Download 5.23 Mb.Pdf ko'rish
- Bu sahifa navigatsiya:
- Border disputes with Ramnad
- Death 253 |
- Invasion of Ramnad and the Occupation of the Nawab of the Carnatic
- Literature 254 |
- Difficulties faced in early life
- Restoration to the throne 255 |
- Reign and administration
- Zoological garden
- Contribution to arts and music
- Construction and renovation activities
P a g e
The third and final expedition of the Nizam of Hyderabad in 1742, resulted in the
deposition of Murari Rao and the annexation of Tiruchirapalli. As a result of this
campaign, Thanjavur was forced to become a vassal of Hyderabad and pay annual
During the Seven Years' War, Pratapsingh supported the English with arms and
supplies. At Lawrences' behest, the great Thanjavur general Manoji took Coillady from
the French and captured Chanda Sahib and beheaded him.
However, the confederacy broke when Nanja Raja realized that he had been
deceived by Muhammad Ali who had promised to give him Tiruchirapalli as per an early
arrangement. Pratapsingh supported his cause when the French under Dupleix tried to
threaten him. Muhammad Ali and Murari Rao forged an alliance with the French.
In 1758, Lally marched to Thanjavur from Karaikal in order to force Thanjavur
into subjugation but was repulsed by Manoji. He had to retreat with an insignificant
plunder at Nagore when an English fleet made its appearance off the coast at Karaikal.
The Thanjavur troops supported by a small English contingent harassed the French
who eventually succumbed to starvation. The British inflicted a crshing defeat on the
French in the siege of Puducherry in 1761. This dealt a death-blow to the French power
From the onset, the Nawab of Carnatic Muhammad Ali wasn't in good terms with
Pratapsingh and desired to annex Thanjavur. However, for the sake of their common
interests, Pratapsinha maintained an uneasy alliance with Muhammad Ali. Matters
reached a boiling point after the Seven Years' War. However, their common ally, the
British East India, averted a crisis by stepping in to mediate a truce. The Raja agreed to
pay twenty lakhs as arrears and an annual tribute of four lakhs to the Nawab of
Carnatic. In return, Coiladdy and Yelengadu were ceded to Thanjavur. Notwithstanding
allegations of partiality on part of the British, this treaty practically ended Thanjavur's
Border disputes with Ramnad
There were frequent border disputes with the state of Ramnad on the Aranthangi
frontier. Actively supported by the Tondaiman of Pudukkottai, Manoji once led a large
army into the territory of the Sethupathy of Ramnad and even captured Aranthangi. The
Nawab of Carnatic who was the actual overlord to whom Thanjavur paid tribute,
stepped in and stopped the Raja from pursuing further hostilities.
P a g e
Pratapsinha died on December 16, 1763 after reigning for 24 years. His third and
fifth queens committed Sati. He was succeeded by his eldest son Thuljaji.
Invasion of Ramnad and the Occupation of the Nawab of
In 1771, Thuljaji invaded the dominion of the Polygar of Ramnad who had
wrested Hanumantagudi from Thanjavur during the reign of Pratapsingh. The Raja of
Ramnad was a dependent of the Nawab of Carnatic and this act of aggression by
Thuljaji forced the Nawab to interfere. A humiliating treaty was forced upon the Raja and
was later ratified by the officials of the British East India Company. Eighty lakhs of
arrears had to be paid apart from a war indemnity of thirty-two lakhs. Thuljaji also ceded
two Subhas of Thanjavur to the Nawab. Arni and Hanumantagudi were taken from the
Raja's hands and Thanjavur was to have the same foreign policy as the kingdom of the
Humiliated and shaken by the provisions of the treaty, Thuljaji applied to the
Peshwa for help. A large army commanded by Raghoba was dispatched to help
Thuljaji. But court intrigues at Satara forced him to turn back. Thanjavur was taken by
the forces of the Nawab of Carnatic and Thuljaji was deposed. Thanjavur loathed under
the rule of the Nawab for three years (from 1773 to 1776).
In 1776, the Board of Directors of the British East India Company ordered the
restoration of Thuljaji. However, soon after his restoration a treaty was forced upon
him by which he became a mere vassal of the British. His army was disbanded and
replaced with Company troops. He was to pay regular tribute to both the Nawab and the
The Second Mysore War
The Second Mysore War broke out in 1780 between Hyder Ali and the Company.
The very next year, along with his son Tipu Sultan he invaded Thanjavur. The Mysore
army was in occupation of the kingdom for 6 months. The region was plundered and the
people carried away. The missionary Schwartz records the abduction of 20,000 children
from Thanjavur by Tipu Sultan in the year 1784 alone. The produce fell and a calamity
ensued. Thanjavur did not recover from the impact of Tipu's invasion till the beginning of
the 19th century.
P a g e
Thuljaji was a fine writer and could compose in Sanskrit as well as Telugu and
Marathi. He conferred the title of Andhra Kalidasa on poet Aluri Kuppana. Kuppana
wrote classics such as Acharyavijayamu,Panchanada Sthalapurana,Yakshaganas of
Ramayana and the Bhagavata, Parana Bhagavatacharitra,Indumati Parinaya and
Despite being a Hindu, Thuljaji was tolerant of other faiths and confided upon a
Christian missionary called Schwartz. Thuljaji was also drawn deeply to Saivism.
Thuljaji died in 1787 at age 49 leaving behind an impoverished state. Two of his
queens committed Sati. As he did not have blood offsprings of his own, he adopted
Serfoji from a parallel branch of the Bhonsle family. Serfoji II ascended the throne at the
age of 10 with Thuljaji's brother Amarsingh as regent.
Serfoji was born on September 24, 1777 in the royal house of the Maratha king,
Chattrapati Shivaji. Raja Thulajah, the king of Thanjavur adopted him as his son on
January 23, 1787 by duly performing all of the religious rites. The boy was entrusted to
the care of Rev. Christian Freidrich Schwartz, a Danish missionary.
But Thulajah died soon afterwards and his half-brother Amar Singh who had
earlier been appointed regent to the boy-king usurped the throne in 1787. Amar Singh
denied the young prince the benefits of basic education.
At this juncture, Rev. Schwartz intervened to save the young prince and sent him
to Madras where he was educated by Rev. Wilhelm Gericke of the Lutheran Mission.
Soon, he became proficient in Tamil, Telugu, Urdu, Sanskrit, French, German, Danish,
Greek, Dutch and Latin.
Restoration to the throne
P a g e
Meanwhile, the British interposed on his behalf and Serfoji ascended the throne
of Thanjavur on June 29, 1798. In return for their assistance, Serfoji was forced to cede
the administration of the Kingdom to the British and, in return, was granted an annual
pension of 100,000 star pagodas and one-fifth of the state's land revenue. Serfoji's
sovereignty was restricted to the Fort of Thanjavur and its surrounding areas. Therefore,
Serfoji is remembered in history as the last sovereign ruler of Thanjavur.
During Serfoji's reign which lasted from 1798 until his death in 1832, for the first
time, the proceedings of the Tanjore durbar were recorded in paper. The Delta region
was divided into five districts each under a Subedar. Cultivable lands yielded good
profits and the judiciary system was highly efficient and praiseworthy.
Serfoji is also credited with having built a lot of chathrams or rest houses for
weary pilgrims. These pilgrims received free boarding and lodging and their needs were
taken care of by the State. In all Serfoji built three important chathrams, including one at
The Sarasvati Mahal Library was founded as a Palace Library by the Nayak
kings of Thanjavur (1535
1675), it was however Serfoji who enriched it with priceless
works, maps, dictionaries, coins and artwork.
The bibliophile that he was, he purchased around 4000 books from different parts
of the world and enriched his library with his enormous book collection. Medical
treatises, in the library collection contained his remarks alongside, in English. His library
included treatises on Vedanta, grammar, music, dance and drama, architecture,
astronomy, medicine, training of elephants and horses, etc. Serfoji set up the first
Devanagari printing press in South India, using stone letters. He sent many Pundits far
and wide and collected huge number of books and manuscripts for this Library. All the
books in the library carry his personal autograph in English.
Apart from these, the Library contains a record of the day-to-day proceedings of
the Maratha court known as the Modi documents, French-Maratha correspondence of
the 18th century.
The Encyclopædia Britannica in its survey of the libraries of the world mentions
this as "perhaps the most remarkable library in India".
P a g e
The Library is situated in the centre of Nayak palace and it was opened for public
in 1918. There is also a small museum there for the visitors.
Serfoji founded a school called Navavidhya Kalanidhi Sala where languages,
literature, the sciences and arts and crafts were taught in addition to the Vedas and
shastras. Serfoji maintained close ties with the Danes at Tarangambadi and visited their
schools quite often and appreciated their way of functioning. Impressed, he tried to
implement European methods of teachings and education all over his Empire. He was a
supporter of the emancipation of Indian women and revolutionized education by
appointing women teachers.
Serfojis is also credited with installing a hand press with Devanagari type in
1805, the first of its kind in South India. He also established a stone type press called
"Nava Vidhya Kalanidhi Varnayanthra Sala".
Serfoji constructed ten water tanks and a number of wells for civic use. He
implemented an underground drainage system for the whole of Thanjavur city.
Serfoji established the Dhanavantari Mahal, a research institution that produced
herbal (indigenous medicine) medicine for humans and animals. The institution also
treated sick people and maintained case-sheets which have become famous of late.
Here, physicians of modern medicine, ayurveda, unani and siddha schools have
performed research upon drugs and herbs for medical cure and had produced eighteen
volumes of research material. Serfoji also had the important herbs studied and
catalogued in the form of exquisite hand paintings.
Based on the medical prescriptions stored at the Dhanvanthri Mahal, a set of
poems were compiled detailing the procedures to cure various diseases. These poems
were collected and published as a book, called Sarabhendra Vaidhya Muraigal.
In September 2003, during a meeting between Dr. Badrinath and Babaji Rajah
Bhonsle, the current Scion of the royal family of Thanjavur and sixth in line from King
Serfoji II, the existence of 200-year-old manuscripts in the Saraswathi Mahal library,
containing records of the ophthalmic surgical operations believed to have been
performed by Prince Serfoji II, came to light Serfoji II regularly carried a surgical kit
with him, wherever he went and performed even cataract surgeries. Seforji's
P a g e
"operations" have been recorded in detail in English with detailed case histories of the
patients he operated. These manuscripts form a part of the collection at the Saraswathi
Serfoji created the first Zoological Garden in Tamil Nadu in the Thanjavur palace
Serfoji erected a shipyard at Manora, around fifty kilometres from Thanjavur.
Serfoji also established a meteorological station to facilitate trade. He had a gun factory,
a naval library and a naval store with all kinds of navigational instruments.
Serfoji was also keenly interested in painting, gardening, coin-collecting, martial
arts and patromized chariot-racing, hunting and bull-fighting.
Contribution to arts and music
Serfoji was a patron of traditional Indian arts like dance and music. He authored
famous works like "Kumarasambhava Champu", "Mudrarakshaschaya" and "Devendra
Kuruvanji" and introduced western musical instruments like clarinet and violin in
Carnatic Music. Serfoji is also credited with inaugurating and popularising if not
inventing the unique Thanjavur style of painting.
Construction and renovation activities
The five storeyed Sarjah Mahadi in the Thanjavur palace and the Manora Fort
Tower at Saluvanayakanpattinam were constructed in Serfoji's reign. He installed
lightning rods at the top of these monuments and had the history of the Bhonsle
Dynasty inscribed on the south-western wall of the Brihadeeswara Temple. It is
considered to be the lengthiest inscription in the world. Serfoji also renovated and
reconstructed several existing temples like the Brihadeeswara Temple apart from
building new ones. He was also an ardent philanthropist and a member of the Royal
In 1820-21, Serfoji embarked on a pilgrimage to Kasi along with a retinue of
3,000 disciples and camp-followers. He encamped at several places along the route,
giving away alms to the needy and the poor and engaging himself in acts of charity. He
was also involved in the renovation of several holy places. Memories of the pilgrimage
have survived to the present day in the paintings of the bathing ghats on the Ganges
and the different holy sites commissioned by him.
P a g e
Serfoji was open-minded and tolerant of other faiths. He liberally funded
churches and schools run by Christian missionaries. He was also a patron of Thanjavur
Bade Hussein Durgah.
Serfoji II died on the 7 March 1832 after a reign of almost 40 years (His first reign
was from 1787 to 1793 and his second reign was from 1798 to 1832). His death was
mourned throughout the empire and his funeral procession was attended by over
If we were to examine the history of pre-Victorian India, Serfoji's name often pops
up at the first instance. Here was a great savant and humanist, a man who was far
ahead of his times. During his time, Thanjavur was one of the most developed princely
states in the Indian subcontinent. While many rajahs were engrossed in fighting and civil
wars, Serfoji ushered in an era of peace, prosperity and scientific development and
pioneered new administrative and educational reforms. His vision helped Thanjavur
forge ahead of other princely states and advance into a new age and emerge as a fitting
competitor to European nations. Above all, he was an enlightened and educated soul;
the quintessential Indian maharajah of the British colonial era who was at home with
both Latin as well as Sanskrit and could converse and compile literary works in both
Tamil as well as English. To regard his age as a "petty Golden Age" of Thanjavur
wouldn't be an exaggeration or over-statement. Serfoji, in fact, is considered by many
as the greatest king of Thanjavur since the times of Raja Raja Chola.
At his funeral, a visiting missionary, Rev. Bishop Heber rightly observed:
I have seen many crowned heads, but not one whose deportment was more
Serfoji was a scion of the Bhonsle family from which Chattrapathi Shivaji came.
The Maratha kings were the descendants of Shivaji's half-brother, Venkoji.
Serfoji became the last fully independent ruler of Tanjore when, in 1799, the
administration of the kingdom was wrested from him by the British immediately
after his restoration to the throne leaving the Bhonsles in charge of the fort and
the surrounding areas alone. Interestingly enough, his son Shivaji was the last
Thanjavur Marathi ruler to wield authority of any sort. The princely state was
P a g e
extinguished and Tanjore annexed by the British as per the controversial
Doctrine of Lapse when Shivaji died in 1855. However, Shivaji's adopted heir
and his descendants have continued to live in the Tanjore palace and use the
title "Chattrapathi" and "Bhonsle Raja of Thanjavur" right up to the present day.
Raja Shivaji ( fl. 17 March 1832
29 October 1855) of the Bhonsle dynasty of
Thanjavur in India, was the son of Raja Serfoji II and ruled the fortress of Thanjavur and
its surroundings from 1832 to 1855. He was the last Raja of Thanjavur known to wield
Raja Shivaji was the only surviving son of Serfoji II when the latter died in 1832.
The missionary Heber describes the young Shivaji as a 'pale and sickly child'. However,
his health seemed to have got better as he grew up for he is known for his physical and
mental attainments. He contributed to the expansion of the Saraswathi Mahal Library
and gave many useful books. One Varahappaiyar prepared the catalogue for all the
manuscripts in the library.
But Shivaji is mostly known for the incident related to the 'arrest' of the Kanchi
mutt. The earrings (tatankas) of the Goddess Akhilandeswari in the Jambukeshwarar
Temple was replaced with new ones in 1843-44. So, the Kanchi mutt, then based in
Kumbakonam, shifted to Trichy with all the retinue in order to conduct a Tatanka-
Pratishta ceremony for consecration of the earrings. But a lawsuit delayed the
ceremonies and the court case along with the rituals that followed incurred great debts
on the part of the Mutt that they were unable to shift the Mutt back to Kumbakonam. At
this juncture, the administrator-in-charge of the ceremonies, a young Brahmin, went to
court of Shivaji and requested that the retinue should be allowed to stop at Thanjavur to
receive donations from the people. But the Raja staunchly refused.
However, as the palanquin of the Shankaracharya and his retinue were making
their way to Kumbakonam they were stopped on the banks of the Cauvery at
Thiruvaiyaru by the sepoys of the Raja who surrounded them and respectfully escorted
into the city of Thanjavur. At Thanjavur, they were accorded a royal reception by Shivaji
and the citizens of Thanjavur. It was later said that the Raja had had a dream a few
nights before in which Lord Shiva had appeared and ordered him to render due honors
to the Mutt. This incident is often referred to as the 'Arrest' of the Kanchi Mutt.
Raja Shivaji died on 29 October 1855 after a reign of 22 years.
P a g e
On the death of Shivaji, due to the absence of a legitimate heir to the throne, the
kingdom was annexed by the British East India Company as per the Doctrine of lapse.
The Thanjavur Maratha Rajas favoured Sanskrit and Telugu to such an extent
that classical Tamil began to decline. Most of the plays were in Sanskrit. Venkoji, the
first ruler of the Bhonsle dynasty composed a 'Dvipada' Ramayana in Telugu. His son
Shahuji was a great patron of learning and of literature. Most of the Thanjavur Maratha
literature is from his period. Most of them were versions of the Ramayana or plays and
short stories of a historical nature. Sanskrit and Telugu were the languages used in
most of these plays while there were some Tamil 'koothu' as well. Advaita Kirtana is one
of the prominent works from this period. Later Thanjavur rulers like Serfoji II and Shivaji
immersed themselves in learning and literary pursuits when they were dispossessed of
their empire. Serfoji built the Saraswathi Mahal Library within the precincts of the palace
to house his enormous book and manuscript collection. Apart from Indian languages,
Serfoji II was proficient in English, French, Dutch, Greek and Latin as well.
Download 5.23 Mb.
Do'stlaringiz bilan baham:
ma'muriyatiga murojaat qiling