Onake Obavva (Kannada: ಒನಕೆ ಓಬವ್ವ, 18th Century) was a Karnataka warrior who fought the forces of Hyder Ali single-handedly with a pestle (Onake)[1] in the kingdom of Chitradurga of Karnataka, India.[2] Her husband was a guard of a watchtower in the rocky fort of Chitradurga.[3] In the state of Karnataka, she is celebrated along with Abbakka Rani, Keladi Chennamma and Kittur Chennamma, as the foremost women warriors and patriots. She belonged to the Holayas (Chalavadi) community.[4] Government of Karnataka has taken up initiative to celebrate November 11 as Onake Obavva Jayanti since 2021.[1]

Onake Obavvana kindi inside Chitradurga Fort

Heroics of Obavva edit

During the reign of Madakari Nayaka, the city of Chitradurga was besieged by the troops of Hyder Ali (1754-1779). A chance sighting of a man entering the Chitradurga fort through a hole in the rocks led to a plan by Hyder Ali to send his soldiers through that hole. The Guard (Kahale Mudda Hanuma, who was on duty near that hole) had gone home to have his lunch. During his meal he needed some water to drink, so his wife Obavva went to collect water in a pot[3] from a pond which was near the hole in the rocks, halfway up the hill.[5] She noticed the army trying to enter the fort through the hole. She used the Onake or pestle to kill the soldiers one by one by hitting them on the head and then quietly moving each corpse without raising the suspicions of the rest of the troops. Mudda Hanuma returned from lunch and was shocked to see Obavva standing with a blood stained Onake and several of the enemies' dead bodies around her. Later, the same day, she was found dead either due to shock or having been killed by the enemy soldiers.[1] Though her brave attempt saved the fort this time, Madakari could not resist the attack by Hyder Ali during 1779, when the fort of Chitradurga was lost to Hyder Ali.[6]

Legacy edit

She is considered to be the epitome of Kannada female pride. The hole through which Hyder Ali's soldiers snuck in is called Onake Obavvana Kindi (kindi=hole) or Onake kindi.[4] Her heroic effort is depicted in a famous song-sequence in the film Nagarahavu, directed by Puttanna Kanagal. A sports stadium in Chitradurga, Veera Vanithe Onake Obavva Stadium, is named after her,[7] and she is commemorated with a statue sculpted by Ashok Gudigar, erected in front of the District Commissioner’s office in Chittradurga.[8]

In popular culture edit

The 2019 Kannada language historical drama film Chitradurgada Onake Obavva stars Kannada actress Tara as Onake Obavva.[9]

Actress Jayanthi played the role of Onake Obavva in the movie Nagarahaavu.

She was played by Ms Neha Gokhale, the younger daughter of veteran actor Vikram Gokhale during Art of Living's Kala Arpan 2023 festival at Bangalore, India in a play called Adnyaat Shalaka directed by Sheetal Talpade which showcases unknown female warriors of India lost to annals of history.

See also edit

References edit

  1. ^ a b Cathy Spagnoli, Paramasivam Samanna (1999). Jasmine and Coconuts: South Indian Tales (1999 ed.). Englewood, USA: Greenwood Publishing Group. ISBN 9781563085765. Retrieved 10 September 2012.
  2. ^ "Why is BJP against Tipu Sultan, and was this always the case?". 7 November 2017.
  3. ^ a b March of Mysore Vol.3 (1966 ed.). 1966. Retrieved 10 September 2012.
  4. ^ a b B.N, Sri Sathyan, ed. (1967). Mysore State Gazetteer - Chitradurga District. Vol. 4. Bangalore: Govt. of Mysore. p. 393. Retrieved 10 September 2012.
  5. ^ Hayavadana Rao, Conjeevaram (1943). History of Mysore (1399-1799 AD) 1766-1799. Vol. 3. Bangalore: Govt. of Mysore. p. 260. Retrieved 10 September 2012.
  6. ^ Sarojini Shintri; Kurukundi Raghavendra Rao (1983). Women freedom fighters in Karnataka. Prasaranga, Karnatak University. p. 151. Retrieved 17 June 2009.
  7. ^ John, Jijo K. Studies in South. Vol. 2 (2005 ed.). Bangalore: Printnet Info Services Pvt Ltd. p. 24. Retrieved 10 September 2012.
  8. ^ Lewis, Barry (2007). "An Informal History of the Chitradurga Nayakas". Barry Lewis UIUC Department of Anthropology. Archived from the original on 15 May 2011. Retrieved 25 April 2018.
  9. ^ "Chitradurgada Onake Obavva (2019)". Movie Buff. 21 June 2019.