The valiant warriors of Surpur

GULBARGA: The First War of Independence which began in 1857 as a ‘sepoy mutiny’ at Meerut spread to other parts of the country in the form of civil rebellion and patriotic revolt by some princ

Published: 06th February 2012 09:00 AM  |   Last Updated: 16th May 2012 05:50 PM   |  A+A-


GULBARGA: The First War of Independence which began in 1857 as a ‘sepoy mutiny’ at Meerut spread to other parts of the country in the form of civil rebellion and patriotic revolt by some princely states, thus, witnessing the participation of many regional leaders who became folk heroes of India’s first recognised movement for freedom.

Even today in the South, especially in Karnataka, one remembers the yeomen contribution of Kittur Rani Chennamma and Tippu Sultan but very few people have heard the names of Kings of Surpur Samsthana in Yadgir district.  Raja Nalwadi Venkatappa Naik who  not only defeated Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb but also achieved victory over the mighty British  on the 8th of February, 1857 in Surpur, is hardly known or remembered in his own state.

The ‘Research Centre for History of Surpur’ is celebrating the ‘Victory Ceremony of First War of Independence, 1857’ at Surpur on the 8th of this month and honouring the descendents of Surpur kings and other families. Express pays its tribute to  the gallant  ‘warriors of Surpur’ and other  princely states who fought  against the British for the independence of  our country.

 Well known historians like M Y Surpur and Revansiddayya Rudraswamy Mutt who have authored books on the history of Surpur spoke on the contributions of these kings who have been completely buried in the annals of history.  The historians opine that the King of Surpur Samsthana, Nalwadi Venkatappa Naik was one of the few kings of erstwhile India who participated in the First War of Independence and fought with, only one intention, of ousting the British from the country though there was no immediate provocation like the vexed adoption issue during those days.

The ruling family of Surpur (also known as Shorapur) hailed from the Bedar community which is the principal community  in Surpur area. Later, when Raja Krishnappa Naik  died in 1841, his son Venkatappa Naik  was then, a minor boy of seven years only. The British Resident at the Nizam of Hyderabad therefore, decided to impose Meadows Taylor as their political agent at Surpur and completely entrusted the work of supervising the prince’s education as well as his upbringing.

However, in 1853, when Venkatappa Naik turned 19, Taylor returned to Hyderabad and the former took the reigns of the government into his hands. But now, the British Raj proposed to the young Shorapur Raja that he keep a British Officer as an adviser for the state for some more years at a princely sum of Rs. 20,000 per annum.

The first independent decision of Raja Venkatappa Naik, after he assumed power of the Surpur Samsthan, was the rejection of the British proposal of an adviser on the grounds that there was no need for an adviser from the British Government and that the financial condition of the state did not permit them to keep  an adviser.

It is said that the kings of other samsthanas and representatives of kings of South India including Anegundi, Jamkhandi, Tasugaon  (Maharastra), Jat, Mudhol, Malakhed, Mundargi, Jambagi and Gamvar Samsthana held a meeting in Mysore somewhere between 1855-56 and entrusted the leadership to Nalwadi Raja Venkatappa Naik to wage war against the British.

All these Samsthanas not only supplied explosives and weapons to Surpur Samsthana but also warriors from the various states who actively participated in the first war of independence which took place in Surpur in

1857 and the young King defeated the British but did not live long to see the fruits of

his success.  

Even today,  one can see the  ruins and relics of the historic battle against the British and hear as many explosive stories about the valiant

Naik Kings that had till

today remained a forgotten


Stay up to date on all the latest Karnataka news with The New Indian Express App. Download now
(Get the news that matters from New Indian Express on WhatsApp. Click this link and hit 'Click to Subscribe'. Follow the instructions after that.)


Disclaimer : We respect your thoughts and views! But we need to be judicious while moderating your comments. All the comments will be moderated by the editorial. Abstain from posting comments that are obscene, defamatory or inflammatory, and do not indulge in personal attacks. Try to avoid outside hyperlinks inside the comment. Help us delete comments that do not follow these guidelines.

The views expressed in comments published on are those of the comment writers alone. They do not represent the views or opinions of or its staff, nor do they represent the views or opinions of The New Indian Express Group, or any entity of, or affiliated with, The New Indian Express Group. reserves the right to take any or all comments down at any time.

flipboard facebook twitter whatsapp