B. Lewis (Benjamin Lewis) Rice.

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

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advancing to its relief, was defeated, and the place fell after a most
obstinate defence, the palegar taking refuge on Nandi-durga.
Kodikonda, Penugonda and Madaksira, possessions of Morari Rao,
were next taken ; and returning to Sira, Haidar received the submission
of the palegars of Raydurga and Harpanhalli, and forced that of the
palegar of Chitaldroog. The latter introduced to him a pretender to

' He also offered him the tille oi Jang, h\\\ Haidar, who could not pronounce it
better than Zaitg, fancied it contained some covert sneer, and so declined it in favour
of Fazal-ulla, who thus became Haibat Jang.

- Abbas Khuli Khan, to whom he owed a deeji revenge (sec y. 372), abaiuifined
his family and fled to Madras. But Haidar treated the family with great generosity.


the ihroiic ul" Hcdiuir, as related in the history of the Chitaldroog
district, and the invasion of ikdnur was planned. He entered the
province at the end of January, 1763, and at Kumsi found the late
Raja's prime minister, who had been long imprisoned at this place.
From him every information was obtained as to the approaches and
resources of the capital, in consequence of which Haidar, rejecting all
the offers of money made to buy him off, pressed on. The Rani and
her paramour fled, followed by the inhabitants en masse, who took
shelter in the woods. Haidar, the instant of his arrival at the barrier,
in March, ordered a noisy but feigned attack to be made on the posts
in his front, while he himself, at the head of a select column, entered
the city by a private path pointed out by the minister. The flames of
the palace were extinguished and a seal placed on the doors of all but
the poorest of the deserted dwellings. A booty was thus secured which
has been valued at twelve millions sterling. Detachments were
despatched to the coast and in pursuit of the Rani. The former took
possession of the fortified island of Basavaraj-durga, as well as of
Honavar and Mangalore. The latter took the Rani prisoner at
Ballalrayan-durga. She, with her paramour, her adopted son, the
nominal Raja, and even the pretender whose cause Haidar had
ostensibly espoused, were all alike sent to a common imprisonment at

This important conquest was ever spoken of by Haidar Ali as the
foundation of ail his subsequent greatness. He designed to make Bed-
nur his capital, and gave it the name of Haidar-nagar. His family was
removed thither, and the building commenced of a splendid palace
(never finished). He also established a mint and struck coins — known
as Haidari and Bahaduri pagodas — in his own name. A dockyard and
naval arsenal were further formed on the western coast for the construc-
tion of ships of war.

The former officials of Bednur had been, to a great extent, retained
in their offices, and when Haidar Ali, having contracted the usual Mal-
nad fever, was unable to attend to business, they formed a conspiracy
for assassinating him and recovering the capital. But it was discovered.
The commissioners appointed to investigate it were found to be involved,
and instantly hanged in his presence. Three hundred conspirators
suffered the same fate before the day ended. All opposition was thus
effectually crushed.

The hill country of Sunda was subdued in December. Meanwhile
Reza Ali Khan, son of Chanda Sahib, and the French candidate for the
Navabship of the Carnatic, who, escaping from Pondicherry on its
capture by the English in i 761, had been living since in Ceylon, landed


in Kanara and claimed protection from Haidar. He was received with
distinction, and presented with a jagir of a lakh of rupees. By his ad-
vice many changes were introduced into the army. The infantry were
for the first time dressed in a uniform manner, and classed into avval,
first, and duyam, second; the former composed of tried and veteran
troops with superior pay. The etiquette and ceremonials of the court
were also regulated, and a greater show of splendour assumed in retinue
and personal surroundings.

Haidar now bethought himself of appeasing the Mahrattas and the
Nizam, the former for the seizure of Sira, the latter for accepting the
title of Navab from his brother. Embassies with gifts were accordingly
sent to either court. At Haidarabad the object was attained, but the
]^Iahrattas could not be reconciled, and Haidar resolved to anticipate
an invasion. Savanur was conquered, and the Mysore frontier ad-
vanced nearly to the Krishna, when Gopal Rao, the Mahratta chief of
Miraj, was ordered to check further progress, but he was defeated.
Madhava Rao, the Peshva, now crossed the Krishna with an immense
army, and Haidar sustained a damaging defeat at Rattihalli, with severe
loss of the flower of his army. He fell back to Anavatti, where also
the Mahrattas were victorious, and Haidar, with fifty cavalry, barely
escaped by the fleetness of their horses. The Mahrattas retook all the
recent conquests to the north ; and Haidar, driven back into IJednur
with the most hopeless prospects, sent off his family and treasure with
all speed to Seringapatam. At length negotiations were opened, and the
Mahrattas retired in February, 1765, on the restoration of all places
taken from Morari Rao of Ciutti and Abdul Hakim Khan of Savanur,
and the payment of thirty-two lakhs of rupees. Sira was left in Haidar's

During this unfavourable aspect of his affairs to the west, all his
recent acquisitions to the east were in a flame of rebellion. His brother-
in-law, Mir Ali Reza, was sent thither, and restored his authority. The
palegar of Chik Ballapur, being starved out on Nandi-durga, was forced
to surrender, and sent a prisoner, with his family, first to Bangalore and
then to Coimbatore.

The conquest of Malabar was next undertaken, on information
derived from Ali Raja, the Mapilla ruler of Cannamore, who thought
with help from Haidar to extend his own power. A force was left at
Basvapatna for the security of the north, and with all disposable troops
Haidar descended into Kanara early in 1 766. The Nairs were subdued
with difficulty, owing to the wooded nature of the country. The northern
states being conquered, the Zamorin of Calicul came forward and made
his submission. Haidar suspected treachery, and, while concluding an


agreement to reinstate him on payment of four lakhs of Venetian sequins,
secretly sent a force to seize Calicut. The Zamorin was perplexed and
delayed payment, on which he was confined to his palace and his minis-
ters tortured. Fearing the same fate, he set fire to the building and
perished with all his family. Leaving a force at Calicut, Haidar moved
on to Coimbatore, receiving the submission of the Rajas of Cochin and
Palghat on the way. In three months the Nairs rebelled. Haidar
returned to put them down, and adopted the expedient of deporting
vast numbers to the less populous parts of Mysore. But the usual con-
sequence to which the natives of Malabar are subject followed from the
change of climate, and of 15,000 who were removed not 200 survived.
A general amnesty was proclaimed, and the erection commenced of a
fort at Palghat as a point of communication with the country.

During these operations the pageant raja, Chikka Krishna-Raja, had
died, and Haidar had sent instructions to instal his eldest son, Nanja-
Raj, then eighteen years of age, in his place. On arriving at the capital in
1767, he discovered that this youth was not likely to acquiesce in his
subservient position. Haidar immediately resumed the three lakhs of
pagodas allowed for the Raja, plundered the palace of every article of
value except the ornaments the women actually had on their persons
at the time, and placed his own guards over the place.

Intelligence meanwhile arrived that the Mahrattas and Nizam Ali
had planned a joint invasion of Mysore. The Mahrattas first appeared,
under Madhava Rao, and Haidar in vain endeavoured to stop their
progress by cutting the embankments of the tanks, poisoning the water
in the wells, burning the forage, and driving off all the villagers and
cattle on their route. The Mahrattas arrived at Raydurga and marched
down the bed of the Haggari to Sira. Here Mir Sahib, Haidar's
brother-in-law, betrayed his trust, and gave it up in return for Guram-
konda, the possession of his ancestors. Haidar now made strenuous
efforts to treat with the Mahrattas, who had overrun all the east, before
Nizam Ali should join them. At length, by the address of Appaji Ram,
a witty and skilful negotiator, the Mahrattas agreed to retire on payment
of 35 lakhs of rupees, half to be paid on the spot, and Kolar to be
retained in pledge for the rest. On Nizam All's arrival soon after,
Haidar persuaded him into an alliance with himself against the English.
Meanwhile, discovering that Nanja-Raj, the old minister, was intriguing
with the Mahrattas and Nizam Ali, he induced him by a false oath of
security to come to Seringapatam, on the plea that his advice was
needed in the critical state of the country, and then made him prisoner,
reducing his allowances to the bare necessaries of life.

Nizam Ali deceived the English, with whom he was allied, up to the


last moment, but on the 25th of August, 1767, the forces of Mysore
and Haidarabacl descended the Ghats and attacked Colonel Smith, who,
though at first taken by surprise, completely defeated them at Trino-
mali on the 26th September. Tipu, then seventeen, had, under guidance
of Ghazi Khan, his military preceptor, penetrated with a body of horse to
the very precincts of Madras, when, hearing the result of the battle of
Trinomali, he retired with precipitation to join his father. Mutual
recriminations ensued between Haidar Ali and Nizam Ali, and notning
was done for a month. The former then seized u[)on Tripatur and
Vaniambadi, but signally failed in an attack on the hill fort of Ambur.
In the hope of closing the campaign with a brilliant exploit, he went in
person against an English detachment escorting supplies, but was
repulsed, his horse being shot under him and his turban pierced by a
bullet. Leaving some cavalry to watch the English, the confederates
retired in disappointment above the Ghats with all their forces at the
end of the year.

On the side of the English, a force operating from the Northern Sir-
kars soon penetrated to Orangal. The Nizam was therefore glad to
conclude a treaty with them, resigning all claims to Mysore, and,
separating from Haidar Ali, returned to his capital. Haidar also made
overtures, but without success. Meanwhile a fleet was fitting out at
Bombay for capturing the Mysorean ports on the western coast, and
the chiefs of Malabar were prepared to rebel. Haidar, leaving Fazal
Ulla Khan at Bangalore, marched with all haste to the west and retook
Mangalore, Honavar, and Basavaraj-durga, whi( h had fallen to the
English. He then visited Bednur, and levied heavy fines on all the
landholders for furnishing supplies to his enemies. He also obtained
large contributions from the chiefs of Malabar in consideration of
recognizing their independence, which, however, they never attained.

The English forces in the east were in two detachments. One
secured all the fortified places in Salem, Erode, Coimbatore, and I )indi-
gal ; while the other, after losing much time in the capture of Krish-
nagiri, had ascended the Ghats, taken Mulbagal, Kolar, and Hosur,
and was awaiting, burdened with the care of Muhammad Ali, the junc-
tion of the two at Hoskote. Here a corps under Morari Rao joined it,
on the same day that Haidar Ali arrived at Bangalore. He made a
desperate attempt to surprise the camp of Morari Rao, but failed.
Then, sending off his family and treasure to Savan-durga, he set off on
one of extraordinary diversions which seemed always to occur to
him when his affairs were most critical. He passed rapidly by a cir-
cuitous route, east and then north, to Guramkonda, with the view of
inducing Mir Sahib to return to his allegiance. Ihis unlikely object

c c


was actually attained, and Haidar, reinforced, returned towards Kolar,
and opened negotiations. But his offer of Biramahal and ten lakhs of
rupees fell far short of the demands of the English and of Muhammad
Ali, and came to nothing.

Haidar had meanwhile despatched Fazal Ulla Khan to Seringapatam,
whence he descended the Gajalhatti pass with a field force for the
recovery of the districts in the south. He himself, after some indecisive
engagements, suddenly descended into the Baramahal, and, giving out
that he had defeated the E)nglish, passed on to Coimbatore, gaining
possession of the fortified places on the route. The garrisons of Erod
and Kaveri[)uram held out, but, induced to surrender on a promise of
safety, were marched off as prisoners to Seringapatam. Fazal Ulla
Khan invaded Madura and Tinnivelly, while Haidar, levying four lakhs
of rupees from the Raja of Tanjore, moved by rapid marches towards
Cuddalore. Negotiations were again opened, Haidar's first condition
being that he would treat only with the English and not with Muham-
mad Ali. But the terms could not be agreed on, and hostilities con-
tinued. Haidar, who knew that the Mahrattas were preparing for
another invasion of Mysore, now secretly sent off the whole body of
his army to reascend the Ghats, while he himself, with 6,000 chosen
horse, marched 140 miles in three days and a half, and appeared at the
gates of Madras. He had come to make peace in person with he
English. A treaty was thus concluded on the 29th March, 1769, on
the moderate conditions of mutual restitution of conquered districts,
an exchange of prisoners, and reciprocal assistance in purely defensive
war. Thus ended what is known in the annals of British India as the
first Mysore war. Haidar returned leisurely to Kolar and then to

He was soon again in the field, in order to acquire the means to meet
the meditated Mahratta invasion. When he had allied himself with
Nizam Ali, it was secretly stipulated that Kadapa, Karnul, and other
places up to the Tungabhadra, should be transferred to the control of
Mysore. He resolved now to enforce this agreement, and, moving
north-east, levied contributions on the Pathan navabs of Kadapa and
Karnul, and the palegars of the neighbourhood. He, however, feigned
friendship for Morari Rao, and was repulsed in an attempt on Bellary.
But, unable to meet the superior forces of the Mahrattas, now (1770)
in full march on his capital, he gradually retired before them, laying
waste the whole country to prevent their advance, and placing adetach-

' When Haidar appeared before Madras, so terrified was Abbas Khuli Khan of
Dod Ballapur, who had taken refuge here {see page 381), that he embarl

Online LibraryB. Lewis (Benjamin Lewis) RiceMysore: a gazetteer compiled for government (Volume 1) → online text (page 46 of 98)