Sunday, 12 August 2007
Thomas Baber's account of the death of the Pazhassi Rajah, Part 3.
The final approach to the Pazhassi Raja's Camp, taken by Baber's force on 30th November 1805.
Thomas Baber in a report written in December 1805 set out the thinking behind his operations to defeat the Pazhassi Rajah.
From this time, the rebels began to experience the miseries of want, and their supporters, the Chetties, to be sensible that a perseverance in their conduct would only entail disgrace and ruin upon themselves and families. Still I found that they paid deaf ear to all our promises of protection and thundering declarations against the rebels, all of which the inhabitants considered and with great reason, as so many vauntings, for with all our means our forces, our resources, our reiterated offers of reward, we had not succeeded in apprehending any one rebel of consequence. It became, therefore, an object of the first importance to direct our views to this one subject, and which, now the rebels were confined to one part of the country, was become the more necessary, since matters were brought into that train as to afford every reasonable hope of success.
As the rebels had entirely fled into the Wynad Hobali, I deemed it necessary to go in quest of them without loss of time; having, therefore, made my arrangements at Ganapady Watton (Ganapativattam – Sultan’s Battery), I proceeded to Panarote Cotta (Panamaratta Kotta) and there solicited of Colonel Hill, a detachment lightly equipped to accompany me. A detachment of 200 men was in consequence held in readiness, and on the [blank] Lieutenant-Colonel Hill with 3 officers, accompanied by myself and 200 of the police, marched to Pulpally (Pulpalli). Nothing material happened on the road: not a single inhabitant was to be seen, although many of them had presented themselves some months previous to the officer of Government. But it was not to be surprised at; they were principally Chetties, conscious of the double part they were acting; they had fled to the mountains, and many of them with their families were followers of the Rajah and his leaders. A few movements of our troops soon brought the inhabitants to a sense of their own interest; they had been driven from mountain to mountain, their jungly huts were destroyed, their families were reduced to the greatest distress. They had seen with surprise that no injury was offered to their habitations or cultivations and they began now to conceive the idea that we were as ready to protect as we were powerful to punish them. I soon learned this their situation, and as they had been so situated as not to derive the smallest support from our Government, I conceived they merited our most favourable consideration as it was possible they might have been compelled to have espoused the rebel interest. I, therefore, sent them invitations to come in, by which I hoped not only to induce them to throw off all their connection with the rebels and become good subjects, but to obtain from them that information which I know they must possess of the rebel retreats. The invitations were accepted, and in the course of a few days most of the inhabitants within several miles of Pulpally had made their submission to me.
Continues in part 4.