The Three Curse
The three curse
Cherrapunji is the second most important city in Meghalaya located at an high altitude, on the north eastern state of Bharat, that is India. Cherrapunji receives highest rainfall annually, hence is also known as the “Wettest place on the earth”. The people living in Cherrapunji are the Khasi tribe.
12 year old Zenley stays in Mawlynnong village, the cleanest place in Cherrapunji. She loves her grandfather a lot and lovingly calls him “Dada”. Every night before she goes to sleep it has become a routine for Zenley to request’s her Dada to either sing a song or recite a story. She is very fond of stories. Her Dada a 90 year old man has traveled far and wide covering most of Bharat during his youth for work. He is a wood cutter and along with his other villagers travelled in search of work. They stayed in remotest of places and forest, hence has lot of tales to tell as well he recites his true life experiences.
“Dada, you said last week, you will tell me the story of the “The three curse of Alemalamma””
“Yes dear, but please bear with me I do not recollect the entire story, whatever I remember I will tell you”.
“Yayyyyy, thank you Dada” saying she happily hugged him
This is a story of the Maharaja’s of Mysore, after Tipu Sultan’s death in 1799 Rajmata, the queen dowager requested the British officials to coronate Krishnaraj Wodeyar III as the king. During that period the Mysore region was under British control. But in 1831 the British dethroned the king giving irrelevant and frivolous reasons, the same they have done in many other regions to gain control of kingdom offering the king yearly pension.
In 1848 Lord Dalhousie became the Governor General and introduced an annexation policy called “Doctrine of lapse”. The Doctrine of lapse was an annexation policy implemented by the British East India company in India. According to this policy, any Indian princely state under the realm of the British East India company would have its princely status abolished and therefore be annexed into British India if the ruler was either administratively incompetent or died without a male heir. It roughly stated that any kingdom with poor administration or heirless .i.e. without a male child would be seized by the British.
Since Krishnaraja Wodeyar did not have a heir for the throne this policy was applied on the Kingdom. The king understanding the implications of being annexed was petrified. He had already lost the authority of administration. He desperately wanted to save it from being annexed for the upcoming successors. Realizing his kingdom was slipping away from his hands, Krishnaraja Wodeyar reveals them about the curse.
In 1612 Mysore was under the rule of Vijaynagara empire ruled by Tirumala Raja. In those times Tirumala Raja was suffering from a disease and he had gone on a pilgrimage to a temple of Talakadu, a town 60 kilometres from Srirangapatna to pray for his recovery. The king did not get any better, while he was away his second wife Queen Alamelamma was managing the kingdom. The queen receives a message that the king was dying and she wanted to be beside him during his last hours. She quickly decides to leave for Talakkadu, leaving the kingdom temporarily in the care of Raja Wodeyar the Maharaja of Mysore. Tirumala Raja did not get well and passed away. Raja Wodeyar seeing this as an opportunity occupies the kingdom, the idea which he had been nursing since long. Alamelamma was upset on Raja Wodeyar unethically and forcibly taking over of the kingdom dethroning Tirumala Raja. Alamelamma collects all the jewels of temple to protect them from being confiscated by the Raja Wodeyar and runs towards Talakkadu to put them in a safe place as they were holy. Alamelamma was a staunch devotee of Sri Ranganayaki, the consort of Sri Ranganatha, the presiding deity of the famous Adi-Ranga temple in the island fortress of Srirangapatna. She had donated all her jewelry to the temple but the temple authorities had left it in safe custody of Alamelamma.
Raja Wodeyar was a greedy man and wanted to obtain the jewels that she was hoarding, he sent an army of soldiers to find her and the jewels. There were also rumors that the king desired her. She managed to escape from the king for a while, but eventually realized that she cannot face the army alone. Recognizing that her end was near and not wanting to be captured and subject to the King , she decides to climbs the cliff above the Cauvery river and decides to jump to death by plunging herself into the river along with the temple jewels. Saving her honour was more important for her than her life. She folded her hands in reverence to Lord Venkateshwara and in grief and pain prayed “if I have been a sincere devotee to you and a faithful wife of my husband grant me this dying wish that would be a curse for the evil king. She utters this curse “Talakadu Maralagali, Maalangi Maduvagali, Mysuru Arasarige Makkalagadehogali ” which meant “Let Talakadu be a turned to a barren land, let Maalangi become a vast whirlpool, let Mysore Kings never have a heir for eternity” saying this she plunged herself to death in the river.
This curse did not just remain as mere words and they came to fruition. Talakadu once a fertile land surrounded with rivers now is a barren land with sand everywhere still burying thirty and more temples in layers and layers of sand. The ecologists have said that there has been an accumulation of sand in the region around that time and also called it a natural disaster. Secondly, the river Cauvery often changed its courses causing deadly whirlpools in Maalangi the place where Alemalamma jumped and lastly the Mysore royal family never had an heir and was most often compelled to coronate an adopted heir .Even the last king died without leaving behind a son . Since Krishnaraja Wodeyar had friendly relationship with the British he saved his kingdom from being annexed. Even after his death there was no natural heir to carry forward the legacy of Mysore.