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Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav: Veera Rani Abbaka, one of the earliest Indians to fight colonialism

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New Delhi, Jun 15: India attained freedom through the toil and sacrifice of many known and unknown heroes. Lakhs of people contributed to the freedom movement and there are unsung heroes in every corner of the country.

Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav: Veera Rani Abbaka

As the country is set to celebrate its Azadi Ka Amrut Mahotsav to commemorate the 75 years of independence, it is time for us to remember unsung heroes. In this article, we would like to remember a lady who was one of the earliest Indians to fight colonialism.

Rani Abbakka Chowta, also known as Abbakka Chowta, fought against the Portuguese in the latter half of the 16 century. She was a Tuluva queen of Ullal (a City Municipality in modern Mangaluru), who ruled over parts of Dakshina Kannada or coastal Karnataka.

Puttige served as her capital while Ullal was their subsidiary capital.

With her courage and strategies, she resisted the foreign power from ruling her land for decades. The war between Ullal and Portuguese started after she refused to pay tributes to them.

Strategically smart person Abbakka entered into alliances and strategic partnership with local eminent groups to protect her boundaries. In a bid to increase the strength of her kingdom, she married Lakshmappa Arasa II.

As per the book 'Indians Must Know - Let's Be Proud', Rani and her husband had different world views. When the Portuguese turned towards Karnataka, Lakshmappa Arasa wanted to join hands with the foreign forces while it was unacceptable to her.

Due to the differences of opinion, she decided to return to Ullal from Banga. This did not go well with her husband, who decided to teach her a lesson at the right time.

Under her rule, Ullal became a major port for trade and the province prospered that attracted the Portuguese, Dutch, the British and many others. To safeguard her kingdom, she made pacts with Zamorin of Calicut and other Muslim leaders of Tulunadu. She established a hugely profitable trading relationship with Arabia.

Between 1525-1570, the Portuguese attacked her kingdom several times and used various techniques to bring her kingdom under their control, but nothing worked due to her army's resistance.

Even when they attacked with maximum power in 1568, the Abbaka's army managed to defeat the foreign invaders, says the book 'Indians Must Know - Let's Be Proud'.

When Joao Peixoto, Portuguese General, surrounded her royal court, she escaped through the secret routes and took asylum in a mosque. They did not expect a Hindu woman to enter the mosque.

However, the same night she mounted an attack, burning Portuguese soldiers. Rani's army also killed the general and Admiral Mascarenhas. The Portuguese fled as they suffered a humiliating defeat.

However, she was captured when the Portuguese attacked for the sixth time with the help of her husband, whose treachery ended the war for Abbaka. She was jailed and she died fighting for the freedom of her motherland in prison in 1570. Thus found a place in the hearts of Tuluvas as 'Veera Rani Abbakka Mahadevi.'.

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