Unsung Heroes | History Corner | Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav, Ministry of Culture, Government of India

Unsung Heroes Detail

Unsung Heroes Detail

Veerupakshi Gopal Naiyaker

Dindigul, Tamil Nadu

November 21, 2022 to November 21, 2023

Veerupakshi Gopal Naiyaker was born on 14 January 1728, to Tirumalai Dhasari Chinnapa Naicker and Pappammal. His original name was Thirumalai Kupala Chinnapa Naicker. The Arcot Nawab had the right of collecting tax from the Nizam. The interest of the Nawab increased, and Nawab agreed to pay 5/6th of the tax collected from the Palayakaras to the East India Company. Palayakaras rebelled against the huge amount of tax levied by the British. The people reached a stage where they had to sell all their properties and crop yields to pay tax. The Palayakaras decided to fight against the British to protect the cause of the people Palayakaras including Pulithevan, Dhevan Chinnamalai, Azhagu Muthu Kone, and Kattabomman refused to pay the tax and fought against the British. Gopal Naicker formed a revolutionary alliance organizing the Palayakaras of Dindigul. The king of Sivaganga Muthuvaduga Nathar was shot dead in 1772 during the kalaiya kavil war. Queen Velu Nachiyar, who escaped from the British, came to the palace of Gopal Naicker along with her daughter Vellachi, Minister Thandavarayan Pillai, and the Maruthu brothers. Velu Nachiyar swore to redeem the country from the British and Gopal Naicker assured his support. Gopal Naicker’s guidance was the major reason behind the success of Velu Nachiyar. Gopal Naicker from Dindigul, along with several others formed an alliance to fight against the British. This peninsular association gained support all over the country. After hanging Kattabomman to death on 16 October 1799, the copper charter fitted by the British at the entrance of the palace explaining the message “Any Palayakaras who involve themselves in Revolts will be killed like Kottabomman” was conveyed to Gopal Naicker by Major Bannerman. The British imprisoned Kattabomman’s brother Oourai in Palayankottai. Gopal Naicker and Maruthu devised a plan to redeem Oourai. They entered the prison dressed like people carrying kavadi to Tiruchendur and took out Oomadurai. Oomadurai executed the British who came to attack. Gopal Naicker made him king of Panchalankurichi again, granting him 6,000 soldiers. The Collector of Dindigul B.Hardis, who came to know through his spies that Gopal Naicker was the reason for the guerilla attack all over the country, summoned him with charges against him but Gopal Naicker did not respond. The second summons ordered him to surrender in November 1799. Gopal Naicker, even at the age of 72, did not fear the threat and started to chalk out a plan for the final attack. A large army under the leadership of Gopal Naicker and Kerala Varma drove out the British army from Dindigul Rockfort and captured the explosive guns in the weapon warehouse. The British were not able to withstand the guerilla war strategy. The army of Gopal Naicker destroyed the military equipment in the Dindigul fort after strenuous efforts. The people of Periyakottai were actively involved in the war, giving up their lives for the sake of Gopal Naicker. The people of Vellore fought along with the people of Periyakkotai against the British in Chhatrapati. Gopal Naicker escaped without being caught by enemies. The palace of Virupakshi was crushed to the ground by the British who were not able to trap Gopal Naicker. The British could not find Gopal Naicker after the Virupakshi war. So, they announced an amount of Rs.20, 000 for his head. Gopal Naicker was betrayed for the sake of money. The British imprisoned him on 04 May 1801 and he was tortured in prison. In 1801, Gopal Naicker was hanged to death in Virupakshi Fort.

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