Thursday, November 19, 2009



Dr K Prabhakar Rao

The darkness loomed over the fort of Bobbili
Where men lay dead sprawled on ground everywhere
Stars twinkled through the moonless night
While eerie silence looked as if in war and love every thing was fair
In grip of death too hands held the swords
A symbol of valor and spirited fight against the French
While our own king betrayed the nation
The slaughtered corpses were emanating stench

The tiger of Bobbili had no clue of the fate that has befallen the fort
Papa Raidu galloped into Bobbili who was away
The fort walls lay shattered everywhere with downed ramparts
The evil night bird screamed hinting dance of death and its way
With feeble lamp the tiger went around the fallen warriors
Some lay with necks sheared and some had spears through chests
Corpses lay buried under the debris of fallen fort of Bobbili
While Papayya cried that he could not join the fate of the rest

I a corner lay dead the great King Rangaraya clinching his sword
The bullet has pierced the elephant like chest
He looked composed in his death on the battle field
Having done all that he could do to his best
Papayya’s sorrow had no bounds as tears rolled down in a stream
He drew his saber and looked at the heavens into dark sky
“Let the seas flood the entire land and the mountains split
I shall kill the king Vijayaramraja the cheat and traitor come what may”

Papaya thundered thus with his raised sword held high
While his men looked at him who was at towering height
He paid his last respect to the fallen king the great Raya of Bobbili
And rushed to the palace in the unearthly hour of dark and sad night
Ladies lay dead in heaps everywhere in the palace halls
Having stabbed themselves with knife
To die in honor was their pious and final motto
And they gave up their lives in that great strife.

The sight looked fearful and gory
As the ladies lay dead in pools of blood
Mallamma the queen was also among them
While blood was flowing all round as a flood
Papayya could not control himself any more
Drew out his sword and looked at the heavens in gait
Give me strength Oh God to kill the traitor
The rascal who has brought death to this prosperous state

Tiger of Bobbili thundered thus blood raging in his eyes
And rode out of Bobbili as a wounded tiger in the forest
His chest heaved up and down as he rode away
While the fate of Vijayaramraja looked sealed to its best
It was the dark and dead night of the fateful day
While the tiger prowled in its noble mission for its prized kill
Bussey the General and Vijayaramraja were asleep in tents
While the tiger sneaked in from behind the hill.

The guards were unaware of Tigers move
And Papayya found his well sought prey lying low
He climbed over the chest of the king
And drew out his knife for the final blow
The king opened his eyes in horror
Begged the tiger that he should spare his life
He promised the Bobbili kingdom to the tiger
If he was saved from the present strife

The tiger sneered at the wicked king
And drove his dagger with great force
For each and every warrior the great fallen on the battle field
The knife was plunged into the chest without any remorse
The blows were endless one after the other
Papayya’s blood was boiling like oil on fiery stove
The knife moved at tremendous speed
And with vengeance Papayya drove

Vijayaramraja laid dead chest grilled by the knife
His screams vanished into the dark eerie night
His body lay motionless on the royal cot
While his miserable soul vanished out of sight
Papayya rose like a growling tiger from its kill
Looked at the soldiers who made a ring around him to fight
Bussey the general stayed motionless in fear and aghast
And screamed that the tiger be held in that dreadful night

Papayya exclaimed “ The tiger of Bobbili can not be held by million soldiers,
Although I am dead many tigers would rise from my ashes,
The day of liberation is not far in India to throw the foreigners out”
And he plunged his knife in his chest in a flash
Papayya gave up his life having taken the revenge for his men
While traitor Vijayaramraja lay butchered in his royal tent
The king who committed treason against his nation
Now lay dead as a rabid dog killed at a municipal drain vent

Indian history is replete in its pages
Where our men have betrayed the nation
The valiant heroes who died for this country
Have vanished into past without recognition
Human history is full of treason and treachery
Where kings have been betrayed by their own men
India has lost its freedom and former glory
When our men have connived with enemy in their den
The present leaders who claim that they are patriots on earth
Have brought the nation close to a Cess pool
The nation is at the brink of disaster and doom
While Indians follow their leaders like mere fools.
Papayya could rule Bobbili if he desired
But national spirit flowed in his veins
He killed the traitor who committed treason
And the gods that night as approval sent down heavy rains


The battle of Bobbili took place on 23 Jan 1757.Bobbili is a principality near Vijaynagaram a coastal region which was ruled by king Pusapati Vijayaramraja Gajapathi who was a vassal to Salabat jung, Nizam of Hyderabad. Bobbili was ruled by Rao Gopala Krishna Rangaraya a velama scion. Bussey was the French general who was granted permission by Nizam to collect rent/tribute ( Kappam) from the areas of Sircar districts that included Vijaynagaram for his military support to his rule. There was some long standing bitterness between Vijayaramraja and Ranga Raya probably over canal waters. Ranga ray was not keen to pay Kappam to the French and the opportunity was used by Vijayaramraja to stroke passions and subdue Rangaraya. As per some citations it is learnt that some French troops were killed when they were passing through territory of Bobbili and this was attributed to Bobbili men ( this however can not be confirmed).Bobbili was attacked by the combined troops of Vijaynagaram ( 10000),500 French soldiers strengthened by their artillery. Hyder jung the commander of General Bussey led the assault on Bobbili fort. Warriors in Bobbili fort were only 250 who put a brave and valiant fight. The Fort was breached by the French guns. Tandra Papyya the General of Bobbili was away at other location near fort of Rajam while French and army attacked through another route. The fight was so severe that every soldier including the ruler Rangaraya and his brother Vengala raya died in action, while al women stabbed themselves and gave up their lives. They preferred death to dishonor. Some claim that Vengala Rao was seriously injured and recovered and he broughtup his brothers son china Ranga rao after who escaped death . It is learnt that the son of Ranga raya who was boy was saved from the slaughter and was subsequently restored to the throne. Tandra Papayya who learnt about the disaster in his absence with some of his followers in dark night sneaked into the tent of Vijayaramraja and stabbed him to death in most brutal way and took revenge for betrayal and for treason. He has gone down the history as the tiger of Bobbili and the valor of the warriors and sacrifice of women and all is still remembered in the form of various ballads and plays. Bobbili battle was a significant one in the history of Andhra Pradesh when the East India Company and French were fighting for supremacy. Vijayaramraja who was a learned scholar could not overcome jealousy and passions and it resulted in avoidable battle. he died a dogs death in a most gruesome way while sacrifice of Bobbili heroes shines gloriously in the history of Andhra Pradesh.

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