About the Lion of Kerala, Pazhassi Raja
Kerala Varma Pazhassiraja was also popularly known as the Lion of Kerala. Pazhassiraja was a prince belonging to the royal dynasty of Pazhassi Kottayam. At present this area belongs to Kannur district of Kerala. He had three seniors above him but when Tippu's army came from Mysore in 1773 - 1790, all of them fled to Travancore. When Tippu sultan handed over the small kingdom to the British forces as per the Seringapatnam treaty, Pazasshiraja stood there alone with his friends and army men against the British. He organized a guerilla warfare against the british, who were far stronger than the Kottayam army. His army had warriors from the Nairs of wayanad and from Tribals Kuruchias and Mullukurumbas.
Pazhassi Raja as a prince of Pazhassi Kottayam
Kerala Varma Pazhassiraja was born as a prince into the Padinjare Kovilakam of Purannatt swaroopam which was the royal dynasty of the then princely state of Kottayam. Pazhssi Kottayam is a small town near Thalassery of the recent times and the the royal dynasty Padinjare Kovilakam was located there and so came the popular name Pazhassiraja for the prince Kerala varma. The Mysore kings, Hyder Ali and tipu Sultan during the period 1773 - 1790 created a lot of problems for the malabar state where the British were trying to get a foothold and establish their supremacy. Pazhassi Raja known as Pyche raja to the British was with them in their fight with the Mysore kings. This was not because Pazhassi raja wanted the British to take over his country, rather he wanted to see Kottayam his kingdom free from the mysore invasions.
Seringapatnam Treaty between Tippu and the British
In the 1792, the third Anglo Mysore war ended with tippu losing out to the British Army. He ceded Malabar tothe British. Pazhassi did not like it when the british tried to collect taxes and control the place through his uncle. First thinking everything will be allright he accepted the terms of the British which would allow the raja to rule, a resident will be appointed to enquire about oppressing inhabitants, two persons each fron the side of raja and the british to evaluate the lands in Kottayam, The tax ascertained the british share of the pepper to be delivered at a price fixed by the British and the remainder to be bought by the merchants appointed by the British. These points / terms made the King a pawn, to play with, in the hands of the British which Pazhassiraja didn't like.
Wars between Pazhassiraja and the British Forces
Pazhassi Raja started resisting British Imperialism from the year 1793 till he died in 1805. He fought twice against the British. His Uncle Vira varma joined hands with the British and convinced them to let him collect the taxes in Kottayam. Pazhassi Raja opposed the way his uncle was going about anmd protested but the British did not listen. The King felt betrayed as he was the one who helped the British when all the others left. From 1793 Pazhassi raja made sure that the British was not able to collect tax from Kottayam and also threatened the British that if they did not stop enumeration of the pepper vines he would have the vines in Kottayam destroyed completely.
One war was in 1795 and the other in 1805 when Pazhassiraja got killed along with all his men. One informant a chetti of the village told the forces where Pazhassi Raja was camping with his men. British forces went there and gave a surprise attack, killed each and every person. The king killed himself with his musket without letting anyone touch him and to avoid capture by the British.
The reasons Pazhassi Raja Kerala Varma could be considered as a great man
He stood by his people when all the others of the royal family fled.
He led wars against Mysire kings and British who had much more power and ammunition
He was a fearless warrior and his followers worshipped him. He was a general who led from the front and lived a life of an ordinary soldier
His men had only sabre and bows with them when their enemies were superior in terms arms and ammunitions as well as numbers.
He defied the Mysore Army for 20 years and the British for 10 years, only to get killed in the battlefield.