Saturday, December 4, 2010

The Pemmasani Zamindars of Kuruvi Kulam (Tirnnelveli/Tamilnadu)

The ancient Kuruvikulam family which has historical antecedents indicative of a high sense of loyalty to its soverign lord, came to prominence seven centuries ago, when the power of the King of Vijayanagar was at it's height;

The principal members of the Kuruvikulam family hailed from Vijayanagar and Pemmasani Adiveera Thimmappa Naidu, the most prominent of them, was one of the trusted lieutenants of Sri Krishna Deva Rayalu. Adiveera Thimmappa Naidu was also once the ruler of Gandikota and the adjacent countries. He further ruled Udayagiri, Kondavidu, Penukonda, Cuddapa, Sithavatam, Nellore and Kanakagiri near Orissa. His income was 24 lakhs of rupees per anum of which he paid tribute of 9 lakhs to his sovereign. He kept in readiness, under the orders of the King of Vijayanagar, 25,000 infantry and 15,000 cavalry and 40 elephants. These Zamindars migrated from Gandikota are called as Gandikota Pandyans.

Adiveera Thimmappa Naidu and his people were well known in their days for their great influence with the King of Vijayanagar, the said Sri Krishna Deva Rayalu, who also held them ingreat estimation by taking their counsel in times of emergency and also carrying out reforms in his dominions. When the house of Vijayanagar fell, and the power of the Mahomedan rulers was in the ascendant, Adiveera Thimmappa Naidu and his descendants who would not brook a rival nor an insult from one of such, perceiving the predicament in which they were placed, and understanding that their attempt to thwart the supreme power might prove a failure and bring on a train of miseries, made up their mind to proceed to foreign parts, and accordingly migrated to Southern India.

A well known descendant of Adiveera Thimmappa Naidu was Pedda Veerappa Naidu, who interviewed Viswanatha Naick, The King of Madhura. The latter had already heard of the greatness of the Pemmasani Naidus who once most peacefully ruled Gandikota, but had since been reduced in power, and with the object of bringing them to prominence again, he conferred on Pedda Veerappa Naidu the Jaghir of Kuruvi Kulam, which was the first of the seventy two Palayapats he had established. Pedda Veerappa Naidu proceeded to Kuruvi Kulam, where a marauder, named Kuruvi Thalaivan, who was exercising great powers, would not give him ingress. Thereupon, a protracted struggle ensued, in which Kuruvi Thalaivan was slain, and Pedda Veerappa Naidu entered the place undisturbed and became it's ruler.

When Viswanatha Naick, the King od Madura, established seventy two Palayapats within his domain, he declared Kuruvi Kulam and Ilaiyarasanandal as Mannaria (Royal) Panchayats. Mr.Taylor in his manual on Palayapats, while placing Kuruvi Kulam under the category of 'Mannaria Panchayats', put it as first of the two, and says that Pemmasani Pedda Veerappa Naidu was its first ruler.

It is also said that the Pemmasani Naidus went against Kerala, took possession of the place and restored it to Muddu Veerappa Naidu, King of Madhra and Trichinapally, who sought their aid. Viajya Meenakshi Naidu, the minister to the King of Madura gave the following testimony in writing to the East India Company about Pemmasani family:-

"The ancestors of the Pemmasani family, during the reign of the Royars, where the rulers of Gandikota. After the fall of the place, they repaired to our domains, when Viswanatha Naick, The King of Madura, conferred on them the Jaghir of Kuruvi Kulam. All the Polegars, with the exception of the Polegar of Kuruvi Kulam, under the jurisdiction of the King of Madhura. whenever they went to their King, whould pay homage to him by prostrating themselves before him after placing in his presence flowers made of silver and gold and also a silk cloth, and then stand at a respectful distance with folded hands. On the contrary, when ever the Pemmasani Naidus were announced before the King, he would welcome them by shaking their hands and offering them an equal seat."

The family records further show that Pedda Veeraqppa Naidu took a prominent part on behalf of the East India Company in their battles against Panchalan Kurichi and Malayalam country.

The Mohommedan rulers who conquered Madura and the adjoining territories converted the Jaghir of Kuruvi Kulam into a peshcush-paying Zamindari, and granted a paravana accoedingly. When the Permanent Settlement came into operation, the British Government recognised Kuruvi Kulam as Kattuguthari Zamindari.

Sri Thimma Nandayaswami Naidu ruled the estate for some years is very religiously disposed. As he resigned the power of the management of the Zamindari in favor of his son.

Sri.P.N. Kodandaswamy Naidu was born in 1878. He was early taught at home, and then sent to Tinnelvelly, where he made good progress in his studiesas a student of the Hindu college. As we have said above, he assumed charge of the estate when he was nineteen years old as his father desired to lead a peaceful and retired life.

The Zamindar was a member of the Taluq and District Boards, and in both capacities he has amply fulfilled the hopes of his constituents. When a Union was started for the town of Kuruvi Kulam, the Government appointed him Chairman.

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