Archive for the ‘History’ Category

354/365 – Problem in Assam

August 18, 2012 Leave a comment

Migraton of outsiders into Assam has a long history. The British administration had encouraged migration of thousands of Biharis to work on the tea-plantations and of hundreds of thousands of Bengali peasants to settle on the vast uncultivated tracts of Assam.

Till recently, Assamese landlords had welcomed the hardworking Bengali tenants in the sparsely populated Assam.

Between 1939 and 1947 Muslim communalists encouraged Bengali Muslim migration to create a better bargaining position in case of partition of India.

Partition led to a large-scale refugee influx from Pakistani Bengal into Assam besides West Bengal and Tripura.

In 1971, after the Pakistani crackdown in East Bengal, more than one million refugees sought shelter in Assam. Most of them went back after the creation of Bangladesh, but nearly 100,000 remained.

After 1971, there occurred a fresh, continuous and large-scale influx of land-hungry Bangladeshi peasants into Assam.

But land in Assam had by now become scarce, and Assamese peasants and tribals feared loss of their holdings.

However, this demographic transformation generated the feeling of linguistic, cultural and political insecurity, which overwhelmed the Assamese and imparted a strong emotional content to their movement against illegal migrants in the eighties.

The demographic transformation of Assam created apprehension among many Assamese that the swamping of Assam by foreigners and non-Assamese Indians would lead to the Assamese being reduced to a minority in their own land and consequently to the subordination of their language and culture, loss of control over their economy and politics, and, in the end, the loss of their very identity and individuality as a people.

Though illegal migration had surfaced as a political matter several times since 1950, it burst as a major issue in 1979 when it became clear that a large number of illegal immigrants from Bangladesh had become voters in the state.

Afraid of their acquiring a dominant role in Assam’s politics through the coming election at the end of 1979, the All Assam Students Union (AASU) and the Assam Gana Sangram Parishad (Assam People’s Struggle Council), a coalition of regional political, literary and cultural associations, started a massive, anti-illegal migration movement.

The leaders of the movement claimed that the number of illegal aliens was as high as 31 to 34 per cent of the state’s total population.

They, therefore, asked the central government to seal Assam’s borders to prevent farther inflow of migrants, to identify all illegal aliens and delete their names from the voters list and to postpone elections till this was done, and to deport or disperse to other parts of India all those who had entered the state after 1961.

So strong was the popular support to the movement that elections could not be held in fourteen out of sixteen constituencies.

Categories: General Knowledge, History

340/365 – Pandara Vannian

August 4, 2012 Leave a comment

Pandara Vanniyan (or Vannian or Vanni Bandara in sinhala) was a rebel Tamil chief from the Vanni region who was known as one of last native chiefs to challenge British rule in the Island nation of Sri Lanka.


Kulasegaram Vairamuthu Pandaravanniyan was the last king of Vanni. He is known as Wanni Bandara among sinhalese Some of the history books say that he had a sister and two brothers but the truth is he only had 2 younger brothers called “Kaylaa vanniyan” and “Periya Meynaar”. Kumarasinghe Mahavanniya’s family of Nuwarawewa was related by marriage to Pandara Vanniyan.

Conflict with the Colonial rule  

With the capture of the Jaffna kingdom by the Portuguese in 1621, the Vanni was under their nominal control and ‘Parangichetticulam’ of the Vanni may have been the fort of the Portuguese.

With the arrival of the Dutch colonials on the scene they were only able to exact yearly tribute of 42 elephants. About the year 1782 the continued conflicts came to an end when the Dutch once and for all defeated the Vanniyars.

All these similarities had led to more recent comparison of the LTTE leader, Vellupillai Prabhakaran,to him by present day Tamil nationalists, Karunanidhi the current Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu in his book, Payum Puli Pandara Vanniyan, and Nedumaran.

Pandara Vanniyan is valorized as an epic hero. He was declared a national hero by the prime minister and a statue of him was opened with much fanfare in Vavuniya at the main junction where the A-9 Highway between Jaffna and Kandy (& Colombo) meets the road to Mannar (and further down the road to Trincomalee).

The end  

The victory of the Vanniyars was short lived. Three detachments from Jaffna, Mannar and Trincomalee were dispatched and the Vanniyars were defeated in the Mannar district.

Although Pandara Vanniyan was active again his grandiose scheme to rule the Vanni faded away after 1811. The tomstone of Pandaara vanniyar defeat is still in Vanni.

Not only the Tamils, Sinhalese in the present day North Central and North Western provinces that were part of the kingdom of Vanniars consider Pandara Vannian as a god.

They transfer merrit to great Vanni Bandara deiyo to watch over when they pass through jungles. The memorial day of Pandara Vannian falls on 25th of August.


298/365 – Russian Revolution

The Russian Revolution is the collective term for a series of revolutions in Russia in 1917, which destroyed the Tsarist autocracy and led to the creation of the Soviet Union.

The Tsar was deposed and replaced by a provisional government in the first revolution of February 1917 (March in the Gregorian calendar; the older Julian calendar was in use in Russia at the time).

In the second revolution, during October, the Provisional Government was removed and replaced with a Bolshevik (Communist) government.

The February Revolution (March 1917) was a revolution focused around Petrograd (now St. Petersburg). In the chaos, members of the Imperial parliament or Duma assumed control of the country, forming the Russian Provisional Government.

The army leadership felt they did not have the means to suppress the revolution and Tsar Nicholas II of Russia, the last Tsar of Russia, abdicated.

The Soviets (workers’ councils), which were led by more radical socialist factions, initially permitted the Provisional Government to rule, but insisted on a prerogative to influence the government and control various militias.

The February Revolution took place in the context of heavy military setbacks during the First World War (1914–18), which left much of the army in a state of mutiny.

A period of dual power ensued, during which the Provisional Government held state power while the national network of Soviets, led by socialists, had the allegiance of the lower classes and the political left.

During this chaotic period there were frequent mutinies, protests and many strikes. When the Provisional Government chose to continue fighting the war with Germany, the Bolsheviks and other socialist factions campaigned for stopping the conflict.

The Bolsheviks turned workers militias under their control into the Red Guards (later the Red Army) over which they exerted substantial control.

In the October Revolution (November in the Gregorian calendar), the Bolshevik party, led by Vladimir Lenin, and the workers’ Soviets, overthrew the Provisional Government in St Petersburg.

The Bolsheviks appointed themselves as leaders of various government ministries and seized control of the countryside, establishing the Cheka to squash dissent.

To end Russia’s participation in the First World War, the Bolshevik leaders signed the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk with Germany in March 1918.

Civil war erupted between the “Red” (Bolshevik), and “White” (anti-Bolshevik) factions, which was to continue for several years, with the Bolsheviks ultimately victorious.

In this way the Revolution paved the way for the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR). While many notable historical events occurred in Moscow and St. Petersburg, there was also a visible movement in cities throughout the state, among national minorities throughout the empire and in the rural areas, where peasants took over and redistributed land.


Categories: General Knowledge, History

279/365 – 2008 Mumbai Attack

The 2008 Mumbai attacks (sometimes referred to as 26/11) were 11 coordinated shooting and bombing attacks across Mumbai, India’s largest city, by Islamist terrorists who came from Pakistan.

The attackers allegedly received reconnaissance assistance before the attacks. Ajmal Kasab, the only attacker who was captured alive later confessed upon interrogation that the attacks were conducted with the support of Pakistan’s ISI.

The attacks, which drew widespread global condemnation, began on Wednesday, 26 November and lasted until Saturday, 29 November 2008, killing 164 people and wounding at least 308.

Eight of the attacks occurred in South Mumbai: at Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus, the Oberoi Trident, the Taj Mahal Palace & Tower, Leopold Cafe, Cama Hospital (a women and children’s hospital), the Nariman House Jewish community centre, the Metro Cinema, and a lane behind the Times of India building and St. Xavier’s College.

There was also an explosion at Mazagaon, in Mumbai’s port area, and in a taxi at Vile Parle. By the early morning of 28 November, all sites except for the Taj hotel had been secured by Mumbai Police and security forces.

On 29 November, India’s National Security Guards (NSG) conducted Operation Black Tornado to flush out the remaining attackers; it resulted in the deaths of the last remaining attackers at the Taj hotel and ending all fighting in the attacks.

Ajmal Kasab disclosed that the attackers were members of Lashkar-e-Taiba, the Pakistan-based militant organisation, considered a terrorist organisation by India, Pakistan, the United States, the United Kingdom, and the United Nations, among others.

The Indian government said that the attackers came from Pakistan, and their controllers were in Pakistan. On 7 January 2009, Pakistan’s Information Minister Sherry Rehman officially accepted Ajmal Kasab’s nationality as Pakistani.

On 12 February 2009, Pakistan’s Interior Minister Rehman Malik asserted that parts of the attack had been planned in Pakistan. A trial court on 6 May 2010 sentenced Ajmal Kasab to death on five counts.


277/365 – Rajiv Gandhi Assassination

The assassination of Rajiv Gandhi, the ex-Prime Minister of India, occurred as a result of a suicide bombing in Sriperumbudur in Tamil Nadu, India on 21 May 1991.

At least 14 others were also killed. It was carried out by Thenmozhi Rajaratnam, also known as Dhanu. The attack was blamed on the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, a separatist terrorist organization from Sri Lanka; at the time India was embroiled, through the Indian Peace Keeping Force, in the Sri Lankan Civil War.

Subsequent accusations of conspiracy have been addressed by two commissions of inquiry and have brought down at least one national government. The LTTE, however, denied responsibility.


About two hours after arriving in Madras (now Chennai), Rajiv Gandhi was driven by motorcade in a white Ambassador car to Sriperumbudur, stopping along the way at a few other election campaigning venues.

When he reached a campaign rally in Sriperumbudur, he got out of his car and began to walk towards the dais where he would deliver a speech.

Along the way, he was garlanded by many well-wishers, Congress party workers and school children. At 22:21 the assassin, Dhanu, approached and greeted him.

She then bent down to touch his feet and detonated an RDX explosive laden belt tucked below her dress. Gandhi and 14 others were killed in the explosion that followed.

The assassination was caught on film by a local photographer, whose camera and film was found at the site though the cameraman himself died in the blast.


Following the assassination, the investigation was given to a Special Investigation Team (SIT), headed by DIG Radha Vinod Raju.


The assassination was carried out by the LTTE suicide bomber Thenmozhi Rajaratnam also known as Dhanu. Later, the real name of the suicide bomber came to be known as Gayatri.


Categories: General Knowledge, History

250/365 – Parantaka Chola I

Reign: 907 – 950

Title: Parakesari

Capital: Thanjavur

Queen: Kōkilānadigal, Villavan Mahadeviyar and others

Children: Uttamasili, Viramadevi and Anupama.

Predecessor: Aditya Chola

Successor: Gandaraditya

Father: Aditya Chola

Born: Unknown

Died: 955

Parantaka Chola I (முதலாம் பராந்தக சோழன்) (907–955) ruled the Chola kingdom in southern India for forty-eight years. The best part of his reign was marked by increasing success and prosperity.

The Invasion of the Pandya Kingdom  

Parantaka continuing the expansion started by his father, invaded the Pandya kingdom in 910. He captured the Pandyan capital Madurai and assumed the title Madurain-konda (Capturer of Madurai).

The Pandyan ruler Maravarman Rajasinha II sought the help of Kassapa V, the king of Sri Lanka, who sent an army to his aid. Parantaka defeated the combined army at the battle of Vellore.

The Pandya king fled into exile in Sri Lanka and Parantaka completed his conquest of the entire Pandya country.   Parantaka spent many years in the newly conquered country reducing it to subjugation, and when he felt he had at last achieved his aim, he wanted to celebrate his victory by a coronation in Madurai in which he was to invest himself with the insignia of Pandyan monarchy.

However he was foiled in this attempt by the Pandyan king carried them away and left in the safe custody of the Lankan king. Towards the end of his reign, Parantaka tried to capture them by invading Lanka.

Mahavamsa records that the Lankan king Udaya IV took the Pandya crown and the jewels and hid himself in the Rohana hills. Parantaka’s armies had to return empty handed.

After his exploits in the Pandya country and in Lanka, Parantaka I took the title of Maduraiyum Elamum Konda Parakesarivarman – Parakesarivarman who conquered Madurai and Sri Lanka.

Other Wars of Parantaka  

The intervals between Parantaka’s Pandyan campaigns were occupied by a number of minor wars. He defeated the Banas (c. 910) who ruled over the area in the north of Kanchipuram.

Parantaka made his ally the Ganga king Prithvipati II the overlord of the conquered Bana country. Soon after this battle, Parantaka had to wage battles against some of his smaller neighbours such as Vaidumbas and Sitpuli kings in the region of Andhra Pradesh.


Categories: General Knowledge, History

245/365 – Thondaimans

The Thondaimans were Tamil rulers of ancient Tondai Nadu division of Tamilakkam. They ruled with Pallava dynasty, which controlled Northern Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh, with their capital at Kanchipuram. There are hundreds of records and edicts pertaining to the Tondaiman rulers.

Reference in Sangam literature

The ruler Thondaiman Ilandirayan was mentioned in Purananuru in one of the poem written by Avvaiyar as a king confronting Adhiaman and the battle was avoided by tactics of Avvaiyaar.

During Chola Empire

Kalingathuparani was written by Jayamkondar in praise of Karunagara Thondaiman for the victory over Kalinga (present day Orissa). He was the Pallava prince working under Kulothunga Chola I as a Thalaphathy. Karunagara Thondaiman is also stated as Vandai arasan.

Aranthangi Thondaimans

Aranthangi Thondaimans who were ruling Aranthangi from the 15th to 18th century, as feudal chiefs under the Pandyas and Vijayanagar rulers.

There are references to the Aranthangi Thondaimans in the inscriptions in the temples in Avudayarkovil, Alappiranathan, Pillaivayal, Aranthangi, Kovilur, Paramandur, Palankarai, Piranmalai, Thiruvarankulam and Kurumbur.

Similarly the Aranthangi Thondaimans were an independent line of chieftains, ruling from Aranthangi, and their reign flourished even about 200 years before the rule of the Thondaimans of Pudukottai, which started in about 1640.

Thondaiman dynasty of Pudukkottai

The princely state of Pudukkottai was created by Raghunatha Thondaiman a Kallar ruler of Pudukkottai. Raghunatha Kilavan Setupati of Ramnad (1673-1708 A.D.) married Kathali Nachiar the sister of Thondaiman, he appointed his brother-in-law Raghunatha Thondaiman as a chief of the district of Pudukottai.

Raghunatha Thondaiman (son of Avudai Raghunatha Thondaiman) was earlier ruling Thirumayam. In appreciation of Raghunatha Tondaman’s services, Raghunatha Kilavan Setupati has given Pudukkottai as an honour for his services.

In later centuries, the Thondaiman rulers, while nominally feudatories of the Ramnad state, often pursued an independent foreign policy, a trend common in all parts of India at that time.

After the death of Raghunatha Kilavan Setupati; he become ruler of Pudukottai. After becoming the ruler of Pudukottai, Raghunatha Thondaiman fought against the Nayaks of Tanjore in support of the Nayaks of Madurai and conquered Thirukkattupalli a very important place.

Then there was a direct clash between Thondaimans of Pudukottai and the Nayaks rulers of Tanjore. Thondaiman conquered the west of Thirukkattupalli.

Social life

During the early part of Thondaiman’s rule people of Pudukkottai region led normal life. Kings concentrated more on political matters and also on the people’s welfare. Choultries were built for pilgrims.

In the later part of their rule due to famine people faced many types of sufferings. Heavy rain and flood damaged the city of Pudukkottai and natural diseases were there. Later after sometime city of Pudukkottai was modernized. New school was opened.

Tanks were built to increase water supply. Vaccination was introduced against small pox. Many reforms were introduced during he last phase of their reign.