Tamil Nadu, India. His father was Mookiah Palaniappan Servai, and his mother was Anandhayee, also known as Ponnathal. He and his younger brother Chinna Marudhu were collectively known as the Maruthu Pandiyargal or Maruthu sagotharargal. The Marudhu Pandiyar brothers were skilled in aerodynamics and craftsmanship and were credited with inventing many variants of spears and Valari, a type of boomerang. They also pioneered guerrilla warfare tactics in India during the early stages of colonization.

Periya Marudhu and Chinna Marudhu were diarchal kings of Sivagangai in Tamil Nadu, India, during the late 18th century. They were renowned for their resistance against the East India Company and were eventually captured and executed by the EIC.

In 1772, the Nawab of Arcot, Muhammad Ali Khan Wallajah, killed Muthuvaduganatha Thevar for refusing to pay taxes. However, Marudhu Pandiyar and Queen Velunachiyar managed to escape and sought refuge with Gopala Nayak in Virupatchi for eight years. Eventually, an alliance of kingdoms led by the Pandiyars attacked Sivagangai and successfully retook it in 1789. Both Maruthu Pandiyar brothers were given high positions in the kingdom.

The Marudhu Pandiyars planned to fight against the East India Company in India and provided protection to Velunachiyar, who was seeking temporary refuge from the chaos of war. Along with war leader Sivagangai and many of their family members, they were captured at Cholapuram and were later executed by hanging in the fort of Tirupputhur (now Sivaganga district, Tamil Nadu) on October 24, 1801. Their burial site is located in Sivagangai.

A commemorative postage stamp was released in October 2004, and every year, people conduct Maruthu Pandiyars Guru Pooja at the Kalayarkovil temple in October. Local Tamilians also worship the Pandiyars, and there is a temple dedicated to them at the Batu Dua Mariamman Temple in Sungai Petani, Kedah, Malaysia. A film about their lives, titled “Sivagangai Seemai,” was released in 1959.