28 May 2016

Mysore Invasion of Kerala: Hyder Ali's Invasion

On In Post a Comment!
During Hyder Ali's invasion, the important chieftains of Malabar, otherwise known as Kerala, were the Rajas of Travancore and Cochin, the Zamorin of Calicut (Samoothiri of Kozhikode) and the Kolathiri Raja of Chirakkal. Since Jan 1663, the kingdom of Cochin was under the control of the Dutch. The British East India Company also had a supreme position in Malabar as they established a trading factory at Tellicherry in 1683. Hyder Ali invaded Malabar for the first time in 1757 upon the request of the Raja of Palakkad to help him against the Zamorin's attack. At that time Hyder was serving as the Faujdar of Dindigul under the Wodeyars of Mysore. Hyder sent his brother-in-law Makhdoom Ali to Calicut and defeated the Zamorin. The Zamorin sued for peace and agreed to pay a war indemnity of rupees 12 lacs.

Tipu's fort at PalakkadFirst Conquest of Malabar (1766): In 1765 when Hyder Ali came to Mangalore after his conquest of Bednore, he received an embassy from Ali Raja of Cannanore, a feudatory of the Kolathiri Raja, seeking his help to attack the Kolathiri Raja. About the beginning of the year 1766, Hyder proceeded towards Malabar and the palace of the Kolathiri was seized. Hyder also took possession of Kottayam and Kadathanad. When he entered Calicut the Zamorin offered his submission and promised to pay 4 lacs of Venetian sequins. However, suspecting treachery Hyder placed the Zamorin under confinement in his palace and tortured his ministers for extorting treasure. Fearing of a similar disgrace to himself, the Zamorin committed suicide by setting fire to the palace in which he was confined. Followed by the capture of Calicut, the Raja of Cochin also offered his submission and paid 2 lacs of rupees. Hyder expected a similar thing from the Raja of Travancore but Raja Karthika Thirunal Rama Varma, popularly known as Dharma Raja (1758-1798) did not agree to pay the tribute. The Raja informed Hyder that Travancore was already a tributary of the Nawab of Arcot and had formed an alliance with the British East India Company as well. As the monsoon was approaching Hyder retired to Coimbatore after bestowing the government of Malabar to a Brahman named Madanna. Hyder also ordered the construction of a fort at Palakkad (now known as Tipu's Fort). Raja Rama Varma ordered to strengthen the Nedumkotta fort (also known as the Travancore Defense Lines) to prevent attacks of Hyder.

During Hyder's absence the Nairs (the nobles of Malabar) rebelled and retook many places. Learning this Hyder hastened to Malabar and put down the revolt. Before quitting Malabar, Hyder Ali by a solemn edict declared the Nairs deprived of all their privileges. He permitted all the other castes to carry arms but forbidding them to the Nairs, who till then had enjoyed the sole right of carrying them. However, with these measures he could not make the submission of the Nairs; they considered death preferable to such a degradation. So Hyder made a new edict by which he restored all their rights and privileges if they embrace Islam. But on this occasion the greater part of the Nairs took refugee at Travancore. Hyder again returned to Coimbatore and there he received intelligence of the advancement of Peshwa Madhav Rao from Pune and Nizam Ali aided by a British corps from Hyderabad to his capital (The First Anglo-Mysore War). He hastened to Srirangapatna and reached there by Jan, 1767. The news of Hyder Ali's war with the British revived a hope of independence among the chiefs of Malabar and they began to revolt with the help of the British who were settled on the Malabar Coast. So Hyder came to an agreement with the chiefs of Malabar and made three conditions for his withdrawal from Malabar. A war indemnity was to be paid for him; Ali Raja was not to be disturbed; and the fort of Palakkad should remain in his possession. Thus Hyder left Kerala in 1768.

Tipu's fort at Palakkad

Second Conquest of Malabar (1773): In 1773 Hyder started preparations for the recovery of Malabar. For the purpose of direct communication with Malabar he captured Coorg in Nov 1773 and retook Malabar in the same year. The Zamorin and most of the other princes of Malabar took refugee at Travancore, where they were treated with great kindness. On hearing this Hyder became enraged and decided to invade Travancore. He demanded the Dutch a free passage through their territories for attacking Travancore but the Dutch refused his request. Hyder's general Sardar Khan advanced towards Cochin and captured the fort of Trichur. The Raja of Cochin became a vassal of Hyder and promised to pay an annual tribute of 120,000 rupees. Sardar Khan seized the Dutch forts of Chettuva (in Thrissur) and Pappinivattom. However his further advance was blocked by the Travancore lines, which passed through Cochin up to the Kodungallur fort. Meanwhile Raja Rama Varma requested the British help and sent a large army to cooperate with the British army from Bombay under Major Abington at Calicut.

Events During the Second Anglo-Mysore War:- The Siege of Tellicherry, Death of Hyder Ali Khan, Accession of Tipu Sultan, Treaty of Mangalore

During Hyder's invasion of Malabar most of the local chieftains took refugee at Travancore but Kerala Varma Pazhassi Raja (1774-1805), a Prince belonged to the royal family of Kottayam popularly known as the Lion of Kerala, remained at Kottayam with his subjects and began a guerrilla warfare against the Mysore troops. Hyder began friendly relations with some of the local chiefs and in 1776, the Prince of Chirakkal was appointed as his representative to carry on the administration in North Malabar. During the American War of Independence in 1778, the Zamorin and Pazhassi Raja helped the British in the war against French and also recovered most of their lost territories from the Mysore troops. The British captured the French settlement at Mahe in 1779, which was in Hyder's territories. Offended by this Hyder declared war against the British (The Second Anglo-Mysore War).

The Kadathanadu Raja also became a vassal of Hyder. In October 1780, Sardar Khan assisted by the forces of the Prince of Chirakkal and the Kadathanadu Raja laid siege to Tellicherry which lasted for a period of 18 months. In May 1781, reinforcements arrived from Bombay for the British and Sardar Khan was taken prisoner by Major Abington. Pazhassi Raja's army along with Major Abington jointly defeated the Mysore army at Tellicherry. Followed by this, the Nairs captured all the Mysore garrisons from Malabar except Palakkad. Major Abington took Calicut in Feb 1782. Followed by this Chettuva and Pappinivattom were also seized. Hyder dispatched his son Tipu to Malabar to recover the lost territories. Tipu's forces stormed the British at Ponnani, but as Hyder Ali passed away in 1782, Tipu was compelled to leave for Mysore to occupy his father's throne. In 1783, Colonel Fullerton captured the Palakkad fort. As per the Treaty of Mangalore in 1784, which concluded the Second Anglo-Myore war, the British restored Malabar to Tipu Sultan.

Notes:

Palakkad also known as Palghat
Travancore otherwise known as Thiruvithamkoor
Mangalore otherwise known as Mangalapuram
Tellicherry present day Thalassery
Cannanore present day Kannur
Trichur present day Thrissur

Ali Raja of Cannanore was the only Muslim Chief of Malabar.

Reference:

Historical Sketches of the South of India by Mark Wilks
The Travancore State Manual by V. Nagam Aiya
A History of Travancore from the Earliest Times by P. Shungoonny Menon
A Survey Of Kerala History by Prof. A. Sreedhara Menon

No comments: