Rani Chennamma The Valiant Queen:
Rani Chennamma was born on October 23, 1778; she was the Queen of Kittur in Karnataka, Southern India. From her childhood days, she shows great brave and courage in fighting with enemies. She was very brilliant in horse riding, learned techniques in sword fighting and archery. At the early age, she became queen of her native kingdom and did administration with profound knowledge. Today she is well known as Kittur Rani Chennamma.
Rani Chennamma Struggles in her Life:
Rani Chennamma married Raja Mallasarja who belongs to the Desai Family. They had a son but died in his childhood days. After her son’s death, she adopted Shivalingappa and announced him as her heir to the throne. In those days the British East India Company had brought the policy of Paramountcy, which indicates who had no heir paternally those kingdoms would merge into the British rule and not accepted the adoptions.
Chenamma Against British Policy:
With this policy Chenamma would lose her kingdom, so she completely defied the order and agitated against the British. She also sent a letter to then Governor Elphinstone to plead the cause of Kittur, but lord Elphinstone has not accepted her plea and instead of that, he prepared his army to capture the Kingdom of Kiittur. The British force of 200 men and four guns attacked the Kingdom of Kittur. Then Rani Chennamma fiercely attacked the Britishers with her force. In the first battle Britishers lost heavily, The Chennamma’s soldiers killed their collector St John Thackeray and another two British officers, Sir Walter Elliot and Mr. Stevenson were also taken as hostages.
Captured by British:
With the confession of understanding of not doing the war again, Rani Chennamma released the hostages. But the British again started their war against Rani Chennamma. In the war, Rani Chennamma entered into the battlefield with her lieutenant, Sangolli Rayanna and fought against British with fierce force. Finally, she was captured and imprisoned at Bailhongal Fort. There she spent her later days and died on 21 February 1829. But her Lieutenant Sangolli Rayanna continued his fight against the British in the form of Guerrilla war. He was also captured in 1829 and hanged.
Rani Chennamma in the People’s Heart:
Chennamma was died 175 years ago, still, her victories and brave activities have been culminating among the people in Karnataka, especially in Kittur surrounded areas. In her memories, people celebrate Kittur Utsav every year during 22-24 October. During the Utsav, the artists perform the scripts about her life and adventurous incidents, which are still inspiring to the present generation. On 11 September 2007, then first women President of India Pratibha Patil unveiled the statue of Rani Chennamma at the Indian Parliament complex. Her burial place is in Baihongal Mandal.