Bhopal: A play ‘Ranbhumi ki Naika’, based on the life of Rani Velu Nachiyar, the first queen of Tamil origin to fight against the British in India, was staged at Shaheed Bhavan on Wednesday.
It was part of the third day events of a seven-day ongoing drama festival ‘Aadi Vidrohi’ focusing on martyrs of the freedom movement and mass awareness. Swaraj Sansthan Sanchanalay, Bhopal, has organised the festival.
Directed by Vibha Shrivastava, the play was presented by more than 30 artistes of the Ekrang Socio Cultural Society, Bhopal. Puja Kevat played the role of Rani Velu Nachiyar, who was the princess of Ramnad, and the daughter of Chellamuthu Sethupathy. She married the Raja of Siva Gangai and they had a daughter, Vellachi Nachiar. When her husband was killed, she was drawn into battle. Her husband and his second wife were killed by a few British soldiers and the son of the Nawab of Arcot.
She escaped with her daughter, lived under the protection of Hyder Ali at Virupachi near Dindigul for eight years. During this period, she raised an army and sought an alliance with Gopala Nayaker and Hyder Ali with the aim of attacking the British. In 1780, Rani Velu Nachiyar fought the British with military assistance from Gopala Nayaker and Hyder Ali and won the battle.
She formed a women’s army, ‘Udaiyaar’, in honour of her adopted daughter, Udaiyaar, who died detonating a British arsenal. Nachiar was one of the few rulers who regained her kingdom and ruled it for 10 more years.
A play, ‘Jannayak Tantya Mama’, directed by Praveen Chaubey of the Lok Gunjan Natya Sanstha, Bhopal, will be staged on Thursday.