Formation of Nerkattanseval as A Palayam Domain in The Southern Pandya Country

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D. Parthasarathi, Dr. Mrs. M. Shyla Kumari


During the eighteenth century the stormy political atmosphere favoured the growth of power and status of the Palayams in Southern Tamil Country.   If they owed their existence to their strength and service, the same factors accounted for the extension of their authority.[1]    The period between 1650 and 1760 witnessed an unprecedented growth of the influence of the Palayams.   The political chaos of the early seventeenth and eighteenth centuries caused by Maratha and Mughal invasions contributed to the growth of the influence of the Palayams.   In an attempt to escape from the terrors wrought by interminable conflicts, villages sought the protection of the chieftains.  Since there was no central authority during the period from 1730’s to 1740’s in Southern Tamil Country due to the war of succession in Arcot, the welfare and security of the people were threatened.  In these circumstances, the people and their village heads favoured the protection offered by the Palayams for their own safety. Meanwhile, the villages, which had already accepted the protection of the Palayams, paid enhanced rates in proportion to the increased responsibility undertaken by the Palayams for holding the disorders at bay.   Subsequently the Palayams extended their social and ritual sovereignty over the territory and declared their independence from the central authority. The present chapter analyses the context which created a platform for the Palayakkarars to become independent chiefs of their domains and how far it may right to call them little kings. The status of the Palayakkarars was enhanced in their own territory and they expected their authority to be recognized as legitimate. In the course of their action the Palayakkarars had to face opposition from the Nawab and the Company.


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