The Marudhu brothers (Periya Marudhu and Chinna Marudhu) were chieftains of Sivagangai, Tamil Nadu, India, towards the end of the 18th century. They were known for fighting against the East India Company. They were finally hanged by the British after a prolonged struggle.
Periya and Chinna Marudhu, sons of Mookiah Palaniappan Servai , and Anandayer, also known as Ponnathal. The elder brother was born on 15 December 1748 in the small hamlet of Narikkudi near Aruppukkottai in Ramnad state (now Virudhunagar district); the younger was born in the area of Kongu Street which is currently the Naganathapuram Street of Ramanathapuram in 1753. Their father was a general in the Ramnad state military, and he moved his family to Virudhunagar from Narikkudi.
The Maruthu brothers was the first King man published the war (pragadanam) to people against to British empire.They were trained in native martial arts at Surankottai, which traditionally served as a training centre for the Ramnad army. It was believed that they killed a couple of tigers by their empty hands without any weopons that had entered to their kingdom.It gave them a legendary status and made them well known throughout the kingdom. Muthuvaduganadha Thevar, the Raja of Sivagangai, a state near Ramnad, came to know about their brave and courageous deeds and requested the Ramnad king to assign them to serve the Sivaganga army. In 1782, the Nawab of Arcot had killed Muthuvaduganatha Thevar over his refusal to pay taxes. However Marudhu Pandiyar and Queen Velunachiyar escaped, and stayed with Gopala Nayak in Virupakshipuram for 7 years. After this time, an alliance of kingdoms led by the Pandiyar attacked Sivagangai and retook it in 1789. Both Maruthu Pandiyar were given high positions in the kingdom.
They were good at aerodynamics and craftsmanship and is said to have invented the Valari, a variant of the boomerang. They were in close association with Veerapandiya Kattabomman of Panchalankurichi Seemai. Kattabomman held frequent consultations with Marudhus. After the execution of Kattabomman in 17 October 1799 at Kayattar, Chinna Marudhu gave asylum to Kattabomman's brother Maveeran Oomadurai. But, the British took this reason to invade and attacked Sivaganga in 1801 with a powerful army. The Maruthu Pandiyars and their allies were quite successful and captured three districts from the British. British considered it as a serious threat to their future in India that they rushed additional troops from Britain to put down Maruthu Pandiyars' rebellion. These forces surrounded Maruthu Pandiyars' army at Kalayar Koil, and the latter scattered. The Maruthu Brothers and their top commanders escaped. They regrouped and fought the British and their allies at Viruppatchi, Dindigul and Cholapuram. While they won the battle at Viruppatchi, they lost the other two battles.
The Marudhu Pandiyars, was the first king man had planned to war with British empire for the India's independent. They gave the protection to Velunachiyar from the British empire. They along with the war leader Sivanangai and many of their family members, were captured at Cholapuram and they killed at Thirupatur. They were tamilnadu king man hanged in the fort of Tirupputhur, in what is now Sivaganga district, Tamil Nadu, on 24 October 1801. The kallarai of maruthu padiyar is located at Sivagangai.
Maruthu Brothers are good in aerodynamics and invented many variants of spears and Valari. They also founded guerilla war tactic in India during the early stages of colonisation. A commemorative postage stamp was released in October 2004. Every year people conduct Maruthu Pandiar Guru Puja at the Kalayakoil temple in October.
A film was done about their lives in 1959: Sivagangai Seemai
- Rajarajan, R.K.K. (2019). "Linking the ancient with the modern: Rāma-Lakṣmaṇa and the Marutu Brothers analogy". The Quarterly Journal of the Mythic Society: 110.2: 41-49. ISSN 0047-8555.
- Mahradū, an Indian story, with some observations on the present state of the British empire. p. 17.
- "Stamp on Marudhu Pandiar brothers released". The Hindu. Madurai, India. 25 October 2004. Retrieved 12 August 2016.
- Govindarajan, Vinita. "Remembering the Maruthu Pandiyar brothers, the leaders of the South Indian Rebellion of 1801". Scroll.in. Retrieved 31 August 2019.
- Southindian states website Archived 18 September 2010 at the Wayback Machine
- "Stamps 2004". Indian Postal department. Retrieved 4 January 2012.
- "Thousands pay homage to Marudhu Brothers". The Hindu. Madurai, India. 28 October 2010.