B. Lewis (Benjamin Lewis) Rice.

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

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different." Again, writing in 1830, he says: — "The after-life of this
prince, I am truly sorry to state, has not fulfilled the promise of his
youth. . I must own I had never felt such a predilection for
any native as for this young Rajah ; and Major Wilks's accounts of the
proofs he gave of good sense and honourable feeling made an
impression on my mind which led me afterwards to hope, when hope
was vain ; for on acquiring the entire management, he threw himself
into the most improper hands, and disregarded the advice of his
real friends to such a degree that some of the most important stations
were filled by low and insignificant wretches, and the whole country
groaned under oppression. . He has long ruled his own kingdom,

' He eventually retired to the Xilagiri Hills, where in 1S42 he bought the resi-
dence and property of the Governor, Lord Elphinstone, at Kaity, and al his death
in 1849 bequeathed it to the Basel Lutheran Mission.


and with able and honourable advice, which he has never wanted in Major
Wilks's successors, might have acquired a name among his subjects
equal to that of his virtuous minister (Poorniah) ; but he has miserably
failed, and those who now frequent that once well-regulated country
hear nothing but complaints against the Sovereign in every village."

" All remonstrances failed to check the Raja's downward course.
High offices of State were sold to the highest bidder, while the people
were oppressed by the system of shar/i, which had its origin under
Purnaiya's regency. Sharii was a contract made by the Amildar that
he would realize for the Government a certain amount of revenue ;
that if his collections should fall short of that amount he would make
good the deficiency, and that if they exceeded it the surplus should be
paid to the Government. The amount which the Amildar thus
engaged to realize was generally an increase on what had been
obtained the year preceding. In the viuchalika or agreement the
Amildar usually bound himself not to oppress the ryots, nor impose
any new taxes, nor compel the ryots to purchase the Government
share of grain, but this proviso was merely formal ; for any violation
of the contractors in any of these points when represented to the
Government was taken no notice of The consequence was that the
ryots became impoverished, the revenues more embarrassed, and the
Amildars themselves frequently suffered losses. The distress arising
from this state of things, and from the neglect of duties incumbent
upon Government, fell heavily upon the ryots, who groaned under the
oppression of every tyrannical sharti Faujdar and Amildar.''

As another instance of maladministration which prevailed it may be
mentioned that the courts of justice had no power to pass sentence,
their prerogative being limited to the mere finding of guilty or not guilty.
The Raja, who had retained the power of passing sentence, was too
indolent to attend to business, and the result was that the jails
remained for years crowded with prisoners who, if guilty at all, were
only guilty of light offences.

Once, in 1825, the venerable Sir Thomas Munro, Governor of
Madras, actuated by a sincere desire to avert the ruin which threatened
the Raja, visited Mysore and remonstrated personally with him. In
his minute upon the interview, he writes, " I concluded by saying
that the disorder of the Rajah's affairs had reached such a height as
would justify the Government in acting upon the Fourth Article of the
Treaty ; but that as a direct interference in the administration, or the
assumption for a time of part of the Mysore territory, could not be
undertaken without lessening the dignity of his Highness, and shaking
his authority in such a manner that it would be impracticable ever to


re-establish it, I was unwilling to adopt such a course until the last
extremity, and wished to give him an opportunity of restoring order
himself. I'.ut if reform was not immediately begun, direct interference
would be unavoidable." The effect of this advice was at best
transient, and Munro unfortunately died of cholera at Gutti in July,
1827. Between this time and 1831 matters went from bad to worse.
The Resident, Mr. Cassamaijor, strove ineffectually to arrest the
Raja's downfall, but did not succeed in securing his confidence. His
Highness seemed destined to place his trust always in unworthy

In 1830 symptoms of disaffection began to show themselves in the
Nagar country. A Brahman named Kama Rao, from the Mahratta
territory, who had served with credit under Haidar and Tipu as a
commander of cavalry, had been appointed Faujdar of Nagar in 1799,
and held that office till 1805. He afterwards became Bakshi of the
Sowar Cutcherry, and was one of the Rc4ja"s most intimate counsellors,
and virtually the Dewan for a few years after Purnaiya's retirement.
By his influence almost every public situation of importance in Nagar
down to 1828 was, with a slight interruption, filled up by his
dependents or relatives. Though charged with flagrant frauds and
embezzlements, their conduct was shielded from scrutiny ; while some
of them even enriched themselves by giving encouragement to robbers
— for whose operations the -wild nature of the country offers many
facilities — and partaking of the plunder. The outstanding balances of
revenue having accumulated to upwards of thirteen lakhs of rupees,
the Bakshi contrived that he himself should be deputed to inquire into
and settle the claims. He made large remissions to the extent of
seven-and-a-half lakhs, and returned to the Darbar in 1828. The Raja
being led to question the propriety of these proceedings, resolved to
appoint a relative of his own, named Vira Raj Arasu, as Faujdar.
The latter discovered that much fraud had been practised in the
remissions, and re-imposed the claims, which naturally excited dis-
satisfaction in those afiected. The Bakshi's party, also, fearful of the
consequences to themselves if the inquiries which Vira Raj Arasu was
pursuing should expose the corruption and malversation they had
practised during so many years, connived at the seditious proceedings
of a pretender to the throne of Nagar.'

' This man, whose real name was Sadar Malla, was the son of a common r}-ot of
Kumsi. Before the age of twenty he had been concerned in several robberies and
spent two years in jail. He afterwards entered the service of a Jangama who had
been "priest of the last Nayak of Bednur and was possessed of his seal rings. These,
on the death of the priest, Sadar Malla got hold of, and assuming the name of Biidi
Basavappa, wandered about the countrj- secretly giving out that he was a descendant


In August (1830) a force in his name attempted to surprise the fort
of Anantapur, but failed. At the same period the ryots in various
places assembled in ki'ita or indignation meetings. On the ground of
these commotions, Vira Raj Arasu was recalled, and the former
Faujdar of the Bakshi's party restored. He made use of troops to
disperse the ryots at Hole Honnur on the 7th December, and several
were killed and wounded. Ilut they rallied near Honnali and were
joined by larger numbers from all parts, who openly espoused the
cause of the pretender. The Faujdar again attacked them with a
regiment of horse and broke up the assembly. The Palegar of
Tarikere now suddenly left Mysore and joined the in.surgents, seizing
on Kaldroog and Kamandroog. The Faujdar of Bangalore also
reported his Division to be in a general state of insurrection. Strong
reinforcements of troops were sent to the disturbed districts in the
Bangalore, Chitaldroog and Nagar Divisions ; and the Raja set out with
a considerable force on the 13th December for Chanraypatna, where it
was proclaimed that the grievances of the ryots would be inquired into.
Investigations were made by the Dewan for some days; several
persons were hanged, others flogged or mutilated. Meanwhile there
were encounters in various parts between the insurgents and the troops.

In January the Rdja's camp was established at Hebbur, and the
Dewan was despatched with troops against Kamandroog, while
Annapi)a, an officer of cavalry, was appointed to supersede the Faujdar
of Nagar. Annappa maintained an arduous conflict for several weeks
with the insurgents, and was forced to take refuge in Anantapur.
Here he remained till nearly starved, when addressing his troop.s, he
said, " Rather than die in this way of starvation, let us go and fight,
and die like soldiers." They responded, and .sallying forth on the
Shikarpur road, fought their way stoutly for fifteen miles to Masur in
the Company's territory, whence they retreated to Harihar. The
operations against Kamandroog failed, but Kaldroog was taken in
February. British aid was now applied for, and a regiment started
from Harihar. At the same time, Lieut. Rochfort, of the Resident's
escort, taking command of the Mysore troops, captured Kamandroog
on the 3rd of .March, the palegars escaping during the assault. Hence

of the Nagar family. Al)()ut i8i2 he was imprisoned for some lime in Canara for
rolibery, and on release obtained a passport bearing the seal of the Zillah court, in
which was entered his name as he himself gave it, Bi'idi Rasavajijia Nagar Khavind.
This document was now exhibited as a sannad from the l">ast India Company recog-
nizing his claims. These deceptions were effectual, and when the discontent to
which we have alluded was at its height, taking advantage of it to promise a full
remission of all balances and a reduction of the assessment, he was, about .\pril
1S30, formally recognized by several patels as the sovereign of Nagar.


Lieut. Roclifort marched to Shimoga, and hearing that a large body of
insurgents li;id taken Hoiinah, he proceeded there and took it by
assauU on the 12th. He now marched west, and carrying several
stockades, temporarily recovered Nagar or Bcdnur on the 26th, and
Chandragutti on the 6th of April. Meanwhile, enriched by the plunder
of district treasuries and other depredations, the rebel leaders were joined
by bodies of armed men, both horse and foot. Attracted by the hope of
plunder, 1,500 Candachar peons of the Eedar caste also deserted to them.

Owing to the increasing strength of the insurgents, the employment
of the entire subsidiary force became imperative. One regiment had to
retire from a fortified barrier at Fattepet, but the British forces being
concentrated at Shimoga, moved on the 31st of May by a circuitous
route to Nagar, which was finally taken on the 12th of June, and a
death-blow given to the insurrection. By the next month the majority
of the ryots had returned to their villages under the protection of letters
of cowl. But the rebel leaders continued at large with marauding bands,
committing outrages and raising disturbances for many months.

The state of Mysore had been for some time attracting the notice
of the (lOvernment of India, and as it was considered that the
insurrection was of so serious a character as to call for special inquiry,
the Governor-General ordered the formation of a Committee' to
investigate the " origin, progress and suppression of the recent
disturbances in Mysore." Their report showed that the misgovern-
ment of the Raja had produced grave and widely-spread discontent,
that the revenues were rapidly failing, and that mal-administration
was rampant in all departments of the State. The Governor-General,
Lord William Bentinck, therefore determined upon acting on the
fourth and fifth articles of the subsidiary treaty. In a letter addressed
to the Raja, after recounting at some length and in forcible terms the
circumstances under which the Raja had been placed on the throne,
the objects of the subsidiary treaty, and the mismanagement, tyranny,
and oppression of the Raja's government, Lord William Bentinck went
on to say, " I have in consequence felt it to be indispensable, as well
with reference to the stipulations of the treaty above quoted, as from a
regard to the obligation of the protective character which the British
Government holds towards the State of Mysore, to interfere for its
preservation, and to save the various interests at stake from further
ruin. It has seemed to me that in order to do this effectually, it will
be necessary to transfer the entire administration of the country into
the hands of British officers ; and I have accordingly determined to

' The members were Major-General Hawker, Colonel W. Morison, Mr. J. M.
Macleod, and Lieut.-Col. (afterwards Sir Mark) Cubbon.


nominate two Commissioners for the purpose, who will proceed
immediately to Mysore.

"I now therefore give to your Highness this formal and final notice,
and I request your Highness to consider this letter in that light ; that
is, as the notice required by the treaty to be given to your Highness of
the measure determined upon for the assumption and management of
the Mysore territory in the case stipulated. I beg of your Highness,
therefore, to issue the requisite orders and proclamations to the officers
and authorities of Mysore, within ten days from the date when this
letter may be delivered to your Highness, for giving effect to the transfer
of the territory, and investing the British Commissioners with full
authority in all departments, so as to enable them to proceed to take
charge and carry on affairs as they have been ordered, or may be here-
after instructed.'' To the Raja, in accordance with the treaty, the sum of
one lakh of star pagodas per annum was allotted for his private expenses.

The Raja, who received this mandate at the time of the Dasara
(19th Oct. 1 831), peaceably surrendered the reins of government, and
continued to reside in his palace at Mysore. The Governor-General vested
the government in the hands of two Commissioners, the senior of whom
was appointed by himself, and the junior by the Madras Government.
The senior Commissioner, who possessed what was termed a casting-
vote, and was therefore enabled to overrule his colleague on every
point, was aided in financial matters by the Divan, which latter post
was not abolished until 1S34. Up to June 1832 the Commissioners
were under the Government of Madras, but in that month they were
made immediately subordinate to the Government of India. It was
soon found that a Board of two Commissioners, who naturalh-
constantly differed in opinion, was an agency ill-adapted for the
organization of a proper system of government.^ Accordingly, in
April 1834, one Commissioner, Colonel Morison, was appointed for
the whole Province, and on his transfer to Calcutta, Colonel (after-
wards Sir Mark) Cubbon took charge in June. But the office of
Resident was still maintained, and thus a dual and divided interest
continued to exist. (Colonel J. S. Fraser, who had just carried out the
deposition of the Raja of Coorg and the annexation of that country,
was in June 1834 appointed Resident in Mysore and Commissioner

' The lollowing is a list of these Commissioners, with their dates of office : —
Senior Junior

Colunel J. Briggs 4 Oct. 1S31 [ Mr. C. M. Lushingtoii 4(^-1.1831

I ,, C. D. Drury 18 Kel). 1832

j ,, J. M. Macleod 16 June 1832

,, VV. Morison 6 Kel). 1S33 | Colonel Mark Cuhhon 17 Fcl). 1834

430 J II ST OR Y

of (Jooig. In 1836 he was made Resident in Travancorc, and in 1838
at Haidarabad. Major R. I). Stokes succeeded him at Mysore, and
rrniaincd till 1843, when the post of Resident was aixjlishcd.

A [jroposal, it appears, had been made by Lord William Jientinck
before he left India, at the time of Oeneral Fraser's ap[jc;intment, t

Online LibraryB. Lewis (Benjamin Lewis) RiceMysore: a gazetteer compiled for government (Volume 1) → online text (page 51 of 98)