Who are the Nadars ?

The Nadars as seen in recent times belong to the caste of traditional merchants and traders - Unlike the Chettiars who prospered in a big way the Nadars were known to run provision shops and deal in trade of commodities - Siva Nadar who introduced the Siva PC (XT and AT models in the early eighties made a lot of money dealing just with computers - Kamaraj Nadar who was quite active in Congress party circles was well known around the period Indira Gandhi took over as PM after the demise of Lal Bahadur Shastri - The VGP group brothers V.G. Pannerdas and V.G. Santosham are also prominent names from the Nadar community - The well known tennis playing brothers Vijay & Ashok Amritraj are another example - The Nadars seem to be concentrated in South India , Madurai , Sivakasi downwards and mostly around the Tirunelveli and Kanyakumari districts - In the last mentioned regions there has been a spate of conversions to Christianity right from the British period of circa 1900 - Today there are Hindu Nadars , Christian Nadars and even  a few Muslim Nadars - During the course of my long chess career spanning 1972-1993 I had come across the late P.S.Rathina Nadar of Sivakasi who headed the Oriental Lithopress group and the late M.A.Kandasamy Nadar who headed the Mappillai Vinayagar group at Madurai - Obviously both were Hindus , performing puja , visiting temples etc with all the attendant rituals and ceremonies performed according to Hindu rites - In marked contrast we have had in our chess community the veteran International Master from Chennai , Manuel Aaron , a Christian Nadar who had published an excellent book , tracing his roots as back as to the 15th century - Christian Nadars have given names after baptism , christening etc but usually have an Indian sounding name too - It is rather common for them to have names like Anand Michaelraj or Nirmala Josephine etc where one name is clearly of Indian origin while the other name would clearly be an approved Christian one of western origin - This is, of course , their way of keeping their Indian roots and a bit of Sanskrit or Tamil is kept in as a second name - The tendency to prefix the Christian names with the word "Raj" is rather pronounced which is why we see many names like "Michaelraj , Arokiaraj , Irudayaraj , Antonyraj , Devaraj , Jebaraj , Susairaj , etc - With so much influence over the masses in his times Jesus Christ was in a way a king and it could be that the prefix "Raj" actually means the same - (Actually the word "Raja" would stand for king while "Raj" especially in Hindi would stand for the state,country or ruling entity - For example it is common to speak of the times of "British Raj" - In that sense the prefix of "Raj" could be taken to mean "king" ) Names like "Devasahayam" "Sargunam" "Nargunam" "Javamalai" that have simple and good meanings are also fairly common - A tendency is also there especially among Christian Nadars to name their children after famous leaders , reformers , scientists etc - This why you get to see names like Thomas Edison , Mohan Roy , Kennedy and getting such names mixed up with other regular Indian names seems a bit incongruous but that is what you get around here 

The Indian Caste System is a very rigid order. Under such conditions it is very surprising to note that the Nadars as a Community have made themselves upwardly mobile- moving from a lower rung to a remarkably higher level, economically , politically, academically and socially. Hence they hog the limelight today like the yesteryears' Kamarajar who achieved politically many milestones. 

When one looks back, one would be stupefied by the transition of the Nadars from humble toddy tappers to the level of a force to reckon with. Business and professional interests brought them to the happening urban areas. The Nadars proved their mettle by adapting themselves to the changes which were moulding  the society from traditional to modern. The Nadars are generally found throughout the Southern state of Tamilnadu. By the end of 2003 , it is estimated that they would number around 10 million. Their original  area of concentration were the southern districts of Tamilnadu. But varied business  and academic interests brought them to settle down in Coimbatore and Chennai and many more cities/towns as well.

The Nadars can be divided into two main groups- the Northern Nadars and the Southern Nadars. The Northern Nadars are those from the Madurai, Virdunagar, Sivakasi area and the Southern ones originated from the Tirunelveli and Kanyakumari areas. Another Category of division is based on religion as Christian and Hindu Nadars. The Christian Nadars are mainly concentrated in the southern belts while the Hindu ones are found dispersed throughout the state. But the majority are Hindus. A miniscule portion even embraced Islam in the 19th century in the coastal belts of Tirunelveli District. About 10% of the Nadar population are Protestant Christians.

The Nadars are a very hard working people. They have been well known for their perseverance, untiring energy, commitments and dedication to their business. They have become highly modernized. Many of them are qualified from Engineering, Medical Institutions and Business Schools. They are emerging in a changed manner leaving aside their traditional shackles and are forcefully looking into the future relating to manufacture and distribution of many modern products and services.

Throughout history the Nadars have been actively interested in wealth, power and prestige. Contrary to the orthodox view of the Indian society, they have translated their goals which they have pursued actively and competitively, rather than fatalistically accepting their lot or fulfilling a primary co-operative role

The Nadars are one of the earliest inhabitants of India. Their origin was in the South, known as "Komari Land" probably related to the southern tip of India - Kanya Kumari. There are records which establish their links with the Chaldeans, Syria, Cambodia, Java, Sumatra, China, etc., and it is well established by historians.

The Nadars who until the last quarter of the 19th century were known as "Shanas" or "Shanars" were originally based in the two southernmost districts of Tamilnadu - Tirunelveli and Kanyakumari. The word " Nadar" may have been derived from what many modern Nadars believe to have been the highest of the original Shanar Jatis the Nadans, with the honorific "-ar" ending added. Some Nadars claim that the Nadans were petty local chieftains, who were the heirs of the fallen Pandya dynasty.

The ancient historian Herodotus tells us that in 400 BC, the Palmyra-tappers (the Nadars as we call them now) were valiant fighters and good tradesmen, dealing with inter-continental Trade. They made settlements in Syria, and taught the art of writing to the Greeks . They also spread the Culture of 'Burial of dead ' to the world. They exported processed Palm-Juice (in the chemical form of Alcohol) to countries like Egypt, for purification and preservation of the dead-bodies (Mummies).

The history of the aboriginal ancient Nadars, with many branches, has been tarnished, modified and fabricated as time swept by. Mostly these changes have been made after the Muslim invasions, with the support of the Brahmins . The fall of the Nadars began afterwards . Tanjore, one of the strong holds of the Tamil Nadars, was defamed. Valamkaimaalai, one of the Palm-leaf records with the Nadars, speaks about their history. History proves that the major groups of the Nadars were once Jains and Buddhists.

By the 15th century AD, Nadars were weakened by the Nayaks because of the in-fights and disunity among the Nadar brothers. The tortures on the Nadars were so inhuman that in the 17th and 19th centuries the Christian Missionaries found a great 'Fishing field' in the Nadar dominant areas. But for the Missionaries, this race would have been totally exterminated as planned by the Aryan agents.

Prior to the northward migration, the bulk of the Shanar population was concentrated in the arid sandy regions or "Teris" of Tiruchendur in Tirunelveli district. The Shanar economy centered on the palmyra palm, then the only commercially viable crop in the region.

From the 16th to 19th century AD, the Nadars had to struggle under the new Caste system imposed by the Aryan agents and had to fight hard to come up socially, economically and politically. It was during these periods that the great fights like "The Temple entry Movement, The Upper cloth Revolution, The Human Rights Movements" by many leaders like Vellayyan Nadar, Mooka Nadan, WPA.Soundara Pandyan Nadar, Ayya Mudisoodum Perumal, Marshal A.Nesamony, etc., were fought and won over. Following World War 1, the Brahmins began to dominate the Independence movement of the Madras Presidency. The British then tried to secure the non- Brahmin support. Hence they conceded their request of designating " Nadars" instead of " Shanars" in the 1921 Census.

With the coming of the British rule to the southern districts, roads were improved and better security emerged. The Shanar populace then began to utilize this opportunity and began to move northwards to sell their palmyra- products as well as dried fish and salt. Along their trade routes they established "pettais" or fortified compounds, to protect themselves against thieves and other caste men and also for them to take some rest. There were six primary centers of settlements: Sivakasi, Virudhunagar, Sattankudi, Tirumangalam, Palayampatti and Arupukkotai. 

A category of division of Nadars is based on religion as Christian and Hindu Nadars. The Christian Nadars are mainly concentrated in the southern belts while the Hindu ones are found dispersed throughout the state. But the majority are Hindus. A miniscule portion even embraced Islam in the 19th century in the coastal belts of Tirunelveli District. About 10% of the Nadar population are Protestant Christians. . Some are Catholics particularly in the coastal villages of Tirunelveli where the Portuguese missionaries concentrated their efforts.

Hindu Nadars
Most of the Hindu Nadars are predominantly Saivites. Some Hindu Nadars retain lifestyles very similar to those of the orthodox Vellalas and Brahmins. They practice vegetarianism and perform temple poojas on Tuesdays and Fridays, make pilgrimages to holy shrines, and meticulously follow other religious observances.

Christian Nadars
The Nadars of Tirunelveli and Kanyakumari districts pursued two distinct paths in their search for improved status and better life. One path involved the Northward migration. The second was the conversion to Christianity. The bulk of the Nadar Christians are Protestants. The first permanent Shanar Christian settlement, Mudalur was established in 1799, but substantial members of the Shanars converted to Christianity only after the complete cession of Tirunelveli to the British in 1801. Within the Christian Nadar community, Catholics and Protestants some times intermarry. Some Christians also avoid being members of local Nadar associations. Their churches serve as associations of sorts for them. Under the influence of the Christian missionaries, the Nadars of Kanyakumari began to reform their caste practices in the early 19th century.

Muslim Nadars
During the Sivakasi Riots at the end of the nineteenth century, a number of Nadars reportedly embraced Islam in order to escape attacks. Muslim Nadars are a very miniscule proportion. Most of them live in the extreme south of Ramnad dist and in some settlements in Tirunelveli dist. It is not very clear whether they retain their distinct Nadar identity now.

Prior to the northward migration, the bulk of the Shanar population was concentrated in the arid sandy regions or "Teris" of Tiruchendur in Tirunelveli district. The Shanar economy centered on the palmyra palm, then the only commercially viable crop in the region. The men climbed the palmyra to tap its sap, some of which was fermented to make an alcoholic beverage called toddy. This association with alcohol was one of the primary reasons for the low status that was meted out to the Nadars by other castes of the region. But as toddy's shelf life was short most of the sap was not fermented but boiled down into a raw sugar product called "jaggery". The palmyra also yielded other useful products: mats and baskets were woven from its fronds, and the tree trunks were used a poles and roof beams for houses.

During the hottest part of the year from March to September, the principal occupation of the men was to collect the sap and the women folk boiled the sap into the sugar product. Among the Shanars were traders who distributed the palmyra products . The palmyra is still an important crop in Tirunelveli and Kanyakumari districts. However most of the Nadars have shifted to other means of occupation that nowadays laborers have to be brought from Kerala during the tapping season of the palmyra.

Some wealthy landlords had no manual labor instead they collected revenue from the isolated settlements. They were called as " Nadans" a title which translates as " Lords of the Lands". The Nadans served as representatives of the Nayaks and later the Muslims rulers of Madurai and Tiruchi area to whom they paid a part of the revenue they collected.

With the coming of the British rule to the southern districts, roads were improved and better security emerged. The Shanar populace then began to utilize this opportunity and began to move northwards to sell their palmyra- products as well as dried fish and salt. Along their trade routes they established "pettais" or fortified compounds, to protect themselves against bandits and also for them to take some rest.

The community also took advantage of Western education as they realised the benefits accruing from it. Ability to recognize new opportunities and adaptability to new contexts marked their advancement. With foresight, the Nadar elite established a network of institutions such as colleges, hostels and even a bank, the Tamilnadu Mercantile bank. Conversion to Christianity was another platform that helped the Nadars move up.

Traditionally denied education, they now found access to education in mission schools and colleges. The educational efforts of the missionaries were used by converts for their own social and economic benefit. The opening up of coffee and tea plantations in South India, Ceylon and Malaya in the 19th century provided employment as clerks and field workers for English-educated Nadar Christians. Some of them on their return developed interests in plantations. A few like P P Joseph, P D Devasahayam and A V Thomas became extraordinarily successful planters.

During the second half of the 19th century, a large number of Nadar Christians migrated to Ceylon, Burma and Malaya to find employment as soldiers, railway clerks and petty government officials. Among the succeeding generations of Nadar Christians, an appreciable number became distinguished and affluent landowners, entrepreneurs, lawyers, judges, physicians, engineers, architects, journalists, and top government officials and bureaucrats.

Today Nadars may be classified as :

Merchants and Business people

Professionals and Semi -professionals (occupations requiring high and relatively high educational levels and professional training).

Agriculturists, agricultural laborers ,non- agricultural laborers.

The most commonly chosen professions among the Nadars are medicine, law, teaching, engineering and Government services. Semi professionals include low ranking government professionals, whitecollar workers, and some teachers. The Nadars irrespective of their caste or religion are noted for their hard work. They have also become much more refined than they were previously.

Scattered throughout the world, the community has produced a diverse array of prominent men in different walks of life: K Kamaraj, the Congress ''King Maker'', V S Azariah, the first Indian Bishop consecrated by the Church of England, S P Adityan, who founded one of India's most successful newspaper empires, Shiv Nadar, a technocrat who heads a multinational IT giant, David Davidar, prominent publisher and writer, Manuel Aaron, India's first International Chess Master and the first chess player to be honoured with the Arjuna Award, Ranjan Roy Daniel, Physicist conferred Padma Bhushan and Sam Rajappa, distinguished journalist. While the paths of advancement followed by the Hindu and Christian Nadars are as different as their faiths, both of them identify themselves first and foremost as Nadars.

Nadar life cycle ceremonies may be divided into four general categories: Birth ceremonies, Initiation ceremonies, Marriage ceremonies and Death ceremonies. They mark the main stages in a Nadar's life. The celebration of each ceremony indicates a new status in the community for him.
 

Birth Ceremonies
Among the Nadars, a number of rituals are performed before and after the birth of a child. They begin when a woman is taken to her parents' home for her confinement and end when she returns to her husband's house after the birth of the baby. These ceremonies are little affected in-spite of modernization. Such functions bond the matrilineal and patrilineal kinships and is continued even among the most urbanized of the Nadars. Another ritual called the "Seventh Month ceremony" is held for the pregnant girl. She is adorned with glass bangles on that day and those would be broken off only on the labor day as a custom.

Another ceremony in which the child's ears were pierced and was given gold earrings to protect it from diseases was held after the child completes six months or more. But now this function has been regarded as old-fashioned and has fallen into disuse. The child's first shaving of the head has also been equally neglected of late.

Initiation Ceremonies
In contrast to the Nadar birth ceremonies, initiation rites involving Nadar boys have completely disappeared. Hindu boys have to go through the process of wearing the scared thread when they were 12 years or still younger. And then there was the annual renewal of the sacred thread. Christian boys are permitted into the church associations only after they are baptized. This process may take place immediately after birth and can be postponed till 12 years or more. After 15 years both boys and girls have to confirm their faith in the Christian association when a function is held depicting the first taking of bread and wine as Jesus himself.

The puberty ceremony for girls appear to be now less common than once it was, especially among the urban, wealthy and educated families. It is now performed in rural areas only. It was a way of telling the public that the girl was now ready to be married. Since Nadar girls now tend to get married several years after attaining puberty and since many of them feel something a bit of embarrassing of making a public display of a girl's attaining puberty the function is not held nowadays. Other reasons include the geographical disposition of the Nadars and their inability to attend such less important ceremonies.

Marriage Ceremonies
In earlier days the two preferred marriages for a Nadar man are to his elder sister's daughter or to his cross -cousin. Alliances were mostly confined to families of same status. Rich families married into their kins to protect their wealth. Another expectation was that marriage within the family would ensure better care for the ageing parents. The traditional preferred form of family among the Nadars is the joint or extended family. Here two or more married men who are closely related as son and father or sons live in one household with their wives and children and who all share a common kitchen and a common purse.

Among the Nadars of today, the marriage network has started expanding. Contemporary middle and upper middle class are going afar in search of suitable alliances for their children. In their efforts to achieve upward mobility and protect their interests, the Nadars have made certain adaptations to their kinship system and marriage practices. Other changes appear to be unintentional consequences of social and geographical mobility.

Nadar marriage rituals embrace the betrothal, the night before the wedding and the wedding itself. The betrothal is usually celebrated one to three months before the wedding. But nowadays because of the geographical distribution of the populace it is held on the night before marriage itself. Some are now performing the betrothal on the night before to do away with the need for an extra feast and making it unnecessary for guests to make two separate trips. Usually the groom's family goes to the house of the bride where the function is held. The amount of dowry and the amount of gold jewelry to be given as gift to the girl by her parents are settled during the betrothal day. The date and place of the wedding are also set.

The Nadar groom earlier used to dress in a dhoti and sport the sacred thread. But nowadays they are in suits and shoes . The Nadars spend considerable amount of their savings for the marriage of their children. Lavish weddings are common among the wealthiest families. The central part of the ritual is the tying of the "thali", which the groom puts around the brides' neck. It happens in a "Kalyana mandapam" or a temple in case of the Hindu Nadars and in churches in case of the Christians. The Christians also exchange rings and Bibles during the betrothal ceremonies.

The week following the marriage " Sampanthi Virunthu" is held where the bride's family and the groom's family have dinner at each others place. After a month or so the newly-weds fly off to their place of work and start up their own nuclear family.

Death Ceremonies
Death ceremonies which existed during the early 19th century survives even today in the remote villages and rural areas. The local association is informed when a Nadar dies. The clerk of the association then informs the relatives and notifies the barber whose duty is to conduct the ritual.

In case of Hindus, the corpse is bathed, dressed and then taken in a palanquin in an upright chair-like position. The bodies of widows are usually laid down flat. The chief mourner under the guidance of the local barber performs the ritual. Nadar women do not accompany the male mourners to the river to obtain the purification water and also to the cemetery area. Earlier the chief mourner used to shave his head .But nowadays such explicit showing of grief has been put down. Blowing of conches along the funeral procession is also done in case of the Hindu Nadars. Then on the third day another ritual is held. If the dead was a man, then the widow is asked to remove all her jewelry especially the thali into a pot of milk which was then used to wash the cemetery of the deceased . But these days such practices are slowly declining. Most Nadar widows just display a smaller proportion of their jewels and wear light colored sarees.  

As a few Nadars were reported to have been chieftains to Rani Mangamma during 1650 - 1700  I am giving below a few details pertaining to the historical developments during her reign -

Rani Mangammal (1689- 1704) (Total reign: 15 years) was the queen regent on behalf of her grandson, in the Madurai Nayak kingdom of India, towards the end of the 17th century.

She ruled the kingdom with courage and great skill, and in her era she was one of the few female rulers in India. She was the most popular of all the Madurai Nayak rulers, and many southern Tamil Nadu towns are named for her. She was a popular administrator and is still widely remembered by people as a maker of roads and avenues, and a builder of temples, tanks and choultries. Popular belief ascribes to her every fine old avenue constructed in Madura and Tinnevelly. She was an able woman as well as a charitable one, and under her firm guidance Madura regained the proud position it had held in the days of Tirumala Nayakkan.

Her particular expertise was in irrigation and communications. She had many irrigation channels repaired, and new roads were constructed. The highway from Cape Comorin originally was built during the time of Mangammal and it was known as 'Mangammal Salai'. She built many public works, of which the Chatram in Madurai near the railway station is a standing monument. The Tamuku Maidan was built by her in 1670 and was designed to be capable of hosting royal entertainments such as elephant-fights. When later taken over by the British, it became the official residence of the District Collectors. Her palace in Madurai now houses the Mahatma Gandhi Museum.

Beginnings

The belief was that women were not suited to succeed to the throne of a kingdom, so Mangammal shines almost alone as an able and powerful female ruler in Tamil Nadu. Circumstances forced her to administer the Madurai Nayak kingdom, at the close of the 17th century. She did so for fifteen years, during a very troubled period, skillfully and boldly.

Mangammal was the daughter of Lingama Nayaka, a general of Chokkanatha Nayaka, who ruled Madurai from 1659 to 1682. Although Chokkanatha married Mangammal early, she became the principal queen only later on after his efforts to wed the daughter of the Thanjavur ruler Vijayaraghava Nayaka had failed. Chokkanatha died in 1682, but his queen Mangammal did not commit sati as she was a politically-minded woman to whom affairs of the state was more important.

Rengakrishna Muthu Veerappa, who succeeded Chokkanatha, tried to retrieve the diminished fortunes of the kingdom. He made a name for himself by courageously ignoring Aurangazeb. The queen was pregnant when Rengakrishna died, in 1689. After she gave birth to a son, Vijayaranga Chokkanatha, she committed sati, saying that she could not live after the death of her husband. So Mangammal was forced to become regent on behalf of her infant grandson, who was crowned when he was three months old.

Military History

Mangammal was less often at war than her predecessors had been, but she did not escape the usual conflicts with her neighbors. During her reign Madurai first came into direct contact with the Mughal empire at Delhi, since Zulfikar Khan, the general sent by Mughal emperor Aurangzeb to attack the Maratha stronghold at Gingee, exacted tribute both from Trichinopoly and Tanjore in 1693, though he did not succeed in taking Gingee  until five years later. Trichinopoly was besieged by Mysore in 1695, but quickly was recovered.

The first problem which Mangammal had to face was the threat from the Mughals. Zulfikhar Ali Khan, the general of Aurangzeb who was engaged in the siege of Gingee, where Rajaram son of Shivaji had entrenched himself, sent an army to the south to demand submission from Thanjavur which had gone into the hands of the Marathas during the time of her husband.

Aurangzeb's  army was at Gingee Fort, and bent upon attacking Thanjavur and Madurai at any cost. Mysore in the west, had embarked on a campaign of territorial expansion by including Madurai even during the time when Mangammal's husband was alive. In the south, the Raja of Travancore, overlord of Madurai, had stopped paying the tribute. In the east, the powerful ruler of Ramanad, Raghunatha Thevar (also known as Kilavan Sethupathi) had risen in revolt in a bid for independence.

This state of affairs Mangammal had to face almost without any help from outside. With her political wisdom, diplomatic skill, administrative ability, and cool courage in the face of danger, she was able to maintain the prestige of Madurai and regain for it much of the position it had held during the days of Thirumalai Nayak.

After careful deliberation, Mangammal sent tribute, and later with the help of Zulfikhar Ali she was able to recover some portions of the kingdom lost to Thanjavur in the past. In this policy, Mangammal showed great prudence and wisdom, by skillfully bowing before the enemy. Mangammal also had to face an invasion of Tiruchi by Chikkadevaraya of Mysore who sent his famous Dalavoy Kumariyya, but an attack by the Marathas on    Mysore led to his recall.

In 1697, Mangammal sent an expedition to  Travancore   to punish its ruler, Ravi Varma, who had attacked and destroyed an army sent from Madurai to Travancore to collect the annual tribute which the king had not been paying. The ruler of that country had of recent years been very remiss in sending his tribute to Madura, and it had been necessary on several occasions to send an army to collect the arrears. In 1697, the force despatched for this purpose was taken off its guard and almost cut to pieces. A punitive expedition was organized in the following year, and after hard fighting Travancore was subdued and an immense booty was brought home. Part of this consisted of many cannon, and these were mounted, on the ramparts of Trichinopoly and Madura.

Mangammal's next war was against Shaji, the Maratha ruler of Thanjavur. In 1700 A.D., Dalavoy Narasappiah defeated the Thanjavur forces. For some time afterwards, friendly relations existed between the two kingdoms. They even united and proceeded against Chikkadevalaya of  Mysore who had built an anicut across the river Cauvery and prevented adequate supply of water for the irrigation of land in Thanjavur district. But by that time, heavy rains had washed off this anicut, which was located at the site where the present Kannambadi dam stands. In the following year the Marathas were crushingly defeated near their capital, and were glad enough to buy off the invading army with an enormous bribe.

Mangammal's greatest trial and serious failure was her expedition against Raghunatha Sethupathi. This ended in a defeat for the Madurai and the death of Dalavoy Narasappiah in the battle. This was a serious blow to Madurai from which it never recovered again. Mangammal died in about 1706 and was succeeded by her grandson Vijayaranga Chokkanatha Nayaka.

Civil Administration

Mangammal worked industriously at civil administration, trade and industry. She paid special attention to irrigation and communications. Many irrigation channels were repaired, new roads were constructed, and avenue trees were planted. The highway from Cape Comorin was originally built during the time of Mangammal and it was known as 'Mangammal Salai'. She built many public works, of which the Chataram in Madurai near the railway station is a standing monument. Her own original palace in Madurai now houses the Mahatma Gandhi Museum although modified several times.

Mangammal was Hindu but nevertheless she was tolerant of other religions. She endowed both temples and mosques, and she was friendly with Christian missionaries and their converts. She began the famous  Unjal  (swing) festival in the temple of Meenakshi, performed in the month of Ani. Her contemporary portrait may be seen in the Unjal Mandapam. A painting in the Meenakshi temple shows the temple priest handing over the royal sceptre to the Queen. Mangammal was an efficient and popular ruler and her memory is cherished even today in the rural areas of the district.

Her tragic death

Managammalís grandson Vijaya Ranga Chokkanatha came of age in 1704ó1705. Tradition says she refused to make way for him and that she was supported by her chief minister, a man with whom she was on terms of undue intimacy. The story is that she was locked in a palace prison and slowly starved to death.