Dheeran Chinnamalai : biography
Dheeran Chinnamalai ( born as Theerthagiri Sarkkarai Mandraadiyaar or Theerthagiri Gounder on April 17, 1756) was a Kongu chieftain and Palayakkarar from Tamil Nadu who rose up in revolt against the British East India Company in the Kongu Nadu, Southern India. He was born in Melapalayam, near Erode in the South Indian state of Tamil Nadu. He is held with high regard by the Gounder community who continue use him as a symbol of Independence for the community. Statue of Dheeran Chinnamalai at [[Chennai]] He was one of the main leaders in the Polygar Wars and commanded a vast army, notably during the Second Polygar War that took place in 1801–1802. A thousand-strong army under him took French Military training in modern warfare alongside Tipu's Mysore forces to fight against the British East India company. They helped Tipu Sultan in his war against the British and were instrumental in victories at Chitheswaram, Mazahavalli and Srirangapatna. He was the first south Indian to oppose the British rule in India.
After Tipu's death, Chinnamalai settled down at Odanilai in Kongu Nadu and constructed a fort there and defeated the British in battles at Cauvery in 1801, Odanilai in 1802 and Arachalur in 1804. Later, Chinnamalai left his fort to avoid cannon attack and engaged in guerrilla warfare while he was stationed at Karumalai in the Palani region. He was captured by the British who hanged him at Sankagiri Fort on 31 July 1805 (Adiperukku day).
Honors and monuments
- Statues and memorials commemorating Dheeran Chinnamalai exist in Chennai, Tiruchirappalli and Arachalur, Erode.
- In July 2005, a commemorative postage stamp on him was issued.
- Until 1997, the state transport corporation headquartered at Tiruchirapalli was known as 'Dheeran Chinnamalai' Transport Corporation.
- Until 1996, Karur district was known as 'Dheeran Chinnamalai' District.
- Erode Collector office is housed in 'Dheeran Chinnamalai Maaligai'.
- In April 2012 the Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu, Jayalalithaa, announced that a memorial for Dheeran Chinnamalai would be built at the place where he was hanged.
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