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
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
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.