B. Lewis (Benjamin Lewis) Rice.

Mysore: a gazetteer compiled for government (Volume 1) online

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to be performed, he learned of the means by which his predecessor had
been removed, and had the minister assassinated. -

' Many noble and interesting traits of the characters of the two brothers, and their
mutual consideration, are recorded in Wilks.
- The two peons, or foot-soldiers, who did the deed scaled the wall of the minister's


The year after his accession^ he had to defend Seringapatam against
the attack of the Bijapur forces under Ran-dulha Khan ; and, as
already related, succeeded in effectually repelling the invnder. He
subsequently carried his conquests over many districts to the south,
taking J )anaikankote, Satyamangala and other places from the Nayak
of Madura. Westwards, Arkalgud and Bettadpur were captured.
Northwards, he took Hosur (now in Salem), and at Yelahanka inflicted
a severe defeat on Kempe Claucla of Magadi, levying a large contribu-
tion on him. With the booty obtained in his various expeditions, and
the heavy tribute which from motives of policy he imposed on the
gaudas or heads of villages in order to reduce their power, he improved
and enlarged the fortifications of Seringapatam, and endowed the
principal temples. He assumed more of royal state in his court, and
was the first to establish a mint, at which were coined the Kanthi
Raya huns and fanams called after him, which continued to be the
current national money until the Muhammadan usurpation.

He died without issue, and of the possible claimants to the throne
the most suitable were a grandson and a great-grandson of B61a Chama-
Raja, both about thirty-two years of age. The former, though of a
junior branch, was selected, and is known as Dodda Deva Raja; the
latter, afterwards Chikka Deva Raja, was, with his father, placed in
confinement at Hangala. It was during Dodda Deva Raja's reign
that Sri Ranga Raya, the last representative of Vijayanagar, fled for
refuge to Bednur. Sivappa Nayak, who was the de facto ruler of that
state, entered upon a considerable range of conquests southwards under
pretence of establishing the royal line, and appeared before Seringa-
patam with a large force. He was, however, compelled to retreat, and
the Mysore armies before long overran Sakkarepatna, Hassan, and other
places, with the government of which Sri Ranga Raja had been invested
by Sivappa Nayak. The Nayak of Madura now invaded Mysore,
meditating the conquest of the country ; but not only was he forced to
retire, but Erode and Dharapuram yielded to the Mysoreans, who
levied heavy contributions on Trichinopoly and other important places.
Dodda Deva Raja was a great friend of the Brahmans, and was profuse
in his grants and donations to the holy order. He died at Chikn.-iya-
kanhalli, which, together with Hulyurdurga and Kunigal, had been

court-y;ii(l after darl^, and lay in wail until lie passed across, preceded by a l(jrch-
bearer. The latter was first killed, and the torch went out. " Who are you ?'' said
the minister. " \'our enemy," replied one of the peons, and made a blow. The
minister closed with him and threw him down, holding him by the throat. The
other peon, in the dark, knew not which was which. " Are you top or bottom?"
lie asked. " Bottom," gasped the half-strangled peon, on which his companion
dealt the fatal blow.


conquered not long hefcjre. The Mysore kingdom at tliis [jeriod
extended from Sakkarepatna in the west to Salem in the east, and
from Chiknayakanhalli in the north to Dharapuram (Coimbatore
District) in the south.

Chikka Deva Rdja, who was passed over at the commencement of
the preceding reign, now succeeded, and became one of the most
distinguished of the Mysore Rajas. His early youth had been passed
at Yelandur, where he had formed an intimacy with a Jain named
Vishalaksha Pandit. When Chikka Deva Raja and his father were
confined at Hangala, this man continued his attachment and followed
them into captivity ; not, however, from disinterested affection, but
because he had ascertained by his knowledge of the stars that Chikka
Deva Raja would certainly succeed to the throne. Having obtained a
promise that if such an event should come to pass he should be made
prime minister, he repaired to the capital and industriously circulated
in secret among influential persons the prediction of Chikka Deva
Raja's destiny. When, therefore, Dodda Deva Raja died, every one
was prepared to receive the successor decreed by fate. They did not
acquiesce quite so readily when the pandit was made minister, but
the ability of the Raja and his adviser soon silenced all murmurs.

One of the earliest measures of the new reign was the establishment,
for the first time, of a regular post throughout the country. Its
functions were, however, conjoined with those usually discharged by a
detective police, and information of the private transactions of each
district was thus regularly collected and sent to court by the postal
officials. Several conquests were made between 1675 and 1678, the
most important of which were those of Madgiri and Midagesi, with
some of the intermediate districts ; which brought the Mysore frontier,
projecting in a long arm northwards, up to that of Carnatic Bijapur,
now disorganized by the raids of Sivaji, consequent on the dispute
previously mentioned between him and his half brother Venkoji, or

During the next ten years were introduced a number of financial
changes, having for their object the increase of the revenue. The Raja
was unwilling to incur the risk of increasing in a direct manner the
established proportion of one-sixth share of the crop payable to the
crown as land revenue. A number of petty taxes were therefore
imposed, of a vexatious character,^ in order that the ryots might be
driven to seek relief and compound for their abolition in voluntarily
submitting to an increase of the land assessment. Lands held by the
soldiery as part payment for their services were, on grounds of policy,
' For a list see Wilks.


exempted. These measures gave rise to great discontent, which was
fanned by the Jangama priests. The opposition was manifested by a
determination not to till the land. The ryots deserted their villages
and assembled as if to emigrate. The Raja's resolution was prompt,
but sanguinary and treacherous. He invited all the Jangama priests to
meet him at Nanjangud for the purpose of discussing matters. Only
four hundred attended. What followed is thus described by \\'ilks : —

A large pit had been previously prepared in a walled inclosure, connected
by a series of squares composed of tent walls with the canopy of audience,
at which they were successively received one at a time, and after making
their obeisance were desired to retire to a place where, according to custom,
they expected to find refreshments prepared at the expense of the Raja.
Expert executioners were in waiting in the square, and every individual in
succession was so skilfully beheaded and tumbled into the pit as to give no
alarm to those who followed, and the business of the public audience went
on without interruption or suspicion. Circular orders had been sent for the
destruction, on the same day, of all the Jangam miits (places of residence
and worship) in his dominions ; and the number reported to have been in
jonsequence destroyed v/as upwards of seven hundred. This notable
achievement was followed by the operations of the troops, which had also
been previously combined. Wherever a mob had assembled, a detachment of
troops, chiefly cavalry, was collected in the neighbourhood, and prepared to
act on one and the same day. The orders were distinct and simple ; to
charge without parley into the midst of the mob ; to cut down in the first
selection every man wearing an orange-coloured robe (the peculiar garb of
the Jangam priests) ; and not to cease acting until the crowds had every-
where dispersed. It may be concluded that the effects of this system of
terror left no material difficulties to the final establishment of the new
system of revenue.

The chief odium of these massacres, as well as the innovations
which had led to them, naturally fell upon the Yelandur Pandit who
was at the head of the administration. An imjjression also got abroad
that the Raja was about to abandon the doctrines of the Jangama in
which he was brought up, and to revive the ascendancy of the Jain
fLiilh. The result was that the minister fell a victim to a j)l()t against
his life, and he was assassinated one night while returning from court.
The Raja was much affected at the news and hastened to the death-
bed of his faithful counsellor ; who, with his dying breath, recom-
mended a Brahman named Tirumalaiyangar as the most able and
honourable man to succeed him as minister.

These transactions bring us to 1687 — the period when the Mughals,
having captured Bijapur, were taking possession of the Carnatic
provinces dependent on it, and forming the Province of Sira. 'I'he

368 inSTORY

agreement as to the sale at this time of Bangalore by Venkoji, or Ekoji,
to the Mysore Raja for three lakhs of rupees ; its seizure by Khasim
Khan, the Mughal general, before the entry of the Mysore troops, and
the conclusion of the bargain notwithstanding, — are related in the
account of that district. Bangalore had now become a possession of
the Mysore Raja, who assiduously cultivated an alliance with Aurangzeb
through the general Khasim Khan, while at the same time extending
his territories in directions that would not interfere with the Mughal

Tiimkur was taken the same year ; then, turning east by way of
Hoskote, the Mysore army descended the Ghats and subdued a great
part of Baramahal and Salem. Between 1690 and 169J, the territories
were extended westwards, and all the districts up to the Baba Budan
mountains, including Hassan, Banavar, Chikmagalur, and Vastara were
taken from Bednur. And by a treaty concluded in 1694 with the chief
of that state, all these conquests, except Aigur and Vastara, were
retained by Mysore.

The project was next formed of invading the possessions of the
Nay.ik of Madura, and Trichinopoly was besieged in 1696. But whild
the strength of the army was engaged before that fortress, a Mahratta
force, — marching to the relief of S'enji, where Rama, the second son of
Sivaji, had been long besieged by the Mughals under Zulfikar Khan, —
attracted by the hope of plunder, suddenly appeared before Seringa-
patam. An express was at once sent to the dajavayi Kumaraiya
directing him to return for the protection of the capital. But as he
had made a vow not to appear before his Raja before he had taken
Trichinopoly, he despatched his son Doddaiya in command of a force,
which came up by rapid marches, and, by means of a stratagem which
seems often to have been resorted to by the Mysore troops,^ inflicted a
total defeat upon the enemy, in which the leaders were slain and the whole
of the ordnance, baggage and military stores of every description captured.

1 It was the practice of the Mysore army to perform their night marches by the
light of numerous torches, and this was made the foundation of a stratagem effected
in the following manner : — In the evening the dalavayi sent a small detachment in the
direction opposite to that on which he had planned his attack ; and in the probable line
by which he would move to throw his force into the capital. This detachment was sup-
plied with the requisite number of torches and an equal number of oxen, which were
arranged at proper distances, with a flambeau tied to the horns of each, in a situation
where they could not be observed by the enemy. At an appointed signal, the torches
were lighted and the oxen driven in the concerted direction, so as to indicate the
march of the army attempting to force its way through the besiegers by an attack on
the flank of their position. So soon as it was perceived that the enemy were making
a disposition to receive the army of torches, Doddaiya silently approached their rear,
and obtained an easy but most sanguinarj- victory.

To illustrate the


1 1617 at the death of Raja Wodeyar

1 1704 at the death of Chikka Deva Raja

1 1782 at the death of Haldar All Khan

nee 1799 by Treaty of Seringapatam


J^^Bu^n\oin«w * Co.. Uiu'


Next year, Khasini Khan, the friend of the Raja at the court of
Aurangzeb, died ; and Chikka Deva-Raja resolved to send an embassy
to the emperor for the purpose of establishing a fresh interest at court,
and gaining if possible a recognition of his authority over the newly-
conquered territories. The embassy, which set out in 1699, found the
imperial court at Ahmednagar, and returned in 1700, bringing with it,
as is alleged, a new signet from the emperor, bearing the title Jug Deo
Raj,i and permission to sit on an ivory throne.^

The Raja now formed various administrative departments, eighteen
in numl)er, in imitation of what his ambassadors had observed as the
system pursued at the Mughal court. The revenues were realized with
great regularity. It was the fixed practice of the Raja not to break
his fast every day until he had deposited two bags (thousands) of
pagodas in the treasury of reserve funds from cash received from the
districts. He had thus, by economy and victories, accumulated a
treasure which obtained for him the designation of Navakoti Narayaiia,
the lord of nine crores (of pagodas).

Chikka Deva-Raja died in 1704, at the advanced age of 76, after
a youth spent in exile, followed by an eventful reign of more than
thirty-one years ; during which, amid the convulsions and revolutions
which prevailed throughout the Dekhan and Carnatic, a secure and
prosperous State had been established, extending from Palni and
Anemale in the south to Midagesi in the north, and from near Carnatic
Ghur of the Baramahal in the east to the borders of Coorg and Balam
in the west.

Kanthirava Raja, the son of Chikka Deva-Raja, was born deaf and
dumb, and thence called Muk-arasu. Rut, through the influence of
Tirumalaiyangar, he succeeded to the throne. During his reign the
dal.avayi Kanthirava attempted to reduce Chik Ballapur, but lost his
life in the enterprise. His son, Basava Raja, appears to have con-
tinued the siege, and succeeded in levying tribute.

Doclda Krishna-Raja, son of the dumb king, next came to the
throne. At this time a change was made in the government of Sira,
whereby the jurisdiction of Sadat-ulla Khan, who Iiad hitherto governed
the whole of Carnatic Bijapur, was confined to the Payanghat, and he
was called Navab of Arcot ; while a separate officer, Amin Khan,
styled Navab of Sira, was appointed to the charge of the Balaghdt,
situated on the tableland of Mysore. Sadat-ulla Khan, aware of the
riches accumulated at Mysore, resented the removal of that State from
his control, and formed a combination with the Pathan Xavabs of

' Jagat Dcva Raja, the sovereign of the \vi)rld.
- For the history of this throne see Vol. II.

370 JflSTOR V

Kadapa, Karnul and Savanur, and the Mahratta chief of (lutti, to seize
upon it. Aniiii Khan resolved to l)e beforehand, and marched against
the Mysore army. But the alHes came up with him, and they ulti-
mately agreed to joint action, of which Sadat-ulla was to be the leader.
The Mysore Raja was glad to buy off this formidable confederacy, and
Sadat-ulla received a crore of rupees. He accounted, however, for
only 72 lakhs, which he divided in the proportion of 12 lakhs to each
of the allies, pocketing the rest. This affair led to further exactions.
Two years after, the Mahrattas appeared before Seringapatam and
levied a contribution. In order to replenish these drains upon the
treasury, an attack was made upon Kempe Cauda, the chief of Magadi,
who was taken prisoner; and Savan-durga, w-ith the accumulated
plunder of two hundred years, fell to Mysore.

The following estimate of the Raja's character will show the direc-
tion in which matters were now tending : —

" Whatever portion of vigour or of wisdom appeared in the conduct of
this reign belonged exclusively to the ministers, who secured their own
authority by appearing with affected humility to study in all things the
inclinations and wishes of the Raja. Weak and capricious in his temper,
he committed the most cruel excesses on the persons and property of those
who approached him, and as quickly restored them to his favour. While
no opposition was made to an establishment of almost incredible absurdity,
amounting to a lac of rupees annually, for the maintenance of an almshouse
to feed beasts of prey, reptiles, and insects ; he believed himself to be an
unlimited despot ; and, while amply supplied with the means of sensual
pleasure, to which he devoted the largest portion of his time, he thought
himself the greatest and happiest of monarchs, without understanding, or
caring to understand, during a reign of nineteen years, the troublesome
details through which he was supplied with all that is necessary for animal

Under these circumstances all power fell into the hands of the
ministers, and they sought only to perpetuate their authority by placing
pageant rajas on the throne. Chama-Raja, of the Hemanhalli family,
was selected as a fit person to succeed the last raja ; while the three
chief offices in the state, those of da/avdyi or head of the army,
sarz'ddhikdri or head of finance and revenue, and pradhdna or privy
councillor, were held by De\a-Raj, who was dalavayi, and Xanja-
Raj, his cousin, who combined in himself the other two offices.
Chama-Raja managed to effect a revolution and displace these two ;
but they were imprudently left at large, while the new administration,
by ill-advised measures of economy, became so unpopular that Deva-
Raj and Nanja-Raj found means to reco\er their power. The Raja


and his wife were seized and sent prisoners to Ivabbal-durga, the deadly
cHmate of which they did not long survive.

A younger brother of the deceased Raja, named Venkat Arasu, was
passed over as having too much talent to be subservient ; and a child
of five years old, of a distant branch, was placed on the throne. He
is known as Chikka Krishna-Raja. The administration continued as
before, except that Venkatapati was appointed to the office of pradhana,
while Nanja-Raj, as sarvadhikari, was the head of the government.
He died after six years, refunding at the approach of death eight lakhs
of rupees, which he estimated as the amount he had improperly
acquired. He also left a warning against employing the person who
was his actual successor, Nanja-Raj, the younger brother of Deva-
Raj, and surnamed Karachdri. '

The Navabs of Arcot continued to eye with jealousy the rights of
the Navabs of Sira to receive tribute from the rich State of Mysore.
The weakness of Tahir Khan, now in power at Sira, led Dost AH Khan,
the governor at Arcot, to despatch a powerful and well-appointed army
to exact from Seringapatam the largest contribution that had ever been
obtained from it. Deva-Raj, though no longer young, advanced to
meet this invasion. The chiefs on both sides were reconnoitring at
Kailancha on the Arkavati, a few miles east of Channapatna, when the
two Musalman chiefs, not heeding, came too far. Deva-Raj skilfully
cut off their retreat, and falling upon them with his party, they were
both slain after a brave resistance. Deva-Raj followed up the blow,
and attacked the Musalman cami) with his whole army. They were
completely surprised and overthrown, fleeing in confusion below the
Ghats, while the victor returned in triumph to Seringapatam.

In 1746 Nanja-Raj commanded an expedition into the Coimbatore
country against the palegar of Dharapuram ; Deva-Raj, the dalavayi,
taking charge of the revenue and finances. During the absence of the
army, Nasir Jang, son of Nizam-ul-Mulk, now Subadar of the Dekhan,
marched towards the capital by order of his father to levy a contribu-
tion. A deputation was sent forth to meet him, tendering allegiance ;
and while the negotiations were going on, Nasir Jang, encamped at
Tonnur, amused himself on the large tank, to which he gave the name
of Moti Talab, which it still retains.

Nanja-Raj having returned successful from the south, his daughter
was married to the nominal Raja, as the first ste[i to other ambitious
l)rojects. I5ut in 1749 was undertaken the siege of Devanhalli, in
which obscure service an unknown volunteer horseman joined, who was
destined before long to gain the sui)reme power of the state and to play
/i'(?;v?,lian(l,(7;//r/, dagger; c(jnivalcnl lo llic I'.nglisli cxprcNsion "a word and a hlow.'

B U 2


no moan i)arl in the history of India. This was Haidar, who, in a
private capacity, had accompanied his elder brother Shabaz, the com-
mander of a small body of horse and foot in the Mysore army. The
sief^e of Devanhalli was prolonged for nine months, after which the
palegar was allowed to retire to his relation at Chik Ballapur. Haidar's
coolness and courage during the hostilities attracted the notice of
Nanja-Rdj, who gave him the command of fifty horse and 200 foot,
with orders to recruit and augment his corps ; and also appointed him
to the charge of one of the gates of Devanhalli, then a frontier fortress
of Mysore.^

' Haidar was the great-grandson of Muhammad Bhelol, an emigrant from the
Panjab, who had settled in a reHgious capacity at Aland, in Kalburga district. His
sons Muhammad Ali and Muhammad Wali married at Kalburga, and then coming to
Sira, obtained employment as customs peons. Before long they removed to Kolar,
where the elder died ; upon which the other seized all the domestic property and
turned his brother's wife and son out of doors. A Nayak of peons at Kolar took
them in, and when Fatte Muhammad, the son, was old enough, made him a peon.
At the siege of Ganjikota, on the troops being repulsed in a general assault, the young
man distinguished himself by seizing a standard and planting it once more on the
breach, which rallied the assailants and thus carried the day. For this exploit the
Subadar of Sira made him a Nayak, and he continued to rise. But on a change of
Subadars, finding himself not in favour, he repaired to Arcot with fifty horse and
1,400 peons ; and, on failing to obtain service from the Nabob on the conditions he
demanded, entered the service of the Faujdar of Chittur. The latter was soon
recalled to court, on which Fatte Nayak returned to Mysore and was appointed
Faujdar of Kolar, with Budikote as a jagir, and the title of Fatte Muhammad Khan.
At Budikote were born Shabaz and his Ijrother Haidar, the latter in 1722. They
were the sons by a third wife. For Fatte Muhammad, after three sons were born to
them, had lost his first wife at Kolar, to which place she belonged, and on whose death
he Ijegan the erection of the mausoleum there. His second wife was the daughter of
a Nevayet who, in travelling from the Konkan to Arcot, had been robbed and mur-
dered at Tarikere. The wife, with a son Ibrahim, and two daughters, escaping,
had begged their way as far as Kolar, where Fatte Na)-ak proposed to marry the
elder and was accepted. She, however, died without issue, and he then took to
himself her younger sister, who became the mother of Haidar.

Fatte Muhammad and the eldest son by the first wife were killed in 1729, in a
battle between his patron, Abdul Rasul Khan of Dod Ballapur, Subadar of Sira, and
Tahir Khan, the Faujdar of Chittur, under whom he had formerly served, who now
sought to gain possession of Sira as Subadar. The bodies of the slain father and son
were conveyed to Kolar, and buried in the mausoleum. Meanwhile, the family of
Fatte Muhammad had been confined in Dod Ballapur as hostages for his fidelity, in
accordance with the usual practice of those times. Abdul Rasul had also fallen in
battle, and Abbas Khuli Khan, his son, being left in possession of the Dod Ballapur
jagir on resigning all claim to Sira, now proceeded to plunder the families thus
placed in his power. Shabaz and Haidar, the former about nine and the latter seven
years of age, were tortured for payment of a pretended balance due from their father.
When suffered to depart, the mother with her children went to Bangalore, and found
shelter with her brother, Ibrahim Sahib, who commanded some peons under the
Killedar. Shabaz, when old enough, obtained a subordinate command, and rose to
the position in which he appears before Devanhalli.


An order soon arrived from Nasir Jang as Subadar of the Dekhan
for the Mysore troops to attend him in an expedition against Arcot. A

Online LibraryB. Lewis (Benjamin Lewis) RiceMysore: a gazetteer compiled for government (Volume 1) → online text (page 44 of 98)