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Velu Nachiyar

(1730 – 1796) – (Tamilnadu)

Velu Nachiyar (Aged 66) was born on January 3, 1730, in Ramanathapuram, Tamil Nadu, India. She was the first queen to actively oppose British rule and fought against colonial rulers many years before the Sepoy Mutiny. Collaborating with Hyder Ali and Gopala Nayaker, she waged a war against the British and emerged victorious. In the late 1700s, she went on to produce the first human bomb and established the first army of trained women soldiers.

Nachiyar was trained in various methods of combat, including the use of war match weapons, martial arts like Valari and Silambam, horse riding, and archery. She was also a scholar proficient in languages such as French, English, and Urdu. When her husband, the king of Sivagangai, passed away, she was drawn into the conflict and escaped the battlefield with her daughter.

During this time, she formed an army and sought an alliance with Hyder Ali to launch a campaign against the East India Company in 1780. When Velu Nachiyar discovered the location where the Company stored some of their ammunition, she arranged a suicide attack that blew it up. She then inherited the kingdom of her husband and ruled it for ten more years before passing on the throne to her daughter, Vellacci, and granting powers to the Marudu brothers to help with the administration of the kingdom.

Velu Nachiyar passed away a few years later on December 25, 1796, in Sivaganga, Tamil Nadu, India.