As an administrator of Travancore state:-
As a reformer, he attempted reclamation of the fallow land, the opening of the kollam –shenkotta road, construction of canals, and roads, improved trade and commerce. He felt the need for a Huzur Cutchery. The palaces near the eastern entrance of the Padmanabha temple were built by him. The streets around the Fort area, and an open ground (now KSRTC garage and the iron villa park) where people assembled to express their grievances, the survey of the land, and assessment of tax based on the yield, (kandezhuthu) were his innovations. He made primary education compulsory. While his predecessors enjoyed the privilege of drawing money from the treasury, Thampi fixed monthly salary.
Velu Thampi's Insurrection
Velu Thampi Dalawa
and the Paliath Achan,
Govindan Menon, met and decided on the extirpation of the British Resident and end of British supremacy in their respective states. Velu Thampi organised recruits, strengthened forts and stored up ammunition while similar preparations was made by the Paliath Achan in Cochin. Velu Thampi applied to the Zamorin of Calicut
Zamorins of Calicut
|- Established||c. 12th century|
and to the French for assistance, but both did not acknowledge the request
The plan of the Paliath Achan and Velu Thampi was to unitedly attack the Fort of Cochin
"The Chinese fishing nets of Fort Cochin," from 'Das Buch der Welt', Stuttgart, 1842-48
and murder the British Resident Major Macaulay
and Kunju Krishna Menon. Another force was appointed to attack the British garrison at Quilon.
This was in the year 1807.
The Resident realised the object of the simultaneous preparations on Travancore and Cochin and immediately wrote of the Madras government for reinforcements
. His Majesty's 12th Regiment
and two native battalions
were ordered to aid the Resident.
Velu Thampi pretended great alarm at these preparations and begged permission to resign his office and retire to Malabar in the English territories. The same was agreed upon and on 28 December 1808 Velu Thampi was to be escorted to Malabar.
The intention of Velu Thampi however was to divert the Resident's forces away from Cochin in which he succeeded. That night a body of armed men led by the Paliath Achan, surrounded the Residency at Bolghatty Palace and surprised the Resident, who was under the impression that the menace of Velu Thampi was finally over. The Resident and Kunju Krishna Menon however succeeded in escaping and reached Quilon. The disappointed Velu Thampi asked his troops to attack them at Quilon.
The Nair troops
|TRAVANCORE SOLDIERS (UNDER BRITISH CONTROL)-PHOTO TAKEN AT PALAYAM,TRIVANDRUM(THIRUVANANDAPURAM)|
meanwhile attacked the Subsidiary force of the British at Quilon
. In spite of greater numbers, the troops were not organised and lacked a leader and hence for the night on 30 December 1808 the British under Colonel Chalmers held their ground. The Dalawa did not lose heart. He collected a force of thirty thousand men and again attacked the British on 15 January 1809. The British organised their armies strategically and the Nair sepoys were finally repulsed. The British regiments in Cochin were attacked by the Paliath Achan but here too he was defeated.
Velu Thampi then went to Kundara where he made his famous proclamation in January 1809 urging the people to fight the British. The proclamation had its effect and the whole country rose like one man against the British. This was now a desperate game being played by Velu Thampi. He exploited the religious orthodoxy of the people by making them believe the British were Christian missionaries. The proclamation even influenced the Maharajah at Trivandrum who felt now that Velu Thampi was his only true friend. Wholesale butchery of foreigners took place in Travancore, thereby disgracing the cause of the rebellion. The British realised that the Dalawa was now desperate.
Colonel Leger came from Madras on 6 February 1809 and camped on the Aramboly[AARUVA MOZHY ] pass.
'MOZHY'S WERE THE PASSAGES OVER WESTERN GHATS TO TAMIL NADU;WHILE 'POZHY'S WERE PASSAGES FOR LAKE WATER TO OPEN SEA
He entered Travancore the next morning and attacked the lines of the Nair troops near the Palamcottah fort. The Nair troops were defeated and the Dalawa himself fled to Trivandrum.
Having secured entry into Travancore the British now moved into the interior and within a few days the two important forts of Padmanabhapuram
and Udayagiri fort
also fell into their hands.
Meanwhile at Quilon where the Nair troops were planning yet another final attack heard of the fall of these forts and losing heart dispersed, the cause of overthrowing the British yoke, being forgotten. Velu Thampi himself fled from Trivandrum touching at Kilimanoor where he called on the Royal family there. After staying there for the night he proceeded northwards but was overtaken in the Bhagawati Temple at Mannadi where he was surrounded by the British.
The Maharajah had joined hands with the British for his capture under the influence of Ummini Thampi,
a government official. However the Dalawa was not taken alive. In the Temple he asked his brother to cut his throat, which on being refused, he did it himself. Velu Thampi thus passed away in the Mannadi Temple. His brother surrendered and was taken to Quilon and executed there. Velu Thampi's body was taken to Trivandrum and exposed on a gibbet. The man who informed the British of the Dalawa's whereabouts received an award of Rs. 50,000 from the British.
Velu Thampi's ancestral home was razed to the ground and his relatives after being flogged and banished, were taken to the Maldives when, while touching at Tuticorin many of them committed suicide.
To the valiant memory of the Great Dalawa,The Kerala State Governmnent instituted a n apt memorial at Mannadi.That including a research center,a museum, a park and a grand statue in bronze.
The Paliath Achan
Following the end of Velu Thampi Dalawa, the Paliath Achan without any support left surrendered to the British. He lost all support from the Rajah of Cochin, who wished to get rid of the Paliath Achan who was the actual ruler of Cochin and recover his position under subordination of the British. Govindan Menon, the then Paliath Achan was first deported to Madras, where he was kept prisoner at Fort St. George for 12 years. He was then taken to Bombay and remained a prisoner there for 13 years, finally passing away at Benares.