Sunday, 14 March 2010

The outbreak of the war with Coorg 1834.

The Coorg Rulers Banqueting House and Fort.

The following letters are transcripts of letters sent by Karanakera Menon from south western frontier of Coorg.

Menon had been sent to observe the activities of the Coorg Rajah and his armies who had been mobilising to resist what they saw as overbearing attempts by the East India Company to dive roads and trade through their country.

The Rajah's father had been a strong ally of the East India Company and had greatly helped the EIC in its wars with Tipu Sultan. They had allowed the EIC to send forces through Coorg in both wars with Tipu. He had also been the hereditary enemy of the Pazhassi Raja and had therefore supported the British by keeping the Pazhassi Rajah out of Coorg.

In 1833 the British had become aware that the current Rajah was a very different type of person to his father. He appears to have been extremely sexually active, and besides his thirteen wives he was forcing his attentions onto many local women and even his sisters.

One of his sisters and her husband Chinna Bassawan, a senior official at the palace fled to Mysore to the protection of the Collector there, Mr. Casamayor.

The Rajah was facing increasing opposition from the families of the many women he was forcing into sex as well as many of his own family who had fled the country.

Fearing internal rebellions and quite possibly attacks from Coorg exiles, the Rajah sent assassins to Mysore in an attempt to kill is brother and sister in law. These were recognised and captured by the EIC authorities before they could undertake their mission.

In 1833 Thomas Baber was living in Bombay, with no official post in the Malabar, but with a house in Tellicherry and a strong interest in events there.

The local collector in the Northern Malabar Mr Clementson was in charge of affairs on the western Coorg border.

Appreciating the need for intelligence on what was going on in Coorg he had brought Thomas Baber's old Sheristan out of retirement.

Kulpilly Karanakera Menon was sent up the road from Cannanore to the Stone River on the border with Coorg. It was not possible to sent spies into Coorg as the local population could easily spot them and they would soon be killed or apprehended.

However the road from Cannanore through Coorg to the east was used by grain merchants and these were in the habit of attending the market in the capital of Coorg.

Menon sent up his post in the rest houses that these returning Moplah merchants were using along the road to gather up to date information on events in Coorg.

Somehow he was spotted by the Coorg authorities and they lured him into a position where they could kidnap him.

The kidnapping of Kulpilly Karanakera Menon was the final straw or pretext that the East India Company needed to launch their forces over the border into Coorg.

Here is the story of those events in Kulpilly Karanakeras words.

T. Clementson Esqr.
Principal Collector and Magistrate of Malabar.

The arzee of Sheristedar Kulpally Karoonagara Menon

Mr. Grame having been appointed by Government as Special Agent for settling the affairs of Coorg that Gentleman wrote to you to send me to that country, and to myself also on the same subject.

Accordingly on the 12th October, I, with your permission left Calicut and arrived at Stony river on the 17th, but not withstanding my having shown the Rahadary which Mr. Grame sent me, the Coorg Rajah’s servants would not allow me to enter that District, in consequence of which I returned to Vyatoor and remained there till the 24th of that month. Making enquiries of what was going on in Coorg, as well as respecting the Rajah’s hostile intentions and submitted to you under dates the 18th, 20th, 21st and 24th October 1833, Reports containing the result of my enquiries and a further memorandum after I joined the Cutcherry at Tellicherry on the 28th of that month.

On the 1st of November, you having received a letter from Mr. Graeme, written from Periapatam, requesting you to send me, without loss of time to Muddakery and stating that, that Gentleman would immediately proceed to that place via Wettawoor, you were pleased to communicate the same to me on which occasion I observed, that after what I had heard of the Rajah’s evil intensions, it did not appear to me that matters could be brought to a satisfactory settlement, when you were pleased to say, that as the matter was of importance, and as Mr. Grame stated in his letter that I would be useful to him, that I should lose no time in setting out.

In the meanwhile you furnished me with a Rahadary. Accordingly, I started from Tellicherry on the 2nd I enquired of the Rajah’s people stationed there, whether Mr. Graeme had arrived at Maddakery. November, and on my arrival at Stony River they said that three Gentlemen had arrived at Maddakery, and that they received orders to allow me to pass without delay and two musketmen accompanied me from Stony River.

We arrived at Maddakery on the 5th November, from which date I was, without any reason whatever, placed in confinement, and was not released until after a period of five months, just on the 6th April 1834. In the course of the confinement I had fourteen interviews with the Rajah, and beg to subjoin what passed in the course of each of them.

At 3 P. M. on the 5th of November when I arrived at Ookadap in the Maddakery Hill, the sentry proceeded to report my arrival to the Rajah, and returned saying that permission has been granted to allow me and the people with me to go into the Fort after leaving the arms outside. We accordingly went in and were made to wait in the compound until night, when three Coorghers, and three Telangahs came and said that the Rajah’s orders were not to allow me to remain at Maddakery, but to take me to a Bungalow at the foot of a Hill near the high road about a mile South from Maddakery. They accordingly conveyed us to the said Bungalow, allowing us to take our arms as we went out. Of the six men who were sent as a guard over us, the Head Man was Jamadar called Moottayan; who had orders not to allow any one to come to us in the Bungalow, or to permit us to speak to anyone, nor allow us to go out unaccompanied by the guard. About 100 yards North West of the Bungalow stands a Hobly Cutcherry, in which there was a Parbody with abut 10 men, these persons also had orders to look after us. In the South East of the Bungalow there is a shop belonging to Congany Gunapan, who was permitted to sell us rice and other articles we required. We accordingly purchased from him what we required and had our meals prepared on the bank of a nullah inside the walls with which the Bungalow was surrounded. In the compound there is a granite pond, about 11/2 yards square, into which water from the said nullah flows: in this pond I used to bathe. The guard over us had orders to report about us to the Soobedar at Maddakery every morning and evening. On the 11th November I had an audience with the Rajah, when he stated that he had written to Mr. Graeme to come in and asked me, “Is he good person or is he, like Casamayor a deceitful one? Are you well acquainted with Mr. Graeme?

I answered that Mr. Graeme was a very respectable and honorable Gentleman and that I was well acquainted with him. I had scarcely made the answer when the Dewan Bassawapen observed nearly in these words, ‘Samy! This person (alluding to me) came last year to Stony River, Vyathoor, Payanoor, made inquiries about matters relating to this Samstanom. And said that the whiskers of all the Coorghers would be shaved off and people from Malabar employed in this country.

This was related by persons who came from Malabar."This is the man who formerly seized the Kotiote Rajah, and he is friends to the Phiranghies."

His object in coming here is merely to obtain information about this country.’

On which I stated, that there are many Brahmins and people of their caste, carrying whiskers employed in the Cutcherries in Malabar. That if ever it should be required to employ in that country as public servants people from Malabar, the Hussoor Cutcherry alone contained a sufficient number.

That I had heard that many persons sent to that country and by making false representations, such as they knew would be acceptable, returned after receiving presents.

That stories of such persons should not be relied upon and that the Gentlemen under the Hon’ble Company never deviated from truth.

The Rajah then said ‘We shall talk further tomorrow.I am now going on a hunting excursion and offered me some flowers on which I presented to the Rajah a Bottle of Lavender. On the 13th I had another interview with the Rajah, when the letters which he addressed to the Governors of Bengal, Madras and Bombay and some other Gentlemen, respecting the flight of Chinna Bassawan and his wife, together with the replies received thereto, were read over to me. The Rajah then observed, that Mr. Graeme’s letters was couched in disrespectful terms. On which I remarked, that on the letter being translated from English into Canarese it may not have been properly worded.

That in a letter which Mr. Graeme sent to you, containing the purport of a Canarese paper, it was not correctly stated and that the difference may have arisen from the person who made the translation not understanding the real meaning. The Rajah then asked me whether Mr. Graeme had no one with him who could make correct translation from Canarese into English. I answered that when Mr. Graeme came from Nagpore to the Nilgherries that Gentleman did not bring any one with him. And that it was therefore that Mr. Graeme sent for me. The Rajah hereupon said that if I wished to write to Mr. Graeme or to you, I should let him know. That he would then send a person who would write in Canarese, that if written in Malayalam or Tamool, he would not be made acquainted with the contents of my letter and that this measure was necessary to prevent deceit. I replied that I would attend to his wishes in this respect, that as far as I have heard read the Letter written by the Rajah to the Hon’ble Gentlemen above alluded to, it appeared to me that they contained language calculated to inspire distrust and anger. And that as the letter to Mr. Graeme was irrelevant to the matter at issue I doubted much whether Mr. Graeme would come. The Rajah then observed that adverting to the contents of the letters written to him by the Gentlemen it appears that they wish that matters should be managed in his country agreeably to their will and pleasure. That those who had escaped from his country had been honorably received by the Sirkar. That he had been informed that measures are in progress to deprive him of his country and many other things.

On the 15th I had a third interview with the Rajah when he said, that he feared Mr. Graeme was not coming. That those who had escaped from his country, after killing a Jemadar and his brother, have been honorably received by Casamayor who even allowed them to sit in his presence and afforded them respectable Lodging.

That when the Rajah sent people to seize and bring them back. Mr. Casamayor would not allow them to do so. That to prevent people of his country from entering Mysore, Troopers were stationed on the Frontier. That therefore the Rajah’s subjects are disposed to wage war. That it was with a view of not violating the friendship which has long subsisted between himself and the Honorable Company that he did not all this while take any such measure; but that he could not forbear any longer and that accordingly he would, without delay, send a force to seize and bring back those who had escaped from his country. That if the Company wished to resist him, let them to do so. That the wish of possessing themselves of his Country will be the ruin of the Company. They would lose their authority and his (the Rajah’s) Government would rise and extend itself. And that Persons well acquainted with the state of things have written them so.” To this I observed that he would not succeed in carrying on a war against the Hon’ble Company. That they have extensive Forces and Territories.

Out of the latter, Malabar alone, which is under your Superintendence, contains upwards of 11 lacs of souls, out of whom 2 lacs may be estimated as good fighting men; so that if they were required to take the field there would be more men than trees in the jungle of Coorg. That therefore any measure he intended to adopt should be after due considerations of the Hon’ble Company’s powers and the discipline of their troops and his own means and circumstances. That if measures be adopted without due considerations, I further mentioned that Veley Tamby, a former Dewan of the Travancore Sirkar, thoughtlessly and from not knowing better, attempted to wage war with the Hon’ble Company; the result was an immense loss to that Sirkar.

That the Dewan himself was executed and the Ellia Rajah, who joined in his plans banished to Chingleput. The Rajah hereupon observed that none would ever be able to do any thing of the kind towards his Samstanom, of which proof would soon be evinced.

On the 18th, I had a fourth interview with the Rajah when the Subject of a letter received from Mr. Graeme was mentioned to me and myself desired to sign on Arzee which was previously prepared, requesting Mr. Graeme to come to Coorg, and which was read over to me. I affixed my signature to it, and just I was leaving the palace, I was called back and a copy of the letter which M. Graeme addressed to the Rajah, and a letter which that Gentleman wrote to me, were delivered to me. I perused them and then observed that Mr. Graeme is a very respectable Gentleman, holding a high situation under Government, that he has been made to wait at Periapatam about 20 days, and suggested that, instead of displeasing him further, means should be adopted to induce him to come in and settle everything in a satisfactory way. To which the Rajah answered, “It will never do to trust the Gentleman. You must have heard when you came to Payaoor, Vyathoor and other places last year, that I had then made preparations for war.”

I replied that myself and the Gentlemen had heard that all the Bungalows had been washed black. That stockades had been erected in the principal roads. That plates had been struck and his subjects ordered to carry the same around their necks, and that warlike preparations were being made. Whereupon the Rajah said, that all that was done because he had determined to carry on war against the Phirangies.

That the Shuvamoodrah (plate) would protect his people against destruction. And that therefore he ordered all his subjects to wear them and to come with them to pay him reverence. I answered that if he persevered in such hostile views, if he continued to shelter Sayapa Naik, his Samstanom would be ruined, that then it would be too late to remedy the evil, and suggested again that whatever he meant to do should be done after mature consideration. The Rajah answered, “Everything will be known the course of a short time.”

On the 19th of November the Rajah came near to the Bungalow in which I resided, and returned after making some enquiries about me.

On the 26th the Dewan Bassawapen and two other servants brought to me nine letters which you and Mr. Graeme wrote to me, and required me to let him know the purport of them, which I communicated to them and they put down the same in writing.

On the 1st of December I had a fifth meeting with the Rajah when I mentioned that Mr. Graeme’s letter to me related to the revised letter addressed to the Rajah, the first one having been incorrectly written, and that you directed me to return to Malabar, when the Rajah stated that he was convinced of what I first mentioned respecting the translation. That if Vakeels be sent similar mistakes are likely to happen and that Darashaw had arrived. The Rajah next spoke all the answers to be returned by me to Mr. Graeme. I requested permission to write my answer in Tamool, as mistakes were likely to occur if written in Canarese when the Rajah said that there was no one there who understood well either Tamool or Malayalam.

That it was necessary he should know whatever I write to any one and that therefore he would, as hitherto send a person to write in Canarese. I then represented that Orders and Rahadaries were received from you and Mr. Graeme requiring me to return to Malabar, and requested I might be allowed to go back, or, if he wished it, to send Darashaw with me to Bangalore, and we would endeavour to settle matters in a satisfactory way. The Rajah answered that he had not confidence enough in Darashaw to send him up as a Vakeel, that he would wait until he may finally know whether or not Mr. Grame will come and that I should wait there till then. I stated in reply that I had a great deal of public business to attend to in Malabar, that I have orders to make enquiries respecting upland cultivation in Cavay Tallok and its vicinity, that I shall be at Vyathoor or Payawoor, that I had brought with me no more than what would suffice for 10 or 15 days. That if Mr. Graeme should come I would also return.

Whereupon the Rajah said that if I wanted money for my expenses he would supply me therewith, that as Darashaw was come he intended to hold a consultation before finally determining upon any thing. When the Rajah had said this his Dewan Bassawapen and the Moonshies present observed, “That Phirangy called Graeme will never come here, Swamy. This man (alluding to me) is said to be even by people who came from Malabar a deceitful person and his object in coming here is no other than to gain intelligence. There is no occasion for further consideration.We only entreat permission to go and seize those who ran away from hence.”

They said many other things in haughty and improper language. On the 4th December I went up to Cokadap and met the Rajah there and both of us proceeded to where Darashaw was. The Rajah then said that the Letter which I addressed to Mr. Graeme on the 2nd was not despatched. That an answer to the Letter which the Rajah wrote requesting Mr. Graeme to come to Maddakery is expected in two days.

That after the receipt of the expected answer it will be determined what to write to that Gentleman. The Rajah having ceased to speak Darashaw said, “Swamy! Whatever the person (alluding to me) may write to Mr. Graeme, the Governor or any other Gentlemen will be attended to. In consideration of his having seized the Kotiote Rajah the Sarkar has presented him with a Palankeen with a separate allowance for it. On receipt of his letter Mr. Graeme will not fail to come.

If you were to see the testimonials which several Gentlemen gave him, you will be convinced of what I now say. He will exert in forwarding the Swamy’s cause.

During the life time of the Valia Swamy (former Rajah) he came twice here with Mr. Baber. He is well acquainted with the tenor of the Karar (agreement or Treaty) of this country. On the 7th I had another interview with the Rajah on which occasion he asked me whether I had not met and spoken with Darashaw before he started. I answered, I saw him going away, but as I was not permitted, I did not speak to him. The Rajah then began dictating a letter which he purposed I should address Mr. Graeme on which I observed that it was not at all probable that Mr. Graeme would come. That Darashaw having been sent back to Tellicherry was not well done. That unless it was meant to settle matters in a proper way, it was of no use to detain me there, and several other things, to which the Rajah answered that Darashaw was permitted to go back because he did not wish to employ him as his Vakeel. That after a reply is received from Mr. Graeme to the letter proposed to be addressed to him, some thing final will be determined upon. That since I was already there Mr. Grame would not fail to come also and that Darashaw had told this and many other things about me to the Rajah. The Rajah added that Darashaw is now very old, and there is no consistency in what he says, in consequence of which he is unfit to be employed as a Vakeel, that accordingly he was allowed to go back. In an interview which took place on the 14th the Rajah delivered to me the letter which you sent written in Malayalam and Canarese directing me to return without delay as well as one or two other letters; and on my communicating the purport of them, the Rajah said that a letter from Mr. Graeme had been received and that it can be read tomorrow. I again represented that there was a great deal for me to do in Malabar, while it was of no use remaining there; to which the Rajah replied that as Mr. Graeme had particularly sent for me there, I might return after that Gentleman shall have settled every thing and proposed to send to Mr. Graeme the letter which was about to be prepared for that purpose. But with the exception of professing to write to Mr. Graeme the letter accordingly to the draft to be prepared under the Rajah’s direction, no one was sent to me to write such Letter.

On the 11th January I was required to attend at Ookadah, and five of the Rajah’s servants brought to me two arzees which were prepared in my name according to the Rajah’s directives. One addressed to Mr. Graeme the other to you and they insisted upon my signing them. I said that I had some thing to represent to the Rajah, to which they answered that the Rajah would soon come, that his orders were that those arzees should be signed and kept ready against his arrival. And finding on the arzees being read over to me, that the language was not very objectionable, I wishing some how or other that you Gentlemen, might know that I was in existence signed the arzee but in the usual way. The Rajah soon after came, but halting about 100 yards distant from the Bungalow in which I was sent for his Karistans, spoke to them for a while and went away without giving me an opportunity of speaking to him. On the 1st February I was again sent for the Cokadah and met the Karistans there, who said that Mr. Graeme’s answer to the letter addressed on the 11th January (as above described) was received, that a reply thereto in my name was prepared and that the Rajah ordered me to sign it.

I remarked I had not seen the letter which Mr. Graeme was said to have written me. That unless I was made acquainted with the real state of things, I would not sign what it pleased them to prepare for my signature. They answered that the order is that I must sign, if I would not do so, I must stand the consequence and accordingly desired me to hear the arzee read over. On its being read over to me I found it was written in an improper style in consequence of which I said I would not affix my signature to it, they then saying that they would report my refusal to the Rajah went into the Fort. Shortly after the Rajah came out of the Fort and sent for and asked me what was the reason for my not signing the Paper which was written out for that purpose. I replied that I never saw the Letter which Mr. Graeme is said to have written to me, and submitted the impropriety of my signing the reply to a letter which I had never seen. On which the Rajah said that, that Letter was unfit to be read over to me, nevertheless that I might hear it read which was then read out, and I found it to contain that if a hair of my head was hurt that Samstanom would be crushed and many other things which incensed the Rajah very much.

He then observed “come what will I have determined upon declaring war. If those who ran away from hence be sent back from Mysore you will be allowed to return, if not you will suffer the consequence when War is commenced.” The Rajah said many other things in an authoritative tone. I had not other alternative but to put down my signature, but in this instance also not in the usual way.

On the 7th February the Rajah sent for me. When I went up he was standing over the monuments of his Father and Grand-father and observed to me that it was some days since any news had been received.

That Mr. Baber had arrived at Cannanore, that a letter sent by Mr. Baber for me was received on the preceding day, in which matters relating to both the Rajah and myself were properly written. That considering that Mr. Baber was coming from Bombay there was reason to believe that he is deputed by the Bombay Government to settle the Rajah’s Business. The Rajah changed the subject of the conversation saying that he would speak further about the matter on the following day, and that I should wait on him on the next day; and then observed, “It is long since you have been absent from your family. Had not you better send for your brother Ram Menon and your family?

I shall give such assistance as may be required in the way of Horses, Dhooly etc.” The Rajah then talked on sundry matters of no importance.

After this interview the Rajah never sent for me, but I have seen him three times going and returning by the Road opposite to the Bungalow in which I was kept on route to and from Veerarajapett whither he had proceeded on hunting excursions as well as to look after the preparations then in progress for the War.

I was never on those occasions allowed to speak to him.On one of these occasions, he halted opposite to the Parboothy Cutcherry about 100 yards distant from the Bungalow in which I was, caused large plantain trees to be cut, had three of them lashed together and with one blow of the Crooked knife severed them in two.

This and sundry other manoeuvres were performed with the view of intimidating me.

On the 20th of March 1 Kariakar and 8 men came by order of the Rajah to the place where I was and said, that the Rajah had directed that we should move our resistance to the Shetrom in the vicinity of the Fort and desired us to make haste in preparing for the movement. He accordingly started and on reaching the Sentry placed near the Bungalow in Ookadah, we were desired to part with our arms, on which I observed that we did not come to hurt any one, that we made no bad use of them during the four and a half months we had them in our possession. That if any distrust was entertained they might take away the Powder and Cartridge, and thus declined to give up our arms. One of the Guard then went to report this to the Rajah who was about 150 yards from the Bungalow in which we halted. In the interim I asked the Kariakar who was sent to remove us from our former residence what was the cause of the removal. And he said that the Phiranghee’s people had come to the four sides of that Country for the purpose of carrying me away. In consequence of which orders were issued to secure my person .

By this time the person who went up to the Rajah returned saying that orders were again given to take away from us all the arms belts etc. Accordingly we surrendered as follows:

3 double barrelled Guns

1 single ditto

1 sword with tambac hilt

4 do with silver hilts

7 sword sticks

1 ditto mounted with gold

3 Crooked knives

1 Lance

54 cartridges pouches and sword belts with silver clasps

1 silver breast plate worn by the Deloget and

2 brass ditto ditto by the Peons.

These articles were taken away to the Rajah with which he returned to the Fort. We were then taken to a sugar cane garden, below the Fort and made to live in a house standing therein with 10 men as a Guard over us with orders not to allow us to stir beyond 50 yards of it. As there was no water we dug a hole and made use of the water procured by this means. The Rajah at this time gave orders to remove all his property from Maddakkery to Makanad, for which purpose a large number of men and elephants were employed for 8 or 9 days, and on the 18th of March the Rajah himself with his family proceeded to Makanad. I heard that the removal of his Treasure required two trips of 24 Elephants and 20 Horses. On the night of the 20th orders were likewise received to remove me and the 13 persons with me in to the Fort. We were that night shut up in a Stable Room and closely watched, in which state we continued for two days without permission to stir out. The Brahmin with me was the only person allowed to grant (sic) to prepare rice for me.

On the 1st April Tuesday the Dewan Bassawapa and Moonshee Kallyaman returned from Makanaad for the purpose of sending away Sundry articles which still remained in the Fort and they on the same occasion sent me and the people with me to Makanaad. We reached that place at 10 o’clock at night and were made to put up in a house newly finished at the foot of the Hill near to the Palace with orders to keep us shut up day and night except at meal time which was to be prepared on the bank of a nullah close to it. About 10 yards from the House in which we were locked up, stands a large House in which the Dewan Bassawapa and his family resided.

On the morning of the 2nd the Dewan came to the House in which I was and after looking about told the Guard not to oppress me much, to allow me to walk about in the compound during the day time. I then called the Dewan aside and asked him what was the object of the great preparations which were going on and of my person being thus detained. He answered that there was no objections to telling me the cause. And then said that large force belonging to the Pherangees had reached the Frontiers by five different roads for the purpose of carrying me away. That by that time War must have commenced. That he was at a loss to know what would be the result, that I was the cause of all this and asked me what was to be done?

This was spoken privately. I answered, that I had already predicted this. More than once. That if war had commenced the Hon’ble Company would not fail to seize the country and the Rajah run the risk of losing his Life.

If my life was lost the Sirkar would lose nothing. But that many lives in this country should be lost on my account was a matter of much concern to me. The Dewan hereupon asked me what was proper to be done to avoid the War and I replied that no time should be lost in sending out white flags signifying Kabool (submission) and that if I together with Vakeels was sent out to the Camp, I would exert my utmost to settle the matter in a satisfactory way after seeing Mr. Graeme, the Collector and other Gentlemen. The Dewan became sensible of the propriety of my suggestions, and said he would communicate the same to the Swamy. That except my assistance they had now no other alternative left. Begged me not to think of what had passed and said that the Lord Sahib, with whom I was acquainted had come to the Neelgherry Hills. The Dewan then left me to go and see the Rajah.

On the morning of the 4th Friday at about the Rajah accompanied by four persons came on foot to an elevated spot near the House in which I was and sent for me.

On my approaching him, the attendants were desired to withdraw to a distance and the Rajah said that he is fully sensible of all that I had previously stated to him.

That the Dewan communicated to him the conversation I had with him. That the Kabool flag was already sent out and asked me what else to be done in order that matters might be settled without injury to himself. This was spoken in an intreating and distressful tone. I asked the Rajah whether Hostilities had commenced. He answered that intelligence was received that they had in some quarters.

I observed that matters were then in a wrong way. That all the assistance in my power would be afforded. On which the Rajah proposed a return to the Palace and consider the subject. We accordingly walked up to the Palace, which was about a quarter of a mile distant, and the attendants were again desired to withdraw.

When both of us were seated the Rajah resumed the subject saying that after he sent out the Flag, the firing from the party coming up the Stony River Road ceased but that they continue to advance and asked me in a sorrowful way what was to be done. I proposed that myself and the Vakeels should be immediately sent to the Troops coming up the Stony river road, as it was likely the Collector and other Gentlemen would be in the Camp. The Rajah then said that the Lord Sahibs of Bengal and Madras were on the Neelgherries. That as I was acquainted with the Lord Sahib of Bengal, was a good opportunity for me to exert my endeavours.

That this Samstanom would never forget the assistance that I might render it and that I should not think of the conduct evinced towards me until then. All this and many other things were said in an entreating way, to which I replied, that I would assuredly afford such assistance as laid in my power and tried to comfort the Rajah.

The Rajah then said, that when he thinks of what he had hitherto done me, he cannot feel convinced of the sincerity of my promise. That the only way of removing the doubts in his mind would be for me to swear upon the Sala Gramom (Holy Stone from Cassy) and execute a Kaychit.

That as I had not up to that time any thing from him for my expenses, I should accept some trifling Presents, and that I should take my meal there that day. To which I replied that nothing of what he mentioned was required to induce him to trust to me, and that I will render him all the assistance in my power. The Rajah then observed that as his mind was in a distressed state, I should not oppose his wishes.

Recollecting that the Rajah was a person devoid of good sense, and wishing to obviate further trouble which he might be induced to occasion at that critical period, as well as to escape with my life somehow or other, I assented to subscribe to the oath and Kychit he proposed. The letter was accordingly prepared and on hearing it read over I found that my name was inserted as Sheristedar Karoonagara Menon, and that it contented some other objectionable words.

On which I observed that “Sheristedar” was my public designation which I could not make use of without the Sirkar’s Permission. And suggested that my name should be simply used.

This was acceded to and the Kychit having been drawn out accordingly, I affixed my Signature there, a copy of which I beg to submit herewith. The Rajah then ordered that the Dewan Bassawapan Moonshee Kallyaman and a Brahmin should accompany me taking with them the Sala Gramom in order that I may swear upon it after bathing myself.

The Rajah also directed that the Guard placed over me may be withdrawn and a place near the Palace prepared for me for that night.

And desired me to return in the evening as he had to consult with me on several matters. I promised to do so and left the Palace accompanied by the Dewan and the Moonshee. Reaching the place of my Habitation I bathed and took the oath to the effect specified in the Kychit.

The Guards immediately withdrew and the Karistan returned to the Rajah. At 4 o’clock P. M. a messenger came to desire I should proceed to the Palace taking with me my Baggage and the people with me. We went up and stopt under a Pandal erected in the Compound and at 8 o’clock Moonshee Kallyaman came to me from the Rajah and asked me what road I purposed taking the following day; and what was required.

I replied I intended to write to Periapatam and Stony Rover intimating that I was coming. That as soon as I get my arms, Palankeen and Horse I would proceed to Veerarajapett and after enquiring the Road by which Mr. Grame and the Collector were coming in I would proceed to join them.

I asked the Moonshee whether the Kabool Flags had reached the Troops entering by the other four routes and whether the firing had ceased and that if it was not known that it should be soon ascertained. The Moonshee went and communicated the above to the Rajah and returned to me at 12 o’clock of the same night and said that no information has been received of the Kabool Flags having reached the force coming by any other road than that of Stony River, that intelligence had been received of the latter force having ascended the Ghaut and advanced so far as Kandyl that therefore the Rajah wished me to start the following morning. I answered that I would do so at 6 o’clock on the morning of the 5th. The Rajah’s messenger came and desired me to proceed to the Rajah.

I went up and the Rajah bid me to sit down near him. A stout aged Mussalman with another rather black and of a slender tall make were there present, together with Dewan Bassawapen and one or two other public servants.

The Rajah again begged me not to think of the past and added, if I would protect that Samstanom my Tarwadd (Family) would feel the good effects of it as long as it lasts and that as far as experienced persons have said, there appeared reason to expect that that Samstanom would prosper. What the Rajah said was seconded by the stout Mussalman.

The Rajah next said that as I should forthwith start for Virarajapett he had ordered a Canarese Writer to be in readiness to accompany me, and begged me to set out without delay.

On which I said that I would start as soon as I got back my arms, Palankeen, Horse, Breast Plates etc. In which the Rajah said that in the bustle and confusion which occurred some of my guns and other things had been mislaid.

That 3 swords and 2 pistols were only forthcoming, that they could not find the Breast plates. That the whole would follow me and that I should not delay on that account. I replied that it would be quite enough if the arms were sent after me, but that I should wish to have the Peon’s breast plates.

The rajah then ordered another search when the Belts were found but no plates. The Swords and Pistols were then returned to me, and the Rajah then presented me with a Crooked Knife the handle of which is covered with Gold, with the waist belt in which it is fixed, the whole is worth about 80 Rupees and I begged the Rajah to accept of a Sword with a Silver belt and other apparatus worth about 120 Rupees. On which the Rajah observed that what I have him in return was worth double the value of what he gave me; and wished me therefore to accept of a further present of a Donate and Turband, and after I left him, he sent me a Kincab Mungarkah and a pair of Silk Trowser, the whole wll be worth about 200 Rupees. The Guns and Swords were from time to time sent to me, but I did not get back Crooked Knife, 4 Belts with Silver Clasps, the Gun case, shooting tackle and sundry other articles, the whole worth about 100 Rupees as well as 1 Silver breast plate belonging to the Sirkar.

About 11 o’clock in the forenoon of the 5th a letter was received by the Rajah from Colonel Fraser requiring my immediate release and the Rajah to go and meet the Colonel. The Rajah asked me what was to be done, and I answered that as it appeared that Colonel Fraser is sent as an agent of the Lord Sahib, the Rajah should lose no time in proceeding to that Gentleman. He answered that he was not acquainted with that Sahib, that as it was time of War he could not so soon wait on the Colonel, that after the troops should withdraw, and his own force be recalled, he would fix upon a spot to meet the Colonel.

This was said after a consultation with the Mussalman and other Servants then present on which I observed that the Troops advancing by different routes would not stop until they reached Maddakery and again suggested that the Rajah should without loss of time go and see the Colonel. That he was not acquainted with the Colonel and the other Gentlemen’s temper. That it required some consideration before he could determine upon going to meet them, that I should forthwith proceed to Colonel Fraser by the Maddakery road along with two Karistans, that he would write a letter to Colonel Fraser requesting the Troops to halt where they are without advancing and entering the Maddakery Fort. That if after our arrival in the Camp, we should find that there would be no harm in the Rajah’s going to meet the Colonel, to send a messenger to him to that effect, and if he should also receive a suitable answer from the Colonel he would not hesitate to go and see him. I answered the Rajah that I would go but that he should furnish me with an order directing his people to attend to my advice; and to afford me assistance which he agreed to do.

Accordingly myself with two Karistans were despatched from Maknaad, and before I started the Rajah delivered to me some letters which yourself and Mr. Graeme wrote to me which were not made over in due time.

Some of them had been opened by the Rajah.2 o’clock the Rajah sent me a Rahadary directing his subjects to attend to my advice and to furnish me with the required supplies and sent also my Peon and Palankeen. The Rajah also gave presents of Cloth to the people with me, the whole valued about 60 Rupees.

A copy of the said Rahadary is herewith submitted. When I was about to start from Makinaad I observed that the Rajah had there upwards of 3000 men 8 large Guns and upward of 200 horses. Of the men 1500 were people from Mysore whom the Rajah had employed, and I advised the Rajah to dismiss them without delay.

For if Colonel Fraser were to know it, it might retard the reconciliation. The Rajah promised to pay them off without delay. This was immediately known to the Mysore people above alluded to. The consequence was that wherever I met them they used to abuse me with epithets of “Kaffar Sooar you have thrown dirt into the mouths of a great many persons” and such other abusive languages, all which I put up with.

It was 3 P. M. when we started from Maknaad and at day break the next morning reached Madakkery and I showed the Rahadary to the people in the Fort, and desired them to keep only about 70 persons as guard in the Fort and to hoist a white Flag and thence we proceeded to the Camp about four miles to the East of the Fort.

I waited to Colonel Fraser and other Gentlemen and briefly mentioned that a white Flag was hoisted in the Fort as well as what the Rajah charged me to communicate.

The Colonel said he received the Rajah’s answer, in which it is stated that I was sent back, that a Moplah and Karoonagara Menon (myself) were deputed as his Vakeels, that we would represent everything, but that the Rajah did not say when he would himself come. That the Troops would march to Maddakery soon after a Letter is sent to the Rajah, desiring him to come in, and that I should also go along with them.

The Colonel also asked me what number of Guns there were on the Fort and I answered there were only 70 men and two Guns in the Fort. Colonel Fraser then said he would talk further the next day in the Fort and seeing that I was unwell was pleased to give me a Palankeen and bearers. After 12 o’clock, the troops marched, entered the Maddakery Fort at 4 o’clock and hoisted the British Flag on its wall under a royal Salute.

European Soldiers and Sepoys were placed as Sentries and the Troops encamped about half a mile to the north of the Fort. I waited on Colonel Fraser the following day and mentioned the circumstances of the Letters written to me by Mr. Graeme, of the answers prepared by the Rajah in my name, contrary to all usage and answered such questions as the Colonel was pleased to put to me.

When the Colonel observed that I had affixed my signature I said that if what was required to be done at critical periods was not done I should not have been able to preserve my Life; that I thought Mr. Graeme was not displeased at it, as the Letters which the Rajah delivered to me at the moment of my release showed, and I produced to Colonel Fraser those letters some of which were not opened.

The Colonel desired me to peruse the Letters and asked me whether I wished to go. I replied that I wished to act as the Colonel might be pleased to direct.

That Gentleman then said that as I was under your orders I had better return to you soon. That if I wished to go to the Lord Sahib I should go by the Periapatam road, that there was no interruption for posting or cause for fear on the road. I begged the Colonel to allow me a Guard for my protection on the road, and that Gentleman said that until the Rajah shall have come and settled every thing no Guard could be spared but if I wanted money I might have it. I stated I would call the next day and make known my determination. The next day my brother Ram Menon and the Tahsildar of Kotiote Koonda Menon, with some others arrived at Maddakery and went to Colonel Fraser. I also went up to the Gentleman, when he was pleased to say that as my Brother and the Tahsildar were come, it would be better for me to return with them, as no Guard or Bearer could then be spared, and accordingly desired me to return.

As Darrashaw was in the Camp as the Colonel had desired me to return and considering many other circumstances I thought it would not be proper for me to remain any longer at Maddakery. Accordingly on the 9th I quitted that place and on my way waited on Colonel Fraser and other Gentlemen, who came with the Force from Cannanore which was encamped about eight miles to the South of Maddakery.

Those Gentlemen were much pleased at seeing me, and asked me many questions. And I gave them all the information in my power.Colonel Joules then proposed to me to stay there until the Rajah should come in, as I might be useful in obtaining intelligence. I remained there that day. The next day some of the persons who were at Maknaad with the Rajah came to me and said that the Rajah had started from that place with the intention of meeting the Gentlemen at Maddakery and I took them to Colonel Joules and communicated the intelligence. The Colonel gave them a present of 2 Rupees and at 2 o’clock P. M. gave me leave to proceed on. And as there was a Havildar Party returning to Cannanore they were directed to go along with me.

The Colonel also desired me to procure and send from Veerarajapett a quantity of Horse Gram. We reached Veerarajapett at 8 P. M. and I waited on Colonel Brack and the other Gentlemen and gave them a brief account of what had occurred. The Colonel then said that I had better defer my journey to the next day making previously some arrangement for procuring supplies as the required quantity was not to be had.

The Colonel gave a Naik’s Party for my protection that night. The next day I sent a Bullock load of Horse Gram to Colonel Joules’s Camp for which Koonda Menon Tahsildar paid. I then sent for the Rajah’s Karistans and the merchant in the Pettah and showed the Rajah’s Rahadary and made arrangements for the necessary supplies being furnished. This settled I took them to Colonel Brack, and with that Gentleman’s leave, left the Place soon after. On the road I met the Gentleman at Kandy Wadikel and from hence returned the Guard that accompanied me. At Keyparamaba Koona Menon Tahsildar remained behind for the purpose of sending up Provisions, and I proceeded on to Tellicherry, which place I reached on the 13th April.

During the five Months that I remained confined in Coorg viz. from 5th November 1833 to 5th April 1834 and out of this period 4½ months in the Bungalow about a mile South of Muddakery I did not receive anything whatever for my Expenses from the Rajah. From the 19th of March my place of confinement was changed to the Muddakery Fort and Maknaad, at the latter place there is no Bazar from which Rice and other articles could be procured in consequence of which I was obliged to receive from the Rajah’s people the following articles viz. 36 seers of rice, 4 Paloms of Tamarind, 2 Palams of chillies 1½ measures of Ghee, I seer of salt, 3 seers milk, ½ measure Gingely oil (the latter at Muddakery ) in all to the value of about 2Rs and I had previously given to the Rajah a bottle of Lavender.

All things considered it appears to me that what has happened may be attributed to the Rajah’s youth and pride, the bad advice of his servants, and the Mussalman who came from Mysore. The Circumstance of Government not having taken notice of the bits of oppression formerly practised with the view of preventing recurrences. The delusion inspired by the Letters received from Casey setting forth that all Countries would fall under the Halery Samstanom, and that the Hon’ble Company would be ruined.

During the time that I was confined in the Bungalow namely 4 ½ months there was no want of anything. The only annoyance we experienced was we being laughed at by the people who daily passed by the Bungalow (which stood near the high road ) on their way to and from the fairs and other passengers. One incident happened which gave me much concern. One day I ventured to ask a Putter an astrologer the day which the anniversary of the death of my mother would fall. This was reported to the Rajah. The consequence was that the Putter was seized and bound with a rope round his waist, furnished with 36 stripes and placed in confinement and he was not released until the day I was set at liberty. Such are the arbitrary acts practised there. I myself witnessed to Putter being carried with a rope tied round his waist. And when he came to me, after being released from confinement, I saw the marks of the stripes inflicted on him. The greatest restriction was laid to out walking and speaking to people passing by and to writing. From the 20th March to 5th April being 15 days, the period I was alternately confined near the Maddakery Fort, within that fort and Maknad. I experienced the greatest deprivations and hardship for during some days we were actually in close confinement with locked up doors, without a sufficiency of rice and water and the smallest comfort denied us.

After the English troops entered the Muddakery Fort and hoisted the Flag under a salute, I went to Muddakery ambalom (temple). A man of the Bhuadar caste aged about 20 years used to cook for the Dewan Bassavapen was also there. This person told my servant, as what he heard the Dewan say, that the real object of remaining me to the fort, was to nail me and the 13 persons who were with me to the tree standing on the road through which the English Force might pass, for which purpose nails had already been prepared. That the Rajah’s palace within the fort as well as the new one constructed outside of it was to be burnt down, for which purpose they were filled with firewood that we might consider ourselves very fortunate in having escaped the fate that awaited us. On this being mentioned to me I enquired after the man but could not find him out. On sending people to both of the Palaces, all the rooms had firewood placed in them, some of them in the palace within the fort, were being closed (sic – cleared?) for the Rajah’s residence on his return.

The general belief is that the lives of myself and of the others with me were not put an end to in the evil manner that was intended in consequence of the Rajah having been frightened from what was stated in the letter addressed by Mr Graeme and by the Right Hon’ble the Lord Sahib as well as in the proclamation for they strongly stated that if my life was put an end to or any injury done to me the Rajah would meet with the same fate and lose his Country.

It is now 33 years since I have served the Hon’ble Company enjoying their support and protection. To evince my sense of it I undertook this arduous business. The consequence was that I endured the evils detailed above. I am now about 60 years of age and otherwise in a bad state of health and inform accordingly, I trust to your goodness to do what would ensure me honor and credit and that you will be so good as to send to Mr Graeme, and to the Government for their information.

Dated 21st April 1834

Signed) Karunagara Menon



If the Maha Swamy Avargul be so good towards us to send me to the English People, I will bravely and faithfully attend to the Good of all that concerns the Maha Rajah Avargul. I will not to the least thing which may be bad. If I am not true in this, may God deny me a place in this and the other world, and punish me to the uttermost. In truth of this, if of my own free will I mean upon the Sala Gramam. Written on Friday by A. K. R Timagan.

Signed) Karoonakara Menon

The Sannad issued by Maha Rajah Veer Rajendra Waddiar of the Haliery Samstanom to the Servants of the Dewan Cutcherry Talook Soobedar Parbuttikars the Watchmen at the Gokkadahs:

Whereas Kulpully Karoonagara Menon Sheristedar of is deputed on Business of the Sirkar, on his arrival in any of your Talooks, Bazars and Gokadahs, you will pay him every attention supplying on account of the Sirkar every articles of provision which he may require. Moreover if he should desire any of you to do what may be conducive to the good of the Sirkar, you will attend and execute the same.

The said Sheristedar is not to meet with any opposition, with molestation nor delay or inattention in the matter.

Written by order on Saturday the 27th of Palgoonom of the Kalee year 4935 by K. Surasyet Soobrow.

The Rajah’s Signature
Karoonagara Menon Canara Menon’s Memorandum
P. Collector.

After word had been received that Karanakera Menon had been seized, four East India Company columns were sent across the borders into Coorg. These columns had a fierce campaign fighting their way into high canopy forest along sunken roads built as part of a complex defensive system not unlike that developed by the Maoris in New Zealand at very much the same time.

"The country of Coorg is of small extent, being about fifty miles long, and thirty-five broad in its greatest breadth: it lies to the westward of Mysore, being comprised within the twelfth degree of north latitude and 75th and 76th degrees east of longitude. But in compensation of its small extent, it is naturally a very strong country, being surrounded by lofty mountains with a few difficult passes leading into the interior, whilst other wooded hills thickly stud its surface.

The Rajah of this petty state, after a long course of oppression exercised upon his subjects, he being himself under the protection of the British government, addressed a series of insulting letters to the authorities of the latter, and eventually proceeded to the length of placing a native emissary, who had been sent to open a friendly negotiation with him, under forcible restraint. In consequence, hostilities were declared against him by the government of Fort St. George in a Proclamation dated 2d April 1834, by which date the various columns, that had been put in motion during the preceding month, had already arrived on the frontiers.

These columns were as follows: - brigadier Lindesay C.B., of H.M.’s 39th Regt. commanded the whole; the eastern column, under lieut.-colonel Steuart, was composed of part of H.M.’s 39th regiment, the 4th, the 36th and 38th N.I. and a detachment of artillery, and sappers and miners: lieut.-colonel Foulis commanded the western column, consisting of H.M.’s 48th regiment, and the 20th and 32nd N.I. with artillery; lieut.-colonel Waugh commanded the northern column, composed of H.M.’s 55th regiment N.I. artillery, sappers and miners, 9th and 31st L.I the western auxiliary column, under lieut.-colonel Jackson was composed of a detachment of H.M.’s 48th and 40th N.I. whilst the 51st N.I. was employed in Wynaud.

Colonel Lindesay, who accompanied the eastern column crossed the frontier on 1st April without encountering any opposition. On the 2d colonel Steuart broke ground from Periapatam at three a.m., and by noon, reached the eastern bank of the Cavery at Kungas Amoodum, the distance being only 14 or 15 miles, but, it having latterly been necessary to cut a road through the jungle, the progress of the column was retarded. The enemy had thrown up a simple breastwork upon the opposite side, apparently not possessing sufficient military knowledge to have given flanks to it. As they here disputed the passage, lieutenant Montgomery, commanding the artillery with the column, brought up a gun to bear upon it, and, whilst it was firing a few rounds, two companies crossed below, and two, above the breastwork taking it in flank, the enemy hastily evacuating it. The bottom of the river at the ford being excessively rocky and uneven, the guns did not get across until four andhalf p.m., when the force encamped.

At noon on the 3d, the column resumed its march, and, afterwards, arrived in front of the town and barrier of Nunjarpet, where a slight resistance, similar to that of the preceding day and attended with the same results, took place. At five a.m. of the 4thit again broke ground, and by sunset reached Aracanel, distant eight miles. On the 7th it arrived at Muddekerry, the capital of Coorg. The casualties were only one private of H.M.’s 39th, one drummer of the 4th N.I. and one private of the sappers and miners, wounded, throughout the advance.

The western column under colonel Foulis arrived at noon of the 2d of April within two miles of Stony river, and at 2 p.m. a reconnoitring party discovered the enemy drawn up in position within 200 yards of the Company’s territory. Marching the next morning at six o’clock, the artillery, under captain C. Taylor, gave the stockade three rounds of canister and grape, after which it was stormed with trifling loss.

Between this and three and a half p.m. two stockades and two breastworks were stormed, the column having to fight its way over felled trees. At four p.m. it took up a position at Stony nullah, three and a half miles from the foot of the Huggul ghaut, a gun and a mortar occupying a strong advance post. This was attacked during the night, but the enemy were driven back by the artillery.

At six a.m. of the 4th April, the column ascended the Huggul ghaut and were met by a flag of truce. On the 5th it reached Veerachunderpett, and on the 7th, Mootoodanoor. The casualties on the 3d and 4th were, killed, H.M.’s 48th regiment, one lieutenant, four privates, one dresser; 20th N.I., two privates, 32d N.I., three privates; sappers and miners, one private wounded, staff, one captain; artillery, one serjeant, one corporal, one gunner; H.M.’s 48th regiment, one lieutenant, one serjeant, one corporal, fourteen privates; 20th N.I., two privates; 32d N.I., eight privates; sappers and miners, five privates: total killed and wounded, forty-eight.

The following is an extract from colonel Foulis’ despatch dated 7th April “To officers commanding corps he is greatly indebted for the steady manner in which they led their men, especially to captain Corlandt Taylor, commanding the artillery, who in the most gallant manner, brought his guns to bear within 70 yards of the first stockade, and ensured the capture which followed. The unwearied exertions of this officer, (though suffering from a sprained ancle) in always having his guns up a steep ghaut and prepared for action are beyond all praise”. The loss of the enemy was about 250 killed and wounded, including four chiefs.

The northern column under colonel Waugh was not so successful as the two preceding ones. The enemy was strongly stockaded at Bukh, on the brow of a steep ascent, to which a narrow pathway led,impracticable for artillery, until the work should be carried. Two parties were detached on the 3d April to turn the flanks of the work; but met in front of it. A destructive fire was opened on them; and, after four hours spent in vain attempts to carry it, they were obliged to retreat with the following heavy loss: killed H.M.’s 55 regiment, one lieutenant-colonel, three serjeants, one corporal, one drummer and twenty-three privates; sappers and miners, one European private, one havildar and four privates; rifle company, one private; 9th N.I., one ensign; 31st L.I., one ensign, one jemidar, one naigue and eight privates; total killed, forty-eight; wounded: artillery, two gunners; H.M.’s 55th regiment, one captain, two lieutenants, one adjutant, four serjeants, three corporals, one drummer and sixty privates; sappers and miners, eleven native privates; rifle company, one private; 9th N.I., one serjeant, one naigue, one drummer and four privates;31st L.I., one captain, one lieutenant, one subadar, one havildar, one naigue and twenty privates; total wounded 118; total killed and wounded, 166.

The western auxiliary column, under colonel Jackson, which was unaccompanied by artillery, was likewise repulsed, with the loss of killed, detachment of H.M.’s 48th regt., one serjeant, eight rank and file; 40th N.I., one subaltern, two havildars, one drummer and seventeen rank and file; native followers, four; total killed, 34; wounded, H.M.’s 48th, one subaltern and six rank and file; 40th N.I., one havildar and twenty-eight rank and file; two followers; total wounded, 38; total killed and wounded, 72.

On 10th April, Rajah Veerarjander Woodiah surrendered to brigadier Lindesay, and the following passage occurs in that officer’s despatch of the 11th announcing that event, and the consequent termination of hostilities.

“To major Poole of His Majesties 39th regiment, whom I placed in immediate command of the infantry brigade, to captain Seton, commanding the artillery and captain Underwood, the chief engineer, I have been indebted for the most zealous and able assistance, and I do but justice in reporting that the officers and soldiers of every rank and degree have, under all circumstances and in all respects, merited my most perfect approbration.”

The following artillery order was issued by captain Seton, dated Camp, Muddekerry, 24th April 1834. “Captain Seton, being about to proceed to Bangalore, considers it an imperative duty to express the high sense he entertains of the exertions of all ranks composing the artillery in the Coorg field force, during the period of their employment.

“The difficulties that each of the parties, attached to the several columns, have had to encounter, have been very great; and the manner, in which they have been overcome, is highly creditable to the skill and energy of those engaged."

“Captain C. Taylor, lieutenant Montgomery and lieutenant Timins, have been detached throughout the service, and the commanding officer has reason to know that each has merited and received the praises due to his exertions"

“Captain Seton wishes lieutenant Bell, commanding A company, 2d battalion, artillery, to accept his best thanks, which are due also in an especial manner to lieutenant Brice for the zeal and activity he has always displayed in the performance of his duties as brigade major, and to lieutenant Mawdesley whose alertness and minute attention to everything connected with his duty has been very conspicuous” With the following well earned tribute to the golundauze contained in captain Taylor’s report to the commandant of artillery, dated 6th April 1834, we close the notice of the brief Coorg campaign. “It is a duty I owe to the golundauze of the detachment to mention to the commandant that they brought their guns into play on the morning of the 3d instant, against a strongly manned stockade with all the coolness of the best soldiers; and their exertions during the day,>as well as their devotion whilst forcing our way up an unusually strong ghaut, and fighting from six a.m. till half past two p.m. was most exemplary.

To lieutenant Denman, who was with the advance of the column with me, much praise is due, and I should be further wanting in duty, were I not to particularize Oomed Allie, subadar of golundauze, and Boodar Cawn, jemadar of the lascars.” [2]

There is a very good blog by Murali Rama Varma on the history of the Coorg Royal family here

[1] Transcript from OIOC files sent to me by Prema Menon.
[2] Extract from ‘Services of the Madras Artillery’ by Begbie


Maddy said...

upon careful scrutiny, you find that there is a lot of interesting detail of the times in this letter, ...very exact in text I guess...I wonder if Karunakara menon ever wrote a book about his days - it would have made interesting reading...

Unknown said...

i really trust your blog and i got lot of info from this blog. yes coorg has deep history, many dynasties ruled coorg since thousands of years. i also keening to search on web, so got this site on Coorg >> Coorg Tourism

Nick Balmer said...

Hello Rakesh,

Sadly I have not had the opportunity to visit Coorg myself, although I have been close enough to its southern border in the Wayanad to appreciate how magnificent it must have been with all the forests.

From the letters I have read written in the 1800 to 1830 period, I get the impression that Thomas Hervey Baber thought that Coorg was a very well run place. The officials of the East India Company greatly respected the ruler at that time.

It probably helped that he supported them against Tipu, and indeed it was recognised that without his help the battle of Seedaseer could not have been fought. The Rajah supplied the EI Company army almost entirely.

It probably also helped that Coorg wasn't an easily accessible place, and it wasn't on the route to anywhere where money could be made quickly.

I get a sense that it was a bit like a South Indian version of Nepal or Bhutan.

Do the forests still exist?

Are the earthworks still there?

Thanks for your interest.

Nick Balmer said...

Hello Maddy,

I share your frustration that more of Karanakara Menon's reports don't survive.

T Baber rated Menon extremely highly. Menon is almost the only Indian who is always mentioned in an entirely positive way in reports and letters.

I know that he is seen, quite understandably as a traitor by most modern Indian's, but his role in informing and adapting British rule so that it worked for Indian's should not be overlooked.

T Baber disliked much of what was being proposed by central government for Kerala. He knew that what worked in Bengal and Madras would not necessarily work in Malabar.

So he campaigned to get things changed. He worked tirelessly with men like Sir Thomas Munro and Graeme who shared his views and who were receptive to ideas for reform in dozens of letters that survive in London.

In quite a few of these letters to Munro and Graeme he recommends Menon as being able to advise them on better ways or on local conditions.

He sent Menon to visit them on a number of occasions during Graeme and Munro's enquiries into local affairs.

It is very sad that Cholera removed Sir Thomas Munro before these reforms could be implemented. Lushington's administration was far more reactionary, and Kerala suffered as a result.

I believe that it is possible that more of Karankera Menon's work lives on than perhaps we are currently aware.

Where is it?

I think it forms the core of much of what appears in William Logan's Malabar Manual, and that this is one of the reasons Logan's book is so good. Logan was drawing on very good notes and files going back to the events he describes.

In volume II there are several articles by P. Karankera Menon.

This is probably his sons work, but I think Logan compiled a lot of the book based on notes left by his predecessors in the office files in Tellicherry.

Nick Balmer said...

I believe that most of the early history and especially cultural background came from notes compiled by Thomas Baber with the help of Menon who acted as the cultural bridge tutoring and enlightening Baber.

Baber and the other officials wrote huge amounts every day, but little survives in Britain on general subjects. Yet he lectured extensively here and wrote pamphlets in 1830 in great detail on most of the subjects in volume I of the Malabar Manual and refers to earlier records including things like his diaries going back to 1803.

I think that it is possible that these diaries and files survive inside the Court House at Tellicherry. I have not had the opportunity to visit these files, but modern descendants of Judge Stevens have seen the files briefly. They believe that it is quite possible that they go back that far.

There is potentially a gold mine of information here if my hunch is correct, however it needs somebody with months of time, and I understand it is very difficult to get permission to visit these records.

I expect that they are very delicate by now, but it would be fascinating if we could get access to them, if only to see if we could photograph them before the crumble away to dust.

Could we find a Phd Historian in Calicut University or some such place who might be able to explore this potential archive?

So while it doesn't appear that actual documents written by Menon survive, his detailed accounts may have survived inside the writing of Thomas Baber and William Logan.

Because I don't believe that it would have been at all easy for your average British official to have become sufficiently fluent in the five or more languages spoken locally at that time to have amassed such detailed knowledge and understanding, while doing the day job, unless he had a very intelligent and acute local observer at hand to get him under way.

I believe it was Menon who started the process in 1797 in Palghat or Ponnani.

When you look into Kerala Society from the outside many things seem incomprehensible and rather strange at first.

Presumably the young Englishmen arriving two hundred years ago had the same issues that I have had.

However, when you have the input of knowledgeable locals, much of what at first doesn't appear comprehensible, suddenly makes much more sense.

I think Menon knew his society had to change, as Globalisation arrived on its shores, and that he took a conscious decision that it was better to get it changed to suit his community by working with the EIC than it was by rebelling against it. It must have been a horribly tough decision for him personally.

Anonymous said...

history based on the fairy tales the British (barring a few among the British who had developed a fondness for India and Indians) used to write home. In these fairy tales, as William Dalrymple has noted in some of his books e.g., The White Mughals, the British always painted themselves as saints and Indians as uncivilized, uneducated, heathens. Mr Balmer's fans should dig into the archives of the debates in the British Parliament about the misadventures of the East India Company. East India Company, that Mr. Balmer seems to be a big fan of, is a textbook example of a multi-national corporation that managed to co-opt the might of the British empire to serve the commercial interests of the British thugs who were the primary beneficiaries of the EIC's activities in India and the rest of Asia (e.g., opium trade in China).

Nick Balmer said...

Hello Anonymous,

Thanks for dropping by. I can quite understand your point of view, and until I really started reading history, I would have accepted it unchallenged.

Listen to the following lecture by William Dalrymple, and hear what he says about the period before 1830, when I believe that it all went wrong with disastrous consequences.

Then consider what you have written about the EIC multinational character.

Now you have listened to Dalrymple, consider the following.

I believe that it was entirely because the East India Company ceased to be a trading company in the years after 1780, as it became more and more controlled by politicians from Britain and not merchants, that it went wrong.

Because politicians in far away Britain allowed the church to send missionaries to India, which nearly all of the Brits whose correspondence that I have read in India in 1800 to 1815 thought was a bad thing to do, expressly because they knew it would upset Indian's.

You need to read the opposing view to Burke and Fox. They got it horribly wrong and stopped the work of experienced officials like Warren Hastings who had lived all their adult lives in India and who had come to really understand India and Indian's in a way that men like Cornwallis and Wellesley didn't.

Do you have links with Coorg?

Please don't remain anonymous, and please tell me your side of the story.


Nick Balmer

shan said...


We have started a blog recently about the malabar. Would love if we could have some of your posts there.

The blog is available at

PLease contact us at
if you are interested

Daedalus said...

Mr. Balmer wants to hear my side of the story. India was one of the most wealthy regions in the world, before the East India Company got there. It was not a perfect place - it had its problems of inequity, infighting, etc. East India company - like most large corporations that exist today - e.g., British Petroleum - was driven by greed. Its business practices were predatory in nature. Most of its officials (barring a few exceptions) who were attracted to India by the desire to get rich fast were horrendously corrupt, greedy - in short, thugs under the guise of businessmen. It is true that EIC could not have succeeded to the extent it did were it not for the fact that they got there at an opportune time - when the India was in a state of disarray. Within a matter of decades, the predatory business practices of the EIC had turned India, one of the wealthiest regions of the world (you do not have to take my word for it - you can read the accounts of the first Englishmen to have set foot in India), into one of the poorest. The British ruling class - including a majority of members of the upper house of the British Parliament - the house of Lords- had a major financial stake in EIC. In the industrial revolution, British industrialists and investors needed a global market for their factory produced goods. They also needed access to raw materials to keep their factories running. India fit their needs very well. It is their attempts to gain complete control of the Indian market and raw materials that led to the destruction of Indian industry and transformation of India into a captive market and a captive source of raw materials for EIC and the British ruling class (regardless of whether they were inside and outside the British government). This is what allowed the ruling class of Britain, which was one of the poorest countries in the world at the time of the industrial revolution, to prosper at the expense of the Indians. EIC is a prime example of a predatory corporation driven by pure greed. We recently saw what happens when such institutions are not regulated properly (as in the case of large American Banks).

Daedalus said...

If you want to learn about the East India Company, read for example, "The Emergence of International Business 1200-1800, vol 4. The East India Company" by K.N. Chaudhury, ISBN 0-415-19076-2 or "The Trading world of Asia and the English East India Company" by the same author.

Here is a short, but well-researched article on EIC:

Here is a snapshot of East India Company (mostly from the perspective of those who worked for it or had a stake in it)

Here is an informative Wikipedia article on EIC rule of India:

A range of perspectives are covered at:

Nick Balmer said...


And of course the economic and social breakdown in the coastal settlements was entirely unassisted by the enlightened activities of Hyder Ali, another military adventurer, or the Mahrattas, and sundry other Rohillas, Pathans, and others who had been merrily plundering their way around India long before we arrived.

We were in India for almost 150 years before we actually started fighting outside of the settlements we had negotiated for.

Our forces hardly ever reached 300 men in each of the three main settlements, more than 15 to 20 miles before 1746, and then it was almost always with local rulers and at their request, in support of those rulers.

Just how violent the situation is is perhaps illustrated by one small and inconsequential example.

My five times great grandfather a Merchant with 20 Sepoys made the first significant start to his private fortune, almost entirely because he was trusted by Indian textile handicraft merchants more than they trusted their fellow Indian's when in 1756 at Injaram the local textile workers faced by the imminent arrival of a yet another group of Mahratta raiders, and begged him to buy their work before it was all stolen from them, as it would inevitably otherwise have been.

There is I believe a good case for arguing for instance that the Malabar Rajah's remained as independent rulers for 60 to 70 years longer than they would have otherwise have done because of the EIC presence and troops from Tellicherry who fought alongside the Nair forces against the Bednur rulers invading army, that would have otherwise have overwhelmed them.

If India throughout the 18th Century had been blessed with rulers as able as Tipu and the earlier Moghuls from the 17th Century had been the British and other European's would not have been able to have penetrated for more than ten to 15 miles.

It was a tragedy for India that India was not able to unite, and was in fact a Continent of mutually opposed countries like warring Europe at this time.

All those forts which almost all pre-date the arrival of the British clearly show that the place was not at ease with itself.

We didn't invent oppressive taxation to pay for wars in India.

We just adopted these practises, at the invitation of rulers who wanted our military hardware and skill in order to prevail in their incessant wars with their hereditary armies.

The predatory warlords no longer had Moghul names, they came from Britain, but they ran Jageers on behalf of the Mughul Rulers who were imperialists occupying a foreign land.

We weren't saints and there were some real bad people in amongst them, but at least we recognised that and actually prosecuted or punished the most outrageous ones for things that most Rajah's were routinely doing quite untroubled by any fear of censure let alone punishment.

Thanks for the leads to information.

It was great to have you drop by.

Why don't you tell us about your heritage and where you come from?

Daedalus said...

Nick Balmer keeps spewing his British racist bigotry and revisionist history. British in India were uninvited guests who not only overstayed their welcome, but murdered and looted their hosts, often indulging in what can only be described as war crimes and genocide. I hope one day that the United Nations will establish a tribunal to bring UK to justice for its thuggery and genocide in India.

Devika said...

Nick Balmer: Now that you mentioned your five times great grandfather, everything makes so much more sense. Guess what? Your five times great grandfather according to the locals, a thug, a thief, a con-man and a murderer who traded in a great deal more than textiles, including human cargo.

Nick Balmer said...


Lets look at your points one at a time, you have every right to believe them, but on closer examination they are nearly all wrong.

"Your five times great grandfather according to the locals,"

My only five times great grandfather in India lived in Cuddalore from 1711 until about 1760.


He might have been a "a thug, a thief, a con-man and a murderer who traded in a great deal more than textiles, including human cargo."

But during that period I cannot see any account of his doing more than guard the bounds of that colony and seeing off the French and other raiders like the Mahrattas and Pathans who were terrorising the district killing the local handicraft workers who had been busily trading with the settlement with considerable assistance from the local Indian rulers who were also being robbed, plundered and attacked.

There is no suggestion anywhere I can find of his involvement in slavery. If you can find one I would be fascinated to see it.

You may have mixed him up with my 4 x great uncle Thomas Hervey Baber.

It is a historical fact that he bought two child slaves in 1804 when he was offered them by an Indian slave merchant. He was horrified to discover that child slavery was going on in Malabar.

He granted those two children their freedom and they were brought up in his house with his family. One became his butler and the other the nanny.

From then on he campaigned remorseless to stop slavery. He discovered that some British were beginning to adopt the local practise of slavery. He was so serious about this that it destroyed his career and he quite literally fought a duel and was challenged to another because he had privately prosecuted the British at Tellicherry who were beginning to adopt the Indian custom of slavery practised for centuries before we arrived in Malabar.

You are quite welcome to your opinion but you should do you research before you make unfounded comments.

Nick Balmer said...


Lets look at your points.

"British racist bigotry"

If you take the time to read in detail what I have written you will see that I have whenever possible include the Indian point of view. I freely acknowledge that much of my information is from the English point of view. I am English and that's what is available to you.

Is it the action of a bigot to go out of his way to talk to and meet Indian's, to work with them and to try to understand their point of view?

"revisionist history."

I make no apology for it being revisionist. I think that much of it needs revising.

Why don't you help me do this?

Do you come from Kerala?

What's your story?

"British in India were uninvited guests who not only overstayed their welcome,"

Of course uninvited, but not unwelcomed once they had met us.

If you read the early accounts of our trading we were no different to thousands of other ships that had come from places like the Gulf, Arabia or China and Indonesia.

Many Indian's welcomed our arrival because it gave them new and unexpected markets and opportunities. Otherwise why did our settlements grow so fast. For 150 years we could guard our fences let alone coerce masses of Indian's to go to Madras, Bombay, Tellicherry or Cuddalore, even had we wished to have done.

"murdered and looted their hosts,"

Yes on many occasions, but probably a lot less than many equivalent Indian armies were doing.

War is not nice as you know. In most cases we did not start the conflicts intentionally, if only because until about 1799 we almost always lost. We only won before then when we happened to be supporting the local leaders who the majority supported.

"often indulging in what can only be described as war crimes"

Yes, I can accept that there were war crimes. I don't thing you can find anything I have written that deigns that we did do nasty things.

"and genocide."

I am not aware of genocide.

Perhaps you can enlighten me.

In many cases the boundaries of our settlements actually provided shelter to desperate Indian's fleeing genocide, or something very close to it.

Otherwise why were there 20,000 Nairs and Teers inside Tellicherry during the 1780's siege by Hyder's forces, who were marching off thousands of Nairs and Brahmins from Malabar to forced conversion, or worse?

"I hope one day that the United Nations will establish a tribunal to bring UK to justice for its thuggery and genocide in India."

You are welcome to your opinion.

By the way Thuggery was an Indian activity but down by Sleeman.

Look him up.

Where we wrong to intervene there.

Criminal gangs of Indian's murdering innocent Indian travellers in some misplaced attempt to justify robbery and murder as a religious practise?

None of us are perfect and all of us need to consider our actions before we throw stones in Greenhouses.

Come back to me when you have something constructive to say.

There is after all no reason why you cannot start your own blogs to post your points of view.

Daedalus said...

Since you asked, I am an Anglo Indian with links to Kerala, Coorg, Mysore, and Bangalore. My ancestors lived through the period of history you have described. Some worked for the EIC and later the British Indian civil service and carried out their bidding. My great grand uncle fought in the British army against the Japanese as the latter were advancing on Rangoon. But other members of the family, including my great grandfather, having witnessed the horrors committed by the British, chose to join the Indian National Congress (which incidentally was founded by A.O. Hume, a former member of the East India company, and the British civil service) and work to free India from British rule. As you know, the British were forced out, eventually, and the rest, as we say, is history. Yes, history of EIC and the British in India is complex. Not all British were driven only by greed or misplaced sense of superiority. Not all Indians were driven by principles. The British managed to get as far as they did because EIC was among the first multi-national corporations to perfect the art of misinformation, manipulation, large-scale bribery, mafia-like tactics of murder and intimidation, and pursuit of profit at all cost and because, India, like any other place, had its share of people who could be bought, intimidated, or simply fooled by the British propaganda.

The first British to set foot in India uninvited were indeed welcomed because welcoming guests is what Indians have done over the millennia. It is only when the guests, like the proverbial camel that, once allowed to poke its nose into a tent, managed to occupy the entire tent, overstay their welcome, loot, murder, and begin to enslave their hosts, that the guests become pests, as the British in India surely did. If the British had not turned into pests, they would still be in India, in large numbers, and become part of India, as my family did.

Nick Balmer said...

Hello Daedalus,

Thanks for your contribution, it is an entirely valid point of view and one which in part I can agree with.

I don't think that they were any more corrupt in most cases in Europe or Indian's were at that time.

Many became corrupt because they were offered opportunities through corruption on a scale that they could have only imagined of at home.

Hume wasn't the only Briton urging us to leave India. In the 1820's and 1830's Thomas Baber was writing to Sir Thomas Munro urging the reduction of the numbers of European's in India, and he was building schools in Tellicherry partly with his own money to facilitate the education of Indian's so that they could run there country.

The bit about forcing the Brits out in 1946 is also of track.

By the 1920's and 1930's most British had no interest in India at all. It was becoming very hard to get quality recruits for the civil service there.

I have spoken to several veterans who only went there because of the recession here.

I have also spoken to people who fought in Burma during 1944 1945, and who recount how they enjoyed joining in during the Quit India Marches in Calcutta.

They couldn't get out fast enough as far as they were concerned.

As many senior officials as far back as the mid 19th Century had recognised it would, India had simply become more trouble than it was worth by the 1920's.

Things go in waves and our time was over.

Lets hear your stories about Coorg.

Nick Balmer said...

For those of you who have passed by this page and who have a wider interest in the history of Coorg, I would recommend that you read the following book, Coorg and its Rajahs.. published in May 1857.

It is written by an official who worked for the rajah and who was broadly sympathetic to the family. It gives a very good insight into this fascinating little country.

Sagar said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
VR said...

1 European colonialism was neither pure territorial expansion nor trade.

2 In fact, it was both - with PROFIT as the only aim.

3 Unlike other invaders who looted India like bandits, British did that [I mean looting] in a very scientific and rational manner - which guaranteed highest possible level of profit.

4 Whether India or Indians benefit by their rule was only secondary as aim was PROFIT.

5 Can anyone deny that Britian became a world power because of control over India? - a vast source of raw material, markets, soldiers.

6 No one can deny that British revenue settlement had put Indian peasantry who are bulk of population into more trouble - loss of traditional land rights, growing indebtedness and so on.

7 British objective was to control India at lowest possible cost but make greatest possible income from India. This made them develop Indian intelligentsia and develop a Indian majority army, but in long run that proved to be the biggest mistake of British.

8 Pax Britannica brought peace to sub-continent, but their economic policies meant hardships for peasantry and artisans - a well proven fact. A pity prosperity did not follow peace.[I mean for bulk of Indians!]

9 Devastation brought by war to extend is justifiable - you cannot fight with out plundering and devastating enemy land. This British as well as Hindu powers did. But unlike Islamic armies, deliberate sadism and large scale inhumanity was rare.

10 To be honest, British rule had advantages for India, but disadvantages was far more than merits. One cannot call a rule in which over 80 percent of people find themselves in growing poverty a good rule [Role of Indian parasites [like money-lenders] and collaborators is acknowledged]

11 But one particular action of British is to be appreciated - ie BAN ON SLAVERY - that was a good measure. As far as MODERN EDUCATION is concerned, it proved good for India but fatal for British rule in India!

12 To conclude, British way of conquest - after acquiring traitors and fomenting dissensions in enemy camps along with policy of divide and rule + comprehensive and well planned economic exploitation of a conquered land makes them the most efficient and intelligent of all invaders in human history.

VR said...

1 European colonialism was neither pure territorial expansion nor trade.

2 In fact, it was both - with PROFIT as the only aim.

3 Unlike other invaders who looted India like bandits, British did that [I mean looting] in a very scientific and rational manner - which guaranteed highest possible level of profit.

4 Whether India or Indians benefit by their rule was only secondary as aim was PROFIT.

5 Can anyone deny that Britian became a world power because of control over India? - a vast source of raw material, markets, soldiers.

6 No one can deny that British revenue settlement had put Indian peasantry who are bulk of population into more trouble - loss of traditional land rights, growing indebtedness and so on.

Unknown said...

Good One!
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