The Muslim Conquest of South India led to untold horrors in the area. The bounceback of the Hindus was swift – it’s as if they were surprised at the Muslim attacks and their mode of operation. While the lines were being drawn in the North with Yadava Empire controlled by the Muslims, the Telangana part of Kakatiya became a theatre of regular fight and the rest of Kakatiya Empire and the Hoyasala Empire were taken over by Vijayanagara. The smaller entities were gobbled up in due time. Pandyan Empire was held by the Muslims and was a shielded by petty kingdoms who didn’t have a capability to take it down. It again, fell to Vijayanagara to destroy the Madurai Sultanate. And they did with great success.
The Muslim rule during that age seems to have some common characteristics. The complaints from far and wide are almost always the same. See the ones from Madurai Sultanate –
In Srirangam, the hoods of Adishehsa protect Lord Ranganatha from falling bricks
In the other temples, the doors are rotting, grass is sprouting from cracks in the festive halls and the sacred most shrines are crumbling.
Before, Agraharas were filled with smells of the smoke from sacrifices and the sounds of Vedic chanting, now, they are filled with smell of rotting meat and the drunken roars of the Turks
In the gardens of Madhura, the coconut groves are cut down, they are replaced by spikes garlanded with hundreds of human heads strung together
Tamraparni, which used to flow white-yellow with the sandal washed from the bodies of women bathing is now flowing red from the blood of the cows cruelly slaughtered on it’s banks.
There is a deathly famine in these areas – those who are not killed by the Turks are killed by the famine.
Vedas don’t exist, there is no rule of law, Dharma disappeared, virtue vanished, Merit has fled and Nobility faded. What is left is the anarchy of Kali Yuga.
These verses are sourced from Gangadevi’s Madhura Vijayam(Rasala translation). This book was discovered only a century ago and is only partly available. This book seems to be the only account of the Madurai campaign available.
Gangadevi was the wife of Kumara Kampana, a son of Bukka Raya and the commander of the Madurai invasion force. The poetry is very simple and the flow is superb, especially where she describes the nature and the amorous acts of Kampana, whom she calls as King.
The story starts, glorifying Bukka Raya, the brother of Harihara and the Emperor of Vijayanagara Empire. Bukkaraya is a great warrior who subdued all the kings. He needed counsel from none and helped renourish the wilting tree of Dharma. His capital city is called Vijaya and is celebrated by poets. Tungabhadra river serves as a moat for the city. It had massive ramparts and mansions white as clouds and was the greatest city of the age.
Devayi was his queen and gave birth to a son. In celebrations, the king released all the women folk of the defeated kings from his prisons. The king felt his son will become a great warrior when he saw him and named him Kampana, meaning the terrible.
Though an introduction was given of the king as a warrior, nothing talks such in the earlier parts – he is a doting father happy that he got a son.
Kampana was tutored in all arts and was married at the right age. The king wanted him to attain fame by worsting all his enemies. He sent his son with a formidable army towards Kanchi. Though he was sent against Kanchi, the real aim was to destroy the Turushka Chieftain. The mandate was to subdue the chieftains before marching on the capital of the Turushka.
Kampana marched the next day, in the direction of Mount Malaya with his army to meet the forces of the Champa(Vira Champaraya was the father of the Sambuvaraya king, Rajanarayana). After a swift but bloody war, the Dravida forces were defeated. Using Champa’s capital city as the base, Kampana laid siege to Rajagambhira mountain where the Dravida king hid. The Dravida king was killed there by Kampana in person and Kampana took control of Tundira Country. Kampana then issued a proclamation declaring that the older system maintained by Champa will be maintained from Kanchi.
The poetry is beautiful and the description of cities and surroundings, superb, especially, the description of the six ṛtus and the amorous antics of the prince. Another highlight is Kampana asking his wife, the author to describe the time.
Though the poem is lost in bits before, what is lost is a beautiful poem, but with no historic value. The pain of loss of historic value will be felt from the eighth Sarga, which deals with the Muslim depredations and the fall of Madhura.
A messenger said explained the travails in that area and exhorted to fight the Muslims. The messenger gives him the royal sword of the Pandyas. Vishwakarma fashioned it for Lord Siva from the elements of weapons of each god to defeat the Danavas. Lord Siva gifted it to the king of Pandyas whose descendants ruled the world. After the Pandya power was extinguished, the sword was presented to Kampa Raya to fulfil Dharma – destroy the Yavana who is as cruel as Kamsa in this Dakshina Madhura.
Isn’t this identical to the story of Chandrahasa of Ravana?
Also to note is the legend of Chandrahasa. When Madurai fell to the Muslims, the Moolavirat of Sundareshwara was shielded by building a wall before it and placing a dummy Siva Linga before it. The level of blows the dummy one took(below) is seriously sickening.
Legend says, when this Kampana took Madurai and when the walls were torn apart, it was noticed that the lamps lit before closing the wall are still burning and the flowers offered to Sundareshwara were still fresh after those many years. The Pandyan royal sword, Chandrahasa was placed before the idol, an indication that the Pandyans understood their days are over and surrendered their power to the lord.
So, how do these two narratives match?
Coming back to our story.
Because a part of the document is not available, suddenly, we enter the battlefield at the height of the battle. It looks as if the relief of Srirangam is a parallel operation and this is covered in great detail in Koil Olugu. The below tweet thread gives a decent picture of that theatre.
Kampana is winning in a battle of elephant corps fighting each other when the Yavanadhiraja takes charge personally, wielding a bow.
But, he understood that after years, victory is not his. First fell his banner. Then, his bow string was cut. In anger the Yavana king unsheathed his sword, only to be beheaded by Kampana. Though his head is lobbed off, his stead started to go forth with the headless king riding it, before stopping. His death meant the end of Muslim rule in the South and end of Muslim rule permanently in that area.