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Marudha Nayagam Pillai aka Yusuf Khan aka Khan Sahib


Marudha Nayagam Pillai alias Muhammad Yusuf Khan (1725-1764) or [Marutha Nayagam]
மருத நாயகம் பிள்ளை - Freedom Fighter before Kattabomman 
from wikipedia :  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Muhammed_Yusuf_Khan

Maruthanayagam (Marudhanayagam) Pillai, or Muhammad Yusuf Khan, was born in Pannaiyur, Ramanad District, Tamilnadu, India in 1725. From humble beginnings, he became a warrior in the Arcot troops, later Commandant for the British East India Company troops. The British and the Arcot Nawab used him to suppress Polygars (Palayakkarar) in the South Tamilnadu. The polygar system had evolved with the extension of Vijayanagar rule to Tamil Nadu by the Nayaks. It was the brain-child of Aryanatha Mudaliar (Thalavaai Mudaliar), the celebrated tamil general and prime minister of Viswanatha Nayak, the first Nayak ruler of Madurai.The country was divided into provinces or Palayams (pronounced Paalayam). Each palayam usually consisting of a few villages,was placed under the control of a Palayakkaran (Polygar or Poligar as mentioned in the English records) who was expected to provide in return, an annual tribute and military service to the Madurai ruler.Later he was entrusted to administrating the Madurai country when the Madurai Nayaks rule ended. During that uncertain period he demonstrated his considerable abilities as an administrator. Later a dispute arose with the British and Arcot Nawab, and three of his associates were bribed to capture Yusuf Khan; he was hanged in 1764 in Madurai. He was the first freedom fighter even before Kattabomman.

Great Warrior
By 1760 he had reached the zenith of his career as the 'all-conquering' military commandant. (A few years earlier he had been given the rank of 'Commandant of Company's sepoys'). His greatest supporter during this period was George Pigot, the English governor in Madras. Yusuf Khan was held in very high esteem even after his death by the English and in their opinion he was one of the two great military geniuses India had ever produced; the other being Hyder Ali of Mysore. Yusuf Khan was regarded for his strategy and Hyder Ali for his speed. Major General Sir. John Malcolm said of him almost a fifty years later,"Yusuf Khan was by far the bravest and ablest of all the native soldiers ever to serve the English in India".

Winning Many Wars
circa 1755 Packing the French Troops in Madras Fort
circa 1756 Defeated Madurai Ruler Barkadthulla (who wanted to build a Dargah over Madurai Meenakshi Temple after destroying it) & his large army with just 400 troops
Destroyed the hegemony of the Kallars & the Palayakkars & brought order
Captured several of Puli Thevar's (Pooli Thevar)
a polygar of Nerkattumseval forts which could not be captured by Britishers alone. Captured Puli Thevar & planned to hang him in Kalugu Malai.
Chased the Dutch to their Ships at Alwarthirunagari
Killed Alagu Muthu Kone, a rebel to the British
Warred with Travancore Maharaja without consent of British
Warred with
Ramnad Zamin?s general Damodar Pillai and Thandavarayan Pillai
Defeated Travancore Raja
Joined with French to rebel against the British
Hoisted French Flag on Madura Fort
1763 British Army could not win over Yusuf Khan, retreats at MAdurai
the Arcot Nawab consulted Sivaganga General Thaandavaraaya Pillai
While doing Namaz in his house, he was numbed by his own deputies, gifted to Arcot Nawab Muhammad Ali Khan Walajah, who hanged him at Dabedar Chandai (Shandy) near Sammatti Puram, on Madurai-Dindukkal road

Books on Khan Sahib
Colonel Fullerton - dated March, 1785 and entitled 'A view of the English interests in India'--which was republished in Madras in 1867.  

This says that in Tinnevelly and Madura 'his whole administration denoted vigour and effect. His justice was unquestioned, his word unalterable; his measures were happily combined and firmly executed, the guilty had no refuge from punishment.' It concludes by saying that 'wisdom, vigour and integrity, of no climate or complexion have surpassed his.'

bullet"Yusuf Khan : The Rebel Commandant" by S.C.Hill.(Asian Educational Services - http://www.asianeds.com
bullet"History of Tinnevelly" by Robert Caldwell (Asian Educational Services - http://www.asianeds.com)
bullet"Madura Country : A Manual" by J.H. Nelson (Asian Educational Services - http://www.asianeds.com)
bulletBiography of Thandavarayan Pillai: Pradhani of Sivaganga by Mu.Balakrishnan, MA., MEd.,

Manickavasagar Pathippagam, Chennai, 2005

Amassing Money
The Company accordingly sent back Muhammad Yusuf to the country, renting both Madura and Tinnevelly to him for a very moderate sum of five lakhs annually. [imagine it in 18th Century?]

Helped the Madurai Meenakshi Amman Temple
Yusuf Khan immediately restored the lands back to the Temple, and by the spring of 1759 he began by teaching the Kallans a wholesome lesson

His biography is written by S.C.Hill, and the book is available in Devaneya pavanar Central Library,Anna Salai,Chennai.1.

Book Name : Yusuf Khan - Rebel commandant Author : S.C.Hill Circulation : REFERENCE only

Buy the Book Online at http://www.asianeds.com Delhi, Rs. 495/-only

Read Some Pages On Google Books before buying the Book

Do a Google Book Search on the Internet

The Hindu Story

Chennaites can enjoy a visit to this library and can find the hard bounded red colour book which tells more about Marudhanayagam and the Pillais. Worth reading !!

YouTube - Maruthanayagam  Its the Trailer of the Dream Movie of Kamal Hassan ...4min -

YouTube - Marudhanayagam Exclusive Trailer Maruthanayagam (Marudhanayagam ...3min -

Please write about more greats to us, we will add them here

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