While many of us know about the bravery and sacrifice of Veerapandiya Kattabomman, the valour of his younger brother Ooomaithurai is not known to many of us.
Oomaithurai’s real name was Kumaraswamy. Due to his speech impairment, he was called as Oomaithurai. He was instrumental in devising war strategy for his elder brother Veerapandiya Kattabomman.
After Veerapandiya Kattabomman was hanged in Kayathar in 1799 CE, Oomaithurai was captured alive by British in the first Polygar war and was kept in Palayamkottai prison for more than a year. As he was languishing in the prison, he was thinking of a plan to escape and mobilise forces to fight British.
Even as he was in prison, he was maintaining his channel of communication with Marudu Brothers and other Palaykarars. As per his plan, on a designated day in 1801 CE, his loyal soldiers entered the town in disguise (as devotees on their way to Tiruchendur) with weapons and did a jailbreak. Totally caught unawares, the soldiers who were guarding the prison, had to run helter-skelter for their lives and in the melee that followed, Oomaithurai and many others were released from the prison.
On his return, Oomaithurai re-built the Panchalamkurichi fort with locally available materials and made it “canon proof” within a short span of 6 days. This was another surprise the British. Oomaithurai joined the combined forces of Marudu Brothers, Kerala Verma, Gopala Nayaker and Theeran Chinnamalai and engaged the British fiercely in the second Polygar war. It is also believed that he also elicited the support of Marathas in their fight.
However, as the fate would have it, British forces got strengthened by reinforcements sent by Ettaiyappan and other turncoats, who fell prey to the allurement and coercion of British. Hence, Oomaithurai had to flee and sought refuge in Sivagangai. Marudu Brothers gave asylum to Oomaithurai.
Inspite of the warning given by British, Marudu Brothers refused to hand over Oomaithurai and finally in October 1801, Oomaithurai was hanged along with Marudu Brothers.
The alliance of Oomaithurai, Marudu Brothers, Theeran Chinnamalai, Gopala Nayker, Kerala Verma and Marathas was a ‘dream team’ as one may call it.
But for the deceit and disunity among Hindus, combined forces would have driven the British out of our soil and restored the past glory.
Oomaithurai exhibited raw grit and bravery and ensured that he was a nightmare to British till his last breath. He will continue to inspire us to dedicate ourselves in the service of motherland.
Courtesy : VSK BHARATH