Nayakuralu Nagamma was a renowned statesperson and minister to king Nalagama, the ruler of Palanadu in Guntur District. She is one of the key characters along with Bramha Naidu in the epic war - Palnati Yudham (War of Palnad) set in the medieval Andhra Pradesh, a southern state of India. She can be listed as one of the most powerful women in the medieval times in India and in the world.
Even though the ballad of Palanati Yuddham mentions that Bramhanaidu has won the battle, there are enough reasons to think that he has lost it. In fact, the Velma clan under the leadership of Bramhanaidu, migrated lock, stock and barrel to kakatiya kingdom. It has been normal for the lost warrior clans to find patronage in distant kingdoms while those who won rule. There are reasons for maligning Nagamma, an astute military strategist. She being a woman in the medieval times has not helped. Historians and feminists till date have not been able to retract her personality from the maligned version presented by the patriarchal ballads. The velama clans settled beneficially under kakatiya kindom and financed a community of balladeers to tell their version of the war. Telugu films are but poor versions of these biased ballads.
Historians also have another view of him. They view Bramhanaidu as an enterprising warlord keen on setting up a Velama kingdom. He is accused of scheming to divide the Haihaya ruling clan and managing to set-up a small kingdom in Macherla, where he started running the affairs as defacto ruler. His much valourised chap koodu or veera vaishnavism is seen as a poor copy of veerashavism, which shook the kalchuri empire in Kalyani. More than reform his intention was to create unrest and capture power in the neighboring kingdoms. Even the Ballad of Palanati Yuddham mentions how he kept Balachandra, his son away from war as he wanted him to anointed king after the Haihaya clan is destroyed. Even though he is valourised in popular culture, he remains a mysterious figure and his actions are highly suspect.
In Popular Culture
- Palnati Yudham, 1947 and 1966 Telugu films depicted various aspects of the war and the human emotions surrounding it.
- The 1947 film was directed by L. V. Prasad, one of the pioneers of Indian cinema and a Dadasaheb Phalke Award recipient and starred Govindarajula Subba Rao as Brahmanaidu, P. Kannamba as Nagamma and Akkineni Nageswara Rao, another Dadasaheb Phalke Award recipient as Balachandrudu.
- B S L Hanumantha Rao, Social Mobility in Medieval Andhra, Telegu Academy Press
- Palanati Vira charitra, Oral Epic