Kempe Gowda I, locally venerated as Nadaprabhu Kempe Gowda,[2][3] or commonly known as Kempe Gowda, was a chieftain under the Vijayanagara Empire in early-modern India.[4][5] He is famous for the development of Bangalore Town in the 16th century. He wrote Ganga-gauri-vilasa (transl. The play of Ganga and Gauri), a yakshagana (verse-play) in Telugu.[6]

Kempe Gowda I
Chief of Yalahanka Nadu (a principality under Vijayanagara Empire)
Hiriya Kempegowda

(1510-06-27)27 June 1510
Died1569(1569-00-00) (aged 58–59)
Resting placeKempapura, Magadi, Ramanagara District
13°00′53″N 77°04′53″E / 13.0146°N 77.08149°E / 13.0146; 77.08149
Other namesNadaprabhu Kempe Gowda, Kempe Gowda
Known forFortifier of Bengaluru
PredecessorKempananje Gowda
SuccessorGidde Gowda
ChildrenGidde Gowda
Parent(s)Kempananje Gowda, Lingamma

Early life Edit

Kempe Gowda was born in the Yelahanka suburb of Bangalore[1] in the Morasu Vokkaliga[7] community to Kempananje Gowda, the ruler of Yelhanka for more than 70 years.[citation needed] The Morasu Vokkaligas were Vijayanagara vassals at Yelahanka.

Sources vary on the ancestry of Kempe Gowda. Burton Stein and others note that Morasu Vokkaligas were Telugu migrants to the Morasu-nadu area in the fourteenth century.[8][9] Some state that they were originally from Karnataka[10] and were a Kannada-speaking community,[11][6] although well-versed in Telugu.[6][11] Some sources mention that they were a Tamil-speaking community from Kanchi which moved to present-day Karnataka in the early 15th century to serve in Vijayanagara armies.[12]

Kempe Gowda, who is reputed to have shown leadership skills during his childhood,[citation needed] was educated for nine years at a gurukula in Aivarukandapura (or Aigondapura), a village near Hesaraghatta.[citation needed]

Reign Edit

Fourth in succession from Rana Bhairave Gowda, founder of the dynasty of the Avati Nadu and great grandson of Jaya Gowda, a separate Vijayanagara feudal vassal, Kempe Gowda is the most famous of the Yelahanka rulers. Kempe Gowda assumed the chieftaincy of Yalahanka Nadu from his father in 1513 and would reign for 46 years.

Construction of Bengaluru town Edit

It is believed that Kempe Gowda envisioned a town out of vast woodlands and plateaus during a hunting expedition when he ventured from Yelahanka towards the Shivanasamudra with his courtier Veeranna and eldest son Gidde Gowda.[13]

In 1526, Kempe Gowda conquered the Sivaganga principality, 48 kilometres (30 mi) from Bangalore on the Bangalore-Pune Highway. He then annexed Domlur (a present-day suburb on the road from Bangalore to the old Bangalore airport). Within this vast forest area, and with imperial permission of the Vijayanagar Emperor Achyutharaya (an inscription at Dasarahalli records the decree date as 1532), he built Bangalore Fort and the town in 1537, and moved his capital from Yelahanka to the new Bengaluru Pete, the foundation of present-day Bangalore city.

Fearing Kempe Gowda's rise in power at Penukonda, Jagadevaraya, a neighbouring poleygar at Channapattana, lodged a complaint Emperor Sadashiva Raya. Kempe Gowda's territories were confiscated and he was imprisoned for five years. After being released, he was returned his territories.[14] Over the following years, however, pleased with his activities, the Emperor would bestow Kempe Gowda the nearby villages of Ulsoor, Begur, Varthur, Jigani, Thalagattapura, Kumbalgodu, Kengeri, and Banavara.[15]

Bangalore fort Edit

A view of Bangalore Fort

Kempe Gowda built a red fort with eight gates and a moat surrounding it. Inside the fort two wide roads ran from North to South and East to West. The other roads were made parallel or perpendicular to them. On an auspicious moment fixed by an astrologer, Kempe Gowda harnessed the bullocks to the ploughs at the central Doddapete square, at the junction of Doddapete (Avenue Road) and Chikka pete, got the ground ploughed and worked the four main streets running in four directions. One ran from Halasoor (Ulsoor) Gate to Sondekoppa Road from East to West, and another from Yelahanka Gate to the Fort running from North to South. These roads are the present Nagarthapete and Chikka pete; and Doddapete respectively. The streets and the Blocks were demarcated for the purpose they were meant, like for business or residences etc. Streets of Doddapete, Chikkapete, Nagartha-pete were for marketing of general merchandise; Aralepete (Cotton pet), Tharagupete, Akki pete, Ragipete, Balepete etc. were for marketing of commodities like cotton, grain, rice, ragi, and bangles respectively: kurubarapete, Kumbara-pete, Ganigarapete, Upparapete etc. were for trades and crafts, and residences of Kuruba, Kumbara, Ganiga, Uppara castes respectively and similar petes' (Blocks). Halasoorpete, Manava-rthepete, Mutyalapete (Ballapurapete) etc. were meant for other groups of the society. The Agraharas were for the priests and learned classes. He got skilled artisans and craftsmen from the neighboring as well as far off places and got them settled so that they could pursue their vocations.

Temples of Vinayaka and Anjaneya were built at the Northern Yelahanka Gate of the fort (near the present head office of State Bank of Mysore). Dodda Basavannanagudi (The Bull Temple) and in its neighbourhood, Dodda Vinayaka and Dodda Anjaneya and Veerabhadhra temples were also built outside the fort on the southern side. Gavi Gangadhareshwara temple was also built by Kempe Gowda. Kempe Gowda I encouraged the construction of temples and lakes and planned residential layouts, or agraharams, around each temple. The construction of the mud fort and several temples and lakes transformed Bangalore from a sleepy village to a centre of culture based on vedic traditions.[16]

Tanks were built for the water supply to the town, to the moat around the fort and for the irrigation of crops. Inside the fort, a big pond enclosed by masonry of dressed granite stones was dug and built (on the South-Western corner of the present Sri Krishnarajendra Market). Dhar-mambudhi tank, which supplied water to the town (present Subhash Nagar, BMTC bus stand and KSRTC bus stands, in front of the city Railway Station), Kempambudhi tank (named after Ranabhaire Gowda's family Goddess, Doddamma or Kempamma), in Gavi-pura Guttahalli and Samp-igambudhi tank (named after one of the daughters-in-law: present Sree Kanteerava Stadium), which were meant for irrigation, were also built. Irrigational facilities gave much impetus to agriculture and horticulture and also encouraged laying of gardens and raising groves of fruit crops.

Death and succession Edit

Kempe Gowda died in 1569 having ruled for about 46 years. The 16th century Kannada epitaph on his tomb proclaims that he died on the spot at Kempapura, a village in Magadi, while returning from Kunigal, reportedly after settling a dispute.

Kempe Gowda's tomb was accidentally found on 7 March 2015 by Prashanth Marur, a college official-turned-historian, while he was driving by Kempapura. It was also authenticated by group of historians who visited the tomb. It is believed that his son Kempe Gowda II built the tomb after his father's demise.[17] After confirmation, Marur wrote an article that was published inVijayavani on 3 September 2015.

Succession Edit

According to some literary sources, Kempe Gowda's elder son Gidde Gowda succeeded him[18] and his lineage lasted for a century in Magadi, where they built numerous temples, forts, and tanks.

The Nelapattana subterranean town was built on the strategic foothills of the Savandurga to protect its city dwellers from neighbouring invasions. However, in 1728, Haider Ali, the commander-in-chief (dalvoy) of the Kingdom of Mysore, defeated the ruler from Kempe Gowda's lineage and annexed the principality into the kingdom. The last Gowda ruler was imprisoned in Srirangapatana till his death. The family members were moved to Hulikal village in Magadi. Some other family members were pensioned by Dewan Purnaiah by gifting them jagirs, or land grants, at Hosur in present-day Tamil Nadu, where the lineage continues as farmers.[19][20]

Legacy Edit

Social reforms Edit

Kempe Gowda is also noted for his societal reforms and contribution to building temples and water reservoirs in Bengaluru.[21] While ruling, one of his social reforms was to prohibit the custom of amputating the last two fingers of the left hand of unmarried women during "bandi devaru", a late custom in the Morasu Vokkaliga community.

Contributions Edit

Kempe Gowda was a patron of arts and learning. In spite belonging to a purely Kannada speaking community,[6][11] he was a polyglot and authored Gangagaurivilasa, a yakshagana play, in Telugu, the court-language of the time.[6]

Memorials Edit

A metal statue of Kempe Gowda was posthumously installed in 1609 at Gangadhareshwara temple at Shivagange.[citation needed]

In 1964, another statue was erected in front of the Corporation Office at Bangalore.

The city bus stand of Bangalore is named Kempegowda Bus Station in his honour.[22] Bangalore International Airport was also renamed Kempegowda International Airport on 14 December 2013.[23][24]

The Bangalore Development Authority developed the Nadaprabhu Kempegowda Layout in him memory.[25][26] The Majestic metro station on the Purple Line of Bangalore Metro was also renamed Nadaprabhu Kempegowda Station., Majestic, in his honour.[27]

Educational institutions such as Kempegowda Institute of Medical Sciences, Kempegowda Institute of Physiotherapy,[28] Kempegowda College of Nursing,[29] and Kempegowda Residential PU College have all been named after Kempe Gowda. A police station[30] and a park[31] in Bangalore are named in his honour. A busy[32] thoroughfare in the city is named Kempegowda Road.[33]

Since 2017, the Government of Karnataka has recognised Kempe Gowda's birth anniversary, or Kempe Gowda Jayanthi.[34][35] The Kempegowda Award, a civic award presented annually by the BBMP, was set up in his memory.[36]

On 27 June 2020, commemorating Kempe Gowda's 511th birth anniversary, work on a 108-feet tall Kempe Gowda Statue and a 23-acre central park around the statue formally began with its inauguration by Chief Minister B. S.Yediyurappa at the Kempegowda International Airport.[37] The same was inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on 11 November 2022.[38]

References Edit

  1. ^ a b vinod2407 (3 September 2012). "Yelahanka – Birth Place of KempeGowda". yelahankaupdate. Retrieved 25 January 2017.
  2. ^ "Namma Metro's bane now lies in a name".
  3. ^ "Nada Prabhu Jayanthi this year, every year: Siddaramaiah". 27 June 2017.
  4. ^ Tagliacozzo, Eric; Siu, Helen F.; Perdue, Peter C. (5 January 2015). Asia Inside Out: Changing Times. Harvard University Press. ISBN 978-0-674-96694-9.
  5. ^ vinod2407 (3 September 2012). "Yelahanka – Birth Place of KempeGowda". yelahankaupdate. Retrieved 1 June 2023.
  6. ^ a b c d e Sheldon Pollock, ed. (2003). Literary Cultures in History: Reconstructions from South Asia. Berkeley, California: University of California Press. p. 378. ISBN 0520228219. OCLC 46828947. But even writers from purely Kannada- speaking communities took to writing in Telugu, which raises questions again on the relationship between writerly choices and languages. Kempegowda (1513–1569), the builder of the city of Bangalore, wrote Gañgagaurivilasa (The play of Gañga and Gauri), a yaksagana ( verse-play) in Telugu
  7. ^ Rao, C. Hayavadana (1927). Mysore Gazetteer. Vol. 1. Bangalore: Government Press. p. 244.
  8. ^ Stein, Burton (1990). The New Cambridge History of India: Vijayanagara. Cambridge University Press. p. 82. ISBN 978-0-521-26693-2. On the northern boundary of the future core of that kingdom was the area called Morasu-nadu (modern Bangalore and Tumkur districts) dominated by one of the large sections of the southern Karnatak peasantry, Morasu Vokkaligas, who seemed to have been Telugu migrants to the area in the fourteenth century.
  9. ^ Nair, Janaki (2005). The Promise of the Metropolis: Bangalore's Twentieth Century. Oxford University Press. p. 28. ISBN 978-0-19-566725-7. Kempegowda was one of many Telugu warrior chieftains (palegars) of the late Vijayanagara state who made incursions into Tamil and Karnataka regions, and established their rule over vast agricultural tracts.
  10. ^ S. Anees Siraj, ed. (2011). Karnataka State Gazetteer: Kolar District (PDF). Karnataka Gazetteer Department, Government of Karnataka. p. 258. The Morasu Okkaligas originally belong to Karnataka.
  11. ^ a b c Suryanath U. Kamath, ed. (1990). Karnataka State Gazetteer: Bangalore district. Director of Print., Stationery and Publications at the Government Press. p. 61. Uttur in Yenamanji Nadu in present day Mulbagal tq could be the place of their origin. It is likely that the family also spoke Telugu as it was a popular literary medium in Vijayangara times. But all the Marasu Vakkalus are Kannada speaking.
  12. ^ Stein, Burton (1990). The New Cambridge History of India:Vijayanagara. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. p. 82. ISBN 9781139055611.
  13. ^ "Vokkaligara Parishat of America (VPA) - About Vokkaligas". Retrieved 25 January 2017.
  14. ^ "Kempe Gowda| Founder of Bangalore | Personalities". 11 November 2011. Retrieved 25 January 2017.
  15. ^ Dr. Suryanath U. Kamat (2001). Concise History of Karnataka, MCC, Bengaluru (Reprinted 2002).
  16. ^ Vagale, Uday Kumar (6 May 2004). CHAPTER 5: BANGALORE: MUD FORT TO SPRAWLING METROPOLIS (PDF) (Thesis). Virginia Tech.
  17. ^ FPJ, Bureau. "Historians find tomb of Kempegowda". Retrieved 25 January 2017.
  18. ^ Nilakanta Sastri, K.A. (1935). The CōĻas, University of Madras, Madras (Reprinted 1984).
  19. ^ Swamy, S Narayana (8 October 2013). "Founding fathers of Bengaluru". No. Bangalore. Deccan Herald. Retrieved 2 February 2015.
  20. ^ Rice, Benjamin Lewis (1887). Mysore: A Gazetteer Compiled for Government. London, UK: Asian Educational Services. p. 70. ISBN 8120609778. Retrieved 17 January 2015.
  21. ^ "Founding fathers of Bangalore". Deccan Herald. 7 October 2013. Retrieved 2 July 2022.
  22. ^ "From Dharmambudhi Lake to Majestic - a less known metamorphose -".
  23. ^ "Bangalore Intl' airport being renamed as Kempegowda International Airport - Firstpost". 25 November 2013.
  24. ^ "Bangalore International Airport Ltd will be Kempegowda International Airport from December 14". The Economic Times. 24 November 2013.
  25. ^ Bharadwaj, K. V. Aditya (27 July 2015). "Sites in Kempegowda Layout still a pipe dream". The Hindu – via
  26. ^ "Dropping out of site".
  27. ^ "Namma Metro's bane now lies in a name".
  28. ^ "Kempegowda Institute Of Physiotherapy". Retrieved 17 July 2018.
  29. ^ " Is For Sale".
  30. ^ Gowhar, Imran (15 March 2015). "27 posts lying vacant in Kempegowda Nagar police station". The Hindu – via
  31. ^ "Nadaprabhu Kempegowda Park, K R Road Visveswarapuram, Kalasipalyam, Bangalore | Parks | Video Driving Directions | Route Map | Location Map". VIDTEQ. Retrieved 17 July 2018.
  32. ^ "Road over Metro tunnel sinks 15 feet". 3 August 2016.
  33. ^ Staff Reporter (2 August 2016). "Portion of K.G. Road caves in near Metro line". The Hindu – via
  34. ^ "Nadaprabhu Kempegowda Jayanti in city tomorrow - Star of Mysore". 26 June 2017.
  35. ^ "Govt. to celebrate Kempegowda Jayanti on June 27". The Hindu. 25 June 2017 – via
  36. ^ "Kempegowda awards presented". The Hindu. 14 May 2017. Retrieved 14 May 2017.
  38. ^ "PM Modi To Unveil 108-feet Kempegowda Statue, Preparations Begin In Bengaluru".

General Edit

  • Dr. B. S. Puttaswamy. KEMPEGOWDA OF BENGALURU, 160 pp. Bengaluru: Manoj Publications, 2017. Price 200 INR Released at Dubai. ISBN 978-81-920681-2-1. Cell +919448522310

Further reading Edit

  • Puttaswamy, B. S. Yalahanka Nadaprabhu Kempegowda Mattu Atana Vamshastaru,(In Kannada) 240 pp. Bengaluru: Manoj Publications, 2011. ISBN 978-81-920681-0-7

External links Edit