Veeramangai Velunachiyar was on 18th century Indian queen from Sivaganga Velu Nachiyar was the first Queen to fight against the British in India, even preceding the famous Rani Laxmibai of Jhansi. Velunachiyar was born to Muthu Vijayaragunatha Chelladurai and Muthaathal in “Sakkanthi” near Ramanathapuram. Velunachiyar was their only female child.
She was trained in the skills of wring weapons and also in martial arts including fencing, shedding arrow, spear throwing, horse riding and archery. All of which helped her in later part of her life. Apart from heroic arts & sports, she knew ten language, well versed in epics Mahabharata and Ramayana. The young woman grown up with valor and brevity met a turning point in her life.
Muthuvaduganathar, King of Sivaganga married Velunachiyar in the year 1746 inspired by her beauty and brevity. The Nawab of Arcot conquered Ramanathapuram and his next target was Sivaganga. “Chinna Maruthu” and “Periya Maruthu” known for their bravery were the combat commanders of the King and Queen. Muthuvaduganathar was killed in Kalaiyar koil by the British troops and Nawab of Arcot in 25.06.1772.
Velunachiyar took revenge on the British. Dalavay Thandavaraya Pillai and Maruthu brothers promised to recapture the samasthan to punish the English. He advised Velunachiyar to move to different places often in order to avoid British invaders. Meanwhile Velunachiar wrote a letter to Sultan Hyder Ali seeking his help. She decided to meet Hyder Ali. She could explain in detail in Urdu all her problems with East India Company.
She explained him her strong opposition of British regime. Hyder Ali was very much pleased and promised to help her in this conflict. He accepted her request with sympathy and provided the necessary military Assistance. He ordered to provide the required military equipments to Rani Velu Nachiyar.
Her troop advanced to Sivaganga with the help provided by Maruthu brothers. They geared up the troops and entered Sivaganga. She defeated the Nawab of Arcot and took him as a captivator. She re-captured the Sivaganga Samasthan with the help of Hyder Ali and crowned as queen of the Sivagangai Seemai. Velunachiyar mounted the flag of Hanuman over the castle.
In 1970, she went for Medical treatment to France. She breathed her last in 25th December 1796.
Hon’ble Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu Selvi J Jayalalithaa inaugurated Veeramangai Velu Nachiyar Memorial in Soorakulam, Sivagangai district on 18th July 2014. Hon’ble Chief Minister also ordered that the Birth Anniverssary of Veeramangai Velunachiyar will be celebrated as Government function from 3rd January 2015 onwards.