Modern Indian History-Events and Personalities

Who was Vannuramma?


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Vannuramma

Mains level : Not Much

The fort of legendry Vannuramma in Nallamala forest in the present day Mydukur mandal of Kadapa district is trending due to its rundown condition.

Who was Vannuramma?

  • Vannuramma ruled five ‘Durgams’ (under fiefdom) between 1781 and 1796 with Sakarlapadu as the administrative headquarters.
  • According to historical accounts, she was born in Pathimadugu Rekulakunta, now in Kadapa district, and got married to Veerneni Chinna Narasimha Naidu in 1764.
  • The family had the practice of praying at Vannuru Swamy temple in Kalyanadurgam of Anantapur district.
  • Vannuramma thus got her name as she was born, as believed, as the god’s gift.
  • Though there are not many historical accounts, Kadapa-based writer Bommisetty Ramesh brought out the first book last year on her.
  • Based on information culled out from the Mackenzie Kaifiyat of Kadapa, he extensively toured the region ruled by her, collected folklore and verified the same with historians.

Her legend

  • The very mention of the name ‘Vannuramma’ brought chill to the spine of the Matli kings and Kadapa Nawabs.
  • Of all the Polegars (local chieftains) who had ruled the regional territories of Rayalaseema before the advent of the British, the lone woman ruler remains forgotten from the pages of history.
  • Under attack from fellow Polegars, Vannuramma’s family fled Thippireddypalle and took shelter in Chagalamarri fort, where they lived for eight years before her husband breathed his last in 1780.
  • Vannuramma wielded the sword when the Matli king Appayya Raju and Mysore Sultan Hyder Ali’s follower Meeru Saheb waged a war, invaded Sakerlapadu Durgam and robbed the property of locals.
  • Mobilising her army, she declared a war and brought the territory back into her fold in 1781.

Her death

  • Even the Golconda Nawabs, through their Kadapa henchman Khadarvali Khan, tried in vain to control her.
  • It was then they hatched a plan to woo her adopted son and arrested her on some flimsy charges.
  • When the unsuspecting Vannuramma attended the Matli king’s court to prove her innocence, she was slapped with charges of treason.
  • The Nawabs captured her and sentenced her with ‘Korthi’, an inhuman form of punishment where a person is made to sit on a sharpened tree stump and left to die.
  • Vannuramma died in full public view in the year 1718 of Salivahana Saka, which translates to August 16, 1796, i.e., 226 years back.


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