A LADYS CURSE HAS DEPRIVED VELAMA COMMUNITY THE KINGSHIP
Prof Dr Col (Retd) K Prabhakar Rao
Rachakonda is an obscure place now in the district of Nalgonda barely about 60 KM from the twin cities. The place is hilly terrain full of boulders and stones and at present it is a strong hold of Maoist armed communists. Once this remote hamlet was the capital of Velama kings who ruled in 14 Th and 15 Th centuries while their kin ruled at Deverakonda, another important place in the District. Singama Naika a Velama scion who ably supported Prolaya Naika and Kapaya Naika in their fight aginast the Muslim Governor Malik Maqbool who was the Governor at Warangal founded the ruling dynasty of Rachakonda. Mohd Bin Tughlaq, The Sultan at Delhi renamed Warangal as Sultanpur under his Governor after he captured the Kakateeya kingdom in 1323. Prataparudra II was captured by the Delhi Sultan inspite of valiant fight and he committed suicide while he was being taken away to Delhi. Hindu confederation troops led by Kapayya Naika, Singama Naika, Prolaya Vema Reddy of Addanki and Veera Ballala of Karnataka defeated and drove away Muslims from entire Telangana and Kapayya was accepted as the successor to Kakateeya kingdom by 75 chieftains. This unity did not last long and internal rivalries resulted in Singamanaika declaring independence at Pillalamarri in Mahboob Nagar District. Subsequently he shifted the capital to Rachakonda also known as Rajadri. He placed his brother at Deverakonda as the ruler and this family was loyal to Rachakonda Rulers throughout its rule. His son Anapota Naika succeeded Singamanaika and he fought bitterly with Kapayya Naika and he succeeded in defeating him in a battle at Bhimavaram near Warangal and Kapayya was killed in the battle. Kapayyas son Vnayakadeva was earlier killed by Mahmood Shah I, the Bahmani Sultan in a battle earlier. With this Velamas gained control over Telangana and ruled for nearly 100 years. Some of these Velama kings were highly learned and patronized literature. Sarvagna Singa Bhoopala honored poet Srinadha of Kondaveedu.
Velamakings of Rachakonda ably supported by their brothers at Deverakonda fought tooth and nail with the Reddy rulers of Kondaveedu and the kings of Vijayanagar.In these battles, they took help of Bahmani Sultans and Telangana became a regular battleground for these frequent wars. These Velama rulers absolutely had no national outlook and colluded with Muslim rulers of Gulbarga for gaining supremacy and for settling their personal scores. In these political and selfish intrigues, the velama kings finally became vassals of Gajapathi Kings of Orissa and at last lost the power to Bahmani sultans. There is an interesting legend regarding the fall of Rachakonda.
In the closing years of Velama supremacy in Telangana, the dynasty produced a worthless ruler at Rachakonda who was a tyrant, highly suppressive and too cruel. He deviced ways and means to bring shame to his subjects. He deviced a peculiar way of taxation. He got manufactured metallic cups of various sizes that were similar to the shapes of female breasts. These cups were sent to all the ladies of the kingdom and the breasts were measured by the size of the cups fitting correctly. The ladies have to pay tax by filling the cups with silver coins. The soldiers of the king conducted this shameful act. There was great indignation in the kingdom. On one occasion, the king’s soldiers approached a house in Rachakonda and the ladies of the house had to pay the tax as per the practice. When the soldiers approached a lady, she pulled out a knife and cut off her breast and threw at the soldiers. She cried and cursed the king that the Velama kings would be ruined soon and they would never be the rulers in this land. She soon died and got transformed into a stone statue. The statue lying in a nearby forest is believed to be the transformed lady. The curse of the pious woman soon had the effect and Velama kings lost the kingdom to the Muslims. The dynasty became extint The members of the dynasty could not recover their kingdom and they served Vijayanagar kings as petty commanders and served in the Vijayanagar Army. Centuries passed. But the Velama community could not get kingship at any place. Although they ruled at Bobbili in 18 Th Century, it was a very small principality and the ruler Rangaraya was only a zamindar. He too lost power to the Raja of Vijayanagaram at the battle of Bobbili in 1757. At the closing years of Vijayanagar Empire, Jaggaraya at Chadragiri murdered Emperor Ranga Raya II along with his wife and children. Yachamanaika who was a Velama scion was the most powerful chieftain of the time and he could usurp the throne for himself had he wished. But wisdom and destiny prevailed on him and he was loyal to the fallen emperor and with the help of Tanjavur king Raghunatha Naika he fought and killed Jaggaraya at Topur battle in 1615. Ramadeva Raya who was young and survived the murders was placed on the throne. The curse continues as per the legend and in AP politics too, Velama community hardly plays a role although Jalagam Venkat Rao was a chief Minister for a short time. His son has no back up. Chadrasekhar Rao a Velama leader who was once with Telugu Desam parted ways with Chadrababu Naidu and had to form a separate party spearheading agitation for a separate Telangana like his predecessors who fought always against the interests of greater Telugu interests and unity for self elevation and ruined the regions interests in 14 and 15 Th centuries. They are again at the old game. If the curse continues, as proved he would not get power as contemplated and Telangana would be a mere myth or dream as it is proving to be. The curse is too powerful to be brushed aside and as centuries of history have proved, the community would not get power. Let the soul of the poor lady and of many Rachakonda Fort women at Rachakonda who cursed the community be in peace