Shield For The Kingdom
Years before, there had been two or
three wars between the kings of Mysore and the kings of Keladi. In these
wars, the rulers of
Mysore had been defeated. As the kings
of Keladi had a long seacoast under them, they reaped considerable profits
foreign traders, the Dutch and the
At the time Chennamma was ruling in
Keladi, the ruler in Mysore was Chikkadevaraya Wodeyar. A person by name
Andhaka Venkata Nayaka also belonged to the dynasty of Keladi kings. He
wrote a letter to the Mysore ruler; he said, "I should have been the King
of Keladi. But Chennamma came in the way. Therefore if you will fight with
her and help me to get the kingdom, I shall give half of it to you and
render other help also."
Chikkadevaraya was very pleased with
the letter. He thought it would be quite easy to win the kingdom which
was in the hands of
a woman. If he did so, all the foreign
trade now under Keladi would be in his hands. So he began preparations
for a war.
Queen Chennamma was not at all afraid
that the Mysore ruler had declared war on Keladi. She remained undaunted
and sent a big army under her Commander Bhadrappa Nayaka to fight the enemy.
The chieftains of Sode, Sirsi and Banavasi also declared war on Keladi.
But the Queen very cleverly managed to defeat them all.
The Mysore army was the first to be
defeated. But the next year that army defeated the Keladi force. Again
when there was a war, the Queen was victorious. Several officers of the
Mysore army were captured. But the Queen treated them with courtesy. She
also set them free. Because of this, Chikkadevaraya developed a high regard
for the Queen. The rulers of Mysore and Keladi signed a treaty of friendship.
Queen Chennamma had banished some leaders
who had their eyes on the throne. Now all those men, obtaining the help
of other rulers, began a war with the Queen. But the able Queen defeated
Chennamma had adopted Basappa Nayaka.
He was to become the King later. So she gave personal attention to his
training and education. Every morning after her bath, prayers and breakfast,
she would go to the court hall. She would stay there till mid-day, and
listen patiently to any of her subjects who had any difficulties. She would
give them whatever help was necessary. She would discuss matters of statecraft
and administration with Basappa Nayaka and her ministers and officers and
give her decisions. After the midday prayers and worship, she would spend
an hour giving alms. At that time monks, sanyasis, priests and the poor
and the needy would all receive help.