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Resharing – Prolaya Verma Reddy – agastya to the ocean of mlecchas (muslim)
Prolalaya Vema Reddy wad the 2nd son of Komati Prolaya Reddy. His kingdom was Addanki. He supported Mansuri Prolaya for independence of Andhra. Matluri inscription gave him the name Mlechabdi Kumbhodhvudu. He was the founder of independent reddy kingdom. Yerrapragada named him as Yavana Nrupabalabdi. He constructed pathway for Srisailam and Ahobilam temples. Dharma pratishtapaguru, Nissiya Budhana parasurama, Bhudana parasurama were the names given to him. The Mallavaram record describes him as the virtual
Agastya to the ocean of the Mlechehas’ Mlechch = abdhi- Kumbh Odbhavah).
In 1311 Alla-ad-din Khalji sent his lover and general Maliq Kaffr to devastate the Telengana region with his ferocious army of Islam. The invasion was savage and Hindu kshatriyas of the Kakatiya, Chalukya and pandaya clans fought with great valor but were routed in the battles around Warangal. The survivors took shelter in the fort of Kondapalli and held out against the Mohammedan blizzard.
However, in 1316 Alla-ad-din died and the tumultuous events in Delhi triggered by the Gujarati rebellion prevented the Mohammedans from consolidating their grip over Telangana. As result there was severe local unrest and Kakatiyas under Prataparudra started re-establishing themselves. The veteran Ghazi from Afghanistan, Ghazi al Maliq Tughlaq, soon set matters right for the Mohammedans in Delhi and decided to consolidate the flagging Jihad in peninsular India.
He sent his able successor Mohammed bin Tughlaq to prosecute the Jihad with unrelenting vigor in South India. M b Tughlaq charted elaborate plans for the invasion of Pune, Devagiri, Telengana and Tondaimandalam and set them rolling in 1321. After having sacked Pune in course of a year long siege of Kondana which was valiantly defended by Naga Nayaka he plowed through Devagiri and turning south east arrived in Telengana in 1322.
After a prolonged, fierce see-saw encounter in which the Mohammedans constantly receiving supplies from Devagiri and Delhi the Kakatiya army of Prataparudra was vanquished at Warangal.
They were forced into the defensive as the army of Islam mounted a massive encirclement attack on the fort of Rajamahendravaram. They held out for 6 months but at the end of it the Mohammedans stormed the fort and massacred the defenders to man. Prataparudra and his family was captured and sent to Delhi, but on the way he killed himself rather than go through the ordeal of converting to Islam. The grand Shri Venugopala Swami temple built by the Chalukyas was demolished by Tughlaq and he erected a mosque using the material from the temple. With that the kshatriya presence in Telengana had been smashed the the oppressive crescent banner terrorized the land.
In 1325 the responsibility of organizing defense of the dharma was taken up by the valiant shudra warrior Prolaya Vema Reddy. Son of local warlord who decided to rid the land of the wicked Turks after kshatriyas had all been killed for the protection of the agraharas and brahmanas.
Vema Reddy drawing inspiration from his deity ganga , and the warrior god kumara assembled a large army drawn from the peasants and herdsmen of the ravaged land. His clan had long excelled in cattle raids and honed the skills of the the rapid hit and run methods. He joined hands with two other major local landowners like Prolaya Nayaka and Kaapaya Nayaka and they formed a coalition with at least 75 other local strongmen and warlords. Reddy assembled his Hindu armies at Addanki and marched on the Tughlaq army.
Prolaya assembled a large army of peasants and herdsmen, and adopted guerrilla warfare. It is said that when he attacked Muslims, Vema Reddy had their water supply lines contaminated with sewage leading to dysentery in their ranks.They used biological warfare in this conflict leading to the Mohammedans with sewage resulting a raging dysentry which decimated the Tughlaq army. Tughlaq himself fell ill and retreated. As the Moslems were in disarray the Hindu army fell upon them and crushed remanants in pitched encounter at Kaapaya Nayakthe outskirts of Warangal. Veera Ballala III of Dwarasamudra helped the coalition of Vema Reddy and Kapaya Nayaka. Vema chased the general of the Tughlaq army, Malik Maqbul to the Warangal fort and Kapaya Nayaka then stormed it and took control. Vema then led a blitzkrieg on the Kondavidu fort and hacked off the head of Maliq Gurjar, the Muslim commander there and liberated Nidudavolu, Vundi, and Pithapuram after pitched battles.The Vema Reddy realized that even though the army had departed the local Moslem Amirs and merchants were a major obstacle in restoring Hindu rule. So he conducted a series of raids destroy their trading networks and militias and extirpating the pockets of Islamic garrisons distributed over the country. In the process they were aided by the Hindu king Vira Ballaala of Dwarasamudra, who staved of attacks by the army of Islam from its head quarters in Devagiri.
In 1335 M b Tughlaq sent a large force under Maqbool Iqbal to smash the Hindu revival in Telengana. However, the Reddy and Nayaka army aided by auxillaries sent by Vira Ballaala inflicted a massive defeat on them, killing 15 Moslem Amirs on the field. Vema Reddy chased Iqbal into the Warangal fort and seeing that he was hard-pressed to defend it Kaapaya Nayaka stormed the fort.
Vema Reddy then moved on the fort of Kondvidu and stormed it by hacking off the head Maliq Gurjaar, the Moslem commander. Then liberated Nidadavolu, Vundi and Pithapuram after pitched battles. He then massacred an army of Jalal-ud-din Shah in a raid on Tondaimandalam even as Ballaala engaged the sultan himself.
Kondaveedu Fort However, after a long struggle with the Sultans of Madhurai and Delhi, Ballaala finally fell into the hands of the Moslems. He was skinned alive and his dry skin was pegged on one of the wall of Madhurai (seen later by ibn Battuta). Undaunted Vema Reddy launched a series of daring attacks on the Moslem garrisons in the forts of Bellamkonda, Vinukonda and Nagarjunakonda and captured all of them after slaughtering the defenders.
He raised his flag in Kondavidu and declared himself a Raja. His famous inscriptions from this period state:
” I restored all the agraharas of Brahmins, which had been taken away by the evil Moslem kings”. “I am indeed an Agastya to the ocean which was made of the Moslem”.
But his trouble was still not over. There was another muslim territory who wanted to consolidate their position in the south by the name of bahamani sultanate. It’s founder alauddin bahman shah worked as a general under muhammad bin tugalaq. Later broke away from the Delhi Sultanate and founded his own kingdom in 1347.
The first invasion of Telingana by the Bahmani Sultan, AlaudDin Shah shook the power of Kapaya Nayaka. The
defeat he sustained at the hands of the Sultan greatly enfeebled bis
authority over the coastal region. He was not able to maintain his
hold firmly either over the country above the Ghats or the region below
As a matter of fact, ever since the establishment of the Bahmani kingdom in the neighbourhood of Warahgal, Kapaya Nayaka was unable to turn his attention to the affairs of the coastal tract. The muslims did not stop with invading telangana (Hyderabad state), the Warangal kingdom of Kapaya Nayaka, but seem to have crossed the Krishna river and attacked the Reddy dominion. Prolaya Voma was ably aided in these wars by his powerful brothers and his maternal uncles, Potaya, Nagaya, and Cittaya.Malla Reddi, the youngest brother of Verma was, according to the Mallavaram inscription and the Telugu work Harivamsam the commander of the Reddy army.Malla Reddy(, the commander of the Reddy force drove them away after inflicting a severe defeat on the Bahmani Sultan, Alaudin and protected the Reddy kingdom. The date of this invasion cannot be fixed precisely. It must however have taken place some time after the coronation of Alaudin in 1347 AD. “ All the brothers of Verma as well as his son, Anavota, assisted him in his campaigns and contributed much to his success. Malla Reddi, the commander of the army, is particularly credited, according to the Harivamisa to have put to flight a group of enemy kings by the prowess of his arms and captured the famous sea-port of Motupalli’ (in the Bapatla taluk of Guntur district),
Caitravura (the summer resort) of the Kakatiya records. Though the date of the conquest of Motupalli cannot he fixed definitely, it is not unlikely that Malla Reddy achieved this victory during the early campaigns of Prolaya Verma in the coastal region. The capture of Motupalli
did not, however, give Verma the entire command of the east coast. A
large part of it still remained outside the jurisdiction of his authority. However, as a result of their successful campaigns the Reddys grew powerful, and their importance increased in the coastal tract.
The Reddys regarded themselves as masters of the south-eastern portion of the Kakatiya dominion extending from Srisailanm in the Nandikotkur taluk of Kurnool district to the east coast. They continued to administer this region as usual, as in the time of Pratiiparudra with
Addahki on the river Kundiprabha or Gundlakarnma (in the Ongolo taluk, Guntur district) as their capital. With their strong arms they conquered the rebel chiefs in their neighbourhood and assumed the role of independent rulers.
Though in the beginning of his reign Vema acknowledged in a way the supremacy of the Musunuri chiefs, he was, as explained
already, practically independent in his own territory. Subsequent to the invasions of Telingana by the Bahamani Sultan, / Alaudin Shah ho appears to have assumed full independence and ever since that time, he was busy in consolidating his
conquests and placing the new principality on a firm basis. At the time of his death his authority extended as far as or a little
beyond the Krishna in the north and beyond Kandukur (Nellore district) in the south and Srisailam (Kurnool district) in the
west. His principality thus extended over a fairly large area, equal in size to, if not actually bigger than, the feudal kingdoms that flourished in the coastal region of the Andhra country during the eleventh and twelfth centuries of the Christian era. Yet, it is noteworthy that Verma did not assume the title mahamandaleshvara
borne by independent rulers like the Kakatiya monarchs and by many
of the feudal chiefs, some of whose territory was comparatively smaller
in size than his own. In the place of mahmandalehvara we find only
the simple and plain term Srimatu, Verna’s descendants followed his
example and avoided the use of this title .
It was during this chaotic period in Andhra history that Prolaya Vema Reddy established the Reddy kingdom in 1325. The Reddy rulers patronised and protected Hinduism and its institutions. The Brahmins were given liberal grants by the Reddy kings and the agraharas of Brahmins were restored. Vedic studies were encouraged. The Hindu temples of Srisailam and Ahobilam were provided with more facilities. Prolaya Vema Reddy bestowed a number of agraharas on the Brahmins. He was revered by the title of Apratima-Bhudana-Parasurama.He commissioned major repairs to the Srisailam Mallikarjuna Swami temple, and had a flight of steps built from the Krishna river to the temple. The Narasimha Swamy temple at Ahobilam was built during his reign. He built 108 temples for Shiva. His restoration of the dharma also caused a major revival of local literature, especially under the auspices of the Telugu author Erranna, a vatsa bhargava brahmana of the middle migration of the bhargavas. His ramayana was supposed to have been a master piece.
In his love of Hindu religion and institutions he truly represented the spirit of the age and the soul of the movement
for the revival of Hindu dharma. Along with Prolaya Nayaka he took a lead in organising the forces of the country and concerting measures for its defence against possible Muslim attacks. He built a large number of forts, tradition says it was 84, like Dhanyavati or Dharapikota (Amaravati), Dhanadaprolu (Tsandavol), Vinukonda, Kopdavidu, Kondapalli and Bellamkonda and stationed garrisons in
places of strategic importance. His brothers and kinsmen who were
attached to him and served him loyally, carried out his behests with unswerving devotion. They helped him in establishing law and order, and were mainly responsible in building a powerful Reddy principality south of the Krishna.
1. Kondaveedu Fort English Documentary( Hindu history )
2. History of the reddis kingdoms( circa 1325 ad to circa 1448 ad) by M. Somasekhara sarma.