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Administrative and Social History of Mysore Under The Wodeyars (1600-1800 CE)

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About the Book In Administrative and Social History of Mysore Under the Wodeyars (1600-1800 CE), Prof D S Achuta Rao presets an engaging account of the period. Believed to be the lineal descendants of the Vijayanagara, the kings of Mysore were described as ruling the earth seated on the jewelled throne of Karnataka. Tracing the earliest descent of Raja Wodeyar, the first remarkable vividly draws before us a portrait of the political, military, law, social, religious, education, art and cu...
About the Book

In Administrative and Social History of Mysore Under the Wodeyars (1600-1800 CE), Prof D S Achuta Rao presets an engaging account of the period. Believed to be the lineal descendants of the Vijayanagara, the kings of Mysore were described as ruling the earth seated on the jewelled throne of Karnataka. Tracing the earliest descent of Raja Wodeyar, the first remarkable vividly draws before us a portrait of the political, military, law, social, religious, education, art and culture, and administrative construct of two centuries of the Wodeyar rule in Mysore. Capturing the significant features of the governance of the day, the book in the history of Mysore, Karnataka, India. Scholarly and impressive, the book is a formidable achievement in terms of coverage and content.

About the Author

Prof D S Achuta Rao (1917-1965) had his education in Mysore University and was on MA in History. He devoted 25 years of his career teaching his teaching History to the First Grade colleges in Bangalore, Tumkur, and Mysore and taught graduate students at the Maharaja's Colleges and Manasagangotri in Mysore University. He was a keen researcher and had a brilliant academic career. He closely followed Indian National Movement and sports. He travelled widely, studied exclusively and had many documents, scripts, and articles to his name. He was an exceptional lecturer and was very popular among his systematic teaching and a father.


In the 50s of the last century, when I was studying history in the Maharaja's college at Mysore, not many of any teachers had Doctoral degrees, though nearly all of them were sincere teachers and sound scholars. Teaching over-load and lack of incentives for research probably accounted for this. Nonetheless, the history faculty was blessed with stalwarts like K A Nilakanta Sastri, S Sreekanthe Sastri, M V Krishna Rao, M Seshari and such others.

Sri Achuta Rao was my teacher between 1957, and 1959, and senior colleague for about a year after I joined the Maharaja College as a lecturer in 1960. When a separate Post-graduate centre was planned at the Manasagangotri, I had an opportunity to walk with my teachers, along the banks of Kukkarahalli tank, to witness the foundation-laying event of the new campus by Sir C V Raman. The year was significant for all of us, but more for Achuta Rao, who had begun his research on the Administrative Rao as his supervisor. By then he had published some papers on Hyder and Tippu and made Mysore History his special field of research interest.

Very little of the political and social history o the post-Vijayaranagara period had been explored by then, and not many had evinced interest in its administrative and social history. As such, the phase of the Wodeyar rule had remained a lean period of Karnataka history, though it marked a transition from the late medieval to the early modern. The tools of investigation of this period were different from those of earlier periods of history, as their sources were different. For example, the post-Vijayanagara history could not be reconstructed with inscriptions, coins, archaeological remains, and such other conventional sources, because they had been replaced by new sources such as textual sources and administrative records. Interest in this period of history not only made his explore the records hitherto little known, but also evolve distinct methodogical tools to make meaning out of them. In other words, he was required to negotiate a field in which not much work has been done till then.

Retirement of his supervison, Dr M V Krishna Rao, from the chair, and prolonged ill-heath of Dr. Srikantha Sastri, who had succeeded him, (the two events to which I was also an eye-witness), made Achuta Rao sail all by himself, negotiating a rudderless ship on an unchartered sea. He could expect nothing from his senior colleagues most of whom had very little research experience, save some envy. Facing all odds, he pursued his goal with single-minded determination and produced a thesis in the early 60's. Unfortunately he died in 1965 at a very young age without seeing his work in print. His thesis was lost in the records of the University and almost forgotten for over six decades.

When it was brought to my attention, I was transported back to my college days. I read the remains of the thesis with great curiosity, because I was interested in knowing more about the nature of the scholarship of the time. I felt, that the present generation would also be interested in comparing itself with their predecessors. My role as the editor of this volume hardly deserves credit, for all that I have done is to help preserve its original character.

This is the birth centenary year of Sir Achuta Rao and it is fittingly observed by his celebrated children under the leadership of his son D A Prasanna, who held high positions in reputed enterprises and had been a successful entrepreneur. In fact it was he who unearthed Achuta Rao's badly deteriorated manuscript and restored it to the present shape.

Those who would read this should not forget that it was a pioneering attempt made in the field and has to be judged bearing the cont3ext of the time in which it was written. I am sure the present generation of scholars interested in Mysore history in general and in that of early Wodeyars in particular would welcome this book.


  Foreword iii
  Acknowledgement v
  Section One: Political Structure  
I. The Central Government of Mysore in the 16th Century 1
  Character of the State-The King-Hereditary Kingship-Coronation-Yuvaraja or Office of the Crown Prince-Abdication-Regency-Powers and Functions of the King-Checks on Royal Authority-Ideals of Kingship-The Ministerial Council, Mantralochana Sabha  
II. Revenue Administration 23
  Sources of Revenue-Revenue Reforms of Chikkadevaraja-Concessions and Remissions-The burden of taxation-Total Revenues-Expenditure  
III. Administration of Law, Justice, and Police 31
  Judicial procedure-The Police System  
IV. Military, Warfare, and Diplomacy 36
  Raja Wodeyar and the Organisation of a Standing Army-the role of 'hale-paiaka-Recruitment-Strength-The March and the Fight-The Fort and the Siege-Military Tactics and Strategy-Peculiar Features of the Warfare of the Mysorean Army-Secret Service and Diplomacy  
V. Provincial and Local Government 48
  Provincial system based on the Hoyasala and Vijayanagara systems-Divisions of the Kingdom-Provincial Officials and Their Functions-Central Control-Village Panchayat-Local Officials and Dignitaries-The Barabaluti System  
  Section Two: The Social Profile  
VI. Social Life and Institutions 55
  Nature of society-Social divisions-Concept of Varnasrama Dharma-Its Implications-Function of the State Towards the Maintenance of Traditional Laws and Institutions-Corporate Life-Position of Women-Early marriage-Sati-Causes of its Disappearance in Mysore-Woes of Widowhood-Re-marriage of Widows-Accomplishments of Women-The Courtesans- Their Special Position in Society-Prostitution- Town and Country Life-Habitation, Food, and Drink-Dress and Ornaments-Luxuries-Games and Amusements-Some Social Types-Standard of Living-Belief and Superstitions-Social Sins Distinguishing Features of Contemporary Life  
VII. Religion 87
  Religion: A Powerful Force in Governing Life and Society-Change in Relative Importance of Different Religious Faiths-Mysore: A Nursing Ground of Varied Types of Religious Culture-Buddhism-Jainism-Saivism and Vaishnavism-Virasaivism- Islam and Christianity-Religion of the Kings-Universalism in Religion-Toleration: A Virtue and a Necessity-Pious and Charitable Works-Feasts and Festivals-The Mahanavami Festival  
  Section Three: The Intellectual Setting  
VIII. Education, Learning, and Literature 119
  General and Vocational Education-Centres of Studies-Role of Temple, Matha, and Agrahara-Growth of Kannada Literature-New Trends-Sangatya-Champu-Ragale-Tripadi-and Satpadi-Religious and Devotional Literature-Patronage of the Princes-Belles Lettres-Poetry-Drama-Poetics-Prose Literature-Religious and Devotional Literature-Puranas and Mahatmyas- Yakshagana Poets-Historical Literature-Technical and Scientific Literature-Sanskrit and Telugu Literary Productions During the Age  
IX. Art and Architecture 156
  Secular Art-Temple Architecture-Growth of Provincial Styles-Mysore Phase of Vijayanagara style-Venkataramanaswami Temple at Fort in Bangalore  
X. Court Culture 163
  Court as a Centre of Life and Culture-Daily Durbar-Patronage of Art and Learning- Court Culture Promoted by Kings in Medieval Times  
  Section Four: Conclusion  
XI. Conclusion 173
  Two Centuries of Wodeyars Rule: A Formative Phase in the Evolution of Karnataka Culture- The Kingdom of Mysore as True Inheritor and transmitter of the Great Traditions in Politics and Culture in Karnataka  
  Bibliography 176
  Note on Sources 185
  Abbreviations 187
  Glossary 190
  Genealogy 217
  Maps 221

Sample Pages

Item Code: NAN627 Author: S Settar Cover: Hardcover Edition: 2017 Publisher: Manipal University Press ISBN: 9789382460497 Language: English Size: 9.5 inch X 6.0 inch Pages: 232 Other Details: Weight of the Book: 670 gms
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