The Mysore Shakes off North Kerala the Dutch as Mediators

Hyder Ali
After the conquest of Bednore Hyder Ali made preparations for troops' movement to conquer Malabar. Malabar region is an area of southern India lying between the Western Ghats and the Arabian Sea. Hyder called upon the Neeleswaram Raja to restore some of the frontier provinces which had originally belongd to Bednore. Hyder did not forget his services being asked by the Raja of Palghat while he was Foujdar of Dindigal and that Zamorin failed to pay the war indemnity. He was now coming to Malabar to settle scores with the elusive Zamorin. To Travancore he had relentless revenge. The skirmishes between the rulers of the countries in northern Kerala paved the way for Hyder to interfere there. Ali Raja of Cannanore had already complained to the British that the Raja of Kolathiri caused dishonour to his religion. What has caused provocation to the Kolathiri was that Ali Raja installed in one of his mosques a golden dome. Later the dispute turned out to be harsh. Though there was a truce, the rival kings maintained their ire against each other. It was Ali Raja who invited Hyder to Malabar. Before his invasion Hyder sent an emissary to Tellichery with a message to the English requesting that they should maintain neutrality in the war to be waged by him. But the English was not inclined to oppose Hyder effectively though their protest was ignored by the invader. They have devised a strategy with their trade interest given priority. Later as a result of a message they got from the head quarters of Company at Bombay two British officials visited Hyder Ali's camp and held discussion with him. Their memorandum was that the princely states having links with the English East India Company should be spared off attack. Hyder assured the English the concessions they were enjoying at Malabar would be protected.

Hyder started with a troop movement consisting of 12000 soldiers including 4000 cavalrymen. Strong precautionary measures were taken to pre-empt the enemies by the sea. After launching attack at Madai and Valapatnam, the Mysorean troops encircled the palace of Kolathiri at Chirakkal when the members of the royal family took shelter in the temple at Thiruvangad. Hyder faced stiff resistance at Kadathanad after his capture of Kottayam. His next move was for Calicut through Kurumbanad.The affrighted Zamorin was demanded one crore of gold mohar by Hyder but before Hyder's troops reaching Calicut the Zamorin committed suicide.And thus all the territories up to Calicut were now under the flag of Hyder who was more vengeful of the English and the same was, it is said, communicated to the Dutch commander who called on him at Calicut. He made an appeal to the commander that the Dutch should stand by him against the English,who after having captured Bengal and Coromandal,was hell-bent to swallow Malabar. The Dutch officials promised co-operation to Hyder.On their demand to spare Cochin and Travancore Hyder agreed in the case of Cochin but was found to be insistent on Travancore.Through the Dutch, Hyder Ali gave messages demanding that Cochin should give away to him eight elephants and Rs.4 lakhs, and Travancore 20 elephants and Rs 15 lakhs.Though the Rajah of Cochin accepted the demand, Karthika Thirunal Rama Varma of Travancore rejected the request. As the Dutch was aware of the fact that Travancore was in possession of a big pile up of arms they took the role of a mediator to avoid war. When the follow-up action was being discussed with regard to the territories conquered by Hyder with the Dutch officials, Travancore was on erecting a line of defence which extended up to the Dutch fort at Crangannore. The Dutch then appealed to Travancore to desist from erecting defence line since, to them, it would help only in provoking Hyder. As monsoon was expected soon, stationing a troop of 3000 in Calicut he left for Mysore. He had already appointed Maddanna, a Brahmin and an efficient revenue official to administer the Malabar headquartered at Calicut. But after his departure, there were uprisings at places including Kottayam and Kadathu Nadu but they were ruthlessly suppressed once he returned.

Map of India 1765
In the meanwhile, there forged a triple alliance by the English against Hyder including in it the Nizam and the Marathas. Expecting an aggression at any moment Hyder returned. Perceiving that he could not withstand a combined attack from the three, Hyder weaned away from the alliance Marathas by giving them money and the Nizam by means of strategy. Hence the English had to confront him single-handedly. When the first Anglo-Mysore war fought off, the success, at first was with the English whose reflections also became visible in Malabar. The small kingdoms including Kottayam came in to conflict with Mysore troops. But Maddanna, the governor withstood all of these and the Mysore troops quite strategically withdrew from scenes of flare ups getting compensations from kings and chieftains. The new Zamorin agreed to give Mysore annual tribute. Later the Mysore army withdrew from Kerala on certain terms.

The first Anglo-Mysore war took the wind out of the English's sails. The troops of Mysore then encircled the British head quarters at Madras. There had no other way than to sign an agreement with the British as per which the conquered territories were restored. But Hyder quite cunningly secured an assurance from the English that they are bound to help him in the event of an external aggression on his land. The war ended in 1769 but on both sides the fire of revenge was burning. In 1771, when Marathas attacked Mysore the British did not come to his help violating the terms of the agreement entered in to with them in 1769. He, enraged, was awaiting an opportunity to wreak vengeance upon them for their breach of trust. When the British were weaving strategies to chain Hyder Ali, at far away America an uprising was gathering momentum against them. It is likely that it may metamorphose in to a war since things are moving head-on.