The Kingdom of Mysore was a significant empire in south India believed to be founded in 1399.The Wadiyar (alternatively spelt Odeyar or Wodeyar )dynasty was a Yaduvanshi dynasty in the subcontinent of India that ruled the Kingdom of Mysore from 1399 to 1761 and 1799 to 1947.The kingdom was later incorporated into the dominion of India after its independence from the British invasion.The dynasty was established in 1399 by Yaduraya Wodeyar. He ruled Mysore under the Vijayanagara Empire until 1423.After his death, the Mysore Kingdom continued to prosper by his successors. After the downfall of the Vijayanagara Empire in 1565 ,the Kingdom of Mysore became independent until 1799.
After Tipu Sultan’s death, in 1799 Mysore’s Rajamata (dowager queen) Lakshmi Ammanni requested the British officials to coronate Mummadi Krishnaraja Wodeyar i.e. Krishnaraja Wodeyar III because during that period the region of Mysore came under control of the British Empire. But in 1831,the British abruptly dethroned Krishnaraja Wodeyar III reasons being given that he was incompetent to be administrating the kingdom. The Wodeyar tried too hard to persuade them to get his throne back but all his efforts were in vain. He was told to retire and also that he will be paid one lakh rupees annually as pension while the British appointed commissioners were in charge of the kingdom.
In the meantime, Lord Dalhousie becomes the Governor General in the year 1848 and introduces an annexation policy called “Doctrine of lapse”. The Doctrine of lapse was an annexation policy implemented by the British East India company in India. According to this policy, any Indian princely state under the realm of the British East India company would have its princely status abolished and therefore be annexed into British India if the ruler was either administratively incompetent or died without a male heir. It roughly stated that any kingdom with poor administration or heirless (without a male child) would be seized by the British. Unfortunately this policy was applied on the Kingdom of Mysore as the reigning king (Mummadi Krishnaraja Wodeyar) did not have an heir for the throne. The king was petrified. As he had already lost the authority to administrate the kingdom , he desperately wanted to save it for the upcoming successors. Realising his kingdom was slipping away from his hands, Mummadi Krishnaraja Wodeyar reveals them something startling .
The story dates back to 1610.The King of Srirangapatna ,Tirumala Raya was a vassal of the Vijayanagara Empire. The king had an untreatable disease and had gone on a pilgrimage to a temple of Talakadu, a town 60 kilometres from Srirangapatna to pray for his recovery. But the king did not get better. While the king was away his second wife Queen Alamelamma was supervising in managing the kingdom. The queen soon hears that the king was dying. She quickly decides to rush to Talakadu ,leaving behind the kingdom in the care of Raja Wodeyar ,the Maharaja of Mysore. The evil Raja Wodeyar being an opportunist ,occupies the kingdom which he had always planned on doing. On knowing that ,the queen takes all the jewels of temple for Ranganayaki Devi to protect them from confiscation and to put them in a safe place as they were holy and then runs towards Talakadu. As Raja Wodeyar was a greedy man and wanted to obtain the jewels that she was hoarding, he sent an army of soldiers alone to find her and the jewels. Some legends also state that he desired her. She managed to escape for a while, but eventually she realises that she alone ,could not anymore handle the army pursuing her. Understanding that the end was near, she climbs up a cliff, below which the Cauvery was flowing and then decides to die by jumping into the Cauvery river with the temple jewels because she believed her honour was much more important than her life, but only after uttering the curse. She folded her hands and prayed to Lord Venkateswara and said “if I have been a sincere devotee to you and a faithful wife of my husband ,grant me this dying wish that would be a curse for the evil king. Then utters “Talakadu Maralagali, Maalangi Maduvagali, Mysuru Arasarige Makkalagadehogali ”in the local dialect Kannada which translates to “Let Talakadu be a barren land, Let Maalangi become an unfathomable whirlpool ,Let Mysore Kings fail to get heir for eternity”.
The curse did not just remain as mere words but in reality all of it has come true. Talakadu ,once a fertile land surrounded with rivers now is a barren land with sand everywhere still burying thirty and more temples in layers and layers of sand. The ecologists have said that there has been an accumulation of sand in the region around that time and also called it a natural disaster. The river Cauvery often changed its courses causing deadly whirlpools in Maalangi(the place where she jumped).And lastly the Mysore royal family never had an heir and was most often obligated to coronate an adopted heir .Even the last king died without leaving behind a son .This is why Mummadi Krishnaraja Wodeyar ,in the time of his reign did not have an heir(male child) ,because of the curse .And also as he had friendly relationship with the British he saved his kingdom from being annexed. Even after his death there was no natural heir to bear the legacy of Mysore but only the adopted.
Words that were uttered sheerly out of human will , overtook the nature is such a way which human beings cannot understand. The nature bears witness to the unfortunate events that took place .Alamelamma was a miserable woman who just wished to see her dying husband ,but the evil king who desired her and the jewels even after getting a kingdom had left her no choice but to die to protect her honour. As they say ,there is nothing more dangerous than a heart broken woman with a strong will ,this story stands true to the above words .It was an unfair act of greed and lust which drove her to utter such a curse which is still mind boggling to even imagine let alone believe it’s true.
By ANITHA VEERAYYA KOULUR, KARWAR ,UTTAR KANNADA , KARNATAKA