Chikka Virarajendra

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Chikaveera Rajendra or Chikka Virarajendra (Kannada: ಚಿಕವೀರ/ಚಿಕ್ಕವೀರ ರಾಜೇಂದ್ರ, cika/cikka vīrarājendra) (also in other variations, including Chikkaveera Rajendra), was the last ruler of the Kodagu (Coorg) kingdom in South India. His actual name was Vira Rajendra, but this was the name of his uncle as well; as both of them were rulers of Kodagu, the prefix Chikka (Kannada and Kodava Takk for Younger) is used as a distinguisher. In 1834 CE, he was deposed and exiled by the British; his kingdom was annexed into British India as a separate chief commissionership. He went to England along with his favourite daughter Gouramma to plead in court for the return of his wealth.

In literature and media[edit]

The famous Kannada litterateur and Jnanpith Award recipient, Masti Venkatesha Iyengar, wrote a critically acclaimed book, Chikavira Rajendra, based on the life and times of that ruler. This book is widely noted for its balanced handling of the subject; it neither comprises a litany of the supposed misdeeds of the protagonist, nor emerges as a tract against the British. The book is redolent with the culture and ethos of its milieu, being Kodagu in the mid-19th century.

In the novel, Iyengar portrays Chikka Virarajendra as having had only one close confidant — his childhood friend, [Kunta 'lame'] Basava. In one instance, the king is depicted as having killed his sister's infant child (the son of his sister Devammaji and his brother-in-law Chenna Basava) in a fit of rage. With support for his rule rapidly diminishing, Chikka Virarajendra is on course for an all-out conflict with the British Raj and takes refuge in Nalknad Palace. The king kills Basava, charging him with sedition. (In reality Kunta Basava dies later when the British enter Kodagu, he is killed by unknown people) Chikka Virarajendra is unable to resist the British attack and with the invasion complete, is sent to exile in 1834. Iyengar won India's literary Jnanpith Award in 1983.[1]

A television show based on this Kannada novel, named Anthimaraju, was scheduled to be broadcast in 1992 by Doordarshan, India's state run television network. The show was withdrawn by the network following protests from the Veerashaiva community and Kodavas over the depiction of this king as "devil incarnate" [2]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Jnanpith Awards
  2. ^ Minute of Dissent to the Report of the Joint Committee, Indian Parliament. 7 August. 1992

See also[edit]