Velu Thampi Dalava

Velu Thampi Dalava

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Velu Thampi Dalava Profile

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Velu Thampi Dalava Biography

Velayudhan Chempakaraman Thampi was the Dalawa or Prime Minister of the Indian kingdom of Travancore during the reign of His Highness Maharaja Bala Rama Varma Kulasekhara Perumal. He was the prime minister during the period – 1802 to 1809 and was one of the earliest rebels of Kerala against British rule. It happened long before India’s first freedom struggle against British started in 1857.  


Velayudhan Chempakaraman Thampi was born in the village of Kalkulam as the son of Kunjumayitti Pillai and Valliyammai Pillai Thankachi on the 6th of May 1765 at Thalakulam near Nagercoil. His family was titled ‘Chempakaraman’ for their services to the state by Maharajah Marthanda Varma. He was at first appointed a Kariakkar or Tahsildar at Mavelikkara during the initial years of the reign of Maharaja.


When Bala Rama Varma started his reign in Travancore, the kingdom was in unrest position. He was only 16 then and came under the influence of a corrupt nobleman known as Jayanthan Sankaran Nampoothiri from Kozhikode Zamorin kingdom. When the efficient diwan of Travancore, Raja Kesavadas was murdered Sankaran Nampoothiri was then appointed as Dewan which resulted in corruption and emptying of treasury. To refill the treasury Tahsildars were ordered to pay big amount without any reference to the revenue of the districts. Velayudhan Chempakaraman Thampi protested against it gathering people. They surrounded the palace demanding an immediate dismissal of Jayanthan Sankaran Nampoothiri and banish him from the country. As asked, two ministers of Jayanthan Sankaran Nampoothiri were brought to public and cut their ears. Later Velu Thampi was appointed the Dalawa of Travancore.


Madras Government sanctioned his appointment within a few months clearing the oppositions given by the relatives of Raja Kesavadas, previous Diwan. Velu Thampi was of rebel nature. When he took power the kingdom was filled with corruption. So he ordered serious punishments for being caught red handed. Thus peace and order was restored within the state within a year of Velu Thampi's accession to Dalawaship.


Treaty signed with the British East India Company by Maharajah Dharma Raja Rama Varma in 1795 was revised in the year 1805. It added more British Indian force in Travancore adding up more cost. The ratification of the Treaty by Velu Thampi created serious discontent as it increased the dependence of Travancore on the British. Dalawa considered British as their friends. But later he got information that Maharajah's intention to dismiss him, with support from the Resident. Dalawa became angry against British.

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Updated: January 06, 2018

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