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Geographically, located on the southwestern part of South India, Karnataka has abundant natural and human resources. It has Western Ghats with rich forest resources; plain valleys with rich and varied crop pattern; and narrow Coastal line with many harbours including the New Mangaluru port. All these have enhanced the eeconomic stability of Karnataka. Moreover, Karnataka has a hoary past. It has the remains of numerous pre-historic settlements, innumerable inscriptions, memorial (Hero, mahasati and atmahuti (self-immolation) stones and monuments of rich historical and cultural heritage.

Pre History

Karnataka has many sites of Pre-historic period and most of them have found scattered on the river valleys of Krishna, Bhima, Malaprabha, Ghataprabha, Cauvery, Hemavathi, Shimsha, Tungabhadra, Manjra, Pennar, and Netravati and on their tributaries. It is very interesting to note that the Pre-historic studies in India started with the discovery of ash mounds at Kupgal and Kudatini in 1836 by Cuebold, a British officer in Ballari region, which then formed part of Madras Presidency. Subsequent discoveries have revealed the existence of Stone Age Culture with innumerable Pre-historic sites in Karnataka. 

The Old Stone Age culture of Karnataka viz., the Hand-axe culture, compares favorably with the one that existed in Africa and is quite distinct from the Pre-historic culture that prevailed in North India. Places like Hunasagi,Gulbal,Kaladevanahal li, Tegginahalli, Budihal, Piklihal, Kibbanahalli, Nittur, Anagavadi, Kaladgi, Khyad, Nyamati, Balehonnur and Uppinangadi (Lower Palaeolithic Culture); Herakal,Tamminahal, Savalgi, Salvadgi, Menasagi, Pattadakal, Vajjala, Naravi and Talakad (Middle Palaeolithic Culture); Kovalli, Ingaleshvara, Yadwad and Maralabhavi (Upper Palaeolithic Culture); Begaumpur, Vanamapurahalli, Hingani, Ingaleshwara, Tamminahal, Sringeri, Jalahalli, Kibbanahalli, Sanganakal, Brahmagiri, Uppinangadi, Mani and Doddaguni (Mesolithic Culture); Maski, T. Narasipur, Banahalli, Hallur, Sanganakal, Hemmige, Kodekal, Brahmagiri, Kupgal, Tekkalkote, Kurnal, Srinivasapura, Beeramangala, French rocks (Pandavapura) and Uttanur (Neolithic and Chalcolithic Culture); Rajana Kolur, Bachigudda, Aihole, Konnur, Terdal, Hire Benakal, Kumaranahalli, Tadakanahalli, Maski, Banahalli, Badaga-Kajekaru, Belur, Borkatte, Konaje, Kakkunje, Vaddarse, and Hallingali (Megalithic Culture) are some of the important sites representing the various stages of Prehistoric culture that prevailed in Karnataka. The ragi grain is found commonly in the Prehistoric sites of Africa and Karnataka. The early inhabitants of Karnataka knew the use of iron, far earlier than the people of North India. The Iron weapons and tools dating back to circa 1500 B.C, found at Hallur in Hirekerur Tq. of Haveri district, too supplement it.

Proto History

Places like Brahmagiri, Chandravalli, Maski, Sanganakallu, Piklihal, Banavasi, Hallur, T.Narasipur, Vadagaon-Madhavapur, Banahalli, Sannati, etc., have yielded rich remnants of Early (Proto) historic period, datable to Circa third Century B.C. to first Century A.D 

Historic Period

Historians believe that some parts of Karnataka experienced the rule of the Nandas and the Mauryas. The Mauryan king Chandragupta (either ‘Ashoka’s Grandfather Chandragupta I, or Ashoka’s Grandson Samprati Chandragupta,) is said to have visited Shravanabelgola and spent the last years there. Among the fourteen Rock Edicts of Ashoka, so far found in Karnataka, 10 are Minor (two each at Nittur and Udagolam in Ballari district; one at Maski in Raichur district; one each at Gavimutt and Palkigundu in Koppal district; one each at Brahmagiri, Jattinga Rameshwara and Siddapura in Chitradurga district) edicts, and Four are Major (viz., 13th and 14th edicts found at Sannati in Kalaburagi district) Rock edicts. They testify to the fact that the Mauryan Empire had its jurisdiction over Karnataka also. It is interesting to note that, Emperor Ashoka’s personal name occur for the first time in his Maski minor rock edict wherein, besides his familiar epithet “Devanampiya Piyadasi”, his personal name ‘Ashoka’ also occur. Hence, his Maski edict has a unique place among all his royal edicts. The language used in the above inscriptions is Prakrit and the script used therein is ‘Brahmi’. Scholars have accepted Brahmi script as the mother of all Indian scripts, including the Devanagari script.

S(Sh)atavahanas (C.30 B.C - 230 A.D)

The Shatavahas ruled in between circa 30 B.C to 230 A.D. with Paithan (also called Pratishtana) in Maharashtra, has their capital. Their empire covered extensive areas in Northern Karnataka and some scholars even argue that this dynasty hailed from Karnataka, as in early times, the region of modern Dharwad and Ballari districts was called as Satavahanihara (or the satavahana region). Even some Shatavahana rulers had the epithet as ‘kings of Kuntala’. At Sannati in Kalaburagi district, Vadgaon-Madhavapura near Belagavi, Hampi in Ballari district, Brahmagiri in Chitradurga district and several other places, remains of their period have found. Banavasi in Uttara Kannada has an inscription of their queen and at Vasana in Nargund Tq. remains of a brick Temple of Shaiva order is noticed. Kanaganahalli near Sannati, has the ruins of Buddhist Stupas of their times covered with richly ornamented sculptures on them. 

Among the findings at Sannati, images of Lord Buddha (in both sitting and standing postures) are significant. Besides, an inscribed image of Ashoka is also unearthed. Moreover, the stone images of eight Satavahana rulers are also unearthed from this place. Above all, a merchant from Banavasi seems to have built a cave during second century A.D. at Ajanta in Maharashtra. Later, with the defeat of the Shatavahanas, Karnataka fell into the hands of the Pallavas of Kanchi. As a result, the Chutu Satakarnis, ruling from Banavasi as the Shatavahana feudatories, also seem to have accepted the overlordship of the Pallavas. However, the Pallava domination in Karnataka region was terminated, with the rise of the two indigenous dynasties, namely the Kadambas of Banavasi and the Gangas of Talakad, who divided Karnataka between themselves. 

Kadambas of Banavasi (C.345 - 540 A.D)

Mayuravarma, son of Bandhushena founded the Kadamba Dyanasty in c. 345 A.D. He was a Brahmin student from the celebrated Talagunda Agrahara (an Agrahara is a settlement of scholarly Brahmins, engaged in religious and academic pursuits) in Shikaripur taluk of Shivamogga district. He had gone with his grandfather Veerasharma to the Ghatika of Kanchi for higher studies. Being subjected to some kind of humiliation at the Pallava capital Kanchi, Mayuravarma gave up his hereditary priestly vocation (but his Brahmin origin has been questioned often by several researchrs in recent times) and took to the life of a warrior and revolted against the Pallavas. This forced the Pallavas to recognise him as a sovereign, when he crowned himself at Banavasi in Uttara Kannada district. His Chandravalli inscription speaks about the construction or repair of a tank at Chandravalli by Mayuravarma near Chitradurga. One of his successors, Kakustha Varman (c.435-55) was such a powerful ruler that even the Vakatakas and the Guptas cultivated matrimonial relations with this family during his time. The great poet Kalidasa seems to have visited his court. The earliest Kannada record found at Halmidi (C.450 A.D.) in Belur Taluk, Hassan district, is of this dynasty (now displayed in the State Archaeology Museum, Bengaluru). However, recent researches trace the antiquity of Kannada language to Ashoka’s period. The Sittanavassal inscription from Tamilnadu of first century A.D. has few Kannada words in it. Some scholars even argue in vain that the Jalagaradibba and Sravanabelagola inscriptions, as earlier than the Halmidi inscription. The Kadambas built some fine temples and the Kadamba Nagara style of stepped Shikharas, is their contribution. They also got excavated the first rock-cut shrine of Vedic tradition at Aravalem (in Goa, which was, then under their control) in a laterite hill range. The tanks at Chandravalli and Gudnapur are among the many irrigation tanks built by them. They had ‘Lion’ as their royal insignia.

The Kadambas were over-throwned perhaps by the the Chalukyas of Badami in c. 540 and at later stages, two branches of Kadamba family (one from Hanagal and the other from Goa) ruled during medieval period, as subordinates of the Chalukyas of Kalyana. A branch of the Kadambas was also ruling from Orissa as subordinates of the Gangas of Kalinga in medieval times.

Alupas of Tulunadu (C. 2nd – 14th Cen. A.D)

Alupas were the earliest to rule over the southern part of Coastal Karnataka. They called themselves as Soma-Vamsajas and possessors of Mina-lanchana. They ruled the kingdom from c. 2nd century to c.14th century A.D. They were the feudatories of all major dynasties of Karnataka commencing from the Kadambas of Banavasi to that of the Hoysalas. Halmidi inscription provides us the name of the first Alupa King Pasupati. Talagunda inscription mentions the name of Kakustha-Bhatari, probably the son and successor of Pasipati, born to the Kadamba princess Lakshmi. Kakustha-Bhatari was probably the contemporary of Santivarma (c.430-455 A.D.) the son and successor of Kadamba Kakusthavarma.

Kakustha-Bhatari might have lived for a few more years and contributed his might to the success of Mrigeshavarma (A.D.455-480). Probably his son was Alupa a contemporary of Shivamandhatrivartma (A.D. 480-485) and Ravivarma (A.D. 485- 519), also mentioned in the Gudnapur inscription, datable to C. 501-502 A.D.

Mahakuta pillar inscription of Chalukya Mangalesha states that Kirtivarman I, son, and successor of Pulakesin I defeated and brought under his control the Alupas along with several other ruling families. The contents of the Maraturu charter (a village in Guntur district of Andhra Pradesh) reveal not only about the ChalukyaAlupa relations but also about the political history of the Alupas. Scholars opine that his son was called either Alupa-maharaja or Aluvarasa, whose son might have been Aluvarasa of Vaddarse and Kigga inscriptions, succeeded Aluka-maharaja.

From the middle of the 7th century onwards, the Alupa history gets a new phase. The Vaddarse inscription (Udupi taluk) of A.D. 650, gives the name of Aluvarasa. The Kigga (near Shrangeri) inscription of c. A.D. 675 tells us that Aluvarasa had also the name Gunasagara. The Soraba inscription (A.D. 692) names him as ‘Gunasagara Alupendra’. According to the Kigga inscription, his queen and son were Mahadevi and Chitravahana respectively. Aluvarasa Gunasagara died around A.D. 680. His son Chitravahana succeeded him. Yet another inscription from Kigga, assigned to A.D. 675 mentions him as ruling over Pombuchha. He was a contemporary of both Vinayaditya and his son Vijayaditya, the Chalukyan rulers. His son Aluvarasa (II) succeeded Chitravahana I in c. A.D. 730 and ruled up to c. A.D. 765. His son Chitravahana (II) succeeded Aluvarasa (II), in c. A.D. 765. 

Aluvarasa seems to have stationed Chitravahana in the Hombucha region and Ranasagara (the younger son) at Udiyavara, the original capital of the Alupas. The undated Udiyavara Hero stone inscriptions speak of wars between the brothers. Despite mixed results, Chitravahana entered successfully the capital Udiyavara only to die with satisfaction in A.D. 800, leaving his son Svetavahana behind. However, the dynastic feuds continued between Svetavahana and Ranasagara. The latter died in a battle (c. A.D. 805) leaving his son Prithuvisagara behind to carry on the feud. Nevertheless, with the death of Svetavahana (A.D. 815) ended the dynastic feud. Prithuvisagara became the undisputed Alupa ruler and the people of the region had a sigh of relief with peace. Thereafter Maramma, Vimaladitya, Alva Rananjaya and Datta-Alupa ruled in succession.

From Kundavarma begins the later phase of Alupa history. His Kadri (Mangaluru) inscription (A.D. 968) tells us that he had to take back the throne using force against Datta-Alupa. Perhaps, Pandya Dhananjaya seems to have succeeded Kundavarma. Later, Bankideva Alupendra had to witness a fierce Chola invasion. It was however, repulsed successfully by Santara Ammana who established the de facto reign of Bankideva. The Alupas brought up the Santaras from almost the 8th century A.D. as subordinate officers. Earliest reference to them is available in an inscription of 8th century A.D. from Udiyavara. There was very good relations between the Alupas and the Santaras from the very beginning. From the time of Alva-Rananjaya (c. A.D. 900-930), we come across the Alupas entering into matrimonial relationship with the Santaras which was found mutually beneficial. The Varanga inscription of Kundana gives us the names of Pattiyodeya, Pandya-Pattiyodeya, Kavi-Alupa, and Pattiyodeya Kulashekhara as Alupa rulers in sucession. Some of the early Alupa inscriptions from Udiyavara also inform us of the name ‘Pattiyodeya’. Scholars had taken this Patti to mean ‘Pombuchchha’ (Humcha). This place was also one of the capitals of the Alupas along with Udiyavara, Mangaluru, and Barakuru. Dr. Gururaja Bhat has introduced BommadevaAlupendra (c.A.D.1156-1170) in between KaviAlupa and Vira-Kulashekhara based on a nishidige inscription from Settara Basadi of Mudabidure. It belongs to A.D. 1285 and the king’s name mentioned is BammadevaAlupendradeva, dated in his 15th regnal year. It seems he was a nephew of Vira-Pandya. For a short period, Santara Kundana played the role of a caretaker ruler. Then for the next one hundred years, the kingdom witnessed the rule of VallabhadevaDattalupa, Vira Pandya, queen Ballamaha-Devi, Nagadevarasa, Aliya- Bankideva, and Soyideva. Later, as the Alupas suffered a defeat at the hands of Hoysala ViraBallala III, Soyideva gave his sister Chikkayi-Tayi in marriage to Ballala III, which helped the Alupas to survive. However, Ballala III started to rule the coast directly by placing his queen Chikkayi-Tayi in charge of administration. However, the rise of Vijayanagara rule eclipsed both Hoysala and Alupa powers. However, the Alupas survived until the end of the 14th century sans political authority. The last known Alupa king was Vira-Pandyadeva (II) [c. A.D. 1390-1399]. They built too many temples, patronized art, and culture.The metal icon of Avalokeshwara seen in the Manjunatha temple at Kadri near Mangaluru, installed by Alupa Kundavarma in 968 A.D., has a special place among the bronze images of South India.

Gangas of Talakad (C.350 - 1024 A.D.)

The Gangas appears to have started their rule in c. 350 from Kolar and later their capital seems to have shifted to Talakad (Mysuru district). Elephant was their royal insignia. Until the advent of the Badami Chalukyas, they were almost a sovereign power. Many Ganga princes were not only scholars and writers, but also great patrons of scholarship. Later they continued to rule over Gangavadi (which comprised major parts of South Karnataka and parts of Tamilnadu) uptill the close of 10th century, as subordinates of the Badami Chalukyas and the Rashtrakutas. It is the Gangas, who withstood the onslaught of the Pallavas and the Cholas, who tried to subjugate South Karnataka. Durvinita (c.529-579) was one of the great kings of this dynasty. He, being a scholar wrote in both Kannada and Sanskrit. The Sanskrit poet Bharavi appears to have lived in his court for some time. During his reign, the ancient Punnata Kingdom (the modern Heggadadevanakote taluk region) merged into his Kingdom. His great grandson Bhuvikrama (c.654-79) was a strong ally of the Chalukyas, and at the Battle of Vilande (c.670) fought between the Chalukyas and the Pallavas, he helped the former to gain victory over Pallava Parameshwara Varman and snatching as a war trophy, the Pallava ruler’s necklace called ‘Ugrodaya’ for himself. Although, Mankunda in Channapatna taluk, said to have been his royal residence (?) for some time, sources are silent in this regard.

A later prince of this family, Sripurusha (c.725- 88) was not only a strong ally of the Chalukyas, but also resisted the Rashtrakutas who tried to subdue him, after the over-throw of the Chalukyas of Badami in 753 A.D. Sripurusha, as a Chalukyan ally killed Pallava Nandi Varman II at Vilande in 731 and assumed the Pallava title Permanadi. This great ruler also wrote a Sanskrit work ‘Gajashasthra’, a treatise on taming of elephants. Later he shifted his capital to Manne (Manyapura) in Nelamangala Taluk. His son Shivamara II (788-816) and grandson Rachamalla I (816-53) continued to resist Rashtrakuta power. In the end, Rashtrakuta Amoghavarsha Nrupatunga I (814-78) sought reconciliation with the Gangas by marrying his daughters to the Ganga princes. At a later date, when the Cholas became strong, the Ganga king Butuga II (938-61,) allied himself with the Rashtrakutas.He helped Rashtrakuta Krishna III (939-67) to humiliate the Cholas by killing the Chola Crown prince Rajaditya in the battle held at Takkolam (949) as elucidated in Atkur inscription. It is a unique memorial stone erected to commemorate the demise of Kali, a hound, while fighting against a wild boar, now displayed in the Bengaluru Visvesvaraya Museum. Finally, the Cholas subdued the Gangas in 1004, and thus the Ganga rule ended. Vishnuvardhana ultimately expelled the Cholas, who ruled major part of Gangavadi-96,000 with Talakadu as its provincial headquarters, from Gangavadi in 1114. However, a Ganga branch ruled in Orissa from 496 A.D. and became celebrated in history as the Eastern or the Kalinga Gangas. Among their feudatories, the Nolambas played a vital role in the regional politics in accordance with the political vicisitudes of the day. Gangas dotted the country with many tanks. Kolar, said to be the core region during their initial rule, and Mysuru district have many irrigational sources of their times. Ganga Hero Stones found at Begur, Doddahundi, etc., and the masti stones found at Mankunda, Settihalli etc. are worth mentioning. They built fine temples at Kolar, Talakad, Begur, Nagavara, Gangavara, Nandi, Aretippur, and Narasamangala. The last named has wonderful stucco figures of remarkable beauty. They also built Jaina bastis at Kambadahalli and Shravanabelagola. The tall Gommata monolith (10 ft.) at Aretippur near Koolagere in Maddur Taluk erected in 918 AD; and the other at Shravanabelgola, 58 ft. in height is the creation of their minister Chavundaraya in c. 982 A.D. are outstanding. Excavations held during the preceding decades at Talkad, have brought to light rich remnants of Ganga Period.

Chalukyas of Badami (C. 540-757 A.D.)

The Chalukyas of Badami (also called Vatapi in inscriptions) brought the whole of Karnataka under a single rule. They have become immortal due to their contributions in the field of art and architecture. Their monuments are concentrated at Badami, Nagaral, Aihole, B.N. Jalinal, Pattadakal, Old and new Mahakuta in Karnataka and at Alampur, Gadwal, Satyavolal and Bichavolu in Andhra Pradesh. They are both rock-cut and structural, with wonderful sculptures wrought in hard red sandstone. Their Shiggaon copper plates, speak of 14 tanks in Haveri district. The first great prince of the dynasty was Polakeshi I (c. 540-66 A.D) who built the great fort of Badami and performed Ashwamedha Yaga (horse sacrifice) as elucidated in his Badami cliff inscription of 543 AD (so far the earliest saka dated (Saka 465) inscription of Karnataka) after subduing many rulers including the Kadambas. His grandson, Polakeshi II (c.608-42 A.D.) built a vast empire, which extended from the Narmada in the north, to the Cauvery, in the south. In the east, he overthrew the Vishnukundins and appointed his younger brother Vishnuvardhana, as the Viceroy of Vengi. This prince founded the Eastern Chalukya Dynasty that ruled for five centuries in Andhra. (a later prince of this Vengi line, Kulottunga, even succeeded to the Chola throne in 1070). Polakeshin II, also defeated Harsha of Kanauj. The Chalukyan army popularly called ‘Karnatabala’ is described in contemporary inscriptions as invincible. He exchanged embassies with Persia and the Chinese piligrim Hiuen Tsiang visited his court. Ultimately, the Pallavas conquered Badami in c. 642 A.D. after defeating Polakeshin II’s army. His Aihole inscription, a prashasti composed by his courtpoet Ravikirti in 634 A.D. not only eulogises the political campaigns of Polakeshi II in glorious terms but also refers to poet Kalidasa of early times. Later his son Vikramaditya I (655-81) reconquered the Chalukyan capital, re-organized his father’s empire, and restored the fame of their army ‘Karnatabala’ as ‘invincible’. The earliest representative carving of a measuring rod of 18 spans of his period found discovered on a rock (Kattebande) during 1987, at Kurugodu in Ballari Taluk, is a unique example. It is even now visible. 

Vikramaditya I’s son Vinayaditya (681- 96) defeated the ruler of Kanauj, who claimed to be the paramount lord of the North (Sakalottarapathanatha). He even sent an expedition to Cambodia. Vijayaditya (696-733) succeeded him. The Arabs, who had conquered Sindh (711) under the leadership of Mohamed Khasim, tried to make inroads into the Deccan. The Chalukya feudatory in South Gujarat called Avanijashraya Polakeshin in 739 defeated them. They left Sindh due to this defeat. The Chalukyan Empire included not only the whole of Karnataka and Maharashtra, but also a greater part of Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, and Andhra, and also parts of Orissa and Tamilnadu. Vikramaditya II (733-744) in the line defeated the Pallavas and entered the Pallava capital Kanchi victorious. However, he did not loot Kanchi, like the Pallavas who had done at Badami in C. 642. Instead, after inspecting its Jewels and Treasures, he redonated them to the Rajasimheshwara temple of Kanchi, as elucidated in a Kannada inscription found carved on one of the pillars of the above said temple at Kanchi. His queens Lokamahadevi and Trailokyamahadevi built the Virupaksha and Mallikarjuna temples at Pattadakal to commemorate this victory. However, the Chalukyan power weakened due to its frequent wars with the Pallavas and ultimately dismembered during Kirtivarma II’s regime in 757 A.D.

Rashtrakutas of Malkhed (C.753-973 A.D.)

In 753, Dantidurga, a feudatory chieftain of Rashtrakuta origin over-threw the Chalukyan king Kirthivarman II, and his family inherited the fortunes of the Chalukyas. He claims that he did this by defeating the ‘Karnatabala’ of the Chalukyas, described as ‘invincible’ in those days. We owe the engraving of the celebrated monolithic Kailasa temple at Ellora (now in Maharashtra) to Dantidurga’s uncle, Krishna I (756-74). Krishna’s son, Dhruva (780-93) crossed the river Narmada, and after defeating the celebrated princes like Vathsaraja of the Gurjara Prathihara family and Dharmapala, the Gouda King of Bengal, and extracted tribute from the ruler of Kanauj, ‘the seat of India’s Paramountcy’. His son Govinda III (793-814) also repeated the feat when he defeated Nagabhata II, the Gurjara Prathihara, and Dharmapala of Bengal and again extracted tribute from the king of Kanauj. His ‘horses drank the icy liquid bubbling in the Himalayas’ says a record, testifying to his victorious march in the North. The achievements of the Chalukyas of Badami and Rashatrakutas by defeating the rulers of Kanauj have made the name of their era the “Age of Imperial Kanauj”, a misnomer. Instead, it is to be called as the “Age of the Imperial Karnataka” as many historians rightly points out. Amoghavarsha Nripatunga (814-78), the renowned son of Govinda III, had to face the threat of the Eastern (Vengi) Chalukyas, who challenged his very existence. However, he succeeded in subduing them after defeating Vengi Chalukya Vijayaditya II at Vinagavalli. He was a peace-loving monarch who used matrimony as one of the weapons in diplomacy. Although he killed as many as six contemporary political potentates who created trouble for him, he did not conduct Digvijayas like his father and grandfather. He succeeded in maintaining the Empire intact.

Himself a scholar, Amoghavarsha patronized scholarship, and great Jaina savants like Veerasena, Jinasena, Gunabhadra, grammarian Shaktayana and Mathematician Mahaveera adorned his court. Adipurana and commentaries on the Shatkhandagamas called as Dhavala, Jayadhavala and Mahadhavala written in his court were the great Jaina works of all India importance. His court poet Srivijaya in C. 850 A.D. composed Kavirajamarga, the first extant Kannada work. His great grandson Indra III (914-29) even captured Kanauj and held it under his control for two years. One of his feudatories, Arikesari of Vemulavada patronised Sanskrit writer Somadeva (of Yashastilaka fame) and the famous early Kannada poet Pampa. Rashtrakuta Krishna III (936-67) subdued the Cholas in the South and established a pillar of victory at Rameshwaram. In fact, the so-called ‘Age of Imperial Kanauj’ in Indian history was the Age of Imperial Karnataka, when the prowess of the Kannadiga spread all over India. Even Rajashekhara, the celebrated Sanskrit writer, has called the Karnatas as great experts in the technique of war. The Pala rulers of Bengal employed soldiers from Karnataka. One such Kannada warrior founded the Sena Dynasty of Bengal and another warrior founded the Karnata Dynasty of Mithila (modern Tirhath in Bihar). The Rashtrakutas sponsored the engravings of many Hindu rock-cut temples on the Buddhist model like the Dashavatara Shrine at Ellora, the Jogeshwara near Bombay and the one at the Elephanta Island. (Some scholars ascribe the last named to their Kalachuri feudatories). Arab traveller Suleiman who visited India in 851 A.D, tell us that the Rashtrakuta Empire was the largest in India and he ranks it with the then greatest Empires of the world viz., the Eastern Roman, the Arab and the Chinese Empires. The Rashtrakutas constructed many tanks and their temples are found at places like Sirivala, Sulepet, Gadikeshwar, Adaki, Sedam, Handarki, Mogha, etc., in Kalaburagi district; Naragund, Nidagundi, Naregal, Ron and Savadi in Gadag district; Badami, Banashankari, Pattadakal etc. in Bagalkot district; and at Hampi also. Some Rashtrakuta Hero Stones of exceptional size seen at Ron, Koujageri, Karmadi, Belvanaki, Gadag, Betageri, etc., in Gadag district, needs a special mention. The two dynasties viz., the Chalukyas of Badami and the Rashtrakutas popularised animal husbandry by donating cows in thousands are available in good number.

Chalukyas of Kalyana (C.973-1189 A.D.)

The Chalukyas of Kalyana, who claim to be the scions of the Badami Chalukyas, over-threw the Rashtrakutas in 973, and Taila II (Trailokya Malla), the first ruler of this dynasty, who later defeated Uttama and Rajaraja I, the Chola rulers and even killed Paramara Munja of Dhara. His son Satyashraya (997-1008) patronised the great Kannada poet Ranna. Someshwara I (1043- 1068), Satyashrya’s grandnephew, succeeded in resisting the efforts of the Cholas to subdue them, and made Kalyana as his new capital (modern Basava Kalyana in Bidar district). Someshwara I killed the Chola king Rajadhiraja, at Kuppam in 1054 A.D. His son Vikramaditya VI (1076-1127) who issued of more than 1000 inscriptions is the king who started the Vikrama Saka Samvatsara on his coronation; celebrated in history as the patron of the great jurist Vijhnaneshwara, who wrote Mithakshara, a standard work on Hindu law. The emperor has been immortalised by poet Bilhana (hailing from Kashmir) who choose his patron as the hero for his Sanskrit work, viz., ‘Vikramankadeva Charitam’. Vikramaditya defeated the Paramaras of Central India thrice and even plundered their capital Dhara once. In the South, he captured Kanchi from the Cholas in 1085, and in the East, he conquered Vengi in 1093. One of his commanders, Mahadeva built the Mahadeva temple at Itagi (Koppal district), one of the finest Chalukyan monument, eulogised in an inscription as “Devalaya Chakravarthy” (Emperor among Temples). His son Someshwara III (1127-39) was a great scholar. He has compiled Manasollasa, a Sanskrit encyclopedia and Vikramankabhyudayam, a poem to which his father is the hero. Manasollasa, a great work of multi-dimensions, which depicts the cultural conditions in South India, has sections on administration, medicine, architecture, painting, jewellery, cookery, dance, music, sports etc., It has 100 sections discussing various aspects of human activity.The Kalachuris, who were the feudatories of the Chalukyas, over-threw the Chalukyas and captured Kalyana in 1162. Bijjala, the first emperor of the dynasty, was the grandson of Vikramaditya VI, through his motherside. He had Basaveshwara, the celebrated Veerashaiva religious leader, a rebel against Vedic tradition, who was the illustrious son of Madarasa, the head of Bagewadi Agrahara, as his treasurer. However, the Chalukyas staged a comeback in 1184 under Someshwara IV. Ultimately, the Hoysalas and the Sevunas of Devagiri encroached upon the Chalukyan territory, after overthrowing the Chalukyas divided the kingdom between themselves. The representative carvings of measuring rods used during this period are seen on the temples at Dambala, Kodikop, Bhairapura, and Shirasangi.

The Chalukyas were great builders, and their beautiful temples are renowned for fine and intricate engravings. Their temples are found at many places like Itagi, Ron, Naregal, Gadag, Dambal, Lakkundi (Gadag District), Lakshmeshwara, Bankapur,Hangal, Haveri, Abbaluru, Hamsabhavi, Chikkerur in Haveri District; Balligavi(Shivamogga District), Kuruvatti, Chaudadanapura (Ranebennur Taluk), Unakal, Annigeri, Kundagol, Moraba, etc. in Dharwar District; and at Nagavi, Adki, Yewur, Sedam, Kulageri, Kollur, Diggavi, Madiyala and Kalagi (in Kalaburagi Dt); Saudatti, Okkunda, Halsi, Belagavi etc. in Belagavi district; Badami, Pattadakal, Aihole, Mahakoota, etc. in Bagalkot district; Gabbur, Devadurga in Raichur district; Koppal, Kukkanur, Itagi, Yelburga in Koppal District; Kurugodu, Hadagili, Hampi, Kogali, Bagali in Ballari District; and Kadlewada, Chattaraki, Teradal, Nimbala, Muttagi etc. in Vijayapura district. They were great patrons of Scholars and Sanskrit writers like Vadiraja, and Kannada poets like Ranna, Durgasimha and Nayasena lived in their times. The Veerashaiva movement saw the advent of Vachana literature in Kannada, initiated by Jedara Dasimayya and Kembhavi Bhoganna. It grew during the Kalachuri Interregnum when more than 770 Sharanas including Basava, Allama, Siddarama, Channabasava, Akkamahadevi and others lived. Veerashaivism preached equality of men, tried to emancipate women, and stressed the importance of bread-labour concept by calling it as ‘Kayaka’, for worshipping God.

Sevunas of Devagiri (C 1173-1318 A.D.)

The Sevunas (Yadavas) who were the feudatories of both the Rastrakutas and the Chalukyas of Kalyana became a sovereign power from the days of Bhillama V (1173-92) who founded the new capital Devagiri (modern Daulathabad in Maharashtra). Earlier they ruled from Sindhinera (modern Sinnar) near Nashik. Bhillama V captured Kalyana in 1186, and later clashed with Hoysala Ballala II at Soraturu in 1190. Though he lost the battle, he built a vast kingdom extending from the river Narmada to Krishna. His son Jaitugi (1192-99) not only defeated Paramara Subhata Varman, but also killed Rudra and Mahadeva, the Kakatiya kings of Warangal. Singhana II (1199- 1247), the greatest of the Sevunas, extended the Sevuna kingdom upto the Tungabhadra. However, the Sevunas were defeated by the army of Delhi Sultan in 1296, again in 1307 and finally in 1318, and thus the kingdom was wiped out. Their feudatory, Kumara Rama and his father Kampilaraya of Kampili also died fighting against the Muslims in C. 1327 A.D. The Sevunas have become immortal in history by the writings of the famous mathematician Bhaskaracharya, the great writer on music Sharngadeva, and of the celebrated scholar Hemadri.

The Sevunas and the Hoysalas drained their energy in mutual warfare. As a result, the armies of the Delhi Sultans could easily subdue the south. Sharngadeva’s work, Sangita Ratnakara, is the base for the growth of classical music and Vidyaranya during the 14t century wrote ‘Sangitasara’ based on Sangita Ratnakara. The Sevunas built fine temples called Hemadpanthi structures, found all over Maharashtra. The Virabhadra temple at Yedur in Belgum district is one of their structures. They built and renovated many temples in North Karnataka.

Hoysalas of Dwarasamudra (C.1052-1342 A.D.)

The Hoysalas continued the great tradition of their art-loving overlords, viz., the Kalyana Chalukyas. The finest temples built by them are seen at Beluru, Halebidu, and Somanathapura. The first great ruler of the dynasty, Vishnuvardhana (c.1108-1152) freed Gangavadi from the Cholas (who had held it since 1004), in 1114 A.D. and in commemoration of his victory, built the celebrated Keertinarayana temple at Talakad, and the Vijayanarayana (Chennakeshava) Temple at Belur. Ramanujacharya, who stayed at Saligrama, Tonnur, and Melkote in Karnataka for long, visited his kingdom. Vishnuvardhana patronised the saint and believed to have earlier influenced by Srivaishnava Chola officers in Gangavadi. As he wanted to be an Emperor by challenging his overlords, the Kalyana Chalukyas expediency forced him to perform certain Vedic rituals like Agnishtoma and Hiranyagarbha sacrifices (yajnyas). Jainism did not sanction such performances. However, he continued to patronise Jainism, as many of his commanders and his accomplished queen Shantala were Jains. His commander Ketamalla built the famous Hoysaleshwara (Vishnuvardhana) temple at Halebidu. The Agraharas in Karnataka that were numerous by then had created such a healthy intellectual atmosphere that Ramanuja, the great preacher of Srivaishnavism from Tamilnadu could get a hearing to his teachings from the intellectuals in Karnataka. Though Vishnuvardhana did not fully succeed in his efforts to over-throw the Chalukyan yoke; his grandson Ballala II (1173-1220) not only became free, but even defeated Sevuna Bhillama V at Soraturu in 1190, after having defeated Chalukya Someshwara IV in 1187.

When the Pandyas in Tamilnadu attacked the Cholas, Ballala II took this opportunity in driving the Pandyas back and thus assumed the title “Establisher of the Chola Kingdom”. Later, in the days of his son Narasimha II (1220-35), Hoysalas even secured a foothold in Tamilnadu and Kuppam near Srirangam became a second capital of the Hoysalas. Consequently, the empire was divided among his two sons and the collateral branch continued for over six decades. Ballala III (1291-1343), the last great Hoysala, had to struggle hard to hold his own against the invasions of the Delhi Sultans. He died while fighting against the Sultan of Madhurai. Late, it was his commanders Harihara and Bukka, who founded the Vijayanagara Kindgom, which later grew to be an Empire. Hoysala age saw great Kannada poets like Rudrabhatta, Janna, Kereya Padmarasa, Harihara and Raghavanka. Hoysala temples at Beluru, Halebidu, Maddur, Somanathapur, Mare halli, Tonnur, Kikkeri, Bhadravathi, Banawara, Basaral, Arasikere, Aralaguppe, Talakad, Amritapura, Hosaholalu, Melkote, Sunka Tonnur, Nagamangala, Kaidala, Kurudumale, Sindhaghatta, Hosa budanur, Santhe-bachahalli,Varahanatha Kallhalli, Koravangala, Aghalaya, Shravanabelagola, Javagal, Kaivara, Kaidala, Machalaghatta, Aghalaya, Belluru, Nagamangala, Govindanahalli, Nuggehalli, Tenginaghatta, Turuvekere, Mosale, Javagal, etc., are wonderful works of art. The representative carving of land measuring rods used during this period is found on the temples at places like, Amritapura, Mugur, and Bhairapura.

Vijayanagara Empire (C.1336-1646 A.D.)

When the armies of the Delhi Sultanat destroyed the four great Kingdoms of the South viz., the Sevunas of Devagiri, Kakatiyas of Warangal, Hoysalas of Dwarasamudra and the Pandyas of Madhurai, it looked as if a political power following a religion quite alien to the South was going to dominate the peninsula. Many princes including Kumara Rama, the brave and heroic son of Kampilaraya, a Seuna feudatory from Kampli in Ballari district, perished while resisting the Muslim onslaughts. The people were bewildered over the attack on their religious places and the barbaric crudities perpetrated on the vanquished cities by these invaders from the North. Poems and ballads on Kumara Rama illustrate this bewilderment. When the Sangama brothers’ viz. Harihara, Bukka, Kampana, Muddappa, and Marappa, founded the Vijayanagara Kingdom, people wholeheartedly supported them. Tradition says that sage Vidyaranya had even caused a shower of gold to finance the Sangama brothers. Perhaps the sage succeeded in securing financial help from various quarters to the founders of Vijayanagara. To Vidyaranya’s guru Bharatiteertha, Harihara and his brothers made some grants at Sringeri in 1346. This grant had a supplementary donation on the same day by Hoysala Queen Chikkayi Tayi an Alupa queen, who appears to have been present on the occasion. 

Harihara (1336-56) of the Sangama dynasty (1336-1485) founded the kingdom in about 1336 and secured control over northern parts of Karnataka and Andhra from coast to coast. After the death of Ballala III (1343) and his son Virupaksha Ballala in 1346, the whole of the Hoysala dominion came under his control. The above grant noted at Shringeri with the Hoysala queen, Chikkayitayi and the kingdom glorifying Kumara Rama, demonstrates its efforts as successors of these potentates that had perished. His brother Bukka (1356-77) succeeded in destroying the Madhurai Sultanate: He even sent an embassy to China. It is this prince who commissioned for the compilation of the monumental commentary on the Vedas, viz., Vedarthaprakasha by engaging several thinkers to work under the celebrated scholars Sayana and Madhava. The work was completed in the days of his son Harihara II (1377-1404). Harihara II extended his domination in Konkan, beyond Goa upto Chaul. In the East, he conquered Pangal to the north of the Krishna. Efforts made by Firuzshah Bahmani to conquer this fort were foiled by Devaraya II (1424-49), the greatest of the Sangamas, who defeated the Bahamanis when he was the crown prince, and this resulted in the shifting of the Bahamani capital to the North i.e. Bidar in c. 1426. He defeated the Gajapatis of Orissa twice and foiled the efforts of the Bahamanis to wrest Mudgal. One of his commanders even invaded Ceylon and extracted tribute, and the princes of Pegu and Tenesserim in Burma owed him allegiance. He highly patronized the Veerashaivas. The Hazara Rama Temple at Hampi is his creation. Abdul Razak, the Persian traveller who visited his court, says of the capital, “nothing in the world could equal it.” Himself a scholar, Devaraya II patronized Gunda Dindima, a Sanskrit poet and Shrinatha, a Telugu poet. The Hampi inscription of Devaraya II of 1420 A.D, extols the good qualities of his famous commander Lakshmidhara poetically in glorious terms. The weak and vicious kings who followed Devaraya II in the Sangama dynasty would have caused the dismemberment of the empire, had not Saluva Narasimha, an able commander assumed power (1485). It paved way for the rule of Saluva dynasty (1485-1505) for a short while. It was during this period Portuguese navigator Vasco-da-Gama landed on the western coast at Calicut in 1498 and thus opened a new vista for foreign rule. Later, there was a second usurpation, under the leadership of Tuluva Vira Narasimha.

The Tuluva Krishnadevaraya (1509-1529) a great warrior, scholar and administrator of Tuluva dynasty (1509-1570), succeeded him. He secured Raichur doab, in 1512, and later marched victorious into the capitals of his enemies like Bidar (1512) Vijayapura (1523) and in the East, Cuttack (1518), the capital of the Gajapatis. Being a great devotee of Tirumalai Venkatesha, he visited Tirupati frequently (seven times) and made lavish grants to Lord Venkatesha. As a token, the bronze statues of Raya and his two queens are seen even today at Tirumalai. One more example of this type is also available at Kanchipuram. “A great ruler and a man of great justice” (in the words of Portuguese visitor Paes) Krishnadevaraya was a man of letters and a great patron of scholars. He himself wrote a Telugu work Amuktamalyada. He had eight great poets, called ashtadiggqjas in his court, and among them was Allasani Peddana. Raya built the Krishnaswamy Temple in the capital. It was during his time that the Portuguese conquered Goa from Vijayapura rulers in 1510. They had a flourishing trade with Vijayanagara, and to whom they supplied Arab horses on priority.

Portuguese rule in Goa had far-reaching effects. They introduced new floras like groundnut, chilly, tobacco etc., besides bringing printing technology from the New World. Mangaluru and Barakuru were the most important provinces in Coastal area during Vijayanagara times and the governors appointed by the Vijayanagara rulers from time to time administered them. During the rule of Sadashiva Raya (1543-70), the four Shahi Sultans attacked the Empire, and after killing Aravidu Ramaraya (1542-65), the Vijayanagar minister and Krishnadevaraya’s son-in-law, at Rakkasa Tangadi (Rakkasagi-Tangadagi) in 1565, destroyed the capital city Vijayanagara. Later, his brothers Thirumalaraya and Venkatapatiraya shifted the capital first to Penugonda, and later Chandragiri and Vellore became the subsequent capitals of late Vijayanagara rulers. The Tuluva dynasty was overthrown by the Aravidu dynasty (1570-1646). Srirangaraya III, its last ruler was given shelter by Keladi rulers until his demise in 1670. During the Vijayanagara regime, local rulers like the Ajala, Chauta, Banga, Mula, Hegde, Ballala, Domba and other small principalities ruled almost independently in the coastal region of Karnataka. Venur, Moodabidre, and Karkala prospered as important Jaina Centres during this period. Vijayanagara rulers patronized all religions. The Portuguese traveler Barbosa testifies to this catholic outlook of the emperors. Every existing temple was provided with a strong enclosure, a lofty tower at the entrance and vast mantapas. Literary activity in all South Indian languages was encouraged. The empire took upon itself the responsibility of conserving Indian traditions in philosophy, religion, science, literature, and culture. Vijayanagara played a greater role in conserving local religion and cultural traditions. In addition to the commentaries on the Vedas, Sayana compiled many works like Yajnyatantra Sudhanidhi, Ayurveda Sudhanidhi, Purushartha Sudhanidhi, Subhashita Sudhanidhi, and Alankara Sudhanidhi to conserve Indian tradition. Madhava (Vidyaranya) wrote ‘Sarvadarshana Sangraha’ by introducing all religions of Indian origin. His ‘parashara madhaviya’ is a commentary on ‘parashara smriti’, a work on Hindu life and law; and Parashara Madhaviya has clearly stated that the Sati (suicide by a widow) is “kalivarjya”, to be a given up totally in Kaliyuga. The Emperors not only built fine temples of all denominations (Shaiva, Vaishnava, Srivaishnava, Jaina etc.,) but also renovated many temples destroyed prior to their rule. All existing temples were enlarged by adding huge prakaras (enclosures) and tall impressive entrance towers called as rayagopuras found not only at Hampi but also at Srishailam, Kalahasti, Tirupathi, Srirangam, Chidambaram, Kanchi etc., in Andhra and Tamilnadu. In addition, they also provided the existing temples with vast and impressive Kalyana Mantapas and Sabha Mantapas, which were open pillared pavilions. Each mantapa had scores of tall monolithic pillars, which were solid pieces of art. These public works provided jobs to thousands. Their temples seen at places like Hampi, Haravu, Belluru, Kikkeri, Ambaligere, Holalkere, Shringeri, Kurugodu, Bagali, Khandya, Kalasa etc. in Karnataka are noteworthy. Besides, they have also built innumerable temples in the neighbouring states of Tamilnadu and Andhrapradesh. Sanskrit, Kannada, Tamil, and Telugu literature flourished during this time. The Veerashaiva religion saw a renaissance. Karnataka Music came to blossom by the works of Vidyaranya, Kallinatha, Ramanamatya, Purandaradasa and Kanakadasa. Purandaradasa did a lot to popularise it by framing primary compositions to teach this music and saint Tyagaraja has rightly called him “the father of Karnataka Music”. Foreign merchants and travellers like Nicolo Conti (1420), Abdul Razak (1443), Barbosa (1500-11), Paes (1520), Nuniz (1535), and Caesar Fredrick (1567), who visited the Empire, give a vivid account on the flourishing condition that prevailed in the empire in general and the capital city Vijayanagara, in particular.

Bahamani Kingdom (c.1347-1520 A.D.)

The Bahmani Sultans have a covet place for the great contribution they made to the field of IndoSaracenic art in the South. Founded by Alla-UdDin Hasan at Kalaburagi in 1347, the Bahmani Kingdom clashed with Vijayanagara all through its history. Muhammed Bahaman Shah built the famous Jamia Maszid at Kalaburagi fort in 1367. It is a huge monument of enduring beauty. They introduced domes, vaultings, and arches made of mortar in building the monuments in Karnataka. Firuz Shah (1397-1422), was a great Sultan in the line. He extended the kingdom in the east by capturing Rajamahendri from the Reddis. He took pleasure in the society of learned men and patronized Surhindi, a scholar, and Hassan Gilani, an astronomer. He erected the observatory at Daulatabad. Ahmed Bahaman Shah (1422- 36), the successor of Firuz shifted his capital to Bidar, where fine palaces were built in course of time. The Solha Kamb Mosque is a fine creation of his time. He was highly devoted to Sufi Saint Bande Nawaz. The prince himself was called ‘Vali’ (saint) and his tomb at Ashtur near Bidar is highly venerated. Another great personality in Bahmani history is Mahamud Gawan, a clever and efficient minister who was born in Persia (1411). On his visit to Bidar (1445) he was given an important position in the Bahamani court. Later, he became the chief administrator of the kingdom from 1461 until his death in 1481. He administered the territory during the minority of two Sultans, and extended it in the South upto Hubballi, in the West upto Goa and the Konkan Coast, and in the East upto Kondavidu and Rajamahendri. A scholar and writer himself, he founded a college at Bidar and provided it with a library from his own personal income.


The forts built at Kalaburagi and Bidar of the period needs a special mention. The college building (Madrasa) now in ruins was once a fine structure. Gawan fell a victim to court intrigues. He was killed on the orders of Sultan Muhammad, whom Gawan had educated and brought up. With him vanished the glory of the Kingdom, and soon it broke up into five Shahi Kingdoms of the Deccan. The fine Indo-Saracenic buildings like the Bande Nawaz Dargah, Jamia Masjid, Sath Gumbaz, etc., at Kalaburagi, Gawan’s Madarasa at Bidar and his dome at Ashtur etc., are the important contributions of this Sultanate.

Adilshahis of Vijayapura (1489-1686 A.D.)

The Adilshahis of Vijayapura, one of the five Shahi Kingdoms that rose on the ruins of the Bahamani Kingdom, ruled over the greater part of Karnataka. Yusuf Adil Khan, a commander and governor under the Bahamanis, founded it in 1489. The Adilshahis were great patrons of art and men of letters. Varthema, the Italian Visitor, has called Yusuf “a powerful and prosperous king”. The Shah of Iran recognised Ismail (1510-35) Adil Shah as a ruler and had even sent an embassy to Vijayapura. Ismail’s grandson, Ali (1557-80) was in friendly terms with Ramaraya of Vijayanagara, who had adopted Ali as his son. However, other Shahi Sultans forced Ali to join the confederacy against the Vijayanagara Empire, whose army was defeated in 1565. He raised the wonderfully designed Jamia Mosque at Vijayapura. Ibrahim II (1580-1626), Ali’s nephew is another greatest king of Adilshahi dynasty. He captured and merged the Baridshahi Kingdom of Bidar in 1619. He was a tolerant ruler and was nicknamed ‘Jagadguru’. He built the temple of Narasimha Saraswati (Dattatreya) within the citadel of his fort. As a great lover of Hindu music, he had 300 singers in his court. It is Muhammad Adil Shan, (1626-56) who extended the kingdom in the south upto Bengaluru and in the Southeast upto Vellore. As a result, Bengaluru and the surrounding regions were granted as jahgir to Shahji Bhosle, Shivaji’s father. The Marathas retained Bengaluru until 1686. Muhammad Adil Shan has built the magnificient Gol Gumbaz at Vijayapura. He was succeded by Ali II (1656- 72) and during Sikhandar Adil Shah (1672-86), the last Adil Shahi ruler; Aurangzeb annexed the Adhilshahi Kingdom in 1686. The tombs of Barid Shahi Princes at Ashturu and the Jamia Masjid at Vijayapura are noteworthy. Adilshahi buildings at Vijayapura like Asar Mahal and Ibrahim Rauza have paintings. Ragmala paintings and personal portraits of members of the royal family including Chand Bibi are preserved in the Vijayapura Museum. Some of the Vijayapura rulers were Shiahs and celebration of Muharram by installing tabuts became common in Karnataka. A form of Urdu called Deccani Hindi also developed in their court. In the meantime, Mughals extended their territory to the South. They conquered Bengaluru in 1686. Chikkadevaraya of Mysuru obtained it by paying a huge amount to Mughals. They made Sira in Karnataka and Arcot in Tamilnadu as their important administrative centres. Sira has some fine Mughul buildings. The Nawabs of Savanur, Sira, and Advani administered the Kannada territories under the Mughuls, and the Nizam of Golkanda, another feudatory of the Mughals, administered some Kannada districts.

Keladi Kingdom

The Keladi Nayakas, who were the feudatories of Vijayanagara, became practically free in the days of Venkatappa Nayaka I (1586-1629), who merged the coastal territories like Gersoppa into his kingdom. Shivappa Nayaka (1645-60), a great soldier and diplomat ousted the Portuguese, of their possessions on the West Coast, namely Mangaluru, Honnavar andBasrur. He reformed the land revenue system, and it is renowned as ‘Sisthu’. He helped reclamation of land on a large scale. Keladi enjoyed a rich overseas trade, especially in spices, textiles, and rice. Their capitals viz., Keladi, Ikkeri, and Nagara are in Shivamogga district. His daughter-in-law, Chennamma (1571- 97) is renowned for her valour, as she gave shelter to Maratha prince Chatrapati Rajaram (son of Shivaji) and braved Auranzeb’s army. Her successor Basavappa (1697-1714) wrote shivatatvaratnakara, a Sanskrit Encyclopaedia. They have raised fine temples at Keladi, Ikkeri, and Nagar a wonderful hill fort at Kavaledurga. Keladwas captured by Haidar Ali in 1763, and the kingdom merged with Mysuru. Of the other feudatories of Vijayanagara, while Kempegowda I of Magadi Kingdom, also called as Yalahanka Nadaprabhus, raised the fort and new city of Bengaluru in 1537. Later they were forced to shift their capital to Magadi, where they ruled upto 1728. The Magadi fort is one of their creations. The Chitradurga Nayakas raised the magnificient hill-fort at Chitradurga and continued to rule until their extinction by Hyder Ali in 1779.



The Marathas, who were encroaching upon the Vijayapura dominion, came to have control over parts of Karnataka, to the North of the Tungabhadra. Shivaji built forts at Ramadurg, Nargund, Parasgad, Gajendragad, Katkol etc., in North Karnataka. In the South, they had their Bengaluru jahgir administered first by Shahji (1637-63) and later by his son Ekoji. Meanwhile, the Mysuru royal family secured Bengaluru and its surroundings from the Mughals in 1689 on lease. The Mughals had conquered these areas in 1686 from Maratha ruler Ekoji, a feudatory of Vijayapura. Later the Marathas had secured the right of collecting chauth and sardesmukhi, a part of the dues to the Mughals from the southern feudatories in the days of Chatrapati Shahu (Shivaji’s grandson) from the Mughal Emperor in 1719. Infact, Peshwa Balaji Rao had conquered Dharwad in 1753. Later Haidar and Tipu wrested Dharwad area from the Marathas. Although the Dharwad area was restoredto the Marathas in 1791, they finally lost it after the fall of the Peshwa in 1818 to British.

Mysuru Rulers

The Mysuru royal family, which was also a feudatory house under Vijayanagara, took advantage of the weakening of the Empire and became free. Raja Wadiyar (1578-1617), secured Srirangapattana in 1610, the seat of the Vijayanagara Viceroy. Kantirava Narasaraja (1638-59), the first sovereign ruler, successfully resisted the efforts of Vijayapura to subdue him, and extended his territory. He built the Narasimha temple at Srirangapatna. He issued his own Coins called ‘Kanthirayi Panams’. Chikkadevaraya (1673-1704) not only resisted the Marathas at Bengaluru and Jinji successfully, but also extended his dominions in Tamilnadu. He secured Bengaluru and its surroundings (which the Mughals had conquered from Ekoji) from the Mughals on lease and accepted Mughal suzerainty. He made Mysuru a rich principality by his able revenue policies. Himself a great scholar and writer, he patronized many Kannada writers like Tirumalarya, Chikkupadhyaya, and Sanchi Honnamma. All these were Shrivaishnavas. However, weak rulers succeeded him and this finally led to the usurpation of power by Haider Ali in 1761. During this period, local Chieftains ruled places like Chikkanayakanahalli, Madhugiri, Nidugal, Anekal, Chikkaballapur, Gummanayakanahalli, Tarikere, Ranibennur, Belur, Harapanahalli etc., in Karnataka.


Hydar Ali

The defeat of the Marathas at Panipat in 1761 helped Hydar to follow an aggressive policy. He merged the Keladi Kingdom with Mysuru and extended Mysuru in all directions. He successfully used cavalry on a large scale. Mysuru came to have 80,000 square miles of territory under him. Hydar built the palace at Bengaluru, strengthened its fort, and began the Lalbagh Garden. He built the Dariya Daulat palace at Srirangapattana and laid a fine park all-round it. He challenged the British in Tamilnadu and defeated them. However, Maratha Peshwa Madhavarao humiliated him more than once. Meanwhile, Hydar allied himself with the French against the British and successfully opposed them in the first Anglo-Mysuru war. In the meantime, Hydar Ali captured and annexed the Chitradurga Principality from the Madakari family of Chitradurga in 1779. But he died at Narasingarayapet,near Arcot, while fighting against the British in1782 amidst the second Anglo-Mysuru war. He had a strong naval force stationed at Sultan Bateri near Mangaluru.


Tipu Sultan

Tipu Sultan (1782-99) who continued his father’s anti-British policy by fighting the third and fourth Anglo-Mysuru wars dreamt of driving the British out of India. He sought the assistance of Napoleon, the French ruler and also the rulers of Turkey and Afghanistan. Tipu was a scholar and a bold general. He introduced sericulture in Mysuru Kingdom; and took firm steps to establish industrial centres producing quality paper; steel wires for musical instruments, sugar and sugar candy. He was very keen on promoting overseas trade and initiated State trading and founded stores not only in different centres of his kingdom but also at Kutch, Karachi and Basrah in the Middle East. He had a curious mind and was keen on introducing novel thing in every walk of life. He was pioneer in introducing Rocket technology during his struggle against the British. However, his ambition of driving the British failed and he died in 1799, fighting against the British during the fourth Anglo-Mysuru war at Srirangapatna. Mysuru fell into the hands of the British who handed over parts of it to the Marathas and the Nizams, their allies in this venture, and crowned the Hindu prince, Krishnaraja Wadiyar III, as the ruler over Mysuru Kingdom, whose territories considerably reduced. Later, under the instructions of the Madras Presidency, Francis Buchanan visited the area ruled formerly by Hydar and Tippu, during 1800-01 immediately after the demise of Tippu, (1799). He has left a vivid account in his Travelogue is worth to be noticed. British also secured the territory to the north of the Tungabhadra by defeating the Peshwa in 1818, and became masters of Karnataka. They also annexed Kodagu (Coorg) a small princely tributary state, in 1834 by dethroning its ruler Chikkavirarajendra of Haleri family. In 1834, the feudatory monarchy in Kodagu (Coorg) was ended and the State was handed over to a Commissioner under the supervision of the Madras Governor. Sullya region belonging to Kodagu was transferred to Kanara.


British Rule

The advent of British rule brought about many changes in Karnataka, as elsewhere in India. The districts of Dharwad, Gadag, Haveri, Vijayapura, Bagalkot and Belagavi taken from the Peshwa, were merged into Bombay Presidency in 1818. The Kanara District, now the districts of Uttara Kannada, Dakshina Kannada and Udupi; and Ballari taken from Tipu, were added on to the Madras Presidency. In 1862, the Kanara District was divided into two, while North Kanara (Uttara Kannada} was tagged on to Bombay Presidency. South Kanara remained in Madras Presidency. Mysuru was retained as a separate principality; the prince of the Wadiyar dynasty, Krishnaraja III, was yet a boy when he became the ruler in 1799. The areas in the modern districts of Kalaburagi, Raichur, Koppal and Bidar were handed over to the Nizam of Hyderabad. In addition to the Nawab of Savanur, there were over 15 other princes, ruling over small Kannada principalities. Most of them were Maratha rulers, they included the princes of Jamkhandi, Aundh, Ramdurg, Mudhol, Sandur, Hire Kurundawad, Jath, Sangli, Kolhapur, Meeraj, Kiriya Kurundawada, Akkalkote, etc. Mysuru, as the nucleus of Karnataka, grew to be a progressive State.It nurtured Kannada culture and encouraged Kannada literature and, scholarship. But for the Mysuru State, Karnataka would have lost its identity.Purnayya was made the Chief Administrator (Diwan) during the minority of Krishnaraja III, and later in 1810, Krishnaraja himself assumed administration. But the Nagar Uprising of 1831, resulted in the East India Company assuming the Mysuru administration in 1831, and Mysuru came to be ruled by the British Commissioners for 50 years. The prince, who was a great scholar and lover of literature, spent the rest of his life in literary and artistic pursuits. The Mysuru court became a major centre of Rennaisance in Karnataka. He founded the Raja School for teaching English in 1833, which became the nucleus of the Maharaja’s high school and later upgraded as Maharaja’s College (1879). He also started a lithographic press called Ambavilasa (1841) and started printing books in Kannada.


Commissioners’ Regime

Among the Commissioners, who ruled Mysuru between 1831 and 1881, two are the most notable viz., Mark Cubbon (1834-61) and Lewin Bowring (1862-70). To these two goes the credit of making Mysuru a Modern State by organizing the administration on European lines and bringing it on par with other districts of the British Presidencies. They also encouraged education by increasing the number of schools. By building roads and railways, and by introducing the telegraph, an infrastructure was planned for industrial progress, to meet their colonial requirements.



The year 1881 saw the Rendition, when Chamarajendra Wadiyar, the adopted son of Krishnaraja III, secured the throne. Able Diwans like Rangacharlu and Sheshadri Iyer administered the kingdom. Rangacharlu, the first Diwan, founded the Representative Assembly in Mysuru in 1881, with 144 nominated members and prepared the ground for responsible government. In 1891, the members were elected from among the revenue paying Landlords, rich merchants and graduates annually. Subsequently their office of tenure was made three years in 1894. He encouraged Kannada literature and scholarship. The King was also a great lover of literature and fine arts.He died in 1894, and young Krishnaraja Wadiyar IV was crowned the king, and the QueenMother Vanivilas became the Regent. Sheshadri Iyer continued as Diwan until 1901.


Economic Changes

Diwan Purnayya earlier had raised a dam across the river Cauvery at Sagarakatte to improve irrigation. The laying of first railway line (Broadgauge) between Bengaluru and Jolarpet initiated during the Cubbon’s regime, started functioning from 1864, when Bowring was the Cmmissioner. Cubbon was also responsible for the construction of new roads exceeding 2560 kms. in length, with 300 bridges. He initiated the Coffee plantation covering over 1.50 lakh acres. He also founded the Public Works and Forest Departments. District Savings Banks were started in Princely Mysuru during 1870. Rangacharlu got the BengaluruMysuru metre gauge rail line ready by 1882, which was initiated earlier during Commissioners rule in 1877-78) by spending a sum of Rs.55.48 lakhs. The work on the line was started as a part of famine relief during the severe famine of 1876-78, which took the toll of one million lives in Mysuru State alone. Sheshadri Iyer who initiated gold mining in Kolar region (K.G.F.) in 1886, created the Departments of Geology (1894), Agriculture (1898), and launched the Vanivilasa Sagara Irrigation Scheme in Chitradurga district. The Shivanasamudra Hydro-Electric Project, which supplied power to Kolar Gold Fields in 1902, later, also provided electricity to Bengaluru city in 1905 (first city to obtain electrical facilities in the whole country) and for Mysuru in 1907, was the first major project of its kind in India. Although it is interesting to note that in 1887, a Hydro Electric project was started at Gokak in a small scale by Gokak Spinning Mill, which then formed part of Bombay Presidency. The Bengaluru Mill was started in 1884 and it was taken over by the Binnys Bengaluru Woolen Cotton and Silk Mills in 1886. It was about this time that elsewhere in Kamataka too, modern industrialization started and railway and road transport facilities began to improve.


Harihara-Pune railway line was completed in 1888. Mangaluru was connected by rail with Madras in 1907. The Gokak Spinning Mill had been founded by securing power from the Gokak Falls (1887) and Mangaluru had some tile factories, first initiated by the Basel Mission (1865). A Spinning and Weaving Mill was also started at Kalaburagi in 1888. Gold mining had started in the Hatti region of Raichur District after priliminary investigations in 1886. Hubballi and Gadag had many ginning mills by then. Thus, Industrialization gave impetus to urbanisation and modernisation. Agriculture was also receiving great fillip because of better irrigation and demand for raw materials. The ‘Cotton Boom’ of the 1860s of the American Civil War days gave impetus to raising cotton crop, and though demands from Manchester fell after the 1860s, new factories fouunded at Bombay and Sholapur (Sollapur) did purchase cotton from North Kamataka area. But spinning, a domestic industry which provided hither-too jobs to lakhs of women by assuring a wage equal to a farm worker, was totally destroyed after the Industrial Revolution, and so was weaving. Thus, pressure on land increased.


Anti-British Uprisings

Karnataka did not tamely submit to the foreign rule of the British. There were anti-British violent uprisings between 1800 and 1858. The earliest of these was of Dhondia Wagh, who after the fall of Tipu, unfurled the flag of revolt against the British in 1800 from the Bidanur-Shikaripur region; many former princes joined him. His revolt spread from Jamalabad to Sodhe in Coastal Districts and above the Ghats upto Belagavi and Raichur Districts. He was killed at Konagal in September 1800, and his colleague Krishnappa Nayak of Belur (Balam) was killed in February 1802. The Vellore (Tamilnadu) uprising of 1806 is to be recorded in the annals of Karnataka, because, the rebels invited Fathe Hyder, the son of the deceased Tipusultan to assume the leadership which he refused. Eventually, the British quelled it within no time. The Koppal Rebellion led by one Virappa, was also suppressed in 1819. The year1820 saw the Deshmukh rebellion near Bidar. A strong revolt happened at Sindhagi in Vijayapura District in 1824. The revolt of Kittur Rani Channamma in 1824 and of Sangolli Rayanna of the same kingdom in 1829 is also famous. The Nagar Uprising of 1830-31 accompanied by similar agrarian revolts in the Kanara District in 1831 followed this. Sarja Hanumappa Nayak of Tarikere chieftains also joined the insurgents. Though this revolt failed, it cost Krishnaraja III, his throne. There was an uprising in Kodagu during 1835- 37, popularly known as ‘Kalyanappana katakayi’ so named because its leader was Kalyana Swamy, (also called Swamy Aparamapara) projected himself as the relative of Kodagu royal family, which was also strong in Dakshina Kannada (Sullya Puttur, Bantawala and Mangaluru). Ultimately, Kalyanappa, Kumble Subbaraya Hedge, Lakshmappa Banga and Biranna Bhanta of Kasaragod were hanged to death in 1837. One former official of the Peshwa called Narasappa Petkar organized a revolt against the British in 1840-41 popularly known as Badami revolt, Karnataka responded to the 1857-58 uprisings positively. The Chandakavate Deshmukhs joined hands with the Venkatappanayaka of Surapur and revolted against the British. In November 1857, the Halagali Bedas revolted against the Arms Act, the British army ruthlessly suppressed them on 29th November midnight and several people died. During the struggle more than 300 persons were arrested and 32 persons were hanged on Dec. 11 and 14 respectively at Mudhol and Halagali. Jamakhandi also witnessed an uprising. The rulers of Naragund and Surapur, joined by Mundargi Bheemarao, a Zamindar, and the Desais of Govanakoppa, Hammige, Soraturu etc, also revolted in 1858. Mundargi Bheemarao was executed and the rebellion was quelled. Infact, 12 copies of Tatya Topi’s Anti-British proclamation chart is being recovered from Mundargi Bheemarao’s family. There was a long revolt in Supa, jointly led by men from Goa and Uttara Kannada, who included some Siddis also in 1858-59. Though the uprisings were suppressed, its lessons were not totally forgotten. The Nagar Uprising (1830) ultimately resulted in the founding of Mysuru Representative Assembly in 1881. The British learnt to respond to the grievances of the people quickly. Local selfgoverning bodies were founded in towns during 1850’s and 1860’s. People also learnt that without proper organisation, it is not possible to free the country from the British. The British also felt the need to improve the means of transport and communication to enable them to meet situations of breach of peace. The communication facilities initiated by them mainly served their colonial economic purposes.


Beginning of Renaissance

This new administration helped the spread of modern education everywhere. Christian Missionaries also started education on Western lines. There were over 2000 primary schools in Mysuru State by 1881. Bombay- Karnataka area had over 650 primary schools by that time. However, there were only Marathi schools in Bombay-Karnataka, and men like Elliot and Deputy Channabasappa strove to introduce Kannada medium. A college was started at Ballari in 1869. A Government college was founded at Bengaluru in 1870 (named Central College in 1875) and later Bengaluru saw a second institution, the St.Joseph’s College, in 1882. The Maharaja’s College of Mysuru was started in 1879. The Government College of Mangaluru was founded in 1869, followed by the St.Aloysius College in 1879. Christian Missionaries started printing in Kannada as early as 1817 (first from Serampore near Calcutta) and the Basel Mission started the first newspaper, named ‘Mangaluru Samachara’ in 1843. Many old Kannada classics were printed. All these developments helped for the growth of literary activities on new lines. Prose became popular and secular themes appeared in literature. Many newspapers and journals were published in Kannada. They include ‘Kannada Samachara’ (Ballari 1844), ‘Chandrodaya’ (Dharwad 1877), ‘Karnataka Prakashika’ (Mysuru 1865), and ‘Arunodaya’ (Bengaluru 1862). These are a few of the many such efforts. Hitachi, an Urdu paper started its circulation since 1870 from Kaladgi, another named Karnataka vritha, and a weekly from Vijayapura (1892) was very popular. Lyrical poetry in Kannada also came to be composed, beginning with the prayer songs composed by the Missionaries. Mysuru royal court also encouraged many writers. Mudramanjusha (1823) by Kempunarayana was the first important prose work. Many English and Sanskrit plays were translated. The first original Kannada social play was Iggappa Heggadeya Prahasana (1887) by Venkatarama Shastry. The first original Kannada social novel was Suryakanta (1892) by Gadagkar, though social novels had been translated from English, Marathi and Bengali too by then.


The stage art and music also were influenced by these changes. New drama troupes came into existence at Gadag (1874) and Halasangi, and there was a troupe at Mysuru too. The visit of Marathi troupe from Sangli in 1876- 77 and the Victoria Parsi Company in 1878 to Karnataka, revolutionized stagecraft here. Veena Venkatasubbayya, Sambayya and Chikkaramappa were some of the great veena masteroes in the Mysuru court at this time. A distinct Mysuru school of Karnatak music was evolved during this period. In architecture, Western impact was seen. The Central College building (1860) in Gothic style, the Athara Kachery (1867) with ionic pillars and the Bengaluru Museum Building (1877) in Coranthian style were built during this period. The Basel Missionary, introducing light tiles from Mangaluru revolutionized architectural patterns. Churches too introduced the Western style. Our Lady of Sorrow Church (Mangaluru 1857), St.Mary’s Church (Shivaji nagar, Bengaluru, 1882), St. Joseph’s Seminary Church (Mangaluru 1890) and St.Mary’s Church (Belagavi, 1896) are some such early examples. Many social movements stirred Hindu society and social changes received an impetus. The propoganda of the Christian missions was also responsible for this, especially of the newly founded Protestant missions, though in a negative way. The Theosophical Society started its work in Mysuru State in 1886; Brahma Samaj started its activities at Bengaluru in 1866 and at Mangaluru in 1870. This was followed by the Depressed Classes Mission, founded by Kudmul Ranga Rao at Mangaluru in 1897, which started many schools for the depressed classes. Bengaluru had the Indian Progressive Union in 1894. Mysuru State banned the marriage of girls below eight. Sheshadri Iyer started separate schools for the untouchables as they were hesitating to attend other regular schools. The Maharani’s school for girls, founded in 1881 at Mysuru by Palace Bakshi Ambale Narasimha lyengar. became a high school in 1891 and later into College in 1901. The Ramakrishna Mission was founded in Bengaluru in 1904. These developments mainly helped emancipation of women and attempted eradication of untouchability. It was in this atmosphere that the history of the State also came to be written. B.L.Rice’s Mysuru and Coorg; Fleet’s Dynasties of Canarese Districts (1882), Bhandarkar’s Early History of Dakhan (1884), Rice’s Epigraphia Carnatica volumes (beginning from 1886), Indian Antiquary volumes from 1872 and Sewell’s “A Forgotten Empire (1901”) helped the recovery of Karnataka’s history, and made the people of Karnataka, feel proud of their hoary past. This paved the way for the high renaissance and the national awakening in the 20th Century. In the Princely State, amidst all these developments, the first ever Agricultural and Industrial Exhibition was organised at Mysuru in 1888. The founding of Karnataka Vidyavardhaka Sangha of Dharwad (1890), the Mythic Society of Bengaluru (1909), the Karnataka Ithihasa Samshodhana Mandala of Dharwad (1914) further helped the Renaissance. An all-Karnataka literary and cultural forum was founded in 1915, and this was the ‘Karnataka Sahitya Parishat’, with its headquarters at Bengaluru. It had the active support of the Mysuru Government and its president, H.V. Nanjundaiah became the Vice-Chancellor of the newly founded Mysuru University (1916). Aluru Venkatarao by writing the ‘Karnataka Gata Vaibhava’ in 1917, introduced to the Kannadigas in Kannada, the history and cultural achievements of Karnataka. Written in a tone, highly charged with emotion, the work played an important role in inculcating national feelings. He was the Father of the Karnataka Unification Movement also.



The Princes of Mysuru were enlightened administrators and their genuine interest in the progress of the State, won them the affection and respect of the people. All of them were patrons of learning, literature, music, and other fine arts. Krishnaraja Wadeyar IV, who ruled from 1902 to 1940, led an unostentatious life and combined piety with a modern outlook. During his reign the State made rapid progress in all directions. His younger brother Kanthirava Narasimharaja Wadiyar, the Yuvaraja of Mysuru, was also a generous patron of fine arts; for many years, he was the Honorary President of the Kannada Sahitya Parishat. His son, Jayachamaraja Wadiyar, who came to the throne in 1940, proved as enlightened as his uncle. When the country won independence, Mysuru acceded to the Indian Union. Jayachamaraja Wadiyar served as Governor, and won an enduring place in the heart of the people. The Diwans in charge of the administration in Mysuru made the Principality not only a modern state but also a model state.


Diwan P.N. Krishnamurthy (1901-06) improved the administration by introducing up-to-date methods followed in British India in office procedure and maintenance of records, and he founded the Co-operative Department in 1906. The next Diwan V.P. Madhava Rao, founded the Legislative Council (1907), the second chamber, and took measure for forest conservation. The Central Co- operative Bank was also his creation.


An Engineer with alarming vision, great economist and administrator of foresightedness, Sir. M. Visvesvaraya became the Diwan in 1912. He was a man of vision and a dynamic administrator and during his brief period of administration that the Kannambadi Reservoir Project initiated earlier was started and top priority was given to its construction. During this period the strength of the legislative council was increased to 24, the second session called Budget session was initiated in June 1917, and the assembly was made more powerful by allowing them to discuss about the budget of the state. He founded many industries and undertook such progressive and far-reaching administrative measures that he came to be known as “the Maker of Modern Mysuru”. The Sandalwood Oil Factory of Mysuru (1916); Mysuru Chrome and Tanning Factory (1918), and Government Soap Factory in Bengaluru; and the Wood Distillation Factory at Bhadravati was founded by Sir.M. Visvesvaraya. The iron unit at Bhadravati was also his brain-child. He founded the Engineering College at Bengaluru (1917), the Medical School at Bengaluru (1917), the Agricultural School (1913), the nucleus for the future University of Agricultural Sciences), and the Mysuru University (1916) were also his creations. The Mysuru Bank was also started in his time (1913) and so was Mysuru Chamber of Commerce (1916). During this period, a non-Brahmin party viz. Praja Mitra Mandali was founded in 1917 based on the demand for social equality in public service for non Brahmins. The government appointed the Miller Committee to enquire about the grievances. Subsequently Visvesvaraya resigned in 1918. Later in 1919, the Miller Committee submitted its report recommending for proper representation of backward class people in public employment. The constitution, for electing the members to the representative assembly in a more democratic way was initiated. Its strength was increased from 250 to 275, voting power was given to those who pay Rs. 50 as land revenue or Rs. 10 as municipal tax, and women were given the franchise.

Another important Diwan was Sir Mirza M. Ismail (1926-41) who was responsible for making Mysuru as one of the best-known Princely States in India by expanding its industries, founding new ones and undertaking major irrigation projects. Mysuru State served as a strong nucleus of Karnataka by its economic progress and cultural achievements. Plantation based industries were expanded both in Mysuru and Kodagu regions. Kannambadi project commissioned during early Diwans regime was completed when Sir Mirza was the Diwan. It gave impetus to Sugarcane growing and helped the founding of Sugar-Factories at a later date. Under Diwan Mirza Ismail, the Cauvery Upper Canal was commissioned, benefiting over one lakh acres of land. Industrialization in Mysuru was in full swing. The Bhadravati Iron factory had been founded by Sir. M. Visvesvaraya and Sir Mirza Ismail expanded it by adding a steel unit. The District Savings Banks, attached to District Treasuries were started in 1870. Bengaluru saw three banking companies in 1868, and a total of 24 such institutions were seen by 1876 in the city, though not many survived. Chitradurga Savings Bank was founded in 1870. If, the Bombay Presidency Bank had its branch at Dharwar in 1863 the Madras Presidency Bank had founded its branch at Bengaluru in 1864. Subsequently there branches were also started at Belagavi and Mangaluru (1867) Hubballi (1870) and Kumta (1872-73) South Kanara had its Banking Companies like the Canara Bank, (Mangaluru) (1906) and Corporation Bank (Udupi) (1906). Later came the Pangal Nayak Bank (1920), Jayalakshmi Bank (1923), Karnataka Bank (1924), Udupi Bank (1925), Catholic Bank (1925), Vijaya Bank (1925) and the Syndicate Bank (1925). The Town Cooperative Bank was started at Hosapete in 1915. Dharwad District saw many Co-operative Societies beginning with the one at Kanaginal in 1906, most of them in present Gadag district. The Dharwad D.C.C. Bank was started in 1916. Co-operative movement also made great strides in Kodagu, Udupi and Dakshina Kannada districts. Tile industry was expanded in South Kanara and Cashewnut husking units were also started in 1924 such as the Pierce Leslie and the Mallya Cashew. Beedi rolling in Coastal region and Agarbati production in Mysuru State were started as domestic industries in an organised way. The Swadeshi Movement gave a fillip to industrial activity in the British districts of Karnataka. A big oil mill viz., B.T. Mills, was started at Davanagere in 1918, and several Cotton ginning factories had been started in the town, even earlier to this. As already noted Sir Mirza Ismail was responsible for the founding of many new industries in Mysuru State. He founded the Government Cement Factory (1936) and Mysuru Paper Mills (1938) both at Bhadravati. The Sugar Factory at Mandya (1934), the Mysuru Chemical and Fertilizers Factory (1937) at Belagola (the first of its kind in India) and the Glass and Porceline Factories (1939 ) at Bengaluru to mention only a few. It was he who initiated plans to produce power at Shimsha and Jog. The most important industry initiated during his time was Hindustan Aircrafts in 1940. Moreover, Kaiser-I-Hind Wollen Mill had started production in 1922, and the Minerva Mills followed it. Thus, industrialisation was in full swing, and the Second World War gave a further fillip. At Harihara was started the Mysuru Kirloskar machine shop in 1941. The Davanagere Cotton Mills started in 1939 gave a fillip to the founding of more such mills in the town. Sugar factory was founded at Hosapete in 1935, followed by the Munirabad Sugar Mills in 1944. The Faruk Anwar Oil Mill was started at Raichur in 1944. Oil mills, Soap units, Saw mills, etc, came to be founded in small towns too. Banks and the Cooperative sectors provided the necessary finance.


Cultural Developments

The Cultural Renaissance that occured during the 20th century saw many great developments in the field of music, drama, painting, and literature. The Mysuru court patronized great artists like Veene Sheshanna, Lakshminarayanappa, Bakshi Subbanna, Vasudevacharya, Mutthayya Bhagavatar, and Bidaram Krishnappa. The younger generation also had its great masters like T. Chowdaiah, who evolved the seven stringed violin, and B. Devendrappa. There were great classical dancers like Jatti Thayamma and Muguru Subbanna in princely Mysuru. In the field of drama, Mysuru saw great artistes like Varadacharya, Gubbi Veeranna, Subbayya Naidu, Smt. Malavalli Sundaramma Natakada Subbanna, and M.K. Nanjappa. There were equally great artistes from North Karnataka area like Shirahatti Venkoba Rao, Garuda Sadashiv Rao and Vamanarao Master. Kailasam and Ballari Raghava were great amateur artists. Kannada films, too, appeared.


The North Karnataka area had great Hindusthani vocalists like Savay Gandharva (Rambhau Kundgolkar), Panchakshari Gavayi, Puttaraja Gavayi and Mallikarjuna Mansur. Painting also received patronage at the hands of the Mysuru prince. The Prince even\ sent K. Venkatappa to Shantiniketana for training and this painter won world renown. He was also a sculptor. Another noted sculptor from Mysuru was Siddalingaswamy. The Chamarajendra Technological Institute was founded at Mysuru to train artists, and Jaganmohan Palace was converted into an art gallery. The traditional Gudigars of the Malenadu (Sagar-Sirsi area), imbibing modern techniques and ideas, started producing fine figures in wood and ivory, secured a world market.

Their handiwork is vissible in the decorations of Mysuru palace and Vidhana Soudha. The Renaissance had its impact on literature too. Prose writing became popular and journalism grew. Several forms of literature like the short story, the essay, the novel, drama and lyrical poetry, developed in Kannada. Masti Venkatesha lyengar, Panje Mangesha Rao, M.N. Kamath and Kerur Vasudevacharya were some of the early short story writers followed by ‘Anandakanda’, A.R. Krishna Sastry, K. Gopalakrishna Rao, Krishnakumar Kallur, Aa.Na.Kru (A.N. Krishna Rao). ‘Bharatipriya’ (Venkata Rao), Gorur Ramaswamy lyengar, Dr. R.S. Mugali, Gauramma and ‘Raghava’ (M.V. Seetharamaiah). Shivaram Karanth and Aa.Na.Kru {A.N. Krishna Rao) are the two celebrated novelists. English Geethegalu (1921) by B.M. Srikanthaiah is the first collection of modern lyrics in Kannada. He was followed by Govinda Pai, Dr. D.V. Gundappa, Dr. Bendre, P.T. Narasimhachar, G.P. Rajarathnam, Panje Mangesha Rao, Kadengodlu Shankara Bhatta, Dr. V. Sitharamaiah, Dr. V.K. Gokak and Dr. K.V. Puttappa (Kuvempu). Govinda Pai was the pioneer in discarding the rhyme (1911,) Gopalakrishna Adiga, through his Navya style poems, opened a new vista in poetic composition. Modern Kannada play had its pioneers like B.M. Srikanthaiah, Samsa, Kailasam, Sreeranga, and Shivaram Karanth. Publication of Epigraphia Carnatica volumes covering epigraphs from all districts by Rice and R. Narasimchar is a pioneering and unparalleled achievement of the erstwhile Mysuru State. Dr. R. Shama Shastry (who traced the manuscript of Kautilya’s Arthashasthra in the Oriental Research Institute at Mysuru), and Prof. M. Hiriyanna by their Indological studies, brought world fame to Mysuru and Karnataka. Printing became wide spread. Newspapers played an important role, helping literary growth, spreading modern and scientific ideas, propagating patriotism and progressive social views and trying to encourage everything that is good in arts. In Mysuru, M. Venkatakrishnaiah was running ‘Vritthantha Chinthamani’ (1885). The ‘Mysuru Standard”, the ‘Mysuru Star’ etc, were some other, newspapers from Mysuru State. Coastal Karnataka had the ‘Suvasini’ (1900), The Krishnasukti (1905), and the ‘Swadeshabhimani’ (1907). The Karnataka Vrittha’ (1890), (edited by Mudavidu Krishna Rao), the ‘Kannada Kesari (Hubballi 1902) the ‘Rajahamsa’ (Dharwad, 1891) and Karnataka Vaibhava (Vijayapura 1897) were the periodicals from North Karnataka. The freedom movement stimulated the publication of many new newspapers.

Fight for Freedom When the Indian National Congress was founded in 1885, although Kolachalam Venkata Rao of Ballari, Bhavu Saheb Bhate from Belagavi and Sabhapathy Modaliar attended the meeting by representing Karnataka, Narayana Rao Chandavarkar, who was then in England could not attend it. When the struggle for freedom was in full action in other parts of British India, it could raise its head in Princely State of Mysuru only after 1920s’.As a result, the Freedom Movement and the demand for Unification of Karnataka became very strong in Karnataka after 1920. They are the climax of the trends witnessed in renascent Karnataka. The freedom movement influenced literature, journalism, arts, industries, and even society. It sponsored with great zeal, the programme of eradication of untouchability and emancipation of Women. The achievement of social unity and undoing on a large scale of caste prejudices was also the work of the movement. The Veerashaiva Mahasabha (1904), the Okkaligara Sangha (1906) and other such organisations helped to spread education and the creation of a consciouness of their rights among the backward classes. In 1917 was founded the Praja Mitra Mandali in Mysuru and in 1920 Brahmanetara Parishat at Hubballi with similar goals was started. Though these movements were against Congress which spearheaded freedom struggle, but in the long run, they whole-heartedly joined Congress in its struggle for freedom. Prior to it, four persons (one from Belagavi and three from Ballari) from Karnataka went to attend the first session of Congress at Bombay in 1885. The impact of Bala Gangadhara Tilak and his journal ‘Kesari’ on Karnataka was great. The Bombay State Political Conferences were held at Dharwad (1903), Belagavi (1916), and Vijayapura (1918) in North Karnataka area, which were then under the Bombay Presidency. There was picketing of liquor shops in Belagavi in 1907 (during the Swadeshi movement, following ‘Vangabhanga’ or Partition of Bengal) and 15 people were imprisoned. National Schools were founded at Belagavi, Dharwad, Hubballi, and Vijayapura. Theosophists earlier had founded the National High School at Bengaluru in 1917.

Gandhiji’s Early Visits to Karnataka Meanwhile, on returning from South Africa in 1915, when Gandhiji (1869-1948), visited Madras, at the request of D.V. Gundappa, he made a short visit to Bengaluru on May 8th 1915, to unveil the portrait of Gopala Krishna Gokhale, and on his way to Bengaluru, earlier he was garlanded and honoured on the platform at the Bangarapet Railway Station by thelocal Gujarati merchants. In fact, this was his first visit to the Princely State of Mysuru. In 1916, he visited Belagavi and stayed there for five days by inaugurating the Bombay State Political Conference. Later, the first Karnataka State Political Conference was held at Dharwad in 1920, and according to its decision, nearly 800 people from Karnataka attended the Nagpur Congress in 1920. At Nagpur, Karnataka secured a separate provincial Congress Committee (1921) and Gangadhara Rao Deshpande of Belagavi was made the first K.P.C.C. President. In the meantime, as a part of Khilafat Movement, Gandhi visited Bengaluru on 11-8-1920 and after addressing the public speech, he left for Madras. A week later, while returning from his Madras tour, Gandhi visited Kasaragod and Mangaluru on 19-8-1920. During the same year, on November 7th, Gandhi visited Nippani, Chikkodi, Hukkeri, Sankeshwar and halted at Belagavi. On 10th November he visited Dharwad and on the following day after addressing the gatherings at Hubballi and Gadag, he left for Miraj. During 1921, he visited Bagalkot, Vijayapura and Kolhar on 27th and 28th May. In the same year, unavoidable circumstances forced him to stay at Ballari Railway Station for few hours on 30th September night. Later he proceeded to Guntkal in the morning. Meanwhile, Non Co-operation Movement of 1921-22 saw many lawyers giving up their practice and many students boycotting schools and colleges. Khilaphat Movement was also launched with this. Nearly 50 National Schools were started in Karnataka and over 70 persons from the British Districts courted arrest. Picketers were fired on in Dharwad and Bengaluru, and three Khilaphat workers died in Dharwad and two in Bengaluru Cantonment. In the meantime, Dr. Hardikar from Karnataka organised Hindusthani Seva Dal, a voluntary corps with Hubballi as its all-India headquarters. The Belagavi (39th meet) Congress of 1924 (20th December to 27th December), the only Congress session ever presided over by Gandhiji, was a grand success. Morever it was largely responsible in bringing public awakening among the people in the State. Gangadhara Rao Deshpande, Hanumanta Rao Kaujalgi and Shrinivasarao Kaujalgi of Vijayapura, Tekur of Ballari and Karnad Sadashiva Rao of Mangaluru were some of the early leaders of Congress from Karnataka.


Gandhiji in Karnataka (1927)

Meanwhile, Gandhi undertook the Khadi campaign tour in 1927. As a part of it he visited Nippani (31st March) and in the course of it he fell ill with a slight paralysis stroke. On the doctor’s advise, (1st April) he left Belagavi to Amboli (Maharashtra) for rest. Nevertheless, being unsatisfied there, he left for Nandi via Belagavi on 19th April and reached Nandi on 20-04-1927. In Nandi he rested for 45 days (20-4-1927 to 05-6- 1927) and reached Bengaluru via Chikballapur on 5th June 1927, where he stayed upto 30-8- 1927. During his long stay at Bengaluru, he made brief trips to Yelahanka (2-7-1927), Tumakuru and Madhugiri (14th to 16th ); Mysuru, KRS, K.R. Nagar and Srirangapattana and returned to Mysuru (23rd July); Ramanagar and Kanakapura (31st July and 1st August); Arasikere (2nd August); Holenarasipur and Hassan(3rd and 4th August); Davangere (12th August); Harihara, Honnali and Malebennur (13th August); Shivamogga (14th and 15th );Ayyanuru, Kumshi, Kerodi, Anandapur and Sagar (16th August); Thirthalli, Mandagadde, Gajanur and halted at Shivamogga (17th August); Bhadravathi, Kadur and Birur (18th August); Chikkamagaluru (19th August); Belur, Halebid and Arasikere (20th August) and ultimately left Bengaluru for Vellore on 30-8-1927.

Civil Disobedience Movement Later, according to the Civil Disobedience Movement launched by Gandhiji on 6th April 1930; it began in Karnataka with Salt Sathyagraha at Ankola, on 13th April 1930, as fixed earlier to remember the Jalian wala bagh incident of 1919. Various law breaking programmes like Jungle Sathyagraha, Picketing of liquor shops, Nonpayment of Pasture Tax (hullubanni) and finally No-Tax Campaign when peasants refused to pay land revenue followed it. Over 2,000 people courted arrest in the British districts with the Belagavi District’s quota being the biggest i.e., 750. The movement was resumed in 1932 after the ninemonth lull, following the Gandhi-Irwin Pact, with greater vigour. The No-Tax Campaign launched in Siddapura and Ankola taluks was an epic struggle. The lands of over 800 families were confiscated and 1000 people went to jail in Uttara Kannada alone; among them were one hundred women, and most of them were illiterate and even conservative widows with shaven heads. They got their lands back only in1939, and till then they suffered in silence. Programmes and propaganda to eradicate Untouchability were launced in Karnataka, when Gandhiji undertook a fast over the issue in 1932. The highlight of the programmes in Karnataka was to make the Harijans to enter the Marikamba Temple of Sirsi and the Basavangudi of Bengaluru. Gandhiji also toured Karnataka as a part of his programme of upliftment of Harijans in 1934 and 1936. By then, Harijan Sevak Sangh’s Karnataka unit was founded with Sardar Veeranagauda Patil as the President.


Gandhiji in Karnataka (1934)

During his 1934 tour, Gandhi visited Vidhuraswatha, Gowribidanur, Doddaballapur, Tumakuru, Tyamagondalu, Nelamangala, Bengaluru and halted at Mysuru on 4-1-1934 ; visited Tagadur, Badanawal, Nanjanagud and halted at Mysuru (5th January); proceeded to Mandya Sugar town, Maddur, Besagarahalli, Shivapura, Somanahalli, Channapatna, Ramanagar, Kanakapur, Bidadi, Kengeri and reached Bengaluru (6th January). On 10th left for Vallavi Kote and after touring Tamil Nadu, visited Mysuru, Tittimatti, Ikkeri, Ponnampet, and Hudigere (22nd Feb); visited Virajpet, Bellur, Somwarpet, Gundagutti, and halted at Madakeri (23rd Feb); Proceeded to Sampaje, Sullia, Puttur, Uppinangadi, Vittala, Kannadaka, Pane Mangaluru, Bantwal and halted at Mangaluru (24th February); Next day visited Gurupura, Bajpe, Katilu, Kengoli, Mulki, Padabidri, Kapu, Katapadi, Udayavara, Udupi, Brahmavara (25th February) and halted at Kundapur (25th and 26th February); Left for Bhatkal, Honnavara, Kadri and halted at Karwar (27th ); Next morning went to Binaga, Chandiya, Ankola, Hiregutti, Mandageri, Kumta, Ammanpalli, Hegde and halted at Sirsi (28th February); Kanasur, Siddapur, Dasanakoppa, Isur, Yakkambi, Samasagi, Akki Alur, Devi Hosur, Haveri, Byadgi, Motebennur, Murughamut and halted at Haveri (1st March); next day visited Ranebennur, Harihara, Davanagere, Duggatti, Bennihal, Harapanahalli, Kottur, Kudligi, Kanavihalli and halted at Sandur (2nd March); proceeded to Ballari, Hosapete, Bhanapura, Gadag, Jakkali and halted at Hubballi (3rd March); proceeded further to Dharwad, Marewada, Amminabhavi, Moraba, Harobidi, Inam Hongala, Uppina Betageri, Hirehullekere, Saundatti, Gural Hosur, Bailhongal, Sampagaon and Bagewadi (4th March) halted at Begaum (4th and 5th March); visited Tondekatte and returned to Belagavi (6th March); visited Yamakanamaradi, Ontamuri, Hukkeri, Gokak, and Sankeshwar, Gadi hingalga and Hattikanagale in Maharashtra Nippani, Bhoj, Havinhal, Kotahalli, Dholagarawadi, Chikkodi, Ankali and halted at Shedbal (7th March). On 8th March after visiting Mangasuli, Banahatti, Athani, Honnawad, Tikota, Toravi, Vijayapura and Ilkal; via Jorapur proceeded towards Hyderabad. This tour of more than two months duration brought social awareness and the downtrodden mass (whom he called Harijans) started gaining selfconfidence and moral courage.


Gandhiji’s later Visits to Karnataka (1936 & 1937)

Later in 1936, due to High Blood Pressure, Gandhiji again fell ill. He was advised to take rest. Hence, he came to stay at Nandi Hills during May 1936. During this stay, (11th May-30th May) he recovered speedily. On 31st May he left Nandi and reached Bengaluru, after visiting Chikballapur, Sidlaghatta, Chintamani, Kolar, Bangarpet and KGF, the same night via Malur he reached Bengaluru and stayed there upto 10-6-1936. After visiting Kengeri he left for Madras on 11-6-1936. This was his last visit to Bengaluru and Princely State of Mysuru. Later, during 1937 April, Gandhi visited Hudali (in Belagavi District), an important Khadi Centre, to inaugurate the Khadi Exhibition. He stayed there from 16th April to 21st April. It was his last visit to Karnataka. After this, until his death in 1948, somehow he could not visit the region that was one of his favourite and affectionate regions in the Country. However, Gandhi’s several visits to various parts of Karnataka undoubtedly inspired the people of Karnataka.


Flag Satyagraha

Amidst all these, although there were no agitations in Princely State till 1937, the people of Mysuru State founded Mysuru Congress in that year, and launched the Flag Satyagraha in April 1938 by organising the first session of the Mysuru Congress at Shivapura (Mandya District). The Vidhurashwatha (Kolar District) tragedy followed soon (25th April 1938), in which 10 were killed by police fire. This was followed by the forest satyagraha movement, also insisting for responsible government in the Princely State (1939). More than 1200 persons were imprisoned during the movement. T. Siddalingaiah, H.C. Dasappa, S. Siddayya, K.C. Reddy, H.K.Veeranna Gowda, K.T. Bhashyam, T.Subramanyam, K. Hanumanthaiah, S. Nijalingappa, M.N. Jois, and Smt. Yashodhara Dasappa were some of the important leaders of Mysuru Congress. Similarly, the Hyderabad Congress was launched in 1938, and it made a strong demand for responsible government. In K.G.F. also this agitation was launched in 1939 and curfew was clamphed in mines area. Likewise, in other Princely States of Karnataka also, a strong demand for responsible government was launched under the guidance of the National Congress.


“Quit India Movement” 1942-43

The Quit India Movement saw unprecedented awakening in Karnataka. Students in all colleges and schools went on strike. Labourers in Bengaluru and other places, numbering over 30,000, also struck work for over two weeks. Over 50 people (of whom 11 from Bengaluru alone) fell victims to firing by the police. Seven from Bailhongal, seven from Davangere, six from Shravanabelgola were martyrs of the Quit India Movement. Death of Mailara Mahadevappa and two of his companions in Haveri District was a serious tragedy. The Isur village in Shivamogga district, which demonstrated unbridled fury against the British, had five of its heroes hanged. Some 15,000 people (out of which 10,000 from Princely Mysuru alone) went to jail in 1942-43 from Karnataka. Dharwad Vijayapura, Belagavi, South Kanara and North Kanara areas, evidenced heroic sabotage and subversive works by organised group of patriots, which became famous as “Karnataka Pattern” praised even by Jayaprakash Narayan.


Mysuru Chaloo Movember (1947)

Even after India becoming free in 1947, Hyderabad Karnatak region could be liberated only after the Police Action in 1948. Among the men who organised Congress, Ramananda Teertha, Janardanrao Desai, G. Ramachar, Krishnacharya Joshi, A. Shivamurthy Swamy, and Sharanagouda Inamdar were the noted leaders from Hyderabad Karnatak area. In Mysuru State an agitation called “Mysuru Chalo” was launched for the establishment of responsible government. The agitation succeeded, and a team of ministers headed by K.Chengalaraya Reddy as the Chief Minister, took charge of the administration in October 1947. Later K. Hanumanthaiah (1952) and Kadidal Manjappa (1956) succeeded him as Chief Ministers in the erstwhile Mysuru State. To Hanumanthaiah goes the credit of raising Vidhana Saudha, the biggest building in granite of modern times. Daily newspapers like the Taruna Kamataka’ (Hubballi), the ‘Samyuktha Karnataka’, (Belagavi, and later Hubballi), the ‘Janavani’, the Tayinadu*, ‘Navajeevana’, ‘Veerakesari and Vishwa Karnataka’ (all from Bengaluru) and ‘Kodagu’ (Weekly) from Madikeri rendered yeoman service to the movement. Women also came to the fore and participated in processions and the picketing of liquor shops and pro-British establishments braved lathi blows and went to jail with babies in arm. Mention may be made of Kamaladevi Chattopadhyaya, Umabai Kundapur, Krishnabai Panjekar, Yashodhara Dasappa, Siddamma Ballari and Gauramma Venkataramaiah, who were in the forefront of the movement.


Unification of Karnataka

After independence, persistent efforts were made for the Unification of Karnataka. The movement for Unification, had been, infact, launched together with the movement for freedom in Karnataka. Before independence, Karnataka had been distributed among as many as 20 different administrations like Mysuru State, Madras Presidency, Bombay Presidency, Nizam State, Kodagu, Kolhapur, Sangli, Meeraj, Chikkameeraj, Kurundawada, Chik Kurundawad, Jamkhandi, Mudhol, Jath, Akkalakot, Aundh, Ramdurg, Sondur and Savanur principalities; Bengaluru, Belagavi, and Ballari Contonments; and the handicaps and sufferings of the people of Karnataka in those days were severe. In a Kannada area like Mudhol, ruled by a Maratha Prince, there were no Kannada Schools and the administration was conducted in Marathi. This was the case with many Maratha States. In Hyderbad State, Urdu dominated. In big British Presidencies like Bombay or Madras, where Kannada districts were few and the Kannadigas were in a minority, their sufferings were many. They had no just share in the development activities. They could not secure minimum facilities like roads or bridges.

Everywhere the voice of the Kannadiga was a voice in the wilderness. The Renaissance had also created a strong yearning for Unification. Dharwad was the centre of the movement, and Alur Venkatarao was the brain behind it. He had supporters like Mudavidu Krishnarao, Kadapa Raghavendra Rao and Gadigayya Honnapurmath. The Karnataka Sahithya Parishat was founded (1915) at Bengaluru partially by the efforts of these people, and it provided a forum for the writers and intellectuals of Karnataka. The writers and Journalists met annually at the Kannada Literary Conference organized by the Parishat and finally the first Karnataka State Political Conference held at Dharwad (1920) decided to agitate for Unification through the Congress organisation too. The Nagpur Congress agreed to establish the K.P.C.C. in that year. Thus Unification, initially an idea of the Kannada writers and journalists, secured the support of the politicians. The first Unification Conference was held at Belagavi in 1924 during the Belagavi Congress, with Siddappa Kambli as its president. Nine such conferences were held between 1926 and 1947 at Ballari (1926) and 1936) Dharwar (1928, 1933, 1944), Belagavi (1929), Hukkeri (1931), Solhapur (1940), Mumbai (1946) and Kasargod (1947) respectively. In the meantime, Hindustani Sevadal founded (1923) by Dr.N.S.Hardikar started the signature campaign for unification in 1926 and nearly 36,000 people signed for it. In 1928, the Jawaharlal Nehru Committee strongly recommended for the formation of a separate Karnataka Province. Literary figures like D.R. Bendre, Shamba Joshi, Betageri Krishnasharma, Sriranga, Panje Mangeshrao, Govindapai, Shivarama Karanth, Ti.Tha Sharma, D.V.Gundappa, Kapataral Krishnarao, Taranath, B. Shivamurthy Shastry, V.N.Gokak, A.N.Krishna Rao, B.M.Sri, Kuvempu, Gorur Ramaswamy Ayangar, and others gave inspiration through their writings. Kannada Newspapers and Kannada organisations also worked hard for unification later. Karnataka came under five different administrations in 1947,viz., (1) Bombay (2) Madras (3) Kodagu (4) Mysuru and (5) Hyderabad states (instead of 20). Minor Princely States like Jamkhandi, Ramadurg, Mudhol, Sandur etc. numbering 15, merged with the neighbouring districts soon after independence. At the time of its merger, Jamkhandi state had B.D. Jatti as its Chief Minister. From 1947, Unification was a demand that had to be urged upon the Government of India. At the same time, the legislatures of Mumbai and Madras States accepted the resolution for the creation of linguistic provinces in 1947. The ‘Karnataka Ekikarana Maha Samiti’ formed in 1947 had S.Nijalingappa as the president with A.J.Doddameati and Mangalavede Srinivasa Rao as its secretaries. Later, its name was changed in 1952 as ‘Karnataka Ekikarana Sangha’. However, the Dhar Committee appointed by the Central Government to look into this issue, gave adverse report. This report was strongly opposed at the Jayapur Congress Session in 1948. To find solution, a new committee (JVP) under Jawaharlal Nehru, Vallabhabhai Patel and Pattabhi Seetharamaiah was constituted in 1948 and in 1949, it recommended for the creation of Andhra Pradesh only. The Kannadigas continued the agitation further, and when in 1953 Andhra Pradesh was formed, Ballari district was handed over to Mysuru State. People like Gorur, Kuvempu and others inspired through their speech and writings. C.M.Poonaccha, worked for the merger of Kodagu state with Mysuru. Political leaders like S.Nijalingappa, Andanappa Doddameti, K.Hanumantaiah; Thinkers like Sir.M.V.and others propogated for the unification in old Mysuru State. In 1953, the Akhanda Karnataka Rajya Nirmana Parishat, a newly founded party with K.R. Karanth as the President, had to launch a major Sathyagraha and more than 5,000 people courted arrest. Leaders like Jinaraja Hedge, Channappa wali, Chinmayaswamy Omkarmath were its members. Finally, the Fazl Ali Commission was appointed, in December 1953 and according to its recommendations, linguistically united Mysuru State (later to be named as Karnataka in 1973) came into existence on 1st November 1956 and S.Nijalingappa became its Chief Minister. Later, during D. Devaraj Urs’s regime, the State’s name was changed as ‘Karnataka’, a long cherished aspiration of the Kannadigas on Nov. 1st. 1973.


Source: A Handbook of Karnataka 2015

Department of Gazetteer, Government of Karnataka





Last Updated: 08-09-2021 03:45 PM Updated By: Admin

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