Madras (India : State).

Madura (Volume 1) online

. (page 9 of 40)
Online LibraryMadras (India : State)Madura (Volume 1) → online text (page 9 of 40)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook

English occurred. In that year Haidar Ali (wlio had by now made hini-

ff;^"' self king- of Mysore) perpetrated his famous invasion of the

Carnatic — pillaging, burning and slaying until the country was

one blackened waste.

Assignment Ij^ the next year the Nawab Muhammad Ali^ assigned to the

of the revenue Company 1 the revenues of the Carnatic to defray the cost of the

panj, 1781. war with Haidar Ali, and a ' Committee of Assigned Eevenue,'

consisting of six officials, was appointed to administer them.

Under this body, in each of the districts concerned, was a

' Receiver of Assigned Kevenue.' The first so sent to Madura —

virtually its first Collector — was Mr. George Proctor. His

administration vfas not successful, and he was (apparently)

followed in 1783 by Mr. Eyles Irwin.'

Colonel ^ But the country required quieting before it could be success -

expedition f'^l^^J administered, and in the same year the Colonel Fullarton

1783, who has already been mentioned was sent into it with a strong

force. His report above cited affords ample evidence of the

necessity for this step. It says that —

' Nearly one hnudred thousand Poligars and Colleries [«>., Kalians]
were in arms throughout the southern provinces, and, being considered
hostile to Government, looked to public confusion as their safeguard
against punishment. Your southern force was inadequate to repress
these outrages and to retrieve your affairs. The treasury was drained,
the country depopulated, the revenues exacted by the enemy, the
troops undisciplined, ill-paid, poorly fed and unsuccessfully com-
manded. During the course of these proceedings, your southern
provinces remained in their former confusion. The Poligars,
Colleries, and other tributaries, ever since the commencement of
the war [with Haidar Ab] had thrown off all appearance of alle-
giance. No civil arrangement could be attempted without a military
force, and nothing less than the whole army seemed adequate to their
reduction. While such a considerable portion o £ the southern provinces
remained in defiance of the Company's Government, it was vain to
think of supporting the current charges of the establishment, far
less could we hope to reduce the arrears, and to 2:»repare for important
operations, in the probable event of a recommencement of hostilities.
It became indispensable, therefore, to restore the tranquillity of those
provinces by vigorous military measures as tlie only means to
render them protective of revenue.'

Colonel Fullarton subdued the poligars of Melur and Siva-
ganga and then passed southwards ; and liis principal fighting
was in Tinnevelly.

^ See Aitcliisou's Trealies, eic. (1892), viii, Si.
* Eiahry of TinneveUu, 144, 146.


In Jrine 1785, in consequonce of orders f lom superior authority. cLl \P ] I
tlie assignment of the revenues was surrendered to the Nawab of English
Arcot, the Committee of Assigned lievenue was dissolved, and Period.
the civil administration of tlio Company, u'ith all its numerous
advantages, ceased for seven years.

In August 171 the Madras Government, finding it impossible Assumrtion
to induce tlie Nawab either to contribute his share of the expenses °^ ^^^
of the alliance with tlie Company or to re-introduce the assign- 1790. '
ment of the revenues, took possession of the country by procla-
mation, without treaty. A Board of Assumed Ecvenue, M-hich
was a department of the Board of Revenue established in 178G,
was constituted to administer the territories, and Collectors were
appointed to the vaiious districts. Mr. Alexander I^IcLeod was
sent down in 1790 as Collector of Dindigul.

In July 1792 the Nawab and the Company entered into a new tIio Corn-
treaty ' by wliich the latter undertook to collect at their own V^^i' collocia
expense and risk the whole of the pesh leash, or tribute, due from kash 1792.
the poligars and with the exception of a few districts — among
which were Madura proper and Tinnevelly, which were to remain
in the Company's hands till the revenue equalled the arrears
which had accrued — the rest of the country was to be restored to
the management of the Nawab on certain conditions.

In the same } ear (1792) the province of Dindigul came formally Story of the
into the possession of the Company. The fate of this area had ^>°^^g"l
differed for some years from that of the rest of the Madura
country. It has been seen above (p. '!8) that when Chanda
Sahib seized the latter, he placed one of his bi'others in command
of Dindigul. About 1742, Birld Venkata Eao, the officer in
command of the forces in the adjoining territories of Mysore,
invaded the province. The commandant of the Dindigul fort,
Mir Imam Ulla, handed it over to him without resistance, and
the king of Mysore appointed Birki V^enkata Eao as manager
of tjie newly acquired province. It contained a number of
palaiyams, or feudal estates, and its history for the next few years
consists largely of the alternate resumption and restoration of
these, and of changes in its managers. In 1748 Madur, one of
the palaiyams, was sequestrated for arrears ; and Venlcata Eao
was recalled and followed l.iy one Venkatappa. He in liis turn
was succeeded in 1751 Ijy one Namagiri lui ja ; but in tlie same
year Vcnkata[>pa w^as restored and given charge of the palaiyams,
while Srinivasa Eao (son of Birki Venkata Eao) was given
control of the Government land. In 1755 Venkatap}ia reported

' For lliy text of it, sec Aiu-liisun'* Trfiaii^it, «tc. (lyi^2), Tiii, 17.


I!b MADU lU.

CHAP, II. that the poiigars were very contumacious, and Haidar Ali aceord-
Englisii ingly made a memorable incursion into the country and brought
these chiefs to their knees one after the other with extraordinary
rapidity, although lie had only 1,700 men against the 30,000
whom they might, if they had united, have put into the field to
meet him. When he entered the country, only two of the
poligars' estates were under resumption ; namely, l\Iadur and
Vadakarai ; by the time he left it he had resumed all the others
except five ; namely, Ammayanayakkanur, Idaiyankottai, Kombai
Nilakkottai and Mambarai.

Srinivasa Eao was now removed for incompetence, and

^ . Venkatappa appointed to the charge

Emakkaiapuram. of both the estates and the Govern-

Erasakkanayakkanur. ment land. He was shortly afterwards

Gantamanayakkan6r. succeeded by one Surya Narayana

^ ""^ ^' . Mudali, who for some reason restored

six * of the disj^ossessed poligars.

In 1772 the country was granted to Mir Sahib, husband of

Haidar's wife's sister and a well-remembered individual, ou

military tenure. In 1773 and 1774 he resumed seven t of the

palaiyams and restored two more
+ Ambaturai. ^ (Tevaram and Sandaiyiir M to their

Ei-asakkaTmyakkannr. ^ t at ttcq j • xi

Gantamanayakkaimr. owners. In May 17bc!, durmg the

Kombai. First Mysore War, Dindigul surren-

Maruu^ttu. dered to the division under Colonel

la o ai. Lang and all the dispossessed poligars

Tavasimadai. *=" -A •

were reinstated. But the province

was restored in the next year by the treaty of Mangalore ' to Tipu

Sultan, Haidar All's son and successor, and he granted it to Saiyad

Sahib, who is said to have been a nephew of Mir Sahib, on much

the same terms as those the latter had enjoyed. In 1785 and

1786 Saiyad Sahib resumed five t of the palaiyams, and in 1788

Tipu himself came to Dindigul and

X Eriyodn. sequestrated fourteen others for arrears,

^^*^^^'- leaving only three of them (Idaiyan-

„'^ ^^'. . kottai, Kombai and Mambarai) not

Sandaiyur. ^ p ,

Sakkampatti. under attachment. Ihese fourteen

were taken away from the Dindigul

country and attached to the province of Sankaridrug in Salem.

In 1790 Sandaiyur was given back to its owner.

1 In the present Nilakkottai taluk ; not the existing zauiindaii of tbc same
name in Tirumaugalam.

* Aitoliisou's Trmties, stc, viii, 4^o.


In August 1790, during the Second Mysore "War against Tipu, CHAP. IT.
Colonp] .Tames Stuart took the Diiidigul fort and dislrict in the Exgluh
manner doscriltod on ]). 257 helow, and all t]ie dispossessed 1'^•RI0D.
poligars wore onee more restored to tlioir estates. In 1792, Itscossirn
by the treaty w]iio]i concluded that war.' tlio province was ced^d '" ^'^^^'
to the Company, Tlie disturLances in it wliich the various
poligars' raised in the years immediately following are referred to
in Chapter XI helow.

The rest of Madura came finally into the hands of tlie Eno-Hsh CcBsion of
in 1801, under the following circumstances : When, in 1790 tjie ^^^ '^^''^ °^
Third Mysore War ended with the fall of Seringapatam and the I80l!^'^'
death of Tipu Sultan^ papers found in the fallen city showed that
tlie tlien Nawah of Arcot and his fatlier (the Muhammad Ali
already several times mentioned above) had been engaged in
treasonable correspondence with Tipu. An enquiry was held, but
while it was progressing the Nawab died. His heir declined to
give the security w^iich in the circumstances the Government con-
sidered necessary, and the Naw^abship was consequently conferred
on a junior member of the family, with whom in 1801 ^ an agree-
ment was concluded by which he handed over to the Company in
perpetuity ' the sole and exclusive administration of the civil and
military governments of all the territories and dependencies of the

Madura thus passed, with the rest of the Carnatic, under tlie
British, and tasted for the first time for very many years the
blessings of settled peace.

' Aitchison's Treaties, etc., viii, 400.
' Ibia., 56.







Density of
the popula-

Its growth.

Gen'Kral Characteristics — Density of the population— Its growth— Parent-
tongue — Education— Occupations —Eeligiona. The Jaixs. The Christians
— Eoman Catholic Blis^ion — American Mission — Leipzig Evangelical
Lutheran Mission. The Musat.mans — Ravntans — Relations with Hindus.
The Hindus — Villages — Houses — Dress — Food — Amusements — Religious
life — 'Brahman influence small — Popular deities : Karu^ipan — Aiyan/ir —
Madurai Viran— Others — Vows — Devils. Principal Castes— Kalians —
Idaiyans — Valaiyans— Kammalans — Nattnkottai Chettis — Vannans — Kusa-
vans — Parivarams — Kunnuvans — Pulaiyans-Paliyans — Tottiyaus — Kappili-
yans — Annppans — Patnulkarans.

The district is not thickly peopled. Except in the head-quarter
taluk, where the population of Madura town raises the figure, the
density of the inhabitants is nowhere as much as 400 to the square
mile. Details will "be found in the separate Appendix to this
volume. Excluding Madura again, the density is highest in Palni
taluk, and l)indigul comes next. It is lowest in Periyakulam,
but the apparent sparseness of the population in that talak is
largely due to the existence within it of large areas of uninhabitable
hill and jungle. Where the land is culturable, the density is
probably well up to the average.

In the district as a whole, the increase in the population in the
thirty years ending with 1901 was 29 per cent,, that is, consider-
ably more than the averages for the southern districts (21 "2 per
cent.) or the Presidency generally (22' 1 per cent.). In the decade
1871-81, owing to the great famine of 1876-78, a decline of
5 per cent, occurred ; in the next ten years the rebound usual after
scarcity took place and the advance was as much as 22 per cent. ;
while in the period 1891-1901 the growth was 11 per cent., or
again considerably more than the Presidency average (7 "2 per
cent.). It would have been larger but for 'the emigration which
took place to Ceylon. Statistics show that in tliis decade the net
result of emigration to, and immigration from, that island was a
loss to the district of nearly 80,000 persons On the other hand,
the balance of the movement of the population between Madura
and the other districts'in the Presidency is slightly in its favour, a
certain amount of immigration having taken place to the land
newly brought under wet cultivation with the water of the Periyar
irrigation project.


Tlie increase in tlio decade 1891-1001 was highest (21-G per CHAP. IIT.
cent.) in Periyalculam taliilc, wliicli lias benefited considerably from Ginkrat.
the Periyar water and the opening;- up to the cultivation of toa and istics

coffee of the Kannan Devan hills in Travancore to the west of it.

It was next highest in Madura and in Palni and Dindigul. The
advance was smallest in Meliir and Tirumangalam. The former
of these two taluks will prohably do better in f ature, as soon as
the effect of the Periyar water begins to be felt in earnest ; but
Tirumangalam has hardly any irrigation tanks or channels and but
few wells, is more at the mercy of adverse seasons than any other
part of the district, and is not likely to exhibit any marked
advance. The population there has increased by only 10 per cent,
in the last 30 years, against 47 per cent, in Perijakulam and 33
per cent, in both Madura and Dindigul.

The parent-tongue of four-fifths of the people is Tamil. The Parent.
language is spoken with less purity than in Tanjore, but without ^^^S^^-
that frequent admixture of foreig:n words which is met with in
Chingleput and North Arcot. The Madura people pronounce it
with a peculiar jerkiness and a nasal twang which makes it difficult
for a man from farther north to understand them. They also
have a curious trick of inverting consonants, saying, for example,
huridai for kudirai, Marudai for Madurai, and so on. Fourteen
per cent, of the Madura people speak Telugu, and this language
is the home-speech of at least a fifth of the population of four
taluks — Dindigul, Kodaikanal, Palpi and Periyakulam. These
areas are largely peopled by the descendants of the followers of
the poligar chiefs who migrated to Madura from the Deccan, in
the train of the armies from Vijayanagar which overran the
country in the sixteenth century in the circumstances set out in
the last chapter.

As many as four per cent, of the people speak Canarese.
These are chiefly the weaver communities called Sedans and
Seniyans and the cattle-breeding and shepherd castes of the
Anuppans, Kappiliyans and Kurubas, all of whom are commonest
in the west of the district. No tradition seems to survive regard-
ing the inducements which led these people to immigrate hither
from their own distant country, but since authenticated instances
are on record of rulers of other parts having, by offers of special
privileges, persuaded bodies of artisans and craftsmen to come
and settle in their dominions, it is perhaps legitimate to conjecture
that the Nayakkan dynasty, finding among the Tamils neither
weavers nor herdsmen of talent, induced bodies of these people to
come and settle under their protection.









The jAiKg,

Fifteen in every thousand of tlie population (a liig'Taer
proportion t]ian in any other district) speak Patnuli or Khatri, a
dialect of Gujarati. T]iese are the Patnulkaran silk-weavers,
referred to later on in this ehajjtcr, who are so numei-ous in
Madura and Dindig-ul towns.

The education of the people is dealt with more particularly in
Chapter X below, from which it will be seen that in this matter
they are rather below the average of the southern districts as
a whole. The inhabitants of Madura and Periyakulam taluks
are the most advanced and tliose of TiruDiangalam the most

The means of subsistence of the population are discussed in
Chapter VI, where it is sliown that the proportion of them who
live by agriculture and the tending of flocks and herds is even
higher than usual.

By religion, 9

Online LibraryMadras (India : State)Madura (Volume 1) → online text (page 9 of 40)