The Untold history of Bahiri Rajas of Shorapur as Hyderabad Feudatory through it's coinage

Started by sarwar khan, August 11, 2022, 08:41:16 AM

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sarwar khan

Shorapur was originally known as Surpur. Part of today's Yadgiri district, Surpur was ruled by Nayaks from 1639 to 1857 with Surpur as their headquarters. The original capital of Surpur principality was Wagengera which was ruined during the attack of Moghul emperor Aurangazeb. However Nayaks forces defeat Moghul forces at Wagangera and repossess the fort. With Wagangera in ruins, Nayaks established Surpur as the new capital .

According to historians, Raja Mundagai Venkatappa Nayaka (1747 to 1752) (Mundagai means the chopped off hand.  Venkatappa Nayaka was called so because he had lost his left forearm and was using an artificial arm) was invited by the Britishers and also the Nizam to win over the Puducherry Fort. The Fort which was under the control of the French, was considered one of the most impregnable forts then. Though the Britishers and Nair Jung, the Nizam of Hyderabad had tried hard with their large army, they had failed to capture it.

Raja Venkatappa Naik went there with his highly combative battalions of 12,000 Beda soldiers and 900 kootagararu (comparable to the present day National Security Guard commandos) and won over the fort  in a short time.

On the return journey when he learnt that Tirupati had been attacked by Muslims warriors, Raja Venkatappa Naik went there with his battalions and beat back the attackers. He also donated a large quantity of gold and other ornaments which he had looted from Puducherry following its defeat, to Lord Venkateshwara.

Raja Venkatappa Nayaka IVth or Nalvadi Raja Venkatappa Nayaka was the last ruler of the Nayaka dynasty of Surapura. He was the one who brought unity among all south Indian rulers, during the first war of Independence in India (1857 AD). He refused to accept the sovereignty of the British and waged a war against them.

But Surapur did not have enough strength to face the huge British army. One Vagangeri Bhimrao from Surpura, a secret agent of the British, advised Venkatappa to go to Hyderabad and seek help from Salar Jung. Venkatappa escaped from the fort and made his way to Hyderabad. The next day, Bhimrao opened the fort door, and Surpura was occupied without much resistance.

Venkatappa was apprehended at Hyderabad, tried and sentenced to life imprisonment. When Meadows Taylor, the Biritish Regent at Surpura, met him, Venkatappa said he did not wish to live and if he was to be sentenced to death, he must not be hanged like a criminal, but killed by placing him at the mouth of a cannon.

Taylor, who had great affection for Venkatappa, had his life term reduced to four years by prevailing upon the Governor General. He was to be reinstated after this four-year term and was taken to Kurnool fort to be interned there with his two queens. One morning while he was being taken to Kurnool, Venkatappa on noticing that his guard was not around, took the revolver he had left behind and shot himself dead.
After the Death of Great Warrior in 1858 the Britishers captured all the areas of the shorapur kingdom.

Details about the Coin :-
Ruler :- Nalvadi Raja Venkatappa Nayaka ( 1843 - 58 AD)
Denomination :- Paisa
Weight :- 9.98 grams
Obv :- The Vaishnavite symbols of Conch shell (Shankha) and a Chakra (Sudarshan Chakra) on the either side of the central symbol of a trident-like Shrivatsa symbol of Goddess Lakshmi.
Rev :- Decorative Dotted pattern undated type .
Rarity :- Rare in Good grade .

Foot note :- All the Coins of Shorapur dated &  undated minted under the authority of Last Bahiri Raja Nalvadi Raja Venkatappa Nayaka ( 1843 - 58 AD).

Reference :-
( I) Research done by senior IAS officer Rajneesh Goyal, Mr. Bhaskar Rao has written that the Tirupati area under the suzerainty of Surpura Samsthana.

(II) Mysuru Valmiki-Kshatriya / Raja-Parivara Nayakas FB Page

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Tirant

A great piece and a great story, undoubtly. I know very little about India's history, but you described Venkatappa as a ruler as they're meant to be: bringin' unity to his people, facing and battling the enemies, and accepting the defeat with courage.

sarwar khan

Quote from: Tirant on August 15, 2022, 02:03:38 PMA great piece and a great story, undoubtly. I know very little about India's history, but you described Venkatappa as a ruler as they're meant to be: bringin' unity to his people, facing and battling the enemies, and accepting the defeat with courage.
The history of India is replete with many such heroic tales.

Thanks Tirant for your compliment

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