Manasa Gowda & Ram Raj D

Manasa Gowda is Assistant Professor in the Department of Mass Communication at St. Claret College, Bengaluru with about 15 years of experience as a journalist and journalism educator.

Ram Raj D is a journalist with over 35 years of experience, including working as Media Adviser at U.S. Consulate General Chennai for five years.

Ganjam residents recall the history of Ganjam & Srirangapatna as well as the innovations of Tipu Sultan and Hyder Ali

Translation of audio recordings - A Summary

 

Arya Vysya Samaj; T. Prakash and Ashok Kumar, Ganjam

 

People of our community came to Ganjam about 300 years ago; and they migrated from Hubballi and Sholapur. Our ancestors were known for painting (locally known as chitragaras) and they were asked paint Tipu Sultan's to Daria Daulat Bagh. Following the fall of Tipu Sultan's empire, they learnt carpentry work and became famous for making wooden bullock carts - Ganjam bullock carts were very famous those days (owning a Ganjam bullock cart was considered as very prestigious and akin to owning a car now); especially the wheels made of teak wood were the specialty of Ganjam. Unfortunately we don't have any sample today to show the great work of our ancestors.

 

Our ancestors, apart from being painters followed other vocations to such as priests. They learnt mantras and were reported to have once stopped Tipu Sultan's flag from falling down by the power of chanting mantras. In this manner our ancestors have served many kings of the region.

 

Kuber Singh, Srirangapatna

 

Srirangapatna, is a fort city with a three-tier security; in Karnataka compared to all other forts including Chitradurga fort, this is the strongest fort. This fort has a history of 1200 years and was constructed by Hebbara Thimmanna Nayaka - palegara - the capital was Nagamangala. This place was previously known as Gauthama Kshethra as Gauthama muni did penance here. Hoysala's Vishnuvardhana younger brother established this place as Udayapura; after the construction of the Sriranganatha temple it became Srirangapatna. Nearly 27 to 28 kings have ruled here - prominent among them were Mummadi Krishnaraja Wodeyar and Nanjaraja Wodeyar of the Wodeyar dynasty

 

After the death of Tipu Sultan May 4, 1799 the capital was shifted from Srirangapatna to Mysore (now Mysuru) with the help of the Britishers and Lord Wellseley  and Srirangapatna lost its stature as capital city of erstwhile Mysore State. If you observe from a helicopter or an aeroplane, Srirangapatna is in the shape of a conch. The other important temple here is the Naduholey Gangadeshwar; it is so called because it is in the middle of a rivulet (holey in Kannada).

 

Ranadheera Kanteerava Narasimharaja Wodeyar built a canal in this region - the bridge and canal are testimony to the use of best technology of Asia then. The water from the canal was useful to farmers of Srirangapatna and Ganjam. He named the reservoir after his lover and called it Bangaradoddi reservoir. The king fulfilled the wishes of his lover who beseeched him to build a canal for the benefit of farmers of the region to irrigate the dryland. He also constructed a Lakshminarasimha temple and even today there is a statue of Randheera Kanteerava Maharaja in the temple.

 

Because Srirangapatna is ensconced in a fort it cannot be developed and as per archaeological rules the citizens of Srirangapatna cannot expand the geographical boundaries of the city and monuments here have to be protected. The Triveni Sangama - merging of three rivers - North Cauvery, South Cauvery and Lokapavani  - about 2.5 kilometres from Srirangapatna is another interesting spot in this region.

 

At present about 35 to 40 Rajput families live in Ganjam - we have been here from the Vijayanagara regime making weapons of war. We came here from North India about 1,000 years ago - Hyder Ali and Tipu Sultan also availed the services of our ancestors in making weapons of war.

 

As our co-workers the carpenters came here, they were very good at making wooden horses and our ancestors were good in making weapons. After the fall of Tipu Sultan's empire they started making wooden carts, while our community members became ironsmiths.

 

Some of those families lost their land holdings under the Tenant Act and some families are suffering due to poverty. About 25 families might have migrated 1,000 years ago, even today you can find 35 to 40 Rajput families in Ganjam.