Ettayapuram is a panchayat town in Thoothukudi district (also known as Tuticorin district) of Tamil Nadu, India. It is notable for being the birthplace of the great Tamil Poet Mahakavi Bharathiar. Muthuswami Dikshitar, one of the triad of Carnatic music also was patronised in his final years by the ruler of Ettayapuram. Umaru Pulavar a Tamil Islamic poet also lived here.
Ettayapuram was originally Ilasanadu, which was ruled by the Pandya Kings. When they could no longer rule directly due to their failure against Nayak kingdom, Ettappan was appointed as Zamindar by Madurai Nayak dynasty under the supervision of Vijayanagar kingdom. After 150 years of rule by the descendants of Ettappan, Ilasanadu became Ettayapuram in 1565. Even today, some people call it Ilasai. Notable among them is Ilasai Sundaram, who is a Tamil Scholar.Veeran Alghumuthu Konar was born in this Ettayapuram, called as first freedom fighter against the English Ruler.
Legacy of Subramanya Bharathy
Subramanya Bharathy, better known as Mahakavi Bharathiar (Maha Kavi meaning Great Poet) in Tamil, deemed as one of the greatest poets of twentieth-century India was born here on 11 December 1882. A prolific writer, philosopher and a great visionary of immense genius and perspicacity, Bharathiar was also one of the most prominent leaders of the Indian independence movement in South India. He studied in a local high school named "Raajah's High School", where he showed exemplary poetic talent even at an early age of 11. At various points in time, he was patronised by Ettappan, the local ruler, even though differences used to crop up between them often.
Ettappan carries a mixed image. The negative impression is because he gave away the information regarding Veerapandiya Kattabomman's whereabouts to the British, which eventually led to the arrest and hanging of Kattabomman. In fact, Ettappan came to be used as a metaphor for a whistleblower or traitor. On the other hand, his namesake descendant was admired by some of the natives for his welfare activities including arrangements for water supply through huge tanks. His spouse name is Ettamaal. He was also a patron of poets and musicians. Notable examples are Bharathy and Muthuswami Dikshitar. It was Vijaya Raghunatha Tondaiman of Pudukottai who helped British to capture Kattabomman. It was because of the Tamil movie Veerapandiaya Kattabomman people of Tamil Nadu think that Ettappan was a traitor.