|Known for||Fighting against Bijapur and defying Mughal emperor Aurangzeb|
Keladi Chennamma was the Queen of Keladi Kingdom (1671-1696) in Karnataka. A Lingayat by Religion.She was the daughter of Siddappa Setti, a native merchant of Kundapur, Karnataka. Keladi Kingdom (also known as Bednur and Ikkeri), was formed after the fall of Vijayanagara Empire. Chennamma married King Somashekara Nayaka in 1667 CE. After Somashekhara Nayaka's death in 1677, Chennamma efficiently handled the administration of the Keladi Nayaka dynasty. During her reign of 26 years, she repelled the advances of the Mughal Army led by the infamous Aurangzeb from her military base in the kingdom of Keladi located in Sagara, Karnataka India. She adopted Basavappa Nayaka, one of her close relatives who succeeded as Hiriya Basappa Nayaka. She also rendered a trade agreement with the Portuguese involving commodities like pepper and rice. She was given the epithet "the Pepper Queen or Raina da Pimenta' by the Portuguese. She also permitted Portuguese to establish churches at Mirjan, Honnavara, Chandavara and Kalyanpura.
Attack by Aurangazeb
She provided shelter to Rajaram Chhatrapati, son of Shivaji who was fleeing from the Mughal emperor Aurangzeb after a meeting with her cabinet and treated Rajaram with respect, but Aurangazeb attacked Keladi. Keladi Chennamma fought the war without defeat and battle with Mughals ended in a treaty. A subordinate of Keladi Kingdom, Sadasiva of Swadi also helped Rajaram through a loan. Keladi kingdom was probably the last to lose autonomy to Mysore rulers and subsequently to British. Her cabinet was headed by Timmanna Nayaka who was the descendent of a commander of Vijayanagra.
Chennamma was known to be a very virtuous and pious woman, and a pragmatic administrator of her times. She is reported to have given a prudent advice about leading a life of virtues and good conduct to her son Basavappa Nayaka on her deathbed. She said:
"Do not go back on your words. At no time and nowhere you should neglect your duties. Take care to speak always in a wholesome way. Do not disclose your
intentions to the wicked. Do not go astray. Do not be partial to your kinsmen. Refrain from committing sins. Do good deeds. Always remember God. Have compassion for all living objects. Give protection to those who oome to you seeking it. Do not hate others. Conduct yourself in the world with your senses under control. Conquer lust a,nd other weaknesses a,nd[clarification needed] seek liberation from the cycle of birth and death. Do not, lose fortitude even in the face of dangers. When you come by riches, do not be conceited. Contemplate on philosophical values. Grasp the purpose of non-dualism. Do not lose opportunities. Honour those who are versed in Humanity,Well being. Consider this life as a dream. Reflect on the question "Who am I ? ". Laugh, but in such a way that you do not become a laughing stock. Speak in a fine way. Beh'l.ve yourself in such a manner that it can win commendation of the people. Follow that path which will not bring about rebirth.Worship God in various ways and win boundless bliss- She worshiped her istalinga 3 times a day through her life. He gave alms to various temples all across south India including the Sringeri Mutt."
- amar chitra katha vol 793
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