Veerapandiya Kattabomman was born on 9th May 1760 to Jagaveera Kattabomman – Arumugathammal in the clan of Bommu and Aathi Kattabomman. Kattabomman married Veera Sakkammal.
Kattabomman assisted his father Jegaveera Kattabomman who was a polygar (Palayakkarar) till the age of 30. Kattabomman ascended the throne as 47th polygar on 2nd February 1790.
While Veerapandiya Kattabomman ascended the throne, The British started East India Company in India. The company’s direct rule was established in Tirunelveli. The Nawab of Arcot who had borrowed huge sum of money from the East India company gave them the right to collect taxes and levies from the Southern region in lieu of the money he had borrowed. The East India company took advantage of the situation and plundered all the wealth of the people in the name of tax collection. All the ‘Poligars’ (Palayakkarar) paid taxes except Veerapandian.
Kattabomman refused to pay his dues. Kattabomman took the pledge to oppose the british move. The British were very successful in influencing most of the petty rules and gained their confidence who in turn supported the british and started advising Kattabomman to give up his ideas of opposing the British. The British carefully comprised and created
enmity between the territorial rulers by interfering in their personal affairs such as marking of territories etc;
Despite repeated pressure from the British, Kattabomman was stubborn and refused to yield and pay the taxes. Instead Kattabomman boldly involved in activities against the British and refused to favour and support the British in all their endeavors. The British planned to get Kattabomman and his men in their trap by conspiracy.
At this time Mr. Jackson took over the charge as Collector of Tirunelveli. All the local Zamindars called on him and became friendly with him except Kattabomman. After Jackson, Mr.Lousington took charge as collector of Tirunelveli. On 1st September 1799, The British army led by Major Banermen invaded Panchalankurichi. Prior to commencement of the attack, Major Banerman through his messenger asked Kattabomman to surrender unconditionally. The brave Kattabomman said, “We are the sons of this soil. We live with Prestige, honour and dignity and we let our soul die for the prestige, honour and dignity of our land. We don’t bow down to the foreigners. We will fight until death.
The War stated. Both the armies fought heavily. The British army faced strong resistance from the Kattabomman army and had to withdraw its forces. Sensing that his fort could not survive a barrage from heavy cannons, Kattabomman left the fort that night. Kattabomman and his aides fled from there and took refuge in the Thirukalambur forests close to Pudukottai. When the British got the information about their hide out, they ordered the king of Pudukottai to trace them and hand them over to the British, else face the similar consequences as Kattabomman. Fearing death, the king of Pudukotai ordered his men to search for Kattabomman and hand overed him to the British. Kattabomman was arrested by the army of the King of Pudukottai and was handed over to the British.
The trial proceedings were fully fabricated in favour of the British. Kattabomman did not give up his honour, self respect, dignity and prestige. He boldly argued for the right of his country and accused British for their immoral and illegal occupation of our land.
Kattabomman was awarded “Hang until death”. Kattabomman’s end came on 19th October 1799, when he was hung on a tamarind tree at Kayathar.
Honourable Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu Selvi J Jayalalithaa Inaugurated Veerapandiya Kattabomman Manimandapam Constructed at a cost of Rs.1.20 Crore in Kayathar, Thoothukudi district on 18.06.2015.
The Birth Anniversary of Veerapandiya Kattabomman is celebrated annually on last Fiday of Tamil month Chithirai in Panchalankurichi, Tuticorin district, by the Government of Tamil Nadu.