"Rani Velu Nachiyar was the first queen of Tamil origin to fight against the British in India. She formed an army and fought and won against the British in 1780, with military assistance from Hyder Ali," says Narain, head of Giri Institute of Development Studies. Nachiyar, the princess of Ramanathapuram, was married to the king of Sivaganga, Muthuvaduganatha Periyaudaiyathevar. She was drawn into battle after her husband was killed by the British. Living under the protection of Hyder Ali of Mysore near Dindigul, Nachiyar was said to have come up with idea of a human bomb. She also formed a women's army and was one of the few rulers who regained her kingdom and ruled for 10 more years.
Inspiring women in the south was another queen from Karnataka Kittur Rani Chennamma. Born in 1791, she was best known for leading an armed rebellion against the East India Company in 1824. The resistance ended with her arrest and she was imprisoned for life.Adept at horse riding, sword fighting and archery from her youth, Channamma called for a war when the British refused to accept her adopted son as ruler. "Kittur Rani Chennamma was the first woman activist who fought a lonely , but courageous battle against the British. She did not succeed in driving them away , but she inspired many women,"
She was trained in the skills of using weapons and also in martial arts like Valari, stick fighting etc. She learnt horse riding and archery earlier. The Royal couple had engaged teachers to teach her many languages like French, English and Urdu. Thus this young brave Princess had excellent training in all war techniques. She was a scholar in many languages and was ready to rule the Ramnad Kingdom . She married Sivagangai Mannar Muthuvaduganathar at the age of sixteen. In the year 1772 , the English invaded her kingdom . Velu Nachiyar heard that her husband Raja Muthu Vaduganathar and her daughter young Princess Gowri Nachiyar were killed in Kalaiyar Koil war.
This war was held in Kalaiyar Koil palace. British troops attacked the palace under the command of Lt.Col. Bon Jour . She was very much worried and wanted to take revenge. Dalavay Thandavaraya Pillai and Maruthu brothers sustained injuries. They promised to recapture the samasthan to punish the English. Dalavay Thandavaraya Pillai, an incredible and distinguished person was the most powerful administer in Sivagangai samsthanam.
Thandavaraya Pillai, the loyalist served (1700-1773) as Palavay and also as Pirathani under the three rulers of Sivagangai samsthanam. He was responsible for the development of Sivagangai samsthanam . At first he served the King Sasivarna Periya Udaiya Thevar during 1730-1750. Later he served under Muthu Vaduganatha Thevar, the King during 1750-1772 . He also served as *Pirathani to the queen Rani Velu Nachiyar.Here Dalavay means military chief and the Pirathani means chief minister. Pirathani was responsible for the improvement of Foreign affairs. Thus the two charges were the most important and also powerful .