Pazhassi Raja: The story of the Undefeated Malabar King


Team Udayavani, Jul 16, 2020, 4:07 PM IST

Pazhassi Raja was born on 3 January 1753 as Kerala Varma and was also known as Cotiote Rajah and Pychy Rajah. He was a warrior Hindu prince and de facto head of the kingdom of Kottayam between 1774 and 1805.

He was one of the earliest freedom fighters in India and is popularly known as Kerala Simham which means Lion of Kerala

In 1773, Hyder Ali of the Kingdom of Mysore occupied Malabar and the Raja of Kottayam found political asylum in Travancore. Pazhassi Raja, the fourth prince in line for succession to the throne during this period, became one of the de facto heads of state surpassing several of his elder royals. He fought a war of resistance on Mysorean army from 1774 to 1793.

Pazhassi launched a plan to attack the army from east in pincer like movement whereas British attacked from the coast. The mysorean army was completely decamitated and Malabar was free.

In 1792, after Tipu lost the Third Anglo-Mysore War, he ceded Malabar to the British, effectively ending his control there.

The British citing the Treaty of Srirangapatna in 1792 where Tipu ceded Malabar to the British staked claim for the area ruled by Pazhassi

They made Vira Varma, an uncle of the Pazhassi Raja as the King of Kottayam, who effectively had very limited powers.

As the discontent rised,Vira Varma encouraged Pazhassi to fight the British. Pazhassi also did not allow Vira Varma’s men to collect the tax which angered the British

In1796 a British force comprising of 300 men attacked his palace Pazhassi managed to escape to the jungles of Wayanad and with the help of his men and tribal warriors began plotting his revenge.

On 18th March 1797, Pazhassi attaked  British and they were decimated, leaving only a few alive. This was considered to be a major setback to the British rule.

 

 

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