India is a country which is known to have endless warriors, both men and women who have fought defending the country from foreign invasion.
For 1000s of years, India has attracted foreign invasion for its invaluable treasures, rich culture, tradition and literature. India has been an attractive place for British, French, Portugal and Mughals. These people always wanted to exploit India for their business. But the plan of these westerners was not just trade and business but to destroy the culture and tradition of India and implement Christianity and Islam. The Hindu religion which finds its base on scientific facts was intimidating to every invader from the west. So most of the Indian Kings and Queens have sacrificed their lives protecting the Hindu culture and the Hindu rashtra.
karnataka is well known for its brave warriors and great kings who wrote the history of India in golden letters. The place near Ullal, Mangalore a coastal region of Karnataka is familiar with this brave women warrior Abbakka Rani Chowta. The place is popular known as Tulunad (Tulu language), and Abbakka rani was called Abbakka Mahadevi. She is one of the earliest freedom fighter who fought against the Portuguese invasion.
Abbakka Rani existed 300 years before Jhansi Ki Rani. Although Abbakka was the queen of a small state of Ullal, her magnificent courage and valour makes her one of the most unforgettable person in the history. But the Indian history text books never made space for her to proudly tell the generations about this brave warrior.
According to the literature source, there were said to be three Abbakkas, the mother, and the two daughters who were all brave. The second daughter is said to have been the boldest and mightiest and fought the Portuguese in between the years 1530 and 1599. So, all three were referred to as Abbakkas and the story line considers them as one.
Abbakka was a brave kid since childhood, none in the Kingdom were able to match her military science and warfare techniques. It is said that she was a master in archery and sword fighting. She was a humble person who was very simple and wore normal clothes. She even roamed the city at nights on her horse giving justice to many people. It is said that wrong doers feared her the most.
She was later married to a neighbor King called Bangher. But the marriage did not last long and Abbakka broke the marriage by returning all the jewels gifted to her by the King. The husband could not bear the insult and joined hands with the Portuguese to defeat the Ullal Kingdom. Portuguese always wanted to take control over the coastal part of India since it facilitated the trade from India to other countries. Ullal was a very prosperous city and was the hub for spices trade to Arab countries. After the Portuguese inquisition of Goa in 1520’s, they wanted to occupy the coastal Karnataka.
Portuguese made a total of 6 attempts to attack Abbakka and Ullal kingdom. But every attempt failed as Abbakka was a master strategist in war tricks. She fought every war with bravery and courage. The Portuguese were defeated for 6 times by Rani Abbakka and the local chieftains who were very strong.
Rani Abbakka made alliances with many local Kings breaking caste lines. Although she was a Jain, she respected Hindus and was a great devote of Lord Shiva. Her army had people from different caste and religion and treated everyone equally.
The Portuguese made 1st attack in the year 1525 and destroyed Ullal port, but they were unable to breach her fort and had to return back.
Upset with her unique war skills, The Portuguese demanded that she pay them tribute but Abbakka refused to yield. In the second attack in 1555, the Portuguese sent Admiral Dom Álvaro da Silveira to fight her after she refused to pay them tribute. But Abbakka again made them lose the battle and Portuguese had to run back for their lives.
In 1557, the Portuguese again failed to conquer Ullal, desperately finding no way they started attacking common people and mercilessly killed hundreds of men and women for entering temple, burning ships and ultimately ended burning the entire city.
But still they could not capture the Ullal city. In the year 1567, the Portuguese attacked prominent people in Ullal demanding Abbakka to surrender. But she never did and they killed all innocent people.
The fifth attack was in 1568, General João Peixoto was sent by Portuguese Viceroy António Noronha to capture Abbakka. The army of General João Peixoto managed to capture Ullal and entered the Royal court. However Abbakka managed to escape and she took refugee in a mosque. The same night she gathered 200 soldiers and attacked General Peixoto, he was killed in the battle and Abbakka took seventy Portuguese soldiers as prisoners and many of the Portuguese retreated. Abbakka never stopped, she attacked and killed Admiral Mascarenhas and the Portuguese were also forced to vacate the Mangalore fort. The Portuguese literally ran along with their ships after the attack.
This incident is considered to be one of the bravest incident in the history of India.
In the sixth attack in 1569, the Portuguese got more soldiers and conquered the fort of Ullal. The biggest betrayal for Abbakka came from her ex husband who helped the Portuguese. However, she made an alliance with the Bijapur Sultan of Ahmed Nagar and the Zamorine of Calicut who wanted to help her fight against Portuguese. They fought back and the Portuguese army suffered heavy casualties, but Zamorine was killed in the final assault.
Abbakka’s husband gave away secrets of Ullal escape route which lead to the arrest of Rani Abbakka while she was trying to escape. Abbakka lost the war after she was captured and jailed. She is said to have fought against the Portuguese even in the prison.
People who had watched her fight described her as a warrior carrying Agnivana, a arrow of fire. She is also said to be the last person to have carried a agnivana.
Even today the Mangalore people celebrate “Veera Rani Abbakka Utsava” in memory of Rani Abbakka who gave her life protecting the Nation.