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Frequent Man’s First Open Revolt In opposition to British Raj Stays Forgotten


Travelling again in time to the eras when India was dominated by the British, we recount numerous situations the place courageous ladies and men stepped as much as free the nation from centuries of subjugation. 

It might be remiss, nonetheless, to recall these struggles with out understanding the way it all started. 

The flourishing coastal city of Anchuthengu, or Anjego, was house to what’s thought of the primary open and organised revolt in opposition to the unjust practices of the East India Firm — the Attingal Revolt within the yr 1721, which came about alongside the shores of Kerala

Right now, we hint the trajectory of this rebellion and what its impression was on India’s freedom wrestle. 

Why did the Attingal Revolt happen? 

Our story is centred across the 4 medieval kingdoms in Kerala — Kozhikode, Kolathunadu, Cochin and the Venad Royal Home. The pinnacle of the Venad Royal Home was the Rani of Attingal, Aswathi Tirunal Umayamma Rani. 

Often known as one of many most influential individuals of these occasions, it’s stated that she exuded power in the best way she dominated and even had an impartial military that she led by herself. She was additionally identified to be diplomatic and was thus in a position to maintain the pursuits of the British at bay, whereas she dominated pretty over her individuals. 

It was throughout her reign that the British got here to Attingal in 1680, hoping to profit from an abundance of spices, particularly pepper, within the area. 

They needed to assemble inroads within the state and take management over the commerce of spices right here. This, they thought, would give them an edge over Dutch and Portuguese merchants, who have been additionally taking a look at comparable goals and had already set their sights and commerce routes within the space

In an effort to set up their dominance over commerce within the Attingal area, the British started convincing the Rani to offer them permission to construct a fort in Anchuthengu so they may perform the commerce from right here. 

The Rani was of the opinion that this was a good suggestion as it might put an finish to the commerce by the Dutch. In 1694, she granted permission for the fort to be constructed. 

Nonetheless, this had fairly the opposite impact as historian Sasibhooshan factors out. 

“The corporate sought to nearly annihilate agriculture within the area, resulting in a drastic lack of livelihood for the frequent man. This, coupled with quite a few disdainful acts by the British who by no means misplaced a possibility to mock the spiritual and cultural beliefs and practices prevalent among the many locals, angered the natives to such an extent that each Hindus and Muslims got here collectively below Kudaman Pillai to participate in an rebellion that later got here to be generally known as the Attingal Revolt.”

When the East India Firm entered the area and began commerce, they purchased pepper from the natives for a a lot lesser value than the Dutch, typically going to as little as Rs 5 for a quintal. They might then promote the identical in Europe for Rs 500. 

When the farmers realised this, they have been livid. 

The primary open revolt in opposition to the British

The Nairs, Ezhavas and Muslims within the area got here collectively as one to revolt in opposition to the British. 

When the Rani realised that the scenario was taking a flip for the more severe, she started to ship troops to the location to cease the British from establishing the fort. 

Nonetheless, the locals have been defeated and the British made their footing firmer within the fort in addition to Attingal. 

After this rebellion, the British started making life depressing for Indians within the area by insulting their faith, shopping for property across the Sarkaradevi Temple, humiliating the monks, and primarily doing the whole lot of their energy to oppress the revolt. So as to add to this, Umayamma Rani handed away in 1698 and one other queen took cost of the area. 

This was when the protestors determined that in the event that they couldn’t handle to struggle the British with their expertise, they’d discover one other means. 

And they also approached Kudaman Pillai — one of many feudal lords who belonged to the Pillai dynasty, which had their very own armies — who agreed to help them on this revolt. 

Attingal Revolt
Attingal Revolt, Image credit: Twitter: @cristweets

This time, as a substitute of counting on their very own grit and talent, they have been educated by kalari (a type of martial arts) specialists referred to as in from the north and south. The locals have been able to struggle again. 

Sensing that they wanted to vary their technique, the British determined to ship an officer named William Gyfford to the Rani who had taken over after Umayamma’s demise, in a bid to win her over with costly items. 

A feast turns right into a nightmare 

Gyfford, with 132 males and an equal variety of slaves, set sail to Attingal to fulfill the brand new Rani. Nonetheless, whereas they have been approaching the banks of the Vamanapuram River, they noticed crowds gathering. 

Gyfford mistook these protestors for individuals who have been ready to greet him. On reaching the palace, the British officer and his males have been served a feast and so they introduced the Rani with perfumes and gold that that they had introduced her. Nonetheless, that very evening, the locals entered the palace and slayed the British till nobody was left alive. 

Historians have expressed their ideas on each the significance of the revolt in addition to its brutality.

It’s stated that such was the character of the assault that Gyfford’s tongue was chopped into items and thrown into the river, whereas the water turned blood pink with our bodies. The British ordered the household of Kudaman Pillai to be decimated. 

However one factor that historians are united on of their opinion is that the Attingal Revolt has not gotten as a lot consideration in historical past books because it ought to. 

The rationale, says Sasibhooshan, is that “The British tried to underplay the incident as it might have an effect on their worldwide standing. The East India Firm would additionally discover it tough to get recruits from Britain if the magnitude of the bloodshed will get reported appropriately. However, palace historians tried to downplay it as they have been anxious it might have an effect on the international commerce from Attingal.” 

Regardless of this, right this moment a mural stands alongside Nationwide Freeway 66 in Thiruvananthapuram, that depicts the assault. 

The murals is by college students of the Authorities Fantastic Arts Faculty Thiruvananthapuram. 

One of many artists, Okay S Ratheeshkumar, tells The Hindu, “There are hardly any writings in regards to the Attingal Revolt, nor are there any photographs for use for reference. We did an intensive research of all of the obtainable materials from varied archives. We visualised it on this house with an enormous central arch, which is 25 toes at its central level, to depict the main occasions.”

This mural is an try and remind individuals of the ferocity of the primary revolt in opposition to the British and to not have its legacy erased in time. 

Sources 
An enormous memorial for the Attingal Revolt of 1721, on its three hundredth anniversary by S.R. Praveen, Revealed on 18 September 2021. 
Attingal revolt was amongst earliest acts of resistance in opposition to British imperialism by Cithara Paul, Revealed on 22 August 2021. 

Edited by Divya Sethu



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