B. Lewis (Benjamin Lewis) Rice.

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

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force, which included Haidar and his brother, was accordingly sent
under Berki ^'enkata Kao, and joined the main army at Madgiri. It is
unnecessary to follow the fortunes of the several claimants to the
Navabship of the Carnatic, with the rival struggles of the English and
the French in support of one or other. Suffice it to say that when
Nasir Jang was treacherously killed and his camp broken up, Haidar
took advantage of the confusion and managed to secure two camel
loads of gold coins, which were safely despatched to Devanhalli, as well
as aljout 300 horses and 500 muskets, picked up at various times.
The Mysore troops shortly after returned to their own country.

In 1751 Muhammad Ali, the English candidate at Trichinopoly,
opposed to Chanda Sahib, the French candidate at Arcot, sent an
ambassador named Seshagiri Pandit to Mysore for assistance. The
dalavayi Deva-Raj was adverse to engaging in the enterprise ; liut his
younger brother Nanja-Raj was tempted by an extravagant promise of
the cession of Trichinopoly and all its possessions down to Cape
Comorin, to lend the acquired assistance, and agreed to make pro-
vision for Muhammad Ali in giving him Hardanhalli, at the head of
the pass to Trichinopoly, as a jdgir.

About the time of Clive's celebrated siege and subsequent defence
of Arcot, a Mysore army, consisting of 5,000 horse and 10,000 infantry,
marched from Seringapatam under the command of Nanja-Rdj. The
only regular troops in the force were a small body in the corps of Haidar
Ndyak, armed with the muskets before mentioned. The army had
borne no part in warfare, when the desertion and murder of Chanda
Sahib occurred. His head, however, was sent as a trophy to Seringa-
patam, and hung up over the Mysore gate. The war seemed now to
be at an end, and Nanja-Raj claimed Trichinopoly. Muhammad Ali,
unable any longer to conceal from the English the illegally formed
agreement, declared that he had never intended to observe the compact.
At the same time he endeavoured to deceive Nanja-Raj with fresh
promises that he would deliver up the place in two months, and gave
up to him the revenues of the island of Seringham and the adjacent
districts. Nanja-Rdj occupied the island, intercepted the supplies from
Trichinopoly, mtrigued with the French, and tried to gain the fort by
treachery. Though powerfully assisted by the French, all attempts on
the place were frustrated by the skilful measures of Major Lawrence.
Nanja-Rdj then endeavoured to enter into a treaty with the ICnglish,
but this came to nothing. Meanwhile news arrived of a serious danger
threatening at home, and Nanja-Rdj returned to Mysore in 1755 at the



summons of his brother, having nearly exhausted the treasury in the
expenses of this unprofitable war, added to a subsidy paid during most
of the time to his Mahratta ally Morari Rao, and a loan of ten lakhs
of pagodas to Muhammad Ali, which was never repaid.

The danger which called for the return of the troops under Nanja-
Raj was the approach of Salabat Jang, Subadar of the Dekhan, with
a powerful French force under M. Ikissy, to demand arrears of tribute.
Deva-Raj had no money to meet this demand and the enemy therefore
invested Seringapatam. Matters were brought to a crisis before Nanja-
Raj, though hastening with forced marches, could arrive. Deva-Raj
was therefore driven to compromise for a payment of fifty-six lakhs of
rupees. To raise this sum " the whole of the plate and jewels belong-
ing to the Hindu temples in the town were put into requisition,
together with the jewels and precious metals constituting the immediate
property or personal ornaments of the Raja and his family : but the
total sum which could thus be realized amounted to no more than one-
third of what was stipulated. For the remainder Deva-Raj prevailed
on the soucars, or bankers, of the capital to give security, and to deliver
as hostages their principal gumdstas or confidential agents : but as he
was never afterwards enabled to satisfy the soucars, they left the
gumastas to their fate, and of the two-thirds for which security was
given not one rupee was ever realized. Of the unhappy hostages,
some died in prison, others escaped, and after a period the remainder
were released." On hearing of this transaction, Nanja-Raj halted, and
discharged one-third of his army ; not without great difficulty in paying
their arrears.

Haidar, who had continued to advance in fa\ our during the opera-
tions before Trichinopoly, was now appointed Faujdar of Dindigal.
He had enlisted a considerable body of Bedar peons and of Pindari
horsemen, and with the aid of Khande Rao, a Brahman miitsaddi,
organized a perfect system of plunder, the profits of which were
divided between Haidar and the plunderers.

" Moveable property of every description was their object ; and they did
not hesitate to acquire it by simple theft from friends, when that could be done
without suspicion and with moi'e convenience than from enemies. Nothing
was unseasonable or unacceptable ; from convoys of ^rain, down to the
clothes, turbans, and ear-rings of travellers or villagers, whether men,
women, or children. Cattle and sheep were among the most profitable heads
of plunder : muskets and horses were sometimes obtained in booty, some-
times by purchase. The numbers under his command increased with his
resources ; and before he left Trichinopoly, besides the usual appendages of
a chief of rank, in elephants, camels, tents, and magnificent appointments,
he was rated on the returns and received pay for one thousand five hundred


horses, three thousand regular infantry, two thousand peons, and four guns,
with their equipments."

Haidar proceeded with a considerable force to the south to lake
charge of his district, while Khande Rao was left at the capital to
protect his interests. By a great variety of fictitious charges, Haidar
managed to accumulate a large treasure, and, with the aid of skilled
artificers under French masters, began to organize a regular artillery,
arsenal and laboratory.

In 1756 the young Raja, now twenty-seven years of age, becoming
impatient of his position, was led into a plot for confining the ministers
and taking the power into his own hands. The plot was discovered,
and Deva-Raj counselled mild measures. But Nanja-Raj stormed the
palace, forced the Raja to take his seat on the throne, and then cut off
the noses and ears of his partisans before his face. This disgusting
affair, and the contempt of his counsel, led Deva-Raj to retire from the
capital. Accompanied by his family and a large body of adherents, he
descended the Gajalhatti pass in February 1757, and fixed his residence
at Satyamangala. To meet his expenses he revoked the assignments
made to Haidar, whom, therefore, Khande Rao advised to come to
Seringapatam at once. Before he arrived, however, the Mahrattas under
Balaji Rao appeared, demanding a contribution. Nanja-Raj in vain
represented his absolute inability. Seringapatam was besieged, and the
operations being directed by Europeans, was soon reduced to extremity.
Nanja-Raj was forced to compromise for thirty-two lakhs of rupees, but
as all the cash and jewels he could muster amounted to no more than
five lakhs, a large tract of country wis surrendered in pledge,^ and the
Mahrattas departed, leaving agents for the collection of revenue, and
six thousand horse, in the pledged districts. On Haidar's arrival he
expressed his regret that his troops had not been ordered up from
Dindigal, advi.sed that the revenue should be withheld from the
Mahrattas, and their troops expelled at the beginning of the rains,
which would prevent an invasion for that season. This was accordingly
done. Haidar then waited on Deva-Raj, and it was arranged between
them that the resumed revenues should be restored to Haidar, with
soucar security for three lakhs, in exchange for a military contribution
of twelve lakhs to Haidar for assistance rendered to the Nair Raja of
Palghat, which Hari Singh, a bra\e I\.ajput adherent of Deva-Raj and
Haidar's rival in the Mysore army, was deputed to collect Haidar now
returned to Dindigal and planned the conc^uest of Madura, which did

1 The districts plc(li:;etl weio Nafjamangala, Bellur, Kikkeri, Cli;uiia\patna, Kadiir,
Banavar, Ihunlialli, Ilonvalli, 'ruiixckcrc, Kaiulikoio, Cliikiuiyakanlialli, Kaikilia,
Kallur, and lluliyurdurga.


not succeed ; and he shorlly returned to Scringapatam, wlierc his
presence was urgently required.

I'he troops, whose pay had long fallen into arrears, had mutinied
and sat in dhariia at the gate of the minister. Xanja-Raj sold the
provisions in store, but the proceeds fell far short of the demand.
Haidar, hearing of the state of affairs, hastened to Satyamangala and
prevailed on the old chief Deva-Raj, then very ill, to return to the
capital and unite with his brother in restoring order at this critical
juncture. But Nanja-Raj was required first to make atonement to
the Raja for his former outrage. This done, he went forth with a great
procession to meet Deva-Raj and conduct him from Mysore to the
capital. Here Deva-Raj died, six days after his arrival, probably from
dropsy, though suspicion naturally fell on Nanja-Raj.

Nanja-Raj, disgusted with the task of liquidating the arrears due to
the troops, now requested Haidar and Khande Rao to undertake it.
This they did after a strict scrutiny of the demands, which their con-
summate skill in such matters enabled them to rid of all excessive and
false charges ; and the claims were finally settled by distribution of all
the available state property, down to the Raja's elephants and horses.
At the same time Haidar's own troops were placed as guards of the
fort ; and as soon as the mutineers, having been paid and discharged,
had left the capital, the most wealthy chiefs in the army were seized and
all their property confiscated as ringleaders in the mutiny.

Hari Singh, who had been sent to receive the tribute due from Mala-
bar, found himself unable to realize any of it, and on hearing of the
death of his patron Deva-Raj, was marching back, when Haidar, to get
rid of his rival, under pretence of sending back troops to Dindigal, des-
patched a force which fell upon Hari Singh at night while encamped at
Avanashi, and massacred him as a mutineer with the greater part of his
followers. Haidar presented three guns and fifteen horses to the Raja,
and kept the rest of the plunder. At the same time, in lieu of the soucar
security which I)e\a-Rdj had given him, an assignment was granted on
the revenues of Coimbatore, and the fort and district of Bangalore were
conferred on him as a personal jdgir.

The Mahrattas, whose troops had been expelled as before stated, now
returned, early in 1759, in great force, under Gopal Hari; and re-
occupying all the pledged districts, suddenly appeared before Bangalore,
which they invested, and at the same time sent a detachment which
surprised Channapatna. Haidar was appointed to the chief command
of the army to oppose this invasion. He stationed one detachment at
Malvalli, under his maternal uncle Mir Ibrahim, and another at Maddur
under Latf Ali Beg. The latter, by feigning fear of attack, drew out the


Mahrattas from Chaimapatna, and then surprised and took it by
escalade. Haidar now concentrated his forces near Channapatna, and
(lopal Hari, raising the blockade of Bangalore, marched to meet him with
a superior force. After three months of various warfare, Gopal Hari,
finding himself straitened by the activity of his opponent, proposed a
negotiation. It was arranged that the Mahrattas should relinquish all
claim to the districts formerly pledged, and that Mysore should pay thirty-
two lakhs in discharge of all demands, past and present. To raise the
money a nazardna or gift was levied from all the principal public ser-
vants and wealthy inhabitants, but Khande Rao could obtain only six-
teen lakhs from this source. The Mahratta soucars, however, made them-
selves responsilile for the rest on the personal security of Haidar, on
the understanding that he should have the management of the restored
districts in order to realize the amount.

The Mahrattas now withdrew to their own country, and Haidar
returned in triumph to Seringapatam, where he was received by the
Raja in the most splendid durbar since the time of Chikka De\a-Raja.
He was saluted with the title of Fatte Haidar Bahddi'ii\ and Nanja-Raj
on his aj)proach rose up to receive him and embraced him.

Before long the pay of the troops again fell into arrears, and Haidar
was again the medium of satisfying their demands. This he was com-
missioned to do by the Raja on condition that he renounced Xanja-
Raj \ and the fresh assignments made to enable him to meet the
demand placed in his hands more than half the possessions of the king-
dom. Khande Rao was viXdAo. pradhana^ and on Nanja-Raj was settled
a jagir of three lakhs of pagodas, with a stipulation that he should main-
tain 1,000 horse and 3,000 foot without personal service. Nanja-Raj,
who had been the virtual ruler of Mysore for nearly twenty years, yielded
to necessity, and departed from the capital in June, 1759, with all his
family and adherents. He lingered, however, at Mysore, under pre-
tence of visiting the temple at Nanjangud, until it became necessary
for Haidar to regularly besiege the place and force him to retire. His
jagir was in consequence reduced to one lakh, and he was re(|uired to
fix his residence at Konanur in the west. His daughter, married to the
Raja, died soon after. Haidar now received a further assignment of
four districts for the expenses of this siege, though the grant was
opposed even by Khande Rao.

A French emissary, styling himself the Bishui) of Halicarnassus,
shortly arrived with proposals to Haidar to join them in expelling the
English from Arcot. The terms of a treaty for the purpose were con-
cluded with 1-ally at I'ondicherry on the 4th of June, 1760. Haidar
was to furnish 3,000 select horse and 5,000 se[)oys, wilii artillery, to be


paid hy the l-'rcnch ; and on a favourable conclusion of the vvar Trichi-
nopoly, Madura, and Tinnevelly were to be ceded to Mysore. In order
to clear the way from Seringapatam to Arcot, the district of KaramahaV
though in the possession of the Navah of Kadapa, was taken posses-
sion of by Haidar, as well as Anekal, from the palegar of that place ;
while the French yielded up the fort of Tyagar as a point of communi-
cation. The Mysorean troops, commanded by Makhdum Ali, on
descending the ghats, gained one easy and unexpected victory at
Trivadi on the 17th of July. But the ambitious prospects which this
opened up were swiftly blighted by the imminent jeopardy in which
Haidar in a moment was placed.

The royal party at Seringapatam found that an exchange of Haidar
for Nanja Raj had left them in the same dependent condition as before,
and a plot was formed by the old dowager and Khande Rao for getting
rid of one whose recent encroachments tended to a complete usurpation
of the government. A favourable opportunity seemed now to offer. A
large portion of Haidar's troops were absent at Arcot ; the remainder
were encamped on the north of the river, which was too full to ford ;
while Haidar himself with a small guard occupied an exposed position
under the guns of the fort. Negotiations were opened with a Mahratta
force under Visaji Pandit, which was ravaging the country between
Ballapur and Devanhalli, and the services obtained of 6,000 horse to
reach Seringapatam by the 12th of August. On the morning of that
day the fort gates were not opened as usual, and Haidar was roused up
by a tremendous cannonade upon his position at the INIahanavami
mantapa — the site of the present Darya Daulat. In amazement he sent
for Khande Rao, and was informed that he it was who was directing
the fire. He saw at once the extent of the treachery, and sheltering his
family- and followers as well as possible, promptly secured all the boats
{harigbbi) on the river. The Mahrattas, as usual, not having arrived,
Khande Rao could not attack, and the day passed in negotiations.
The result was that the landing-place on the northern bank was left
unguarded, and Haidar escaped that night across the river with a few
tried followers, bearing what money and jewels they could carry, but
forced to leave behind his wife with his eldest son Tipu, nine years of
age, and all his foot-guards. The family were removed to the fort and
kindly treated by Khande Rao.

Haidar fled north-east and arrived before daylight at Anekal,

' Meaning the twelve districts, and so called after twelve hill forts, viz., Krishna-
giii, Tripatur, \'aniambadi, Jagadeva-gada, Kavila-gada, Maharaj-gada, Bhiijanga-
gada, Katara-gada, Gagana-gada, Sudarshana-gada, Tatukal, and Rayakota.

- In the fright his wife was prematurely delivered of a son, Karim.


commanded by his brother-in-law Ismail Ali, having ridden seventy-five
miles on one horse. Ismail Ali was at once despatched to see how
matters stood at Bangalore. He had scarcely arrived there before
Ivhande Rao's orders to seize the kiledar were received. But it was
too late. Kabir Beg, an old friend of Haidar.s, was faithful to him.
The Hindu soldiers were excluded and the fort gates shut. Haidar,
on receiving the news, at once set out and reached Bangalore the same

His position was indeed desperate. " He was now left, as it were, to
begin the world again on the resources of his own mind. The bulk of
his treasures and his train of artillery and military stores all lost : the
territorial revenue at the command of Khande Rao : and the only
possessions on which he could rest any hope for the restoration of his
affairs were — Bangalore at the northern, and Dindigal at the southern
extremity of the territories of Mysore, with Anekal and the fortresses of
Baramahal. The sole foundation of a new army was the corps of
Makhdum Ali ; and its junction was nearly a desperate hope. He had,
however, despatched from Anekal positive orders for them to commence
their march without an hour's delay ; withdrawing altogether the garrison
of Tyagar, and every man that could be spared from the posts of Bara-
mahal." He obtained a loan of four lakhs on his personal security from
the saukars of Bangalore and was joined by a few adherents. Among
others, a Muhammadan of rank, Fazal-ulla Khan, son of the late Xavab
of Sira, offered him his services. All hope now rested on the corps of
Makhdum Ali ; against whom Khande Rao had sent the Mahrattas
and the best of his troops, and reduced him to i^reat extremities.

A most unexpected turn in events saved Haidar from apparent
destruction. Visaji Pandit was found ready to negotiate, and agreed to
depart on the cession of Baramahal and a payment of three lakhs of
rupees. The money was at once paid, and the Mahrattas marched off.
Makhdum Ali, relieved from his critical blockade, proceeded to Banga-
lore. The explanation of the haste of the Mahratta retreat, which had
excited Haidar's suspicion, now appeared. News had secretly been
received of the crushing defeat of the Mahrattas by the Abdalis on the
memorable field of Panipat, and all their forces were ordered to
concentrate. Haidar, who had delayed giving up Baramahal, therefore
retained it. He detached Makhdum Ali to secure the revenues of
Coimbatore and Salem ; and proceeded in person, accompanied by a
French contingent, against Khande Rao, to whom place after place was
yielding. He crossed the Kaveri below Sosile, and the two armies met
near Nanjangud. Haidar's force being inferior in point of numbers, he
endeavoured to avoid an action while waiting for reinforcements. But


Khandc Rao forced on a battle, and com[)elling Haidars infantry to
change its front, charged it while performing that evolution. Haidar
was severely defeated and retired to Hardanhalli.

" Nothing but a confidence in powers of simulation altogether un-
rivalled could have suggested to Haidar the step which he next pursued.
With a select body of two hundred horse, including about seventy
French hussars under M. Hugel, he made a circuitous march by night ;
and early on the next morning, unarmed, and alone, presented himself
as a suppliant at the door of Nanja-Raj at Konanur, and being admitted,
threw himself at his feet. With the semblance of real penitence and
grief, he attributed all his misfortunes to the gross ingratitude with
which he had requited the patronage of Nanja-Raj, entreated him to
resume the direction of public affairs and take his old servant once
more under his protection. Nanja-Raj was completely deceived ; and
with his remaining household troops, which during the present troubles
he had augmented to two thousand horse and about an equal number
of indifferent infantry, he gave to the ruined fortunes of Haidar the
advantages of his name and influence, announcing in letters despatched
in every direction his determination to exercise the office of
sarvdd/iikdri, which he still nominally retained, with Haidar as his

Khande Rao now manoeuvred to prevent the junction of Haidar
with his army, and had arrived at Katte Malalvadi. The destruction of
Haidar and his new friends appeared to be inevitable, when his talent
for deception again released him from the danger. He fabricated
letters, in the name and with the seal of Nanja-Rdj, to the principal
officers of Khande Rao's army, to deliver him up in accordance with an
imaginary pre\ious compact. It was arranged that these letters should
fall into the hands of Khande Rao, who, thinking himself betrayed,
mounted his horse and fled in haste to Seringapatam. His forces
became in consequence disorganized, when Haidar fell upon and
routed them, capturing all the infantry, guns, stores and baggage. He
next descended the Ghats, took all the forts that had declared for
Khande Rao, and by the month of May returned to the south of
Seringapatam with a large force. Here for several days he pretended
to be engaged in negotiating, and every evening made a show of
exercising his troops till after sunset. On the eighth day, instead of
dismissing them as usual, he made a sudden dash across the river, and
surprising Khande Rao's forces, completely routed them and encamped
on the island.

He now sent a message to the trembling Raja, demanding the sur-
render of Khande Rao as being his servant, and the liquidation of


arrears due, which were designedly enhanced ; offering at the same
time to reHnquish the service when the conditions were complied with.
He however expounded his real views to the ofificers of state, and they,
working upon the fears of the helpless Raja, prevailed upon him to
resign the entire management of the country into the hands of the
conqueror, reserving only districts yielding three lakhs of pagodas for
himself and one lakh for Nanja-Raj. Khande Rao was delivered up,
Haidar having promised to spare his life and take care of him as a
parrot, an expression used to denote kind treatment. It was however
fulfilled to the letter, by confining him in an iron cage and giving him
rice and milk for his food, in which condition he ended his days.

Haidar's usurpation was by this time complete ; but he entered on
the government of the country, in June 1761, with a studied show of
reluctance and the form of a mock submission to the wishes of the
Raja. After two months, having placed Seringapatam under the
command of his brother-in-law Makhdum Ali, he proceeded to
Bangalore. Basalat Jang, a brother of the Subadar of the Dekhan,
and therefore one of the claimants to that dignity, was at this time in
possession of Adoni and meditated establishing his own pretensions.
The south was the direction in which he could with least opposition
extend his territory. He accordingly, in June 1761, planned to reduce
Sira, then in the hands of the ]Mahrattas, but found it would require
too long a siege. He therefore marched to Hoskote, which also defied
his efforts. Negotiations were soon opened between Haidar and
Basalat Jang ; and the latter, in return for a gift of three lakhs of
rupees, invested Haidar with the office of Navab of Sira, styling him in
the deeds of investiture Haidar Ali Khan Bahadur.^

Haidar now united his army to that of Basalat Jang and captured
Hoskote. Dod Ballapur was next taken,'- and lastly Sira. Here
Basalat Jang left Haidar, being called to the north by the hostile
movements of his brother Nizam Ali, now Subadar of the Dekhan.
Haidar returned and attacked Chik Ballapur. Morari Rao of Ciutti.

Online LibraryB. Lewis (Benjamin Lewis) RiceMysore: a gazetteer compiled for government (Volume 1) → online text (page 45 of 98)