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Palaiyakkarar, Poligar, Palegaadu, Polygar, Palegar, or Polegar was the feudal title for a class of territorial administrative and military governors appointed by the Nayaka rulers of South India (notably Vijayanagar Empire, Madurai Nayakas and the Kakatiya dynasty) during 16th – 18th centuries. The word is an English corruption of Palaiyakkarar (Tamil) or Palegaadu (Telugu) or Paaleyagaara (Kannada). The Polygars of Madurai Country were instrumental in establishing administrative reforms by building irrigation projects, forts and religious institutions. Their wars with the British after the demise of Madurai Nayakas is often regarded as one of the earliest Indian Independence struggles. Many were hanged and some banished forever to Andaman Islands by the British. Puli Thevar, Veerapandya Kattabomman, Dheeran Chinnamalai, Marudu brothers, Uyyalawada Narasimha Reddy were some of the most notable Polygars who rose up in revolt against the British rule in South India. The war against the British forces predates the Sepoy Mutiny in Northern India by many decades but still largely given less importance by historians.


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