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The Black Shadow Of The Moghul Army

The Queen put her trust in God and gave shelter to Rajaram. Preparations for a war began in Keladi.

Aurangzeb sent his son Azamath Ara with a huge army to invade the kingdom. But by then Rajaram had safely reached the Jinji 

The cunning Moghul Emperor on the one hand sent a big army to Keladi; and, on the other, before it could reach the kingdom, he sent a messenger to Queen Chennamma with a letter and also costly presents including diamonds and other precious stones.

His letter ran thus:

"To Queen Chennamma of Keladi.

Between us there is no enmity. But I have heard that my great enemy Rajaram is under your protection. He must at once be given up to me. When that is done, there can be a treaty of friendship between the two kingdoms. Otherwise you will have to face the Moghul army."

The shrewd Queen consulted her ministers and sent a reply as follows:

"To the Moghul Emperor Aurangzeb,

Your letter has reached us. The people of this kingdom are ever ready to extend the hand of friendship to the Moghuls. But you 
have asked for something in return for your friendship. But that is impossible. Rajaram is not in this kingdom. It is of course known 
that he went through Keladi."

By the time the Queen's letter reached Aurangzeb, the big Moghul force was near Keladi. The Queen was fully prepared for the war. The brave soldiers of Keladi were readily waiting in the path of the Moghul army. The way lay through a thick jungle. And the rainy season had set in. The Moghul soldiers who were accustomed to the dry climate of the North, found it extremely difficult to pass through the forest in the heavy downpour of theMaInad area. But obeying Aurangzeb's orders they were marching ahead under great strain. The Karnataka heroes took positions in the thick jungle and began butchering the Moghul soldiers. Prince Azamath Ara was shocked. He who had defeated many chief tains and kings had now to suffer defeat from a woman; and when he went back  after that defeat, he would be beheaded. The very idea made him perspire. But his soldiers did not have the grit now to advance further, fight fiercely and raze the Keladi fort. The major part of the army had been destroyed. The forces of Keladi had captured several of the Moghul captains, a large number of horses and considerable war material. So the fight went on at a slow and uncertain pace. Prince Azamath Ara was very much troubled.

By then he received a letter from Aurangzeb which said, "Rajaram is now ruling the Jinji fort. So leave Keladi at once and proceed to Jinji."

This was just what Azamath Ara wanted. So the Moghuls came to an agreement with Queen Chennamma. The Queen also was glad to have this treaty. She treated the Moghul captains very generously and according to the pact released them all. Aurangzeb recognized her as an independent ruler.

The Queen rewarded the soldiers and officers of her army suitably. The great honour of a decisive victory in a war with Aurangzeb thus belongs to the brave Chennamma, a heroine of Karnataka.

Rajaram who had reached Jinji, wrote. A letter of gratitude to the Queen: "When kings and rulers of bigger kingdoms refused to help me, you bravely gave me shelter and helped to protect Hinduism. I can never forget this bravery and generosity of yours. May GoddessBhavani give you all happiness! I pray God that your land may be a home of happiness."

The Queen thought that a difficulty which had come upon her like a mountain had melted like the fog.

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