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The Palayakkarar Revolt:
The Palayakkarars played a pivotal role in the political sphere of Tamilnadu during the 17th and 18th centuries. This class was viewed as an extension of the Vijayanagar rule in the Tamilnadu region. There were two groups where the eastern palayams were under the command of Kattabomman, and the western one was under the command of Puli thevar, who ruled the Maravars.

The Palayakkarars claimed themselves independent, which agitated the British to go against them. It all ended in the Carnatic treaty of 1792, which brought the Palayakkarars under the complete control of the British rule, who started collecting taxes named “Kist (tribute)”. The heated uneasiness thus led to the revolt of Palayakkarars.

Puli Thevar – The Pioneer:
Puli Thevar, the Palyakkarar of Nerkattumseval, an area near Tirunelveli, ruled it independently as he refused to pay tributes (kist) to the Nawab of Arcot and the British company. Following his trait, many smaller Palayams refused to pay their tributes and started opposing both the British and the Nawab.
*FACT FILE: Puli Thevar: He was considered the first king who fought the British and defeated them. He was a brave fighter who was always ready to pick a fight with his adversaries
  • Colonel Heron, who was in charge of the areas around Tirunelveli, approached Puli Thevar with diplomatic ideas and also used his forces where both his methods failed against Puli Thevar. 
  • Puli Thevar tried to get the support of Haider Ali and the French forces to fight against the British, where Haider was stuck in a war with the Marathas he could not lend his hand to support Thevar.
  • In the meantime, the combined forces of Nawab and the British were defeated by Puli Thevar, which brought Yusuf Khan, the leader of the Nawab army, to attack Nerkattumseval in \(1759\).
  • To show his might, Puli Thevar attacked Madurai, which was under Mahfus khan and defeated him, but when he came against Yusuf khan in 1761, he was defeated in Anthanallur, and Nerkattumseval was captured.
  • Puli Thevar recaptured Nerkattumseval in 1764, and he lost it again in a battle against Colonel Campbell. Puli Thevar then lived and died in exile.
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The British forces
The British forces - Willierossin / Shutterstock.com