Story of Sangolli Rayanna
Sangolli Rayanna (15 August 1798 – 26 January 1831)【ಹಾಲುಮತ ಕುರುಬ】 was a prominent warrior from Karnataka, India. Rayanna was born on 15 August 1798 in kuruba Community. He was the army chief of the Kingdom of Kittur ruled at the time by Rani Chennamma who was one of the first female rulers to rebel against British rule. Rayanna fought the British East India Company till his death. His life was the subject of the 2012 Kannada film Sangolli Rayanna.
Sangolli Rayanna also participated in the 1824 rebellion and was arrested by the British, who released him later. He continued to fight the British and wanted to install adopted son Shivalingappa as the ruler of Kittur. He mobilised local people and started a guerilla type war against the British. He and his “army” moved from place to place, burnt government offices, waylaid British troops and plundered treasuries. Most of his land was confiscated and what remained of it was heavily taxed. He taxed the landlords and built up an army from the masses. The British troops could not defeat him in open battle. Hence, by treachery, he was caught in April 1830 and tried by the British; and sentenced to death. Shivalingappa, the boy who was supposed to be the new ruler, was also arrested by the British.
Rayanna was executed by hanging to death from a Banyan tree about 4 kilometers from Nandagad in Belgaum district on 26 January 1831. Rayanna was helped by Gajaveera, a Siddi warrior, in his revolt against the British in 1829-30.
Rayanna was buried near Nandagad. Legend says that a close associate of Rayanna planted a (banayan) sapling on his grave. Unlike the usual 6 foot grave, Rayanna’s grave is 8 feet long because Rayanna was tall – more than 7 feet. The tree is fully grown and stands to this day. An Ashoka Stambha was installed near the tree. A small temple in the name of Sangolli Rayanna was constructed at Sangolli village, in which stands a statue of Rayanna flanked by two wooden weights used for body building. One of the wooden weights is original, i.e., it was used by Rayanna himself for body building. A community hall, built in commemoration of Rayanna at Sangolli serves the villagers of Sangolli.
IN POPULAR CULTURE
Ballads and other memorials
The Gee Gee songs (Ballad) are heroic folklore verses composed in North Karnataka and several such songs are sung about Kittur Chennamma, Sangolli Rayanna and other figures of pre-independence Karnataka. A life size bronze statue of Sagolli Rayanna, riding a horse with open sword in right hand, was installed near Railway station of Bangalore. The main railway station of Bangalore City has been renamed as “Krantiveera Sangolli Rayanna Railway station” in 2015. However the station officially re named and notified as “Krantivira Sangolli Rayanna” Railway Station on 03-02-2016
In 1967, a film was produced on his life history. Again in 2012, his life was the subject of another Kannada-language motion picture “Kraanthiveera Sangolli Rayanna” (Legendary Warrior Sangolli Rayanna), directed by Naganna and starring Darshan Thoogudeep, Jayaprada and Nikita Thukral.
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