Indian History Part 77 The Aravidu Dynasty Section IV: Rebellions and Declining Fortunes

Canberra, 1 January 2020

In the period 1596-99, two important events took place in the Deccan that lead one to believe, indirectly, that the fortunes of Vijayanagara was once again on the rise. The first was the annexation of the Nizam Shahi kingdom of Ahmadnagar by the Mughals under the instruction of Emperor Akbar. The second was even more important to Vijayanagara’s future—Venkata Deva II had managed to rid Kasimkota of all elements supporting the Qutb Shah of Golconda, who were inimical to Vijayanagara interests and control of the region. This was clear indication of the increasing power and influence of Vijayanagara under Venkata Deva Raya II. By early 1600s, Vijayanagara was free from Muslim attacks and the records—both Muslim and Hindu—are silent regarding any further wars between Vijayanagara and the Shahis for the rest of Venkata Deva’s reign.

The Mughals Enter the Fray

Akbar, the Mughal Emperor, was now physically camped at Burhanpur and send a personal envoy, Syed Mir Jamal ud-Din Hussein Inju, to Bijapur. He proposed a marital alliance between the Mughals and the Adil Shahis, suggesting that the Adil Shah’s daughter be married to the Mughal prince Daniyal. In August 1600, Akbar also send an embassy to Venkata Deva Raya, then residing in and ruling Vijayanagara from Chandragiri. The name of the ambassador has been lost in antiquity, but he is mentioned in contemporary Jesuit letters as, ‘a prudent and experienced man’. Akbar was at this time on an expedition to subdue the kingdom of Kandesh. He was also planning the conquest of Goa, Malabar and Vijayanagara after annexing the remaining Shahi kingdoms of the Deccan. It is certain that the embassy was a cover for the Mughal emperor to gather information and to assess the resources and preparedness of Vijayanagara to withstand a concerted invasion by Mughal forces. The despatch of ‘friendly’ embassies to kingdoms that he was intent on annexing was a standard practice of Akbar. In this instance, outwardly, it was mentioned that the embassy was send to seek Vijayanagara assistance against the Shahi kingdoms.

Venkata Deva was advised by his senior councillors and nobles to keep away from the avaricious Mughal and not have any dealings, friendly or otherwise, with him. Venkata was also very aware of the evolving geo-political situation in the region, which pointed to the fact that after Bijapur and Golconda were annexed by the Mughals, it would be only a matter of time before Vijayanagara became the primary target. Accordingly, in a calculated manner, Venkata kept the Mughal ambassador waiting for a month before granting him an audience. It is reported that the embassy was put up in the Jesuit quarter since there was no other appropriate housing available in Chandragiri.

Venkata Deva decided to stick to conspicuous neutrality in his dealings with the Mughals. Towards ensuring this, the ambassador was received and also send back with overwhelming courtesy. The king went to great lengths to ensure impartial neutrality of his kingdom, returning all the costly presents that Emperor Akbar had send him and also reimbursing all expense incurred by the ambassador, giving him money to defray his travel expenses. Even though the immediate tension seemed to have been diffused, Venkata was astute enough to realise that this was only a temporary reprieve. He started preparations to defend the kingdom—he raised a large army and started equipping and training them; the garrisons and towns of the north, from which direction the attack would emanate, were repaired and manned; and he strengthened the existing fortresses.

Vellore Rebellion 1603-04

By the end of the 16th century, Vellore had developed into an important and strong fortress, initially governed by Chinna Bomma Nayaka. By 1603, the fort was held by Bomma’s son, Linganna, who acknowledged his allegiance to the Nayakas of Jingi. For some reason Linganna seems to have annoyed Venkata Deva, the actual episode that led to this situation remains unknown. A Vijayanagara army under the command of Channa was send to capture Vellore. The first battle took place on the plains of Munnali in which, Linganna was comprehensively defeated. He took refuge in the fort and prepared for a long siege. Vellore fort was besieged by Vijayanagara forces.

Unable to penetrate the defences of the fort, Channa decided on a different stratagem. There were few friends of Linganna who were junior commanders in the Vijayanagara army. Channa had them visit Linganna inside the fort, as a gesture to celebrate their long-standing friendship. After the visit, when they were returning to the Vijayanagara camp, Linganna accompanied them to the gates of the fortress. At the gates, Vijayanagara forces who were waiting seized the Nayaka and took him prisoner. Even so, the resistance from the fort continued under the leadership of Linganna’s sons. Unable to break the resistance, Channa asked for reinforcements. Venkata Deva himself led the forces coming to provide assistance, reaching Vellore on 9 January 1604. Vellore fort was reduced and fell to Vijayanagara forces soon after. Linganna, already a prisoner of Channa, asked Venkata’s forgiveness, but was not forgiven.

Venkata Deva took up residence in Linganna’s palace till end of May and then returned to Chandragiri, taking Linganna with him as a prisoner. From this action it can be assumed that Vellore was annexed to the greater Vijayanagara Empire. In 1606, Venkata established his own court at Vellore.

Mughal Interlude 1604

In 1604, when Venkata was annexing Vellore, two critical events took place in the diplomatic front. First, Akbar continued his attempts to draw Bijapur into his orbit through insisting on perpetuating a marital alliance between the two dynasties. Ibrahim Adil Shah had been unnerved by the fate of Ahmadnagar and the Nizam Shahis. He sought to buy time by bribing the Mughal envoy and also attempting to form alliances with his neighbours. Second, in 1604, Emperor Akbar send letters to all the remaining kings of the Deccan and South India—Bijapur, Golconda, Bidar and Vijayanagara—asking them to submit to his control. Of the four, Ali Barid Shah ruling Bidar accepted Mughal sovereignty almost immediately. Golconda attempted to buy time by sending presents to the Mughal emperor and Bijapur adopted delaying tactics.

In this tense atmosphere, Vijayanagara became a strategically important country and was courted by both the Adil Shah and the Mughal Emperor. Both send embassies to Chandragiri that reached the Vijayanagara capital almost simultaneously. However, Venkata considered it prudent to continue his studied and demonstrated neutrality.

Ibrahim Adil Shah, despite his delaying tactics, had no option but to accept Akbar’s offer of marital alliance and send his daughter with the Mughal escorting nobles to be betrothed to the Mughal prince. Her marriage to Prince Daniyal was celebrated at Paithan. Bijapur thereafter enjoyed a brief period of peace, which spilled over to Vijayanagara also in an indirect manner. Unfortunately, Prince Daniyal died soon after and was followed by the demise of Akbar in October 1605. Akbar’s death put the Mughal ambitions on hold for a brief period of time.

Akbar was followed on the throne by his son Jahangir who continued the expansionist policy of his father. The Mughals once again started to batter the frontiers of the Deccan. The next two years saw Bijapur busy quelling rebellions in the south of the kingdom, led by the Nayaka of Keladi who was an erstwhile feudatory of the Adil Shah. The Keladi forces won some decisive battles in this struggle, indicating a loss of power in the forces of Bijapur. In 1607, the Mughal invasion of the Deccan began in earnest, under Prince Parviz Mirza, Jahangir’s second son. The Adil Shah was left with no option but to make peace with the recalcitrant chieftains of the South in order to concentrate his forces to face a much greater threat from the North. Around the same time, Venkata Deva had captured and annexed Jingi, which had been an occasional rebel province, refusing to pay tribute and at times even declaring independence.

The Rise of Mysore 1600-09

Even 30 years after the defeat at the Battle of Rakshasa-Tangadi and the rule of two kings of the new dynasty, Vijayanagara continued to be in turmoil. Raja Odeyar, the chief of Mysore nominally under the viceroy of Srirangapatana, embarked on a journey of conquest. He would not have dared to undertake such an adventure unless he was sure of being supported by the king against the viceroy of the region, Tirumala, (Timma Raja), which seems to have been the case. Odeyar was an extremely opportunistic chief, who had earlier assisted Tirumala on occasion, provided such assistance improved his own territorial holdings. He also engaged in most of the minor conflicts in the region with an eye out to gain some advantage for himself. By 1609, Raja Odeyar controlled the entire Mysore region and the districts around Hassan, laying the foundation of what would emerge later as the kingdom of Mysore at the heart of the Vijayanagara Empire. This kingdom, in the long-term, was destined to assume the mantle from Vijayanagara as the keeper of Hindu traditions in the Deep South.

European Traders

The Europeans, engaged in trade and commerce in the Peninsula and also gradually involving themselves in the domestic political affrays, were a source of strength to Vijayanagara. The fundamental reason for this was that the Europeans had managed to break up the Arab monopoly in the trade of war horses, which had been completely biased in favour of the Muslim Deccan kingdoms at the cost of Hindu Vijayanagara. By 1600, many ports on both the coasts of the Peninsula had been opened to the Europeans. Goa had become the viceregal headquarters of the Portuguese in India and they were also administering justice in the region surrounding the fort.

Although the Portuguese held the upper hand amongst the European traders in the late 16th and early 17th centuries, more competition was coming their way. Both the Dutch and English trading houses had started to make inroads into what had so far been exclusive Portuguese trade and commerce activities. The Portuguese in India were also feeling the indirect effects of the strained relationship between England and Portugal in Europe. In 1600, the Portuguese signed a treaty with Vijayanagara, the result of Venkata Deva II attempting to ensure support from all quarters against an anticipated Mughal invasion. However, a Portuguese attack on Hindu villages and the residents of San Thome in 1606 displeased Venkata Deva. In the same year, the Dutch had made contact with the Vijayanagara king and managed to secure permission to build a fort at Pulicat. The next year Venkata gave the Dutch monopoly to trade from Pulicat, perhaps as an alternative to the Portuguese whom he suspected of ill-treating the Hindus. With this one move, the Portuguese monopoly and their extreme advantage in trade was broken, never to be re-established.

A year later, a tussle between the Dutch and the English led to the English approaching Venkata for support. Venkata Deva provided the English with similar facilities as had been extended to the Dutch and helped them establish their own trading post at Masulipatam. This concession given to the English could be considered the first foot-step of the English in the sub-continent, established because of the generosity of Venkata Deva Raya II.

Although the king was attempting to ensure a focused approach to the Europeans in order to keep them under strict control, some of the feudatory provincial rulers also started to enter into agreements with the European powers. These agreements were not always in alignment with the king’s wishes and resulted in Vijayanagara initiating actions against the European powers, at times immediately after they had signed an agreement with a local chief. The situation added to the already unstable environment in the kingdom. More importantly, it demonstrated to the foreign powers the less than optimum hold that the king had over his vassal and feudatory chieftains. This realisation in turn led to the European powers interfering in the internal affairs of the Vijayanagara Empire, taking sides in conflicts between the major chieftains of the kingdom, at time initiating actions that were inimical to the broader interest of the kingdom as laid down by the king. Venkata was unable to prevent this, which led to further dilution of central power. By 1610, Vijayanagara was more a confederacy of major provinces, rather than a fully controlled empire, ruled by semi-autonomous ‘princelings’ and chieftains, who only payed lip-service to their status as vassals of the great Vijayanagara Empire.

Domestic Disharmony

Venkata was acutely aware of the internal threat to the empire and the destabilisation brought about by the animosity between local rulers, which often spilled out to become open wars. He was also cognisant of the rising power of the Nayakas of the south, especially the Nayaka of Madura who was ruling almost as an independent ‘king’. He was the most powerful and therefore the most recalcitrant of the vassals of Vijayanagara. In order to bring the Madura Nayaka back into the fold, Venkata Deva personally led an army against him. (A detailed narrative of the Nayakas of Madura is given in a later chapter.)

Divisions in the Royal Family

During Venkata Deva’s rule, Tirumala also known as Timma Raja, the son of his deceased elder brother Rama Raja was the viceroy of Srirangapatana. Tirumala had been sidelined during the discussions regarding succession during the reign of his other uncle, Sri Ranga I and therefore harboured animosity against Venkata. Tirumala was always recalcitrant in his dealings with Vijayanagara and his relationship with the king, his paternal uncle, was highly strained.

For the proposed attack on the Madura Nayaka, Venkata asked his nephew, the viceroy, for assistance. Tirumala joined the Vijayanagara forces, but at a critical moment in the battle against the Madura Nayaka, withdrew his forces and returned to Srirangapatana.

Venkata went on to subdue Madura without Srirangapatana assistance. However, he never forgave his nephew for, what he considered, the commission of an ‘act of treachery’.

Subsequently, Venkata Deva turned a blind eye towards the activities of the Madura Nayaka when he marched on Srirangapatana. At this turn of events, Timma Raja knew that he could not hope for assistance from his uncle the king. He therefore asked his own nominal vassal, the Odeyar of Mysore for assistance, which was also not forthcoming. For some inexplicable reason, the Madura forces withdrew of their own volition without inflicting any damage on Srirangapatana. Taking this respite as an opportunity to settle scores with Mysore, Timma Raja invaded Mysore territory. Unfortunately, he was soundly beaten and driven back by the Odeyar forces.

Venkata, observing the activities from his capital, now encouraged Odeyar to attack Timma Raja although he was the king’s viceroy, by sending him a message along with some presents—in an indirect manner blessing the enterprise against his own nephew and viceroy. The pettiness of Venkata’s actions stand out as yet another instance in the long history of India of a king initiating actions that would come back to haunt him in later days and would ultimately contribute decisively to the undoing of his dynasty and kingdom.

Odeyar was overjoyed at the tacit permission being given to attack the viceroy by the king himself and immediately attacked Srirangapatana. Timma Raja shut himself in the capital and Odeyar now elected to desist from taking any further precipitate action. The reasons for this inactivity against the viceroy could be many or a combination of some of them. It could have been political astuteness on his part, since he may not have been sure about the continued support of Venkata if Timma Raja was defeated and disgraced or killed. It may have been for sentimental reasons since the viceroy was his ostensible overlord and Odeyar may not yet have considered himself powerful enough to stand against the might of Vijayanagara, embodied at least nominally in Timma Raja.

In the event, Odeyar permitted Timma Raja to evacuate Srirangapatana with his family and some assets to take up residence in a place called Tera Kamanil, exiled as an ordinary citizen. Odeyar installed himself as the viceroy, carrying out all formalities to ensure his legitimacy to hold the position. Venkata Deva was happy and satisfied that his nephew had been taught a lesson and reduced to commonality. Once again the flaw in his character comes through very clearly. For petty gains, he divided the royal family and does not seem to have realised the immediate or mid-term repercussions and the long-term consequences of his actions—the tacit approval of the removal of a prince of the ruling royal family from being the viceroy, by an upstart minor chieftain.

Odeyar, a minor and small-time chief was now raised to a position of high dignity. This one move gave him and his successors overlordship of all the chiefs who were till then subjects of the viceroy, a member of the Aravidu royal family. These chiefs now became the ‘vassals’ of the ‘royal family’ of Mysore, their loyalty shifting subtly and gradually to the rulers of Mysore, moving away from the Aravidu king ruling in Penukonda/Chandragiri. The change in the administrative set up that made Odeyar the viceroy also led to Odeyar having to fight skirmishes and subdue smaller chieftains who refused to accept his viceroyalty.

Directly supporting Odeyar to spite his own nephew was the biggest blunder committed by Venkata Deva Raya II throughout his life and reign. From this point onwards, the fortunes of the Mysore Odeyars increased in direct proportion to the reducing stature of the kings of the Aravidu dynasty. In 1611, Venkata personally moved to san Thome to contain a civil war between his own officers and the Portuguese forces. In a demonstration of the signs of the time, the Nayaka of Thanjavur openly assisted the Portuguese against his own sovereign. Venkata had to abandon the expedition and return to his capital, his power and stature further diminished in the eyes of both the domestic population as well as the foreign powers watching the decline of the ruling dynasty.

A year later, the Gauda chieftains were involved in an internal tussle and one of them requested Venkata Deva to interfere on his behalf. Although imperial forces were send to the region, they were not able to achieve any of their objectives. They hastily patched up a truce and returned. The above two episodes really involved only minor principalities and chieftains and yet the larger Vijayanagara forces were unable to impose their will on the events. These were signs of the evolving state of affairs. The king of Vijayanagara had become an ineffectual figure-head, who was tolerated, provided he did not attempt to interfere in any local political matters.

Succession Fiasco in the Last Days

Although Venkata had six formal wives, he did not have any sons. His favourite queen’s father and brother had over a period of time become very powerful in the royal court and were ruling the kingdom by default, along with the Queen who was considered the power behind Venkata Deva. The trio did not want any of Venkata’s nephews to succeed to the throne, since it would have meant their own loss of power. Therefore, they concocted a succession plan, with the knowledge of Venkata Deva, who sanctioned the plot.

The Succession Plot

The Queen and her immediate family connived to pretend that she was pregnant. They arranged to have a male child brought in from the outside at the correct time. Accordingly, a male Brahmin child was secreted into the Queen’s chambers at the appropriate time and declared as the Queen’s own issue. As the child grew into a boy, he was declared the heir apparent, ‘Chika Raya’. However, he was kept completely cloistered, always accompanied by his ‘mother’ the Queen. At 14, he was married to a niece of Venkata Deva. The plot almost succeeded, but for Venkata suffering an unfortunate bout of conscience and integrity, that made him initiate alternative actions.

By now Venkata was an ailing 60-year old who knew that his time on Earth was nearing its end. Of the two sons of his deceased brother Rama Raja, he had always kept the younger Sri Ranga in the palace and had brought him up. Since he had personally sanctioned the removal of the elder nephew Tirumala from the viceroyalty of Srirangapatana, he believed that Sri Ranga was the next legitimate heir to the throne. He also regretted the fraud that was being perpetuated on the kingdom. In order to make amends, a few days before his death, he called seven senior nobles to his bedside along with Sri Ranga and declared Sri Ranga the heir apparent. He enjoined the senior nobles to obey the future king and to assist him in ruling the kingdom. Venkata Deva Raya II died within a week of this episode, in early October 1614.

Venkata Deva Raya II – A Retrospective

Most of the reports about Venkata mention him variously as a ‘sweet and meek’ person who was, by all accounts, a greatly attractive character. He is also stated to have been a lord of, ‘great authority, prudence and understanding’, although the mention of being meek and having great authority at the same time are contradictory. The Hindu chronicles are unanimous in proclaiming Venkata as one of the greatest rulers of Vijayanagara and considers him a ‘great and pious’ sovereign. Even the Jesuit fathers of the time acknowledge his generosity to both friend and foe alike. However, the assessment of his being one of the great Vijayanagara kings has to be questioned, since he does not come up to the same level in terms of integrity and character values as Krishna Deva Raya or Bukka.

The mention of the territories that he ruled is subject to a great deal of exaggeration, which is to be expected and normal for the times. Some contemporary plates mention him ruling from ‘the Himalayas to the Setu’, the Oceans. The truth lies in the Vilapaka grant report that clearly mentions Venkata as ruling ‘over the country of Karnata’. An impartial assessment of Venkata Deva would see him rated by far as the most illustrious Aravidu king, although he does not compare favourably with the illustrious kings of the previous dynasties who easily out-stature him in all aspects of being a sovereign.

It has to be accepted that he repeatedly checked incursions by both Bijapur and Golconda into Vijayanagara territory and also managed to recover large tracts of territory that had earlier been lost by his father and brother. However, towards the end of his reign, the loss of power and central authority is very obvious and seen even in minor internal episodes. During the height of his power, the Portuguese and the Adil Shah of Bijapur sought to form alliances with Venkata as an anti-dote to the invading Mughals—a tacit acceptance of the geo-political importance of Vijayanagara under Venkata Deva. This acceptance also points to Vijayanagara having adopted a successful foreign policy stance.

Venkata Deva also had to subdue many feudatory chiefs throughout his reign. In these activities, he was always decisive and mainly successful, although towards the last part of his reign he was unable to contain even minor rebellions. Based on his decisiveness, some analysts have proclaimed that during the reign of Venkata, the kingdom was once again moving along towards prosperity and relative peace. This author believes that such an analysis is precipitate and not entirely correct. Peace was not established in Venkata’s rule, since he was always having to subdue rebelling vassals or push back Muslim invasions. Economic prosperity was also based on the wealth that had been accumulated by earlier dynasties. No new measure was instituted to improve the prosperity of the kingdom and nor were any major victories won. In fact he gave concessions to the Europeans thereby making it more difficult for local traders to compete with them. Overall, the economy of Vijayanagara was trundling along as before and already in a gradual decline.

The travelling Jesuit priests have assessed the kingdom as being generally well-administered. Even this praise cannot be laid at the feet of Venkata Deva since the kingdom had effectively become a confederacy of smaller states, who did not broker any interference by the king in their internal matters. The credit for the administration must rightly go to the nominal vassal and feudatory chiefs. Venkata, although experienced in administration, did not control much of a kingdom to administer, and was only involved in dealing with foreign invasions and European trading houses.

Venkata Deva – Three Major Flaws

Venkata Deva led an eventful, long and mostly ‘kingly’ life. Unfortunately, his reign and his own character is marred by three conspicuous actions that bring him out to be a flawed character. These incidents detract from placing him among the ‘greats’ of Vijayanagara, even though a number of earlier historians have sung his praise and raised him to the rank of ‘Great Kings’. The situation is much like that of Krishna Deva Raya, who is still considered the epitome of kingly virtue, with his misdemeanour towards the end of his reign being collectively swept under the carpet. (This has been explained in an earlier chapter.)

The first action that demeans the character of Venkata Deva II is the role he played in ensuring the final extinction of the Tuluva dynasty. Although questioned by some earlier historians, there is now no doubt that he murdered the last Tuluva King, Sadasiva Deva. Incarceration of a prince or heir apparent was common place in medieval times and could even be considered a political necessity for the welfare of the state. However, even in those harsh times, murder was not justified, especially when the murdered person had been earlier used to legitimise the rule of the Regent, who subsequently usurped the throne. Murder of a king who had been brought to the public, even if in very controlled situations, cannot be justified either as state necessity or public policy.

The second action that mars his conduct is the fact that he retired from public life during the last years of his rule without handing over to the heir apparent, whoever that may have been. By informally abdicating his responsibilities he let the country be ruled by his favourite Queen and her relatives. They did not have the responsibility to do the right thing by the kingdom and its people, but were free to misuse the ill-gotten authority that they had in the name of the king, to pursue their own vested interests. This situation, where the Queen and her cohorts were ruling the country with no checks and balances proved to be fatal for the kingdom. The last few years of Venkata’s rule prepared the ground for the civil war that followed his demise.

The third action stemmed from his pettiness in dealing with his elder nephew Timma Raja. In a fit of jealous pique Venkata let a minor vassal chief defeat Timma who was legally the king’s own viceroy. Even in exile, Timma Raja continued to be the favourite of a majority of the nobles who wanted him anointed heir apparent. However, Venkata favoured his younger nephew, Sri Ranga and placed him on the throne few days before his death. This one action immediately led to civil war at his death and also to the loss of goodwill to the royal house from a majority of the nobility. Venkata could not rise above pettiness, even in dealing with the next generation of his own family and did not have the vision or the magnanimity to place the interest of the kingdom and the dynasty above his own personal needs.

Religious Activities

An earlier assessment states, ‘Venkata was privileged to rule over a peaceful period’. This statement cannot be corroborated, but is used as the basis for asserting that both theological and cultural developments took place during his reign. It is reported that a very high spirit of religious tolerance could be observed during Venkata’s rule with debates between different schools of religious thought being common in the royal court. Although the kingdom was in the throes of minor rebellions and major external invasions, Venkata patronised art and encouraged philosophical debate. This example was followed by the vassal chiefs, even the ones in political rebellion, leading to a resurgence of Hindu art and philosophical developments.

Across the kingdom, Hindu religious teachers of repute held positions of high esteem and were supported by local chieftains to improve their scholarly activities. The king was fully supportive of these initiatives. This brief period also coincides with the initial arrival of Christian missionaries into South India and the gradual change of Christianity in India as a proselytising religion. Some of the chieftains were magnanimous enough to permit the Christian missionaries to explain their doctrine in the royal courts. These in turn led to intense religious debates and encouraged an equally high level and quality of literary activities. Patronage for authors and artists was almost fully assured and therefore a large number of acclaimed works were produced across the kingdom.

Venkata was generous in his gifts to temples for their upkeep. Large number of plates and inscriptions verify his munificence and provide details of his donations of wealth and gifts of villages for the maintenance and upkeep of Hindu temples. There is also evidence that a number of feudatory chiefs followed his example.

And Finally…

Venkata Deva Raya II is credited by a number of older historical analysts with having restored, even if temporarily, the old glory of Vijayanagara. With new information being made available through archaeological evidence, new research and more astute interpretations, the claim of restoration of Vijayanagara glory would seem specious. As has been narrated in this and the previous chapter, Venkata Deva’s reign was not peaceful nor conducive to the restoration of the old glory of the Empire, however forgiving one could be of his rule and biased in the analysis of the geo-political environment of the time. Viewed pragmatically, Venkata Deva’s reign could at best be declared a temporary slowing of the rate of the steady decline in the power and stature of the once glorious Vijayanagara Empire.

By his somewhat reckless actions of withdrawing from public life and siding with a minor chieftain against his own nephew and viceroy, Venkata Deva unconsciously caused the civil war that followed his death. He has to bear the responsibility for ushering in, without any fanfare, the beginning of the end of the Empire. In the final analysis, and explaining it in one sentence—Venkata Deva Raya opened the doors to chaos and hastened the end of Vijayanagara Empire.

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About Sanu Kainikara

Sainik School Kazhakuttam (Kerala), National Defence Academy 39/A, 108 Pilot's Course IAF, fighter pilot, QFI, FCL, psc, HACC, Voluntary Retirement as Wing Commander. Canberra-based Political and Defence Analyst specialising in military strategy, national security, and international politics. PhD in International Politics from University of Adelaide Executive Masters in Public Adminsitration (ANZSOG) Adjunct Professor, University of New South Wales, Distinguished Fellow Institute For Regional Security (IFRS) Distinguished Fellow Centre for Air Power Studies (CAPS)

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