Modern History Simplified: Poligars Revolt (1795-1805)

  1. The problem started in 1781, when the Nawab of Arcot gave the management and control of Tinneveli and the Carnatic Provinces to the East India Company.
  2. This arrangement caused resentment among the poligars who had, for long, considered themselves as independent sovereign authorities within their respective territories.
  3. Phase 1 (1795-1799): Kattabomman Nayakan, a Poligar led a fierce battle against the British and defeated the company forces. This enraged the British and made them put a price on Kattabomman Nayakan’s head. Within reinforcements the company forces were finally able to defeat Kottabomman Nayakan.
  4. Phase 2 (1803 – 1805):  Between 1803 and 1805, the poligars of North Arcot rose in rebellion, when they were deprived of their right to collect the kaval fees. (Kaval or ‘watch’ was an ancient institution of Tamil Nadu. It was a hereditary village police office with specified rights and responsibilities).
  5. The movement was led by Oomathurai, brother of Kattabomman and this phase was more violent than the previous one. 
  6. Meanwhile, the nawab surrendered the civil and military administration of all the territories and dependencies of the Carnatic exclusively to the Company in perpetuity.
  7. By February 1805, the rebels were suppressed. Several chiefs were ordered to reside in Madras while some others were granted an allowance of 18 per cent upon revenues of their estates.

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