Did the Marathas ‘attack’ the Tirupati Temple in 1759?

07/11/2019

No. It is a FAKE story & a fictional narrative. But, what exactly happened? Let us explore.

I thought, this should be posted as a series of tweets. But I also thought, the Thread, would then would be way too long in that format. Hence.

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This post gives evidence/background information to add on to ‘The new fake narrative is that Marathas “attacked” Tirupati temple’ busting by the twitter ‘True Indology’ handle @TIinExile.

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It is important to understand the background to the so-called 1759 Tirupati ‘Attack'(!) by Marathas, and to the extent possible I would give snippets & details for the various points made in the post. Most are from my notes.

…We are talking about an ‘event’ that is supposed to have happened in the mid-18th century, under tenuous circumstances:

  • Amidst imperialist predatory greedy politics between French and the English
  • Local Nawabs and Chieftains some of whom lacked a big-picture and hence were petty, squabbling all the time – for example, like the then Mysore King Krishnaraja Wodeyar II, who used his soldier/nayak Hyder Ali to handle (mostly unsuccessfully) the Marathas, but was eventually treacherously overwhelmed by Hyder himself; another such example would be the Tanjavur Nayak at that time.
  • Islamist fundamentalism of the Nawabs (like Mohammed Ali of Arcot), Sultans (like Hyder/Tipu) & Nizams (like that of Hyderabad)
  • Internecine issues amongst Maratha divisions/forces
  • Of course the looming Islamist invasion of Ahmed Shah Abdali that resulted in III Paniput war of 1761.

And so, near the theatre of Tirupati, it was one such effete and profligate Nawab who held on to ‘power.’

Though Muhammad Ali Wallajah, Nawab of Arcot (CE 1717–95) was much ‘better’ than his predecessors like Nawayath Sadaatullah Khan, he was  only & merely a pliable revenue collector for the British.

Tirupati Temple happened to fall in the areas under his ‘control’ – and it was like a veritable ‘Kamadhenu’ yielding a steady stream of revenue to the Nawab, so that he could squander them.

Incidentally, his predecessor Sadaatullah Khan, had reduced the daily expense grant of the Tirupati temple to 1/16th, that is, to ~6% of the value originally endowed by the Vijayanagar empire & Nayak kings.

Muhammad Ali merely restored it partially or so – descriptions range from 10% to 35% of the original endowments of Marathas et al; so he was deemed ‘comparatively good.’ (The revenues from the Temple of course, and also the town-entry taxes and the pilgrim taxes went to the Nawabs & then on to Brits!)

Thanks to his extravagantly lavish lifestyle, Muhammad Ali borrowed heavily from British Creditors, and to keep them happy, paid a lot more back. In fact there were stories of ‘Arcot Interest’ loot playing its part in the parliamentary debates & decisions of Britain – at that time!

Since Muhammad Ali was forever waging a turf war with Hyder Ali, Marathas & Nizam of Hyderabd – and had betrayed them all at various points of time – he chose to ally with and completely surrender to the British interests.

Thanks to this & his lavish lifestyle, he had to maintain half the British batallions at that time (via Tirupati!) and also pay huge amounts as tribute (read: extortion) to the Brits.

In essence, the Islamist Nawabs like this Muhammad Ali, milked the Temple, ‘south India’s most sought after prize‘ & transferred off the yathri contributions to the English, just to protect his fiefdom and to maintain his extravagant life style!

…To add to his troubles, his brother Nazibullah Khan wanted the cushy seat occupied by Muhammed and so fomented trouble. He harassed (and killed) the Tirupathi pilgrims/yathris, blocked the main roadways/paths & disrupted the revenue collection mechanism. The Brits, most interested in the revenue, of course responded, causing chaos.

And then, Nazibullah went to Nellore and continued to create trouble, sometimes allied with the French – all the time eyeing the Tirupati revenues…

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Rewinding a little bit, let us look at the background Maratha picture…

Balaji Bajirao alias Nanasaheb became the Peshwa in 1740 (appointed by Chathrapathi Shahu) and he started consolidating the holdings of Marathas, and wanted to realize the Hindavi swaraj envisaged by Shivaji. He sent out a few expeditions; and of course Raghoji and Nana did not see eye-to-eye on a few important things.

In one such expedition Raghoji Bhosale and Murari Rao Ghorpade defeated the Nawab of Arcot Dost Ali in the battle of Damal Cherry (now called Damal Cheruvu) in 31 May 1740.

Dost Ali Khan was a nephew of the Islamist tyrant nawab mentioned earlier, Sadaatullah Khan, the first one in the Nawayath dynasty of Arcot Nawabs.

Dost Ali Khan, took a defensive position at Damalcherry Pass, 30 miles north of Ambur. In a terrible rout, Maratha General Raghoji Bhonsle took Nawab forces in the rear and Dost Ali and his son Hassan Ali were defeated and killed.

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Raghoji I Bhonsle visited the Tirupati temple, probably in 1740, soon after this Damalcherry battle- and made the endowments/donations to the Temple – as pointed out by the handle ‘True Indology’ citing the TTD website. Raghoji died in 1755.

However, the ‘Attack’ cited by that ignorant bigot critter @Advaidism was supposed to have happened in the year 1759. Oh well.

…Nanasaheb, the Peshwa seemed more interested than his predecessors, in the South.

As directed by him, 7th expedition resulted in Gopalrao Patwardhan (who went on to defeat Hyder Ali later) & Anandrao Raste going southwards to combat Hyder Ali & Arcot Nawab – and to provide the much needed support to Tanjavur Nayak – from 1759 to 1760.

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Back to the feud between the Arcot Nawab Mohammed Ali and his brother Nazibullah Khan…

And, the immense depradations and trouble it caused to the Tirupati temple & its pilgrims – apart from the English angle.

Priests (or hereditary managers) from the Temple + and matha heads, petition the Marathas under Gopalrao – and request for intervention, for the liberation from the clutches of the Nawab, his brother and the English. A small contingent is sent to handle that. It clears the blocks. Gopalrao also lands in the temple.

In fact NOTHING whatsoever is recorded about attack or sacking or razing of the temple by Marathas. No killing or ANYTHING negative about the temporary entrenchment of the pathways to the Temple preparing for, fending off the English attacks.

Susan Bayly quoted by the critter says it was ‘seized’ – but temple was not attacked nor any ritual was blocked by the Marathas, except for the revenue collection ritual by the English and Muhammad Ali. It actually got liberated.

1759 April: In the meantime, Gopalrao is asked to withdraw and go northwards; he leaves a small detachment at Tirupati, to protect the temple, and handed over control to an Officer – Narayana Sastry.

Narayana Sastry and his small band of warriors were driven out from the temple by French supported Abdul Wahab (French wanted the rent too!) but in July 1759, Narayana Sastry wrests back control of the Temple… (by forming strategic local alliances)

Again the English try with matchlock guns and some 500 men, but the temple guarded by Narayan Sastry’s men repulse them…

 

…later, this vastly out-numbered and beleagured Maratha detachment gets finished – most of its warriors die, very few retreat, escape etc – fighting to the end against Nazibullah Khan (aided by French) and Mohammed Ali (aided by English).

The Karakambadi ‘poligar’ and his capital – pay the ultimate price, in their efforts support Marathas to save Tirupati from the marauding English, French and Islamists…

Karakambadi was sacked and and burned. its Poligar was anyway finished off earlier by Calliaud’s guns.

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To summarize, there was NO attack on the Tirupati Temple by the Marathas, in 19759. They went there to protect it. And, many Marathas sacrificed their lives in the process.

Susan Bayly, from whom the critter quoted, did not do a thorough research; just like many of the firangi scholars, she was only too happy to come to preconceived narratives and conclusions… She describes the whole heroic episode for the protection of Tirupati as a side note…

So much for the disinfo.

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Incidentally, in 1767 Tirupati came back to Marathas, via the French this time – and again, thanks to Gopalrao Patwardhan.

If only warriors like Gopalrao had continued in good health, our history would have been, perhaps,

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Of course, we have forgotten the Gopalrao Patwardhans, Narayan Sastris and the nameless Poligar (paalaya-k-kaarar in Tamil) of Karakampadi who died for the cause of Tirupati Balaji, of course.

This is the reason why liberal-leftist ignorant scumbags like @Advaidism, unleash negative propaganda based on untenable, and historically incorrect narratives, quoting half-baked firangi historians.

We should never, NEVER forget our genuine heroes. And, our narratives should be based ONLY on verifiable evidence.

Yes.

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References:

[1] The tweet that started it all – twitter.com/TIinExile/status/1192146292991905792

[2] Susan Bayly -Saints, Goddesses and Kings: Muslims and Christians in South Indian Society 1700–1900, 2004

[3] Madras District Manuals North Arcot Vol II, 1894

[4] Robert Orme – History Of The Military Transacations Of The British Nations In Indostan Vol II, 1861

[6] TTD web page about its history – archived

4 Responses to “Did the Marathas ‘attack’ the Tirupati Temple in 1759?”

  1. Muthukumar Says:

    நிறைய “மடையர்”களும் , “ஆசான்”களும், “புற்று” ஈசல்களாய் புறப்படுகின்றன.
    சோகம் , சோகம், சோகம்
    சோர்வாய் உணர்கிறேன்

  2. Vinoth Says:

    Similar incident about how British saved Tiruvannamalai from HyderAli’s force.

  3. Sreedhar Says:

    Sir,
    A typo I guess “To summarize, there was NO attack on the Tirupati Temple by the Marathas, in 1959”


    • yes, thanks for pointing it out! will correct it. silly error. (but it is also true that there was no attack in 1959 also, yes?)

      (தடுக்கி விழுந்தாலும் தாடியில் மண் ஒட்டவில்லை)


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