Despite the fact that Velu Nachiyar was a little-known princess of Tamil Nadu, she was the first women freedom fighter and the first Indian queen to stand against the British.
Born in 1730 she was well-trained in many disciplines, including horse riding, sword fighting, archery, and martial arts. She was also highly educated, speaking multiple languages.
In her fight against the British armed forces, Velu Nachiyar was supported by the Sultan of Mysore, Haider Ali. After she met Haider Ali in Dindigul, he was impressed with her courage and persistence.
Velu drew unwavering support from her friend, Gopala Nayaka. Haider Ali pledged to support her. He also built a temple for her in his palace as a symbol of friendship.
As the widow of a king, she fought to take her husband’s kingdom back.
Before the British established their strongholds in India, the Tamils and other southern Indian tribes fought for freedom. Her legacy is the story of the first of many Indian women to fight for her country’s struggle for freedom.
For the independence of India, many women have fought today.
Check out this linked page to know about Aruna Asaf Ali Freedom Fighter.
Rani Velu Nachiyar, the First Female Freedom Fighter in India
A Brief Overview of First Women Freedom Fighter
- When Was She Born: January 3, 1730
- Where Was She Born: Ramanathapuram, Tamil Nadu, India
- Her Parents: Sakandimuthal Nachiyar (or Muthathal Nachiyar), Chellamuthu Vijayarangunatha Sethupathy
- Whom Did She Marry To?: Muthu Vaduganatha Periyavudaya Thevar
- Her Daughter: Vellacci (or Vellachi)
- When Did She Die: December 25, 1796
- Where Did She Die: Sivaganga, Tamil Nadu, India
- Movement In Which She Participated: Indian Independence Movement or the Freedom Movement of India
Early Life of Rani Velu Nachiyar
Velu Nachiyar was born to the Raja Chellamuthu Vijayaragunatha Sethupathy of the Ramnad kingdom.
She was raised as a prince and was trained in many things such as horse riding and martial arts such as Silambam. She was also well-educated, knowing several languages.
She married Muthuvaduganathar, the prince of Sivagangai when she was sixteen.
Adapt in Martial Arts & Also a Proficient Language Speaker
Rani Velu Nachiyar was trained in archery, and horse riding. She received training in a variety of fighting techniques, including the use of war match weapons, and martial arts like Silambam and Valari.
She was also fluent in several languages, including English, Urdu, Tamil, French, and Urdu. Velu was a woman of unusual intellect who was far ahead of her time.
Rani Velu Nachiyar’s Struggle Against the British Rule
One of the most inspiring tales of India’s independence struggle is the story of Rani Velu Nachiyar. This courageous woman was one of the first Indian rulers to fight against the British.
After marrying the prince of Sivagangai, Velu Nachiyar ruled this area for two decades, from 1750 to 1772. During this time, however, the British invaded her land, causing her to flee.
She was accompanied by her daughter and fled to Dindigul, where she lived for eight years under the suzerainty of the Gopala Nayakkar.
The British along with the Nawab of Arcot invaded Sivagangai. Her husband was killed by British forces.
She decided to go on the offensive. Her military career began in 1772. She fought and killed British soldiers.
One of her loyal aids, Kuyili, was known to volunteer to be a suicide bomber. She soaked herself in ghee and lit it, and then jumped into a nearby ammunition store, destroying every piece of ammunition and thereby weakening and defeating the British Army to free her kingdom.
The British ruled southern India for nearly three decades, and many native rulers of Tamil kingdoms engaged in active fighting, gaining their independence in the process. During this time, Indians were rising up and resisting British rule.
Rani Velu Nachiyar was one of these brave women. She is still a revered icon of bravery and the First Indian Struggle for Independence.
Besides her courage and fierceness, Velu Nachiyar studied self-defence and developed her own army.
Rani Velu Nachiyar Succeeded Her Husband and Started Ruling in 1780
After her victory, she was offered by the Nawab of Arcot to come back to her kingdom and rule there. Rani Velu Nachiyar, the Marudu brothers, and Vellachi returned to Sivaganga.
Rani Velu Nachiyar along with her commander-in-chief Vellai Marudu and minister Chinna Marudu started ruling over her kingdom.
She reigned and ruled for a decade and then handed over the powers to run the administration of the state to the Marudu Brothers.
Appreciation and Depictions of Rani Velu Nachiyar in Popular Culture
The former CM of Tamil Nadu integrated a memorial in the remembrance of Rani Velu Nachiyar.
The memorial was also named after her, The Veeramangai Velu Nachiyar Memorial in Sivagangai. It features a six-foot bronze statue of the queen.
Her reign was marked by a number of revolutions and she was immortalized on a postage stamp. The stamp depicts the history of Velu Nachiyar and provides useful information about her life.
In 1772, Rani Velu Nachiyar became the first woman in India to take the lead in the fight against the British. She later granted powers to the Marudu brothers to govern the country.
She died on 25 December 1796. Her legacy continues to inspire people all over the world. It’s important to remember that Rani Velu Nachiyar was a remarkable woman who broke all gender barriers and set her country back on the path to independence.
She died of heart failure in 1796. Her contribution to the freedom struggle is immortalized on a postage stamp.
There are many more unsung heroes who played an active role in the Indian freedom struggle to end British colonial rule.
Name a female freedom fighter who was also a social reformer.
Kamaladevi Chattopadhyay was one of the female freedom fighters who was also a social activist.
Name some of the female freedom fighters of India.
Here is a list of some of the women Indian freedom fighters who played a major role in India’s fight for freedom:
1. Jhansi ki Rani – Rani Lakshmi Bai
2. Kasturba Gandhi wife of Mahatma Gandhi Ji
3. Begum Hazrat Mahal
4. Uda Devi
5. Kamala Nehru (wife of former PM Jawaharlal Nehru)
6. Aruna Asaf Ali
7. Rani Gaidinliu
8. Captain Lakshmi Sehgal
9. Matangini Hazra or Gandhi Buri
10. Tara Rani Srivastava
11. Kamaladevi Chattopadhyay
12. Kanaklata Barua
13. Basanti Devi
14. Rama Devi
15. Sarala Devi
16. Begum Rokeya
17. Kittur Rani Chennamma
Who is the first woman to fight against the British?
Rani Velu Nachiyar was the first queen to fight against the British colonial power in India. She is known by Tamils as Veeramangai. She was the princess of Ramanathapuram and the only child of Raja Chellamuthu vijayaragunatha Sethupathy and Rani Sakandhimuthal of the Ramnad kingdom.
Who was the famous female freedom fighter?
Rani Lakshmi Bai of Jhansi. The Rani of Jhansi was a pivotal figure in the Indian Revolt of 1857.
Who is the first Indian woman warrior?
Rani Abbakka, the ruler of Ullal (a town in Mangalore), was the first Tuluva Queen and was called the ‘first woman freedom fighter of India’. Rani Abbakka fought against the Portuguese for over four decades when they trained their eyes towards the South after capturing Goa.