Rani Chennamma

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Recently, several social groups across the country organized a national campaign Naanoo Rani Chennamma (I am Rani Chennamma too) to commemorate 200 years of Rani Chennamma’s rebellion against the British East India Company.

About Rani Chennamma

  • Chennamma was born in Kakati, a small village in today’s Belagavi district of Karnataka.
  • She became queen of Kitturu (now in Karnataka) when she married Raja Mallasarja of the Desai family.
  • After Mallasarja’s death in 1816, his eldest son, Shivalingarudra Sarja, ascended the throne.
  • Before his death in 1824, Shivalingarudra adopted a child, Shivalingappa, as the successor.
  • However, the British East India Company refused to recognise Shivalingappa as the successor of the kingdom under the ‘doctrine of lapse’.
  • Key facts about the Kittur Rebellion
    • John Thackery, the British official at Dharwad, launched an attack on Kittur in October 1824.
    • In this first battle British forces lost heavily and the Collector and political agent, St. John Thackeray was killed by the Kitturu forces. 
    • Two British officers, Sir Walter Elliot and Mr. Stevenson, were also taken as hostages. 
    • However, the British army again attacked the Kittur Fort and captured it.
    • Rani Chennamma and her family were imprisoned and jailed at the fort in Bailhongal, where she died in 1829.

What was the doctrine of Lapse?

  • Under the doctrine of Lapse, any princely state without a natural heir would collapse and would be annexed by the Company.
  • The princely state of Kitturu was taken over by the British East India Company in 1824 by imposing the 'doctrine of lapse', even before it was officially articulated by Lord Dalhousie, Governor General for the British East India Company, between 1848 and 1856.

Q1) What is the East India Company ?

It was an English, and later British, joint-stock company founded in 1600 and dissolved in 1874. It was formed to trade in the Indian Ocean region, initially with the East Indies, and later with East Asia.

Source: How Rani Chennamma’s revolt against the British inspired a national campaign for women’s rights