Krishna raja Wodeyar lll – his contributions
Wodeyar Dynasty during British rule played a most vital role in developing Mysore, as princely State. Wodeyar Dynasty also spelt as Wodeyar Dynasty, an Indian royal dynasty that ruled the Kingdom of Mysore from 1399 to 1947, until the sovereignty of India from rule of British Government in India and the subsequent unification of Indian dominion and princely states into the Republic of India.
After restoring the Wadiyar or the Wodeyars to the throne of Mysore, by the British East India Company as Dual Independent state political governance, the British shifted the capital back to the city of Mysore from Srirangapatna.
Krishna Raja Wadiyar III, son of the last Wodeyar King Chamaraja Wodeyar VIII, was anointed as the King of Mysore, as a minor ruler of Mysore. From that time onwards, Wadiyars or Wodeyars were the subsidiaries of the British East India Company. The Wodeyers had to pay annual subsidy to the British East India Company.
Krishna Raja Wodeyar III was one of the most efficient rulers of Mysore, famous for the patronage of arts and music in Mysore. Krishna Raja Wodeyar III ruled Mysore from 30 June 1799 to 27 March 1868.
Early Life of Krishna Raja Wodeyar III
Mummadi Krishnaraja Wadiyar or Krishna Raja Wodeyar III was born at Srirangapatna. He was the son of Khasa Chamaraja Wadiyar IX and his first wife, Maharani Kempa Nanja Ammani Avaru. Chamaraja Wadiyar IX was the adopted son of Maharani Lakshmi Ammani Devi, the widow of Krishnaraja Wadiyar II. Maharani Lakshmi Ammani Devi played a major role in the development of her adopted grandson, Mummadi Krishnaraja Wodeyar who was better known as Krishna Raja Wodeyar III. He played a most important role in his ascendancy to the Mysore throne.
Accession of Krishna Raja Wodeyar III
The Wadiyars or the Wodeyars had lost the power of Mysore to Hyder Ali in the year 1766. Maharani Lakshmi Ammani Devi was waiting for a chance to unseat Hyder Ali and later his son Tipu Sultan, and had sent numerous feelers to the British East India Company to unseat them and hand over the kingdom to the Wadiyars. She also informed the British East Indian Company about the treaty between Tipu Sultan and the French East India Company. When Tipu Sultan died at the hands of the British in the Battle of Seringapatna, in the year 1799, she discussed about the handover of the Mysore throne, which finally led to the Krishnaraja Wodeyar, as the ruler of Mysore on 30 June 1799. At that time, he was only five years old. The ceremony of coronation took place in a special pavilion constructed near the Lakshmiramana Swamy temple in Mysore. Dewan Purnaiah was selected as the Dewan of Mysore with an indication that he should be loyal to the king till the king himself attains an age of discretion.
Krishna Raja Wodeyar III attained the throne at the age of 16 in early 1810. Hence Krishna Raja Wodeyar III attained the age of discretion. After discussing with the British Resident, A. H. Cole, the reins of the state of Mysore were transferred from Dewan Purnaiah to the king of Mysore.
Rule of Krishna Raja Wodeyar III
Krishna Raja Wodeyar III ruled Mysore state when the political life of South India is tumultuous. The years that followed witnessed cordial relations between Mysore and the British East India Company until things began to sour in the 1820s. Even though the Governor of Madras, Thomas Munro determined after a personal investigation in 1825 that there was no substance to the allegations of financial impropriety made by A. H. Cole, the incumbent Resident of Mysore, the civil insurrection which broke out towards the end of the decade changed things considerably. In the year 1831, close to the heels of the insurrection and citing mal-administration, the British East India Company and later the British Government took direct control of the princely state of Mysore. For the next fifty years, the princely Mysore passed under the rule of successive British Commissioners; Sir Mark Cubbon, renowned for his statesmanship.
Contribution of Krishna Raja Wodeyar III
Krishna Raja Wodeyar III was responsible for the cultural growth of the Mysore. Krishna Raja Wodeyar III was himself a writer, having written the books on Kannada Language like Sritattvanidhi and Sougandhikaparinaya. Krishna Raja Wodeyar III also has a number of writers in his court who together contributed to the development of modern prose in Kannada language. The Champu style of prose was followed till then. Other important writings of Krishna Raja Wodeyar III that emerged during the rule of Krishna Raja Wodeyar III include Mudramanjusha by Kempu Narayana, Kalavati Parinaya by Yadava and Vachana Kadamabari. Krishna Raja Wodeyar III was well versed in many languages and could play “Veena”. He was a great patron of music also. He was an expert player of board games and is credited to have revived the Ganjifa art game. Krishna Raja Wodeyar III was also a collector and an inventor of board games. During his kingship, there was a gradual progression of art, architecture and culture of Mysore.
Krishnaraja Wodeyar III was a multifaceted, multitalented genius. He was a polyglot, scholar, an accomplished poet, writer, artist, and musician among other things. He has to his credit at least 50 literary works on various subjects.
His Sritattvanidhi is an encyclopaedic treatise interspersed liberally with iconography. The objective of the work was to collate and combine all available information about the iconography and iconometry of divine figures in South India. Krishnaraja Wodeyar III also wrote the illustrated epic prose-romance, Sougandhikaparinaya. It was a new prose style he devised, breaking away from the styles handed down until his time.
Of the most distinctive and unique regional dance forms in India hailing from Karnataka, Yakshagana perhaps occupies the top spot. And its survival, resurgence and growth owes a huge debt of gratitude to Krishnaraja Wodeyar III. It was during his reign that he patronized Parti Subba, a renowned Yakshagana writer and performer from South Canara.
Krishnaraja Wodeyar III was an accomplished player of the Veena and patronized great musicians and composers of his time like Sadashiva Rao, Veena Venkatasubbayya and Doddaseshanna.
Krishnaraja Wodeyar III also encouraged graphic arts. He had an army of accomplished artists under his patronage. Among other things, they were engaged to paint court-life in all its grandeur. Apart from this, portraiture developed as a fine art in Mysore during Krishnaraja Wodeyar’s rule Along with the paintings of court life, these form a very valuable resource for researchers because of the visual clues they provide to the past. He was also responsible for the creation of the Jaganmohan art gallery of Mysore, and built the original building in 1861.
Krishnaraja Wodeyar III also introduced English education in the Mysore state by starting Maharaja’s English School which paved way for the famous Maharaja’s college and finally, the Mysore University later under Sir M. Vishweshwarayya.
The nearly-70 year long rule of Krishnaraja Wodeyar III witnessed at least three generations of a galaxy of poets and other literary figures mainly in Kannada and Sanskrit. These litterateurs have stood the test of time, and their writings, plays, and poems are still read and recited in the state.
He is still honoured with the titles of Abhinava Kalidasa (Modern Kalidasa) and Kannada Nataka Pitamaha (Progenitor of Kannada drama). He translated almost all the celebrated works of Kalidasa. Kempu Narayana wrote his celebrataed Mudra Manjusha (the Kannada version of Vishakhadatta’s Mudra Rakshasa), the play based on Chanakya’s life and achievements.
Perhaps one significant administrative decision he took was to transfer the capital city of the Mysore state from Srirangapattana to Mysore city. The original Mysore city had been razed to the ground earlier by Tipu Sultan.
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