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Hindu Festivals
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Karnaataka is born
Birth of Karnaataka State
By Mohan Shenoy

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 Indian Karnaataka state formed for all the Kannada-speaking people.

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.


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.

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 Presidency.

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 Bijapur district.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.


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, Bihar and Orissa for Assamese, Bihari and Odissi languages, were also formed, giving further boost to the idea of linguistic states.

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 Karnataka.

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.

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 such agitations.

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 Nilgiri district was populated with a large number of Kannada speaking people at the time of Independence. 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.

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.

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.


Chamrajnagar, Chickmagalur, Chickballapur,
Dakshina Kannada, Davangere,
Uttara Kannada

Please note: The list as on the year 2019. More districts may be formed as the population rises.

33 Districts of Karnaataka




Arabian Sea

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 residents.

One can see that the reorganization was not entirely based on the basis of the mother tongue of the residents.



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.

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 province.

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 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, businessand employment and later settled down there. They speak their mother tongue Kannada at homes but adopted to Tamil for communication.

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 these regions.

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.

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 the Congress.

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 vehemently.
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.

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 president.

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.

Commanders of Unification Force

1. Benegal Rama Rao- Speech at Dharwad in 1903.

2. Justice S.S.Shettar- Speech at Dharwad in 1906

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.

6. F.G.Halakatti from Bijapur.

7. K. Rajagopal Krishna Rao from Mangalore.

8. Tammannappa Chikkode from Jamakhandi.

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 Mysore.

15. Karnataka Ekikarana Sabha- Dharwad, 1916.


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. iNDIA is known as BHARATAVARSHA in scriptures.

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.

People living in Karnaataka would be referred to as Kannadiga(s).


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.
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.

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.
Historial records.

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 continent.
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.

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.

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 scents.

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.
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.

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.


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 century.

Arrival of the Sultans

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.
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.
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.
For some reason Maharathi rule was replaced by Chuthu dynasty in 200 A.D., still under the Nanda emperor.
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.
Fourteenth Century

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 protect themselves.

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.

Hindu attempts to keep Muslims away 2

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.
Ballala III faced the MuslimsIt 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 to Delhi.

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..
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 nominal king.

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 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 1458.
Bahamani Sultanate
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 1458.
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.
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.
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.
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.Bijapur became a branch of Vijayanagara giving tributes to the

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 sultanate.
Fall of Vijayanagar Empire
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.

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 camaraderie.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.

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.

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.
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.

Portuguese warriors used muskets to fight the enemy. Muskets made a big difference in these wars between Vijayanagara and Bahamanis. However Portuguese were satisfied to defend Goaand did not expand their hold in India beyond it.
Aravidu Dynasty
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.
Vestigial Vijayanagara
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 Tirumalamba. 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 Sadashiva.
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.

Watch this YouTube video of Hampi


Photo by Mohan Shenoy

Photo by Mohan Shenoy

Photo by Mohan Shenoy

Portuguese took over Goa in 1510 AD


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 Deccan.
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.
Emperor Akbar
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.

Emperor Shahjahan
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 1636.

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.

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.

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.


Mysore Wodeyars
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 Mysore.

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 administrative language.

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 exist.

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 conflict.
Keladi kingdom
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 equally.

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.


Turbulent period
Timur Lame
In 1398 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.

Sayeed Mubarak
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.

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,

In Ikkeri, the capital of Keladi kingdom, Raja Venkatappa declared himself independent of Vijayanagar king in 1565 at the fall of Ramaraya.


Linguistic States after Reorganisation
Photo by Mohan Shenoy
Photo by Mohan Shenoy
Photo by Mohan Shenoy
Important Princely States as in 1719 AD
Photo by Mohan Shenoy
Photo by Mohan Shenoy
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.

The Marathas in Karnaataka

Events in Europe

Shivaji Maharaja
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.

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 ministers).
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 signeda 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.

Thirty Year War
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 was victorius.
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.

Invaders from Iran and Afghanistan 1748 AD
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 Punjab.

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.

Maratha Resistance
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 ambitious Durrani.
European Influence in Karnaataka
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.

Queen Mary of England
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.

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.

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.

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.

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. Hyderali died due to sickness in December 1782.

Tippu Sultan
Tippu had to take over and continue the war as the chief commander of Mysore forces.

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 violence.

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 English.

Side-effects of the wars for lordship of the Delhi throne
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 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.
Treaty of Saibai in May 1782
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.
Maratha Power in Karnaataka
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.

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 the latter.

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.

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 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.

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.

British political tactics
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.

Kodagu (Coorg)
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.

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 Bantwal.


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.

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 king.

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 annual salary.

International Influence on British Rule in India

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 Company.
Events in America
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 Indians.
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.

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 in India.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 his fort.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 British India.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.

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 totally failed.

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.
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.

Sangolli Rayanna
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 Karnaataka and his statue is installed in Bangalore and elsewhere.
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 Shivamogga.

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.
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 of Nagar Uprising
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 personal maintenance.

First War of Independence 1857
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.
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.

Mark Cubbon
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 an amildar.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.


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.

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.

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

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).
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 downtrodden.

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 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.

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.
The Treaty of Paris of 1783
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 Europeans.

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.
Map of Europe after Treaty of Paris 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.

Turkey became a progressive westernised nation under Kemal Pasha.
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.
Mahatma Gandhi (Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi or M K 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 themselves Boers.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.
Protests against Apartheid
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 established.
Boycott of schools and colleges
In response to Gandhiji's call for boycott of schools and colleges a large number of students in Karnaataka 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 given here.

In 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.
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 1920.

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.
The 1930-31 agitations alone resulted in the imprisonment of hundreds of Kannadigas. A total of 4000 people were sentenced to imprisonment during 1932-33 struggle for Independence. The break down is as follows:
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.
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. Names of some of them are: 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.
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 1932.

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.
In 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:
From Belgaum;
Annu Guruji,
Channappa Wali,
Chinmayaswamy Omkarmath,
Srirang Kamath,
Vaman Bidari,
Dr. Jayadev Kulkarni,

From Dharwad,
Wadavi Kariappa Sangur,
Mylara Mahadevappa,
Timmanagowda Menasinahal,
Shankar Kurtkoti,
Venkatesh Magadi and
Bindu Madhav Burli
From Uttara Kannada,
Dayananda Prabhu and

From Bijapur
C.J.Ambli and

From Mysore state
Sardar K.A.Venkataramaiah,
A.G.Ramachandra Rao,
Maganlal Shah,
Kadidal Manjappa,
H.S.Doreswamy .
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 movement.
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 masses.

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.

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.

'Cow-music' riots
The Muslims continued their atrocities against the Hindus and major 'cow-music' riots took place in Malabar, in the Punjab and in Bengal.
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 Administration.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.
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 officials.

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.


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 also liberated.
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 of course.


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 country.

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.'

Demand for Pakistan
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 India movement.

Mahatma Gandhi

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 Mountabatten was the British Representative for the transfer.

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 North-Eastern province.

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 countries.

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 Union.

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 the state.


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.

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 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 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.
Mahatma Gandhi is revered as the Father of the Nation because he was responsible for attaining Independence.

The Indian Constitution was however adopted on the 26th January 1950 but the agreement of accession of Jammu and Kashmir was signed on 17th October 1947.
Reference: History of Karnataka in the Karnataka state gazetteer Part 1 edited by Suryanath U. Kamath, 1982.