Sethupathy DynastyThis is a featured page

SethuPathy Dynasty or Sethupathis of Ramnad were Dynasty chiefs, Ruling Ramnad and Sivaganga region of early 17th Century and were guardians of the Sethu, Like the Maharajas of Kashi in North. The dynasty claims that they are more than 2000 years old and the sethupathis guarding the Sethu since the times of Rama, The kingdom also mentioned in Copper plate Inscription during the time of Raja Raja Chola the Great. But Detailed History available only after the end of Vijayanagara Empire. During Tirumala Nayakar Period Sethupathis were in close Relation with Madurai Nayak Dynasty.

Sadaikka Thevar II: 1636AD – 1645AD.

Kuttan Sethupathi made his adopted son Sadaikkathevar II as the next ruler. This was opposed by Kuttan Sethupathi’s natural son Thambi. Thirumalai Nayak supported the claim of Thambi. The ruler Sadaikka thevar was dethroned and jailed. Thambi was made as Sethupathi. Thambi was not competent. Sadaikka thevar’s nephews Raghunathathevar and Narayanathevar rebelled against Thambi’s rule. Accepting the popular representation, Thirumalai Nayak released Sadaikkathevar from Jail and made him Sethupathi after dismissing Thambi from the throne. Sadiakkathevar constructed a new Chokkanatha temple at Rameswaram. He did lot of Charitable and public works.

Raghunatha Sethupathi – 1645AD – 1670AD.

He was loyal to the Nayak ruler. He helped the Nayaks by defeating the Muslims under Kutbkhan and the poliga of Ettayapuram. In appreciation to this help the Nayak ruler gave the privilege of celebrating Navarathri festival at the capital city. The Nayak ruler also donated places like Thirubhuvanam, Mannar Koil Thiruchuli to Sethupathi. He successfully annexed Devakottai and Aranthangi. He helped Thirumalai Nayak in his war against Mysore army. Thirumalai Nayak recognised the valuable military services of Raghunatha Sethupathi and conferred the title ‘Thirumalai Sethupathi’ on him. Sethupathis loyalty towards the Nayaks was over with Thirumalai Nayak. Raghunatha Sethupathi recaptured all the forts and places from the Nayaks and became an independent ruler.Raghunatha Sethupathi patronised art and literature. He made Tamil and Telugu as an official languages of his court. He encouraged Tamil poets namely Alagiya Chitramabala Kavirayar and Amirtha Kavirayar. He constructed the Second Prakaram of the Ramanathswami temple in Rameswaram. The famous poet Thayumanavar spent his last days under the Patronage of Raghunatha Sethupathi. After Raghunatha Sethupathi both Surya thevar and Athana thevar were in power for a very short duration in 1670.

Raghunatha Sethupathi II alias Kilavan Sethupathi : 1671AD – 1710AD.

Kilavan Sethupathi was the greatest ruler among the Marava kings. He was helpful to Chokkanatha Nayak. The Nayak king conferred him a title Para Rajakesari (Lion to alien kings). He annexed some territories of Madurai Kingdom, Aranthangi, Thirumayam, Piranmalai. He opposed the spread of Christian missionary activities. Kilavan Sethupathi liberated the Marava country from the control of Madurai Nayak. After defeating Rani Mangammal’s army, he declared independent Marava country in 1707. He shifted his head quarters from Pughalur to Ramnad. Kilavan Sethupathi established the Nalcottal palayam (later Sivaganga) and appointed Udaya Thevar as Governor. He served well for the development of Hinduism. He endowed villages to a temple at Thiruvadanai and Kalaiyar Koil. He constructed a fort around the Ramanathapuram, the capital city. He constructed a dam across the Vaigai. His rule was marked as the golden age of the Maravas. Kilavan Sethupathi was succeeded by Bhavani Shankarathevar and Thandathevar. After Kilavan Sethupathi the kingdom was divided into two. A new Sivaganga Kingdom emerged. During the later period of Sethupathi’s rule, the Ramnad was reduced to a zamin level. Then it was brought under the control of the Britishers. Finally it became a part of the Indian Union. Among the later Sethupathis, Baskara Sethupathi was an exceptionally enlightened zamindar. He was an English educated ruler. He honoured Swami Vivekananda who attended the parliament of Religion at Chicago. The social life under Sethupathi’s rule was good.

Sasivarna Thevar (1730 - 1750 ).

Kattaya Thevan divided Ramnad into five parts and retained three for himself. He granted the two parts to Sasivarna Thevar of Nalukottai conferring on him the title of "Rajah Muthu Vijaya Regunatha Peria Oodaya Thevar".

Muthu Vaduga Nada Thevar (1750 - 1772).

Sasivarna Peria Oodaya Thevar died in or about the year 1750. He was succeeded by his only son Muthu Vaduganatha Peria Oodaya Thevar. He was the second Rajah of Sivaganga. His wife Rani Velu Nachiar acted as "friend, Philosopher and guide" to him. Tandavaraya Pillai was the able minister of Sivaganga country. Muthu Vaduganatha Peria Oodaya Thevar granted commercial facilities to the Dutch only after the English rejected a similar offer, made to Colonel Heron. Further the aim of the English was to oblige the ruler of Sivaganga to serve the Nawab or to pay tribute to him or to dissuade them from establishing relations with foreign powers like the Dutch. A two pronged offensive was made by the English. Joseph Smith from the east and Benjour from the west invaded Sivaganga Palayam in June 1772. The country was full of bushes of cockspur thorn, though there were villages and open spaces here and there. Rajah Muthu Vaduganatha Thevar, in anticipation of the invasion, erected barriers on the roads, dug trenches and established posts in the woods of Kalayarkoil. On the 21st of June of 1772 the detatchment of Smith and Benjour effected a junction and occupied the town of Sivaganga. The next day, the English forces marched to Kalayarkoil and captured the posts of Keeranoor and Sholapuram. Now, Benjour continuing the operations came into conflict with the main body of the troops of Sivaganga on the 25th June 1772. Muthu Vaduganatha Rajah with many of his followers fell dead in that heroic battle. The heroic activities shown in the battle field by Velu Nachiar is praised by the Historians. The widow queen Velu Nachiar and daughter Vellachi Nachiar with Tandavaraya Pillai fled to Virupakshi in Dindigul. Later they were joined by the two able Servaigarars Vellai Marudu and Chinna Marudhu.

RANI VELU NACHIAR (1772 - 1780).

Rani Velu Nachiar and her daughter Vellachi Nachiar lived under the protection of Hyder Ali at Virupakshi near Dindigul. Frustrated by the joining of forces against him, the Nawab ordered that Velu Nachiar and Marudhu Brothers were permitted to return to Sivaganga and rule the country subject to payment of Kist to the Nawab. Abiding by this Order, Rani Velu Nachiar accompanied by Marudu brothers and Vellachi Nachiar entered Sivaganga. An agreement was reached where by Rani Velu Nachiar was permitted to govern the Sivaganga Country and Chinna Marudu, the younger was appointed her minister and the elder Vellai Marudu as the Commander-in-chief. Thus the widow Queen Velu Nachiar succeeded her husband in 1780. The Queen Velu Nachiar granted powers to Marudhu Brothers to administer the country in 1780. Velu Nachiar died a few years later, but the exact date of her death is not known (it was about 1790). Marudu brothers are the sons of Udayar Servai alias Mookiah Palaniappan Servai and Anandayer alias Ponnathal. They are native of Kongulu street of Ramnad. They belonged To Agamudaiyar Caste.

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