Adyar Gopal Parivar
The festival 'Karnaataka Raajyotsava' is a state festival. This
festival is observed only by Kannada speaking populace
wherever they live. It is a festival of recent origin and has been
observed every year since 1956. It is mainly a political festival. Its
celebration is not confined to any particular religion or
personality. In fact the government of Karnaataka takes pride in
celebrating it because it is the day of birth of the new Karnaataka
state formed for all the Kannada-speaking people.
The festival is financed by the state government. Crores of rupees (a
crore is equal to 10 million) are spent on the month long festival. The
first day of the month of November every year is declared as a public
holiday. It is based on the common calendar and not based on the
Hindu calendar. The religious festivals are held on the dates selected
based on the religious calendar so that they occur on different dates in
any year. The workers are entitled to a leave-day for this festival by the
National and Festival Holidays Act.
Bihar and Orissa for Assamese, Bihari and Odissi languages,
were also formed, giving further boost to the idea of linguistic
After Independence the demand of the Kannada people to
create a new state for themselves was met soon after Andhra
Pradesh was created for Telugu-speaking people. The
Hyderabad Nizamdom became the Hyderabad state after
accession into the Indian Union. Hyderabad state was to be
broken up to exclude regions populated by people speaking
languages other than Telugu, and include only the regions
populated by Telugu-speaking people in the new yet to be born
state. The regions with majority of Kannadigas within
Hyderabad state had to be excluded. Creation of Andhra
Pradesh became a handy tool for Kannadigas to demand
Bidar, Gulbarga and Raichur districts of the Hyderabad state
with Kannadiga majority to be joined with Mysore state.
Karnataka got Gulbarga district excluding Kodangal and
Tandur taluks. Raichur district excluding Alampur and Gadwal
taluks were given to Karnataka. In Bidar district the Ahmadpur,
Nilanga and Udgir taluks were excluded while merging with
The Kannadigas living in Kasargod district initially staged strong protests
against their inclusion in the Malayalee state, but they have since then
slowly reconciled to the fate of being in Kerala. There are no agitations
lately by the Kannadiga people in Kasargod for inclusion into
Karnaataka, because the Karnaataka government is not encouraging
The states of Ramadurga, Sandur and Savanur were
included in Karnataka.
In fact there are very substantial number of Kannada
speaking people in the Kolhapur, Sangli, Solapur and
Dharashiv districts that are included in Maharashtra state at
the time of reorganization of the states on linguistic basis.
In Tamil Nadu the Nilgiris. Dharmapuri and Krishnagiri
districts have many families whose mother tongue is
Kannada. The Tirupati and Tirumala hills which are given to
Andhra Pradesh, have a large number of Kannada speakers.
The city of erstwhile Madras was the provincial
head-quarters for the South Canara and Malabar districts
and hence a large number of Kannadigas and Malayalees
flocked to Madras for education, business
and employment and later settled down there. They speak
their mother tongue Kannada at homes but adopted to Tamil
MAP OF SOUTH INDIA 1947
MAP OF SOUTH INDIA 1947
|Karnaataka is born
Birth of Karnaataka State
By Mohan Shenoy
|Reference: History of Karnataka in the Karnataka state gazetteer Part 1 edited by Suryanath U. Kamath, 1982.
|HINDU TEMPLES AT PATTADAKAL
Photo by Mohan Shenoy
|9TH CENTURY STRUCTURE AT AIHOLE
Photo by Mohan Shenoy
|Video: Click on the map
above and learn the names
and location of Indian States
and Union Territories.
In Bombay the Kannadiga Councilmen felt alienation and faced
discrimination in the distribution of state funds for education,
civil improvement, infrastructure development, etc. The
Congress which A.O.Hume founded became the platform for
Kannadigas also to voice their protests and demand from the
British government better deal for Kannadigas in Bombay
Except in the state of Mysore, Kannadigas were a minority in
the British administrative units such as the Bombay Presidency
where Marathi dominated and Madras Presidency where Tamil
dominated; in the state of Hyderabad where Urdu dominated; in
the princely states of Mudhol, Jamkhandi, Jat, Akkalkot and
Sangli where Marathi dominated; Kannada was reduced to
being a minority language surviving as only a spoken language.
The Congress way to Unification
The Kannadigas of Bellary found the Kannadigas of Dharwad
and Belgaum as their benefactors and well-wishers so far as
the interests of Kannada speaking people in these districts
were concerned. Bellary district was a part of the Madras
province and as the Kannadigas of South Canara and Bellary
districts fought for civil rights with the Madras government they
found friends among the Kannada leaders from Dharwad,
North Canara and Belgaum districts.
In the first session of the Congress at Bombay in 1885,
Kolachalam Venkat Rao of Bellary and Bhausaheb Bhate from
Belgaum, and many other Kannadigas participated in the
deliberations. Belgaum hosted a number of annual meetings of
|Karnaataka is born
Birth of Karnaataka State
By Mohan Shenoy
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After the Indian states were reorganised in 1956, under the
States Reorganization Act of 1956 passed by the then
Parliament, the erstwhile princely state of Mysore got many
large tracts of land from the erstwhile Madras, Bombay and
Hyderabad states and the whole of Coorg added to it to form
the state of New Mysore on 1st November 1956. In 1973, the
Kannada language enthusiasts succeeded in renaming the
state as the state of Karnaataka on 1st November of that year.
When India gained Independence in 1947, the
Kannada-speaking people had been distributed in different
political regions. There was Mysore Kingdom ruled by the
Maharajah of Mysore. The districts of Mysore, Bangalore,
Mandya, Hasan, Tumkur, Kolar, Kadur, Chithradurga, and
Shimoga formed the Mysore Kingdom. In 1799 when Tippu
Sultan was defeated, Malabar and Canara districts were
acquired by the East India Company. In 1860 the Kanara was
divided into South Canara and North Canara the former being
left with the Madras Presidency and the latter being merged
with the Bombay Presidency in 1862. Kasargod district was in
the South Canara district. Bellary district was a part of Madras
In 1818 the British government reorganized the district of
Dharwad adding vast areas south of Krishna river into it. In
1864 Kaladgi district came into existence consisting of vast
areas north of Krishna river. In 1885 Kaladgi lost its district
headquarters status to Bijapur, thus transforming Kaladgi into
Belgaum town rose into prominence by 1836 and soon it
became the headquarters of a new district of Belgaum with
vast areas removed from the Dharwad district. Belgaum,
Bijapur and Dharwad districts were ruled by the British as part
of Bombay Presidency. Bidar, Gulbarga and Raichur districts
formed part of the Hyderabad Kingdom ruled by the Nizam.
DEMAND FOR A LINGUISTIC STATE
The idea of any linguistic state was struck at the time of division of
Bengal into two by the British in 1905 to break the back of a united
Bengali people. The division was done on the basis of religious
majority. The east was predominantly Muslim. However the people in
the rest of India took upon themselves to deny the Muslims of Bengal a
separate state. Everyone demanded states to be designed on the basis
of language and not religion. Yet in 1947 India got Independence after
being partitioned on the basis of religion.
When in 1912 the British parliament agreed to re-unify the two Bengals
into one, the provinces of Assam,
Some Loss, Some Gains
The erstwhile Mysore Kingdom naturally got a primary place
in the new Kannada state. Dharwad district and the North
and South Kanara districts were undisputed Kannada
territories although some people in those districts would have
opted to join with Goa to form a Konkani state. But Goa was
still under the Portuguese administration in 1956. Also when
Karnataka was formed the Kasargod district and the offshore
Amindivi islands which had both Kannada and Malayalam
speaking people in almost equal proportions went to the
newly formed Kerala state for Malayalees. The Belgaum
district which also had Marathi-speaking people in substantial
numbers went to Mysore state, excluding the Chandgad taluk
which was handed over to Maharashtra.
In Kasargod district the people whose mother tongue is
Konkani or Tulu regard themselves as Kannadigas. Along
with the people whose mother tongue is Kannada, the
Konkanis and Tuluvas together give the majority status to
Kannada in Kasargod. There are many Konkanis and also
Tuluvas in Kerala apart from those in Kasargod district.
Those Konkanis and Tuluvas have adopted Malayalam as
their literary language.
Both Konkani and Tulu scripts are extinct and these
languages borrow script from Kannada or Malayalam for
literary work. Those Konkanis living in Maratha areas use
Devanagari script. Hence there is love for Malayalam in the
Konkani people living in Kerala, and for Kannada in the
Konkani people living in Karnataka. Konkanis in Maratha
areas have almost completely adopted Marathi language as
their mother tongue too.
The Nilgiris district was populated with a large number of Kannada
speaking people at the time of Independence. The Taluks of Krishnagiri,
Hosur and Madakasira were also similarly populated with substantial
Kannadigas. All these places were lost to Karnataka.
The Taluks of North and South Sholapur and Mangalvedhe Taluks in the
Bombay Presidency and the princely state of Kolhapur although
containing a large Kannadiga population in its Raibag, Katkol and Torgal
areas, were lost to Karnataka.
The princely state of Sangli however was torn into two with Kannada
speaking areas like Terdal, Shahpur, Dodwad and Shirhatti coming into
Karnataka, while Bodhegaon and Gudageri going to Maharashtra. Both
Senior Kurundwad and Junior Kurundwad also went to Maharashtra.
These places have a large number of Kannadigas living in them.
From the princely state of Miraj, Lakshmeshwar was snatched
and included into Karnataka.
Jamkhandi state was included into Karnataka. Kundgol and
Chippalkatti were parts of Jamkhandi.
Jat and Mudhol were princely states with a large number of
Kannadigas and these joined Indian Union after Independence.
Jat was given to Maharashtra while Mudhol came into Karnataka
The Akkalkot state and the Gunadal group of villages in the
Aundh with a large Kannada population were given to
Maharashtra at the time of reorganization of the states on
linguistic basis. One can see that the reorganization was not
entirely based on the basis of the mother tongue of the residents.
From the princely state of Miraj, Lakshmeshwar was
snatched and included into Karnataka.
Jamkhandi state was included into Karnataka. Kundgol and
Chippalkatti were parts of Jamkhandi.
Jat and Mudhol were princely states with a large number of
Kannadigas and these joined Indian Union after
Independence. Jat was given to Maharashtra while Mudhol
came into Karnataka later.
The Akkalkot state and the Gunadal group of villages in the
Aundh with a large Kannada population were given to
Maharashtra at the time of reorganization of the states on
linguistic basis. One can see that the reorganization was
not entirely based on the basis of the mother tongue of the
Passion for Unification
Only the Dhar Commission set up by the Central Government after
Independence recommended not to form states based on language.
Another committee called the J.V.P. Committee (Jawaharlal, Vallabbhai,
Pattabhi Committee) did not recommend formation of Karnataka but
favoured formation of Andhra Pradesh only on the basis of language.
Many groups in Mysore state did not want the unification because the
identity of the Mysoreans would be lost. Kodagu people, if not all, a large
number of them, opposed unification because they had a distinct culture
and history, which will get diluted.
Unification was demanded by the newspapers and magazines in their
editorials and articles, although they published the views of the
opponents also. Writers like Gorur Ramaswamy Iyengar, K.R. Karanth
and K.V.Puttappa were strong proponents of unification. Congress
leaders like Kengal Hanumanthaiah, S. Nijalingappa and Kodagu leader
C.M.Poonacha strived for unification.
Most of the government offices in these administrations were non-
Kannadigas thereby the Kannada people were at a disadvantage in the
matters of governance and economy. Kannadigas suffered neglect in
The North Canara district was an example of a neglected region although
there were ample resources in its forests and minerals in its mountains.
Education and Industrialization picked up in the state of Mysore but
remained tardy in other Kannada regions. The districts of Bijapur,
Gulbarga and Raichur of the state of Hyderabad were the worst hit. The
medium of instruction in the primary reflected in the Central Legislature of
India in New Delhi by only one Kannadiga among 142 members. This one
Kannadiga represented all the Kannadigas living in the British provinces,
while four Malayalis, and six Sindhis represented their smaller
populations. Many Kannadiga officers were placed in high positions in the
princely states but they spoke Kannada only in their homes. In their prince’
s court they spoke in the language of the state which happened to be
Marathi, Urdu, Tamil, Malayalam or Telugu but not in Kannada. Kannada
was used only in the court of Mysore state.
Unification versus Independence Movement
Prior to Independence in 1947, the Unification movement was
overshadowed by the Independence movement. Participation in the
Independence movements was more risky than in the Unification
movement, and therefore many Unification leaders kept away from the
former. The non-Brahmin group known as Brahmanetara Parishat held (in
1924) its first inaugural meeting in Belagaum and opposed the Congress
and its agitations, as being a Brahman outfit, but supported the Unification
of Kannada areas in the British India to form Karnataka.
Leaders fighting for Indian Independence in Bombay such
as Dinshaw Wacha, Balgangadhar Tilak and Pherojshah
Mehta sympathetically heard the passionate pleas by
Kannadigas for a state of their own when India became free.
The passion for a state of Karnataka had been kindled by
the Newspapers as early as in 1865 when Karnaatka
Prakashika of Mysore began to publish articles in support of
the Independence movement. Vrittanta Chintamani (1885) of
Mysore, Rajahamsa (1881) and Karnataka Vritta (1890) of
Dharwad, Suhasini (1901) and Swadeshabhimani (1907)
both from Mangalore spread Kannada language and culture
Commanders of Unification Force
1. Benegal Rama Rao- Speech at Dharwad in
2. Justice S.S.Shettar- Speech at Dharwad in
3. Alur Venkata Rao- Wrote an article in the
Vagbhushana magazine demanding a
Presidency of Kannadigas from the British in
1907. Organized the All-Karnataka Writers’
Conferences in 1907 and 1908 in Dharwad.
4. Sir M. Visweswaraya- Founded Karnataka
Sahitya Parishat in 1915 in Bangalore.
5. Mudaveedu Krishna Rao from Dharwad.
Commendable efforts for Unification
A unanimous resolution demanding unification was passed at the Karnataka State
Political Conference at Dharwad in 1920 where V.P.Madhav Rao was the
A separate Karnataka Provincial Congress Committee was constituted at the
Nagpur Congress in 1920 and S. Nijalingappa was its leader. This became a
platform for the Kannada Commanders to fight for the Unification.
After Independence the Karnataka Unification leaders were restless to get the
state formed as early as possible. They resorted to hunger strike the major one
held under the leadership of A.J.Dodmeti in 1953 was aimed at such a result.
Akhanda Karnataka Rajya Nirmana Parishat took the lead in launching an
aggressive agitation by defieing law and courting arrest. Jinaraja Hegde of
Moodbidri, Chennappa Wali, Chinmayaswamy Omkarmath, Veerabhadrappa Sirur
and Alavandy Shivamurty Swamy were involved in this struggle.
Potti Sriramulu held a fast unto death for the formation of Andhra Pradesh in
1953. He succumbed to the fasting and soon the Central Government issued
order to constitute the new state of Andhra Pradesh. The Bellary district was
bifurcated and seven of its taluks were merged with Mysore state and Telugu
speaking areas such as Adoni, Alur and Rayadurga were included in the new
state of Andhra Pradesh.
The other Kannada areas were still waiting to be unified with a new Karnataka
state. There were more severe agitations. Without wasting any more time the
Central Government appointed a States Reorganization Commission with Fazal
Ali as the chairman in December 1953.
The present administration of the sovereign state known as Republic of India has
divided the country into states to decentralize the governance. The states are
further divided into districts; each district has a number of taluks and each taluk
has a number of gramas (villages). There are thirty districts in the state of
Karnataka. They are: Bangalore Urban, Bangalore Rural, Belgaum, Bellary,
Bidar, Bijapur, Bagalkot, Chamrajnagar, Chickmagalur, Chickballapur,
Chitradurga, Dakshina Kannada, Davangere, Dharwar, Gadag, Gulbarga, Haveri,
Hassan, Kodagu, Kolar, Koppal, Mandya, Mysore, Ramnagar, Raichur,
Shivamogga, Tumkur, Udupi, Uttara Kannada and Yadagiri.
Demarkation of Karnaataka
Indian land mass was known by the name of Jamboo Dweepa (dweepa=island in
Sanskrit) and the nation as Bhaaratvarsha. There were natural calamities like
floods and droughts, earthquakes and hurricanes that made life difficult for the
inhabitants. In addition there were wars between the feudal lords resulting in
mass killings, looting and arson.
There was no Karnataka demarkated in those days in the present shape. Kerala,
Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Goa, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh,
Chattisgadh and Jharkhand were all merged but divided into a number of small
cluster of villages named after the number of units contained in them. Each unit
was spread along the water body such as the river or the lake. Water availability
determined the habitat of people and their grouping. There were fights for land,
water and women. The boundaries of habitat clusters were determined on the
similarity and commonality of physical appearance, language, knowledge, dress
and food preferences. Those people who spoke the same language, ate similar
food, appeared alike in physical appearance and covered their body with identical
materials and extent lived together in communities.
These events lead to migration of the population from one place to another.
Migration lead to changes in life patterns, inter-race marriages and often
improvement in living conditions. There was distribution of knowledge and wealth
and also women. The migration of people living around the river Saraswathi
parallel to the river Sindhu resulted in movement of people towards the eastern
plains beyond river Ganga. Communities moved from Kashmir to Pataliputra to
Vanga and beyond.
Many communities moved south to Vindhya mountains and beyond. Thick forests
and wide rivers hindered their movement and often they stopped at the approach
of a river or a lake and set up their camps on the banks of the water bodies. If
there was no further problems then they continued their camps and built houses,
raised crops and cattle and claimed the land as their own. Other groups that
arrived later would like to snatch away the land from them and there would be
fights to settle the supremacy. The land that is now demarkated as Karnaataka is
a part of the Indian peninsula. It is not really an isthmus or a neck of land but a
broad tail extending from the body above to a narrower territory tapering into a
cape at Kanyakumari. This broad tail of India is artificially divided into many
states: Kerala on the west coast and Tamil Nadu on the east coast form the lower
part. Karnaataka, Goa, Maharashtra and Gujarath on the west coast and Andhra
Pradesh and Orissa on the east coast form the rest of this peninsular India. Above
the states of Andhra Pradesh and Maharashtra the state of Madhya Pradesh,
Chattisgadh and Jharkhand form the inland territories.This southern land often
referred to as South India has the Arabian sea in the west and the Bay of Bengal
on the east. The two seas are continuous with a very vast salt-water body known
as the Indian Ocean. The island country now known as Sri Lanka was also a
British colony, the erstwhile Ceylon before. It is close to the eastern coast of Tamil
Nadu and historically and culturally connected to the Indian peninsula.
Gold, Silver, Copper and Iron were the most-sought after metals
mined in the Karnataka mines. The rulers of ancient Rome were
minting coins with gold imported from Karnaataka. Diamonds were
abundant in the mines of Adoni, Alur and many other regions. They
were in demand all over India and abroad. Jewelers and diamond
cutters from Karnataka were famous for their skills from even
ancient times. They were taken to places far and wide either by
pursuation or force to manufacture breath-taking varieties of
neck-laces, bangles, bracelets, and even crowns, sword handles,
idol decorations, etc.
The cottons, silks, and manufactured goods of these from
Karnaataka were in demand all over the world. Rice, Jowar;
Pulses such as Toor, Mung, Sugar, Jaggery, Groundnut oil,
Coconut products such as oil and oilcake, Cotton, Onions,
Tomatoes, betel nuts and medicinal preparations, spices such
as Pepper, Cardamom, Cinnamon, Cashew nuts and
processed kernels were exported in large quantities to other
regions in India and also to countries outside India.
Mesopotamia, Assyria, Egypt, Persia and other Middle
Eastern countries were customers of Karnaataka merchants.
One important symbol viz. a double-headed eagle known as
Gandaberunda had been seen commonly in Asia monor and
also in Karnaataka indicating contacts between the two
far-flung regions of the world. Elephants of Karnaataka after
being well-tamed, were in demand for use in transportation
and also in wars. Cattle such cows, bullocks, buffaloes were
also bred in the region and sold in the animal-fairs. Cows
were not slaughtered since they were considered as sacred.
Sheep were bred in large numbers in the northern regions of
Karnaataka and their wool was used to weave woollen
blankets. Karnaataka woollen blankets were sold in markets
throughout India. Raw wool was exported to other countries.
Evolution of Knowledge
Our knowledge of evolution of life on earth is limited and we can
only write stories based on what we saw, what we heard, what
we read in the literature and what we think is most likely.
It is most likely that at the beginning of the current Yuga viz. Kali
Yuga which has completed 5,110 years (out of the total 4,32,000
years) already, had people living in civilized communities on this
land known as India.
6. F.G.Halakatti from Bijapur.
7. K. Rajagopal Krishna Rao from
Mangalore.8. Tammannappa Chikkode from
9. H.V.Nanjundaiah from Mysore.
10. K.P.Puttanna Chetty from Bangalore.
11. Karpur Srinivasa Rao from Mysore state.
12. M.Kantaraje Urs from Mysore.
13. M. Venkatakrishnaiah from Mysore state.
14. Rao Bahadur R. Narasimhachar from
15. Karnataka Ekikarana Sabha- Dharwad,
The Indian civilization was dynamic and the people constantly sought better ways
and means to improve the living conditions. Arts and crafts, music and drama,
prose and poetry and construction of palaces, temples, roads, roadside resting
places, water and food supply for pilgrims etc. were constantly being improved.
The land now known as Karnaataka did not lag behind in these human
endeavours. Kings and emperors always wished to conquer this land and hoped
to become happy and rich.
Kannadigas are not a narrow-minded people. Most of them
are friendly and like to involve themselves in the affairs of the
world. The hard-core Kannadigas of the old Mysore state and
of norther districts such as Gulbarga, Yadgir, Bidar, Bijapur,
Raichur, Dharwad, Gadag, Bellary, Dawangere, Chikmagalur,
Shimoga and Belgaum are united in being the amicable hosts
for outsiders since long.
In the Ramayana period we had Lord Rama come to
Karnataka in pusuit of Ravana and later with the help of
Sugriva and Hanuman defeated the Sri Lankan King and
released his wife Sita from captivity. There is a temple
dedicated to King Janaka near Chikmagalur connected with
the performance of Sarpa Yaaga by him. In the Mahabharatha
period we had guests from the North again. Sahadeva a
Pandava brother had ruled parts of Karnataka in those days.
But more recently in the first few centuries after Christ
Chandragupta Maurya and Ashoka had extended their empire
to Karnaataka and beyond in the South. The Karnaataka
warriors belonging to the Rashtrakuta dynasty spread their
empire beyond Bhima river to Betul of Madhya Pradesh and
Amaravathi of Maharashtra. Another branch of Rashtrakutas
known as Rashtrakutas of Gujarath ruled Gujarat in the 9th
Vengi in the present Andhra Pradesh had been ruled by
Chalukyas of Karnaataka. Pulakeshi II of the Chalukya
dynasty had ruled Nasik and Nausari regions. Another branch
of the Chalukyas ruled Vemulavada region of the present
Karimnagar district of Andhra Pradesh in the eighth century.
Ganjam district of the present Orissa was under the Kadamba
king of Banavasi.
Sendraka dynasty originating in Shimoga district had
branched out to Chakrakuta of Bastar region calling
themselves the Chhindaka Nagas or Sindas. There were
Sena kings in Bengal who were originally from Mulgund in
the present Dharwad district. Mithila in Bihar had a Karnata
king Nanyadeva in the end of the eleventh century A.D.
Karnataka had contributed freely to the building activities all
over India. Skilled craftsmen from Karnaataka were
appointed by the rulers of regions far and wide. The
Karnaataka art, sculpture, and architectural style
represented by the temples in Aihole, Patadakal, Badami,
Belur, Halebid are seen in Ellora, Ajanta and Elephanta
caves, and temples in Mount Abu, Nasik, Dwarka, Pattan
and other places too many to recollect.
The coastal Kannadigas were expert ship builders. These
ships were used in export and import business between the
East African countries, Arab nations, and in the East, the
Chinese, the Burmese, Thai, Cambodian, Malayan,
Sumatran, Javanese and Philippine people. Trade with Sri
Lanka was a regular feature. Karnaataka sent sea-faring
warriors to the South East Asian countries and colonised
them in the 7th and 8th centuries A.D.
Wood from the forests of Karnaataka was in demand all over
India. Carpenters from Karnaataka were employed by kings
and chieftains for making wooden furniture and building
houses. Wood was utilized to construct ceilings and roofs of
houses, wheels of bullock carts, howdas to be placed on
elephant backs and palanquins for travel by ladies. Sandal
wood was in great demand for both making articles and
Throughout the history of Karnaataka the businessmen of
Karnaatka had set up Mandi in the ports of Mangalore, Malpe
and Karwar, to export the produce to other places through the
sea route. Inland roads and later railways were developed to
transport various items to other regions in the country.
Karnaataka was a knowledge hub to India and to the world.
Religious thinkers such as Madhwacharya and Basavanna
were born here. Vijayanagara kings encouraged writers,
poets and muscicians, dancers, etc., to promote talents.
Purandara Daasa, Kanaka Daasa, Pampa etc., have made
Karnaataka proud by their poems and kirtans.
According to ancient Indian literature this universe has a total life span
of one Kalpa. Universe includes all creation. Kalpa starts when the
creation begins and ends when the universe is totally destroyed. A new
Kalpa begins when a new creation starts. A Kalpa is such a long time
that our human mind can not configure it fully. Therefore a Kalpa is
further divided into many periods each known as a Manvantara(s). One
Manvantara is further divided into Yugantara(s). Each Yugantara is
divided into four Yuga(s). The first of these Yuga(s) is called Kretha
and spreads over 17,28,000 calendar years. The second Yuga is
called Thretha and spreads over 12,96,000 calendar years. The third
Yuga is known as the Dwaapara and extends to over 8,64,000
calendar years. The fourth is known as Kali and spreads over 4,32,000
calendar years. Considering that this earth was a part of the creation
and a part of the universe in the beginning and imagining that the earth
was too hot then, one can deduce that life began to appear on the
earth after many years a Kalpa had begun. Approximately half of a
Kalpa was spent in getting the earth hospitable for any life.
After painstaking research and some imagination it has
been accepted generally that Romans and Greeks had
contacts with India around 400 B.C.
Measurement of Time
The current year 2010 is 2,537 years after Mahaaveer,
2,066 years after Vikram, 2010 years after Christ, 1,932
years after Shaalivaahana and 1,432 years after Hijari
Kannada Historical Aspects
The historians are reluctant to accept what is written in the Epics like
Raamaayana and Mahaabhaaratha and if the stories of Raama and Krishna
actually took place. Even the discoveries of pillars and idols which can be
connected theoretically with the legends of Raamaayana and
Mahaabhaaratha in many parts of southern India have not convinced the
historians. If we accept the theory that Raama lived in the Thretha yuga then
the story of Raamaayana occurred at least prior to Dwaapara which is
8,64,000 years ago. If we accept that Krishna lived in the Dwaapara yuga then
Mahaabharatha occurred at least 5110 years ago.
|KANNADA HISTORICAL ASPECTS
. The historians do not have any records of activities of people on earth prior
to the time of Harappa and Mohenjodaro civilizations which are estimated to
have existed about 5000 years ago. The birth of Jesus Christ during the
Roman civilization is accepted by the historians. The birth of Gauthama
Buddha and of Jain Mahaaveer are accepted without much question. Both
Buddha and Mahaaveera lived about 400 years before the birth of Jesus. The
length of a year was fixed based upon the lunar and solar movements, and
fairly accurate calculations of the time past was made by people in every
At the time Christ was born the land now known as Karnaataka was ruled by
Maharathi dynasty within the Nanda empire. Nanda dynasty ruled this region
until 300 A.D. For some reason Maharathi rule was replaced by Chuthu
dynasty in 200 A.D., still under the Nanda emperor.
In 300 A.D the Maurya empire was established here. Maurya rule continued till
700 A.D. But the local chieftains prominant among whom was the Kadamba
king and other royal pretenders continued to stake claim for large portions of
revenue for themselves while sending token gifts and mementos to the
emperor Maurya right from the beginning. Those subordinate kings who did
not send annual contributions to the emperor had to defend their territories
from invading armies of neighbouring kings. Often the emperor himself would
send his army to defeat the offending vassal and replace him with a more
obedient person from among the community.
Usually there was preference for those who were born in the former royal
families to be chosen for coronation. Warriors belonging to the Chalukya
dynasty conquered the territories in the eastern regions in 500 A.D.
The excavations have proved and literature has revealed that St. Thomas, a
disciple of Christ arrived in India about 40 years after crucifixion of Jesus,
reaching Malabar coast by sea.
Population was subject to diseases, epidemics and starvation by lack of
proper distribution of produce as there were no good roads or transport
vehicles. Often there was a negative population balance because of increase
in deaths as against births.
There is enormous evidence to show how civilized and decent were the
people of this period in terms of literature, music, science, civilian
administration and agriculture, etc. The Hoysala dynasty rose in this region in
1006 A.D. In 1198 A.D., the Seuna kings took over northern parts of the land
and ruled until 1318 A.D. Hoysala kings, ruled the southern parts until 1342
Arrival of the Sultans
Meanwhile in Delhi Jalaluddin Khilji had established the Sultanate. His
nephew Allauddin Khilji came on an expedition to the south and attacked
Seuna Kingdom in 1296. While returning with the booty Allauddin tricked his
uncle Jalaluddin to come and meet him at Kara, and killed him. Allauddin
became the Sultan. He killed all the relatives and friends of his uncle and then
raised a strong army to conquer all of India. He met resistance at Chittorgad in
1303 when he wanted to marry the beautiful queen Padmini, wife of Raja
Ratan Singh, the king. Padmini committed Jauhar along with most of the
women in the palace.
Allauddin conquered most of the kingdoms across northern India and
establised his overlordship on all the rajas and maharajas. Later, he wished to
repeat his earlier expedition to the south and collect more booty. He sent his
ruthless general Malik Kafur in 1311 A.D., to attack the rich southern states
and bring back loads of booty to Delhi. Seuna Kingdom was annexed by the
sultan in 1318. A.D. , as a province.
Allauddin Khilji fell ill in 1315 A.D. He died soon after. There was a violent
quarrel among the many apparent heirs of the sultan. He had many wives and
therefore there were many grown-up sons of equal age claiming the throne.
The wives backed their sons. After 4 months Mubarak Khan was crowned as
Sultan Mubarak Shah. Mubarak ruled for 4 years and displayed his prowess in
administration. But one of his confidants, a homosexual, known by the name of
Khusraw, killed Mubarak and proclaimed himself sultan in 1320 A.D. Khusraw
renamed himself Nasiruddin Shah. Later in the same year a governor Ghazi
Malik under late Allauddin killed Nasiruddin to become the sultan as
Ghiyasuddin Tughluk Shah.
Eighth Century A.D.
During the eighth century there was great upheaval in India by the invasion from the
Northeast by Shathavahana dynasty who conquered most of India and also the
territories of present Karnaataka. Kadamba kings and Ganga kings continued their
subordination to Shathavahana emperor. Chalukya kings drove away the
Shathavahana army and ruled till 757 A.D., when Rashtrakoota kings took over this
region and ruled till 973 A.D. Another family line of Chalukya kings known as
Kalyana Chalukya dynasty ruled this region of present Karnaataka and surrounding
areas from 973 to 1198 A.D.
The Tughluk also continued his expeditions to the south to attack and ransack
the palaces and temples and carry gold, precious stones, women and slaves
to Delhi. In 1325 Ghiyasuddin died and his son, Ulugh Khan, became the
sultan with the name Muhammad bin Tughluk. Muhammad sent an army to the
South in 1327 not just to loot but to conquest the region and rule over it. In the
west the Seuna kings had fallen and in the east the Kakatiyas had
vanquished. Tughluk established Muslim rule in south India for the first time
and gave jitters to the population and royalty alike. The people in India saw for
the first time destruction of idols and demolition of temples at which they were
astonished that all-powerful gods in these divine places were unable to
Vijayanagara Empire: Devaraya of Sangama Dynasty
Bukka I (1356-77) destroyed the sultanate of Madurai in 1377. But the sultanate of
Bahamani continued with vigour. Sangama dynasty to which Harihara and Bukka
belonged, lasted till 1485, finally Devaraya and his descendents ruling Vijayanagara. The
Muslims who settled in Karnaataka in the Bahamani Sultanate were integrated into the
polity of the region and took part in the repeated conflicts among the many kings and
chieftains; often a Hindu chief fighting on the side of a Muslim ruler and a Muslim general
fighting on the side of a Hindu king. Also the Hindu kings employed Turkish cavalry men
to look after the many imported Arabic horses. The Muslim cannon and fire arms experts
from the Middle East were employed by all the rulers until the locals were trained.
Tughluk's soldiers behaved badly with all people alike regardless of their civil
status. They forcibly took away women of respectable families and killed the
male members if they resisted. They skinned the king and the princes and hung
them up on poles in the sun to die a slow death. The people were aghast
watching the march of uncontrolled terror. There was blood and wailing every
where. Tughluk appointed Muslim officers to run the administration in every
village and posted his army around every fort he took over. In addition there
was forcible conversion of people into Islam.
Hindu attempts to keep Muslims away
The land of the present day Karnaataka also
came under the Tughluk rule from 1327
onwards. The whole of south India was in
despair, the fabric of society having been
destroyed. There was no security for the
masses. Their property was taken away by
marauding Muslim army. Their religious and
cultural values were in disarray. The community
as a whole was collapsing.
Ballala III faced the Muslims
It was Ballala III (1291-1342) who reigned in
KarnaAtaka to face the Muslim army and devise
means to protect the Hindu religion and culture.
He joined the Andhra rulers in facing and driving
away Malik Maqbul the governor of Telangana
Meanwhile Madurai was under the rule of Muslim sultan who
in 1342 fought with Ballala III at Kannanur. Ballala III was
captured, killed and his skin was stuffed with straw and
displayed at the gates of Madurai. Thus the Hoysala rule
ended and Muslims captured large parts of south India. It is
then that Harihara and his brothers were chosen by
Vidyaaranya Rishi to lead a Hindu army against the Muslims
and the Vijayanagara dynasty was established in 1336 A.D.
Harihara and Bukka were army officers in the little Hoysala
kingdom of King Virupaksha Ballala IV on the banks of river
Tungabhadra in the present day Karnaataka. Vijayanagara
was ruled by the Sangama dynasty first. Sangama was the
father of Harihara I (1336-56). The whole of south India
barring the sultanate of Madurai came under Vijayanagara
by 1356 A.D..
Five New Sultanates
Shihabuddin Mahmud, a son of Muhammed III was then
crowned. His nobles governing his five districts broke away
from him in 1518 the year of his death. Bidar sultanate
continued till 1538 being nominally ruled by the descendants
of Mahmud but five new sultanates viz., Adilshahi in Bijapur,
Baridshahi in Bidar, Imadshahi in Berar, Nizamshahi in
Ahmadnagar and Qutbshahi in Golkonda came into
existence along side Vijayanagar kingdom down south.
Adilshahi of Bijapur
Yusuf Adil Khan was the founder of the Bijapur sultanate.
He was a governor (Jaagirdar) of Bijapur under Qasim Barid
a noble with the Bidar sultan Allauddin Humayun in 1487
A.D. He broke away from Qasim and from Bidar sultan in
1489, to form the new Sulatanate of Bijapur. He became the
first sultan of Adilshahi rule with a large tract of land of the
present northern Karnaataka. Yusuf Adil Khan died in 1510
and his son Ismail was crowned. Ismail was only 13 years
old but he knew what to do as the royal highness of Bijapur
Sultanate. His regent Kamal Khan was killed for revolt and
one Asad Khan, formerly Muhammad Lari, a captain was
appointed the regent.
Saluva Dynasty of Vijayanagara
Narasimha of Saluva family took over the Vijayanagar
kingdom in 1485 A.D. Narasimha died in 1491 and his two
sons were minor and therefore a trusted lieutenant
Narasanayaka ruled the kingdom on their behlf as a regent.
The elder son Thimma was crowned king but Thimma was
treacherously murdered following which the younger son
Narasimha II was enthroned. This prince was not
cooperating with Narasanayaka, the regent and therefore
the latter imprisoned the prince, yet keeping him as the
Narasanayaka died in 1503 and Narasimha II was
assassinated, and the Saluva dynasty came to an end in
1505 A.D. Veera Narasimha, son of Narasanayaka took over
the duties of the regent but after the death of Narasimha II,
Veera took over the reign of the kingdom with the help of the
ministers. Narasanayaka belonged to the Tuluva dynasty
and with him the Tuluva rule began in Vijayanagara.
In August 1347 another sultanate was founded at
Gulbarga by Allauddin Hasan Bahamanshah. His
sword was followed by his religion Islam where
ever he went and conquered. Allauddin
conquered Dabhol port in Konkan and Bhongir in
the east forming a kingdom that included Berar,
Bidar, Daulatabad and Gulbarga.
He was succeeded by Muhmmad Shah I in 1358
who ruled upto 1375 A.D..
Meanwhile, Bahamani sultanate was ruled by
Muhammad Shah from 1358 to 1397 A.D. In 1397
Tajuddin Feroze Shah rose to the throne and
ruled until 1422. The next sultan was
Shihabuddin Ahmad I from 1422 to 1436 A.D. In
1424 A.D. the capital of Bahamani sultanate was
shifted from Gulbarga to Bidar by Ahmad Shah I,
away from Vijayanagara border. From 1436 A.D.,
Allauddin Ahmad II was the sultan who ruled until
Mahmud Gawan of Gulbarga
One Mahmud Gawan was the prime minister to Allauddin.
Allauddin's successor was Allauddin Humayun (1458-1461)
to whom also Mahmud Gawan served as the prime minister.
Humayun died when his son Nizamuddin Ahmad III was just a
boy of 8 years and therefore Mahmud Gawan and the queen
mother Khwaja-i-Jahan functioned as his regents till 1463
when prince Ahmad III suddenly died. Again the claimant to
the throne, a younger brother of Ahmad III viz., Shamsuddin
Muhammed III was made the king by the regents. Later
Khwaja-i-Jahan who was the other regent with Gawan was
accused of attempt to seize power and executed. Gawan
remained the sole regent and took over the administration
totally for himself yet keeping Shamsuddin Muhammed III as
the sultan. This arrangement continued till 1481 when
Gawan at the age of 73 was executed for alleged royal
betrayal by the sultan. Soon the sultan also died in 1482,
with grief for his actions when he discovered that the
allegation of betrayal by Gawan was false.
Ismail Adil Khan ruled from 1510 to 1535 A.D. His son Mallu succeeded him and
ruled for less than a year. In 1522 when Krishnadevaraya was the king at
Vijayanagara, Bijapur was conquered by Vijayanagara army lead by
Kirshnadevaraya himself. Bijapur became a branch of Vijayanagara giving tributes
to the latter.
Ismail's younger brother Ibrahim became the sultan in 1535 and ruled till 1558.
Ibrahim's son Ali Adilshah ruled from 1558 A.D. At this time, in 1538 Achutaraya
of the Tuluva dynasty was the king in Vijayanagara.
Veera Narasimha of the Tuluva dynasty of Vijayanagara ruled from 1505 to 1509
A.D. His successor Krishnadevaraya stabilized the kingdom but he was
constantly faced with the holy war Jihad from his northern enemy Bahamani
sultan. The Muslim kings always invoked religion to treat the Muslims as the
favourites and the Hindus as 'infidels'. The life of a Hindu was worth nothing in the
There was a third religion, Christianity that interfered with the
Muslims. The Portuguese who wanted to foster their own
religion Christianity, had appeared on the scene in 1510 just
a year after Krishnadevaraya inherited Vijayanagara throne.
Battle of Rakkasatangadi
Pushya month is a month of inaction for Hindus and everyone was relaxing from their
duties. The Pushya month was to end in about 20 days in 1564 but before the month
ended, the Muslim army had made mince meat of the Hindu Ramaraya.
The Muslims had a great number of cannons which decided the fate of the war. The
deafening sounds of the cannons alone were enough to defeat the elephant brigade
upon which the Ramaraya depended to drive the enemy away. Also two Muslim
commanders who had pledged support until death to Ramaraya treacherously
vanished from the battle field taking with them their cavalry and infantry.
Ramaraya was over eighty years of age but he was agile and motivated. The bearers
of his palanquin ran helter skelter when the elephants began to panick at the bursts
of cannons, leaving Ramaraya alone. He was taken prisoner.
|Goa was taken over
by the Portuguese in
|UGRANARASIMHA FIGURE IN HAMPI
Photo by Mohan Shenoy
Photo by Mohan Shenoy
|PALACE OF PRINCE VENKATAPPA NAYAK SHIVAMOGGE
Photo by Mohan Shenoy
In Ikkeri, the capital of Keladi kingdom, Raja Venkatappa declared himself
independent of Vijayanagar king in 1565 at the fall of Ramaraya.
In Srirangapatna, Raja Wodeyar, king of Mysore declared himself independent
at the same time.
Other smaller provinces also declared themselves independent of Vijayanagara
empire more or less same time.
|NANDI THE BULL (MUSEUM AT SHIVAMOGGE)
Photo by Mohan Shenoy
used muskets to fight
the enemy. Muskets
made a big difference in
these wars between
satisfied to defend Goa
and did not expand their
hold in India beyond it.
Krishnadevaraya did not see the difference between the
Muslim sultans and the Hindu kings of eastern regions such as
Udayagiri, Kondavidu, Kondapalli and Kataka (Cuttack in
Odissa). He waged wars against the Hindu kings equally
ferociously instead of making friends with them for the sake of
peace and to contain the Muslim sultans from expansion.
Multireligious Kings and Mixed Population
The eastern kings were also aggressive and their aim was to
defeat Vijayanagara and expand their holdings. The eastern
kings employed Muslim generals too and profited from their
hatred for the Hindu army of Vijayanagara. Also
Krishnadevaraya having defeated Ismail Adil Khan of Bijapur in
1522 and went further north to Gulbarga and defeated the
rebel Muslim generals who had revolted against Bijapur and
had kept a few Bahamani princes as hostages. These Muslim
rulers were referred to as Yavana(s) by the Hindus.
Expansion of Bijapur Sultanate
Bijapur kingdom was expanded after the fall of Vijayanagara in 1565, just as the other
four sultanates were. Ali Adilshah was assassinated in 1580 and Ibrahim Adilshah II
just an infant of one year was placed on the throne by Chand Bibi, a strong queen in
Ali's harem. She appointed regent after regent until finally Bijapur became a
semi-autonomous state under the Delhi Mughal king Akbar around 1600 A.D.
Thereafter Bijapur was peaceful and Ibrahim Adilshah II made the sultanate a center
of literature, music and arts. He was a tolerant prince on religions other than Islam.
Ibrahim Adilshah II died in 1627 and his son Muhammad took over the reign.
Mughal emperor Akbar ascended the throne in Delhi in 1593. Even though
the sultans in the Deccan were Muslims, Akbar, himself a Muslim, wanted to
annexe their territory by force if necessary. Muslim sultans and warriors will
come together to fight a Hindu king jointly but later they fight among
themselves just as the Hindus did. In 1586 Muhammad Quli Qutbshah was
the ruler at Golconda.
The fallen hero of the Talikote battle Ramaraya, Aliya Ramaraya, was one of the
two sons-in-law of Emperor Krishnadevaraya, having married his elder daughter
Ramaraya's brother Tirumala married the younger daughter Vengalamba.
Ramaraya hailed from Aravidu and hence Tirumala, the survivor and apparent heir
to the Vijayanagara ruins was chosen to restore the kingdom. Last of the Tuluva
dynasty viz., prince Sadashiva, son of Ranga younger brother of Achyutaraya, had
died. In fact Ramaraya commenced Aravidu dynasty rule soon after the death of
Aravidu Tirumala however faced an uphill task to restore the kingdom. The capital
Vijayanagara was completely destroyed and nothing could be salvaged. Therefore
after about six years of confusion, Tirumala was crowned as the king at
Penukonda. Tirumala was respected for his age of over 70 years but his authority
was ignored by all the chieftains such as of Adoni, Bankapur, Madurai, Tanjore
and Jinji. Whatever was left was divided into three provinces on linguistic basis.
Already Tamil, Telugu and Kannada languages were in competition in the
respective regions in south India. Chandragiri was headquarters for Tamil.
Penukonda was for Telugu and Srirangapatna was for Kannada. In 1586 Venkata
the third son of Tirumala became the king of the vestigial Vijayanagara.
The Nizamshah of Ahmadnagar was given the task of punishing Ramaraya.
Nizamshah beheaded Ramaraya and arranged to display his head among the troops
on the tip of a spear. Soon the Vijayanagara army began to retreat without any
direction from their officers. Every one tried to escape by shedding their uniforms.
Towards the end of the war and defeat of Ramaraya, there was the usual looting,
murder, rape of the civilians, destruction of property including the palaces, temples
and residential buildings in the city of Vijayanagara situated close to Banihatti, the
place where the final battle took place. This battle is known as the battle of Talikote,
or of Rakkasatangadi and resulted in the victory of the Muslim kings in much of the
land now known as North Karnataka.
Fall of Vijayanagar Empire
The large well-equipped armies of the Muslim kingdoms surrounded the Vijayanagara
empire but there was hostility against each other among them. But they were able to
make peace among themselves by way of matrimony by the princes marrying the sisters
and daughters of the opposite sultan. Islam came in handy for them to develop
The five sultans Nizamshah of Ahmadnagar, Adilshah of Bijapur, Baridshah of Bidar,
Qutbshah of Golconda and Imadshah of Berar came together to form a large army and
began their expedition against Vijayanagara in 1564 in the month of Pushya.
In Delhi Shahjahan took over the reign and planned to change the relations
his predecessor had with Ahmadnagar and Bijapur and other areas in the
South. Adilshah II employed a Hindu general Murari Pundit to fight the big
army of Delhi's Mughal Emperor Shahjahan that attacked both Ahmadnagar
and Bijapur in 1636. A Hindu warrior Shahji fought for the Nizam of
Ahmadnagar; yet Shahjahan won the war and Nizamshahi was wiped out
with the fall of Ahmadnagar and Daulatabad forts in succession. After this
Shahjahan defeated Bijapur and Golconda one after the other and made
them submit to his dictates. Both sultans signed a Deed of submission in
Muslims and Kannada
From 1327 A.D. , onwards it was not uncommon to see Islam and its
followers closely intermingled with the Hindus all over India. Towards the end
of 1646 (more than 300 years later) the preferred job for a healthy young
man was joining the army. It was not possible for the sultan to employ only
Muslim soldiers and for the Hindu kings to employ only Hindu soldiers. Even
though there were still many Pathans, Turks, Iranians, Arabs coming to India
to work under the Muslim sultan or king not all could be accommodated.
There were many of these foreigners who had already fought under a Muslim
sultan or chief but lost his job due to circumstances unfavourable to him.
During the period between 1565 and 1591 the land now demarkated as
Karnaataka had many indirect side-effects of the wars for lordship of the
Delhi throne. The five sultans were not able to capture for themselves the
erstwhile Vijayanagar territories after its collapse because the local kings of
the different regions under Vijayanagar were strong and declared
themselves as independent.. Bijapur Adilshahi continued and then until 1629
rest of the north Karnataka was spared from invasions by the Mughals.
Jahangir had no time to look towards the south.
The Dalwayee had to get the money to pay for these
demands from the aggressors and therefore Dalwayee
Devaraja and Nanjaraja attacked Tiruchirapally in 1752.
This war lasted three years and drained the treasury
instead of providing funds. Nanjaraja had employed one
Hyder Ali as a captain among his troops. The troops were
not paid their salary after the war with Tiruchirapally and
therefore Hyder Ali could instigate a riot and get Nanjaraja
removed as the Dalwayee by the king Krishnaraja II who
appointed Hyder Ali as the Dalwayee. Hyder began to
disobey the king soon after. This lead to a situation
wherein the king invited the attacking Maratha army for
help. Hyder Ali escaped and fled. He returned with a big
army. Hyder negotiated peace with the Maratha
commander so that the king failed to get help from the
Maratha army. Hyder subdued the royal troops so that the
king was forced to surrender the kingdom to Hyder Ali.
However Hyder Ali did not harm the king but provided him
a pension of 3 lakhs in the form of Jagir. Hyder Ali
proclaimed himself as the administrator of Mysore
kingdom in 1761 A.D. In the same year the Marathas were
defeated in the Third Battle of Panipat near Delhi at the
hands of the Afghans.
Portuguese in Goa
In June 1565 A.D. ,the five sultans Nizamshah of
Ahmadnagar, Adilshah of Bijapur, Baridshah of Bidar,
Qutbshah of Golconda and Imadshah of Berar were still
tasting their victory at Talikote, but the Portuguese on the
west coast were a threat therefore the sultans of Bijapur
and Ahmadnagar jointly fought the Portuguese but the
latter were too strong to be driven away completely. So
they signed treaties with the Portuguese following which
there was peace at least until the Mughal army came to
attack them. Mughals invaded all the sultanates and
occupied their territories in 1675 A.D.
Earliest of Mysore rulers was one Yadu in 1399. In 1423 Bettada Chamaraja
was the king. He was succeeded by Thimmaraja and then Chamaraja II. Next,
Bettada Chamaraja III was crowned, followed by Bola Chamaraja IV whose
second son Raja Wodeyar became the ruler in 1578. Raja Wodeyar was
recognized as a strong ruler and became less dependant on the Vijayanagara
kingdom after the Talikote debacle of the latter. Raja Wodeyar (1578-1617) was
the ruler in Mysore just south of Srirangapatna to where Venkata's kingdom
extended. Venkata made friends with the Raja Wodeyar of Mysore and granted
Srirangapatna and other territories to the latter in 1610. Thus the Mysore
kingdom came to be recognized as a worthwhile territory. This is the first time
that an exclusive Kannada-speaking kingdom came into existence. Raja
Wodeyar ruled from 1578 to 1617. He expanded his kingdom by invading
Channapatna. Raja began the practice of celebrating Dasara festival in Mysore
every year with a royal procession. Raja's successor was Chamaraja Wodeyar
VI (1617-1637). Chamaraja's successor Raja Wodeyar II did not last long
because he was poisoned and killed soon after he was crowned.
Kanteerava Narasaraja I
Then Kanteerava Narasaraja I (1638-1662), son of Bettada Chamaraja V, the
elder brother of Raja Wodeyar, was appointed the ruler. Kanteerava was
powerful and defeated Ranadulla Khan of Bijapur who came down to conquer
Before this, the rulers did not favour any particular language over other
sister-languages. The Bahamanis and Adilshahis had the Farsee language and
the Golconda sultans had the Deccani a mix of Hindi, Arabic and Farsee as their
The Vijayanagara kings encouraged both Telugu and Kannada languages but
they leaned more towards Telugu than Kannada.
Venkata was the ruler of Vijayanagara until 1614 A.D. The last Vijayanagara
king was Sriranga III from 1642 to 1669 A.D. after which the kingdom ceased to
Kanteerava also captured Periyapatna of Madikeri kingdom and Satyamangala
and Danayakanakote of Madurai kingdom. Kempegauda who was the chief in
Bengaluru was threatened by Kanteerava and made to pay tribute to the latter.
Selection of a heir to the throne in Mysore was orderly and sons and grandsons
were waiting to be crowned king when time came. Kanteerava Narasaraja I was
childless. Therefore the sons of Muppina Devaraja, the younger brother of Raja
Wodeyar were waiting to be chosen. The third son Kempa Doddadevaraya was
chosen and crowned following Kanteerava. Doddadevaraya ruled from 1662 to
1672 during which time he had to keep his rival prince Chikkadevaraya, the son
of his elder brother Devaraja under guard in distant Hangal to avoid palace
Seventeenth Century Kannada Areas
Kannada language, like all languages any where, was born as people used it to
communicate among themselves. I am not sure if there was a Dravidian language
in use in India before Sanskrit became popular among the scholars. Since there
are more words common in both Tamil and Kannada than in Malayalam and
Kannada or Telugu and Kannada, it is assumed that Tamil and Kannada had a
single predecessor language. All four languages viz. Kannada, Malayalam, Tamil
and Telugu are considered Dravidian languages; they are not considered as
dialects of a single language. Also each has its own distinct script. The patrons of
the languages were the scholars. The kings did not show any partiality to a
particular language, but encouraged all the languages spoken in their kingdoms
When Vijayanagara was at its highest glory, it had conquered the whole of the
peninsula south of Tungabhadra river. Keladi on the west coast south of Goa was
a major principality. Mysore around Srirangapatna was another major feudatory
state whose Wodeyars served the Vijayanagara empire. Smaller provinces were
Chitradurga, Bengaluru, Channapatna, Rayadurga, Harapanahalli, Basavapatna,
Sonde, Bilgi, Kanchipuram, Madurai, Ummattur, Kerala, Tanjavur and many others.
In Ikkeri, the capital of Keladi kingdom, Raja Venkatappa declared himself
independent of Vijayanagar king in 1565 at the fall of Ramaraya.In Srirangapatna,
Raja Wodeyar, king of Mysore declared himself independent at the same
time.Other smaller provinces also declared themselves independent of
Vijayanagara empire more or less same time.
Kempa Doddadevaraya of Bidanur
Kempa Doddadevaraya was also a powerful king and he
repulsed attacks from the Keladi army under Shivappanayaka
and annexed Sakrepatna, Hassan, Chikkanayakanahalli,
Huliyurdurga and Kunigal into Mysore. The Nayaka of
Madurai who came attacking Mysore was also defeated and
Erode and Dharmapuri were taken from him. However Kempa
died in Chikkanayakanahalli in 1672. Prince Chikkadevaraya
was released from Hangal and brought to Mysore by the
chiefs and made the king to succeed Kempa Doddadevarya in
1672. Chikka was the king until 1704 when he died. Chikka's
son, Kanteerava Narasaraja II, was the next prince in line to
be crowned. He became the king although he was dumb and
deaf. This fact gave an opportunity for the commanders of the
army to play their games as they pleased.
Shivappanayaka ruled from 1645 to 1660. He won over the
territories of Hasan and Chikmagalur which were in Mysore
kingdom. In 1671 Rani Chennammaji was the queen of Keladi
till 1697. Keladi was finished by Hyder Ali in 1763 A.D.
The commanders were referred to as Dalvayee. None of the
Dalwayee was of royal blood and therefore the Dalvayee was
not eligible to become a king. But after the death of Chikka the
rulers were weak and listened to the Dalwayee's advice in all
matters. The Dalwayee often avoided fighting an attacker but
instead chose to pay substantial amounts to the enemy and
send them away. In 1724 the Nizam of Golconda and his ally
Ghorpade of Gutti came attacking Mysore and the Dalwayee
made the then king Krishnaraja II pay more than one crore as
tribute to avoid a war. In 1727 when Krishnaraja I was the
king, the Maratha warrior Baji Rao I collected a tribute of 21
lakhs. In 1741when Krishnaraja II was the king the Nizam
Nasir Jung levied a tribute of 50 lakhs on Mysore and in 1755
another Nizam Salabat Jung also levied a tribute of 56 lakhs.
Chaudappa Gowda, a farmer of Keladi founded the kingdom as the first Nayaka in
1499. He became a feudatory of Vijayanagara. His son Sadashiva was Nayaka
from 1530 to 1567 A.D. Ramaraya the emperor of Vijayanagara put Sadashiva in
charge of Chandragutti, Mangalore and Barakur districts after Sadashiva won the
war with Adilshah of Bijapur in 1531. At this time Sadashiva moved his capital from
Keladi to Ikkeri. Venkatappa ruled from 1582 to 1629. During Venkatappa's rule the
capital was moved from Ikkeri to Bidnur.
When Bahamani kingdom was inaugurated in Gulbarga in
1347, Delhi was ruled by sultan Muhammad Bin Tughluk.
Tughluk died in 1951. The Delhi throne was then claimed by
Firuz, son of Muhammad's uncle Rajab. Firuz ruled till 1388,
the year he died. Firuz's successors belonging to Tughluk
dynasty ruled Delhi until 1398 at which time Timur Lame, a
Muslim warrior and a son of a Turkish mother and Mongol
father came from across Sind river and attacked Delhi. He
and his army plundered Delhi for three days and then
returned back to Samarkhand where he died in 1405.
A large number of people died at the hands of Timur and his
army. He had determined that people in India were weak
'infidels' and looting, raping their women, and murdering their
children and the old alike was his duty as a Muslim soldier. It
is impossible to imagine how bad it was for the common man
in India during these raids by Muslims.
At the time Timur invaded Delhi, a Tughluk sultan was on the
throne. One Mallu Iqbal claimed the throne when Timur left.
Mallu ruled until 1405 when he died in battle with Khizr Khan
in Multan. Delhi became ruler less. Mahmud Tughluk a son of
late Firuz was chosen to be the sultan by the chiefs. Mahmud
died in 1412. Taking the opportunity Khizr Khan came from
Multan and took over the Delhi throne as Sayeed sultan.
Khizr Khan's successor was Sayeed Mubarak Shah
(1421-1433) who was assassinated by his own body guards.
Mubarak's adopted son Sayeed Muhammad Shah ruled Delhi
from 1434 to 1443. Muhammad's son Sayeed Alam Shah
ruled from 1443 to 1451.
Khizr Khan's successor was Sayeed Mubarak Shah
(1421-1433) who was assassinated by his own body
guards. Mubarak's adopted son Sayeed Muhammad Shah
ruled Delhi from 1434 to 1443. Muhammad's son Sayeed
Alam Shah ruled from 1443 to 1451.
|Zahiruddin Muhammad Babar
One Zahiruddin Muhammad Babar came from the west
and fought with Lodi army at Panipat in 1526. Babar's son
Humayun also took part in the battle and the subsequent
expeditions into the region in and around Delhi.
Humayun, son of Babar
Babar's son Humayun ascended the throne in Delhi in 1531.
There were many Afghan warlords in different districts all over
India. They were employed as army commanders by the
Delhi's ruler. Some of them worked as mercenaries under
Hindu kings. Some of the Afghans nurtured an ambition to
become the sultan in Delhi. The same Afghan would fight for
the Muslim master one day and then change sides and fight
for his opponent next day.
The Sur Dynasty
One Farid, a young Afghan, was a commander under the
Afghan king of Bihar in 1533. The king noticed that Farid was
a brave fighter and conferred on him the title of Sher Khan.
Farid belonged to the Sur dynasty. Later Sher Khan fought
many wars with Humayun and ousted him from Delhi in 1540
A.D. Humayun fled to Sind where he remained for 15 years.
Meanwhile Sher Khan established himself as the ruler at Delhi
and called his kingdom by the name of Sur sultanate. He ruled
Delhi until 1545 and his successors carried on the rule till 1555.
Return of Humayun
Humayun returned from Sind and recaptured Delhi throne.
He brought with him his son Akbar. Akbar was a young
man of 14 when Humayun died after falling from the roof in
1556. Akbar had his friend Byram Khan propose Akbar to
succeed Humayun as the next Delhi sultan.
Jahangir, formerly Salim ruled as the Mughal emperor from
1605 till his death in 1627 when he was 58 years old. One
of the most heinous acts of Jahangir was beheading the
Sikh Guru Arjun Singh in 1606 near Lahore. This resulted
in permanent enmity between the Sikhs and Muslims.
Beginning in 1608 Jahangir had to face the Marathas in
the Deccan with Malik Ambar of the Maratha army over
running Ahmadnagar and driving out the Mughals.
Jahangir did not again try to expand his holdings in the
Prince Khurram, son of Jahangir, proclaimed himself as emperor
with the royal name Shahjahan in 1628. One year later,
Shahjahan traveled to the south and attacked Ahmadnagar of
Murtaza Nizam Shah who had given refuge to an Afghan brave
called Khan-i-Jahan. Murtaza realized that the Khan was no
match to the Mughal army and signed a surrender treaty with
Shahjahan. In the Deccan the vindictiveness of Shahjahan
against the Hindus was equal to that of Allauddin Khilji,
Muhammad bin Tughluk and other Muslim invaders from the
north in the past.
Shahjahan came to Daulatabad fort repeatedly to subdue
several uprisings in the Deccan. In 1636 Shahjahan was able to
win several battles with Ahmadnagar, Bijapur and Golconda and
establish his suzerainity over all of them.
Bijapur sultan Muhammad Adilshah was allowed more
freedom than others by Shahjahan. Muhammad employed
Ranadulla Khan and Shahji as his army commanders and
took Ikkeri of the Keladi kingdom, Sira, Bangalore of
Kempegowda, Sakrepatna and Tumkur of Mysore
kingdom. Employing Mustafa Khan as commander
Muhammad could extend his kingdom by beating Vellore,
Jinji and Puducherry by 1646. Later the chiefs of Madurai,
Tanjavuru and Raibaug near Belagavi (Belgaum) came
Aurangzeb, son of Shahjahan was helping his father in
managing the southern territories from 1636 onwards.
Aurangzeb showed no leniency towards anyone whom he
thought was against Mughal interests.
|The Marathas in Karnaataka
Shivaji was the younger son of Shahji, the Adilshahi army
commander. He grew up in Raigad in Konkan and at the age of
14 came to Bangalore where his father was the Jagirdar, for
further military training. He became an able soldier specialized in
guerrilla warfare. His first success was when he captured the
Toran fort from Adilshah sultanate in 1646 and declared himself
independent of the sultan.
Aurangzeb was born in the year 1618 and he died in the year
1707 at the age of 89 years. He was a ruthless tyrant. All Mughal
kings were dictators and autocrats but Aurangzeb was also a
bully, tormentor and persecutor. The Maratha warrior Shivaji was
the prominent opponent to Aurangzeb who at the age of 18 in
1636 started his military adventures. He tasted the luxury of a
viceroy while in Daulatabad fort and kept Ahmadnagar, Bijapur
and Golconda safe for his father Shahjahan. In 1644 Aurangzeb
was sent to the northwest for restoring Kandahar to the Mughal
empire. After 8 years in the northwest, he returned to Daulatabad
for a second stint in the Deccan as Shahjahan's viceroy.
Aurangzeb found Khirki (Khidki) the most pleasant place to live in
and renamed it as Aurangabad. Khidki was earlier Malik Ambar's
capital of Ahmadnagar sultanate.
Aurangzeb put pressure on Golconda's Qutb Shah and
also on Ali Adil Shah II of Bijapur. But Shivaji was a new
threat that Aurangzeb faced from 1646 onwards. Therefore
Aurangzeb's army got a very large area to defend, an area
extending from the Konkan, across Deccan up to the
eastern shores of Golconda with every Muslim commander
being suspect of conspiracy. Dara Shukoh, the eldest
brother of Aurangzeb was a rival for the Delhi throne.
If Dara Shukoh had become the Mughal emperor following
Shahjahan, the future of the Mughal dynasty would have
been brighter. Also Shahjahan was known to be partial to
Dara Shukoh because Aurangzeb was a treacherous
aspirant for succession as the Emperor. There was no one
whom Aurangzeb could call his friend and faithful.
Shahjahan fell ill in 1657 and through out the next two
years Aurangazeb annihilated all his brothers one by one,
imprisoned and neutralized his father Shahjahan and
ascended the throne in Delhi in 1659.
Shivaji was the younger son of Shahji, the Adilshahi army
commander. He grew up in Raigad in Konkan and at the
age of 14 came to Bangalore where his father was the
Jagirdar, for further training. He became an able soldier
specialized in guerrilla warfare. His first success was when
he captured the Toran fort from Adilshah sultanate in 1646
and declared himself independent of the sultan.
|European Influence in Karnaataka
Kanteerava Narasaraja I was the king (1638-1662) in Mysore. When
Aurangzeb ascended the throne in Delhi Kempa Doddadevaraya was
the king. Kanteerava Narasaraja II who became king in 1704 Mysore
was repeatedly under attack from the Mughals, Marathas and Bijapur
sultan with the Golconda Nizam also playing his role. Shivaji died in
1680 leaving a vast empire in the Deccan to his successors. His
eldest son Sambhaji opposed the coronation of his younger son
Rajaram by the Raigad worthies. Therefore there was a split within
the Maratha powers. Sambhaji crowned himself as the Maratha
Maharaj in 1681.
Under Sambhaji's reign there was tussle between the Mughals and
the Bijapur sultanate. Bijapur's Sikandar Adilhah was deposed and
he died in 1700 following which Adilshahi dynasty ended. Now the
tussle became severe between the Mughals and the Marathas with
Golconda's Qutb Shah joining it.
Maratha prince Rajaram younger son of Shivaji sought
protection from many Hindu kings including Keladi Nayakas.
Later in 1689 Sambhaji was captured by Mughal army and
killed. Rajaram was crowned the Maharaja at Raygad but
soon the Mughals attacked Raygad. Rajaram had to flee to
Jinji in the south to evade capture by the Mughals. Yet
Rajaram's son Shahu, signed treaty with the Mughals and
he, a grandson of Shivaji was made the jagirdar under a
Mughal general in 1719.
Jinji fell in 1688 to Mughals and Rajaram fled to Satara
where he died in 1700. His widow Tara Bai kept the
Maratha kingdom alive by declaring her son Shivaji II as the
Maharaja. In 1700 there were many Maratha generals such
as Ghorpades and Jadavs who became powerful. The
Rajput kings invited them to join their army to defend
against the Mughal attacks. Often the Marathas had to face
strong opponents and fight losing a lot of money as
expenditure. Therefore the Marathas became the
independent rulers of some of the areas they won for the
Rajputs. They identified themselves as Peshwa(s) (Prime
Beginning of end of Mughal dynasty
Meanwhile in Delhi there was a severe upheaval. Aurangzeb
had died in 1707 and the Mughal empire was crumbling as a
result of bad governance by Aurangzeb and his successor
Bahadur Shah. The Shah died in 1712 following which there
was war of succession among his sons. Jahandar Shah won
the wars and ruled for one year or so. Jahandar's nephew
Farrukhsiyar ascended the throne in 1713.
In 1719 Muhammad Shah, a grandson of Bahadur Shah
became the king.
|Important Princely States in 1719 A. D.
|Invaders from Iran and Afghanistan
Delhi was yet to recover from the orgy of Nadir Shah, when
in 1748 another invader, this time an Afghan warrior by the
name of Ahmad Shah Durrani invaded India. Departing from
Kandahar, he recovered lands invaded by Nadir Shah
earlier, such as Ghazni, Kabul, Peshawar and finally Delhi,
but he lost the battle at Sirhind to Mughal army. Durrani
retreated to Kandahar to plan future attacks. Muhammad
Shah died in 1748 itself and his heir Ahmad Shah mounted
the throne. Soon Durrani the Afghan invader returned. This
time the Mughal army of Ahmad Shah could not save the
Durrani did not pursue beyond Punjab. There was nothing
much left in Delhi for him to burgle.
In 1754 a descendant of Jahandar Shah was placed on the
throne as Alamgir II by the chiefs, after deposing Ahmad
Shah and imprisoning him. At this time Durrani returned to
Delhi and declaring himself as the Delhi emperor in 1757
began to plunder and loot temples, palaces and mansions of
merchants in Delhi and every other population center
including Mathura. He decided to leave Delhi within four
months because of the hot weather after giving back the
throne to Alamgir II. However, it was the Maratha Peshwa
Baji Rao who was the effective ruler of Delhi those days.
Noticing that there is more wealth in India to be burgled,
Ahmad Shah Durrani returned in 1761. The responsibility to
defend Delhi was in the hands of Marathas at this time. The
Maratha army fought Durrani's forces at Panipat but
suffered defeat. This battle is known as the third Panipat
war to the historians. Durrani, the Afghan leader sensed the
big British forces present in India and retreated to Kandahar
after the Panipat war. The land around Delhi became the
ground for tug of war between the Marathas, Sikhs and the
British from 1773 onwards following the death of the
Invaders from Iran and Afghanistan
In 1739 the Iranian invader Nadir Shah began his expedition
into India from Ghazni and as he marched to Delhi he
plundered and lay bare principalities like Kabul, Lahore and
Karnail. Nadir Shah ordered his soldiers to execute every
single resident of Delhi, man woman or child and loot
everything that was considered valuable. After two months of
such terror Nadir Shah returned to Iran with the booty. He
carried away the famous peacock throne of Shahjahan with
him. Muhammad Shah the Mughal king came to be a pauper.
The historians have marked the wars among the European
kingdoms from 1618 to 1648 as the Thirty Year War. The first
stage of the war was between 1618 and 1624 when
Bohemian war took place. The states of present Germany
Bohemia and Bavaria were ruled by two different rulers in
1618. Bohemia represented by the present Czech Republic
was a Protestant Christian state ruled by the Protestant
League and Frederick was their president. It was a war
between the Emperor of Austria, Ferdinand II and the
people's league of Bohemia. In this war the Catholic Emperor
During this time in India Emperor Aurangzeb kept himself busy
with the hundreds of wars between his army and his Muslim
rivals. In the course the ordinary Muslim inhabitant was
unhappy and the Hindus were a neglected and harassed lot.
Most of the Sikh, Jain and Hindu infrastructure was destroyed
and the religious gurus and devotees were clueless as to
what is happening to their lives. The Mughals were Sunni
Muslims and had fatal grudge against the Shia arm of Islam.
Iranians and Afghans who belonged to the Shia faith suffered
the most in an Islamic administration inspite of being Muslims.
The second stage of the Thirty Year war in Europe known as
the Danish period was between 1625 and 1629. The ruler of
Denmark and Norway, Christian IV was a Protestant and
Charles I of England was also leaning towards Protestantism.
A few princes within Germany were believers of Protestantism.
But the Emperor of Austria, Ferdinand II was a fundamental
Catholic. He became a ruthless administrator in suppressing
Protestantism. Lutheranism and Calvinism were two wings of
Protestantism. Christian IV went to war and lost and signed
a Treaty of Lubeck in 1629.
The third stage of the war known as the Swedish period
between 1630 and 1635 was waged by the ruler of Sweden
Gustavus Adolphus. The French prime minister Richelieu
gave finance to Gustavus. In the war Count of Tilly a
commander in the Austrian army slaughtered over 20,000
Protestant people in Northern Germany.
In 1632 a fierce battle took place in Lutzen and Gustavus
was defeated. The war continued between the Protestant and
Catholic armies and ended in 1635 by the Treaty of Prague.
The fourth stage of the war known as Spanish period was
between 1636 and 1642. Spain was a Catholic state just as
Austria was and they were therefore enemies of France,
Sweden, Netherlands and Savoy. War began between
France and Spain in 1635 and Spanish army got the
upperhand first but later the French pushed back the Spanish
garrison. The war in Germany between the Emperor
Ferdinand and the Protestants also continued with success to
the former first and to the latter later. Both Spain and Emperor
Ferdinand of Hopsburg dynasty agreed to sign the treaty of
defeat in Westphalia in 1642.
Following the Treaty of Westphalia, Germany was formed
anew as a group of small states and King Frederick became
the Elector of the German Council. Brandenberg later joined
Germany to form Prussia.
In 1689 England saw a significant political change in its
monarchy. In 1688 the people of England were predominantly
Protestant and they revolted against James II who was a
fanatic Catholic. The king tried to convert the people into
Catholicism, but they resisted. One William of Orange of
Holland and his wife Mary were invited by the people to
depose James II.
Mary was a daughter of James II by his first queen and was
given to William in marriage. James II fled to France and Mary
and William were enthroned jointly in 1689.
Aurangzeb conquered Bijapur in 1686 and invaded Kannada
territories south of it like Raichur, Bellary, Chithradurga,
Tumkur and Kolar. Then they proceeded further south to Jinji
past Vellore. The Mughal province south of the Tungabhadra
river was known by the name of Bijapur-Karnatak to the
Mughals. Sira was the headquarters for this province. Mysore
was included in this province and until 1724 the Mughals
expected tributes from the heads of these regions. Some of
them were referred to as Palegars and others Zamindars.
Mysore king was referred to as Zamindar. Initially the Marathas
and the Nizam of Hyderabad obeyed the orders of the Mughal
emperor but after 1724 they began to act independently and
collected tributes for themselves. Nizam renamed the palegars
as Nawabs. The arrival of Hyderali in the scene in 1761
changed the scenario in favour of Mysore, and all payments as
tributes to the Mughals or the Nizam stopped.
|Maratha Power in Karnaataka
Peshwa Madhav Rao
Peshwa Madhav Rao repeatedly carried out expeditions from
his headquarters in Pune to Kannada speaking areas from
Krishna river downwards, viz. Panchmahals (five taluks:
Kadwad (Karwar), Ankola, Sonda, Keladi and Chithradurga.
He reached Srirangapatna where Hyderali was the
administrator and collected a tribute of 30 lakhs. Sadashiva
Rau, cousin of Peshwa Balaji Rao besieged Srirangapatna
again in 1757 and demanded 32 lakhs as revenue due
(chauth). But Mysore could not pay all of it and so 13 taluks
were pledged to the Maratha as arrears. Peshwa Madhav
Rao came again in 1759 when Mysore was a pauper
following many invasions by the Nizam of Golconda. He
collected heavy tributes but returned to Pune in 1761 as the
Third Panipat war was on between the Afghan leader Ahmad
Shah Durrani and Peshwa Baji Rao. Hyderali took the
opportunity to invade and acquire the lands lost by him earlier
to the Marathas.
The Maratha general Shahu was appointed Jagirdar of
Kannada areas in Mughal province in 1719 after he helped
Shahjahan to annexe these territories into Mughal empire.
After this the Peshwa period began. The Maratha Prime
Ministers were known as Peshwa(s). After Shahu, Baji Rao
and Balaji Rao were the Peshwa(s) collecting land revenue.
But Hyderali helped a rebel in Golconda viz. Balasat Jung
who invaded parts of Maratha possessions. Later Hyderali
appointed himself as the Nawab of Sira under the rebel
Nizam Balasat Jung. This helped him to raid the territories
held by the Marathas south of Tungabhadra.
Rise of Hyderali
Hyderali helped the rebel Nizam Balasat Jung to gain
territories to form a new Nizamshahi in Adoni, now in Andhra
Pradesh, and surrounding areas. In the expedition several
large kingdoms were grabbed from the Maratha hold. Sira
was one of them. The Nizam allowed Hyderali to keep Sira
and Hyderali got himself nominated as the Nawab of Sira.
Then Hyderali captured Chikkaballapur, Doddaballapur,
Penukonda and Madaksira in 1762. He captured Keladi in
1763, Sonda in 1764, Gutti near Ananthpur in the same year,
and then Savanur soon after. Dharwad fell into Hyderali's
kitty later. Hyderali's victory was short-lived because Peshwa
Madhav Rao came again in 1764 to regain all the friendly
states south of Tungabhadra from Hyderali in successive
campaigns from Munvalli and Hubli to Savanur, Dharwad
and Haveri. Hyder was routed at Rattihalli and then Anavatti
late in 1764. Gutti was returned to its Maratha ruler
Ghorpade. In 1765 the Marathas got Hyderali sign a peace
treaty leaving him a Mysore smaller than it was in 1638.
The Maratha forces had not only Kannada areas but also
many other regions to protect and therefore the Kannada
speaking areas under them were an easy prey for Hyderali to
attack and conquer time and again. Hyderali resumed his
raids on Chithradurga, Harapanahalli, Bellary and Rayadurga
in 1767 but Peshwa Madhav Rao swiftly returned from Pune
and recaptured all of them leaving Bangalore and Mysore
untouched. To spare Bangalore and Mysore, Hyderali signed
a treaty with the Marathas and paid a tribute of 31 lakhs to
Sighting a good opportunity Hyderali raided the lands held by
the East India Company south of Mysore in 1767. This war
was the First Anglo-Mysore war. The East India Company
signed a treaty accepting defeat. Hyderali resumed his
campaigns against the Marathas once again after the treaty
with the English. The Peshwa returned again from Pune to
put down Hyderali. He succeeded to an extent but in 1770,
fell ill and returned to Pune leaving the task to his general
Triambakrao Pethe. Hyder was defeated at Moti Talav near
Melkote in 1771. Triambakrao also had to leave the task
unfinished and proceed to Tanjavur to help Maratha ruler
there. Peshwa Madhav Rao died in 1772 and therefore the
Maratha campaign slowed down and then weakened.
Hyderali was young and active when Peshwa Madhav Rao died. Madhav
Rao's younger brother Narayan Rao became the Peshwa but he was
murdered due to crisis in Pune, the Maratha headquarters. Raghunath
Rao was made the Peshwa. He made peace with Hyderali. From 1772 to
1780 Marathas, due to their internal rivalries, were unable to engage
Hyderali and recover their lost territories. This situation encouraged
Hyderali to pursue his ambition to conquer and gain more territories.
In 1780 Hyderali crowned himself the Nawab of Srirangapatna and held
territories extending from the north of Tungabhadra to Mysore. He was
confronted by the presence of the English who were controlling the land
south of Mysore. To free this land from the English, he allied with the
Nizam of Golconda and with the Marathas in 1780 to fight the English
together. This was the Second Anglo-Mysore war. During the war the
Nizam and the Marathas withdrew their support to Hyderali in 1782.
Hyderali's son Tippu was by then fighting alongside his father in the war.
Hyderali died due to sickness in December 1782.
Tippu had to take over and continue the war as the chief
commander of Mysore forces.The English had been fighting
the Marathas around Surat this time and a war between
Marathas and English also commenced in 1780. This was
the First Anglo-Maratha war. The Marathas suffered defeats
in their war with the English forcing them to sign the Treaty
of Saibai in May 1782. Meanwhile Tippu could defeat the
English at Wandiwash, south of Mysore but he lost Bidnur
and Mangalore to the English forces on the west coast.
Major changes took place at this time around the world. In
the English colony of America the rebellion against the
British rule succeeded and most of the eastern part of North
American Continent became free in 1776.
The French Influence
The wars carried out by the Marathas were expensive;
otherwise they would not have won so many wars against
the Mughals who were using the plundered and extracted
wealth of the smaller kingdoms to keep themselves rich and
powerful. The Marathas also extracted heavy tributes from
the Kannada kings to maintain the friendship with them and
protecting them from the Muslim attackers. The difference
was that the Mughals maimed or killed the owners to extract
the riches while the Marathas threatened violence if the
demands were not met. The owners had to comply to avoid
During the period between 1565 and 1591 the land now
demarkated as Karnataka had many indirect side-effects of
the wars for lordship of the Delhi throne.
The five sultans were not able to capture for themselves
the erstwhile Vijayanagar territories after its collapse
because the local kings of the different regions under
Vijayanagar were strong and declared themselves as
Bijapur Adilshahi continued and then until 1629 rest of the
north Karnataka was spared from invasions by the Mughals.
Jahangir had no time to look towards the south.
Mysore after Tippu
In the Fourth Anglo-Mysore War the Marathas and the Nizam
forces retreated after Tippu’s death. English claimed victory.
They did not appoint Tippu's sons to the throne. It appears
that the English did not recognise either Hyderali or Tippu as
hereditary rulers of Mysore. Hyderali did not consider himself
to be the king although he became a Nawab. He placed
Chamaraja IX on the throne following the death of Krishnaraja
II in 1776. Hyderali died in 1782 and Tippu assumed himself
to be the sultan disregarding the presence of Chamaraja IX
on the throne of Mysore. Chamaraja died in 1796 but Tippu
did not give any heed to crown Krishnaraja III, the son of
Chamaraja. He allowed the kingship to lapse. Krishnaraja III
was just a child when Tippu was killed. The English tracked
down the child prince Krishnaraja and negotiated the terms
for him to be crowned as the king of Mysore. Tippu's sons
were also eligible for being crowned as lawful claimants for
the throne. But the English saw Tippu as a friend of their
enemies, the French. Tippu had befriended the French in
order to improve the fighting capacity of his forces against the
Assimilation of Muslims
In the first half of the eighteenth century, there was suffecient
assimilation of Islam in India with the result that the foot
soldiers, cavalry, gunners and sub-commanders in the rival
armies were of identical race, religion and locality. Less
number of civilians were murdered or religiouos places
destroyed after a victory than a century or two ago. Especially
in the south, the Mughal army was willing to leave if they
were given the tribute they demanded within a reasonable
time after confrontation. However the victim was left poorer
and devastated. The peasants and the workers were the
ultimate sufferers since the chiefs and the officers punished
them if the dues were not paid as demanded and within the
deadline imposed by them.
The Hindu rulers of Mysore were wary of the Muslim
Hyderali. They preferred to work with the Marathas such as
Khande Rao in 1760 who joined the King Krishnaraja II to
oust Hyderali. Khande Rau was expected to mollify the then
Maratha campaigner Visaji Krishna Biniwale and get his help,
Khande Rao was also a Marathi chief. Both Visaji and
Kanderao retreated when the news of defeat of the Marathas
in the third Panipat war spread in their camps. However,
Khande Rau had close relations with Hyderali too. He sat on
the fence while Hyderali forced the king Krishnaraja II to hand
over the administration of Mysore to Hyderali.
|ANCIENT TEMPLES AT PATTADAKAL HISTORICAL SITE
The Marathas in fact, according to the English Governor General Wellesley, had not
taken part in the Fourth Anglo-Mysore war. The English restored Gutti and
Gurramkonda region to the Nizam of Golconda. Gutti and Gurramkonda had been
under Tippu before the war. In the south and west, Coimbatore, Wyanad, Malabar
and Canara which were under Tippu before the war were not claimed by any ancient
power in the region. Although there were Keladi, Kannanur, Madurai and Jinji
kingdoms in the 17th century, the English ignored their heirs. These territories were
retained by them as their own possessions and included in the then existing Madras
province. The region around Dharmapuri was also treated similarly.
The land around Srirangapatna and Mysore town including Bangalore, Ramnagar,
Mandya, Tumkur, Davangere, Haveri, Hasan, Chithradurga, Chikkaballapur,
Doddaballapur, Chamarajnagar and Chikkamagalur were included into the Mysore
kingdom carved out by the East India Company and restored to the ancient royal
heirs of the Wodeyar dynasty. It is ironic that the administrator Poornaiah who was
working for Tippu was imposed upon the people of Mysore by the East India
Company ostensibly to show that they have not come to India to colonize India but
only for trade.
|COLONIZATION OF INDIA BY THE EUROPEANS
|CONSOLIDATION OF INDIAN ENGLISH COLONY
The arrival of the Europeans on the political scene of India from 1510 A.D when the
Portuguese government was established in Goa, there arose a new threat to the
Hindus and Muslims alike. The Portuguese showed a lack of sensitivity to the ancient
culture of India and tried to change it by hook or crook resulting in failure and
stagnation. The Dutch and the French tried their best to expand their trade and land
holdings by befriending the Sultans and the Rajas but their strategies met a roadblock
after the Treaty of Versalles in Europe in 1783 between the France and England.
Mysore was not a direct participant in their trade as much
as the coastal areas such as the Coromandel and
Malabar coasts. Coromandel coast is the present Tamil
Nadu coast. Malabar coast is the present Karnataka and
north Kerala coast. Also it looks like the East India
Company inflated the share values in terms of revenue
yield of the territories distributed to Mysore kingdom as
25 lakh star pagodas the currency then in circulation.
The revenue share of the territory they retained for
themselves was valued at 7 lakhs star pagodas, although
the latter was larger in area.
|The Wodeyars of Mysore under British Domination
The Wodeyar prince Krishnaraja III was only 5 years old when he
was chosen to be crowned king of Mysore by the English. The
Nizam of Golconda was a Muslim and the English wanted to
place a Hindu king in the neighbourhood of the Nizam. They had
realized that a Nizam and a Wodeyar would not collude with each
other because of their religions and there would not be a
combined force trying to dislodge the English from their territories.
Their preference to give the civil adminstration to the natives in Mysore and
Golconda is seen as a political tactics to put the blame squarely on the Nizam or the
king if there were mishaps in these areas. Also the English felt that they have not
had sufficient experience in managing the natives in 1799 since they had
contemplated colonization of India only a short time ago.
The Kodagu kingdom was founded as an offshoot of Keladi nation. In 1633
Mudduraja became the strongman in Kodagu and called Madikeri his capital. The
Mysore rulers had been at odds with the chiefs of Kodagu from ancient times since
they were adjacent territories, except that Kodagu was at a higher hilly terrain west
of Piriyapatna in Mysore. In 1780 Hyderali forced Kodagu to join Mysore. Tippu
faced a worse unrest in Kodagu than what his father Hyderali did. Dodda Veeraraja
resisted Tippu and invited the English to help him drive away Tippu. In the Third
Anglo-Mysore war Kodagu and the English fought as allies against Tippu. Just
across the western border of Kodagu was Wyanad and Malabar. English East India
Company had established its hold in Malabar by the Mangalore treaty of 1784. Their
army headquarters in Tellicherry were waiting for an opportunity to put down Tippu
because Tippu had campaigned against Christianity. Before the treaty Tippu had
forced many Christians in Malabar, Canara and Kodagu into Islam. In 1799 Dodda
Veeraraja and the English jointly invaded Mysore and felled Tippu. Kodagu was
nominated as a protectorate of the English and the former paid annual tribute to the
East India Company. The relations between the rulers of Kodagu and the English
administration strained repeatedly but the English were not fully established in India
to take steps towards direct rule until 1834.
Annexation of Kodagu
The East India Company ousted the independent ruler Chikkka
Veeraraja of Kodagu in 1834 and began to administer the kingdom as a
part of Mysore Kingdom. The Governor of Madras province was
appointed as the Governor of Kodagu also. Under the Governor the
Commissioner of Mysore functioned. From 1834 onwards the latter
became the Commissioner of Kodagu also. There were claims by some
of the princes born in one or other Kodagu royal family to be the rightful
heirs of Chikka Veeraraja, but the English did not entertain their claims.
They designated these princes as the pretenders undermining their
royalty. All of them were chased and caught. They were hanged for
their fight for freedom. To name some of these freedom fighters:
Swamy Aparampara, Kalyanswamy, Puttabasappa Kalyanswamy,
Chetti Maleya Kudiya, Kurthu Maleya Kudiya, Banga Prince of Bangadi
and Guddemane Appayya. There were many others who sacrificed
their lives and became martyrs in Kodagu history.
English Administration of Mysore
The administrator Poornaiah appointed by the English to manage the
affairs of the newly formed Mysore Kingdom in 1799 was to be guided
by a Resident representative of the English who reported to the
Governor in Madras. The Madras Governor was of the view that it is
best to leave the internal affairs of the kingdom entirely to Poornaiah.
By 1811 the appointed king Krishnaraja III was 16 years of age and the
Governor in Madras decided to hand over the administration to him.
The king appointed Rama Rao as the Dewan or Prime minister. The
post of Dewan was held at the pleasure of the king. Occasionally there
was no Dewan and the king took over the functions of Dewan himself.
The English expected a certain amount of revenue of the kingdom to be
paid to the East India Company Treasury periodically. Even if there
were natural calamities like draught, floods, insurrection by the
disgruntled farmers or excessive expenditure by the king and his court,
the amount fixed by the English had to be remitted without fail by the
The king was unable to manage the finances of the kingdom to the
satisfaction of the English. Famines and pestilences made the farmers
helpless and the English overlordship resembled that of the Mughals
and Marathas in extracting tribute from the Mysore kingdom. The
Mysore populace often rose in revolt against the high-handed policies
of the local officials in recovering revenue dues. The insurrection that
peaked in 1830 required the Mysore army to be deployed to control it.
By July 1831 the king was deposed and the administration was taken
over by the Commissioner of Mysore as per orders of Governor General
Bentinck ruling from Kolkatta (Calcutta) the then capital of British India.
The king continued to hold a ceremonial position with a substantial
Influence on British upon Loss of American colony
In the English colony of America the rebellion against the British rule
succeeded and most of the eastern part of North American Continent
became free in 1776. The British withdrew their forces and acknowledged
the American War of Independence. The American War of Independence
began in 1775 and continued until 1783. France had sent its army to fight
the British in the British colony of America. The French Revolution took
place in 1789 and it affected the British policies and made them more
cautious about how they treat the Indians in their newly acquired lands in
India. In France there was another revolution known as the July Revolution
in 1830. The British people saw that democracy is superior to legitimacy of
a king. House of Commons became more powerful than the House of Lords
in England. First Reform Act of 1832 affected the policies of the East India
These Freedom Fighters waged a guerrilla war on the British
administration between 1835 and 1837. They were very active in
places like Bellare, Sullya, Puttur, Bantwal, Mangalore and Kasargod.
One of the prominent acts was to hoist their flag on the Lighthouse in
Mangalore. They captured the British treasury in Bellare and later at
The administration got stabilized after
about 3 years of take over by the English.
Mark Cubbon was appointed the
commissioner in 1834. A superintendent
was appointed as the head of each of the
four divisions. Each division was further
divided into taluks. There were 120 taluks
in the kingdom and each taluk was under
The administrative headquarters were
shifted from Mysore town to Bangalore City
in 1831, since the presence of the king at
Mysore made the commissioner's work
handycapped. For any work with the
government the people were to approach
the offices at Bangalore ignoring the king
who was in Mysore town. Also the
commissioner could make use of the
Revenue for administration directly and
undertake developmental work himself.
Mysore after 1834 A.D.
Among the European colonies in India the British colony was the largest.
The French were confined to Pondycherry and one or two other small
towns. The Portuguese were confined to Goa, Daman and Diu on the
west coast. Dutch (Holland) had a couple of small towns as their colony
Madras was the first port where the East India Company established
its political base. Later Calcutta was targeted as yet another port for
trade. The quarrels and disputes among the contenders to the throne in
Bengal kingdom, facilitated the Englishman Robert Clive to annexe
Bengal into the Company's administration, first in the battle of Plassey in
1757 and finally after the battle of Buxar in 1765 A. D.
The British had expanded their land holdings in India enormously by
the time Tippu was killed in Fourth Anglo-Mysore war in 1799 by which
the whole of Tippu's sultanate passed into the hands of the English. In
1803 the British army conquered Delhi and confined the Mughal king to
In 1818 The Marathas were defeated at Satara by which much of the
western areas of the present Maharashtra state and Gujarath came
under English rule. By 1846 much of the north-west India was annexed to
All the remaining princely states that resisted the attempts of East
India Company to subjugate them, gave up and joined with the English to
form one huge British India by 1856.
|INDIAN WARS OF INDEPENDENCE
Dhondji Wagh (Tiger) of Shivamogga
There were many political prisoners held by
Tippu, languishing in his jails at the time of
English take-over of Mysore kingdom in 1799.
Many of the prisoners were released but
some of them escaped. Dhondji Wagh was
one of the prisoners that were released. He
was born at Channagiri in the Maratha Powar
family. He claimed to be the chief Nayaka of
Bidnur and began to collect contributions from
the traders and cultivators in and around
In 1800 while the English were still
struggling to set the administration in Mysore
stabilized, Dhondji captured the Tippu fort in
Jamalabad in Canara. Later he negotiated
with the palegars of Vittal, Sonda, Savanur,
Ranebennur, Hangal, Harapanahally in
Tippu's kingdom making them his
subordinates. The English did not have their
troops stationed in these places and Dhondji
did not face any opposition to his activities.
The rulers of Perinturai, Dindigal,
Shivaganga and Virupakshi also agreed to
follow him if he were to subdue the English
and grant them jagir. He was not obliged by
the Maratha commander Dondopant Gokhale
of Kolhapur resulting in a battle at Londa in
1800. Gokhale is said to have been killed in
this battle. However his efforts to negotiate
with the English for peace were not fruitful
because he was not willing to be a vassal
under the British. He fought with English in a
battle at Konagal in the present Raichur
district and got killed. All those rulers who
were allegedly helping him were also
punished by the English army led by one
Arthur Wellesley. Krishnappa Nayaka of
Balam was one of them.
Kittur Raani Chennamma
The state of Kittur consisted of parts of the
present Belgaum and Dharwad districts. The
chief of this state is known as Desai. Desai
Shivalinga Sarja did not have any children
when he died in 1824. He had adopted a son
who was a minor when Sarja died. Therefore
the widow of Sarja, Rani Chennamma,
decided to be the regent until the adopted son
came of age to be crowned.
The English had passed a rule that in any
Indian princely state if the ruling king dies
childless then the state will be assumed to
have passed to the English administration.
This rule of lapse did not take into account
any adopted child as the heir. This rule was
not acceptable to the princes because there
was no precedence. In the past any king
could take on adoption a child to groom him to
succeed him upon his death, but the British
refused to accept such a norm.
The Collector of Dharwad district of the
Bombay province one Thackeray came to
know of this and wrote a letter to the Bombay
governor that he is going to Kittur to remove
Chennamma and install a representative of
the English administration.
Chennamma came to know of this and
prepared her army to defend her position. In
the war the queen was defeated and taken
captive. She died in prison.
After the war of Kittur, the state was annexed
into the Bombay Presidency of the British
territories. The adopted son, Shivalingappa
was brought up by, Sangolli Rayanna, one of
the commanders in Chennamma's army.
The queen died in prison in 1829. This
infuriated the people of Kittur. They wished to
restore the Kittur throne to Shivalingappa.
The first attempt was made by Sangolli
Rayanna. He tried to raise an army and fight
the English in guerrilla methods. Sangolli
Rayanna was hanged by the British. He is
now regarded as a great freedom fighter by
Karnataka and his statue is installed in
Bangalore and elsewhere.
More Fights for Independence
Later in the same year (1829) one Sardar
Gurusiddappa a loyal officer in the erstwhile
Kittur palace also began to organize a rebel
force. Again in 1833, one Shankaranna began
a series of raids on English installations. In
1830 there was a serious revolt against the
new administration in the former Keladi
kingdom arose. The new administration
consisted of the English overseeing the
Mysore ruler who handled all the internal
affairs of the Mysore state.
Keladi kingdom was under Tippu sultan at
the time Tippu was defeated in 1799. Kittur
and Keladi were neighbours. There existed a
severe form of unrest right from the time of
Hyderali in Nagar, the local capital of
Hyderali's Keladi. The unrest worsened when
the British retained the territory in the Mysore
state and the Maharaja of Mysore became the
ruler. A member of the royal family of Keladi,
Budisiddappa led an army to fight for freedom. He captured
Honnali town and converted it as his center of action. The
local people supported him. Sarja Rangappa Nayaka of
Tarikere joined the movement. The people of
Chikkamagalur, Kadur and Hiriyur were aroused. It was left
to the Maharaja of Mysore to put down the revolt but it
threatened the British also. Maharaja led an army to
Shivamogga town in 1831. The English sent their troops
realizing that the Maharajah's army was not sufficiently
motivated to fight the rebels, to put down the revolt. The
rebels were defeated and Budisiddappa was hanged.
Many of his supporters were either hanged or imprisoned.
This is known as the Nagar Uprising and forced the British
to take effective steps to redress the genuine complaints of
the local people against the administration. There was an
impression that there was oppression of the people and the
Maharaja was inefficient in administration and that he was
not cooperating with the Europeans to take effective steps
to strengthen the foreign dominance. Therefore the East
India Company sacked the Maharaja in 1831 and took over
the entire administration of the kingdom. The Maharaja was
left with only his title and a monthly pension for his
Resistance to Colonization of India
1. In 1836 Narappa Gajapati, Savaisetty and Rudrappa
Kotgi together mounted an offensive to drive away the
English from Kittur. They sought the help of Portuguese
ruling the neighbouring Goa but the effort failed. One
Khodanpur Linganagowda who was considered an
informer was killed by the Kittur loyalists in 1837.
2. In the Canara which formed the present Dakshina
Kannada, Udupi and Uttara Kannada districts, there was a
significant protest by the agriculturists against the practice
of forcible extraction of land revenue by the officers of the
subsidiary ruler Krishnaraja Wodeyar III in 1831. The local
people organised Koota(s) or groups and refused to pay
their taxes. This got resolved when the English assumed
the administration of the state in the same year.
3. Later in 1841, one Narasappa Petkar met one Kohiran
and they together hatched a plan to take over Badami fort
from the local chieftain. Kohiran was of Arab descent and
worked for the Nayaka of Surpur. Narasappa was an
officer in the Satara palace. The Badami fort fell into the
hands of Petkar and Kohiran but within a few weeks they
had to fight the British army which came to throw them out.
Narasappa was arrested and imprisoned. The insurgency
4. There were repeated rebellions in the Nizam territories
too after 1799 when a vast portion of Mysore was given to
the Nizam as payment for his help in eliminating Tippu
Sultan. In Bidar which is now a district of Karnataka, one
Lingappa a freedom fighter rose against the Nizam.But he
did not get support from the local people because Nizam
punished rebels ruthlessly.
5. The so-called First War of Independence in 1857 in India
was a one-sided war with the British over-whelming the
rebels in the Indian colony. The leader for the Karnataka
side of the up-rising was Nanasaheb Peshwa. The Peshwa
had his head-quarters in Kanpur. Another Maratha leader
was Babaji Nimbalkar who led the Beda fighters from
Mudhol. One Bhimrao of Dharwad was in communication
with Nanasaheb and the princes of Surapur, Nargund, etc.
In Belgaum where the British stationed their troops, one
Venkatappa Nayaka tried to draw the Indian soldiers out of
the British army. At Surapur fort the British laid a siege in
1858 and later captured it. Among the Bedas two leaders
viz. Jadagia and Balya are remembered for the sacrifice of
their lives. They were hanged after their group's defeat in
the battle with the English forces at Mudhol.
Other names are Bhaskar Rao Bhave popularly known as
Babasaheb of Nargund. After a dramatic war of heroism
akin to what Shivaji had fought with the Mughals,
Babasaheb was caught and later hanged. Bhimrao of
Mundargi was staunch nationalist. He helped the Desai of
Hammige Kenchana Gowda in adventurous acts against
the English. He captured the Koppal fort but the British
came to catch him. He and Kenchana Gowda fought the
English troops and died in the battle. Supa was a location
of a serious up-rising in 1858. The chief fighters were
Nana, Baba, Hanumanth all children of Phond Sawant of
Savantawadi, and Raghoba, Chintoba, Shanta, the
Phadnis brothers. The Darshanigudda near Supa was
their hide-out. They conducted raids on British
establishments. This revolt died down due to lack of
support from people in the area. The princely states were
firmly under the supervision of the English administration
and so no help was forth-coming from them to the freedom
|British Commissioners of Mysore
British Commissioners of Mysore
English officers designated as the Commissioners were
appointed to administer the state of Mysore in 1831 after
Krishnaraja Wodeyar III was deposed. From June 1832 the
commissioners came under the Government of India directly
instead of the Madras Government. The king was left totally
out of the administrative circle. Krishnaraja had no male
issues and as he grew older the English had a strong excuse
not to reinstate him. It is true that the king and his
well-wishers sent representations to the British parliament for
returning the kingdom to him, but generally the people of
Mysore had gained much during the British administration.
There was no referendum conducted by the English rulers to
elicit the views of the masses with regards to the claim of the
king for re-instatement.
Right from the time Mark Cubbon took over as the
Commissioner in 1834, the masses detected a perceivable
change in their lives. For instance the practice of traveling to
the king's palace for redressal of their disputes ended with
the installation of a Judicial Commissioner.
Roads were soon built to connect all the towns with
Bangalore which became the state capital. Construction of
the bridges across rivers along the major highways
became the most welcome change. There were hospitals
constructed and schools were established. The first school
was started in 1833.
It was not much of a surprise that the battles during the
1857 First War of Independence were fought outside the
Mysore Commissionerate, in places like Mudhol, Surapur,
Jambgi, Nargund, Mundargi, Koppal and Supa. There was
no revolt even in Kodagu or in Nagar the sites of previous
uprisings. When the East India Company was dissolved
and the administration of the colony went into the hands of
Viceroys in Delhi, following the suppression of the 1858
up-rising, the British parliament took active interest in the
administration of India. The Empress of England became
the Empress to all the British colonies including India. The
Delhi Viceroys were appointed by the British Queen
through the government in London.
|Commissioner Lewin Bowring and the Rendition
Commissioner Lewin Bowring and the Rendition
When Mark Cubbon (later Sir Mark Cubbon, 1834-1862) and
later when Lewin Bowring (1862-1870) were Commissioners,
there was remarkable development in the princely state of
Mysore. It was in 1881 that the sustained pleas of the
Krishnaraja Wodeyar III for reinstatement was granted
through appointment of his adopted son Chamarajendra
Wodeyar X to the throne. Earlier in 1864, the king had been
granted permission by London to adopt Chamarajendra, a
child of two and one half years. The movements for self-rule
in America and France and dawning of days of Liberty
influenced the thinking of parliamentarians in London in
favour of the so-called rendition to princely rule in Mysore.
The Rendition was done at a bad time since there was a
sever famine in Mysore in 1776-77 and the financial position
was precarious. The corruption-free administration in the
Madras and Bombay provinces could not be emulated in
Mysore especially after the Rendition.
The practice of taking bribe to perform official duties by
the amaldars, tahasildars, the police inspectors, etc., was
totally absent in the territories ruled directly by the English
from 1799 onwards. This practice known as corruption
had not been rooted out but had gone under-the- table
after 1834 when the Commissioners ruled Mysore. After
the Rendition the corrupt officers resumed their practice
openly. Again in 1956 when Mysore state was
reconstituted on linguistic grounds, and the Kannada
districts of Madras and Bombay provinces were merged
with the new Mysore state, there was a glaring difference
between the attitudes of officers of Mysore and
non-Mysore districts towards corruption. As time passed
by and the new generation took over after 1992, the
demands for bribe money has become universal
throughout India. Corruption-free administration of the 19th
Century British Raj has been forgotten.
It is said that the Kohinoor diamond was in the possession of the Gwalior rulers at
this time. Humayun took the diamond along with a large amount of gold jewelry and
coins from the treasury of Gwalior during this raid. Babar was a descendant of Timur
Lame in the fifth generation and of Mongol Chingiz Khan in the fifteenth generation.
Historians have named the dynasty of Babar as Mughal dynasty. Gradually the
war-torn region around Delhi settled down as Babar arranged himself to be crowned
the Mughal sultan of Delhi in 1526 A.D. Babar was addicted to opium and this lead to
deterioration in his helath and he died in 1530 at Agra.
The northern American continent was being colonised by the
Europeans in the fifteenth century with Spain, Portugal,
Netherlands, France and England leading the aggression. It
was towards the end of the fifteenth century that Vasco da
Gama arrived in India. At about the same time Columbus had
discovered the American continents. Columbus had started
his journey to India by sailing towards the west with the belief
that he will reach India from that side coming around the
earth. The land Columbus touched was a Caribbean island
and he called it India, to realize only later that it is a new land
not known to the Europeans before. As years passed by, a
large number of Europeans migrated to the new land which
was given the name America. Those who came from Spain
became the owners of the land that became a Spanish
colony. The English people formed British colony. The
French established the French colony. The migrants were not
bound by any law in the new colonies or pretended not to be
bound. They only wanted to make themselves comfortable in
the new land and slowly annihilated the local population. The
native population in the Americas were given the name of
The American British Subjects
The British colonies were administered from England
and therefore the migrants were bound by the laws of
England. Laws of England did not permit atrocities
against the natives. There were murders, rapes, and
torture of the natives. Illegal acquisition of property of the
natives became an acceptable practice among the
migrants while the British laws did not permit such
practices. The migrants showed how uncivilized they
were, compared to the English in England, by their
greedy and ruthless invasions into the interior of the
North American continent killing soldiers and civilians
alike among the natives that protested their advances.
When the English Governor stationed in the colonies
protested, the migrants hatched a plan. They coined a
new word 'Freedom' and they demanded Independence.
It was an effective plan leading to a war between the
British troops and the migrants' army. This war is known
as the American War of Independence. It concluded in
1783 when the Treaty of Paris was signed. The thirteen
states were born out of the thirteen colonies in 1776.
Along with the Treaty of Paris, the France and England
signed another Treaty known as the Treaty of Versailles
settling their disputes in India.
|EFFECTS OF EUROPEAN RULE ON KARNAATAKA
Tippu Sultan had posted palegars and Jagirdars in important
district head-quarters, When Tippu was killed and the English
army began to take over the administration of the state, there
was resistance from these palegars and Jagirdar. They
revolted against the English in different places. The palegars
and Jagirdars were to lose their hold on the local
administration and thus they would miss their prestige, their
lordship, their revenue and their social and cultural
independence. They would be forced to work as employees of
the new administration of white people, but they were not
used to such a disastrous proposition. The events in Kannada
speaking areas right from the time Tippu sultan died, were
dominated by attempts to acclimatize the people to the new
ruler viz. East India Company. Not all the palegars and
Jagirdars were popular and their fights received less than full
support from the locals. The local people did not see any
advantages for themselves if the former palegars and
Jagirdars came back to power.
One significant change the English brought was to the system
of educating the Indians. During the Vijayanagar and Tippu
rule, there were pathshalas in the Mathas and Madrassas in
the mosques but only the elite could become students. There
was very little awareness about educating girls. Many men
and women in rural areas could learn to read and write by
sheer personal struggle by themselves without attending any
formal classes. Ability to read and write was a privilege and
not a necessity to expand one's scope for employment or
entrepreneurship. The English schools were initially meant to
produce clerks to work in the commercial and government
establishments. After the expansion of education to advanced
Mathematics, Literature, Law, Science, Engineering and
Medicine, the masses realized the difference between the
older educational systems and the new. People flocked to
attend schools and get degrees and other qualifications
added to their names.
The Congress Party
A.O.Hume, an Englishman formed a political party in
Bombay in 1885. He called it the Congress Party. The
main plank was for reforms in social and political fields.
The party held annual conferences. Bal Gangadhar
Tilak and Phirozshah Mehta joined the party and thus
added power to its voices. The division of Bengal in
1905 became the first major plank for the party to fight
the government. Demand for ban on sale of liquor
became a plank in 1907 especially in Belgaum. Opening
schools on the lines of the Christian missionaries gained
ground when the Hindus realized that the missionaries
intended to convert the Hindus into Christianity by
inducing them with better living conditions for the
The Idea of Independence
Formation of a Provincial Congress Committee in
Mysore state initiated the various movements for social
and political change in the state. The Kannada people
took part in the Freedom struggle forcefully and
sacrificed their lives and limbs in the process from 1920
onwards. The most atrocious response of the British
government was in the form of lathi charge and firing on
the non-violent processionists. Hundreds of thousands
of people were arrested and jailed for various
periods.The non-violent protest came to be known as
Satyagraha, a word coined by Mahatma Gandhi to this
form of agitation. Non-cooperation movement of Gandhiji
began in 1920 and Khilafat movement in 1921. Boycott
of foreign goods began in 1921-23. Civil Disobedience
movement took place in 1930. Salt Satyagraha became
the major non-violent protest in this year with Gandhiji
walking two hundred miles on foot from Ahmedabad to
the sea-shore in Dandi village with thousands of
volunteers to break the salt law (the Dandi March).
|THE BOLSHEVIK REVOLUTION IN RUSSIA
Czar Nicholas II was ruling Russia at the time of the First
World War. Russia had suffered severe injuries inflicted by the
German army in the battles. Vladimir Lenin and Trotsky led a
violent revolution on March 15th, 1917 against the Czar, with
the result that Nicholas abdicated. Later in October of the
same year Lenin seized control of the government and a
people's government was established. Lenin became the prime
minister and Trotsky the foreign minister. The Bolshevik
government negotiated peace with Germany thereby depriving
the Allies an important fighting force on the eastern front.
But America came to the help of the Allies at this point
claiming that the Germans were destroying their ships
on the sea even though they remained neutral until then.
The American president Woodrow Wilson proposed to
the Allies to establish a world body to prevent future
wars such as the WW I. Therefore he took the lead in
establishing the League of Nations in which England,
France, Japan, Italy and the American states were the
founding members. More nations joined the League later
on. Italy and Japan left the League in 1933 owing to
differences. The League was unable to eliminate wars.
|CONFIDENCE OF MUSLIMS FOR INDEPENDENCE
The Muslims in India were misled with regards to the position
of Khalifa of Turkey being the supreme religious head of all
Islamic people in the world. Some Muslims were detained by
the British government in India as a preventive measure
during the war, because the Muslims supported the sultan of
Turkey. The war against the sultan was considered as a war
against Islam by all Muslims. M. K. Gandhi decided to support
the Muslims in their protest against the British government
with regards to the Turkish emperor. The movement initiated
against the British was called the Khilafat movement and
Gandhi asked all his followers to support the Khilafat
movement in 1919. Gandhi hoped that the Muslims would
support nationalism and encourage Hindu-Muslim unity.
Khilafat movement soon died down by itself without the
Muslims getting back their Khalifa. Kemal Pasha of Turkey
himself was against the revival of Khilafat rule in his country in
spite of being a Muslim himself. Turkey became a progressive
westernised nation under Kemal Pasha.
The Rise of Democracy
The system of collective leadership is known as
democracy. There was such a collective leadership and
governance in the Roman governments before one L. C.
Sulla became the dictator of the Roman Republic in the
year 81 before Christian Era (CE), or 81 B.C., having
been appointed as such and given total power to him as
a single individual unlike in the past. In the past, in
Rome, no single individual had such total power to rule
the Roman Republic. Julius Caesar became the second
such dictator with total power. But Caesar had to
contend with a group of prominent people called
senators, the members of the Senate of the Roman
Republic. Caesar was assassinated in the year 44 B.C.
When Augustus succeeded Caesar, he assumed the
powers of the Senate of Roman Republic and became
de facto Emperor. The Roman Republic became an
Empire. The history of Roman Empire is a big chapter in
the History of the World.
Now after the Treaty of Paris of 1783, there was revival of
democracy. The United States of America became strong
and she influenced the world economy to such a great
extent that Socialism and Communism which represented
a distinct form of collective rule could not survive the
onslaught from USA. Socialism and Communism came to
be known as Left -wing and democracy of America came
to be known as Right-wing and also as the Capitalism.
England, China and Japan
In China and Japan the governments were run by dynastic
Imperial rulers. In 1840 when there was Anglo-Chinese
Opium war, China was a weak country, same as India and
was easily defeated in a war resulting in supremacy of the
Europeans. Hong Kong, a picturesque island with a large
deep-water port was permanently handed over to England
as a result of the Treaty of Nanking between the defeated
Chinese and the English. Macao was occupied by the
Portuguese at about the same time. In 1856 China was at
war with the joint army of France and England. Napolean
III was the ruler in France. England had established India
as its captive colony. China was defeated in this war too
and signed the Treaty of Tienstin meekly. When looting
and arson by the European army began, the Manchu
emperor fled Peking (Beijing) and left the people of the
Capital at the mercy of the invaders. The representatives
of the Emperor signed a Peking Pact by which the chinese
people began to be treated like subordinates by the
For Japan and China the First World War was fruitful.
Japan gained a lot of territory at the Peace Settlement of
Paris in 1919 at the close of the war. China had not taken
active part in the war but her European tormentors were
busy with the war rather than inflicting injuries to the
Chinese people. China co-operated with the Alllies against
the Central Powers in the war.
|The Treaty of Paris of 1783
The English traders conspired with the Chinese smugglers
to import more and more opium and earn a lot of money.
The Chinese government realized the bad effects of free
trade in opium and banned the item. But the British
merchants were not concerned about the health of the
Chinese and they were not in favour of stopping the opium
trade to save the Chinese from effects of opium addiction.
The French, the Portuguese, the Dutch and other
Europeans joined the English to fight a war to force the
Chinese government to allow them to indulge in the opium
trade at the cost of the health of the Chinese citizens, a
very unfortunate and immoral attitude of the Europeans.
The Europeans were active in the slave trade also. The
innocent people of Africa were kidnapped by lawless
agents and sold in the slave markets to be shipped to
America and elsewhere in chains under inhuman conditions.
At this time Japan was developing itself fast so that she
became a powerful nation. Japan waged war against China
in 1894-95 and extended its territory into the Chinese
mainland. But because France, Germany and Russia
began to threaten Japan with attack, the latter gave up
Liaodong territory. Japan invited England to help her in a
war with Russia in 1904. Korea and Manchuria were held
by Russia before the war. Russia was defeated in this war
and Japan established her control over Korea, Liaodong,
Port Arthur and southern part of Sakhalin island.
Mahatma Gandhi had started a unique kind of Revolution in
India to end the British occupation of India. The Revolution
was a non-violent one. In Russia there was a violent
Revolution waged by the people against their own rulers.
In China also there was a violent Revolution waged by the
people against the weak king and his European collaborators.
The Russian Revolution ends in a victory to the Communist
revolutionaries, within months, but the Chinese Revolution
takes many years to succeed. The Chinese revolutionaries
also adopt Communist theories and aim to establish a
Communist nation when the Revolution succeeds. Mahatma
Gandhi however decides to allow democracy to take hold after
the British leave India.
African Experience of M.K.Gandhi
M. K. Gandhi was in South Africa in the year the First World
War broke out in 1914. England had established its influence
in Egypt since the battle of Nile in which Napoleon was
defeated. The Dutch had colonized parts of Africa's extreme
south after 1652 A.D.. The white Dutch settlers called
The English began to trouble the Boers after 1815. There
were new names given to the tracts of land by the white
settlers, such as Cape Colony, Orange Free State, Transvaal,
Natal, etc. The settlers established their governments in these
places and declared themselves independent of their countries
of origin, just as in America by 1879. All white people
regardless of their country got the Union of South Africa
formed after the Boer War of 1899-92 between the settlers and
the British armies.
A new version of English language had been developed in
South Africa. The Union of South Africa was an autonomous
state under the United Kingdom. Being an Indian, Gandhi was
a British subject. He became a Barrister after his Law studies
in England. He returned to India and established his Law
Practice in Bombay in 1892.
In 1893, in Bombay, Gandhi received an offer to travel to
South Africa to plead a case of an Indian businessman
exporter. There were a large number of Indian migrants
working in South Africa already.
Gandhi experienced personally the abhorrent treatment
given to the coloured Indians by the South African government
and the white settlers. This discrimination was methodical and
got the name Apartheid affixed to it. Apartheid was a
government policy established by Law.
Gandhi began to organize protests against Apartheid.
He did not feel enmity towards the white people. He
did not succumb to pressures of their sense of
superiority owing to their white skin.
He knew that he is not inferior to the white people. He
had noticed in England that the white people are often
inferior to Indians in intelligence, morals and in human
relations. However, he had sensed the high human
qualities and noble democratic ideals of the British
people. He was treated well in England even though
he was a coloured person. But in South Africa, Gandhi
was shocked to see how black and coloured people
were segregated from the whites. He decided to work
with the whites with love and persuasion for their
illogical and immoral treatment of the black and
coloured people, rather than with violence and hatred.
This method of protest of Gandhi was totally non-
violent and he gave the name of Satyagraha to it.
Gandhi leaves South Africa
M.K. Gandhi returned to India in 1915. The First World
War had started in Europe. England, France, Russia
and Japan formed the defendants while Germany,
Turkey and Austria joined to declare the war. Small
states like Serbia and Belgium were involved because
of geographical and incidental reasons. Italy declared
herself as neutral. American states remained silent.
Both Italy and the American states helped the Allies
against Germany and Austria. Being a British subject
Gandhi campaigned for the British army. He believed
that the enemy comprising Germany, Turkey and
Austria were Imperialists and autocratic, while the
French, English and Russians as civilized and liberal.
The war got over with the Central Powers (Germany,
Turkey and Austria) accepting defeat in 1918. The
Treaty of Sevres signed in 1920 abolished the Turkish
Empire. The emperor of Turkey known as Khalifa was
allowed to continue as such in and around
Constantinople, the capital. Turkey came to be a
British colony. Mustafa Kemal Pasha was the leader of
a political party in Turkey and this party worker
against the army of the Central Powers in the war.
Kemal’s efforts in defeating Germany was of great
help to the Allies. Kemal Pasha organized a revolt for
independence to Turkey from the British. England
agreed and the new democratic Turkish republic was
|KANNADIGAS' ROLE IN INDEPENDENCE MOVEMENT
Leading the Independence movement in Karnaataka beginning
from 1900 onwards, there were many strong-willed men and
women both from Mysore and non-Mysore Kannada areas. At
the Surat Congress of 1907 Alur Venkat Rao, Annacharya
Hoskeri (Dharwad), Srinivas Rao Kaujalgi (Bijapur), Govindrao
Yalgi and Gangadhar Rao Deshpande, the “Lion of Karnataka”
(Belgaum) sided with Bal Gangadhar Tilak who was
considered an extremist.
V.P.Madhav Rao from Mysore was active as the president of
the Karnataka State Political Conference which was probably
the first recorded mention of the name for Karnataka State in
M. K. Gandhi had become the leader in the non-violent struggle
for Indian Independence from the British rule by 1920 A.D. He
was popular all over the country and his Congress party
became the national party. The non-violent protests were
however not peaceful because the tactics of the protests
involved breaking the law. When the protesters assembled in
large numbers and shouted slogans against the British, the
police force pushed and shoved the satyagrahis (the non-
violent protesters). They were asked to get disbursed or else
the police began to use their sticks to beat them.
Sometimes the police fired their guns first to scare away the
crowd and later to injure or kill some of them. Many times the
protesters were loaded in the police buses and taken to the
jails. The leaders were arrested in advance so that they could
not address the crowds. The Organizers of the protests were
also arrested early so that the protests did not take place. The
people were highly charged with the sense of Independence
because of the provocative speeches by M.K.Gabdhi and other
national and regional political leaders.
The leaders frequently courted arrest and after a trial they were
imprisoned for varying periods. There was a scramble to get
arrested among the activists. Even women participated in the
agitation in large numbers.
In the Non-Cooperation movement, in response to Gandhiji’s
call of boycott of courts, Dattopant Majali, Krishnarao Karguppi,
Narayanrao Joshi and Ajarekar of Belgaum, Srinivasrao
Kaujalgi, Jayarao Nargund, Rangarao Tilgul and Hanumantrao
Kaujalgi of Bijapur, Ananthrao Jalihal, Venkatesh Kulkarni of
Gadag, Karnad Sadashiv Rao and K.R.Karanth of Mangalore S.
S.Shastri of Honavar, Vasudevrao Kollali of Sirsi, Madhavrao
Kabbur and Venkatrao Muduvedkar from Dharwad gave up
their legal practice.Belgaum.
In response to Gandhiji’s call for boycott of schools
and colleges a large number of students quit their
classes and participated in the peaceful uprising.
Alternately, the National schools such as the National
High School of Bangalore under the principalship of
Prof. K.Sampathgiri Rao trained hundreds of dedicated
youths imbibed with the national awakening. Office
goers also boycotted their offices as per Gandhiji’s call.
The list of people of Karnaataka who participated in
these boycott operations is very long and hence not
n 1921, R.R.Diwakar, Jayarao Nargund,
Hanumanthrao Mohre, Chauda Nayak of Bedakani in
Siddapur taluk, Puddi Saheb and Thimmappa Nayak of
Sirsi were arrested for their speeches urging non-
cooperation, burning of foreign goods, and articles
published in pamphlets, newspapers and magazines.
Tekur Narayana Shastry, Kallur Subba Rao and
Lyangli Bhimsenrao were imprisoned for their anti-
British speeches in Bellary. Dr. N.S.Hardikar of Hubli
was arrested and sent to Nagpur Jail where he began
an organization known as Hindustani Seva Dal.
Bharatiya Yuvaka Sangha was founded in Dharwad for
Hindu non-Brahman young men who considered the
Congress Party to be a party of Brahmans and
Guldeppa Hallikeri and Siddalingaiah Kajariswamy
gave the lead for natinalistic activities.
A similar non-Brahman group known as
Brahmanetara Parishat and another named
Veerashaiva Parishat were started under the Congress
initiative to attract all communities to take part in the
Independence movement. Hardekar Manjappa and
Siddappa Hosamani of Haveri and C.J.Ambli of Bijapur
took the lead in these groups.
CIVIL DISOBEDIENCE MOVEMENT
In 1930, Gandhiji started a unique Civil Disobedience
movement that engulfed India with such fury that
hundreds of thousands filled the jails by breaking law.
Hoisting of National Flag, making salt and selling it
freely on the streets, bringing firewood from forests and
selling it freely to homes, picketing liquor shops, felling
toddy trees, launching no-tax campaign and burning
foreign clothes were the major disobedience activities
undertaken. The British government in London allowed
the Delhi Viceroy to talk to Gandhiji to resolve the
issue. After the Viceroy, Lord Irwin promised reforms in
administration Gandhiji called off the Civil-
Disobedience movement in March 1931. Also the
government released all political prisoners. However,
the no-tax campaign continued and became severe in
The princely state of Mysore was exempted by
Gandhiji from being a target of the Satyagraha, and
therefore many residents of Mysore crossed the border
and offered Satyagraha in the Kannada areas of
Bombay and Madras Provinces administered by the
British government directly. The princely states like
Jamkhandi, Mudhol and Ramdurg were not exempted.
In Ramdurg the movement turned violent in 1939. A few
Police constables were killed and many innocent
people were charged of murder and conspiracy. Nine
persons were hanged.
M.P.Nadkarni of Ankola launched the Salt Satyagraha
at Ankola beach in April 1930. In the no-tax campaign in
Hirekerur, Veerangouda Patil, T.R.Neswi, and
Gudleppa Hallikeri took active part.
Hyderabad Karnaataka Struggle
Kannadigas from Hyderabad state were not only enthusiastic but
also one-minded in the Independence movement. Arya Samaj
was in the forefront to awaken the masses against the Nizam’s
anti-Hindu policies which in turn affected the Independence
Hyderabad Karnataka Parishat was established as early as in
1934 and in 1938, Janardhan Rao Desai, G.Ramacharya, Dr.
Melkote, Sharanagowda Inamdar, Veerabhadrappa Sirur and
Alavandy Shivamurthy Swamy were some of the prominent
freedom fighters. Ramananda Tirtha an ascetic roamed around
the state and raised the level of nationalistic spirit among the
The 1930-31 agitations alone resulted in the imprisonment of
hundreds of Kannadigas: 750 satyagrahis from Belgaum, 442 in
Uttara Kannada, 202 in Dharwad, 159 in Dakshina Kannada,
158 from Bijapur, 77 from Bellary and 20 in Kodagu. A total of
4000 people were sentenced to imprisonment during 1932-33
struggle for Independence. All of them were peaceful agitators.
Mallappa Dhanasetty and his three friends at Sholapur were
hanged for their anti-British activities towards Independence
movement and became martyrs
H.R. Purohit was arrested at Bagalkot for leading the Karnataka
State Political Conference in May 1932 together with hundreds
of volunteers. Khandege Krishna Bhat and hundreds of others
were arrested in Mangalore in June 1932 for holding the
Dakshina Kannada District Political Conference. Venkareddy of
Huli in Belgaum district was sentenced to nine years in Prison.
In the Flag satyagraha launched in Mysore state, hundreds of
people participated. T. Siddalingaiah, K.T.Bhashyam, Talekere
Subramanyam, H.C.Dasappa, B.N.Gupta, H.K.Veeranna
Gowda, K.Hanumanthaiah, M.N.Jois, K.C.Reddy,
S.Nijalingappa, Sahukar Channayya, Tagadur Ramachandra
Rao and many others were leading the Mysore agitation. There
was a police firing in Vidurashwata in April 1938 in which a few
people were killed.
|MUSLIMS DISAPPOINT THE MAHATMA
When Gandhi started the Non-Cooperation
movement in 1920, he wished the Muslims would join
him in return for his support to the Khilafat movement.
This did not happen, except that more Muslims joined
the Muslim League as well as the Congress. There
was no Muslim name in the list of volunteers
(mentioned in the Gazetteer, pp 363-4) who
participated in Mysore state in the Non-Cooperation
movement, except that two Khilafat workers died in
police firing at Bangalore Cantonment. The Muslims
continued their atrocities against the Hindus and
major 'cow-music' riots took place in Malabar, in the
Punjab and in Bengal. In the Frontier Province and in
the Punjab the Muslims were a majority and the
Hindus suffered severely. During the Kohat riots in
1924 in the Frontier, a large number of Hindu families
were transported out of the region by the British
administration. Bengal also was a Muslim majority
province and a major riot took place in Calcutta in
1926. The Muslims regarded the Congress and
Gandhi as Hindu entities and refused to cooperate
with them in the agitations. There occurred a violent
incident in Chauri Chaura in 1922 by which Gandhi
called off the Non-Cooperation movement.
Muslims objected to playing musical instruments
during the Ganapathi processions of the Hindus and
other processions passing in front of the mosques.
Fanatic Muslims attacked the procession with lethal
weapons killing and maiming men, women and
children. Hindus retaliated by burning down Muslim
homes and establishments. There was a major
disturbance during a Ganapathi procession in
Sultanpet in Bangalore in 1928 and again in 1929.
The Karnaataka Provincial Congress Committee held
meetings and organized hartal meaning closing down
all businesses and other activities, a sort of
shut-down of life at different times and many places.
This kept the people in Mysore and other Kannada
regions active in the Independence struggle. During
the hartal the activists took out processions and
committed acts like hoisting the Congress flag,
distributing freedom literature, burning foreign clothes
and other imported goods, etc. The situation slowly
began to be perceived as unbearable by the English
The most distressed were the Indian personnel
working in the English police department. They did
not enjoy their duties of beating up the fighters
belonging to their own country for Independence.
|KANNADIGAS IN THE QUIT INDIA MOVEMENT
n the Quit India movement when most of the leaders were
arrested immediately after it was launched, underground
subversive activities were led by many Kannadigas. The names
of some them are given here:
Dr. Jayadev Kulkarni,
Wadavi Kariappa Sangur,
Venkatesh Magadi and
Bindu Madhav Burli
From Uttara Kannada,
Dayananda Prabhu and
From Mysore state
M.D.Adhikari gave a lecture at Mangalore during a
public meeting in September 1942, and the police
lathi-charged the participants. Adhikari was severely
beaten and later arrested and imprisoned.
|Veer Vinayak Damodar Savarkar
On 15th of August in 1942 the news of death of
Mahadev Desai in jail sparked a mammoth protest in
Bangalore and the police action resulted in the death
of nearly 150 people.
Many of us know very little about Veer Savarkar because,
all these years, the newspapers, magazines, radio,
television, and the Indian Governments considered him a
terrorist rather than an Indian fighter for independence from
foreign occupation. Therefore these media deliberately
failed to project him among the national heroes up until a
BJP government took office in Delhi in 1999. His portrait
was unveiled in the central hall of Indian Parliament in 2003
as a tribute to this great warrior of Indian Independence.
Actually he was a staunch nationalist and a gifted social
worker. During his lifetime he fought for the rights of the
Dalits, the women, the national language Hindi and the
Devanagari script among others. He was accused of
conspiracy to murder British officers and tried. He was
convicted and sent to the Cellular jail of Andamans. He
sacrificed his life for steering Indian people to fight for
independence from the foreign yolk. He was also accused
of conspiracy in the assassination of Mahatma Gandhi, but
the Supreme Court of India found him innocent of this
Veer Savarkar belonged to the modern world. He had
embraced scientific temper. He was a true secularist. He
never considered the modern machines as Satanic evils
bent on destroying the God's creations. He proclaimed that
everything that brings happiness for men is good and all
that puts obstacles in his march towards contentment as
Veer Savarkar is a shining and glorious example of a
staunch revolutionary freedom fighter that lived in the first
few decades of the 20th century.
Vinayak Damodar Savarkar was a prolific writer of
patriotic subjects and got them published under the
constant opposition from the British government. He
wrote many beautiful patriotic poems also. He worked
hard to eliminate untouchability even before Mahatma
Gandhiji began his Harijan campaign. He established
so-called Patitpawan Mandirs (temples for the upliftment
of the downtrodden) in a number of cities.
Veer Savarkar always rejected superstitious
practices. He used to say that we allowed the British to
destroy literally all that is Indian except our
superstitions. He said that we resort to public prayers if
there are earth-quakes. We will rather roll on the ground
in front of a deity if a really true Indian freedom fighter
fights for his life because of illness rather than find a
good doctor for his treatment. If there are attacks by the
enemy on our borders we will sacrifice a goat at the
nearest temple. We believe that prayers to gods will
solve all problems rather than finding physical solutions
to these problems.
He organised burning of the foreign made clothes
many years before Gandhiji did. Former Union Minister
of Education late Mr. Mohammed Karim Chagla
described Savarkar as a great devotee of India, and a
successful son of mother India. Freedom fighters like
him created an atmosphere of awakening in the minds
of Indian people for leaders like Mahatma Gandhi to
continue the struggle for independence. If by any
chance this great man is not given a prominent place in
the history of India then it will be an imponderable
disservice to our future generation.
He died at the age of 83 on 26th February, 1966 after
about 21 days of voluntary denial of food. But, by being
'mratyunjaya' (conqueror of death) he will constantly live
among us Indians, and especially among the Gowda
Saraswath Brahmins, because he was a Chitpavan
The Chitpavan Brahmins are brothers of the GSBs.
|CONFIDENCE OF THE PRINCELY STATES
Although Gandhiji had exempted the princely state of Mysore
from anti-government agitation during Independence struggle,
the Mysore Congress launched the 'Mysore Chalo' movement to
force the Maharaja of Mysore to access the state with the Indian
Union. As soon as the Congress announced the decision, the
Mysore prince ordered that the movement be suppressed with
an iron hand. Publication of newspapers was banned, and all
the spokesmen of Congress were arrested. Immediately there
was a general strike. The police resorted to Lathi charge and
then opened fire against the demonstrators in various cities and
towns. 20 people were killed in the firing. Within 39 days of India
gaining Independence, Maharaja of Mysore agreed to access
his territory into the Indian Union on 24th September 1947.
The Nizam of Hyderabad also tried to declare himself
independent in August 1947 when the British vacated India. He
held on till Sardar Vallabh Bhai Patel, the Union Home Minister
ordered a Police Action to arrest the Nizam and free the state.
Swami Ramananda Tirtha a Kannadiga led the people
especially in the Bidar, Raichur, Gulbarga and Ananthpur
districts to protect the Hindus against the repressive measures
of the Nizam and the atrocities of the Razakars, the jehadists
hired by the Nizam. Then the Koppal Jahgir of Hyderabad was
The princely state of Kolhapur with Raibag, Katkol,
Torgal, and a few other areas joined the Union without
any ado. The princely state of Sangli with Terdal,
Shahpur, Dodwad and Shirhatti also joined the Union
upon request by Sardar Patel to do so. The princely
state of Miraj with Lakshmeshwar, Budhgaon,
Gudageri, Kurundwad, Vadgaon and the state of
Jamkhandi, Kundgol, Chippalkatti, Mudhol, Jatt,
Akkalkot, Ramadurga, Sandu, Savnur and Gunadal
group of villages belonging to the Aundh state joined
the Union without any obstacle.
The British government had Indian Army posted in
the Cantonments in cities like Belgaum, Bellary and
Bangalore with their own Territorial administrations.
These territories ceded to the Indian Union as a matter
|33 DISTRICTS OF STATE OF KARNAATAKA
Opium is a drug that produces hallucination. Its user likes
this hallucination and enjoys the delusion. It makes the
user take it again and again leading to addiction. A person
addicted to opium intake will want to get it at any cost.
There were many people in China who were addicted to
opium. The traders in opium can make a lot of money by
selling the opium to the addicts.
Twenty years after the First World War, there was a retaliatory
war in 1939 A.D., waged by the defeated nations against the
winners. In Germany Adolf Hitler rose to lead the nation in 1933
under the banner of his Nazi Party. The German Republic
became a dictatorship under Hitler. In Italy Mussolini was the
leader of the Fascist Party from 1922 onwards. He too like Hitler
led the Italians to believe that dictatorship is the best form of
government. In Spain, there was a Civil War between those who
believed in Imperialism and those who believed in a Republican
form of government. General Franco was the leader of the
Republicans. Germany of Hitler and Mussolini of Italy helped
General Franco to win the Civil War in Spain. After the Civil
War, Franco became the dictator in Spain. Japan was ruled by
its king with a cabinet of ministers helping him in the
administration. The prime minister was responsible for the
policies, both domestic and foreign, in Japan. However the
military in Japan could take decisions directly. In 1927 Tanaka
became the prime minister. The policies of Japan under Tanaka
were aggressive. Japan had disputes with Russia and China
since both were against its aim to capture and hold Manchuria.
England and America were not conceding to Japan any right to
hold Manchuria, since they considered the latter to be a free
France, England and America were considered
stalwarts of and Allies of democracy while Germany,
Italy and Japan were considered Imperial Axis. The
first battle of the Second World War was fought
between Poland and Germany in September 1939.
France, Poland, Romania, Czechoslovakia and
Yugoslavia were in immediate danger of the Nazi
Germany to invade them. This group got help from
England and America. Russia remained isolated
because the Communist system of government in
Russia was against the principles of Capitalism. The
Russian Revolution had shown to the world what
would be the effects of Communism on the big land
holders and rich businesses. There was a fear that
Communism will become popular among the poor
labourers and agricultural peasants all over the world
and convert all nations into Communist nations. In fact
in China there arose a Communist Party rebellion Still
in 1935 France signed a treaty with Russia for help in
case Germany attacked her. Russia got a new title:
United Soviet Socialist Republic or USSR. The USSR
also signed a non-aggression pact with Germany.
When the war broke out on September 1939, the British
Empire involved India in it without consulting the elected
provincial governments which had been formed after general
elections in 1937. Therefore all the provincial governments
resigned. The Muslim League was unhappy with the
constitution of the governments because Hindus were in
majority in the Ministries. Resignation of the Congress
Ministries was celebrated by the Muslim League as the
'Deliverance Day.' In March 1940 the Muslim League formally
demanded the creation of Pakistan if and when the British
granted Independence to India. Maulana Abul Kalam Azad
remained with the Congress and took part in all its activities.
America dropped Atomic bombs over Japan during the war
resulting in the surrender of Japan to the American General
MacArthur. USSR defeated Germany and Hitler committed
suicide. In Italy it is said that Mussolini was shot dead along
with his wife by the people of Italy. The war ended officially on
6th August 1945.
Meanwhile in 1942, Gandhiji had launched the 'Quit India'
movement. The British government quickly arrested all the
leaders of Congress and imprisoned them. The Congress
leaders in Kannada areas began underground subversive
activities against the English administration.
Frequently, the Village offices were burnt down,
records were confiscated and set on fire; Telegraph
wires were cut, railway tracks were removed, small
railway stations were set on fire and government
offices were torched. Labourers and factory workers
went on strike against the arrest of Congress leaders
such as Gandhiji and Nehru. At several places Post
offices were burnt down or damaged. As punishment
the trial courts imposed heavy fines and long prison
sentences. The agitation in Belgaum district where
many Kannada-speaking and Marathi-speaking
people took to daring subversive activities in 1942-43,
the jails got full and barracks had to be erected to
accommodate the political prisoners. The British
government in London advised the Delhi Viceroy to
take the help of the army to quell the insurrection to
control the situation, which he did. Thus the Kannada
people all over India proved themselves to be in no
way short of patritotism and love of freedom by
sacrificing their lives for their country during the Quit
From the Congress Party, Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru signed for
the Indian people in general and Mahammadali Jinnah the
president of Muslim League signed for the new nation Pakistan.
The provinces of Punjab and Bengal had to be divided into two
parts; one with the Muslim majority going to Pakistan and the
other with Hindu majority being retained in India that is Bharath.
There were two areas forming Pakistan at the time of this
transfer; one in the West and another in the East. These two
areas were more than 1000 miles apart in the Western and
Eastern parts of British India. The Western part was named
West Pakistan and consisted of the Western part of Punjab
province, entire Sindh province, Balochistan, and the
North-West Frontier province. The Eastern part was formed
with the Eastern part of Bengal, and some parts of
Since the princely states were given freedom to join one of
these nations or remain independent there was delay in
completion of the process of independence.
Each of the 500 and odd princely states sent their
representative for signing the papers of transfer and
assumed that each one is an independent state and
is under no obligation to join either of the two new
Sardar Vallabh Bhai Patel who spear-headed the
movement to persuade the princely states adjascent
to Indian Union to join Bharath, found many princely
states ignoring the requests. Many small princely
states joined Bharath India without much fuss. The
Maharajah of Mysore took time to decide but when
Kannada activists began their agitation, he quickly
signed the papers and surrendered Mysore state to
The story of the princely state of Kashmir is more
tragic. Pakistan and India have been at war for the
last 65 years over who Kashmir belongs to. Kashmir
has a Muslim majority but the Maharajah of Kashmir
was not only a Hindu, but also terribly scared of the
designs of the Punjabi Muslims whom he had seen
massacreing the Hindu residents of the partitioned
Pakistani portion of Punjab province soon after the
Britishers left Delhi.
The state of Hyderabad is a study in contrast
because the population was majority Hindu and the
ruler was a Muslim. The Nizam refused to merge
Hyderabad state with the Dominion of India. He had
to be removed by force by the Delhi government
using the Indian military. This police action was
undertaken to stop the atrocities that Razakars, the
special forces of the Nizam inflicted on the Hindus in
As promised, the British
Government in London
formally transferred the large
land mass known as India to
the leaders of the Congress
Party and Muslim League.
The date set for official
transfer was the midnight
between 14th and 15th
August 1947. Lord
Mountabater was the British
Representative for the
|PRINCELY STATE OF KASHMIR
Lord Mountbatten who was given charge by the government in
England to arrange the granting of independence to India, was
not sure how he should go about the task. He felt the dislike for
white man displayed by every one among the Indian leaders. He
was not inclined to make it all smooth-sailing for the inimical
political leaders from both sides; Congress and Muslim League.
Therefore he abruptly advanced the date of transfer from spring
of 1948 to the summer of 1947, thereby giving very little time for
the leaders to plan the transfer methodically. Even the
boundaries of the two regions were not fully plotted because it
was not possible to delineate the Hindu and Muslim majorities in
any acceptable rule. The princely states were at a great
confusion as to what would be role the king would play in the
governance of the two Dominions that were formed while
granting independence to British ruled provinces. The state of
Kashmir was ruled by a Hindu king; Maharajah Hari Singh and
on the day independence charter was signed the Maharajah
refused to merge Kashmir with either Pakistan or India. But
within a couple of days after the declaration of independence
and formation of the government of Pakistani, the Pakistani
Army sent its forces into Kashmir state from the Western border
of Kashmir. The local groups of Muslim tribal volunteers joined
the Pakistani Army and began to massacre the local Hindu
residents as they swiftly moved towards the capital Srinagar.
At this the Maharajah sensed the seriousness of the
situation and presumed that he will be killed along
with his family and friends if the Pakistan Army were
to reach his palace. So he quickly sent his emissary
to New Delhi and asked Jawaharlal Nehru for help
to thwart the advancing hostile forces. Nehru did not
want a war to put obstacles in the smooth formation
of his new government but his home minister Sardar
Patel summoned the Indian Army chief and ordered
him to move his forces to fight on the side of a small
and poorly equipped Kashmir Army. At the same
time the Maharajah signed at treaty of complete
accession of his state into the Dominion of India with
a provision of a special status as stated in the Article
370 in the Indian Constitution. The Indian
Constitution was however adopted on the 26th
January 1948 but the agreement of accession was
signed on 17th October 1947.
The Indian Army was superior to the Pakistani forces
and the advancing ememy was stopped at a
distance of about 50 kilometers from the capital
Srinagar. At the same time Nehru appealed to the
United Nations Organisation (UNO) located in New
York, USA, to mediate and stop Pakistan from taking
over the princely state with force.
In 1943, Timmanagowda Menasinahal in Dharwad and
Mailar Mahadevappa in Hosaritti, died during violent activities
against the British rule. Five patriotic volunteers were hanged in
Shimoga for being responsible to the death of five government
Five persons in Davanagere, and seven at Bailahongal were
killed in police firing in 1943. Seven were killed by police while
trying to loot State treasury as part of the agitation for
Independence. One student was killed in Hubli procession At
least 7000 people were arrested and most of them imprisoned
during 1942-43 for Quit India movement.
The 125th Birth Anniversary of Veer Vinayak Damodar Savarkar (Veer
Savarkar) was celebrated on the 28th of May 2008. His title Veer means
'valiant'. He was born on 28th May 1883. Vinayak was his first name and
Damodar was his father. Savarkar was his last name but he was
popularly known as Veer Savarkar.
Savarkar's life kindled the fire of freedom in the minds of
young Indians in the years 1906 to 1911. He earned the
Bar-at-law qualification in England but never practiced law;
instead he became a revolutionary in pursuit of freedom for
The state of Karnaataka has many other languages spoken by its
people apart from Kannada, Malayalam, Marathi, Tamil and
Telugu. Kannada is the official language used in the government
offices but Malayalam is spoken in the regions bordering Kerala;
Marathi in the regions bordering Maharashtra, Tamil in the
regions bordering Tamil Nadu state and Telugu in the regions
bordering Andhra Pradesh. A kind of Hindi mixed with Kannada
and Persian words is spoken by Mohammedans of Karnaataka
origin. This language also known as Khedi boli, Hindavi or
Dakhni has many Arabic, Persian and Iranian words. Pure Urdu
is rarely spoken but Hindi is more common among settlers who
arrived from North India.
Like in most of the languages of the world, Kannada is also
studded with dialectal and regional varieties. Kannada is such an
ancient language that through the centuries people speaking
other languages when settled down in Karnaataka added words
and accents to it. People speak the same language in varying
tones and style to create a dialect. Malayalees when settled in
Kanara districts north of Malabar developed a Kannada with
accent borrowed from Malayalam. The Dharwad Kannada varies
from Mysore Kannada in the way words are used in forming
sentences and in the tone and style of speaking. Bilingual people
such as those whose mother tongue is Marathi, Telugu, Tamil,
Konkani, Tulu, Hindi, or Urdu used the words of these languages
while speaking Kannada to give rise to dialect.
A few of the important dialects are listed below:
1. Badaga Kannada is spoken by some people in the
Chamarajnagar, Kollegal and Mysore districts
2. Nadavara Kannada is spoken by agriculturists of
Uttara Kannada district.
3. Harikantras Kannada of Fishermen and cultivators
of Uttara Kannada district.
4. Halakki Kannada of Halakki Vokkals and Mukris of
Uttara Kannada district.
5. Bajantri Kannada Halleer Vajantris of Belgaum and
Uttara Kannada districts.
6. Koosa Kannada spoken by Koosas of Dakshina
7. Koraga Kannada of Koraga community living
8. Iruliga Kannada is a Kannada mixed with Tamil
9. Sholiga Kannada of Biligirirangana Betta
10. Toda Kannada of Todara community of border
areas of Nilgiris.
11. Korama and Koracha Kannadas are Kannada
language with Tamil and Telugu words.
12. Kodava Kannada is spoken in Kodagu district.
13. Banjari Kannada and Lambani Kannada of
Tanda dwellers in North Karnaataka.
14. Dasari Kannada of Chenna and Holaya Dasars.
15. Dombara Kannada spoken by Dom, Dombara,
Paidi and Pano people.
16. Madari Kannada of Madari community.
Kannada spoken by the people of South and North Kanara
districts is called the bookish Kannada because they learnt to
read and write Kannada in the schools. Their mother tongue is a
language other than Kannada. Those Kanara people whose
mother tongue is Kannada speak the language in the perfect
tone and style of the Mysoreans. However the Newspapers and
text books make use of the formal Kannada in publications.
Konkani is the language spoken by substantial number of
residents of coastal Karnaataka. They include the Gowda
Saraswath Brahmins (GSB), the Saraswath Brahmins (SB),
Christians and Mohammedans. The Dakshina Kannada, Uttara
Kannada and Udupi districts, in the coastal regions are where
Konkanis are concentrated. The style and accents in these
Konkanis differ but there is now an attempt to popularize a formal
style and accent in order to introduce the language in the
schools. The Goans speak Konkani with the original accent.
Their Konkani resembles that spoken in Uttara Kannada district.
The Konkani spoken by GSBs differs substantially from that
spoken by the Christians. Also the Konkani of GSBs around
Mangalore in South Kanara is slightly different from that spoken
by the GSBs living in North Kanara around Karwar town. The
community of Daivajna Brahmans with the surname Shet is
mainly Sonars (Sonnaranche) concentrated in Uttara Kannada
district and they speak a Konkani with their own accent and tone.
Kudumbi people speak a Konkani which has some strange words
akin to Marathi words. They are long-time residents of
Mangalore, Mijar and Moodbidri. The Muslims living around the
Bhatkal town are known as the Navaayat(s) and they speak
Konkani at home having a number of words borrowed from the
Arabic and Persian languages.
There is a very original language known as Tulu,
spoken by a large section of people in and around
Mangalore. More than 80 percent of people in
Dakshina Kannada can converse in Tulu. It is being
popularized in the 21st century by Tulu lovers. If one
knows Tulu then it is certain that he lived in
Mangalore and surroundings for for a long time.
There is a variety of Tulu which may be its dialect
spoken by Havyaka Brahmans. Havyakas are among
the original Kannada residents of Kanara. Kota
Brahmans of Kundapur taluk also speak Tulu which
varies slightly from that of the Havyakas. Both
Havyaka and Kota Brahmans and Shivalli Brahmans,
and many Bunts and Jains also speak Tulu at home
but with varying accents and style. The Havyakas of
Sirsi, Siddapur and Yellapur regions speak a type of
Kannada and not Tulu.
The Kodava language deserves special mention. Kodagu had
been a princely state since the 17th century. Kodagu people
have their own language with many words from Malayalam and
Tulu languages. The language of Kodava people is called the
Kodava language.The state of Kodagu (erstwhile Coorg state)
was a separate state ruled by the British and merged with the
Indian Union in 1947; later it was merged with the new
Karnaataka State. The people of Coorg are called Coorgis.
Coorg was a word coined by the British for Kodagu.
Predominance of English
English is the language of the educated class and it happens to
be the language used by the Central government offices besides
Hindi and the local lanugage. English is also used as a second
language in the state government offices and in the Karnaataka
Judiciary. When people wish to communicate with a
stranger/visitor, the English language comes in handy for those
who know it. Especially the people who visit Karnaataka for either
pleasure or business use English for communication. Hindi
replaces English when the visitor is from Indian northern states,
northeastern states and northwestern states.
The Saaraswat People
The Saaraswat people got their name from the Saraswati river
along the banks of which they were originally settled. The
Saraswati river is now seen only as a subterranean shadow in
the pictures of the state of Punjab taken from the satellites.
There occurred a 12-year famine in about 5000 B.C. (period
mentioned needs authentication) in Punjab which caused the
river Saraswati to dry up and vanish. This famine was enough to
kill a large number of people in the area due to starvation. A lot of
information which the people of the time kept memorized was lost
by the death of the masses. The written information on papyrus
was either left unattended to be lost to nature, or carried along to
the destinations by the escapees.
A large number of able bodied survivors escaped to the east and
came to live along the banks of the river Ganga and its
tributaries. Many families settled down in the new location but a
good percentage of the new generations returned to Punjab in
After many many years the migrant Saaraswats in Gangetic
plains gained name and fame in the new colonies as wise men.
They had known ways and means to appease gods and to
consign the souls to the heaven after death. They performed
elaborate fire sacrifices and dictated the correct procedures for
the same. They were in demand in all different kingdoms and
courts. They were identified by their family names such as
Vsishta, Kashyapa, Agastya and Atri. All those men through the
ages born to Bhrigus for example would be known by the same
name. They were placed in the highest class among men and
called the Brahman(s). The Saaraswat Brahman had other rivals
such as the Kanyakubja, Maithila, Gauda and Utkal Brahmans
who were either original residents or off-shoots of the new
Meanwhile in the peninsular portion of the land known as
Bhaarath (later referred to as India) below the Vindhya mountain
ranges, there were Brahman families bearing names such as
Dravida, Tailang, Karnaata, Madhyadesi, and Gurjara. Thus
there were in the course of time, about ten different primary
divisions constructed among the Brahmans of Bhaarath.
The Story of Lord Parasurama
The history of Saaraswat Brahmans is incomplete if Lord
Parasurama is not taken into account. It is said that Parasurama
was the godly administrator of the west-coast of India so much so
that he had thrown his pickaxe across the sea to extend the land
upto the line along which his axe fell. Therefore the land
consisting of Konkan, Goa, coast of Karnataka, and Kerala is
known as Parasurama territory. To give a more rational
explanation to this improbable legend, the discovery of land
beyond the Western Ghats and conquering it by Parasurama led
to the theory of the pickaxe. This land was inaccessible for
people of Gujarat, Madhyadesha, Karnaata, Tailang and Dravida
and hence it was a new discovery when Lord Parasurama rode
across the Western Ghat mountains and established his control
The Story of Brahman settlements in Goa
Once Parasurama established himself as the ruler of Konkan,
Goa and other coastal territories, he experienced the lack of
Brahmans in the region. He arranged to bring in Brahmans from
the Tri-hotra region of northern Gangetic plains. The region in the
northern Gangetic belt (consisting roughly the present districts of
Champaran, Saran, Darbhanga and Muzaffarpur) was known as
Tri-hotra which later shortened to Tirhut. The first batch of
Brahmans were settled in Goa. Their family names or Gothra(s)
were the following: Bhaaradwaaja, Kausika (also known as
Kaumsa), Vatsa, Kaundinya, Kashyapa, Vasishta, Jamadagni,
Vishwaamitra, Gautama and Atri. More Brahmans from other
areas including the Bengal came to Goa on invitation of the rulers
following Parasurama. These families were belonging to Sankha
Pingala Kamsa, Garghya, Angirasa, Nair dhruva, Dhananjaya,
Mudgala, Vainya, Harsha, Hariha, Shandilya and
Sankhyana.Family Deities or Kula Devata.
The Brahmanas brought the idols of gods along when they
arrived in Goa. Their gods were Mangesh, Mahadeva,
Mahalakshmi, Mhalasa, Shanta Durga, Nagesh and Sapta
Kotishwara. Each person knows and remembers the name of his
family deity since during various rituals the family deity is first
invoked and thereafter the god that is to be worshipped. Also it is
a practice for the newly married Saaraswat couple to visit the
temple of their family deity in Goa immediately after a marriage.
The temples of all the family deities of Saraswats are located in
and around Goa.
The Saaraswat Brahmans
The Saaraswat community in Goa and along the Westcoast of
India has three main sub-communities.
They are 1. Chitrapur Saaraswats, 2. Gouda Saaraswats and 3.
The Chitrapur Saaraswats have been the original Parasurama
invitees and referred to as the Shenvi families because of their
high levels of intelligence, physical growth, exceptional character
of honesty and integrity. They were employed in high positions in
the courts of the rulers of Goa and of other surrounding places.
The Gouda Saaraswats were the Saaraswat families who
arrived later in the fourth to eleventh centuries and brought with
them their food habits and enterpreunerships. They commonly
ate fish but not any other non-vegetarian food items. Like all
Hindus they were cow-worshippers. They were also capable of
taking up occupations such as agriculture and shop-keeping.
They wanted to retain their separate identity when they arrived in
Goa from Gouda desha that existed in Bengal and Bihar region
during the first three centuries A.D. There are other explanations
also for Gouda word.
The official name for Coorg is now Kodagu. There are
naturally many words borrowed from Kannada, Hindi,
Persian and English in Kodava. Kodavas are
descendants of warriors and their traditional dress
includes a sword that signifies their combatants'
lifestyles. Kodagu is a hilly region and has a
salubrious weather. Large tracts of Kodagu are dense
forests with varieties of flora and fauna.
But the Maharashtra state which was also formed for
the Marathi speaking people incites the Marathis in
Belgaum district to launch agitations to demand the
excision of Belgaum district from Karnaataka and
inclusion in the Maharashtra state.
The Dravida Saaraswat Brahmans are those that
live mainly in Konkan and Thane regions of
They have taken up the traditions and practices of the
Maratha Brahmans such as Chitpavan and Deshastha.
Influence of the Kadamba and Keladi Kings
After Parasurama, history tells us of the Kadamba
dynasty ruling Goa and surrounding areas. Kadamba
kings were themselves Brahmans belonging to the
Haritha gothra. The Saaraswats of Goa lived
peacefully in the Kadamba kingdom. Banavasi a town
situated southeast of Goa was its capital. In the 14th
Century Muslims conquered Goa and ruled it briefly.
In the 16th Century the Portuguese arrived and took
over the administration of Goa. The Saaraswats were
forced to leave Goa and settle elsewhere to escape
persecution and conversion into Christianity. Most of
these refugees were rich people in Goa. When they
left their lands and houses back they carried as much
gold and jewelry as they could with them. The Keladi
king received the fleeing Saaraswats with open hands
and encouraged them to settle down in his kingdom.
The Saaraswats flourished in the Keladi kingdom.
They were traders, soldiers and advisors. They were
invited by the small and big kings alike because they
were honest and hard-working. They often brought
gold and jewelry and shared their wealth with the king.
Later in the Keladi kingdom all the Saaraswats came
to be known as Shanbhogue. Shanbhogue also
indicated that the person is a writer or a literate
person employed by the king to collect revenue from
the subjects and deposit it in the treasury of the
kingdom. These Shanbhogues were known for their
honesty and integrity and they were considered to be
fully reliable in every deal.
Many of the families went further south along the
coast and reached Kochi (formerly Cochin) in Kerala.
Many families broke their journey and settled down
when they found a good place along the route. At
present Saaraswats are found in every town and
village along the coast from Goa down to Kochi and
beyond. They are spotted easily because they have a
fair skin and a handsome physique. Their women are
some of the most beautiful ladies in the region and in
the world. Most of the Saaraswats refrain from
alcohol, fraudulent deals, breaking laws of the land,
and taking bribe to show favours to perform the duties
assigned to them. They maintain good business
practices and pay taxes honestly. They do not indulge
in rape and murder and respect women and the
The Surnames of the Saaraswats
There were no surnames before the 16th Century for
Saaraswats because they were identified by the place
they lived in or if they had recently migrated to another
place then by the name of the place they came from.
A man from Goa would be known as Goakar, and one
from Tendul would be known as Tendulkar. But the
Portuguese wanted a surname added for identification
and there arose the practice of using Pai as the
surname for the Saaraswats. Every Saaraswat was
known as Pai added to his given name. It would be
Mohan Pai for Mohan along with the place of his birth
included as the fore name.
A Mohan Pai from Karwar would be known as Karwar
The Bhanup, or Shenapaiki, or Shenapanche sect
stopped using their surnames during these early years
of British rule in Kanara districts, and instead they
used the name of the place of their birth as their
surnames. Karnad is such a surname. Karnad is a
village in South Kanara. Gulvady, Hattangady,
Manjeshwar are other names of places which have
become the surnames of many of the Bhanups or
Shenapaiki people among us. It is necessary for us to
merge all these Konkani Brahmans into a common
people so that there can be more marriages between
members of these communities, facilitating
Indianisation, and ultimately globalisation.
In Goa the surname Shenai or Shenoy was common
along with the surname Pai. The Pai surname was
reserved for the rich landlords and the surname
Shenai/Shenoy was given to the accountants, clerks,
agents, and employees of letter. They were always
employed in the court by the kings of Goa. They were
employed to read or write letters by even the Pais.
The Shenai/Shenoy was always a Saaraswat
Brahman. Later when the Gouda Saaraswat
population increased in the Kannada areas and in
Kerala, they adopted the surname Shanbhogue first
and later changed it to Shenoi, Shenai, or Shenoy for
convenience. There was confusion in writing the word
Shanbhogue in English. Often the name was written
as Shanbhag. There was confusion in the spelling of
Shenoy also. Many people adopted the spelling
Shenoi. Those using Shenoi are found in Goa, Uttara
Kannada, Dakshina Kannada, Kerala and in big cities
like Mumbai, Chennai, Delhi and Kolkata. Those using
the spelling Shenoy are more frequently seen among
the Gouda Saaraswats than those using the spelling
Shenai or Shenoi. Any one using Shenai or Shenoi
(with a letter i instead of y) is only digressing from the
common practice of using y to write Shenoy. The
surnames exclusively used by Gouda Saaraswats are
Kamath, Kudva or Kudav, Baliga, Kini, Nayak,
Prabhu, Mallya, Bhandarkar and of course Pai and
Shenoy. These surnames do not indicate the Gothra
of the person. However except for Pai and Shenoy the
surname of the groom is different from that of the bride
until they are married.