Wednesday, February 20, 2013

PALANATI YUDDHAM(BATTLE OF PALANADU) 1184



PALANATI YUDDHAM(BATTLE OF PALANADU)

Dr K Prabhakar Rao

      

                    Palanadu (Probably Pallavanadu) was a part of Kamma ( Now a caste in AP of  fourth Varna ) Rashtra. It lies to east of Srisailam and to the South of the Krishna river. The area that comprise of Guntur District now lying  on the south of Krishna river passing through present  Nalgonda distrct of Andhtra Pradesh   mostly comprise of Pala nadu. Macherla the great historical town lies immediately after crossing river Krishna near Nagarjuna Sagar dam which is  around  130 Km from Hyderabad.  Gurajala, Karempudi, Macherla form the   important places in the   history of Battle of Palanadu.
The story of the veera charitra of Palnadu or Battle of Palanadu ( Fought some where near 1184 or 1186) starts with one Anuguraju of Haihaya clan from a place called Jambhanapuri (Modern Jabalpurin MP state) coming on a pilgrimage to Andhra to mitigate his ancestral sins. It was said after having bath in the sea near Motupalli, his black clothes turned into white indicating he was purified from his sins. The local Chola ( Choda) king gave his daughter Mylamma in marriage to Anuguraju who was already having two wives and gave palnadu as dowry.   Anuguraju started living in the capital city Gurajala along with his minister Dodda Naidu. 

Dodda Naidu's eldest son Baada Raju was adopted and intially made successor by Anuguraju as he was childless for a long time. But later- on, he had Nalagama raju and Narasimha Raju  from  his elder wives and Peda Malideva and China Malideva  Raju with Mylamma. After the death of Anuguraju and Dodda Naidu, dispute broke out between the sons of Anuguraju .Nalagama put his claim stating he was eldest while Malideva argued the kingdom was his mothers property .Finally, Brahma Naidu, second son of Dodda Naidu,who succeeded his father made Nalagama as the king with Malideva as Yuvaraja and started to rule Palnadu on their behalf, as they were too young.
Veerasaivism was established by Basaveswara in early 11th century in Kalyani in North Karnataka. It preaches superiority of Lord Shiva over other gods and irrespective of caste, one can achieve superiority by just worshiping Lord Shiva. This religion went down well with the lower castes who saw an oppurtunity to break the iron shackles of caste and climb up in the caste hierarchy. Basaveswara the PM of King Bijjala used govt funds for the spread of his new faith and order.This infuriated the king. Finally, there was religious unrest in Karnataka between Jains and Veerasaivas which finally led to a civil war in which the Jain king Kalachuri Bijjala was also brutally killed in the night.

In the neighbouring Andhra also there was impact of veerasaivism and lot of farmers and artisans converted to veerasaivism and under its influence overcame the inferiority thrust upon them by the rulers and priests, gained in confidence and were waiting for an opportunity to have their share of wealth and power.Kakateeya kings at Warangal who patronized Jainism earlier adopted Shiva  worship accordingly.
One such farmer widow lady Nagamma had a chance to entertain the king Nalagama when he was on a hunting trip. She made good rapport with the king and slowly started visiting the court at Gurazala. Shrewd,cunning and intelligent, She slowly gained the confidence of the king.Under her spell the king who used to very highly respect Brahma Naidu, started ignoring him and even tried to imprison his step brother Malideva.Realising the situation,Brahmanaidu persuaded the king to divide the kingdom and built a New capital city Mahadevicherla or Macherla, on the bank of the river chandra vanka , shifted to Macherla along with his relatives and followers and crowned Mallideva as the king.

Brahmanaidu was a very highly respected person of his times.He was a indomitable warrior,scholar and reformer.He was a staunch vaishnavite and founded a new sect called Veera vaishnavism to counter Veera Saivaism.While Veera saivaism allowed the sudra castes into its fold disallowing the untouchbles,Brahmanaidu even opened his doors to this under priviliged people.To eradicate the caste system he started a reform called "chapakudu" where the people of all communities will eat a single heap of rice poured on a chapa or mat.He adopted children from lower castes like barbers,washermen etc,.and brought them up along with his own son Balachandra. He even made a untouchble kannamadasu ,Supreme commander of his army, which was unimaginable in those times.He  constructed the  famous Chennakeswara swamy temple at Macherla and  it stands even today in all its glory where regular worship of the lord ( Vishnu) takes place. 

Because of all these activities Brahmanaidu was hailed as "Vishnu" of Palnadu. Brahmanaidu captured the fort of Shimoga which was a strong hold of Veerashaivas on the request of King of kalyani and the Kannada king in a thanksgiving gesture, gave his daughter Siramadevi to Mallideva in marriage. Thus Malideva and Brahmanaidu grew in stature and power. Kalyani was a powerful seat of Kalyani Chalukyas.
All these developments infuriated Nagamma.She poisoned the king's mind by preaching him that a powerful neighbour is always a cause of concern. As beating Macherla by fair means was out of their capability,they hatched a plan based on the fondness of Brahma Naidu for cockfight.They invited Brahma Naidu and Mallideva for a festival and challenged them for a game of cockfight.In the final bout Brahma Naidu's cock was killed tactically by Nagamma by applying poison to the knife tied to the leg of Nagamma's cock.As per the  conditionBrahma Naidu and his people gave up their kingdom and set out for exile (Vana Vaasam ) for seven years and stayed at Medapi. 

          Brahma Naidu  tried his best to persuade king Nalagama  to return the kingdom of Macherla to Malideva after seven years but to of no avail. Ala Raja who was the follower of Malideva and son in law of Nalagama was sent as an envoy to Gurajala to persuade the King Nalagma to return the kingdom. But Ala Raju was poisoned  in the night under the orders of Narsinga Raju  brother of Nalagma who harbored the desire to be crowned after Nalagama. Nagamma planned the murder in conspiracy with Narsinga Raju.  The dead body of Ala Raja was retrrned to Brahmanaidus camp and there was  a greatr rise of tempers. Peramma the  wife of Ala Raju committed self immolation ( sati) on the funeral pyre of her husband not before valiant Balachandrudu son of Brahmanaidu took an oath that he would behead Narsinga Raja in battle and would thus take revenge for death of Ala Raja thereby bringing peace to the soul of Peramma.   The Battle of Palnadu was thus set although all efforts were made by Brahamanaidu in all good faith. He was not a war monger. The  war began around 1180 AD at Karempudi on the bank of Naguleru.Most of the south Indian Kings took part in this great battle by sending their armies. Rudradeva the Kakateeya king of Warangal sent 1500 cavalry in support of Nalagama. The factions were divided based on Shivites and Vaishnavites sects .

                   There was very heavy loss of life on both sides. Balachandra, Brahma Naidu's young son     fought like Abhimanyu in the Mahabharata war.  He cut off the head of Narsinga Raju in a duel on the battle field and thus kept up his promise made to Peramma. However he was also injured in the duel. He carried the head to Brahma Naidu and  displayed it for which he was shown contempt. The infuriated Balachadrudu rode back into the battle field and continued his  fight till he  was grievously wounded. He  went to Naguleru nearby, opened his bandage at the waist and breathed his last  He and many others became folk heroes. Manchala wife of Balachandrudu has  also become immortal as she sent her husband most willingly into the  battle although  she knew that it was the most dangerous battle. Most of followers of Brahamanidu including valiant Kommanaidu   lost lives in the battle. Finally, Brahmanaidu too entered the battle and  fought vigorously displaying great valor and the enemy forces fled.   However Malideva  gave up his life greatly pained at the death of his kin. The war was won by army of Brahma Naidu while   NalagamaRaju  and Nagamma surrendered. Brahma Naidu however forgave them and made Nalagama as king again and went into the mountains (called 'Guttikonda Bilam' near Karempudi and piduguralla)for penance. The fate of Nagamma was not known later. No record is available about her subsequent life. It is assumed that she was sent away or she was put in prison.The ballads state that dejected Brahma Naidu entered the  Guttikonda Cave and never returned later. The cave exists even today and no one has tried to  travel through the cave.  . It  has remained a mystery. Temples have been erected  at the place of battle for the fallen war heroes and the weapons used by them in the war are well preserved till today at the temples and annually these weapons are worshipped at a great procession. Ballads are sung praising the heroes.Great Poet Srinadha who was in the court of Reddy kings at Kondaveedu wrote a book of poems in Telugu titled Palanati veera chartitra. He lived in 15 century.

                     The battle of Palnadu closely resembles the mythological war described in epic  Mahabharata   fought at Kurukshetra. It was fought for territory between two cousins and almost all the kings of Southern India took part in it. But its implications were tremendous and in a way changed the course of Andhra history. Politically the Kakatiyas under Rudra deva  were able to bring the whole of Andhra under one flag (nearly a thousand years after the Satavahanas),because all the local kings were weakened by this catastrophic war. Socially,it was the begining of the end of the monopoly of the warrior community (The Kammas) as rulers and fighters. In fact the Kammas were fragmented into a new caste,viz velama with Brahma Naidu as its founder. The influence of agrarian communities started to rise. Among the untouchables, the mala community, the section to which Kannamadasu belonged (whom Brahma Naidu adopted with the title KannamaNeedu), the lowest in those times, started to claim superiority over other sections like the Madigas, who were famous as Gosangi Veerulu ( Famous in the  war between king Manuma siddhiII and Katama Raju at Pancha lingala in 13 century where Khadga Tikkannna Commnader of Manumasiddhi became a martyr although won the war) . This is a classical example of the peculiar dynamics of the caste system. The malas even stopped doing some menial tasks like scavenging and cremating dead bodies, particularly in the Palnadu area. Some of the Malas even became priests in some vishnu temples and continue even today as such. The disparity between Mala and Madiga sects in dalits persists even today  and now they are fighting for separate reservations in jobs and education in Andhra Pradesh.

23 comments:

PHANI said...

Simply awesome.....! Can you please suggest a book for further reading??

Dr K Prabhakar Rao said...

Dear Mr Phani,
I have a Telugu prose book titled Palanati Yuddham. Copies are availble at Vishalandhra publications, Sultan bazar, Hyderabad. AP, India, It costs below Rs 100/. I shall give the name of the author soon.

reachanr said...

Dr K Prabhakar Rao,

Stumbled upon this article while googling for "Palnati Yuddham". Its exemplary. Really appreciate if you can come up with more such articles especially for people like me who are interested in knowing our history, culture and folklore.

Looking forward to for more articles.

Regards,
Nagarjuna

Rajasekhar Ch said...

A very good articulation of facts. Well done and thank u very much.

Dr K Prabhakar Rao said...

An article on khadga tikkanna is also posted that describes the battle in Andhra during the rule of Kakateeyas at warangal. It is called yadava bharatham or katamaraju katha. The epic battle is sung as ballads and is historical

nina suri said...

Tying in Brahma Naidu to Kamma is complete casteism. This is disgusting. The Kamma caste is of recent origin. Any sudra Kapu-Kamma-Balija could append Nayudu to their name.

satya srinivas said...
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satya srinivas said...
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Kolakaluri SriKiran said...

Dr.Prabhakar garu, Poet Srinadha has stated that Kannamaneedu belongs to Madiga caste( Gosangi). Clarification please. Regards

srujana said...
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Naga Devi said...
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Tatineni Shyamala said...

Very informative and eye opener on the medicinal and hora history.

Tatineni Shyamala said...

Medivial Andhra

palnadueducation said...

Excellent

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Lakshmi Narasimhan said...

the smell of Andhra soil, mixed with culture, relegious sects and valour given with realistic history. It seems that at lost the Vaishnavism ( Which intlke all sects of people in its fold as all community peolpes are grouped in list of Alwars) which boken the bar of caste and sects won!

simha.R.L.N.

Lakshmi Narasimhan said...

the smell of Andhra soil, mixed with culture, relegious sects and valour given with realistic history. It seems that at lost the Vaishnavism ( Which intlke all sects of people in its fold as all community peolpes are grouped in list of Alwars) which boken the bar of caste and sects won!

simha.R.L.N.

Sivasubbaraju Cherukuri said...

Who is Anugu,Nalagama,Malipeddi etc.. Are these Kammas?

Dr K Prabhakar Rao said...

Anugu raju be longed to Haihaya dynasty and belonged to a place Jambhanapuri Bryant is now called Jabalpur in MP state. He suffered from ancestral sins and in order to purify himself he along with his followers came to Andhra on pilgrimage and when he took a bath in sea at Motupalli his black clothes turned into white indicating that he was purified and was free from ancestral sins. The local choda king gave his daughter Mailambika in marriage to Anugu Raju and also gave Palanadu region as dowry. Anugu Raju already had two wives and he had no choldren. He became the king of Palanadu. After some time his elder wives gave him sons Nalagama and Narsinga Raju while Mailambiga gave him Malidavas who were the youngest. Nalagama was the eldest. Anuguraju. Was from North India and was. Surely not a native product. caste system in Telugu land is highly complex particularly in fourth Verna of caste system.

SmartIdeas said...

The writing is clear biased in favor of Brahma Naidu... if someone wins a war, why opposite king is again king after the war.

Wish someone will read Srinadhuni book or Epic of Palnadu by Gene Roghair...

Dr K Prabhakar Rao said...

There is no Bias. Available literature reveals Brahmanaidus greatness very clearly who tried to eradicate caste system as much as possible. This was resisted by nagamma faction.Nalgama faction were shivites and Basveswaa who was the PM of King Bijjala at kalyani propagated Veera shaivam with great vigour.Obviously these differences became prominnat in palanadu region too.In fact kalayani was engulfed in civil war between Jains and Shivites in which King Bijjala was killed in the night. Kalyani kingdom of Bijjala collapsed and Basweswara left Kalyani.It is said he left towards Srishailam.Nagamma a staunch Sivite did not relish Chapakoodu by Brahma naidu and under her influence Nalagama raja nodded his head to the charges against naidu in open court. Naidu resigned as the PM.Narasinga raja conspired with Nagamma and Killed Alaraja the son in law of nalagama who was with malideva faction patronised by brahma naidu. Nagamma also ensured her factions victory in a cock fight by unfair means.Thus evil sided with Nagmma. Nalgama was not in position to take any independent decision and for every thing he depended on Nagamma.At the end of battle although Brahama Naidu faction won the war nalagma only survived while his brothers died.Narasinga Raja was killed by Balachadra son of brahma naidu for poisoning Ala raja.Malideva died in battle. It is also said that he committed suicide having seen the great man slaughter and deaths of many stalwarts. As nalgama was the only royal family member left brahma Naidu prefered to leave the kingdom to Nalagama as Brahma nidu brought up all children of AnuguRaju from child hood. Nalagama was a noble king till he came under influence of Nagamma. The article is not biased and reflects truths as per available information. Of course the caste system in India is much strong and readers too take sides unfortunately.

Unknown said...

the author of this piece has mixed his personal fantasies with factual history. his description is full of errors and blatant lies. what is kamma rashtra? this is a medieval kingdom born out of the author's fantasy. what relationship does brahmanaidu have with kammas? the kammas are a relatively new caste who were initially peasants by profession. describing kamma caste people as warriors is also mere fiction. also, the definition and description of shaivism movement by basaveswara in karnataka region is filled with huge errors. please refer standard academic sources rather than such pieces written by demented casteists. this piece on palnadu war by the author is full of trash and is merely an exercise in satiating his own kamma ego.

Unknown said...

the author of this piece has mixed his personal fantasies with factual history. his description is full of errors and blatant lies. what is kamma rashtra? this is a medieval kingdom born out of the author's fantasy. what relationship does brahmanaidu have with kammas? the kammas are a relatively new caste who were initially peasants by profession. describing kamma caste people as warriors is also mere fiction. also, the definition and description of shaivism movement by basaveswara in karnataka region is filled with huge errors. please refer standard academic sources rather than such pieces written by demented casteists. this piece on palnadu war by the author is full of trash and is merely an exercise in satiating his own kamma ego.