Hefting the onake associated with Obavva’s name, women protestors chanted slogans against the state government.

Celebrate local heroine not tyrant Tipu say protesters dressed as Onake Obavva
news Protest Monday, November 06, 2017 - 18:16

In the latest step in the campaign against Tipu Jayanti, protestors in Bengaluru raised up the figure of Onakke Obavva to argue that native heroines should be celebrated instead of a tyrant.

Women dressed as Onake Obavva, the legendary wife of a soldier who resisted Hyder Ali's army, took to the streets of Bengaluru opposing the upcoming celebrations of Tipu Sultan Jayanti by the state government on November 10.

The Veeravanite Obavva Horata Samiti joined by groups of BJP and RSS supporters gathered at Mysore Bank Circle on Monday morning, chanting slogans against the state government, accusing them of minority appeasement.

“For sixty years we did not have Tipu Jayanti and now suddenly for the past two years we are celebrating it. This is an attempt at votebank politics to divide us,” said China Ramu, National General Secretary of BJP SC Morcha.

The protest comes after a circular was issued by the Kannada and Culture department of the state government confirming November 10, the birth anniversary of Tipu Sultan as Tipu Jayanti. The BJP is staunchly opposing the celebration with their leaders calling the medieval ruler a tyrant and murderer.

Shifting the attention to Onake Obavva, the groups protesting the celebration sought to add a caste colour to its objections of the Mysore ruler. “Why don’t we celebrate Onake Obavva Jayanti? She killed soldiers protecting our land,” asked Ramu.

"Dalits and Muslims are now leaving Congress and joining BJP. To stop this, Congress is celebrating Tipu Jayanti," he said.

Who is Onake Obavva?

Onake Obavva was a Dalit woman and the wife of a soldier serving in Madakari Nayaka’s (last ruler of Chitradurga) army. She is said to have killed several invading soldiers of Hyder Ali’s army, who were trying to capture the Chitradurga Fort in 1779, with a pestle (onake). Hence, she is called Onake Obavva. She is said to have eventually been killed by Hyder Ali’s soldiers.

Women at Monday’s protest came dressed in the attire of Onake Obavva, hefting the onake or pestle (a thick wooden club for pounding paddy grains) in their hands, raising slogans in support of Onake Obavva and against the state government.

With the Congress government firm on its stance of continuing with the celebrations, despite opposition from the BJP and the RSS, police are on high alert as the day of celebration approaches.

Prohibitory orders under Section 144 of the CrPC have been clamped in Udupi district from November 8 to November 11. The Tipu Jayanti Celebration Committee in Kalaburgi district alleged that police were not allowing them to celebrate the birth anniversary of the Mysore ruler on their own.


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