Who was Onake Obavva?


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    • Onake Obavva died fighting the troops of Hyder Ali when he invaded the Chitradurga Fort, which was ruled by Madakari Nayaka in the 18th century.

    ‘Onake Obavva Jayanti’

    • From 2021, the Karnataka government has decided to celebrate ‘Onake Obavva Jayanti’ on November 11 throughout the state. 
    • A state-sponsored celebration of the birth anniversary of Onake Obavva.
      • A woman warrior who fought the forces of Hyder Ali single-handedly with a pestle (‘onake’ in Kannada) in Chitradurga in the 18th century.

    About Onake Obavva 

    • Obavva is considered to be the epitome of Kannada pride.
    • She was the wife of soldier Kahale Mudda Hanuma, who was the guard of the fort.
    • She died fighting the troops of Hyder Ali who was a ruler of the Mysore Kingdom and father of Tipu Sultan. 
      • Chitradurga Fort, locally known as Elusuttina Kote, (the fort of seven circles in Kannada), situated 200 km northwest of Bengaluru.
    • She is celebrated along with other women warriors of Karnataka state like 
      • Abbakka Rani 
        • First Tuluva Queen of Ullal in coastal Karnataka who fought the Portuguese, 
      • Keladi Chennamma 
        • The queen of the Keladi Kingdom who is known for fighting against Mughal emperor Aurangzeb. 
      • Kittur Chennamma 
        • Queen of Kittur is known for the 1824 revolt against the British East India Company.

    The folklore 

    • One day, Obavva, while fetching water, heard the muffled sounds of Hyder Ali’s soldiers trying to enter the fort through a small hole 
      • That was just big enough for one person at a time to crawl through.
    • She heard the soldiers talking among themselves and rushed back home to tell her husband. 
      • But since he was having lunch, she decided to fight them alone.
    • Obbava took an ‘onake’ or pestle (a wooden long club meant for pounding paddy grains) from her house and hid silently next to the stone hole. 
    • She killed each soldier as his head appeared through the opening and dragged his body inside the wall. 
    • By the time her husband and others came to her aid, many of Hyder Ali’s soldiers were already dead.
    • Obbava killed by Hyder Ali’s soldiers
      • After Obbava’s attack her husband went up to the fort and blew his horn to alert the army about the invaders. 
      • Madakari Nayaka’s soldiers rushed and killed everyone in Hyder Ali’s small troop.
      • But while directing the army towards the enemy, Obbava missed to spot the last invader who entered the fort and he killed her.

    Obavva’s legacy in Karnataka

    • Onake Obavva’s courage and quick thinking have been praised by many.
    • A stadium is named after her in the Chitradurga fort . 
    • Her sculpture is installed by the government near the district commissioner’s office in Chitradurga. 
    • The hole through which Hyder Ali’s soldiers entered is called ‘Onake Obavvana Kindi’ (kindi means hole in Kannada) and 
      • has become a tourist spot along with the Chitradurga Fort.

    Obavva squad police

    • In 2018, the Chitradurga police started ‘Obavva Pade’, a squad of women police constables to protect and educate women in the district.
    • Obavva squads were deployed in various parts of the district for teaching and educating them about 
      • basic self-defence
      • the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POSCO) Act, 
      • offences under the Indian Penal Code, 
      • Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act, 
      • cybercrimes, and mobile offences.
    • In 2019 the Shivamogga district police started the squad with two female constables and one male constable patrolling the city.
      • covering schools, colleges and other places to keep tabs on the eve-teasers.
    • Her courageous deed is depicted in a famous song sequence in the 1972 Kannada movie ‘Nagarahavu’
      • directed by the famous Kannada film director Puttanna Kanagal.

    Source: IE