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Veluthampi Dalawa And Kudara Proclamation

Updated: Apr 3, 2021

Veluthampi Dalawa

  • Since 1782 to 1810, Travancore was ruled by Avittom Thirunal Balarama Varma. He was a weak ruler.

  • The state’s administration was controlled by the trio consisting of Sankaran Namputiri, Sankaranarayana Chetty and Mathu Tharakan. They were the ministers of Balarama Varma.

  • They were corrupt. So there was popular discontent against them.

  • In 1800, there was a popular revolt against these three men. Veluthampi was the leader of this revolt.

  • Velu Thampi organised a large force of Nairs, marched to the capital and persuaded the Raja to dismiss these unpopular ministers.

  • Later, Velu Thampi was appointed as the Dalawa (Prime Minister) in 1801, on the advice of Col.Macaulay (British Resident in Travancore court).

  • Veluthampi introduced reforms to strengthen the government and to improve the finances of the state. Expenditure was reduced and income was increased.

  • He took strong measures against corrupt officers.

  • This alarmed his enemies who plotted to dismiss the Dalawa. But the Resident intervened and reinstated Velu Thampi as Dalawa.

  • There was also a mutiny that was suppressed, with the help of the British forces.

Treaty of Perpetual Friendship and Alliance (Subsidiary Alliance)

  • In the initial years, the British supported Veluthampi. The presence of the British force was helpful to suppress mutinies.

  • In 1805, Veluthampi signed 'Treaty of Perpetual Friendship and Alliance'.

  • This treaty gave the British specific power to keep a subsidiary force in Travancore and to interfere in its internal affairs.

  • For keeping the British force in Travancore, the state had to give a huge tribute every year.

Background of the Revolt

  • Col. Macaulay was the British Resident in the Travancore court.

  • Veluthampi was appointed as the Dalawa on the recommendation of Macaulay.

  • In the initial years, there was a friendly relation between Macaulay and Veluthampi.

  • This friendship was broken after signing the 'Treaty of Perpetual Friendship and Alliance'.

    • Velu Thampi found that the Resident was interfering in the internal affairs.

    • The Resident turned down his request for a reduction of tribute.

    • The Resident cancelled the order of the Dalawa attaching the property of Mathu Tharakan (former minister) who was a defaulter.

  • Veluthampi asked the King to demand the recall of Macaulay.

  • The Resident retaliated by demanding the dismissal of the Velu Thampi.

Revolt

  • Veluthampi took the decision to organise a revolt against the English.

  • He entered into a secret deal with Paliath Achan, the chief minister of Kochi who too had similar grievances.

  • A simultaneous attack on the British forces stationed at Kollam and Kochi was planned to be executed.

    • Paliath Achan attacked the Residency at Kochi (Bolghatty Palace) to capture Macaulay. Macaulay narrowly escaped in a British ship anchored in the harbour.

    • The encounter at Kollam by Veluthampi also yielded disappointing results.

  • Veluthampi retreated to Kundara where he established his headquarters.

Kundara Proclamation

  • In Kundara, Velu Thampi issued his famous proclamation on 11 January 1809.

  • He asked the people to rally under his banner for a patriotic struggle against the British.

  • The proclamation called up on the people to rise in defence of the king, their country and religion.

  • The Kundara proclamation reads: “If the British obtain power in Travancore, the following may happen:

    • They will suppress the Brahmins and prohibit worship in temples.

    • They will make the manufacture of salt a state monopoly.

    • They will be the absolute owners of wastelands.

    • They may impose heavy taxes on paddy lands, coconut etc.

    • They will inflict heavy punishment on low caste people for minor offences.

    • They will put up crosses and Christian flags in temples.

    • They may compel inter marriages of Brahmin women without caste or creed and practice all unjust and unlawful things which characterise Kaliyuga."

Evaluation of Kundara Proclamation

  • It was a feudal document and revealed the traditional background of the rebellion.

  • It shows concern for the maintenance of social forms in general and the caste system in particular.

  • The Proclamation had an emotional appeal.

  • It motivated the masses to rise against the British. Veluthampi renewed the war.

End of the Revolt

  • Travancore forces were again defeated and Paliath Achan withdrew from the struggle, leaving Veluthampi alone.

  • The Raja sued for peace. Veluthampi was removed as Dalawa and a Ummuni Thampi was appointed as the new Dalawa.

  • The new Dalawa and the British pursued Veluthampi.

  • Veluthampi took refuge in the house of the Potti of the Mannati temple.

  • But he was betrayed by his people.

  • Before the enemies could capture him, Velu Thampi committed suicide.

  • His dead body was brought to Kannanmula where it was exposed on a gibbet (കഴുമരം). His house was razed to the ground. His relatives were exiled to Maldives. A few of them were put to death.

Causes for the Failure of the Revolt

  • The defection of Paliath Achan

  • The military superiority of the British forces

  • The non materialisation of an all India front against the British

Impacts of the Revolt

  • Increased control of the East India Company over native states.

  • The native militia was disbanded and the defence of the state was entrusted to the British.

  • The king came under more control of the Company.

Paliath Achan

  • Paliath Achan was the chief minister of the Cochin State.

  • Like Veluthampi, he too had grievances against the East India Company and its Resident Macaulay. Hence he made a joint cause with Veluthampi to expel the British.

  • He attacked the Bolghatty Palace to capture Macaulay. But Macaulay escaped in a British ship stationed in the harbour.

  • After the failure of the attack, Paliath Achan could not continue the struggle. He was forced to make an agreement with the British by which he was to leave Kochi forever and live at Madras, never to return.

  • This action of Paliath Achan is treated as a defection and it weakened the cause of Veluthampi.

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