The Heroic Story of Kumara Ramanatha, Son of Kampiladeva
Kumara (ie, Prince) Ramanatha was the son of Kampiladeva and his queen consort Hariharadevi. He was a great warrior and had won many victories against the Kakatiya and Hoysala kings of Warangal and Dwarasamudra. The source of this information is a Kannada work named Paradara Sodara Ramana Kathe of Nanjunda. Hindu historical works are generally considered as fictions or poetical exaggerations. However, this work is of great historical value. Here is a short summary of the story:
Sultan Muhammad Tughlaq had a very beautiful daughter of marriageable age. Some of the officers of the Sultan who were traveling in search of a bridegroom for the Princess, visited Kummata [hearing the fame of Ramanatha]. On seeing the handsome Ramanatha they decided not to search any more for the bridegroom and got his portrait drawn up, which they took with them to Delhi. Seeing the portrait, the Sultan's daughter fell in love with him. The Sultan consoled her that he would get the Prince to marry her, and wrote to Kampiladeva proposing marriage and promising the territories of Bidar, Sagar, Nimbapur, Jambukhandi and Raichur as dowry. But Kampila, suspecting the intentions of the Sultan, rejected this. This enraged the Sultan, who vowed to take Ramanatha by force.
An archery exhibition was held at Sultan Muhammad's court, but none of the Sultan's nobles were able to hit the target. At this time Baha-ud-din, a cousin of the Sultan, rose up and accomplished the task. Impressed with his skill, the Sultan promoted him as a Malik and half of the territories of the Khans were also added to his government. This excited the jealousy of the other nobles, who fearing that Baha-ud-din might acquire much influence at the court, and even usurp the throne, joined in a conspiracy to bring about his downfall. At last they came up with a clever plan to get rid of Baha-ud-din: They went to the Sultan and told him that Baha-ud-din desired to usurp the throne of Delhi; the enraged Sultan immediately ordered his execution. In the meanwhile, one of the conspirators visited Baha-ud-din and told him that although the Sultan rewarded him much, he was secretly planning his ruin; he also advised him to leave Delhi. Believing these words, Baha-ud-din made preparations for his secret flight. At first, he sent his family and treasures to Konkan; then taking with him two hundred followers, he left Delhi and moved southwards. When Baha-ud-din's flight was reported to the Sultan, he was alarmed. He dispatched the Khwaja Jahan Ahmad Ayaz against Baha-ud-din. The royal army engaged with Baha-ud-din near the southern frontier, but could not capture him on account of his great military skill. After escaping from the royal forces, Baha-ud-din reached Heddore (the river Krishna), the frontier of Kampiladeva's kingdom.
Kampiladeva's ministers advised him not to give shelter to Baha-ud-din as it would displease the Sultan. But Ramanatha argued that it was the duty of a king to give protection to a homeless and helpless person. Listening to Ramanatha's advice, Kampiladeva welcomed the refugee and gave him asylum in his kingdom.
When this was reported to Sultan Muhammad, he became furious and ordered the Khwaja Jahan to besiege Kummata, the capital of Kampiladeva.
The news of the invasion reached Kummata. Kampiladeva summoned a council of war and it was decided to offer resistance. He sent his minister Baichappa with a large army to strengthen Kummata. Meanwhile the Khwaja Jahan, after reducing the countries of Torgal, Badami, Mudgal and Kopana, arrived at Kummata and laid siege to the fort. When this information reached Kampila, he immediately set out for Kummata accompanied by Ramanatha and Baha-ud-din.
In the following battle Katanna and Ramanatha won a decisive victory over the Muhammadans, who were obliged to raise the siege and retire to Delhi. Ramanatha returned to his father with an immense booty. The king celebrated his victory with great pomp.
It was the occasion of the Pikes festival; all the feaudatory chiefs of the kingdom flocked to the capital. Ratnaji, Kampiladeva's favorite and youngest wife, was watching the procession from the balcony of her palace. She was lady of doubtful character. At this time she saw a handsome youth among the crowd and fell in love with him so intensely. She learnt from her maid that he was none other than her step-son Ramanatha. She then waited for an opportunity to gratify her desires. Very soon she got an opportunity when Kampila went on a hunting. Ramanatha, who did not like hunting, spend his time in sports. One day he was playing ball; the playground was in front of Ratnaji's palace. During the course of the game the ball fell into her palace [In one version, the ball was seized by one of her maidens, who took it to her]. Rama sent Katanna to fetch it. But the queen demanded Rama to come in person to take away the ball. Thus Rama himself went to her palace. Seeing Rama alone, Ratnaji began to make overtures to him; she told him that she was first proposed as his bride, but Kampila had married her against her will. Rama reminded her of the present condition of their relation. She used every kind of art to win him, but Rama was adamant. He came out of her clutches and escaped from her presence. Ratnaji vowed to take vengeance upon him for the insult. When Kampila returned, she misrepresented the whole incident before him, and accused Ramanatha of ravishment. Enraged at the shameful conduct of his son, the king sent the minister Baichappa with orders to behead him. But the minister, knowing the innocence of Rama, communicated the king's orders to him. Rama related the true account of his conversation with Ratnaji.
The clever minister concealed Ramanatha with his five wives and companions in an underground cell. He then carried in procession their dummy representations along the streets of the capital. [According to another account Baichappa ordered the immediate execution of five criminals and showed their heads to Kampila, telling him that they were the heads of Rama and his four companions. The king who was stricken with uncontrollable grief when he heard the news of the execution of his son, dared not look at the heads, and ordered their immediate removal. He felt very sorry and accused the minister of having been so hasty in carrying out his orders.] Only to Hariharadevi the truth was revealed.
The news of Ramanatha's death reached Delhi. The Sultan renewed his attack on Kummata and sent the Khwaja Jahan at the head of an immense army to Kummata. Coming to know of this, Kampiladeva expressed himself to Baichappa that there was none in his kingdom who could fight with the Sultan's army as Ramanatha was dead. He told Baichappa to fortify Hosadurga and arm Kummata immediately. Baichappa told the king that he had a new warrior with him who could destroy the Delhi army. Kampila now felt he had done great injustice to Ramanatha and was filled with remorse. When the Khwaja Jahan crossed Heddore, he himself started for Kummata.
The minister brought Ramanatha and his companions from their place of concealment and the battle commenced. Some of the soldiers in the Sultan's army recognized him. When this news spread, they got frightened and began to disperse. The Khwaja Jahan revived their spirits with his encouraging words and reassembled the army. Ramanatha plunged himself with whirlwind rapidity into the midst of the enemy and hacked them to pieces. At this, the Delhi army broke and fled in all directions. Khwaja Jahan was compelled to retire. Kampila praised the unknown warrior and told Baichappa to bring him to his presence. The minister replied that he was none else than Prince Ramanatha, and narrated to him the true account of the Prince's meeting with Ratnaji and his concealment thereafter. Hearing this, the king was moved with uncontrollable joy. But, the dissatisfied Ratnaji, fearing the consequences of her guilt, committed suicide.
The news of the Khwaja Jahan's second defeat reached Delhi. The Sultan became enraged and blamed Khwaja Jahan for having twice suffered defeat at the hands of a boy. The Sultan's mind was concentrated on finding a leader who could capture and bring Ramanatha.
A Madiga woman named Matangi was the door-keeper of the Sultan. She came forward and represented to the Sultan, "If your Majesty give me permission, I would conquer Kummata and Hosadurga, humble Kampila and bring Ramanatha". Sultan Muhammad was very much pleased with her words and made her the commander-in-chief. He then sent her with an immense army against Kummata.
This news reached Kampila. Baichappa opinioned that Ramanatha should move to Hosadurga as it was a bigger fort and fight the enemy. But Ramanatha opposed this and related that Kummata was the safest part of Hosamale; if that were lost it would never be possible to fight at Hosamale. Besides such a change of tactics they would be considered as having been scared away by a woman. Meanwhile Matangi sent a messenger to Ramanatha asking him to submit to the Sultan by handing over Baha-ud-din and accepting the hand of the Sultan's daughter. Ramanatha laughed at these proposals and prepared to give battle.
Matangi first send Madhura Khan to blockade Kummata, and led her attack on Ramanatha. In the meanwhile the siege of Kummata was going on with all speed. There was no hope for the defenders; many great generals of Kampila fell. At last the gate of the fort were broke open and the Delhi army entered the fort.
At the capture of Kummata, Ramanatha lost heart. He hurried to the palace, worshiped the God Shiva and addressed the ladies. The royal ladies performed Jauhar. Then he returned to the battle field and a fresh charge on the enemy was launched. For a while Ramanatha and his followers kept the enemy at bay. But the Musalmans again rallied and returned their shower of shots, arrows and missiles, with even greater vigour. In the midst of this struggle Sangama Deva, Katanna and Baha-ud-din all fell. Ramanatha was pressed from three sides. At last he fell down struck by an unknown hand. His head was cut off and sent to Delhi.
The poet describes three battles fought between Kampiladeva and Sultan Muhammad, which is correct according to Musalman records.
It is also a fact that Baha-ud-din took protection of Kampiladeva, but he did not die in the battle. Kampiladeva himself sent him to Vira Ballala, before the fall of Kummata. Afterwards Baha-ud-din was captured and put to death by the Sultan.
Sultan Muhammad had a daughter which is confirmed by the author of Tarikh-i-Firoz Shahi. The Sultans usually marry their daughters to the wazirs or some distinguished governors for political reasons. It is impossible to believe that Sultan Muhammad agreed to marry his daughter to a Hindu. Dawar Malik, son of Khudawandzada, was a son-in-law of the Sultan. Yahya mentions that a royal princess was given in marriage to one Maulana Yusuf, who later became Dawar-ul-Mulk. Both Dawar Malik and Dawar-ul-Mulk must be the same person. Agha Mahdi Husain mentions two daughters of Muhammad and states that the eldest one was married to the Khwaja Jahan Ahmad Ayaz.
Nanjunda addresses Khwaja Jahan as Nemi Khan [ie, Malik Kafur], and Baha-ud-din as Badura Khana.
We have some inscriptions mentioning the heroic deeds of Ramanatha. One of them is that Madarasa, the son of Sangama and grandson of Baichappa, set up the statue of Kumara Ramanatha at Sangur in the reign of Deva Raya I in 1407. (There must be some connection between Vijayanagara and Ramanatha. Both Baichappa and Sangama were the subjects of Kampiladeva, while Madarasa was in the service of the Vijayanagara king Deva Raya I) An inscription of 1432, states that one Puttagade, a subject of Deva Raya II, opposed a force which came to Kolavalli and broke the army, and in the battle with valour like that of Kumara Ramanatha covered with arrows took swarga by force. Another inscription of 1528 mentions the construction of a temple for God Ramanathadeva at Hosadurga in memory of Ramanatha Vodeya of Hosamale, the son of Hariharadevi, and of the heroes who fell with him.
Katanna was the foster son of king Kampila, and Sangama Deva was his son-in-law.
Translation and Inscription credit:
Vijayanagara Progress of Research 1987-88 by C. S. Patil
Annual Report of the Mysore Archaeological Department for the year 1929
Studies in Vijayanagara History By M.H. Rama Sharma