Saturday, December 27, 2014

Parataparudra

Prataparudra II (1289 - 1323), the son of Rudramadevi's daughter
Mummadamba, ascended the throne following his grandmother's death. His immediate task was to defeat Ambadeva and restore Kakatiya authority over the lands south of the Krishna river. However, Prataparudra also had to prepare for the possibility that Ambadeva's allies would also get involved in any such conflict. Thus, Prataparudra planned a three-pronged offensive against his enemies.

The first Kakatiya offensive took place in 1291 and was commanded by Manuma Gannaya, son of Induluri Soma-mantri, and Annayadeva, son of Induluri Peda Gannaya. This offensive was directed against Tripurantakam in the northern part of Ambadeva's territory. While the exact details of this campaign are unknown, it seems that Ambadeva was defeated and fled south to Mulikinadu. The record of the Kakatiya general Annayadeva at Tripurantakam occurs just two months after the last record of Ambadeva at that place, with both records occurring in the same year (Saka 1213, i.e. 1291 C.E.). Thus, it seems that Tripurantakam, and probably the surrounding territory as well, was reconquered by the Kakatiyas from Ambadeva during those two months.


The second Kakatiya offensive was directed against Nellore in southern Andhra, and was led by Adidamu Mallu. Nellore was being ruled by Manuma Gandagopala, who had allied himself with Ambadeva. Manuma Gandagopala was killed by the Kakatiyas, and in his place, Madhurantaka Pottapi Choda Ranganatha (also known as Rajagandagopala) was installed as a subordinate ruler. However, when Rajagandagopala formed an alliance with the Pandyas and invited them into his kingdom, King Prataparudra was compelled to launch a second campaign against Nellore. Rajagandagopala and his Pandya allies were defeated, leaving the Kakatiyas as the masters of southern Andhra once again.

The third Kakatiya offensive was directed against the Seuna Yadavas, who were also allies of Ambadeva. The main participant in this offensive seems to have been Gona Vithala, a Kakatiya subordinate who was ruling at Vardhamanapur in southwest Telangana. Gona Vithala captured the forts of Adavani and Tumbalam in the modern-day Bellary district, as well as Manuva and Hanuva in the Raichur doab. He then proceeded to capture the town of Raichur itself, where a fort was erected. Thus, the Seuna Yadavas had lost control over their southernmost territories in the Krishna-Tungabhadra basin. The Kakatiya invasion of this region seems to have occurred around 1294, the date of Gona Vithala's inscription describing his military achievements.

The Kakatiyas were thus able to emerge victorious over their neighbors in the 1290s, and assert themselves as one of the major powers of peninsular India. However, the Kakatiyas would seen encounter a new enemy unlike anything they had faced previously. In 1295, a Turkish army under Alauddin Khalji crossed the Vindhya mountains in a daring expedition, and seized the Yadava capital of Devagiri. This marked the first time in history that a Muslim army was able to penetrate deep into the Deccan, and it was a sign of more things to come.

The first Turkish invasion of the Kakatiya kingdom took place in 1303. The Turkish army was commanded by Malik Fekhruddin Juna and Jhaju of Kara. The Turks chose to attack the Kakatiyas via Kalinga, advancing southwest from Bengal. However, quite unlike what happened in Maharashtra in 1295, the Turks were met and defeated by a Kakatiya army at the Battle of Upparapalli. The Kakatiya army during this engagement was commanded by the Velama generals Recherla Venna and Potuganti Maili. The Telugu chronicle [i]Velugotivarivamsavali[/i] credits the two generals with "destroying the pride of the Turushkas (Turks)." This Kakatiya victory is also corroborated by Ziauddin Barani, who describes the return of the defeated Turkish army to Delhi.

The next recorded Turkish invasion took place in 1309, when Alauddin Khalji sent a large army commanded by Malik Kafur and Khwaja Haji to Telangana. This new Turkish army attacked the Kakatiyas via Maharashtra, using Devagiri as a base of operations, and utilized Maratha soldiers provided by the Yadava king Ramachandra. The Turks reached Warangal on 19 January 1310, and promptly laid siege to the outer fort. After 25 days, Prataparudra sued for peace, sensing that he lacked the means to successfully defend the fort. He handed over his wealth to the Turks and agreed to send additional tribute in the future.

Meanwhile, the political disturbance caused by the Turkish invasion resulted in a fresh wave of revolts against the Kakatiyas in southern Andhra. Ranganatha of Nellore, as well as the Vaidumba chief Mallideva of Gandikota, both declared independence. To suppress their rebellions, Prataparudra dispatched an army under Juttaya Gonkaya Reddi. The Kakatiya army was able to defeat Mallideva and recapture Gandikota, with Gonkaya Reddi being appointed as the new governor of Gandikota and the surrounding territory. King Prataparudra himself marched south to crush Ranganatha's rebellion.

At this time, the Tamil country was in a state of chaos due to a civil war between the brothers Vira Pandya and Sundara Pandya. This situation was made worse by the invasion of the Hoysala king Ballala III, who was able to capture Kanchi. However, the Hoysalas were not able to hold on to the city for long. The Kakatiyas also decided to intervene in Tamil Nadu, and an army commanded by Peda Rudra managed to defeat Ballala and occupy Kanchi. Vira Pandya attempted to recapture Kanchi, but he was met by a large Kakatiya army personally commanded by King Prataparudra. Vira Pandya was decisively defeated, and consequently lost the Pandya throne to his brother. The northern part of the Pandya kingdom, including the lands between the Penner and Palar rivers, came under Kakatiya control.

It seems that Prataparudra, during the course of these wars in the south, practically ignored the Delhi Sultanat and his promise to send regular tribute. In 1318, the new Sultan of Delhi, Qutbuddin Mubarak Shah, marched to Maharashtra to crush the rebellion of Harapaladeva, who was a vassal of the Turks. After securing Devagiri, the Sultan sent an army under Khusrau Khan to Warangal. To avert conflict, Prataparudra agreed to pay the annual tribute of 100 elephants and a quantity of horses, gold, and gems.

The next appearance of the Turks in Telangana was in 1323. Sultan Ghiyasuddin Tughlaq sent an army to Telangana under his son Ulugh Khan, the future Mohammed b. Tughlaq. According to Ferishta, writing in the 17th century, the reason for this invasion was once again Prataparudra's refusal to pay tribute. Ulugh Khan besieged Warangal for six long months, but he was unable to capture the city. The Turkish forces withdrew in defeat, with the Kakatiyas pursuing them until they had left Telangana.

Different individuals writing in the 14th century give slightly different reasons for the Turkish defeat during this campaign:

1) According to Ziauddin Barani, a false rumour was spread in the Turkish camp by a poet named Ubaid that Sultan Ghiyasuddin had died, and that the new sultan was going to execute some generals in the army. As a result, morale plummeted and confusion spread through the Turkish ranks. The Kakatiyas then seemed to have taken advantage of this situation to attack and rout the Turks.

2) According to Ibn Battuta, the famous Moroccan traveler who visited India, Ulugh Khan desired the throne of Delhi for himself, so he instigated Ubaid to spread the false rumour that Sultan Ghiyasuddin had died. Ulugh Khan hoped that the army's commanders would recognize him as the new sultan, and that he could then march to Delhi and seize the throne. Instead, however, the army's commanders turned against him, and the Turkish camp fell into chaos.

3) According to Isami, Ulugh Khan had consulted an astrologer named Ubaid to determine the most auspicious day to attack Warangal. Ulugh Khan attacked on the day told by Ubaid, but his army failed to make any progress against the Kakatiya defenders. Ubaid, to save himself from being punished for making a wrong prediction, spread the false rumour that the Sultan had died, and that Ulugh Khan was planning on killing some leading amirs and generals in the army. The resulting panic in the Turkish camp then allowed the Kakatiyas to defeat their enemies and drive them out of Telangana.

All three versions of the story agree that the Turks were defeated because of confusion in their camp caused by a false rumour spread by a person named Ubaid, and that the Kakatiyas were able to take advantage of this confusion and rout the Turks. Because Isami was the first to write about this campaign (in 1349, just 26 years after it happened), we can judge his version of the story to be the most credible.

Following their failed attempt to capture Warangal, the Turks withdrew into Maharashtra and took refuge at Devagiri. Sultan Ghiyasuddin, determined to defeat the Kakatiyas, immediately dispatched fresh troops into the Deccan. Wasting no time, Ulugh Khan set out for Telangana once again as soon as he received the reinforcements. The Turks captured Badrikot (probably Bidar), and then Bodhan after a siege of 3-4 days. Ten days later, Ulugh Khan was once again at the gates of Warangal.

The speed with which the Turks returned took the Kakatiyas completely by surprise. King Prataparudra, assuming that the Turks would not return in the near future, had committed a fatal strategic blunder; in celebration of the Kakatiya victory, he had opened the fort's food stores to the public, sold all the grain in the granaries, and dismissed his assembled troops. Thus, when the Turks returned later that year, the fortress at Warangal lacked adequate provisions and an adequate garrison. Nonetheless, the Kakatiyas still managed to hold out for an astounding five months before hunger and lack of basic supplies began wearing them down. Recognizing the futility of the situation, Prataparudra surrendered himself to Ulugh Khan, and the Turks occupied Warangal. Prataparudra was sent north to the Sultan's court in Delhi, but he died on the banks of the Narmada river; in all likelihood, he committed suicide. The Kakatiya dynasty thus came to an end.

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