Onake Obavva

By : Neha Dhyani

Updated : Apr 20, 2022, 13:02

Onake Obabba invaded the Chitradurga Fortress, which was ruled by Madakari Nayaka in the 18th century, and died in battle with the army of Hyder Ali, the ruler of the Kingdom of Mysore and the father of Tipu Sultan. The Government of Karnataka has decided to celebrate Onake Obavva Jayanti throughout the state on November 11.

According to a government order, the Ministry of Culture of Kannada has proposed a state-sponsored celebration for the birthday of Onake Obavva, a warrior who died in the 18th century after fighting single-handedly with an Onake (pestle).

Who was Onake Obavva?

Onake Obavva is considered the personification of Kannada's pride and is one of the brave warriors of Karnataka, including Abbakka Rani (the first True Tuluva Queen of Ullal on Karnataka coast who fought the Portuguese), Kittur Chennamma (Queen of Kittur who revolted against the British East India Company), and Keladi Chennamma (the famous Queen of Keladi who fought against Aurangzeb).

She was born on November 11th and belonged to the Chalavadi - Holayas community. Her husband's name was Kahale Mudda Hanuma.

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How did Onake Obabba save the Chitradurga Fortress in Madakari Nayaka?

Onake Obavva was the wife of the soldier Kahale Mudda Hanuma, who was guarding the fortress. The story of her courage is part of Karnataka's folklore. One day, while drawing water, Obavva heard Hyder Ali's soldiers trying to invade the fortress through which only one person could crawl in at a single point in time.

She hurried back to her house and talked to her husband but h was in the middle of his mean, so she decided to fight alone. Obavva took a pestle which is called Onake in Kannada (a long wooden cudgel for hitting rice grains) from her house, and she quietly hid by a stone hole. She killed each person as his head emerged from the opening and dragged his body into the wall.

After Obavva attacked Haider Ali's soldiers, her husband went to the fort and blew his horn to warn the invaders' army. Many of Haider Ali's soldiers were already dead when her husband and others came to help her.

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How was Onake Obavva killed?

Obavva was killed by a soldier on the same day. Madakari Nayaka's soldiers prosecuted and killed everyone but while leading her army toward the enemy, Obavva was unable to find the last invader who entered the fortress and killed her.

Onake Obavva's Heritage in Karnataka

Her courage and her quick thinking have been praised specifically in the Chitradurga region where even a stadium is named after her. Her sculpture is placed by the government near the office of the district committee in Chitradurga. The hole containing the Heider Ali soldiers is called Onake Obavvana Kindi' and is a tourist attraction along with the Chitradurga Fortress.

To conclude, her brave deeds are depicted in the famous song sequence of the 1972 Kannada film " Nagarahavu" directed by Puttanna Kanagal, a well-known Kannada film director.

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FAQs on Onake Obavva

Q.1. How is the Karnataka Police inspired by Onake Obavva?

Onake Obavva Squad was initiated in 2018 by the Chitradurga Police which was established by employing a group of women police officers to protect and educate women in the district.

Q.2. Why is the Onake Obavva Jayanti celebrated?

The Onake Obavva Jayanti is celebrated to honour the sacrifice of Onake Obavva who single-handedly fought with the army of Hyder Ali in Chitradurga in the 18th century using a pestle (Onake in Kannada).

Q.3. In the context of Onake Obabba, who was Hyder Ali?

Hyder Ali was the father of Tipu Sultan and the ruler of the Kingdom of Mysore. Onake Obavva attacked the Chitradurga fortress which was ruled by Madakari Nayaka in the 18th century.

Q.4. Keeping Onake Obabba in mind, where is the Chitradurga fortress located?

Keeping Onake Obavva in mind, the Chitradurga Fortress is locally known as Elusuttina Kote which literally means a seven-circle fortress in Kannada. It is located in Chitradurga, which is situated approximately 200 km - northwest of Bangalore.

Q.5. How is Onake Obavva commemorated in Karnataka?

Nothing undermines Obavva's heroic performance. With her scarce resources, she faced her enemies fiercely and displayed exemplary courage. The hole she protected is now known as Obavvana Kindi. November 11 will be commemorated as Onake Obavva Jayanti. There is also a sports stadium name is Veera Vanithe Onake Obavva Stadium

Q.6. How is Onake Obavva symbolised as "Naari Shakti"?

Prime Minister Narendra Modi praised Onake Obavva's heroism on her birthday and called her the epitome of "Naari Shakti". He further exclaimed how the people cannot forget the grit and courage of this bold woman. After that, AK Venkateshappa, the secretary of Kannada and Culture, initiated celebrating 11 November as Onake Obavva Jayanti every year.