August 25th, is the memorial day of Tamil Chieftain KULASAEKARAM VAIRAMUTTHU PANDARA VANNIYAN who ruled the Vanni kingdom of ADANKAPATRU. He defied the British and remained as a challenge to them. As usual another Tamil named Kaakai Vanniyan helped the British defeat him during the historic battle of Katsilaimadu by Col. Drieberg on 25 August 1806.
There were many Tamil patriots who sacrificed their lives to defend Sri Lanka from the European colonialists. Even after many Sinhala rulers exchanged the Buddha sasana for the bible and white women, many Tamil rulers defied the colonialists to defend their country, religion and language. But the Sinhalese don`t know about them. Instead of educating the Sinhala people about the Tamil patriots who defended the country from the European colonialists, the Sinhala government used the state funds to deny the Tamil heritage in Sri Lanka. That is the reason the Sinhalese are only bragging about the Sinhala heroes who defended the country, many of them haven`t even heard about the Tamil patriots who defended Sri Lanka.
PANDARA VANNIYAN was a rebel Tamil chief from the Vanni region who was known as ONE OF LAST NATIVE CHIEF TO CHALLENGE THE BRITISH RULE in the Island nation of Sri Lanka. His grandson is Pannirukaran Mylvaganam. Kulasegaram Vairamuthu Pandaravanniyan was the last king of Vanni. 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 `Kaylaaya vanniyan` and `Periya Nayinaar.
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.
Every foreign power found the Vanniyars a formidable foe and this could be explained in the words of Lewi, It is characteristic of the spirit of this people that the Dutch met nowhere a more determined resistance than from one of the native princesses, the Vannichi Kurivichhci Nachiyar, whom they were obliged to carry away as prisoner, and to detain in captivity in the fort of Colombo.
The Vanniyars, thence commenced to live a wild and marauding life and carried on a predatory warfare against the Dutch in Mannar and Trincomalee and even penetrated to the Jaffna peninsula. The Dutch had to build forts along the river to keep them at bay. With the advent of the British Pandara Vanniyan started a revolt to expel them from his district with the assistance of the Tamil rulers of Kandyans kingdom. He attacked the government house in Mullaiteevu and drove out the garrison which was under the command of one Captain Drieberg and seized the fort.
In 1803 the Treaty of Amiens the new possessions of the British and Dutch in Asia are confirmed. Holland retains Batavia, the British Ceylon. The British defeat the last Vanniya, Pandara Vanniyan, and execute him. A pension is paid to his widow, the Vanni Naatchiyar, until the late 19th century.
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 spirit of the Vanniyars was more apparent in the fight for freedom of the Tamil people. Here again one sees that the Vanni has answered the call of the Tamil people in their quest for liberty and freedom from the Sinhalese. It is also stated that the Vanniyars had sent some of their people to the French at Pondichery in South India promising to assist their missionaries and the Christians to overthrow the Dutch.
When Pandara Vanniyan the last king of Vanni fought the British, his soldiers were Tamil warriors of Vanni and Jaffna. Even the Bristish have praised their valour. The victory of the British was not gained through their bravery, but through KAAKAI VANNIYAN`s TREACHERY. The Name Kakai Vanniyan has been used by the Eelam Tamils to refer to people who backstab their own people. The word KARUNA has now replaced the name Kakai Vanniyan to refer to treachery in the Eelam Tamil lexicon.