Countless lives have been lost over the course of human history over land. The sheer lust to invade and conquer drove people into deep ravines out of which there was never an awakening. Some of the greatest warriors this planet has seen have perished without a trace trying to conquer the whole world. It was never enough for them. Some are remembered for their valour and as great conquerors while some, the more atrocious ones, are remembered infamously for their dark and gruesome desires. To maintain balance in the Universe, while there are stories of Alexander The Great, trying to conquer the whole world, there are also stories like Troy, the walls of which defended the Trojans for centuries. The legacy of Chitradurga is one such where the defence of the stronghold became an epic for generations to come. And a certain housewife who just decided to defend her motherland, single-handedly.
The fort of Chitradurga was a stronghold with 7 rounds of fortification making the fort seemingly impregnable. The rulers (or Paalegaararu) were of the Nayaka clan and were subordinates of the Vijayanagara Empire. Later on, presumably, their administrative status changed from subordinates to rulers of that land after the fall of the Vijayanagara Empire. The 200 odd years they were in control of the fort (1568 – 1779), they had to live a hard life, riddled with invasions from all four directions and battles which would be so intense, would later on become legends. They fought long, they fought hard, all to serve their ruler and their motherland. Finally, at the hands of Hyder Ali, the mighty fortress of Chitradurga, led by the legendary warrior Madakari Nayaka, fell. (circa 1779).
I stayed at a hotel right next to the magnificent fortress. I looked up at the starry night sky and thought about the glory days of the land and the gruesome battles it had witnessed over the years. Battle for glory. Battle for land. Battle for lust. Fought by mortal men, but men of honour and valour. And, in this case, also a woman. A woman with unwavering fealty to the land of Chitradurga.
I couldn’t help but wonder that the stars, shining feebly in the deep dark sky, looked down upon the people fighting over land under the blanket of honour and glory laughed while they fought hard and long for land which was there before them and which will be there long after all of them. Such is the fate of rulers, warriors and soldiers who fought in these lands and all over the world. There is something more to all of this, however. People die but their legacy lives on. It could be land and land alone they fought for; but their resilience and their unshakable will to stand their ground, defend and be loyal to their land until kingdom come, is immortal.
As I sat in my hotel room, writing my mind away, I couldn’t help but to think about all the lives lost, battles fought and history created just beneath the sparkling white tiles of my room’s floor. It gets to you – the sheer strength and determination of the defenders to protect their land come what may and the steadfast ambition of the invaders to conquer and rule over the land upon which you are calmly walking around as if nothing has ever happened before.
The rocks still echo the stories of a generation of turmoil and conquest. The mud still smells of the blood from the warriors’ wounds. The air still howls the values and ideals which held the fortress against a monumental onslaught.